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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). This view is actually minor although it has a good PR so many people think this way. How it happened?
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, esp. in India, the term "sanatana-dharma" is used for the general Hinduism. In reality, sanatana-dharma (literally "eternal duty, or function") refers to the eternal relationship of a living being (jiva) with Brahman, ultimately as the personal Bhagavan. It can't be applied to non-monotheistic paths.

4. Current Western academic treatment of Hinduism is largely biased due to historical and ideological reasons - influence of Christianity and secularism. 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 reveal the real Vedic history.
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. How to orient yourself:

Scriptures - an overview
Purpose and origin of the Vedas
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. Vaisnavism history overview:
Vaisnavism and ISKCON timeline
How I came to Krishna Consciousness (stories by devotees, a questionnaire)

8. More About VEDA with the site structure

9. 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 byvaleho Hare Krisna fora (Czech)
mezináboženský dialog (Czech) source (removed):
An exchange with a Muslim under a YT video on Jihad disappeared with the video but the exchange is archived here (Czech).
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 - 2017 VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, authors. CC-BY-SA Jan Mares