Vital Winds .

Prana is the collective name for the five internal winds that are said to be responsible for all human physiological functions.


Vismaya ("surprise") is a Sanskrit word that means "surprise." Hasta A hand gesture (hasta) in Indian dance, sculpture, and ritual in which the forearm and fingers point upward with the back of the hand turned toward the spectator.

This hasta is used to express any kind of surprise, such as amazement and astonishment.



 Based on the literal meaning of the word ("all the gods"), this name might be interpreted as referring to all gods, or it can refer to a group of deities known as the sons of Vishva, the celestial sage Daksha's daughter.

The number of sons varies across manuscripts and is either 10 or thirteen.

Although the Manu Smrti, one of the most important scriptures in the dharma literature, requires daily gifts to the Vishvedevas, they are especially venerated during memorial services for the deceased known as shraddhas.

They are claimed to have received these daily offerings as a reward for performing exceptionally severe asceticism.



 At the Vishvanath temple in Benares, the deity Shiva appears in his manifestation as the "Lord of the Universe." Shiva is represented in Vishvanath with a linga, a pillar-shaped image that represents Shiva's symbolic form; the Vishvanath linga is one of Shiva's twelve jyotirlingas, a network of locations thought extremely important to Shiva and where Shiva is uniquely present.

Benares, also known as Varanasi, is one of India's most holy towns; it is especially dedicated to Shiva, with Vishvanath being the most significant of all the Shiva temples there.

The original temple was destroyed by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on the site, and the only part of the original temple that has survived is the Gyan Vapi ("well of knowledge"), into which the original Shiva linga was reportedly cast (to prevent it from being desecrated by Aurangzeb's soldiers).

The original temple was established in 1776 on a location next to the pre-sent temple by the Maratha queen Ahalya Bai Holkar.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore eventually covered the temple in gold, earning it the moniker "Golden Temple." Even in previous centuries, the closeness of the Vishvanath temple and Aurangzeb's mosque made for tense relations between the Hindu and Muslim populations, and Benares, like many other northern Indian towns, has seen its share of bloodshed.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu activist group pushing for the "return" of this and other northern Indian landmarks by force if necessary, has recently taken up the demolition of the old Vishvanath temple as a political issue.

The existence and activities of the VHP have heightened tensions between Hindus and Muslims in general.

Given the political benefits that these confrontational techniques have yielded, it is probable that they will continue in the future, and that the Vishvanath temple will remain a focus of strife.

 Vishva Nirmala Dharam (Vishva Nirmala Dharam) Nirmala Devi (b. 1923), a contemporary Hindu guru, formed this religious organization to spread her teachings over the globe.



 One of the Seven Sages in Hindu mythology, whose names denote exogamous clan "lineages" (gotra; exogamous clans allow members to marry outside their own clan); the others are Gautama, Bharadvaja, Kashyapa, Bhrgu, Atri, and Vasishtha.

All brahmins are said to be descended from these seven sages, with each family receiving their progenitor's name as their gotra name.

Marriage inside the gotra is outlawed in contemporary times, thus these gotra divides are still crucial.

The new bride takes on her husband's gotra as part of her new identity after their marriage.

Vishvamitra is most well-known for his long-running quarrel with the sage Vasishtha, which has resulted in several battles.

The rivalry arises because of the kshatriyas and brahmins' differing social position.

Vishvamitra is a king who visits the woodland ashram of the brahmin Vasishtha with a contingent of retainers.

Vishvamitra is astounded by Vasishtha's cow, the Kama dhenu's capacity to feed everyone when he requests food.

Vishvamitra attempts to purchase the Kamadhenu first, then tries to seize it by force, but Vasishtha's tapas defeats his henchmen (ascetic practices).

Vishvamitra acknowledges defeat and undertakes ascetic activities in order to generate his own strength.

Two of their most famous fights are over King Trishanku and his son, Harishchandra; in both cases, the actual problem is the sages' mutual hatred.

Marriage bans may also be referred to in this context.


Vishvakarma is a term that refers to a cycle of good and bad deeds ("doing everything") is a phrase that is used to describe a person who does everything A minor deity who is the architect of the gods, the designer of many handicrafts, decorations, and weapons, the best sculptor, and the inventor of the gods' airborne chariots.

He is the patron and model for all skilled trades involving the shaping and shaping of materials, and he is credited with establishing the canons for carving godly pictures.

Sanjna, Vishvakarma's daughter, is married to Surya, the sun, but she cannot stand to be with him because of the sun's splendour, according to one account.

Vishvakarma brings the sun to his studio and reduces his radiance to a level that Sanjna can tolerate.

He then carves the sun's cut-off fragments into Vishnu's discus (Sudarshana), Shiva's trident (trishul), numerous heavenly weapons, and the Pushpak Viman, the most renowned of the airborne chariots.

In the Vedas, the earliest Hindu sacred books, Vishvakarma is frequently mistaken for Tvashtr, the god's workman.

Despite this, it seems that they are two distinct gods who have been homologized by their same role.

Tvashtr's name means "maker of carriages," and it seems that this was his major duty, but he is also known for manufacturing godly weapons, including the mace with which the storm-god Indra slays the snake Vrtra.

Nonetheless, his name seems to imply that his primary role is the construction of carriages, which is seen to be quite crucial in a Vedic religious literature, since numerous Vedic songs reference the usage of war chariots.

Vishvakarma, on the other hand, has a considerably broader set of abilities, implying that the two deities are not the same.


 Vishva Hindu Parishad (Vishva Hindu Parishad) is a Hindu religious organization based in India.

(VHP) Modern Hindu religious group connected with the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a conservative Hindu organization whose avowed mission is to produce the leadership cadre for a rejuvenated Hindu India.

When RSS leader Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar met with a group of Hindu religious leaders in Bombay in 1964, the VHP was created.

Their immediate concern was Pope Paul VI's planned visit to India, which they saw as a covert effort to convert Hindus to Christianity, which they intended to combat by founding an organization committed to Hinduism propagation.

With little fanfare and little influence on public perception, the VHP concentrated its concentration for the next fifteen years on opposing Christian missionary operations in northeastern India.

The conversion of some untouchables to Islam in the Tamil Nadu hamlet of Minakshipuram in 1982 was a watershed moment in the VHP's public image.

The VHP seized on this widely reported incident as proof that Hindu identity was in jeopardy, and responded by undertaking a series of inventive public activities, first in Tamil Nadu and then throughout the country.

The VHP's resurgence coincided with the RSS's shift toward activism, as well as the BJP's decision to adopt a more militantly Hindu character.

Many of the VHP's national campaigns coincided with national or state elections, and many of them were concentrated on the effort to erect a temple to the deity Rama in the city of Ayodhya, at the alleged birthplace of Rama.

The intended temple location was occupied by the Babri Masjid, a Muslim mosque erected after the ancient Rama temple was demolished, according to the VHP.

As a result, the temple campaign evoked strong memories of historical persecution as well as the boldness of a resurgent Hindu identity.

The VHP's political involvement has helped the BJP become the dominant political party in most of northern India.

Throughout India, the VHP's advocacy has evoked a wide range of feelings.

Proponents refer to the organization's long history of charitable work and its role in strengthening and defining modern Hindu identity.

Detractors object to the RSS's disdain for legal formalities, as was shown by the destruction of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, as well as its sometimes caustic anti-Muslim rhetoric and, despite its unique institutional identity, its ultimate control by the RSS.

Others have chastised the VHP for seeking to define and regulate the character of "Hinduism" by declaring some "necessary" Hindu practices as antithetical to Hindu heritage.

Other opponents reject the VHP's claim to speak for all Hindus, pointing out that its genuine authority resides in the hands of brahmins and other privileged castes; these critics perceive the VHP as an organization meant to hide its true objective, which is to maintain upper-class power and privilege.

