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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.

Sanatan Dharma is Life itself

Other religions are preponderatingly religions of faith and profession, but the Sanatan Dharma is life itself; it is a thing that has not so much to be believed as lived.

— Shri Aurobindo

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...

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.

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.
antahkarana
antahkarana (Sanskrit: "inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") — the Mental faculty of the sukshma-sharira (astral body), comprising intellect, instinct and ego. It consists of 1. manas (the mind), 2. chitta (the memory), 3. buddhi (the intellect) and 4. ahańkāra (the ego).
samsari
samsari (Sanskrit: "One in samsara; wanderer.") — the atman (Self) during transmigration, immersed in or attached to mundane existence, hence not striving for moksha (liberation). A samsari is someone who is not "on the path."
darśanas
darśanas or darshanas (Sanskrit: "views") from the term darshan, "sight" — is divided into six āstika ("orthodox") schools of thought in Hindu philosophy which based the Vedas such as Mimamsa, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika, and three nāstika ("heterodox") schools, which is not based on the Vedas.
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.
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.
Veda
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.
kárma
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.
naraka
naraka (Sanskrit: "abode of darkness", literally "pertaining to man.") — an unhappy, mentally and emotionally congested, distressful area of consciousness in the lower worlds. Naraka is a state of mind that can be experienced on the physical plane or in the sub-astral plane after death of the sthula-sharira (physical body). It is accompanied by the tormented emotions of hatred, remorse, resentment, fear, jealousy and self-condemnation. Naraka is a congested, distressful area where demonic beings and young souls may sojourn until they resolve the darksome karmas they have created. Here beings suffer the consequences of their own misdeeds in previous lives. However, in the Hindu view, the hellish experience is not permanent, but a temporary condition of one's own making. See: asura, loka.
sudra
sudra — member of the traditional working class. The sudra was the fourth varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
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.
Supreme Brahman
The Supreme Infinite Brahman. See: Parabrahm.
Antarloka
Antarloka (Sanskrit, "Inner or in-between world."). The astral plane. See: loka.
Yamas and Niyamas
The yamas and niyamas have been preserved through the centuries as the foundation, the first and second stage, of the eight-staged practice of yoga: yamaniyamaasanapranayamapratyaharadharanadhyanasamadhi. Yet, they are fundamental to all beings, expected aims of everyone in society, and assumed to be fully intact for anyone seeking life's highest aim in the pursuit called 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.
Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti Yoga or Bhakti Marga (Devanāgarī: भक्ति योग) — denotes the spiritual practice of fostering bhakti (loving devotion) to a personal form of God that involves devotion, attachment and love for God. bhakti is a Sanskrit term that signifies an attitude of devotion to a personal God that is typically based on a number of human relationships such as beloved-lover, friend-friend, parent-child, and master-servant. The Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana are two important scriptures which explain and develop the attitude of bhakti.
asat
Opposite of sat, non-being, impermanent, false, evil, unreal, sometimes used to refer to matter or to the body.
prakṛti
prakṛti or prakriti (Sanskrit: प्रकृ्ति, ";") — material nature. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the basic nature of intelligence by which the Universe exists and functions. It is described in Bhagavad Gita as the "primal motive force". It is the essential consituent of the universe and is at the basis of all the activity of the creation. In sankhya philosophy prakrti is comprised of eight elements: earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and ego. It is characterized by the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. prakṛti is female while purusa is male.
Pretaloka
Pretaloka (Sanskrit: "World of the departed.") — the realm of the earth-bound souls. This lower region of bhuvarloka is an astral duplicate of the physical world. See: loka.
ashram
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.
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.
Veda
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.
sanchita karma
sanchita karma (Sanskrit: "Accumulated action.") — the accumulated consequence of an individual's actions in this and past lives. See: karma.
buddhi manas
buddhi manas (Sanskrit: "Intuitional-Mind.";) — higher mind.
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.
Maha Shivaratri
Literally, the “Great Night of Shiva” is celebrated every year on the new moon night in the month of Phalguna, this Hindu festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
saptarshis
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.
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.
Self
Self with capital 'S' means the same as atman, jiva, or jivatman. The Self is characterized by consciousness. The Self is naturally immortal, having no beginning and no end to its being. It is atomic in size and undergoes ‘embodiment’ which means that it takes birth in the bodies of plants, animals, humans, or gods. In the embodied state the atman is technically referred to as “jiva”. In embodiment, the natural attributive consciousness has become obscured and veiled by ignorance and delusion. The jiva mistakenly identifies itself with the physical body /mind complex and this is the basis of all sorrow and delusion. All sentient beings are essentially non-different from each other in their Essence Nature. In the embodied state the difference between them is the degree of ignorance predominating.
pratibhasika
pratibhasika (Sanskrit: ), from prati-bhas to look like from the verbal root bhas to appear — appearing as the similitude of something, hence illusory. In Vedanta philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the apparent or illusory life. See: paramarthika; vyavaharika
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