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This wiki site Veda is dedicated to understanding Sanatana Dharma (eternal way of life), prominently known as Hinduism, the oldest living religion on earth. It covers information related to Hindu (Vedic) concepts, teachings, philosophy, scriptures and everything that we can think of related to the Hindu Dharma.

Cannot be seen by the eyes

That which cannot be seen by the eyes, but by which the eyes see—know that to be Brahman.

— Kena Upanishad

The Vedic Tradition
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The Vedic tradition of knowledge, based on the extensive Vedic literature, is the oldest tradition of knowledge in the world. Though it has been long preserved in India, this traditional wisdom has been almost lost in recent centuries—due in part to repeated foreign invasions. The Vedic tradition includes detailed information on a wide range of topics—from astronomy to music, architecture to health care, administration to economy. But it is all based on the knowledge of consciousness—including technologies of consciousness, and evolution to the highest state of consciousness (enlightenment).

Do you know?
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From the invention of the decimal system in mathematics to the noble philosophy of ahimsã, Hindus have contributed their share in all fields of knowledge and learning. Over five thousand years ago, when Europeans were only nomadic forest dwellers, ancient Hindus had established a civilization, known as the Harappan culture, in the Indus Valley, the northwestern region of India. When much of the world was still sunk in sleep, people of the Harappan culture were conducting trade workshops in weaving, bead-making, pottery, dying of fabrics, and metallurgy. read more...

Oral tradition of Vedic Chanting is declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO

The oral tradition of Vedic chanting has been declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. In a meeting of jury members on November 7, 2003, at Paris, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, declared the chanting of Vedas in India an outstanding example of heritage and form of cultural expressions. The proclamation says that in the age of globalization and modernization when cultural diversity is under pressure, the preservation of oral tradition of Vedic chanting, a unique cultural heritage, has great significance.

Veda
The Vedic tradition of knowledge, based on the extensive Vedic literature, is the oldest tradition of knowledge in the world.
Hinduism at a Glance
If you're new to this faith, here's where to begin. In this simple introduction to a complex religion, get your basic questions on Hinduism answered and explained in brief.
Hinduism
Overview of Hindusim.
Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma is is the original name of what is now popularly called Hinduism. Sanatana Dharma is the world's most ancient culture and the socio, spiritual, and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth's inhabitants.
FAQs - Hinduism
Covers the frequently asked questions on Hindu Dharma.
Sanskrit
Sanskrit is considered to be the oldest language in human history. Sanskrit is the progenitor and inspiration for virtually every language spoken in India. Sanskrit has a tradition going back at least 5,000 years and is the language in which every ancient Hindu text, devotional or otherwise, is written in.
Do you know?
Little bits of information on amazing facts related to Hindus and India.
Pearls of Wisdom
A selection of quotes relating to various aspects of Hinduism on Vedas, Dharma, Athma, Ayurveda and others.
Glimpses
Glimpses through the lens on Hindu thought, culture, contribution, events and its global presence.
sūtras
sūtras metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or large a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual — is a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements, generally using various technical terms. Sūtras form a school of Vedic study, related to and somewhat later than the Upanishads.
sastra
The overview of Hindu Scriptures.
Vedas
The Vedas are the oldest extant Hindu texts. The ideas expressed in the Vedas were traditionally handed down orally from father to son and from teacher to disciple.
Agama
The Ãgamas are theological treatises and practical manuals of divine worship. The Agamas include the Tantras, Mantras and Yantras. These are treatises explaining the external worship of God, in idols, temples, etc
Purāṇas
The aim of the Puranas is to impress on the minds of the masses the teachings of the Vedas and to generate in them devotion to God, through concrete examples, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events.
Bhagavad Gītā
The Bhagavad Gita is known as the Song Celestial. It is the most important sacred text in the Hindu tradition. It is Brahma-vidya, the knowledge of existence, as well as Yoga-shastra, scripture on the science of the Self.
Ramayana
The Rãmãyana has been a perennial source of spiritual, cultural and artistic inspiration, not only to the people of India but also to the people all over the world. It has helped to mold the Hindu character and has inspired millions of people with the deepest of love and devotion.
Mahābhārata
It is an historical epic about the great kingdom of Bharatavarsa, or the region of India. It contains 110,000 couplets making it the longest poem and greatest epic in world literature.
Upanishads
The Upanishads are epic hymns of self-knowledge and world-knowledge and God-knowledge. There is no book in the whole world that is so thrilling, soul-stirring and inspiring as the Upanishad. The philosophy taught by the Upanishads has been the source of solace for many, both in the East and the West. The human intellect has not been able to conceive of anything more noble and sublime in the history of the world than the teachings of the Upanishads.
vedāṅga
The Vedanga ("member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas.

