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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.

After Many Births

After many births the wise seek refuge in me, seeing me everywhere and in everything. Such great souls are very rare.

— Bhagavad Gita 7:19

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...

Oldest Systematic Language

Did you know that Sanskrit is the world’s oldest systematic language?

The word sanskrita, meaning "refined" or "purified," is the antonym of prakrita, meaning "natural," or "vulgar." It is made up of the primordial sounds, and is developed systematically to include the natural progressions of sounds as created in the human mouth. Sanskrit was considered as "Dev Bhasha", "Devavani" or the language of the Gods by ancient Indians. There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

Mother of all Higher Languages

The Sanskrit language has helped shape many European languages including French, German, Russian, and English. It shows many ancient forms of words such as father, through, shampoo, trigonometry, and mouse, while guru, pundit, dharma, bandh, and yoga are among hundreds of Sanskrit words that can now be found in the Oxford dictionary.

Earliest and only known Modern Language

Panini (c 400BC), in his Astadhyayi, gave formal production rules and definitions to describe Sanskrit grammar. Starting with about 1700 fundamental elements, like nouns, verbs, vowels and consonents, he put them into classes. The construction of sentences, compound nouns etc. was explained as ordered rules operating on underlying fundamental structures. This is exactly in congruence with the fundamental notion of using terminals, non-terminals and production rules of moderm day Computer Science. On the basis of just under 4,000 sutras (rules expressed as aphorisms), he built virtually the whole structure of the Sanskrit language. He used a notation precisely as powerful as the Backus normal form, an algebraic notation used in Computer Science to represent numerical and other patterns by letters.

It is my contention that because of the scientific nature of the method of pronunciation of the vowels and consonants in the Indian languages (specially those coming directly from Pali, Prakit and Sanskrit), every part of the mouth is exercised during speaking. This results into speakers of Indian languages being able to pronounce words from any language. This is unlike the case with say native English speakers, as their tongue becomes unused to being able to touch certain portions of the mouth during pronunciation, thus giving the speakers a hard time to speak certain words from a language not sharing a common ancestry with English. I am not aware of any theory in these lines, but I would like to know if there is one.