For more information, see Walter K. Andersen and Shridhar D. Damle's The Brotherhood in Saffron (1987); James Warner Björkman's Fundamentalism, Revivalists, and Violence in South Asia (1988); Tapan Basu et alKhaki .'s Shorts and Saffron Flags (1993); Lise McKean's Divine Enterprise (1996); and Christophe Jaffrelot's The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India (1996) 


Vishuddha Chakra.

The vishuddha chakra is one of the six psychic centers (chakras) thought to exist in the subtle body, according to several schools of yoga and tantra, a hidden, ritually oriented religious practice.

The subtle body is a separate physiological system that is thought to exist on a different level than coarse matter yet has some similarities to it.

It's depicted as a group of six mental centers joined by three vertical channels and shaped like multipetaled lotus flowers flowing approximately along the spine's route.

Each of these chakras has significant symbolic associations, including varying human capacities, subtle components (tanmatras), and seed syllables (bijaksharas) constructed from Sanskrit alphabet letters, embracing all holy sound.

Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (power), the two divine principles through which the whole cosmos came into existence, have physical abodes above and below these centers.

The homology of macrocosm and microcosm, a key Hindu notion from the time of the mystical scriptures known as the Upanishads, is therefore the basic premise underpinning this concept of the subtle body.

The vishuddha chakra is the fifth of the six chakras, which are generally numbered from the bottom up.

It resembles a sixteen-petaled lotus and is found in the neck area.

Each of the petals has a seed phrase made up of a letter from the Sanskrit alphabet, in this instance all sixteen Sanskrit vowels, which are necessary linking factors in any meaningful speech.

The vishuddha chakra is linked to the human ability to speak and breathe on a symbolic level.

It is also said to be the physical seat of the subtle element of space (akasha), through which hearing is thought to occur.

See Arthur Avalon's (Sir John Woodroffe's) Shakti and Shakta (1978) and Philip S. Rawson's The Art of Tantra (1973) for further details.


Vishnuswami  is a Sanskrit word that means "Vishnu Swami." ("Vishnu is [his] Lord") The Vaishnava ascetics' Rudra Sampraday is said to have been founded by him.

(The Rudra Sampraday is one of the four "sampraday" branches of the Bairagi Naga ascetics, who are devotees of the god Vishnu; vaishnava refers to Vishnu devotees.)

According to some sources, Vishnuswami was the guru of both Jnaneshvar and Namdev.

Vishnuswami was a Vaishnava, as his name implies, but nothing is known about him other than that.

His ascetic path and status as one of the four Vaishnava ascetic sampradays have been seized by Vallabhacharya's Shuddadvaita, or "Pure Monism," which emphasizes Krishna's adoration with Radha as his wife.


Vishnu Purana is a Hindu epic that tells the story of Lord Vishnu and his One of the eighteen traditional puranas, which comprised an important genre of smrti texts and housed much of traditional Indian mythology.

The smrtis, or "remembered" texts, were considered less authoritative than the shrutis, or "heard" texts, despite being considered important.

In a nutshell, the shrutis referred to the Vedas, the oldest and most authoritative Hindu religious texts, whereas the smrtis referred to the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as dharma literature, the Bhagavad Gita, and the puranas.

The puranas contain a wide range of sacred lore, ranging from mythic tales to ritual instruction to the exaltation of various sacred sites (tirthas) and actions.

The majority of the puranas are sectarian, and this one is focused on Vishnu's warship, as its name implies.

It includes instructions for how, where, and when Vishnu should be worshiped, as well as an exhaustive list of Vishnu's mythic deeds—many of which have become the common mythic currency for many traditional Hindus.



Vishnu Periyalvar, an Alvar poet and saint, was given this appellation.

Between the seventh and tenth centuries, the Alvars were a group of twelve poet-saints living in southern India.

All of the Alvars were worshippers of the deity Vishnu, and their emphasis on emotional devotion (bhakti) to a personal god, expressed via hymns sung in Tamil, revolutionized Hindu religious life.



 (“all-pervasive”) One of the three most powerful deities in the Hindu pantheon, with Shiva and the Goddess.

All three are significant for being largely unmentioned in the Vedas, the oldest Hindu religious books, and their rise, as well as the progressive eclipse of the Vedic gods, indicates a marked change in Hindu religious life.

Vishnu is the one who appears most often in the Vedas among the three.

Many hymns that mention him refer to him as a helper to Indra, the major Vedic deity, and one of Vishnu's epithets is Upendra ("junior Indra").

He also appears as an autonomous actor in certain late hymns, linked with wonderful works for the benefit of the cosmos, such as measuring out the universe in three steps.

Vishnu is also linked to the sun, both in terms of his ability to travel through the skies and his ability to fall on (and therefore "observe") everything.

Vishnu is the sustainer or maintainer of the universe, according to the holy trinity of Brahma Vishnu-Shiva.

Vishnu is pictured reclining on the back of his serpent couch, Shesha, in the primordial ocean at the moment of cosmic disintegration in one of the most prominent creation myths (pralaya).

Vishnu's navel produces a lotus, which opens to reveal Brahma, the creator, who starts the creation process.

When the time comes for disintegration, the whole process reverses, and the cosmos is pulled back into Vishnu, who is therefore considered as the source of everything.

The cosmos is also sustained by Vishnu's avatars or incarnations, who come into the world to restore balance to a universe that has been dangerously out of balance, generally as a result of an out of proportionally powerful demon.

There are 10 avatars as far as we know.

The Fish avatar, Tortoise avatar, Boar avatar, and Man-Lion avatar are the first four in nonhuman forms.

The other six are in human form, frequently as sages or heroes: Vamana avatar, Parashuram avatar, Rama avatar, Krishna avatar, Buddha avatar, and Kalki avatar.

In each of these instances, Vishnu takes on a physical form in order to avoid tragedy and preserve the cosmos' purity.

The theory of the avatars served as a means of assimilating existing deities into the broader pantheon while still granting them distinct status.

Although most of the avatars are no longer objects of devotion (the Boar and Man-Lion avatars each had a significant following early in the common period), Rama and Krishna's adoration has entirely exceeded that of Vishnu himself in most of northern India.

Vishnu is still revered throughout southern India, especially among Shrivaishnavas.

Apart from the avatar idea, notable local deities like as Jagannath, Venkateshvara, and Vithoba have all been absorbed into the pantheon as manifestations of Vishnu.

Vaishnavas and Shaivas established sectarian rivalry in medieval Hinduism, both claiming supremacy over their own deities (Vishnu and Shiva).

Despite the fact that Vaishnavas see Vishnu as the universe's highest force, his legendary persona and activities are vastly different from Shiva's.

Vishnu's headgear is a crown, and his persona is that of an all-ruling monarch, but Shiva is linked with ascetic life and practices (tapas) and hence with the religious force created by such acts.

Vishnu frequently succeeds by guile, ingenuity, and deceit, but Shiva eliminates his mythological enemies with sheer might, which is devoid of any finesse.

Each deity's followers recognize their divinity as the supreme force in the cosmos, from which all other gods get their power, and both are portrayed as kind and caring to their worshippers (bhakta).



 (6th c.) Mudrarakshasa ("Rakshasa's Ring"), a Sanskrit playwright, is his sole extant work.

The play is historically significant since its central narrative is the ascent of Chandragupta Maurya (r. 321–297 B.C.E. ), the founder of the Maurya dynasty, despite the fact that the play attributes his victory to his crafty brah min minister, Chanakya.

Although, in respect to the actual monarch, this picture is wrong, the play portrays the king as a weak character, with the minister as the true power behind the throne.

The narrative of the drama is convoluted, as is the case with many Sanskrit plays, but the drama's climax occurs when the main protagonists are dramatically saved from execution at the last minute.

Michael Coulson translated the play into English and released it in the collection Three Sanskrit Plays in 1981.

Vishishthadvaita ("Qualified Non-Dualism") is a Sanskrit word that means "qualified non-dualism." Vedanta One of the branches of Vedanta, the philosophical school that claims to reveal the Vedas' ultimate meaning and pur pose (anta), the Hindu religious texts' oldest and most authoritative texts.