Avasthas
The most comprehensive study of the Science of Consciousness. It expounds the various levels of consciousness, states of consciousness, the nature of consciousness at each level, the nature of Truth at each level of consciousness and methods to attain those levels.
Shariras
The vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life.
Yoga Sutras
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
Lokas
The various planes of existence.
Vyuhas
Stages of Emanation of the Universe.
Sankhya
The Principles of the Universe.
Vedic Time System
In the Vedic Time System, kala (Time) is not a linear, single-directional movement, like an arrow speeding from past to future. The idea of Time itself was quite advanced in Hindu Heritage.
Srishti and Pralaya
Creation of the Universe — the cosmos follows one cycle within a framework of cycles. It may have been created and reach an end, but it represents only one turn in the perpetual "wheel of time", which revolves infinitely through successive cycles of creation and destruction.
Hindu Cosmology
Hindu Cosmology upholds the idea that creation is timeless, having no beginning in time. Each creation is preceded by dissolution and each dissolution is followed by creation.
Panchanga
The Hindu Almanac provides vital information about astrological factors, planets and stars — aspects of our subtle environment which are unseen but strongly felt. It is far more complex than the simple Gregorian calendar normally used in the West and far more useful.
garbhadhana
garbhadhana or "samskaras of birth" (Sanskrit: "Womb-placing.") from the rite of conception to the blessings of the new-born child. Rite of conception, where physical union is consecrated with the intent of bringing into physical birth an advanced atman. — punsavana (Sanskrit: "Male rite; bringing forth a male.") A rite performed during the third month of pregnancy consisting of prayers for a son and for the well-being of mother and child. A custom, found in all societies, based on the need for men to defend the country, run the family business and support the parents in old age. The need for male children in such societies is also based on the fact that women outlive men and leave the family to join their husband's family. — simantonnayana, "Hairparting." A ceremony held between the fourth and seventh months in which the husband combs his wife's hair and expresses his love and support. — jatakarma, "Rite of birth." The father welcomes and blesses the new-born child and feeds it a taste of ghee and honey.
Advaita Siddhanta
Advaita Siddhanta (Sanskrit: "non-dual perfect conclusions") — Saivite philosophy codified in the agama which has at its core the advaita (non-dual) identity of God, soul and world. This monistic-theistic philosophy, unlike the Shankara, or Smarta view, holds that maya (the principle of manifestation) is not an obstacle to God Realization, but God's own power and presence guiding the Self's evolution to perfection. While Advaita Vedanta stresses Upanishadic philosophy, Advaita Siddhanta adds to this a strong emphasis on internal and external worship, yoga sadhanas and tapas. Advaita Siddhanta is a term used in South India to distinguish Tirumular's school from the pluralistic Siddhanta of Meykandar and Aghorasiva. This unified Vedic-Agamic doctrine is also known as Shuddha Saiva Siddhanta. It is the philosophy of this contemporary Hindu catechism. See: Advaita Ishvaravada, dvaita-advaita, Saiva Siddhanta.
Guru Purnima
The day, also known as Vyasa Purnima is observed by devotees who offer pujas (worship) to their beloved Gurus. . The festival is usually celebrated as an occasion for initiation of new disciples by their Gurus. On the purnima (day of full moon) in the month of Aashadh in the Hindu Calendar is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by many Hindus. On this day devotees offer worship (puja) to their guru. According to tradition this was the day when Vyasadeva, author of the Mahabharata and the Puranas was born. All religious teachers (gurus) are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings.
saṃsāra
