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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.

Perseverance and Sound Understanding

There is no greater dignity than that of the man who declares, "I will never cease in laboring to advance my family."

Perseverance and sound understanding—these two are what exalt a man's family.

When a man declares he will advance his family, God Himself will wrap His robes and lead the way.

— Tirukkural 103:1021-1023

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...

Charaka Samhita: World’s first physician

The west is fond of proclaiming Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) as the father of medicine, but way before him in 500 BC Maharishi Charaka wrote the famous Charaka Samhita or Physicians’ Handbook. The Charaka Samhita went into great detail to describe human anatomy, pathology, diagnostic procedures, and treatment for various diseases. Charaka defined eight major medical disciplines of Ayur Veda: Shailya Chikitsa (surgery), Shaalakya Chikitsa (head, eye, nose, throat), Kaaya Chikitsa (mental health), Kaumarbhrutya Chikitsa (pediatrics), Agada Tantra (toxicology), Rasaayana Tantra (Pharmacology), Vaajeekarna Tantra (reproductive medicine). Charaka also described the functions of the heart and the circulatory system in great detail. The Charaka Samhita was widely translated in various languages and Charaka was a respected medical authority in both the Arab and Roman empires.

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.
arishadvarga — the six passions of mind or enemies of desire, kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy), the negative characteristics which prevent man from realizing the atman (Reality that is his True Being).
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”).
ksatriya — a member of the traditional military or warrior class. The ksatriya was the second varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
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.
sampradaya (Sanskrit: "Tradition," "transmission;") derives from the verb samprada, meaning "gift, grant, bestowing or conferring; handing down by tradition; bequeathing." Sampradaya is thus a system borne down through history by verbal transmission — is the lineage or living tradition of spiritual knowledge. A traditional school of religious teaching, transmitted from one teacher to another. Sampradaya is a living stream of tradition or theology within Hinduism, passed on by oral training and initiation. The term It is more inclusive than the related term parampara which names a living lineage of ordained gurus who embody and carry forth a sampradaya. A sampradaya may be represented by many paramparas. See: parampara.
Self Realization
Self Realization — the understanding of one's basic Reality.
kali yuga
kali yuga (Sanskrit: कलियुग, "age of Kali"; "age of vice") — is one of the four stages of development that the world goes through as part of the cycle of Yugas, the others being satya-yuga, treta-yuga and dwapara-yuga. The human civilization degenerates spiritually throughout the Kali Yuga — it is mostly referred to as the Dark Age, mainly because people are the furthest possible from Divinity. During the Kali Yuga righteousness has diminished by three-quarters, and the age is one of devolution, culminating in the destruction of the world prior to a new creation and another Krita Yuga in an endless cycle of time.
rasatala (Sanskrit: "Subterranean region.") — the fifth chakra below the muladhara, centered in the ankles. Corresponds to the fifth astral netherworld beneath the earth's surface, called rijisha ("expelled") or rasatala. Region of selfishness, self-centeredness and possessiveness. Rasa means "earth, soil; moisture." See: chakra, loka, naraka.
Bhuloka (Sanskrit: "Earth world.") The physical plane. See: loka.
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.
sharira (body). There are three sharira, the sthula-sharira (gross body), sukshma-sharira (subtle body), and the karana-sharira (causal body). The karana sharira is called the body of the seed of all seeds.
jiva (Sanskrit: "the embodied atman") Individual Self.
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.
namakarana or "samskaras of childhood" (Sanskrit: "Name-giving") from naming to education — formal entry into one or another sect of Hinduism, performed 11 to 41 days after birth. The name is chosen according to astrology, preferably the name of a God or Goddess. At this time, guardian devas are assigned to see the child through life. — annaprashana: (Sanskrit) "Feeding." The ceremony marking the first taking of solid food, held at about six months. (Breast-feeding generally continues). — karnavedha: "Ear-piercing." The piercing of both ears, for boys and girls, and the inserting of gold earrings, held during the first, third or fifth year. See: earrings. — chudakarana: (Sanskrit) "Head-shaving." The shaving of the head, for boys and girls, between the 31st day and the fourth year. — vidyarambha: (Sanskrit) Marks the beginning of formal education. The boy or girl ceremoniously writes his/her first letter of the alphabet in a tray of uncooked rice. — upanayana: Given to boys at about 12 years of age, marks the beginning of the period of brahmacharya and formal study of scripture and sacred lore, usually with an acharya or guru. — samavartana: Marks the end of formal religious study.
Atma Tattva
Atma Tattva — Principle of the Self; the truth or the essential nature of the Self.
karma, kárma or kárman (Sanskrit: कर्म, "act, action, performance") — is a noun-form coming from the root kri meaning "to do," "to make." Literally karma means "doing," "making," action. Karma is pronounced as "karmuh," the "uh" being subtle. Karma can best be translated into English by the word consequence. It corresponds to the "action" or "deed" which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra). It applies to all levels of action, including thought, word, feeling and deed, and the effects of it.
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.
This nine-day festival of the Hindus is celebrated in almost all parts of India in the month of Ashvina, and is marked by fasting and praying to different aspects of Devi.
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.
yamas (Sanskrit: "") — the yogic `restraints` from the verb root yam to hold or check. Sage Patanjali presents five ethical observances for yogis — ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), aparigraha (greedlessness). There are other important Yamas listed in traditional texts, such as patience, compassion, forgiveness, giving, steadfastness and moderation in diet. See: Yama and Niyama.
Krishna Janmashtami
Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Gokulashtami, Shri Krishna Jayanti, or sometimes just Janmasthami is a festival celebrating the appearance of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu. Literially janma means birth and ashthami means eighth.
saptarshis (Sanskrit: सप्तर्षि; saptarṣi; "seven sages") from sapta, "seven" + rishi, "sage" — are the seven rishis or the 'prajapatis', the mind born sons of Brahma who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. They are Atri, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vasishta, Viswamitra, Jamadagni and Kashyap. The Mahabharata presents them as Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya andVasishta. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic Tradition. The seven rishis are also said to mark the time and the duration of events in our septenary life cycle.
manas (Sanskrit: मनस्, "mind") from the root man, "to think" or "mind" — is the recording faculty; receives impressions gathered by the sense from the outside world. It is bound to the senses and yields vijnana (information) rather than jnana (wisdom) or vidya (understanding). That faculty which coordinates sensory impressions before they are presented to the consciousness. Relates to the mind; that which distinguishes man from the animals. One of the inner instruments that receive information from the external world with the help of the senses and present it to the higher faculty of buddhi (intellect). manas is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are buddhi (the intellect), chitta (the memory) and ahankara (the ego).
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.
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
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.
ashram (Sanskrit: , "a place that removes the fatigue of worldliness") — a place of retreat where seekers engage in spiritual practices and study the philosophy of yoga. An ashram is a sanctuary where all things external are directed towards empowering and deepening the experience of inner exploration and transformation.. Some ashrams are graced with the physical presence of a spiritual Master.
moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa, "liberation") or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति, "release") is liberation from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth or reincarnation and all of the suffering and limitation of worldly existence. It is a state of absolute freedom, peace and bliss, attained through Self-Realization. This is the supreme goal of human endeavor, the other three being, dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth and power) and kama (sense-pleasure). It is seen as a transcendence of phenomenal being, a state of higher consciousness, in which matter, energy, time, space, karma (causation) and the other features of empirical reality are understood as maya.
sudra — member of the traditional working class. The sudra was the fourth varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
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