The greatest figure in Vishishthadvaita is Ramanuja, an eleventh-century philosopher who was central to its formulation, despite the fact that he was building on earlier work.

Ramanuja believed that Brahman, or Supreme Reality, was a personal god rather than an impersonal abstract concept, and that the most significant kind of religious activity was devotion (bhakti).

His philosophical viewpoint, Vishishthadvaita Vedanta, emphasized both of these ideas, and so contrasted with the Advaita Vedanta school, created by the philosopher Shankaracharya.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical position of monism, or the belief in a single impersonal Ultimate Reality, which they refer to as Brahman.

Despite the appearance of difference and variety in the perceivable world, Advaita adherents believe that reality is "nondual" (advaita), meaning that all things are nothing but the formless Brahman.

This assumption of diversity, according to Advaitins, is a fundamental misunderstanding of the ultimate nature of things, as well as a manifestation of avidya.

Although avidya is often translated as "ignorance," it is better understood as a lack of genuine understanding that leads to karmic bonding, rein carnation (samsara), and suffering.

Because the real issue for Advaitins is a misunderstanding, realization (jnana) was the best spiritual path to achieve ultimate liberation (moksha).

The material universe and self have genuine and autonomous existence, according to Ramanuja's formulation, while their existence is ultimately anchored in God, whom he names as Vishnu.

The world emerges from God through an evolutionary process based on the Samkhya model, but because matter is unconscious, it is both similar to and dissimilar to God.

Human beings are similar to God in that they have God as their source, but they differ from him in that they are subject to ignorance and suffering.

God, according to Ramanuja and his followers, is not the same as ourselves or the world, which are all thought to have real and independent existence.

In a way that the Advaita proponents will never concede, this notion of identity and difference makes the perceptible world real.

Ramanuja's stance differs from that of a later thinker, Madhva, whose Dvaita Vedanta emphasized the enormous chasm between God and all else.

Because of the disparity in capacities between the god and the devotee (bhakta), Ramanuja and his followers have emphasized bhakti as the most effective route of redemption.

Even after freedom, souls maintain enough separation from God to allow devotion; liberation is seen as a perpetual relationship with God rather than a loss of individuality.

For further detail, read John Braisted Carman's The Theology of Ramanuja, published in 1974, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore's A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, published in 1957.




The sixteenth and last upacharas ("offerings") offered to a god as part of devotion, based on the principle of treating the deity as a valued guest.

As the last act of devotion, the devotee (bhakta) grants the god permission to depart.

Although the phrase dismissal seems arrogant in any conversation with a god, it really relates to the parting remarks that one would give to a leaving guest.

The fundamental aim here, as with other upacharas, is to demonstrate one's devotion for the god by ministering to the deity's needs.



Virata is the monarch who shelters the five Pandava brothers, the epic's heroes, during the year they spend incognito after their twelve years of exile in the forest, in the Mahabharata, the later of the two major Hindu epics.

This year is crucial because, according to the pact the Pandavas made with their foe, Duryodhana, if they are found during this year, the cycle of exile and living in secrecy would begin all over again.

Even though Duryodhana has despatched armies of spies to locate the Pandavas, Virata's care and forethought prevents them from being detected.

He continues to help the Pandavas throughout the Mahabharata battle and is finally murdered by the archery expert Drona.



("Victorious Shaivas") 

The Lingayat religious community's alternative name, derived from the Lingayat belief that Shiva is the sole true deity.



 One of the sitting poses (asana) listed in comments to the Yoga Sutras; it is also one of the sitting postures in Hindu iconography in which deities are shown.

In this posture, one foot rests on the ground, beneath the opposite thigh, while the other foot rests on top of the opposite knee, as stated in the Yoga Sutras comments.

This pose is defined differently in current yoga texts, as a sitting posture with the legs folded back outside the body and the feet pushed against the thighs and buttocks.



 One of the most recent and largest nibandhas ("collections"), compiled by scholar Mitra Mishra in the early seventeenth century.

The nibandhas were Hindu lore compendia in which the compilers culled references on a specific theme from the Vedas, dharma literature, puranas, and other authoritative religious texts, and then compiled them into a single volume.

The Viramitrodaya is a massive compendium of Hindu lore, divided into twenty-two sections, each of which focuses on a different aspect of Hindu life, such as daily practice, worship, gift-giving (dana), vows, pilgrimage, penances (prayashchitta), purification, death rites (antyeshthi samskara), law, and so on, culminating in liberation (moksha).

Mitra Mishra's work became an important source for later legal interpretation, particularly in eastern India, because he not only cites relevant scriptural passages but also provides extensive learned commentary.



Father Constanzio Beschi (1680–1747), an Italian Jesuit who spent 36 years in Tamil Nadu, was given the pseudonym Viramamunivar.

Beschi learned the local language and adopted the local way of life, as did many other early Jesuits.

He translated parts of the Old and New Testament into literary Tamil as part of his missionary work, and his command of the language and poetic conventions makes this work a seminal work in Tamil literature.



Stone erected in honor of a warrior, usually the village headman, who died in battle defending the village cattle from pillage.

Deleury speculates that the Maharashtrian god Vithoba arose from such a deified hero, who was later assimilated into the pantheon as a form of Vishnu, and that such stones can be found all over the Deccan region.

Viraha is a word that has a lot of different meanings depending on who you (“separation”) Classical Sanskrit poetry, as well as much vernacular devotional (bhakti) poetry, have a well-established poetic genre.

Whether the separated lovers are two human beings or devotee (bhakta) and deity, the genre focuses on describing the pain that results from the separation of lover and beloved.

Separation is thought to cause specific physical symptoms, which the poets describe in great detail—lack of appetite, insomnia, inability to attend to daily life, or think about anyone but the beloved.

Because love in union is sweetened by the presence of the beloved, whereas the former must stand alone, the type of love felt in such separation is thought to engender an even more intense love for the beloved than love in union.



A powerful being created by the god Shiva to humble the demigod Daksha and destroy Daksha's sacrifice, according to Hindu mythology.

Daksha gives his daughter, Sati, to Shiva to marry, but later feels Shiva has not treated him with respect.

Daksha plans a large sacrifice and invites all the gods except Shiva to it in order to humble Shiva.

When Sati inquires as to why her father has done so, Daksha lashes out at Shiva, calling him worthless and despicable.

Sati, humiliated by these public insults, kills herself—in some versions, by leaping into the sacrificial fire, and in others, by withdrawing into a yogic trance and giving up her life.

When Shiva learns of Sati's death, he is enraged and tears two matted locks (jata) from his head and dashes them to the ground, according to the most popular version of Virabhadra's creation.

One matted lock assumes the form of Virabhadra, while the other assumes the form of Bhadrakali, the Goddess's most powerful and terrifying form.

Bhadrakali represents the Goddess's ferocious and dangerous side, in contrast to the gentle and loyal Sati, just as Virabhadra represents Shiva's destructive side.

The two demolish Daksha's sacrifice on Shiva's orders, scattering the guests and destroying the sacred fires, until Daksha repents and worships Shiva as the supreme deity.

Despite the fact that Virabhadra's actions in this story are destructive, he is and remains Shiva's servant, carrying out his divine master's commands, which ultimately uphold the created order.



 Vira. ("hero”).

The vira is one of the ritual expression modes used in tantra, a secret, ritual-based religious practice.

The tantric "hero" is said to be someone who not only consumes the Five Forbidden Things (panchamakara) in their purest form, but also uses this inversion of normal moral rules to affirm the ultimate unity of all things in the universe.

Aspirants who adopt a heroic mode frequently worship a powerful but dangerous deity, with the ultimate affirmation of this unity being the affirmation of one's identity with that deity.

If one succeeds, various powers are said to be conferred, but if one fails, illness, insanity, or death are said to result.

This isn't a risk-free path, but it gets the heroes to their desired destination quickly.

Viparitakhyati is a Sanskrit word that means "discrimination in the face of the law". 

