Author Topic: The Vedas  (Read 17305 times)

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2014, 03:48:27 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

If a separate class of people ready to sacrifice everything for the cause of the Vedic tradition did not exist, how would you expect people of other countries to become interested in this tradition? If we ourselves discard something that is our own, thinking it to be useless, how can we expect others to take an interest in it? Because of our neglect we have been guilty of denying others the benefits to be earned from the Vedas. It is the responsibility of the present generation to ensure the continuance of
the Vedic tradition not only for the happiness of people belonging to all castes in this country but for people throughout the world. Without this task accomplished, no purpose is going to be served by honouring me with a shower of gold coins
.

Why then did I agree to the kanakabhiseka? Had I not agreed to it, would you have gathered in such large numbers to listen to me?
To dispel the hatred, anger and bitterness that vitiate our social life people whose duty it is to sustain the Vedic dharma must remain true to it and set an example to others by living a life of virtue and tranquillity. The benefits that come from such a life may not be immediately perceptible. What happens when there is a hartal? All shops are closed and people have to suffer much inconvenience. Think of what will happen when the work of preserving the Vedic dharma come to a stop? The ill effects suffered by society will not be felt immediately but over a period. People then will realise the advantage of having an exclusive class that is devoted to Vedic learning as a lifelong mission. If you (Brahmins) alone do not fall in your duty, one day all the present hatred in society will be wiped away and happiness will reign instead.

Our religion places on its followers more restraints than any other faith does on its, but these are meant to elevate man to his true state, to take him to his true destination. There are restraints to be observed by the individual as well as by the community. Any restraint is like the embankment of a lake or a river. If the embankments are damaged, or if they are swept away, the whole area will be devastated. Today there are no restraints at all in the life of the individual or of society, no restraints in a religion that once imposed the maximum number of restrictions on its followers.

I go from place and keep giving discourses. I do so to keep Brahmins under some check or restraint because they are expected to be pathfinders for the rest of the entire society. There is a general belief that Brahmins are more attached to me than are others- whether or not Brahmins themselves think so or I think so. So, if I first succeed a little in binding them to their dharma, I will have the strength to teach others their dharma.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2014, 04:03:44 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

In brief, what do I ask of Brahmins? Before giving up his mortal frame, the Acarya composed five stanzas that contains the essence of his teachings. I keep telling Brahmins today what the Acarya says right at the start:' VedO nithyam adhiyathAm'. The same exhortation is made by the saint-poetess Auvvaiyar. It reads almost like a Tamil translation of the words of the Acarya- "OdAmal orunaLum irrukkavEndAm". What the Acarya says in a positive manner ('You must chant the Vedas every day'), Auvvaiyar puts in a negative way ('Not a single day should you pass without chanting the Vedas'). In Tamil the Vedas are called "Ottu". The Thirukkural has also the same term. The place where the Vedas worshipped Isvara is known as Vedapuri: in Tamil it is "Tiruvottur" ("Tiru-Ottu-ur"). Vedic chanting has survived up till now from the time of Brahma's creation. I keep visiting places to give people trouble and make them spend money during these visits. I do so only to impress upon them that the chanting of the Vedas must go on for ever.

So many thousands of you are gathered here. It is my hope that my words will have made an impact on at least ten or twenty of my listeners and that these ten or twenty will remember them and try to act according to them.

It was only after people emigrated to the big towns and cities that they found themselves compelled to lead a life contrary to the teachings of their dharma. It is in urban centres that you see some of the worst aspects of modern civilization. That is why I had decided not to come to such places, preferring to stay in the villages. But people from these urban centres insisted that I should visit them and, though I was touched by their affection, I was at first reluctant to accede to their request. I told them: "I shall come if you agree to return to our old ways of life, even if it be to a small extent. You need not take lessons in the Vedas all at once. But, as a beginning, you must adopt the external symbols of our Vedic dharma. The peon wears a uniform, doesn't he? The Brahmin must wear the pancakaccha and sikha. There are not symbols proclaiming his superiority; on the contrary, they denote that he is a servant of all other communities, a servant of the Vedas. You must wear these symbols if you want me to come to your city."

