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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.

In seeing Him draw the Darshan

Devout Hindus meet a satguru and in seeing him, draw the darshan vibration from him, absorbing it into themselves. When we say someone is holy or saintly we are feeling the radiations of that divine energy flooding through him and out into the whole world.

— Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

The Vedic Tradition

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?

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.

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.

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.
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 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 through the lens on Hindu thought, culture, contribution, events and its global presence.
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.
The overview of Hindu Scriptures.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Vedanga ("member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas.

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.
The vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life.
Yoga Sutras
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
The various planes of existence.
Stages of Emanation of the Universe.
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.
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.
adharma (Sanskrit: ) — the opposite of dharma that denotes unrighteousness; disorder; evil; immorality; impiety, non-performance of duty; what is not right or natural; or not in accordance to śāstras. Thoughts, words or deeds that transgress divine law in any of the human expressions. It brings the accumulation of demerit, called papa, while dharma brings merit, called punya.
sattva or sathwa (Sanskrit: "purity, calmness, serenity, joy, strength, goodness;"). sattvic — adjective form of sattva; serene, pure, good, balanced. Associated with color white. See guna.
rajas (Sanskrit: "passion, activity, restlessness, aggressiveness;"). rajasic — adjective form of rajas, passionate, emotional. Associated with color red. See guna.
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.
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.
samadhi (Sanskrit: "standing within one's Self; sameness; contemplation; union, wholeness; completion, accomplishment.") which represents "super consciousness"; "complete absorption into the absolute", "Universal Consciousness" — is the state of true yoga, in which the meditator and the object of meditation are one. The separation of manas (mind) from the body, and its union with the paramatma (Universal Consciousness, Godhead); the complete “forgetting” of the “small self” (Jivatman) and mergence with the unchanging “Higher Self” (paramatma). The eighth of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga (“eight limbs of Yoga”).
tapas (Sanskrit: "Warmth, heat,") — hence psychic energy, spiritual fervor or ardor. 1) Purificatory spiritual disciplines, severe austerity, penance and sacrifice. The endurance of pain, suffering, through the performance of extreme penance, religious austerity and mortification. By comparison, sadhana is austerity of a simple, sustained kind, while tapas is austerity of a severe, psyche-transforming nature. Tapas is extreme bodily mortification, long term sadhanas, such as meditating under a tree in one place for 12 years, taking a lifetime vow of silence and never speaking or writing, or standing on one leg for a prescribed number of years. Scriptures warn against extreme asceticism that harm the body. 2) On a deeper level, tapas is the intense inner state of kundalini "fire" which stimulates mental anguish and separates the individual from society. Life does not go on as usual when this condition occurs. The association with a satguru, Sadasiva, brings the devotee into tapas; and it brings him out of it. The fire of tapas burns on the dross of sanchita karmas. This is the source of heat, dismay, depression and striving until final and total surrender, prapatti. The individual can mollify this heated condition by continuing his regular sadhana as outlined by the guru. The fires of self-transformation may be stimulated by the practice of tapas, or come unbidden. One can "do" tapas, but the true tapas is a condition of being and consciousness which is a state of grace, bringing positive change, transformation and purification of one's nature. Guru bhakti is the only force that can cool the fires of tapas. See: kundalini, sadhana.
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).
Kshama (Sanskrit: "patience; forbearance and pardon") — restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. Implies remaining serene, patient and observing self-restraint under all circumstances, doing good to all, even to those who may want to harm you. The closest translation of Kshama in English is possibly Forbearance, though it is still not accurate. Kshama is much more. It also includes Forgiveness. Spiritual aspirants striving to progress in the spiritual path need to develop Kshama.
Karma Yoga
karma yoga (Sanskrit: "Union through action.") The path of selfless service. See: yoga.
anātmā (Sanskrit: "non-Self, not the real Self") — different from the atman (Self).
dwapara yuga
dwapara yuga or dvapara yuga (Sanskrit: द्वापर युग, ";") — is the third out of four yugas, or ages. This yuga comes after treta-yuga and is followed by kali-yuga. The living and moral standard of the people overall in the Dvapara Yuga drops immensely from the Treta Yuga. The average life expectancy of humans begins to fall to only 1,000 years in this era because of neglect of the Varnashram, Vedas and Yagyas. The Vedas especially become less active.