Kumarila, a Mimamsa philosopher from the seventh century C.E., proposed a theory of error.

All theories of error seek to explain why people make mistakes in judgment, such as mistaking a silvery flash of seashell for a piece of silver, which is a common example.

Kumarila, like Prabhakara and the Naiya yikas, believes that the simple judgments "that object is silvery" and "silver is silvery" are both correct and unquestionable.

Kumarila also agrees with the Naiyayika that the error stems from a false discrimination.

The Naiyayikas postulate the inherence-relationship as a connecting sub jects and predicates ("silver color" and "silver").

This is where he differs from them.

Kumarila's theory is identity-and-difference (bhedabhada), which states that everything is what it is and not what it isn't.

As a result, the perception (pratyaksha) of a shell on the beach would include its similitudes and differences from silveriness, as well as silver's similitudes and differences from silveriness.

One can make a false judgment by combining similarities, or one can make a true judgment by combining differences.

The root cause of combining similarities rather than differences, as in the Naiyayika theory of error, is karmic dispositions arising from avidya, specifically the desire for silver, which drives us to seek out such valuable items.

For more information, see Bijayananda Kar's The Theories of Error in Indian Philosophy, published in 1978, and Karl H. Potter's Presuppositions of India's Philosophies, published in 1972.



 One of the parts of an accepted form of inference in Indian philosophy (anumana).

An inference is made up of three parts: an assertion (pratijna), a reason (hetu), and an example (drshtanta); each of these three has its own set of constituent parts.

The vipaksha is a negative example given to show that the claim made in the initial assertion reflects the action of specific causes.

It is part of the third term, examples.

For instance, in the inference "there is fire on the mountain because there is smoke on the mountain," the vipaksha could be "unlike a lake," because lakes do not have fire or smoke, indicating that these conditions are not universally present (fire is found in mountains, but not in lakes).

An inference, by convention, had to include a positive example, the sapaksha, to demonstrate that similar events occurred in similar circumstances (i.e., that there were other cases in which there was both fire and smoke).



Vinaya Patrika (Vinaya Patrika) is a Hindi film directed by Vinaya Patrika (a petition letter) A collection of 280 short poems written in the Braj Bhasha dialect by poet-saint Tulsidas (1532–1623?).

The entire work is presented as a letter of petition to Tulsidas' chosen deity, Rama, through the monkey god Hanuman, who acts as his intermediary.

The letter's main theme is a plea for deliverance from the current degenerate age's evils (kali yuga).

The first sixty-odd verses are a series of invocations to various gods, demonstrating Tulsidas' devotion's ecumenical quality.

The poem's remainder is addressed to Rama and emphasizes other themes that run throughout Tulsidas' poetry.

One of the themes is the kali yuga's corrupted nature, which makes devotion the only effective means of salvation.

Another pervasive theme is the incomparable power of God's name to rescue the devotee (bhakta).

Finally, the listeners are cautioned not to squander the gift of human birth.

Much of the poetry has an intensely personal quality to it, and it seems to reflect both the poet's despair and eventual hope for salvation.

The Vinaya Patrika is generally thought to have been written in the poet's later years, though it cannot be precisely dated, based on its general tone.

Mountains of Vindhya.

Central India has a mountain range that runs east to west.

Despite their diminutive stature, they have long served as a cultural barrier between northern and southern India.

The Vindhyas were seen as an uncivilized and potentially dangerous place, inhabited by ghosts, demons, and tribal peoples; these dangers were exemplified by Vindhyavasini, the presiding goddess.



 In Hindu mythology, the sister of Kadru and the daughter of the holy sage Daksha.

Vinata gives birth to eagles, the most renowned of which is Garuda, while Kadru gives birth to serpents.

Conflict between these two sisters is said to be the source of the traditional animosity between these two species of animals.

One day, the sisters argue over the color of a certain heavenly horse's tail, with Vinata claiming it is white and Kadru claiming it is black.

The argument intensifies until they agree that the one who is incorrect will become a slave to the other.

To assure her win, Kadru convinces a number of her children to hang from the horse's back, making the tail seem black from a distance.

When Vinata sees the black snakes, she acknowledges her loss and is forced to serve Kadru under exceedingly difficult circumstances for many years.

She is eventually saved by her son, Garuda, who, upon discovering what has happened, begins a never-ending campaign of snake extermination.



 A multi-stringed musical instrument with a long hollow body and a sounding box at the bottom; the top has a huge hollow gourd jutting from the rear, which amplifies the sound even more.

The vina is a classical musical instrument used in southern India, where mastery of the instrument is still prized.

The goddess Saraswati is most firmly connected with the vina in Indian imagery, in line with her role as patron Goddess of the arts, culture, and learning.



 (“reflection”) Vimar sha is one of the bipolar opposites used to define the essence of all reality in Hindu tantra, a secret, ritual-based religious practice, with its counterpart being illumi country (prakasha).

These two concepts are especially significant in the formation of the world, which is believed to occur when the ultimate Brahman's pure and radiant awareness (prakasha) becomes self-conscious via the reflection (vimarsha) of this original consciousness.

The absolute transforms from a single awareness into a dual divinity—the deity Shiva and his spouse Shakti—whose ongoing interaction creates the universe.

This prakasha vimarsha dyad is especially essential in Kashmiri Shaivism's Trika school.

Jaideva Singh, Pratyabhijnanahrdayam, 1982, is a good source of knowledge.


Vimana .

 (“vehicle”) A term having distinct particular meanings in different situations, a com mon trait in the Sanskrit language.

It may refer to a god's vehicles, either mythically, since each deity has an animal considered to be his or her vehicle, or in a literal sense, such as the cart used to transport them in procession, or to the human person who "carries" them via the process of being possessed.

The term vimana is used in architecture to refer to the section of the temple that "carries" the god, i.e. the sanctuary as a whole.


Village Deities.

 According to popular Hindu tradition, the universe has 330 million gods.

The richness of this mythic imagination can be seen in the composition of the Hindu pantheon, in which hundreds of major and minor deities have been given form, identity, and mythic history.

Yet aside from these deities, who have been given an identifiable form, there are also a host of village deities found throughout India.

In most cases, the village deity is exactly that—the deity who protects, watches over, and acts as a divine over seer for a particular village or locale.

One of their most common functions is to protect the village from disease, either of people or livestock, and to provide remedies when disease strikes.

They are also the guardians of the village, defending it from ghosts and unseen powers, as well as protecting the villagers from danger and misfortune.

The authority of these deities is generally quite limited—in most cases, it does not extend beyond the village itself.

In most cases, village deities have no well defined mythic history, form, or personality.

At times they will have a temple dedicated to them, but in other cases the village deity is believed to be associated with a particular tree or is represented by a post in the village square.

Village deities are usually nonvegetarian, demanding animal sacrifices and offerings of blood in exchange for their services.

Relationships with these deities are highly pragmatic—the villagers make offerings, and the deities protect, but beyond these offerings there is usually little organized worship.

If these deities have any organized priesthood, it is almost always non-brahmin because the impurity (ashaucha) generated by animal sacrifices would be unacceptable to brahmins.

These priesthoods are intermediaries between the deity and the villagers, usually communicating with the deities through dreams or possession.

In this way the deities’ wishes become known, and problems or concerns can find their solution.

In some cases, local deities have gained greater stature and have been assimilated into the pantheon.

For female deities, this process is fairly simple, since they can be brought into the pantheon by claiming that their temples are one of the Shakti Pithas, a network of sites sacred to the Goddess that spreads throughout the subcontinent.

Each Shakti Pitha marks the site where a body part of the dismembered goddess Satifell to earth, taking form there as a different goddess; all these individual goddesses are thus seen as manifestations of a single great Goddess.

Male deities are more typically incorporated into the pantheon as incarnations of the deity Vishnu, and three major instances of the former are Jagannath, Vithoba, and Venkateshvara.

Village deities are less usually considered to be avatars of the god Shiva, although this has occurred with Khandoba, an important regional deity in the state of Maharashtra.

