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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.

You are shaped by the company you keep

Iron turns into rust if it seeks the company of soil. It glows, softens and takes on useful shapes, if it enjoys the company of fire. Dust can fly if it chooses the wind as its friend. It has to end as slime in a pit, if it prefers water. It has neither wing nor foot, yet it can either fly or walk, rise or fall, according to the friend it selects. Knowing this truth, a great saint, Kabir once said. "Here are my prostrations to the good, Here are my prostrations to the bad." When asked why he offered prostrations to the bad, he said, "My prostrations to the bad, so that they may leave me alone. I do the same before good, so that they might remain near me always." You are shaped by the company you keep.

— Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Discourse, Nov 14, 1976

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...

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.

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.
The Vedāṅga (Sanskrit: ""Veda-limb; member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas. The four Vedas form the body of the Veda Purusha or the Vedic Being. The six Vedāṅgas are the limbs of the Veda Purusha. Four Vedangas govern correct chanting of the Vedas: 1) śikṣā (phonetics), 2) Çhandas (meter), 3) Nirukta, "etymology", 4) Vyākaraṇa, "grammar". The two other Vedāngas are 5) Jyotisha Vedanga, "astronomy-astrology" and 6) Kalpa Vedanga, "procedural canon" which includes the Shrauta and Shulba Shastras, "ritual codes", dharma-shastra, "social law" and Grihya Shastras, "domestic codes".
Vyākaraṇa Vedanga
Vyākaraṇa Vedanga or Vyākaraṇa Shastra (Sanskrit: "grammar") — auxiliary Vedic texts on Sanskrit grammar. Vyakarana is among four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. The term literally means "separation, or explanation." The most celebrated Vyakarana work is Panini's 4,000-sutra Ashtadhyayi, which set the linguistic standards for classical Sanskrit.
Mahāvākyas (Sanskrit: "Grand Pronouncement; Great Sayings") — more specifically it refers to four Upanishadic quotations which affirm the reality of atman (the Self): (1) Tat Tvam Asi, "That thou art", (2) Aham Brahmasmi, "I am Brahman", (3) Ayam Atma Brahma, "This Self is Brahman", (4) Prajnanam Brahma, "consciousness is Brahman". The four statements indicate the ultimate unity of the atman (individual) with Brahman (Supreme Being).
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.
Agama (Sanskrit: आगम, "that which has come down") i.e., that which has been handed down to the people of the present from the past — are an enormous collection of Sanskrit scriptures which, are revered as are revered as shruti (revealed scripture). The Agamas are the primary source and authority for ritual, yoga and temple construction. Each of the major denominations — Saiva, Vaishnava and Shakta — has its unique Agama texts. Smartas recognize the Agamas, but don't necessarily adhere to them and rely mainly on the smriti texts.
śraddhā or shraddha (Sanskrit: "faith") — anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
shad darshana
shad darshana (Sanskrit: "Six views or insights; six philosophies.") Among the hundreds of Hindu darshanas known through history are six classical philosophical systems: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. Each was tersely formulated in sutra form by its "founder," and elaborated in extensive commentaries by other writers. They are understood as varied attempts at describing Truth and the path to it. Elements of each form part of the Hindu fabric today.
satya or satyam (Sanskrit: "unchangeable; that which has no distortion; that which is beyond distinctions of time, space, and person; that which pervades the universe in all its constancy") from the root sat (Truth) — is truthfulness in accordance with one's words, thoughts and deeds. Satya is also defined in Sanskrit as "sate hitam satyam" which translates to "The path to Ultimate Truth or sat is satya (i.e. the real truth)".
chitta (Sanskrit: "memory";) — derived from the root chit, "to be conscious". Chitta is the Subconscious mind. It is the mind-stuff. It is the store-house of memory. Samskaras or impressions of actions are imbedded here. It is one of the four parts of antahkarana.
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.
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.
Self Realization
Self Realization — the understanding of one's basic Reality.
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.
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”).
(Sanskrit: भूमि ) : Earth
Nirukta Shastra
Nirukta Vedanga (Sanskrit: "etymology Veda-limb.") — auxiliary Vedic texts which discuss the origin and development of words; among the four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. Nirukta relies upon ancient lexicons, nighantu, as well as detailed hymn indices, anukramani. Five nighantus existed at the time of sage Yaska, whose treatise is regarded a standard work on Vedic etymology.
patala (Sanskrit: "Fallen or sinful region.") The seventh chakra below the muladhara, centered in the soles of the feet. Corresponds to the seventh and lowest astral netherworld beneath the earth's surface, called Kakola ("black poison") or Patala. This is the realm in which misguided souls indulge in destruction for the sake of destruction, of torture, and of murder for the sake of murder. Patala also names the netherworld in general, and is a synonym for Naraka. See: chakra, loka, naraka.
vaishnava or vaishnavam (Sanskrit: vaiṣṇava), which is the vriddhi form of Vishnu meaning "relating, belonging, or sacred to Vishnu" or "a worshiper or follower of Vishnu".
agnikaraka (Sanskrit: "fire ritual") — the Agamic term for yagna.
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.
jiva (Sanskrit: "the embodied atman") Individual Self.
sudra — member of the traditional working class. The sudra was the fourth varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
prema (Sanskrit: "real, spontaneous, divine love"), the result of sraddhâ and bhâva.
viveka (Sanskrit: "discrimination") — act or ability to distinguish or perceive differences. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong, real and apparent, eternal and transient. The reasoning by which one realizes what is real and permanent and what is non-real and impermanent.
apauruṣeya (Sanskrit: "being unauthored") — is used to describe the Vedas, the main scripture in Hindu Dharma This implies that the Vedas are not authored by any agency, be it human or divine. Apaurusheya shabda ("unauthored word") is an extension of apaurusheya which refers to the Vedas.
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.
shanti or śāntiḥ (Sanskrit: शान्ति, "serenity, inner peace").
Agama (Sanskrit: आगम, "that which has come down") i.e., that which has been handed down to the people of the present from the past — are an enormous collection of Sanskrit scriptures which, are revered as are revered as shruti (revealed scripture). The Agamas are the primary source and authority for ritual, yoga and temple construction. Each of the major denominations — Saiva, Vaishnava and Shakta — has its unique Agama texts. Smartas recognize the Agamas, but don't necessarily adhere to them and rely mainly on the smriti texts.
klesha (Sanskrit: "knot of the heart; impurities of the heart") hindrance, to spiritual evolution / progress — which hinder spiritual growth and higher realizations.
prânâyâma (Sanskrit: प्राणायाम, "lengthening of the prana or breath") from prāna, "life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath", and āyāma, "to suspend or restrain." — technique of breath control, such as breath retention and deliberate methods inhalation and exhalation for specific mental and physical benefits. It also means maintenance of prana in a healthy state at all ages and in all circumstances. The fourth limb of raja yoga.
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