saṃsāra (Sanskrit: संसार; "flow") — refers to the phenomenal world. Transmigratory existence, fraught with impermanence, change and cycle of reincarnation or rebirth. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth; the total pattern of successive earthly lives experienced by atman (the Self). According to the Vedas the atman is bound in a "cycle", the cycle of life and death. Endlessly the atman transcends from possessing one form to the next, this is the concept of saṃsāra (reincarnation). So the logical inference is that the aim is to break free! Freedom. Freedom from every constraint, this is the aim of life, the aim of all the Hindu teachings.
ācāra
ācāra or achara (Sanskrit: "conduct, mode of action, behavior; good conduct") — also, custom, tradition; rule of conduct, precept.
ahimsã
ahimsã (Sanskrit: अहिंसा, "non-harming") is derived from the root hims, "to strike". Himsã is injury or harm. A-himsã is the opposite of this, non harming. ahimsã means abstaining from causing harm or injury. It is gentleness and non-injury, whether physical, mental or emotional. It is good to know that nonviolence speaks only to the most extreme forms of forceful wrongdoing, while ahimsã goes much deeper to prohibit even the subtle abuse and the simple hurt.
Prakritika Manvantara
Prakritika Manvantara or Prakritika Pralaya (Sanskrit: "from prakriti or nature;") — universal manvantara. The dissolution and manifestation of prakriti or nature; also called the elemental pralaya because the universe then returns to its original elements. Hence in one sense it is partial because the dissolution reaches as far as the elements and there stops. The inner portions or constitution of the universe remain as it were in statu quo, which does not signify that they are inactive — any more so than the reincarnating ego is inactive when the lower quaternary of the human constitution undergoes its prakritika pralaya or death.
Yoga
Yoga (Sanskrit: योग, "union of atman (individual Self) with paramåtma (Universal Self)") derived from the root yuj, "to join, to unite, to attach" — spiritual practices performed primarily as a means to enlightenment (or bodhi). Traditionally, Karma Yoga (through action), Bhakti Yoga (through devotion), jñåna-yoga (through knowledge), and dhyåna-yoga (through meditation) are considered the four main yogas. In the West, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, popular as fitness exercises. Yoga has many other meaning. For example, in astronomy and astrology it refers to a conjunction (union) of planets.
ācārya
ācārya, acariya, or acharya (Sanskrit: आचार्य, "going toward; approaching") from a, "towards" + the verbal root car, "to proceed, practice, conduct oneself" and thus literally connotes "one who teaches by conduct or example" or "one who knows or teaches the ācāra, the rules of right conduct" — is a guide or instructor in spiritual matters; founder, or leader of a sect; a title affixed to the names of learned men; a traditional teacher or head of sampradaya or school of religious thought.
yuga
yuga (Sanskrit: युग, "age or cycle; aeon; world era;") — an age of the world, of which there are four — satya-yuga or krita yuga (Golden Age), treta-yuga (Silver age), dwapara-yuga (Bronze Age), and kali-yuga (Iron Age) — which proceed in succession during the manvantara cycle. Each Yuga is preceded by a period called in the Puranas Sandhya, "twilight, or transition period", and is followed by another period of like duration called Sandhyansa, "portion of twilight". Each is equal to one-tenth of the Yuga. The group of four Yugas is first computed by the divine years, or " years of the Gods" — each such year being equal to 360 years of mortal men. The cycles are said to repeat like the seasons, waxing and waning within a greater time — cycle of the creation and destruction of the universe. Like Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn, each yuga involves stages or gradual changes which the earth and the consciousness of mankind goes through as a whole. (see: yuga dharma)
artha
artha (Sanskrit: अर्थ, "worldly wealth; material facility; the pursuit of wealth and social status") — refers to the idea of material prosperity, not to be understood solely as material assets, but all kinds of wealth including non-tangibles such as knowledge, friendship and love. artha is one of the four goals of life, known as purusharthas. It is considered to be a noble goal as long as it follows the dictates of dharma. The concept includes achieving widespread fame, garnering wealth and having an elevated social standing. It is the second lowest rung on the ladder of purusharthas, above kama (physical or emotional pleasure) but below dharma (righteousness) and moksha (liberation).