Abandonment, renunciation, the performance of actions without attachment to the results of action.
Absolute: Lower case "absolute", real, not dependent on anything else, not relative. Upper case "Absolute", Ultimate Reality, the unmanifest, unchanging and transcendent Parabrahm — utterly non-relational to even the most subtle level of consciousness.
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.
maharloka: (Sanskrit: "Plane of greatness.") from mahas, "greatness, might, power, glory." Also called the Devaloka, this fourth highest of the seven upper worlds is the mental plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
raga, craving; attraction and attachment to experiences and objects of the material world; exterior attachments; passion; desire, emotions/feelings; one of the panchakleshas (five “hindrances” to spiritual growth).
"Timemeasure." In Indian music, the organization of time into meter andrhythmic pulse with sometimes complex subdivisions. Tala issimilar to "time signature" in Western notation except thattala includes the unique emotional or mystical mood.
paramātmā or paramātmān (Sanskrit: परमात्मा, "supreme atma;") from roots param, "supreme or highest", and ātman, "individual spirit or Self" — is the supreme ātman situated in the hearts of all living entities as the witness and source of remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness.
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.
Kundalini (Sanskrit: "a coiled female serpent") from kundala, "coil of a rope" meaning either coiled up or coiling like a snake — is the divine cosmic energy. It is a term in yoga, referring to a reservoir of psychic energy at the base of the spine. Kundalini is curled up in the back part of the root chakra in three and one-half turns. This force or energy is symbolized as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve centre at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing the chakras right up to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head. Then the Yogi is in union with the Brahman (Supreme Universal Soul).
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).
Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம்) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb). It is also referred to as Thaipooyam or Thaippooyam in the Malayalam language. Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
adhyatma (Sanskrit: "Spiritual; Self") — the inner, spiritual Self or Spirit. See: atman.
Mīmāṃsā (Sanskrit: "investigation") is the name of an astika ("orthodox") school of Hindu philosophy whose primary enquiry is into the nature of dharma based on close hermeneutics of the Vedas. Its core tenets are ritualism (orthopraxy), anti-asceticism and anti-mysticism. The central aim of the school is elucidation of the nature of dharma, understood as a set ritual obligations and prerogatives to be performed properly. The nature of dharma isn't accessible to reason or observation, and must be inferred from the authority of the revelation contained in the Vedas, which are considered eternal, authorless (apaurusheyatva), and infallible. Mimamsa is more accurately known as Pūrva Mīmāṃsā "prior inquiry" since it investigates the "earlier" (pūrva) portions of the Vedas, while Uttara Mīmāṃsā ("posterior or higher inquiry") is the opposing school of Vedanta. This division is based on the notion of a dichotomy of the Vedic texts into a karma-kanda, including the Samhitas and Brahmanas and the jnana-kanda of the Upanishads.
A hymn or verse of praise, a stanza or verse in general, a stanza in anustubh metre (the most common metre used in Sanskrit consisting for 4 lines of 8 syllables), fame.
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.
treta yuga
treta yuga or trétha yuga (Sanskrit: त्रेता युग, ";") — is the second out of four yugas, or ages of man following the satya-yuga of perfect morality and preceding the dwapara-yuga. In the treta yuga changes in relationships start to occur. Duties are no longer the spontaneous laws of human behaviour, but have to be learned. Sacrifices are needed; people follow truth and devote themselves to righteousness through ceremonies, which are regarded as a means of obtaining specific objects.
buddhi (Sanskrit: "intellect; the faculty of discrimination") from the root budh (to be awake; to understand; to know) — the determinative faculty of the mind that makes decisions; sometimes translated as "intellect." Another translation is the higher mind, or wisdom. At a more gross level buddhi is the aspect of mind that knows, decides, judges, and discriminates. It can determine the wiser of two courses of action, if it functions clearly and if manas will accept its guidance. buddhi is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are manas (the mind), chitta (the memory) and ahankara (the ego)..
rishi (Sanskrit: "seer; one who sees") — is a word that simply means a sage or a divine seer in general. the great sages of ancient India who, in deep states of meditation (communion with the cosmos), and through spiritual experimentation, discovered the underlying, fundamental truths of the Universe, and whose teachings formed the basis for the spiritual culture of the ancient Vedic civilization. In more specific usage the rishis are divine beings distinct from devas (Gods), asuras (demons) and men who “heard” the Vedic hymns and passed them on down to mankind.
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