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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.

Invocation Of Peace

Peace be to earth and to airy spaces!
Peace be to heaven, peace be to the waters,
peace to the plants and peace to the trees!
May all the Gods grant to me peace!
By this invocation of peace may be diffused!

— Atharva Veda

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...

The Worlds Oldest Living Civilization

Did you know that by 7500 B.C. Bharat (India) already had advanced townships with villages of mud-brick houses?

Bharatvarsh (the Indian Subcontinent) is home to the oldest civilization in the world. Mehrgarh which dates to 7500 BC is the oldest city which predates the Indus Valley Civilisation. Recently there have been archaeological findings off the coast of Gujarat in India which confirm a submerged city which is the worlds oldest city. This Indian city dates back to 8000-9000BC.

In 1922, excavations began at Mohenjo-Daro (which means 'hill of the dead') in the Indus Valley, four hundred miles south-west of Harappa, which revealed a rich urban civilization that no one had suspected. Incredibly, Mohenjo-Daro proved to be as sophisticated as a later Greek or Roman city, built on mud-brick platforms to protect it from floods, with a grid-plan reminiscent of New York, and an impressive sewer system - not to mention sit-down toilets. The size of the city indicated that it held about 40,000 people. The large number of female statuettes found there suggested that a female deity - probably the moon goddess - was worshipped. Their seals proved they possessed some form of writing.

A scientifically planned towns and buildings were part of the landscape and about 300 settlements in a belt extending 1,520 km from North to South covering a million square kilometers have been discovered, of which Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan, and Lothal are important sites. The towns were designed with citadels and defensive walls and the streets and lanes had drains. Individual bathrooms and lavatories were impressively drained into a larger system. Well-developed docks and store houses as well as bullock carts for transportation were very popular.

The earliest recorded Indian mathematics was found along the banks of the Indus. Archaeologists have uncovered several scales, instruments, and other measuring devices. The Harappans employed a variety of plumb bobs that reveal a system of weights 27.584 grams. If we assign that a value of 1, other weights scale in at .05, .1, .2, .5, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. These weights have been found in sites that span a five-thousand-year period, with little change in size.

Archaeologists also found a “ruler” made of shell lines drawn 6.7 millimeters apart with a high degree of accuracy. Two of the lines are distinguished by circles and are separated by 33.5 millimeters, or 1.32 inches. This distance is the so-called Indus inch. 'In subsequent years, further excavations along the 1800 miles of the Indus river valley revealed more than 150 sites, half a dozen of the cities. The whole area, from the Arabian sea to the foothills of the Himalayas, was once the home of a great civilization that rivaled Egypt or Greece. To the east of the Indus lies a vast desert, the Thar Desert. When remains of towns were found in this desert there was some puzzlement about how they had survived in such arid conditions. Then satellite photography revealed the answer: the Thar Desert was once a fertile plain, traversed by a great river; there were even unmistakable signs of canals. Now only a small part of this river, the Ghaggar, exists. Scholars concluded that the river that had now vanished was the Sarasvati, mentioned in the Vedic hymns.

It seemed that in the heyday of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, this whole plain was one of the richest places in the world. At a time when ancient Britons were Bronze Age farmers, and the Greeks were a few Mycenaean warrior tribes, one of the world's greatest civilizations flourished in the land of the Indus and the Sarasvati. It seems that some great catastrophe destroyed this civilization some time after 1900 BC. Evidence shows that the earth buckled, due to the pressure of the tectonic plate that has raised the Himalayas, and the result was a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that literally caused the rivers to sink into the ground. The cost in human life must have been appalling.