kâla
kâla or kaala (Sanskrit: "Time"), is the word for Time as the source of all things. The absolute undivided time or duration, and of manifested or divided time: the former as causal or noumenal, the latter as effectual or phenomenal, and therefore mayavi (illusional). kâla is an illusion produced by the succession of our states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration, and it does not exist where no consciousness exists in which the illusion can be produced; but 'lies asleep'.
nirdaya
nirdaya — one without compassion.
manomaya kosha
manomaya kosha (mind-stuff-apparent-sheath) is the mental and emotional sheath which also is included in the sukshma sharira (subtle body). Manomaya means composed of manas or mind. The manas (thought, will, wish) along with the five subtle sensory organs is said to constitute the manomaya kosha. The instinctive-intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. It is the seat of the indriyas, sensory and motor organs, respectively called jnanendriyas and karmendriyas. The manomaya kosha takes form as the physical body develops and is discarded in the inner worlds before rebirth. It is understood in two layers: 1) the buddhi (odiccausal sheath) and 2) the manas (odic-astral sheath). The manomaya kosha, is said more truly to approximate to personhood than annamaya kosha and pranamaya kosha. It is the cause of diversity, of I and mine.
bhagavān
bhagavān, bhagwan or bhagawan (Sanskrit: "possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous;") from the noun bhaga, "fortune, wealth" — indicate the Supreme Being or Absolute Truth, but with specific reference to that Supreme Being as possessing a personality (a personal God). Bhagavan used as a title of veneration is often translated as "Lord", as in "Bhagavan Krishna" and "Bhagavan Shiva". The title is also used as a respectful form of address for a number of contemporary spiritual teachers in India. The feminine of Bhagavat is Bhagawatī.
panchanga
The name for the Hindu calendar is a panchanga. In Sanskrit the word panchanga is made of two parts: pancha and anga. Pancha means five and anga means a part. The panchanga is, therefore, something made of five parts. As a calendar, these five parts are the lunar day (tithi), day of the week (vara), lunar mansion (naksatra), luni-solar day (yoga) and half lunar day (karana). Along with other information, a panchanga especially records the movements of the sun and the moon. Traditionally no religious festival, family event, or even a civic affair is performed without first consulting a panchanga to know the favorable movements of these celestial bodies.
samskara
samskara (Sanskrit: "patterned or conditioned behaviors; subconscious tendencies; worldly life; impression.") — 1. The imprints left on the subconscious mind by experience (from this or previous lives), which then color all of life, one's nature, responses, states of mind, etc. 2. A sacrament or rite done to mark a significant transition of life. These make deep and positive impressions on the mind of the recipient, inform the family and community of changes in the lives of its members and secure inner-world blessings. The numerous samskaras are outlined in the Grihya Shastras. Most are accompanied by specific mantras from the Vedas.
sattva guna
sattva guna, quality of purity, calmness, serenity, joy, strength, goodness — the first of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as goodness, the phase of sattva is characterized by lightness, peace, cleanliness, knowledge, etc.
Advaita Vedānta
Advaita Vedānta, (Sanskrit: अद्वैत वेदान्त) is the dominant sub-school of the Vedānta (literally, end or the goal of the Vedas). The other major sub-schools of Vedānta are dvaita-advaita and Viśishṭādvaita. Advaita (literally, non-duality) is often called a monistic system of thought. The word "Advaita" essentially refers to the identity of the atman (Self) and the Brahman (Whole). The key source texts for all schools of Vedānta are the Prasthanatrayi — the canonical texts consisting of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras. The first person to explicitly consolidate the principles of Advaita Vedanta was Adi Shankara.