It was in vain that I had laid down these conditions. Perhaps there was no desire on the part of the Brahmins I had spoken to,to change their style of dress or their outlook or perhaps they did not have the courage to do it. But they requested me again and again that I should visit them. Eventually, I reconciled myself to accepting their invitation even though they had not acted on my words. "They still have some respect and affection for me, "I told myself.?I will agree to their request and see whether my purpose will be served if I go into their midst and speak to them directly again. After all, what is the Matha for? It is meant for the welfare of the people, to cure them of their ills and turn them to the right path. It is my duty to speak to them again and again- whether or not they like it- about how in my opinion they have gone wrong".

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2014, 04:13:27 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

Thus I started visiting the towns again. When people welcome me in great joy, honour me wherever I go, decorate the roads with bunting, how can I wound their feelings by speaking about what is wrong with them? Everybody has problems in life. The world is plunged in turmoil and people face all sorts of hardships. In the midst of all this they come to me hoping to forget their problems. Is it right for me to remind them of their faults? Or am I to keep everybody happy by turning my religious discourse into an entertaining performance?
Am I to speak to people about what is good for them, what is good for society, or am I to make them happy for the moment by making my talk a kacceri(Music performance-Ravi)-like performance? But there are musicians for kacceris and why should I be invited to perform something similar? If I were to give a kacceri-like performance for the sake of money, I would have to make the listeners happy for the time being. But my purpose is not money. If money comes, it is spent in feeding more than the usual number of people, in holding assemblies of the learned, etc. The affairs of the Matha could be managed with the smaller amounts received in the villages.However, an effort must be made, all the same, to speak to the entire community of people about what is good for them, for their life. Is this
not the very purpose of the Matha?

Thinking on these lines, I came to this conclusion: "It is up to them (the people I am to address in the towns) to listen to me and act on my advice. Whether or not they like it, I will speak to them about their duties, about what they should do for spiritual uplift as well as for the happiness of mankind. "I can do no more than speak to them about their duty. I have no authority to punish them if they fail in this. Even in political parties which believe in the oneness and equality of all, disciplinary action is
taken against erring members- some are expelled like untouchables. I have no authority to excommunicated anyone for any of their offences. Nor do I ask for myself such authority to be exercised over men. The only right I ask for is to have the ears of people. I cannot but do what I can do that is why I am here.

Sufficient it would be even if a single individual somewhere paid heed to my words and acted according to them. He would be the starting point in the direction of the desired growth. Have not movements that do not have an iota of justification behind them grown with just ten people to start with? For a good cause also it would be enough if ten people joined together initially.
I keep speaking in the hope of finding such people. You must not feel unhappy thinking that I am very much dissatisfied with you. I am not unaware of the complexities and problems of modern life. If one is trapped in it, I know how difficult it is to be freed from it. In the midst of all this, you make arrangements in a big way for kumbhabhisekas, bhajans, discourses, etc. I am happy about it all. I feel encouraged by it to speak to you about that which is the very basis, the very life-breath, of these activities of yours. It is that of fostering the Vedic dharma.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2014, 04:28:09 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

Though there is much room for offences against the sastras in the present way of life and though there is cause for worry about the future. I am reassured by certain signs that promise our well-being. Instead of lamenting that "all is lost", the proper thing to do is to promote the good aspects in present-day life and to speak about what still needs to be done. In this way those who have taken the wrong path will sooner or later see the light and turn to the path of wisdom.
All this gives me the confidence to speak about the old ways of life and the old customs. I do not claim that all that is old is necessarily good. At the same time, I feel that nothing should be rejected merely because it is old. An object (or deed) is to judged not on the basis of whether it is old or new; it is to be accepted or rejected after finding out how useful it is.
Let us accept what is good in the new and reject what is bad in the old. Likewise, let us reject what is bad in the new and accept what is good in the old. Kalidasa says the same thing. You have invited me with much affection and treated me with much honour. So I feel reluctant to tell you about what is bad in your present way of life. I have dealt with many subjects- about devotion, jnana, culture, and so on. True, they are edifying topics. But they are all like the branches, flowers and fruits supported by something deeper, supported by the root constituted by the Vedas. Nothing grows without this root, without the Vedic tradition being nourished. It is pointless to speak about other matters after leaving out this vital subject. The preservation of the Vedic dharma is the basic service we render to our religion, and while on the subject, we have necessarily to do well on the drawbacks in the present way of life. After speaking to you about other matters, about mixing with you. I have become friends with you and I feel I could take up then topic of the Vedas since I feel I need not be as reluctant as I was before in telling you about what is wrong with your way of life.
The very purpose of my visit is this. But is it proper for me to speak about it right at the start? Since you have done your job by honouring me and pleasing me, I feel I can now do my job by speaking about the importance of sustaining the Vedic way of life. I have given you so much trouble for this purpose and put you to a lot of expense. As if this were not enough, I am asking you, like Vinoba Bhave, for "sampatti-dana".