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.
siddha
siddha (Tamil: சித்தா, "one who is accomplished") — refers to perfected masters who according to Hindus have transcended the ahańkāra (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies composed mainly of dense Rajo-tama gunas into a different kind of bodies dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation over many lifetimes.
Brahman
Brahman (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म, "the Supreme Being; the Absolute Reality; Godhead"), from the verb brh, "to grow", and connotes "immensity" — is the impersonal and immanent, infinite cause and support of the universe that has no form or attributes. The uncaused cause of the Universe; satchidānanda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute), The Eternal Changeless Reality, not conditioned by time, space and causation. Brahman is the basis, source and support of everything — the transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe. Its nature consists of the three incommunicable attributes of (1) sat (Absolute Being), (2) chit (Consciousness), (3) ananda (Bliss). This Supreme Being assumes a dual nature — Male and Female. The male aspect is known as Purusha which means “that-which-fills” — and the Female aspect is known as Shakti which translates as “Energy” or “Dynamic Force” or Prakriti — material nature. Also called as Paramātman (Universal Self), Parasiva, Ultimate Reality, Supreme Being or the Absolute.
Holi
This colorful festival of the Hindus, celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, heralds the advent of spring.
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'.
bhārata
bhārata (Sanskrit: भारत ) : Ancient name of India.
rajo guna
rajo guna quality of passion, activity restlessness, aggressiveness — the second of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as passion, the phase of rajas is characterized by action, passion, creation, etc.
Īśvara
Īśvara, Ishvara or Eashwara (Sanskrit: "the Supreme Ruler; the Personal God") — is Brahman associated with Maya but has it under His control unlike the jiva who is Maya's slave. He has a lovely form, auspicious attributes and infinite power to create, sustain and destroy. He dwells in the heart of every being, controlling it from within. He responds positively to true devotion and sincere prayer. When God is thought of as the supreme all-powerful person (rather than as the infinite principle called Brahman), he is called Īśvara or Bhagavān.
Maha Shivaratri
Literally, the “Great Night of Shiva” is celebrated every year on the new moon night in the month of Phalguna, this Hindu festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
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.
Saurya Manvantara
Saurya Manvantara or Saurya Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from surya (sun) + pralaya (dissolution) — manvantara manifestation. The dissolution, or manifestation, of the solar system; frequently termed a mahapralaya or mahamanvantara.
Nirakara
'without form', referring to Brahman as Unmanifest.
śraddhā
śraddhā or shraddha (Sanskrit: "faith") — anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
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.
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.
duḥkha
duḥkha or dukkha (Sanskrit: दुःख; literally means "bad-space"; "suffering"). A “bad” space is a closed and confined space which does not permit growth, learning, expansion of being and the unfolding of one’s potential. The opposite of duḥkha is sukha (good space) — is an open and free space, one in which there is growth, unfoldment, learning and freedom. Duhkha can also be defined as the deferential between our expectations and what we actually achieve. The greater the differential between expectation and outcome the greater the intensity of the suffering. Although duḥkha is often translated as "suffering", its root meaning is more analogous to "disquietude" as in the condition of being disturbed. As such, "suffering" is too narrow a translation with "negative emotional connotations".
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.
Gâyatrî Mantra
The Gâyatrî Mantra is the most revered mantra in Hinduism. It consists of the prefix om bhur bhuvah svah, a formula frequently appearing in the Yajurveda, and the verse 3.62.10 of the Rig Veda. Gayatri is the name of the 24-syllable meter of this verse (excluding the prefix), and also the name of the goddess considered the personification of the mantra.
Bhuloka
Bhuloka (Sanskrit: "Earth world.") The physical plane. See: loka.
Shri Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya (Sanskrit: ) "Beloved." Vaishnava saint (ca 1475-1530) whose panentheistic Shuddha Advaita (pure nondualism) philosophy became the essential teaching of the nonascetic Vaishnava sect that bears his name. He composed 17 works, most importantly commentaries on the Vedanta and Mimamsa Sutras and the Bhagavata Purana. The stories of his 84 disciples are often repeated on festive occasions by followers. The sect is strongest in Gujarat. See: Vedanta.
chakra
chakra (Sanskrit: “wheel”;) — the psycho-energetic centers of the subtle body known as the pranamaya kosha; in yoga there are considered to be twelve major chakras, six higher, and six lower. However, the six higher chakras are typically group as one. Thus seven chakras are commonly spoken of. They are Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spine, Svadhishstana Chakra at the genitals, Manipura Chakra at the navel, Anahata Chakra at the heart, Vishuddha Chakra at the throat, Ajna Chakra the forehead, and Sahasrara Chakra (comprised of the six higher chakras) at the top of the head.
tyaga
Abandonment, renunciation, the performance of actions without attachment to the results of action.
aum
aum, also om (Devanagari: ॐ) is the most sacred syllable in Hindu Dharma, first coming to light in the Vedic Tradition. The character is a composite of three different letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The syllable is sometimes referred to as the udgitha or pranava mantra (primordial mantra); not only because it is considered to be the primal sound, but also because most mantras begin with it. In Devanagari it is written ॐ, and in Tibetan script ༀ.
panchamahayajna
panchamahayajna — five great daily yagna (sacrifices) that are to be performed by every householder. They are: (1) Brahma Yajna, called also Veda Yajna, "homage to Brahman or the Vedas or the sages"; (2) Deva Yajna, "homage to Gods and elementals."; (3) Pitri Yajna, "homage to ancestors"; (4) Bhuta Yajna, "homage to beings"; and (5) Manushya Yajna, "homage to men".
kāma rupa
kāma rupa (Skr: , "desire-form") is a "form" or subtle body created of mental and physical desires and thoughts, a form that survives the death of the body.
mukti
mukti or mukhti (Sanskrit: "liberation") is deliverance from the samsara (cycle of birth and death). The condition of freedom from ignorance (avidyâ) and the binding effect of karma. Liberation from material existence. See: moksha.
Karana Chitta
karana chitta (Sanskrit) "Causal mind." The intuitive-superconscious mind of the soul. It corresponds to the anandamaya kosha, bliss sheath, also called karana sharira, causal body.
purusharthas
purusharthas (Sanskrit: "objectives of man") purusha means human being and artha means object or objective. Purusharthas means objectives of man. According to Hindu way of life, a man should strive to achieve four chief objectives (Purusharthas) in his life. They are: 1. dharma (righteousness), 2. artha (material wealth), 3. kama (desire) and 4. moksha (salvation). Every individual in a society is expected to achieve these four objectives and seek fulfillment in his life before departing from here. The concept of Purusharthas clearly establishes the fact that Hinduism does not advocate a life of self negation and hardship, but a life of balance, achievement and fulfillment.
Satyaloka
Satyaloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of reality, truth.") also called brahmaloka; the realm of sahasrara chakra, it is the highest of the seven upper worlds. See: loka.
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.
Madhvacharya
Madhvacharya (Kannada: ಶ್ರೀ ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯರು) — South Indian Vaishnava saint (11971278) who expounded a purely dualistic Vedanta in which there is an essential and eternal distinction between God, Self and world, and between all beings and things. The chief proponent of Tattvavāda (True Philosophy), popularly known as dvaita-advaita or dualistic school of Hindu thought. He wrote several commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
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