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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.

We are what our thoughts have made us

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

— Swami Vivekananda

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).

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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...

Life Cycles of the Universe

The Hindus view that the Universe has no beginning or end, but follows a cosmic creation and dissolution. Hindus are the only one who propounds the idea of life-cycles of the universe. It suggests that the universe undergoes an infinite number of deaths and rebirths. Hindus views the universe as without a beginning (anadi = beginning-less) or an end (ananta = end-less). Rather the universe is projected in cycles. Hindu scriptures refer to time scales that vary from ordinary earth day and night to the day and night of the Brahma that are a few billion earth years long.

According to Carl Sagan,

"A millennium before Europeans were wiling to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions".

Continues Carl Sagan,

"… is the only religion in which the time scales correspond… to those of modern scientific cosmology."

Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of the Brahma, 8.64 billion years long, longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang". One day of Brahma is worth a thousand of the ages (yuga) known to humankind; as is each night." Thus each kalpa is worth one day in the life of Brahma, the God of creation. In other words, the four ages of the mahayuga must be repeated a thousand times to make a "day ot Brahma", a unit of time that is the equivalent of 4.32 billion human years, doubling which one gets 8.64 billion years for a Brahma day and night. This was later theorized (possibly independently) by Aryabhata in the 6th century. The cyclic nature of this analysis suggests a universe that is expanding to be followed by contraction… a cosmos without end. This, according to modern physicists is not an impossibility.

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.
ādi or aadi (Sanskrit: आदि) — the original, the first, in the beginning; supreme, or primordial.
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.
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.
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.
Dharma Shastra
Dharma Shastra or Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र, "Religious law book.") — a term referring to all or any of numerous codes of Hindu civil and social law composed by various authors. The best known and most respected are those by Manu and Yajnavalkya. The Dharma Shastras are part of the Smriti literature, included in the Kalpa Vedanga, and are widely available today in many languages.
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.
Anahata Chakra
Anahata Chakra, Lit. “the centre (lotus) of unstruck sound”; — the fourth of the seven primary Chakras; it is associated with Vayu, the “air” element; physically related to the heart region and associated with the cardiac plexus and the thymus glands.
vanaprastha ashrama
vanaprastha ashrama or "samskaras of later life". Age 48 marks the entrance into the elder advisor stage, celebrated in some communities by special ceremony. — sannyasa ashrama vrata: The advent of withdrawal from social duties and responsibilities at age 72 is sometimes ritually acknowledged (different from sannyasa diksha). See: sannyasa dharma. — antyeshti: (Sanskrit) The various funeral rites performed to guide the soul in its transition to inner worlds, including preparation of the body, cremation, bone-gathering, dispersal of ashes, home purification. See: pinda, shraddha, samskara, shashtyabda purti.
sâdhana or sādhanam (Sanskrit: साधनम्, "the means of attainment") is a term for "a means of accomplishing something" or more specifically "spiritual effort or practice" leading to siddhi (“perfection” or “accomplishment”). Sincere spiritual endeavor or practices; Self-effort, spiritual discipline both physical and mental such as puja, yoga, meditation, japa, fasting and austerity. The effect of sadhana is the building of willpower, faith and confidence in oneself and in God and Guru. Sâdhana harnesses and transmutes the instinctive-intellectual nature, allowing progressive spiritual unfoldment into the superconscious realizations and innate abilities of the atman (True Self). A sadhaka is an aspirant devoted to the practice of sâdhana.
(Sanskrit: नारायण ) : Nārāyaṇa is an important Sanskrit name for Vishnu. The name is also associated with Brahma and Krishna. He is also identified with, or as the son of, the original man, Purusha.
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.
vaisya — a member of the traditional mercantile or business community. The vaisya was the third varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
Veda (Sanskrit: "Knowledge.") from the root vid, meaning to know without limit — the scriptures that are the basis of Hindu belief and practice. The Vedas were "heard" or "seen" by sages from a divine source and passed orally through the family line. The word Veda covers all Veda-sakhas known to humanity. The Veda is a repository of all knowledge, fathomless, ever revealing as it is delved deeper. It means knowledge. These and associated books contain knowledge on philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, navigation, music, dance, drama etc.
sūtra (Sanskrit: सूत्र, "a rope or thread that holds things together") 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. The literary form of the sutra was designed for concision, as the texts were intended to be memorized by students in some of the formal methods of svādhyāya (scriptural and scientific study). Since each line is highly condensed, another literary form arose in which bhāṣya (commentaries) on the sūtras were added, to clarify and explain them.
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.
bhakti (Sanskrit: भक्ति, "devotion"), from Sanskrit verb root bhaj, whose meanings include "to share in", "to belong to", and "to worship" — is an expression of devotional Love for God; single-minded devotion to one's Iswara, or personal deity. One who practices bhakti is called a bhakta, while bhakti as a spiritual path is referred to as bhakti marga, or the bhakti way.
Lakshmi Puja
Lakshmi Puja is performed to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi and to thank her for the bestowal of her blessings on the humans.
Sivaloka (Sanskrit: "Realm of Siva.") See: loka.
Bhāgavata Purana
Bhāgavata Purana or also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or simply Bhāgavatam (Sanskrit: "Ancient Book of the Lord") — is the most celebrated text of a variety of Hindu sacred literature in Sanskrit that is known as the Purāṇas. The Bhāgavatam takes the form of a story being told by a great rishi known as Suta Goswami, to a host of assembled sages, who ask him questions in regard to the various avatars, or descents of Vishnu within the mortal world. Suta Goswami then relates the Bhāgavatam as he has heard it from another sage, called Sukadeva.
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.
"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.
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.
advaita (Sanskrit: "non dual; not twofold") — non-duality or monism. The philosophical doctrine that Ultimate Reality consists of a one principal substance. Opposite of dvaita, "dualism". Advaita is the primary philosophical stance of the Vedic Upanishads, and of Hinduism, interpreted differently by the many rishis, gurus, panditas and philosophers. See: dvaita-advaita,Vedanta.
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.
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.
vairāgya or vairaagya (Sanskrit: वैराग्य, "dispassion; detachment; or renunciation") — desire and ability to give up all transitory enjoyments. In particular renunciation from the pains and pleasures in the material world. Vairāgya is a compound word joining vai meaning "to dry, be dried" + rāga meaning "color, passion, feeling, emotion, interest" (and a range of other usages). This sense of "drying up of the passions" gives vairāgya a general meaning of ascetic disinterest in things that would cause attachment in most people. It is a "dis-passionate" stance on life. An ascetic who has subdued all passions and desires is called a vairāgika.
ā́rya (Sanskrit: "noble") — the root of the word means "noble." . The ancient name of India found in many Hindu scriptures is 'Aryavarat', meaning the abode of noble people.
kalpa (Sanskrit: "period of time; or a cycle of time.") from a verb-root klrip (to be in order) — a sequence of one thousand mahayugas is called a kalpa which is one day in the life of Brahma. The universe exists during Brahma's day and is dissolved during Brahma's night.
tamo guna
tamo guna quality of dullness, ignorance, delusion, inactivity, inertia, sloth — the third of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as darkness, the phase of tamas is characterized by darkness, ignorance, slowness, destruction, heaviness, disease, etc.
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.
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