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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.

Where all the dreams of living men have found a home

If there is one place on the face of the earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India…. For more than 30 centuries, the tree of vision, with all its thousand branches and their millions of twigs, has sprung from this torrid land, the burning womb of the Gods. It renews itself tirelessly showing no signs of decay.

— Romain Rolland

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...

Ayurveda - the Science of Longevity

Ayurveda is the indigenous system of medicine in India. Ayurveda literally means 'the science of living' (longevity). Ayu means "Life" and Veda means "Knowledge". The origins of this system of medicine are lost in the hoary past, and the body of knowledge that comes under the heading Ayurveda constitutes ideas about diseases, diagnosis and cure, which have been accumulated over the ages past.

The feature that distinguishes this system of medicines from other systems like Allopathy and Homeopathy is that it is solely based on herbs and herbal compounds. The medical system of Ayurveda draws heavily from the doctrines developed in the Charaka-Samahita. The main quality which Ayurveda has borrowed from Charaka is its aim of removing the cause for illness and not just curing the disease itself. In Ayurveda there are no such things as instant relievers, pain killers or antibiotics. The herbs used in Ayurvedic remedies do not operate against the body's metabolism, their effect is registered gradually and hence there are minimum side-effects. The constituents of Ayurvedic medicines are largely based on organic matter. The absence of fast registering inorganic compounds which are at times corrosive, contributes to the absence of side-effects from Ayurvedic medicines.

Unique quality of Ayurveda is that it uncovers and cures the root cause of illness, it is safe, gentle and inexpensive, it sees 6 stages of disease development (where modern medicine only sees the last two stages), it treats people in a personalized manner according to their dosha or constitution and not in any generic manner.

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.
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.
Pitriloka (Sanskrit: "World of ancestors.") — the upper region of bhuvarloka. See: loka.
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.
shanti or śāntiḥ (Sanskrit: शान्ति, "serenity, inner peace").
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".
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.
avidya (Sanskrit) Spiritual "ignorance." Wrongful understanding of the nature of reality. Mistaking the impermanent for the everlasting. The state of ignorance which needs to be dispelled at the outset , before one can begin the journey in earnest towards self fulfillment and Moksha. 'Ignorance is bliss ' or so the satire goes. Ignorance most certainly is not bliss. Avidya (pAra or apAra) is an unpardonable excuse and as soon as a person determines he/she is in a state of Avidya, they should take steps to remedy the situation.
avatara (Sanskrit: avataranam means "the decent of Supreme Being on earth for the ascent of man"), means ‘descent’, and usually implies a deliberate descent of the Divine into the mortal realms to reveal the Absolute Truth to humanity and remind them of their true divine nature. This voluntary ‘descent’ into the world out of boundless compassion for all creatures is called avatara and has 4 basic purposes; 1. Protection of the righteous; 2. Elimination of the wicked; 3. Re-establishment of Dharma (righteousness) and 4. Bestowing of Grace.
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.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "ayus" and "veda." "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science. The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul. Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
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.
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.
mumukshuthwam (Sanskrit: "yearning for liberation.") — the longing for moksha or Liberation. This longing cannot arise from either riches or from the scholarship that may be won at great expense of money. Nor can it emerge from wealth or progeny, or rites and rituals recommended in the scriptures or acts of charity, for moksha (liberation from grief and acquisition of bliss) can come only from the conquest of ajnana (ignorance).
adhyatma (Sanskrit: "Spiritual; Self") — the inner, spiritual Self or Spirit. See: atman.
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).
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.
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.
sastra (Sanskrit: "sacred text; teaching.") is used to denote education/knowledge in a general sense. The word is generally used as a suffix in the context of technical or specialized knowledge in a defined area of practice. For example, Astra Sastra means, knowledge about "Handling of weapons", Astra means weapons, and sastra is their knowledge. Sastra is also a by-word used when referring to a scripture. Extending this meaning, the sastra is commonly used to mean a treatise or text written in explanation of some idea, especially in matters involving religion.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
śraddhā or shraddha (Sanskrit: "faith") — anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
Devaloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of radiant beings.") — a synonym of maharloka, the higher astral plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
kālachakra (Sanskrit: "cycles of time;") from kāla (Time) + chakra (wheel) — refers to cycles of time. The Sanskrit word for time is kāla which has been derived from kalana or motion and it implies that, time manifests itself through motion. At the same time, time is eternal (nitya and śāśvata) and without beginning and end (anādi and ananta). The Time is mahākāla the lord of destruction and nothing can withstand the assault of time.
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.
'without form', referring to Brahman as Unmanifest.
sthula sharira
sthula sharira is the physical body (sthula, coarse or bulky), the vehicle of all the other principles during life and the means by which man is able to function on earth. The physical body, sthula sharira comprises annamaya-kosha, the material substance and pranamaya-kosha.
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