Every Brahmin must learn the Vedas and teach his sons the same. Necessary though this is, there is something even more important to be done as a matter of priority: it is to make sure that the schools that teach the Vedas (the pathasalas) which are gasping for breath as it were are not closed down but given new life. For this purpose both teachers and taught must be given monetary help. More Vedic schools must also be established not only to teach the mantras but also their meaning and to conduct examinations. During the years of study the students must be given a stipend. On passing their examinations they must be given substantial awards, the amount depending upon their marks. You have to do all this to maintain the Vedic dharma. Naturally, you need capital for it.Trusts have been created for this purpose. A number of people have made gifts of land (bhudana)- like Vinoba Bhave I too have received bhudana. Now ceilings of landowning have come into force. It is difficult to foresee how the rights of landowners will be affected in the future. That is why I am asking for sampatti-dana.

Everyone of you must put one rupee in a piggy bank every month on the day on which your janma-naksatra falls. Think of me as you do it for, after all, it is I who am asking you to do it. After twelve months you must send the Rs 12 so collected to the Veda Raksana Nidhi. On your janmanaksatra, the Matha will send you prasada (vibhuti-sacred asheskumkum, mantraksata). You will be the recipient of the blessings of Candramaulisvara if you contribute to the Veda Raksana Nidhi year after
year.

You pay taxes and spend so much on so many things. Take this contributution to the Veda Raksana Nidhi as a tax imposed by me: pay one rupee every month for my sake. If everyone agreed to do so, it would mean great support to the task of preserving the Vedic dharma. The maintenance of the Vedic tradition is uppermost in my mind and it is a duty we have to carry our for the good of future generations.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2014, 04:34:38 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

If you ask me why the Vedic dharma must be perpetuated, the answer is that the sound of Vedic mantras and the conduct of Vedic rites like sacrifices will bring universal material and spiritual well-being. Second, if people in every country of the world are to know that the Vedic religion was once a universal religion and, if unity and peace are to be achieved on the basis of such awareness, there must be a class of people in our country who will devote themselves solely to Vedic learning. I maintain that fostering the Vedic dharma is of the utmost importance because it will bring prosperity and inward tranquillity to people not only in our country but all over the world.
There should not be even a single Brahmin in the next generation who will not be able to chant the Vedas. We need the Brahmin not to exercise authority over others, but to carry out the duty of protecting the primordial dharma- and this not only for the unity of our land but for the oneness of the whole world.

How can we claim that a small group of people in this country (dedicated to maintaining the Vedic tradition) can create happiness throughout the world? Well, take the case of a powerhouse. Only four or five work in it but the entire town receives light. If these four or five people do not work, the whole town will be plunged in darkness. In the same way only a few people are required to keep the auspicious world lamp of the Vedas burning. My mission here is to protect somehow the seed capital necessary for it. For the sake of this, I agreed to all the festivities you conducted in my honour. The chant of "Jaya-Jaya Sankara, Hara-Hara Sankara" heard during these festivities brought so many people here to listen to my discourses. Those who conducted the festival in my honour must pay heed to what I wish to say. You exert yourself in many ways in the cause of so many things. Why not to exert yourself a little for my sake also? You do so much for yourself: you go to your office; you have your own pastime; and you conduct all kinds of businesses. For my sake do this job of protecting the Vedic dharma.

Why should I speak differentiating between you and me ["For your sake" and "my sake"]. My work is also your work. Maintaining the Vedic tradition is the one job that ensures the supreme good of all. Doing this duty means well being for you- and I shall be earning a name as a result!