Parabrahm
Parabrahm or Parambrahmam (Sanskrit: "Beyond Brahma") — the Supreme Infinite Brahma, the "Absolute" - the attributeless, the secondless reality. The impersonal and nameless universal Principle.
Jyotisha Vedanga
Jyotisha Vedanga (Sanskrit: "Veda-limb of celestial science or astronomy-astrology") — ancient texts giving knowledge of astronomy and astrology, for understanding the cosmos and determining proper timing for Vedic rites. (Jyoti means light "of the sun, fire, etc.") See: jyotisha, vedanga.
adhyatma prasara
adhyatma prasara (Sanskrit: "evolution of the Self") — the Self's evolution is a progressive unfoldment, growth and maturing toward its inherent, divine destiny, which is complete merger with Brahman. In its essence, the Self is ever perfect. But as an individual soul body emanated by Brahman, it is like a small seed yet to develop. As an acorn needs to be planted in the dark underground to grow into a mighty oak tree, so must the Self unfold out of the darkness of the malas to full maturity and realization of its innate oneness with Brahman. The Self evolves by taking on denser and denser sheaths — cognitive, instinctive-intellectual and pranic — until finally it takes birth in physical form in the bhuloka. Then it experiences many lives, maturing through the samsara (reincarnation process). Thus, from birth to birth, the Self learn and mature. See: mala, moksha, samsara, vishvagrasa.
mandala
mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, "circular; orb; diagram; region, sphere."). A circle, ball, wheel, ring, or circumference, as the orbit of a heavenly body, and hence a great circle in astronomy, an orb. Also one of the ten mandalas (circles, divisions) of the Rig-Veda Samhita.
varnasrama
The traditional social system of four varnas and four asramas. The word varna literally means, “color” and it refers to four basic natures of mankind: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. The asramas are the four stages of an individual’s life: brahmacarya (student), grhastha (householder), vanaprastha (retired) and sannyasa (renounced).
seva
The word seva comes from the Sanskrit root, sev, meaning to "attend" or "to go towards." Seva is generally understood to be "service" and mostly is used in the context of religious service as in the case of a person doing Deity seva by bringing fruits and flower and bowing down before a form of God in a temple.
sånkhya
sånkhya (Sanskrit: "calculating, enumeration, analysis, categorization). Modern science can be said to be a form of sånkhya because it attempts to analyze and categorize matter into its constituent elements. Sånkhya also refers to an ancient system of philosophy attributed to the sage Kapila. This philosophy is so called because it enumerates or analyzes reality into a set number of basic elements, similar to modern science. See: prakriti, purusha, shad darshana, tattva.
mumukshuthwam
mumukshuthwam (Sanskrit: "yearning for liberation.") — the longing for moksha or Liberation. This longing cannot arise from either riches or from the scholarship that may be won at great expense of money. Nor can it emerge from wealth or progeny, or rites and rituals recommended in the scriptures or acts of charity, for moksha (liberation from grief and acquisition of bliss) can come only from the conquest of ajnana (ignorance).
punya
punya (Sanskrit: "is what elevates") is the opposite to papa — is virtue or moral merit. Papa and punya generally go together as negative and positive “credits.” One reaps the reward of these negative or positive credits in life. The more punya one cultivates the higher one rises in life, whereas papa will cause one to find a lower position on life. Punya leads to happiness, papa leads to suffering.
viveka
viveka (Sanskrit: "discrimination") — act or ability to distinguish or perceive differences. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong, real and apparent, eternal and transient. The reasoning by which one realizes what is real and permanent and what is non-real and impermanent.
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