See also pitha.


Vikramorvashiya .

 (“Urvashi won by valor”) Drama written by the poet Kalidasa, generally considered the greatest classical Sanskrit poet.

The Vikramorvashiya is a musical play in five acts, whose mythic theme is the liaison of King Pururavas and the celestial nymph Urvashi, a story mentioned both in Rg Veda 1.95 and in the Shatapatha Brahmana.

In both these earlier sources the story ends unhappily, with the separation of Urvashi and Pururavas, but in Kalidasa’s version the estranged lovers are finally happily reunited.

This change may have been prompted solely from the desire for a happy ending, which is one of the most characteristic features of Sanskrit drama.


Vikram Era .

 One of the most common dating systems, particularly in northern India.

It is generally believed that the Vikram era takes its name from King Vikramaditya of Ujjain, who is supposed to have ruled over much of India.

The Vikram era date is fifty-six or fifty-seven years later than that of the com mon era; the discrepancy stems from the differing first days of the year in the two systems.

In the common era the year begins on January 1, but in the Vikram era the year begins with the sun’s transition into Aries, considered in India as occurring on April 14.

Hence, to convert a Vikram era date to a common era date, one subtracts fifty-six years for dates between January 1 and April 14, and fifty-seven years for dates between April 15 and December 31.


Vikramaditya .

 (“Sun of Prowess”) Title taken by King Chandra Gupta II(r.376–415) as a symbol of his royal mastery.

This monarch is traditionally identified as the Vikramaditya who established the Vikram era, but because the Vikram era was established a little less than sixty years before the com mon era, this claim is clearly untenable.


Vijnaneshvara is a Hindu deity (12th c.) Author of the Mitakshara, a lengthy commentary on the Yajnavalkya Smrti, which is itself a work of dharma literature, or religious obligation books.

This specific piece of criticism was crucial to the British administration of India.

The British were mostly content to have traditional religious laws govern their Indian subjects, but they needed a standard to do so.

The Mitakshara was given the status of traditional law and was used as a legal code in large parts of British India.

Bengal, where the Dayabhaga was the legal authority, was the only major part of India where Hindus were not subject to this.

One of the major differences between the two was in matters of inheritance.

The Mitakshara stresses inheritance by survivorship, in which only living males can inherit property, whereas the Dayabhaga stresses inheritance by succession, in which a dead man’s heirs can inherit in his name.



Vijayanagar Dynasty is a dynasty in India that dates back to the 15th century.

Vijayanagar ("Victory City") is the last of the ancient Hindu kingdoms in southern India, named for its capital city near modern-day Hampi in Karnataka.

Harihara, a provincial administrator of the Tughluq dynasty who broke away to carve up a state on the middle Deccan plateau, created the kingdom in 1336.

Throughout its history, the kingdom saw phases of growth and decline.

It ruled most of southern India in the early fifteenth century, but then declined and lost territory; this was followed by a period of renewal in the early sixteenth century, during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya, and finally ended after the battle of Talikota in 1565, when the ruling prince Rama Raja was decisively defeated by a coalition of sultans from the northern Deccan.

The city of Vijayanagar was abandoned almost immediately, but it still retains outstanding specimens of late medieval Hindu art and architecture, despite the ravages of time.


Vijaya Ekadashi.

The eleventh day (ekadashi) of the dark (waning) half of the lunar month of Phalgun (February–March) is a religious celebration.

This is the eleventh-day observance devoted to the worship of Vishnu, as is the case with all eleventh-day observances.

Most Hindu holidays have pre-determined ceremonies, which generally include fasting (upavasa) and devotion, and frequently offer particular rewards for loyal participation.

Those taking this vow should fill an earthen pot with the seven varieties of grain, place an image of Vishnu on top of the pot, and recite the names of Vishnu for twenty-four hours.

The pot of grain should be handed to a brahmin on the twelfth.

In terms of outcomes, it is stated that diligently honoring this festival would provide vijaya (victory) over poverty and sadness.


Vijaya Dashami is a Hindu festival commemorating the birth of Lord Vijaya.

("tenth victory") The holiday of Dussehra, which occurs on the tenth day of the lunar month, is known by another name.

The festival has two mythological charters, one with the god Rama and the other with the Goddess, and both myths lead to this day as the day when the deity achieves ultimate triumph.



 A central courtyard was encircled by a number of tiny apartments in an early architectural type known as a vihara.

Individual cells in the little rooms and a shared area in the vast middle space—this was originally a Buddhist architectural design meant to provide a living place for the monks.

The pattern was included into the oldest Hindu temples, such as those in Aihole.

In Hindu mythology, Vijaya is one of Vaikuntha's gate guards, who, along with his brother Jaya, is cursed by the sage Sanaka to be born three times as an asura (demon) and destroyed by Vishnu each time.

Jaya and Vijaya incarnate as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu in their first births, respectively, and are murdered by the Boar avatar and the Man-Lion avatar.

They have a second child, Ravana, and Kumbhakarna, who are murdered by Rama.

They take on the forms of Shishupala and Dantavaktra, who are murdered by Krishna in their last birth.

They resume to their responsibilities as Vishnu's guardians after that.



 ("Lord of Obstacles")

Ganesh's epithet, implying that he has power over all barriers and so may make things simple or difficult for a person.

Look up Ganesh.


Vidyarambha ("beginning of learning")Samskara.

 The tenth of the life-cycle rituals (samskaras) at which the child starts formal education, often by learning the alphabet.

Although individuals in contemporary India may not follow the specified form of this process (which involves making offerings to a sacrificial fire and giving presents to brahmins), families that value education have a ritualized start to study, frequently when the kid is as young as three years old.


Vidyapati is a word that has a lot of different meanings (ca. 1400) Mithila, a Hindu kingdom in northern Bihar, has a Brahmin court poet.

Despite the fact that Vidyapati wrote in Sanskrit, he is best known for his love poetry, which was written in the Maithali dialect.

He drew on Sanskrit love poetry's literary traditions in this poetry, but his favorite subjects were the divine lovers Radha and Krishna.

Although later Vaishnavas regarded Vidyapati's love poetry as devotional, Vidyapati's religious writings define Shiva as the Supreme Being, demonstrating that he was a Shaiva.

In Praise of Krishna, edited by Edward C. Dimock Jr. and Denise Levertov (trans. ), 1981; and R. S. McGregor, The Love Songs of Vidyapati, 1987.



 ("wisdom-bearer") is a Sanskrit word that means "wisdom-bearer." Semidivine creatures are a kind of semidivine.

The Vidyadharas are said to reside in the Himalayas, and are so often connected with the deity Shiva, whose residence is also considered to be there.

Vidyadharas are typically kind to people and are commonly linked with providing knowledge to those they care about (as their name says).



 Philosophical idea present in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, two classic Sanskrit epics.

As shown there, vidhi is an impersonal force that controls and constrains both gods and humans; this view corresponds well to the concept of destiny.

In Hindu mythology, he is the son of the sage Vyasa and Queen Ambika's serving woman.

King Vichitravirya's wives are Ambika and her sister Ambalika, who died without heirs.

Satyavati, Vichitravirya's mother, asks her son, Vyasa, to sleep with his brother's two wives in a desperate effort to preserve the lineage.

Ambika and Ambalika each recoil from Vyasa on their own, and each of their sons is born with a flaw: Ambika conceals her eyes, causing her son Dhrtarashtra to be born blind.

Ambalika becomes pale, leading her son Pandu to be born with an unusually pale skin.

Ambika is so horrified by Vyasa's looks that she sends her serving maid instead when she is urged to sleep with him again.

In contrast to the two sisters, Ambika's maid happily serves Vyasa and receives a gorgeous son called Vidura as a result.

Vidura, according to tradition, is a partial incarnation of Dharma, the deity who personifies justice.

In his contacts with the Pandavas and Kauravas, the epic's two warring factions, Vidura constantly demonstrates his justice.

