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New to Vedic tradition

Dear visitor,

thank you for coming. If you are completely new to Vedic tradition (so-called Hinduism) here is a short introduction.

1. The word 'hindu/ism' is not found in the traditional texts. 'Hinduism' is a vast conglomerate of so various and sometimes opposing traditions that lumping them in under one label is misleading.

What is hinduism
Exhibition on Hindu Culture and Dharmic Traditions by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA

2. Some of these traditions are polytheistic (or rather henotheistic), some monistic, and some monotheistic. Hinduism is wrongly perceived as ultimately monistic (Brahman without personality).

Due to Swami Vivekananda's speech in Chicago 1893 people worldwide got an idea that Hinduism is generally polytheistic and ultimately monistic. Well, not really. The majority of 'Hindus' are monotheists - they worship mainly Visnu, Siva or Devi as the Supreme Being. Vaisnavas (devotees of Lord Visnu) are the most numerous (

3. Sometimes the term "sanatana-dharma" is used for a general Hinduism. In reality, sanatana-dharma (literally "eternal duty, or function") refers to the eternal relationship of a living being (jiva) with Brahman, ultimately in His personal Bhagavan aspect.

4. Current Western academic treatment of Hinduism is largely biased. Only recently ideas like Aryan Invasion Theory have become challenged and disproved by multidisciplinary research. At the same time, some pro-traditional authors (like P.N. Oak or V.K.D. Ayyangar) resorted to dubious claims being influenced by nationalism. Only an honest approach can help to present the fame of Vedic history.
Aryans were Indians, they did not invade
Western Indologists: A Study in Motives
Academic researchers versus Hindu civilization
Indo-European Linguistics (IEL), a belief system: reclaiming history of Bharatiya languages

5. Consider what do you want to learn. Vedas and related scriptures are vast and include every field of knowledge, material and spiritual.

Scriptures - an overview
Purpose and origin of the Vedas

More: Sastras and studies

6. A good overview of the religious history of India is given by Prof. Howard J. Resnick in his 39-part series in Religions of India Class at the University of Florida, spring 2009 (mp3 audio).

7. More About VEDA with the site structure

8. Jan's answers and other contributions:
Beliefnet's Hinduism forum, now here and here (nick 'jm8')
new forum (nick 'Jan@VEDA')
old forum (nick 'JanVEDA')
texty z bývalého Hare Krišna fórum (Czech)
mezináboženský dialog (Czech) source (removed):
An exchange with a Muslim under a YT video on Jihad dissapeared with the video but the exchange is archived here (Czech language).
a reply to my friend Willem
reakce na Roberta Vyskupa
a comment on Jeevanmukta das (moon and science)

a reply to Hare Krsna feminist blog entry
a comment on feminism (re My Brief against Feminism by Narada Priya dd)

Wishing you the best in your study.

Hope this helps. Feel free to email us and ask about anything. Thank you

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© 2001 - 2016 VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, authors. CC-BY-SA Jan Mares