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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.

Man without desire

Only the man without desire, sees without seeing, speaks without speaking, knows without knowing.

— Ashtavakra Gita 18:90

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...

Mokshapat: Snake and Ladder had its origin in India

The game had its origin in India and was called Moksha Patam or Parama Padam or Mokshapat. It was used to teach Hindu Dharma and Hindu values to children. The British renamed it as Snakes and Ladders.

The game was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. Later through time, the game underwent several modifications but the meaning is the same i.e good deeds take us to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births. There are certain references which take the game back to 2nd century BC.

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Indian Snakes and Ladders game (1700’s AD)

In the original game square 12 was faith, 51 was Reliability, 57 was Generosity, 76 was Knowledge, and 78 was Asceticism. These were the squares were the ladder was found. Square 41 was for Disobedience, 44 for Arrogance, 49 for Vulgarity, 52 for Theft, 58 for Lying, 62 for Drunkenness, 69 for Debt, 84 for Anger, 92 for Greed, 95 for Pride, 73 for Murder and 99 for Lust. These were the squares were the snake was found. The Square 100 represented Nirvana or Moksha.

Also known as ‘paramapadam’, there are a hundred squares on a board; the ladders take you up, the snakes bring you down. The difference here is that the squares are illustrated. The top of the ladder depicts a God, or one of the various heavens (kailasa, vaikuntha, brahmaloka) and so on, while the bottom describes a good quality. Conversely, each snake’s head is a negative quality or an asura (demon). As the game progresses, the various karma and samskara, good deeds and bad, take you up and down the board. Interspersed are plants, people and animals.

The game serves a dual purpose: entertainment, as well as dos and don’ts, divine reward and punishment, ethical values and morality. The final goal leads to Vaikuntha or heaven, depicted by Vishnu surrounded by his devotees, or Kailasa with Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Skanda, and their devotees. In this age of moral and ethical degeneration, this would be a good way of teaching values to children who think they already know more than their parents.

If paramapadam teaches moral values, pallankuli develops skill and quick thinking. Two players compete on a board consisting of between seven and twenty pits per player; each player has to collect the coins or shells or seeds with which the game is played, the player with the maximum number being the winner. There are nine variations of this game, each a ‘pandi’, with regional, caste and religious variations. It was very popular among women and required a good memory and alertness, as they had to count and remember the number of coins or seeds accumulated by the opponent.

The British took the game to England in 1892 and named it Snakes and Ladders and changed it according to Victorian values.