As the Kauravas grow more evil, he gravitates toward the Pandavas, whom he serves as a trustworthy and loyal counsel.

Vidura is the one who recognizes the danger in the House of Lac, which is made solely of extremely flammable materials, and makes plans for the Pandavas to flee.

He stays neutral throughout the Mahabharata battle, but once it is finished, he returns to serve as an advisor to King Yudhishthira, the oldest of the Pandavas, and Yudhishthira's siblings.


Vicious Circle.

One of the fallacies to avoid while building an argument in Indian logic.

When a succession of events happens in a cause-and-effect relationship, with any one of them acting as both cause and effect, a vicious loop is formed.

When "a" causes "b," and "b" causes "c," "x" causes "a" (somewhere down the line).



Satyavati's and King Shantanu's son in Hindu legend.

Vichi Travirya dies after marrying Ambika and Ambalika but before fathering any children.

Satyavati asks her oldest son, Vyasa, to sleep with the two women in order to continue King Shantanu's lineage.

Vyasa sires Pandu and Dhrtarashtra from this marriage, and their descendants become the principal fighting factions in the Mahabharata, the second of the two great Sanskrit epics.


Vibhuti (Vibhuti) is a Sanskrit word that means “power”. 

Sacred ash with which worshippers of the deity Shiva (bhakta) brand their bodies, generally in three horizontal lines (tripundra).

The three lines are said to represent the three prongs of Shiva's trident in one interpretation, and Shiva's third eye in another.

In a variety of circumstances, ash is linked with Shiva.

On the one hand, he is said to smear ashes from the cremation ground all over his body, indicating his disregard for all conventional distinctions between purity and impurity (ashaucha); the ash could also represent Shiva's destruction of Kama, the god of love, who is reduced to ash by Shiva's third eye.

Vibhuti was traditionally manufactured from wood ash filtered through cloth until it was as fine as talcum powder.

This is still done today, especially by ascetics who utilize the ash from a dhuni, or smoldering ascetic fire, which is considered to give the ash a holy nature; in contemporary times, vibhuti is sold in religious supply shops.



 Vibhishana is the younger brother of Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, in the Ramayana, the earlier of the two major Indian epics.

Vibhishana, Ravana, and their third brother, Kumbhakarna, practiced extreme physical asceticism (tapas) in their youth in order to win boons from the gods.

Unlike his brothers, who have chosen boons to improve their military skill and fame, Vibhishana requests that he stay virtuous in the face of peril, and this trait defines his life.

When Ravana gathers a council of war before fighting Rama's army, Vibhishana is the only one who votes against fighting and instead recommends Ravana to restore Rama's stolen wife, Sita, and seek Rama's forgiveness.

Ravana expels his brother from the city as a result of these comments, and Vibhishana joins Rama's army, where he battles courageously throughout the conflict.

Rama appoints Vibhishana king of Lanka after Ravana's death as a reward for his faithfulness and integrity.

In Indian mythology, demons (in this instance, the sort of demons known as rakshasas) are not intrinsically wicked, as Vibhishana exemplifies.

They are formidable creatures who may battle gods and mankind, yet they also possess many qualities.

Vibhishana is shown as a great devotee (bhakta) of Rama in the Ramcharitmanas, a vernacular retelling of the Ramayana authored by the poet-saint Tulsidas (1532–1623? ), in line with Tulsidas' emphasis on devotion above all other types of religious activity.



 In Hindu mythology, one of the types of hostile spirits that may be classified as demons in general.

Vetalas are known to devour human flesh and are supposed to frequent battlefields in order to get their fill.


The Nagara and the Dravida are the other two established styles in medieval Hindu temple construction.

The Veshara style, which is largely found in western India and the Deccan, is the smallest and most widely distributed of the three.

Whereas the Nagara style was defined by vertical uplift achieved by temple towers (shikharas), and the Dravida style by lower temples covering vast swaths of land, the Veshara style's most distinguishing feature is a barrel roof above the sanctuary, which has its origins in the Buddhists' rock-cut caves (chaityas).

This roof lies in the middle of the Nagara towers and the Dravida horizontal tiers, much as the Deccan was in the middle of the two.



 A planet connected with love and pleasure in Hindu astrology (jyotisha).

It is regarded as a powerful planet with obvious beneficent tendencies, yet, like with all other planets, its abilities change depending on the circumstances.

Friday is presided over by Venus, whose good qualities make it a lucky day.





"bam” In Indian classical music, the bamboo flute is an essential instrument.

It is the signature instrument of the deity Krishna in Hindu mythology, who utilized its lovely tones to call his followers (bhakta) to him and spend their evenings dancing on the Yamuna River's banks.



 ("Venkata [HillLord]")  The presiding deity of the Venkateshvara temple in Andhra Pradesh, near Tirupati.

The temple is located north and east of Madras.

Venkateshvara is a local deity who has been adopted into the greater pantheon as a manifestation of Vishnu.

The temple is located in the Tirumalai hills, which are made up of seven hills that are said to resemble the seven cobra hoods of Shesha, the fabled snake that acts as Vishnu's couch.

Venkateshvara's picture is unique in that he has a plate covering his forehead.

The Tengalais and Vadagalais, two branches of the Shrivaishnava society, each wear specific sectarian insignia on their images, and this plate hides these markings on the picture, allowing both groups to claim him as their own.

Venkateshvara is also known for having India's most valuable temple.

People go from all across the nation to Tirupati, partly because it is widely believed that any request expressed in the presence of the deity would be fulfilled unfailingly.

Aside from large monetary gifts, it is usual for pilgrims to have their heads shaved as a token of their presence and to give a hair donation.

Since independence, the temple's riches has been managed by a trust, which has paid special attention to publishing, educational institutions, and assisting in the construction of Hindu temples outside of India.



 A cruel monarch in Hindu mythology who forbids all religious ceremonies and gift-giving save those committed to him.

He is eventually slain by a group of enraged sages, who use their magical abilities to convert holy kusha grass blades into spears.

Following Vena's death, the issue of royal succession emerges.

The sages first churn a little, deformed, dark-skinned man called Nishada from his thigh, who is said to be the progenitor of the Nishada tribe.

Nishada takes all of Vena's many faults onto himself, purifying Vena of them.

Following Vena's cleansing, the sages churn his right hand, revealing a dazzling and sparkling youngster named King Prthu.



Village in the Aurangabad district of the state of Maharashtra, a few miles from the cave temples at Ellora.

The shrine to the deity Shiva in his guise as Ghrneshvar, the "Lord of Compassion," is located in Velur.

The Ghrneshvar linga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, a network of sites deemed especially sacred to Shiva and at which Shiva is uniquely present.

Shiva is pre sent at this temple in the form of a linga, the pillar-shaped image that is his symbolic form, and the Ghrneshvar linga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, a network of sites deemed especially sacred to Shiva.



The landlord community throughout much of traditional Tamil Nadu.

Although technically the Vellalas were of shudra status, their control over the land gave them considerable influence and prestige in the region.

The Vellala community was the source for many of the Alvars, a group of twelve poet-saints whose stress on passionate devotion (bhakti) to the god Vishnu transformed and revitalized Hindu religious life.

Most of the Alvars’ influence undoubtedly stemmed from the strength of their religious devotion, but this was undoubtedly reinforced by Vellala status as a land holding community.




 A dietary practice that carries extremely high status among Hindu people, prob ably because of its associations with strict brahmin practice; even people who are nonvegetarian themselves will commonly think of a vegetarian diet as “purer.” Strict vegetarians eat no flesh or eggs, but milk and milk products are always eaten and are considered pure and health-giving, probably because they come from the cow.

Those people who keep the strictest diets will also often refrain from onions and garlic, which are considered to excite the passions.

This religious commitment to vegetarianism by a certain part of the population, and the general status given to “pure” vegetarian food, are both responsible for the great variety of vegetarian cooking found in Indian culture.

Despite the higher status given to a vegetarian diet, most modern Hindus are not vegetarian—a recent poll of urban Hindus found that only about 25 per cent were pure vegetarian, although the number may be higher in villages, which tend to be more traditional.