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2014, 04:43:20 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

The Cure for the Disease called Modern Civilisation

People are caught between two groups holding opposing views. On the one side they feel the pull of individuals like us who maintain that they must take to the path shown by the sastras; on the other they find themselves drawn in the opposite direction by the reformers who want these sastras to be changed. From a youthful age people nowadays are used to reading reports extolling the changes that go by the name of reforms. It is all due to the influence of modern education. All this notwithstanding, people have not altogether given up the old customs. A fraction of the dharmas laid down in the sastras and followed for ages is still to be seen in our domestic and social life. On the one hand, there is the habit formed by custom and, on the other, the habit now being learned through the new system of education.

It is universally recognised that contentment is lacking in the modern way of life. People don't dispute the fact that the peace that once existed in the previous generations no longer obtains today. They have more money now -or that at any rate is the belief. But are they yet free from poverty? The claim is made that everything is in abundance, that we grow more food than what is needed. Yet there is anxiety everywhere about the supply of essentials. In the place of the old thatched hut or modest titled house now stands a multistorey building. Then we had just four or five utensils to cook, a basket made of palm-fronds, containers made of gourd shells. Now the house is crammed with all sorts of articles and gadgets that are part of today's "civilized" life. People enjoy new comforts and make new acquisitions, yet they are not as happy and contented as were their forefathers.

Even now there are people who at heart long for a life of peace lived according to the old tradition. But they do not have the courage to give up either the trammels of modern life or the feeling of pride in the changes effected under the reformist movement. They are in an awkward predicament because they are not fully committed either to the traditional way of life or to the new. Let me tell you how people cannot decide for themselves-how they are neither here nor there. In most homes you will see Gandhiji's portrait and mine. Now Gandhiji advocated widow marriage-and I ask people to wear a sikha. Those who respect Gandhiji do not, however, have the courage to marry widows nor do they have the courage to wear a sikha. Poor people, they have no moorings and keep swinging between one set of beliefs and another. We must have the courage of our convictions and unflinching faith in the sastras.

continued....


Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2014, 04:51:56 PM »
kAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas continued...

If we start making small compromises in our adherence to the sastras, it will eventually mean following only such scriptural practices as we find convenient in our everyday life. Some people tell me with all good intentions: "The dharmasastras are the creation of rshis. You are like a rshi. You must make changes in the sastras in keeping with the times. ?Their view is that just as we remove weeds from the fields we must change our customs and duties according to our times. If I take out some rites and observances from sastras now, thinking them to be "weeds", later another man will turn up and remove more for the same reason. At this rate, a time will come when we will not be able to distinguish the weed from the crop and the entire field will become barren.

It is important to realise that if we are to remain true to the sastras it is not because they represent the views of the seers but because they contain the rules founded on the Vedas which are nothing but what Isvara has ordained. That is the reason why we must follow them. It is my duty to see that the sastras are preserved as they are. I have no authority to change them.

We must not give up the sastric way of life thinking it to be difficult to follow. If we are not carried away by the glitter of modern mundane life, if we reduce our wants and do not run after money, there will be no need to abandon the customs and rites laid down by our canonical texts. If we are not obsessed with making money there will be plenty of time to think of the Lord. And peace, contentment and happiness will reign.

Money is not essential to the performance of the rites enjoyed by the sastras, nor is pomp and circumstance essential to worship. Even dried tulasi and bilva leaves are enough to perform puja. The rice we cook for ourselves will do as the naivedya. "Marriage is also a sastric ceremony. We spend a lot of money on it. What about such expenses? " it is asked. All the lavish display we see at weddings today are unnecessary and do not have the sanction of the scriptures. Specifically, the dowry that forms such a substantial part of the marriage expenses has no scriptural sanction at all. If money were important to the performance of the rites enjoyed by our canonical texts it would mean that our religion is meant for rich people. In truth it is not so.