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.
Vedānta
Vedānta (Devanagari: वेदान्त) a compound of veda, "knowledge" and anta, "end, conclusion", translating to "the culmination of the Vedas" — is a school of philosophy within Hinduism dealing with the nature of reality. An alternative reading is of anta as "essence", "core", or "inside", rendering the term "Vedānta" — "the essence of the Vedas". It is a principal branch of Hindu philosophy. As per some, it is a form of Jnana Yoga (one of the four basic yoga practices in Hinduism; the others are: Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga), a form of yoga which involves an individual seeking "the path of intellectual analysis or the discrimination of truth and reality."
isa
îsa (Sanskrit: "lord, master, or controller") — one of the words used for God as the supreme controller. The word is also used to refer to any being or personality who is in control.
kāma
kāma or kām, (Sanskrit: काम, "self-indulgence; sensual gratification; pleasure; lust") — the passionate desire for all sensual and material pleasures such as for riches, property, honor, status, fame, children etc. and abnormal desire which includes drugs, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, or foods eaten only for taste. It is the principle of sickness and degradation in the Kali Yuga. kāma is regarded as one of the four purusharthas (goals of life), the others are artha (worldly status), dharma (duty) and moksha (liberation). It is also one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
ashram
ashram (Sanskrit: , "a place that removes the fatigue of worldliness") — a place of retreat where seekers engage in spiritual practices and study the philosophy of yoga. An ashram is a sanctuary where all things external are directed towards empowering and deepening the experience of inner exploration and transformation.. Some ashrams are graced with the physical presence of a spiritual Master.
Ishvarapranidhana
Ishvarapranidhana or Ishvara Pranidhana represents surrender to the divinity within the individual. Ishvarapranidhana is to live an ethical lifestyle of non-harming, honesty, charity, purity, contentment, and discipline. All we have to do is let God handle the details.
pranava
pranava — the cosmic sound AUM; from the roots pra, "pre", and nava, "new"; Lit. “that which existed before anything (that is new)”, or “that which existed before existence itself”. The sacred seed-sound and symbol of Brahman, considered to be the “Mantra of Mantras”. According to the Nada Bindu Upanishad, it consists of 3½ measures: one for each of the Bijas (Aa, Uu and Mm), with the additional half-measure as the ending “nasalized” echo sound of the “Mm”. It is the most exalted syllable in Vedas which is used in meditation on God and uttered first before a Vedic mantra is chanted.
Self Realization
Self Realization — the understanding of one's basic Reality.
Holi
This colorful festival of the Hindus, celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, heralds the advent of spring.
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.
dharma
Dharma (Sanskrit: "way of righteousness." From dhri, "to sustain; carry, hold.") refers to the underlying order in nature and human life and behavior considered to be in accord with that order. The word Dharma is used to mean nyaya (Justice), what is right in a given circumstance, moral values of life, pious obligations of individuals, righteous conduct in every sphere of activity, being helpful to other living beings, giving charity to individuals in need of it or to a public cause or alms to the needy, natural qualities or characteristics or properties of living beings and things, duty and law as also constitutional law. Dharma is the law that maintains the cosmic order as well as the individual and social order. Dharma sustains human life in harmony with nature. When we follow dharma, we are in conformity with the law that sustains the universe.
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.
Parabrahm
Parabrahm or Parambrahmam (Sanskrit: "Beyond Brahma") — the Supreme Infinite Brahma, the "Absolute" - the attributeless, the secondless reality. The impersonal and nameless universal Principle.
tantra
A synonym for the `Agamic` teachings, spiritual teachings revealing meditation, ritual procedures, the history of the world, stories of deities and the many ways of worship, in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and his spouse. For the following reasons Tantra has had much popularity: Tantric practices demonstrate the sacredness inherent in all situations and events; Tantric teachings are accessible to all, independent of caste; Shakta tantrism places emphasis on the worship of the feminine force Shakti; Tantra has had much impact on the evolution of hatha yoga practises.
mahayuga
mahayuga (Sanskrit: "great age;") from maha (great) + yuga (age, period of time) — the 1000th part of a kalpa or Day of Brahma. The scriptures divide the endless passage of time into a cycle of mahayugas or aeons. A mahayuga lasts 4.32 million years and is made up of a sequence of four different yugas, each with its own characteristics. These four yugas are the satya-yuga, treta-yuga, dwapara-yuga and kali-yuga. In the Satya Yuga, the age of Truth, righteousness is at its peak. As time passes by, there's a gradual decline in virtue which reaches its nadir in the Kali Yuga. At the end of the Kali Yuga, the Divine Will intervenes and restores the universe to its original state of virtue. This marks the beginning of the next mahayuga and the cycle thus continues.
daya
daya (Sanskrit: "compassion") — is not mere display of kindness or sympathy to someone in distress. It calls for complete identification with the suffering experienced by another and relieving that suffering as a means of relieving the agony experienced by himself.
samsari
samsari (Sanskrit: "One in samsara; wanderer.") — the atman (Self) during transmigration, immersed in or attached to mundane existence, hence not striving for moksha (liberation). A samsari is someone who is not "on the path."
homa