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.
Absolute
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.
Namaste
Namaste is made of two words, namas and te. Namas comes from the verbal root nam which means to bow and so namas is a bow or salutation. “Te” means, to you. And so namaste literally means, "bowing to you". There is a variation of this in the form “namaskara.” The Sanskrit word “kara” means, doing. So namaskara literally means, doing salutations.
satya yuga
satya yuga or sat yuga, also called krta yuga and krita yuga (Sanskrit: सत्य युग, "age of Truth and Purity") — is the yuga (age or era) of sat (Truth), when mankind is governed by divinity, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and mankind will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme.
karmaphala
karmaphala — the fruit (consequence) that a persons gets (either enjoys or bears) depending on his past-Karma.
rishi
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.
Naimittika Manvantara
Naimittika Manvantara or Naimittika Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from naimittika (occasional, unusual, due to external cause), from nimitti (occasional dissolution or manifestation). Refers to pralayas or manvantaras which are unusual or occasional because occurring at wide intervals, either of time or circumstance, especially those separated by Brahma's Days and Nights. A naimittika pralaya occurs when Brahma slumbers: it is the destruction of all that lives and has form, but not of the substance, which remains more or less in statu quo till the new dawn after that Night of Brahma. At the end of a Day of Brahma there occurs what is called in the Puranas a recoalescence of the universe, called Brahma's "contingent or naimittika recoalescence or pralaya," because Brahma is this universe itself.
Mīmāṃsā
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.
lobha
lobha (Sanskrit: "covetousness; cupidity; avarice; greed; craving; possessiveness;") from the verbal root lubh (to desire greatly) — stands for impatience, eager desire for or longing after. It is regarded as one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
Sukshmaloka
The subtle world, or Antarloka, spanning the spectrum of consciousness from the vishuddha chakra in the throat to the patala chakra in the soles of the feet. The astral plane includes: 1) the higher astral plane, maharloka, "plane of balance;" 2) mid-astral plane, svarloka, "celestial plane;" 3) lower astral plane, bhuvarloka, "plane of atmosphere," a counterpart or subtle duplicate of the physical plane (consisting of the pitriloka and pretaloka); and 4) the sub-astral plane, naraka, consisting of seven hellish realms corresponding to the seven chakras below the base of the spine. In the astral plane, the soul is enshrouded in the astral body, called sukshma-sharira. See also: sukshma-sharira, loka, naraka, triloka.
Karma Yoga
karma yoga (Sanskrit: "Union through action.") The path of selfless service. See: yoga.
mãyã
mãyã (Sanskrit: माया, "consisting of; made of") from roots ma, "to measure, to limit, give form" and ya, generally translated as an indicative article meaning "that" — is the principal concept which manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. The substance emanated from Brahman through which the world of form is manifested. Hence all creation is also termed maya. It is the cosmic creative force, the principle of manifestation, ever in the process of creation, preservation and dissolution. Denotes to the false identification of atman (Self) through anatma (non-Self — consists of body, senses, emotion, mind and intellect). The Upanishads underscore maya's captivating nature, which blinds atman (Self) to the transcendent Truth.
Sukshmaloka
The subtle world, or Antarloka, spanning the spectrum of consciousness from the vishuddha chakra in the throat to the patala chakra in the soles of the feet. The astral plane includes: 1) the higher astral plane, maharloka, "plane of balance;" 2) mid-astral plane, svarloka, "celestial plane;" 3) lower astral plane, bhuvarloka, "plane of atmosphere," a counterpart or subtle duplicate of the physical plane (consisting of the pitriloka and pretaloka); and 4) the sub-astral plane, naraka, consisting of seven hellish realms corresponding to the seven chakras below the base of the spine. In the astral plane, the soul is enshrouded in the astral body, called sukshma-sharira. See also: sukshma-sharira, loka, naraka, triloka.
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.
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.
guna
guna (Sanskrit: "cord; quality; positive attributes; virtues, or characteristic;") — is translated as phase or mode and of three kinds: sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. The qualities of sattva (serenity), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance) are general universal characteristics of all kinds of mental tendencies and actions/thoughts, which are prompted by specific kinds and mixtures of these three qualities. The word guna also means a rope or thread and it is sometimes said that beings are “roped” or “tied” into matter by the three gunas of material nature. For example, sattvic food is health-giving, strength-giving and delightful; rajasic food is spicy, sour, or salty and brings on diseases; and tamasic food is impure, old, stale, tasteless, or rotten.
shanti
shanti or śāntiḥ (Sanskrit: शान्ति, "serenity, inner peace").
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.
prema
prema (Sanskrit: "real, spontaneous, divine love"), the result of sraddhâ and bhâva.
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.
Bhagavad Gītā
The Srimad Bhagavad Gītā (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता, "Song of God") is a Sanskrit text from the chapter Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata epic, comprising 700 verses. The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gītopaniṣad as well as Yogupaniṣad, implying its status as an 'Upanishad'. Since it is drawn from the Mahabharata, it is a smṛti text, however referring to it as an Upanishads is intended to give it status comparable to that of śruti, or revealed knowledge.
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.
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.
buddhi
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)..
satchidānanda
saccidānanda, satchidananda, or sat-cit-ānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानंद, "existence, consciousness, and bliss") is a compound of three words, sat (सत्), "Ultimate Being", cit (चित्), "Pure Consciousness", and ānanda (आनंद), "Perfect Bliss" — reality, seen through the realization of Brahman.
Aham Brahmasmi
Aham Brahmasmi (Sanskrit: "I am Brahman") — is one of the great Vedic Dicta or Mahavakya. Famous phrase often repeated in the Upanishads. In this ecstatic statement of enlightenment, "I" does not refer to the individuality or outer nature, but to the essence of the Self which is ever identical to Brahman, the Supreme Being as Satchidananda.
Jivanmukta
A person who is liberated (enlightened) while living.
annamaya kosha
annamaya kosha (food-apparent-sheath) is translated as food sheath, corresponds roughly to the sthula-sharira (coarse body, physical body). This is the sheath of the physical self, named from the fact that it is nourished by food. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth, while the man of viveka (discrimination) knows his own Self, the only reality that there is, as distinct from the body. It has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. This body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas (subtle sheaths) or bodies (the pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas), yet for the most part it remains barely activated in regards to its highest evolutionary potential. The physical or odic body, coarsest of sheaths in comparison to the faculties of the atma (the Self), yet indispensable for evolution and Self Realization, because only within it can all fourteen chakras fully function.
Hindu
A Hindu is an adherent of Sanatana Dharma which is known today as Hinduism or Hindu Dharma, that represents a set of religious, spiritual, philosophical, scientific and cultural systems that originated in bharatavarsha (Greater India). Briefly a Hindu is basically any person who is born into the indigenous religion of Bharatvarsh.
guru
guru (Sanskrit: गुरु) from gu (darkness), and ru (light) — is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others. Literally a preceptor who shows others knowledge (light) and destroys ignorance (darkness). It is also used for teacher or guide in the religious or sense. The guru is seen as a sacred conduit for wisdom and guidance, and finding a satguru (True Guru) is often held to be a prerequisite for attaining self-realization.
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