Vedarambha (“beginning of Veda [study]”) Samskara.

 Traditionally, the twelfth of the life cycle ceremonies (samskaras) (samskaras).

In this ceremony, a newly initiated brahmacharin—a young man who had entered the celibate student phase of life—would commence to study the Vedas, the oldest Hindu religious texts.

This rite is not mentioned in the earliest texts in the dharma literature, perhaps under the assumption that Veda study would commence at an appropriate time, after learning had commenced with the earlier vidyarambha samskara.



Vedanta Sutras.

Text ascribed to the sage Badarayana in the third to fifth century B.C.E.

Along with the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedanta Sutras is one of the three traditional sources for the Vedanta school, one of the six schools of traditional Hindu philosophy.

The text itself is a collection of 555 brief aphorisms (sutras), which are so terse that they presuppose a commentary.

The sutras focus particularly on the ideas about Brahman, hence their other common name, the Brahma Sutra.

In content, the first section describes the nature of Absolute Reality, the second responds to objections and criticizes other positions, the third details the means to acquire knowledge, and the fourth describes the benefits of such knowledge.


Vedanta Society.

The oldest Hindu missionary organization in America, established in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda.

The society stresses the philosophical teachings of Vedanta, which it understands as referring solely to the Advaita Vedanta school, Vivekananda’s major emphasis.

The society’s tone has been nontheistic, nonritual, and rationalist; its constituency has been drawn from liberals and intellectuals, such as the writer Aldous Huxley.


Vedanta Deshika .

(13th c.) Writer and commentator in the Vishishthadvaita Vedanta philosophical school.

Vedanta Deshika was a follower of Ramanuja and interpreted Ramanuja as teaching that there were two sorts of liberation: a lower one in which one was subject to no outside forces, and a higher one in which one’s entire being was focused on the Lord, whom Ramanuja identified as the god Vishnu.

The human being is considered both identical to and different from the Lord, which means the perfect identity is never possible; God’s transcendence leads to the exaltation of devotion (bhakti) and the stress on submission to God’s grace.



The sixth and most recent of traditional Hindu philosophy's six schools.

Vedanta literally translates to "the end of the Vedas," reflecting their belief that they were unveiling the final meaning of these ancient books.

The Upanishads, which were also the final layer of Vedic books, and therefore their "end" in a different sense, were given special attention by Vedanta proponents.

Several prominent schools with significantly differing philosophical perspectives have used these works as authoritative sources.

The Advaita Vedanta school, founded by the philosopher Shankaracharya and his disciples, is the most well-known and influential of them.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical viewpoint of monism, or the belief in a single impersonal Ultimate Reality known as Brahman.

Despite the appearance of distinction and diversity, Advaita proponents believe that reality is "nondual" (advaita), that is, all things are nothing but the formless, unqualified Brahman.

This assumption of variety, according to Advaitins, is a basic misunderstanding of the ultimate essence of things, as well as a sign of avidya.

Although frequently translated as "ignorance," avidya is more accurately defined as a lack of genuine understanding that traps humans in karmic bonds, reincarnation (samsara), and suffering.

Unlike the Advaita school, which views the Ultimate Reality in abstract, impersonal terms, the other Vedanta schools are theistic, in that they regard the Ultimate Reality as a personal God, namely Vishnu.

The two other major schools are the Vishishthadvaita vedanta (“qualified nondualism”) pro pounded by Ramanuja and the Dvaita Vedanta (“dualist”) propounded by Madhva.

The major differences between these two schools stem from assump tions about connections between God, human souls, and the world.

Ramanuja tends to see these in a continuum, with the world and human souls sharing in the divine nature, whereas Madhva stresses the great gulf between God and all other things.

Another minor school is the dvaitadvaita vedanta (“dualism and nondualism”) of Nimbarka, which strives to find some middle ground between Advaita Vedanta’s monism, and Dvaita Vedanta’s dualism.

Nimbarka stressed that the world and souls were dependent on God, in whom they exist, and with whom they had a subtle connection.

Even from their names, it is obvious that there are significant differences between these positions.


Vedanga is a word that comes to me when I think about Vedanga.

("A Vedic [subsidiary] member") Six types of writings considered supplementary to the Vedas since they were created to make their usage easier.

These six were shik sha (correct articulation and pronunciation), metrical forms (chandas), Sanskrit grammar (vyakarana), etymological explanations of archaic terms (nirukta), establishing astrologically acceptable sacrificial periods (jyotisha), and ritual and ceremonial guidelines (kalpa).



A Sanskrit word that means "Veda" in (“knowledge”) The earliest and most authoritative collection of Hindu holy scriptures, also known as shruti ("heard").

These words, according to legend, were not written by humans but rather by the original vibrations of the universe itself.

The ancient sages, whose perceptual powers had been refined by arduous religious practice, were able to "hear" and comprehend these vibrations, and they were able to transfer them to others in a lineage of learning.

On one level, the word veda appears in the titles of four separate texts: the Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda, each with its own purpose and substance.

The Vedic hymns (samhitas), the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads all use the word veda to refer to the information found in these works or its appendices.

Although these four collections of writings are all deemed Vedic, their forms and characteristics are vastly diverse.

The samhitas are praise songs dedicated to certain deities, and they are mostly found in the Rg Veda and the Sama Veda.

The Brahmanas, on the other hand, are precise ritual manuals that outline how to conduct intricate sacrifice ceremonies; the Aranyakas and Upanishads, on the other hand, are theoretical musings on the nature of the world.

The Vedas were regarded so holy that they were not written down for 3,000 years, instead being passed down orally, a method of transmission that is still used today.

The Vedas' power derives not from their exact meaning, but from the sound of them, which is the same sound heard by the sages thousands of years ago.

To keep this tradition alive, Hindus devised a complex system of mnemonics to guarantee that the writings were not changed or damaged, keeping their power.



 In Hindu mythology, the wind-personified god.

Vayu is a minor god and one of the eight Guardians of the Directions, with the north west as his direction.

Vayu is considered to be pre-sent within the body, in the five "vital winds" (prana) via which all physiological processes are said to occur.

Vayu is a minor god, but two of his sons are immensely important.

Bhima, his son, is one of the five Pandava brothers who appear in the Mahabharata, the second of the two major Sanskrit epics.

Bhima is known for his power and stature, as well as his earthy cravings, which mirror the wind's raw, untamed nature.

Hanuman, Vayu's second famous son, is a monkey deity.

Despite the fact that Hanuman is most known for his devotion and dedication to the deity Rama in mythology, he is one of the most popular and extensively adored deities in northern India in reality.

Hanuman's popularity may arise from his middle station; as a servant, he is less distant and magnificent than Rama, making him more approachable to human requests.

Another key consideration is that this accessibility is accompanied with strength and the capacity to defend people who seek his assistance.



(4th c.) Writer and commentator in the Nyaya school of ancient Hindu philosophy, which has been integrated with another of the six schools, the Vaisheshikas, from the early common period.

Vatsyayana is most known for his commentary on Gautama's Nyaya Sutras, which are the Nyaya school's fundamental literature.



The author of the Kama Sutra, according to legend.

This work is sometimes associated with a comprehensive list of sexual positions and pleasures, which it does include, but it extends well beyond that.

Vatsyayana was fascinated with desire in all of its forms, thus the work opens with a discussion of the four purposes of life (purushartha): worldly things (artha), desire (kama), religious obligation (dharma), and soul liberation (moksha).

Because desire was one of the established objectives of human existence, Vatsyayana reasoned that pursuing it was a desirable thing as long as it did not interfere with the other ends.

After establishing the legality of desire, Vatsyayana discusses how to nurture it.

The second book of the Kama Sutra comprises the text's most well-known material: a description and classification of many sorts of sexual connection.

It starts by defining several varieties of sexual endowment, both male and female, before moving on to discuss various types of embracing, kissing, scratching, and biting as symbols of passion, sexual positions, and oral sex.