homa, or Deva-yajna, is the making of offerings to Fire. which is the carrier thereof to the Deva. A kunda (firepit) is prepared and fire when brought from the house of a Brahmana is consecrated with mantra. The fire is made conscious with the mantra – Vang vahni-chaitanyaya namah, and then saluted and named. Meditation is then made on the three nadis (vide ante) – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna – and on Agni, the Lord of Fire. Offerings are made to the Ishta-devata in the fire. After the puja of fire, salutation is given as in Shadanga-nyasa, and then clarified butter (ghee) is poured with a wooden spoon into the fire with mantra, commencing with Aum and ending with Svaha. Homa is of various kinds, several of which are referred to in the text, and is performed either daily, as in the case of the ordinary nitya-vaishva-deva-homa, or on special occasions, such as the upanayana or sacred thread ceremony, marriage, vrata, and the like. It is of various kinds, such as prayashchitta-homa, srishtikrit-homa, janu homa, dhara-homa, and others, some of which will be found in the text.
moksha
moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa, "liberation") or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति, "release") is liberation from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth or reincarnation and all of the suffering and limitation of worldly existence. It is a state of absolute freedom, peace and bliss, attained through Self-Realization. This is the supreme goal of human endeavor, the other three being, dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth and power) and kama (sense-pleasure). It is seen as a transcendence of phenomenal being, a state of higher consciousness, in which matter, energy, time, space, karma (causation) and the other features of empirical reality are understood as maya.
sukshma sharira
sukshma sharira (Sanskrit: sukshma, "subtle, unmanifest, dormant") — is the energy body, the subtle body, the light body of form consists of manas (mind), buddhi (intelligence) and ahankara (ego). The atma (the Self) functions in the sukshmaloka (astral plane), the inner world also called antarloka. The suksmah sharira includes pranamaya-kosha (the pranic sheath), manomaya-kosha (the instinctive-intellectual sheath), and vijnanamaya-kosha (the cognitive sheath) kosha) — with the pranic sheath dropping off at the death of the sthula-sharira (physical body). The subtle body is the vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life and to accompany us even after the death of the physical body. See: kosha, atma.
Shakta
Shakta (Sanskrit: "doctrine of power.") The spiritual tradition followed by those who worship the Supreme as the Divine MotherShakti or Devi — in Her many forms, both gentle and fierce. Shakta is one of the four primary sects of Hinduism. In philosophy and practice, Shaktism greatly resembles Saiva, both faiths promulgating, for example, the same ultimate goals of advaitic union with Shiva and moksha. But Shaktas worship Shakti as the Supreme Being exclusively, as the dynamic aspect of Divinity, while Shiva is considered solely transcendent and is not worshiped. There are many forms of Shaktism, with endless varieties of practices which seek to capture divine energy or power for spiritual transformation. See: Amman, Goddess, Ishta Devata, Kali, Shakti.
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.
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.
Tat Tvam Asi
Tat Tvam Asi (Sanskrit: तत् त्वम् असि or तत्त्वमसि, "Thou art that," "That thou art," or "You are that") — is one of the Mahāvākyas (Grand Pronouncements).
yajña
yajña, yagna, or yagya (Sanksrit: यज्ञ, "worship, prayer, praise; offering, oblation, sacrifice; fire ceremony") comes from the root yaj, "to worship" — is an outer form of worship in which offerings are made to different deities in a prescribed and systematic manner by qualified priests to supplicate them, so that they would assist the worshiper in achieving certain results in life. The outer aspect of yajna consists of building an altar, generally with bricks, kindling fire using specific types of grass and wood and then pouring into it oblations such as ghee or clarified butter, food grains, sesame seeds, and water to the accompaniment of chanting of sacred verses from the Vedas. The inner or hidden aspect of yajna is known to those who are familiar with the Vedic rituals. The yajna is the means of worshiping the Brahman or ones own Inner Self. In concept, yajna is any work or spiritual practice that is offered as worship to God. See: agnihotra, homa, agnihoma, havan, panchamahayajna.
agama karma
agama karma (Sanskrit: "coming, arriving," and vartamana, "living, set in motion.") Is the actions that we are planning for the future. Actions that will or will not be achieved depending on the choices (free will) that we are making now and those that we have made in the past. See: karma
kāmadeva
kāmadeva (Sanskrit: कामदेव) is the deity of love. His other names include Ragavrinta ("stalk of sassion"), Ananga ("incorporeal"), Kandarpa ("inflamer even of a God"). Kamadeva, is son of Goddess Sri and, additionally, is the incarnation of Pradyumna, Krishna’s son.
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'.
panchamahābhūtas
panchamahābhūtas (Sanskrit: ) from pancha (five) + maha (great) + bhuta (element), means "five great elements", which are prthivi (earth), apa (water), agni (fire), vayu (air or wind), and akasha (aether).
bhakta
bhakta (Sanskrit: "devotee;") — a disciple practicing bhakti yoga, Devotee of God.
Bhāratavarṣa
Bhāratavarṣa, Bharatavarsham or Akhanda Bharatam (Sanskrit: "Indian subcontinent") literally means the varsha (continent) that is rata (dedicated) to bha (light, wisdom) — is encompassed from north to south by sagarmatha (forehead of the ocean), and extending into the mahasagar (Indian Ocean). The region where Bharatiya (Hindu) Civilization developed and was in force which includes the country we call today as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sri Langka and even parts of Tibet. Bharata is a legendary king in Hindu history. He was the first to conquer all of Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named after him as Bhāratavarṣa. According to some Puranas, the term Bhāratavarṣa applies to the whole Earth and not just to India. According to the Mahābhārata, Bharata's empire covered all of the Indian subcontinent, Bactria, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgistan, Turkmenistan, and Persia.
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