This is followed by chapters on finding a bride, courtesans, and general observations on attraction (which the book opposes, save in circumstances when one's affection is "extremely intense").

The book serves as a guide to all aspects of sensual life, demonstrating how sex may be developed into a vehicle for both aesthetic and sheer carnal pleasure.


Vatsalya ("calf-like") is a Sanskrit word that means "to be like a calf Bhava Rupa Goswami, a devotee (bhakta) of the deity Krishna and a close lower of the Bengali saint Chaitanya, defined the fourth of the five ways of devotion to God most vividly.

Rupa utilized several forms of human connections as models for various views of the deity-devotee relationship.

From the serene (shanta) experience that comes from understanding one's entire identification with Brahman or Supreme Reality, to seeing God as one's master, friend, child, or lover, these five models demonstrated increasing emotional intensity.

Devotees who practice the Vatsalya method of devotion believe themselves to be God's parents, lavishing love and care on the god in the same way as a cow does for her calf.

This is an emotionally strong kind of interaction that lacks the sensual aspect that characterizes the fifth mode, madhurya bhava.



 ("air") is a Latin word that means "to breathe." One of the three humors (tridosha) in ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system, together with pitta ("bile") and kapha ("phlegm").

Every individual has all three humors, but one is generally dominant, and this distinguishes a person in certain ways, notably in terms of health, digestion, and metabolism.

The element of air is associated with Vata, which is fast, light, and dry.

Vata humored people are believed to have fast thoughts, light bodies, and a constant need to be doing something.

At the same time, they lack substance and, if not handled carefully, may quickly degrade.



 A renowned Naga from Hindu mythology (mythical serpent).

Vasuki's most well-known legendary role is in the narrative of the gods and demons churning the Ocean of Milk in search of immortality's nectar (amrta).

The deity Vishnu acts as the churning-base in the shape of his Tortoise incarnation, Mount Mandara serves as the churning-stick, and Vasuki, with his immense length, serves as the churning rope.

They tug Vasuki back and forth, with the gods on one side and the devils on the other, until the sea of milk yields up its riches.



("Vasudeva's son") The deity Krishna's patronymic is derived from his father's name, Vasudeva, by lengthening the beginning vowel.

Take a look at Krishna.



Krishna's father is a divinity.

Vasudeva's most significant part in Krishna's mythology occurs on the night of Krishna's birth, when he is able to transport the baby Krishna from his birthplace, the jail, to the house of his foster parents, Nanda and Yashoda.

That night, Vasudeva arrives with Yashoda's newborn daughter, who is really the goddess Bhadrakali in disguise.

Kamsa murders the kid by slamming it on a stone the following morning, but the goddess emerges from the corpse, taunting Kamsa that the person who would kill him has escaped.


Vastradhari is a Hindi word that means "putting on garments".

A recently initiated Sanyasi ascetic is one who has donned the austere garments but has yet to complete his guru's instruction as a disciple.



(“clothing”) The seventh of sixteen customary upacharas ("offerings") made to a god as part of devotion, based on the principle of honoring the deity as a distinguished guest.

The god is clothed with this offering, either by symbolic presentation or literally dressing the picture.

The fundamental aim, like with other upacharas, is to demonstrate one's affection for the god and to minister to the deity's necessities.


Vishvamitra is a king who visits the brahmin Vasishtha's woodland ashram with a contingent of retainers.

When Vishvamitra asks for food, he is astounded by Vasishtha's cow, the Kamadhenucapacity ,'s to feed everyone.

Vishvamitra attempts to purchase the Kamadhenu first, then tries to seize it by force, but his henchmen are thwarted by Vasishtha's tapas' magical abilities (ascetic practices).

Vishvamitra ultimately accepts defeat and undertakes ascetic practices in order to generate his own strength.

Two of their most famous battles are over King Trishanku and his son, Harishchandra; in each instance, the actual problem is the sages' mutual hatred.

Prohibitions against marriage may also be found here.



 Gautama, Bharadvaja, Kashyapa, Bhrgu, Atri, and Vishvamitra are the other Seven Sages whose names mark exogamous clan "lineages" (gotra; in exogamous groups, members must marry outside the group).

All brahmins are said to be descended from these seven sages, with each family's progenitor's name serving as its gotra name.

These gotra divides are still essential in current times, since marriage inside the gotra is prohibited.

The new bride takes her husband's gotra as part of her new identity after her marriage.

Vasishtha is a powerful sage who serves as the guru to the kings of the Solar dynasty, including King Dasharatha and his son, Rama, in the Ramayana, the earlier of the two great Hindu epics.

Vasishtha is particularly well-known for his long-running quarrel with the sage Vishvamitra, which has resulted in several clashes.

The feud's origins may be traced back to the disparity in rank between kshatriyas and brahmins.



 (“control”) One of the eight superhuman abilities (siddhi) thought to be bestowed by high spiritual attainment.

This ability allows you to control others while remaining unaffected by outside influences.


Vasant Panchami.

 Festival occuring on the fifth day (panchami) of the bright (waxing) half of the lunar month of Magh (January–February), recognized as the first day of spring (vasant).

This day is considered dedicated to the goddess Saraswati, patron Goddess of the arts, music, and learning.

In her honor, celebrants perform melodies in musical modes (ragas) connected with spring.

Given Saraswati’s link with study, today is also historically reckoned as the day on which young children should begin their studies.

Vasant Panchami is also linked to Kama, the deity of love, since the arrival of spring heralds the return of blooming plants, along with their aromas and colors.

Kama is said to have tried to put sensual desire in the deity Shiva's heart by first bringing spring to Mount Kailas, where Shiva is meditating, and then shooting Shiva with one of his flower arrows.

Shiva emerges from his meditation, gets enraged with Kama, and uses a flash of flame from his third eye to turn him to ashes.

Despite his destruction, Kama succeeds in the end—after being awakened, Shiva becomes aware of Parvati's austere practice and finally marries her.



In the Vedas, the oldest and most authoritative religious texts, Varuna is a deity associated with the sky, with waters, with justice, and with truth.

Varuna belongs to the earliest layer of the Indo-Aryan deities; this is clearly shown by comparisons with the Avesta, an ancient Iranian sacred text that shows many parallels with the Vedas, and with even older epigraphic sources.

As portrayed in the Vedas, however, Varuna’s influence has clearly declined—there are far fewer hymns addressed to him than to deities such as Indra, Agni, and Soma, and he seems to have played a far less important role than these other deities in Vedic religion.

In the Vedas, Varuna is portrayed as the guardian of rta, the cosmic order through which the world proceeds.

As the deity associated with the high heaven, he also watches over the deeds of human beings and punishes them for any transgressions.

The best known hymn to Varuna, Rg Veda 7.86, shows Varuna’s connection with justice, moral order, and the waters.

The hymn is the lament of a person who has committed some offense against Varuna and whose sin has become visible through being afflicted with dropsy, in which the body retains its fluids and swells.

The speaker begs Varuna to reveal the forbidden act, “committed under the influence of liquor, anger, or heedlessness,” so that Varuna may be propitiated and the sufferer healed.

Despite his virtual eclipse early in the tradition, in the later tradition, Varuna retains his association as the god presiding over the waters.

He is also considered to be one of the eight Guardians of the Directions, each of which is associated with one of eight points on the compass.

Varuna presides over the west ern direction.


Varnashrama Dharma.

In the dharma literature, varnashrama dharma is the ordering of dharma or religious duty based on the hierarchical social ordering of the four major social groups (varnas) and the four successive stages of life (ashramas) (ashramas).

According to this theory, all people would be able to discern their social status and appropriate function based on their social class and stage of life.

The interrelationship between these two sets of categories is often used to denote traditional Hindu society, in theory if not always in fact.

The term survives in modern times, but because the doctrine of the ashramas is now largely ignored, those who uphold varnashrama dharma are primarily defending the hierarchical social divisions commonly known as the caste system.