Of the four aims of life - dharma, material acquisitions, desire and liberation - we seek gratification of kama alone (in the form of pleasure, love, etc.). And to have our desires satisfied we keep struggling to acquire material things. Our efforts must be directed towards obtaining liberation through the practice of dharma. All that we need to do for this ideal is to resolve to live a simple life. There should then be no compulsion to run after money and other material goods and other. It would naturally become easier for us to practice dharma and reap the ultimate fruit that is eternal bliss.

concluded.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 04:57:19 PM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2014, 06:17:50 PM »
Friends,
We have seen the importance of the Vedic mantras and what sort of discipline is needed to chant the mantras,and why 'specialists' in the form of dedicated Brahmins are called for to chant the vedas,how the whole world stands to benefit,etc.I intend to post further on what kAnchi mahAswAmi has said regarding the four vedAs.mahAswAmi was born to revive and preserve the vedic dharma and his utterances are  most stirring and inspiring.If only a few get to read this and even understand a little of this,and feel the urge to explore the vedas,it will be a homage to this great sage with whom it has been a privilege for us to have lived in this birth on terra firma.His words have the power that will bear fruit in its time.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2014, 06:24:07 PM »
The Four Vedas-kAnchi mahAswAmi

"Anantah vai Vedah", the Vedas are unending. The seers have, however, revealed to us only a small part of them but it is sufficient for our welfare in this world and next. We are not going to create many universes like Brahma that we should know all the Vedas. We need to know only as many as are necessary to ensure our good in this world.
In each of the four Vedas there are different "pAthas" and "pAthabhedas" or "pathantaras". The same musical composition or raga is sung in different "panis"(style of rendering-Ravi). For instance, the same musical composition or raga is expounded in different styles by, say, Maha-Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Konerirajaouram Vaidyanatha Ayyar and Sarabha sastri. Just as in some panis there are more sangatis to a composition than in some others, there are more suktas in some pathas than in others. There may also be differences in the order of the mantras.

Each pathantra or each version is called a sAkha or recension. The various sakhas are branches of the Vedic tree, indeed a great tree like the Adyar banyan [in Madras]. The branches big and small belong to one or another of the four Vedas, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana.

Modern indologists are of the view that the Rgveda came first, that the Yajurveda came later and so on. But, according to our sastras, all Vedas are eternal. To state that one Veda belongs to a period prior to, or later than, another is not correct since all the Vedas are associated with the sacrifice that came to mankind with creation itself. The same argument holds good in the matter of fixing the dates of the divisions of any of the sakhas - the Samhita, the Brahmana and Aranyaka. The Vedas belong to a realm in which there is no scope for any research. If we believe that they were discovered by seers who knew past, present and future -- themselves, though, remaining in a state beyond time -- we will realise that it is meaningless to attempt to fix their date.

In the Rgveda itself the Yajurveda and the Samaveda are mentioned in a number of passages. In Purusasuktha occuring in the Rgveda (tenth mandala, 90th suktha) there is a reference to the other Vedas. We learn from this, don't we, that one Veda does not belong to a period prior to, or later than another?

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2014, 06:44:21 PM »
The Four Vedas-kAnchi mahAswAmi continued...

I stated that each recension consisted of the Samhita, the Brahmana and the Aranyaka. When we speak of "Vedaadhyayana" (the study or chanting of the Vedas) we normally have in mind the Samhita part only. When we bring out a book consisting of the Samhita alone of the Rigveda we still call it the "Rigveda". The Samhita is indeed the very basis of asakha, its life-breath. The word means 'systematised and collected' together. The Rigveda Samhita as all in the form of poetry. What came to be called
"sloka" in later times is the"rik" of the Vedas. "Rik" means a "stotra", a hymn. The Rigveda Samhita is made up entirely of hymns in praise of various deities. Each rik is a mantra and a number of riks in praise of a deity constitute a sukta.

The Rgveda, that is its Samhita, has 10, 170 rks and 1, 028 suktas. It is divided into ten mandalas or eight astakas. It begins with a sukta to Agni and concludes with a sukta to the same deity. For this reason some believe that the Vedas must be described as the scripture of fire worship, a view with which we would be in agreement if Agni were believed to be the light of the Atman (the light of knowledge of the Reality)(We will later on see how sri Aurobindo approaches in a similiar fashion-Ravi). The concluding sukta of the Rgveda contains a hymn that should be regarded as having a higher significance than the national anthem of any country: it is a prayer for amity among all nations, a true international anthem. "May mankind be of one mind, " it goes. "May it have a common goal. May all hearts be united in love. And with the mind and the goal being one may all of us live in happiness. "

"Yajus" is derived from the word "yaj" meaning "to worship". "Yajna" (as we have already noted) is also from the same root. Just as "rik" means a hymn, "yajus" means the worship associated with sacrifices. The chief purpose of the Yajurveda is the practical application of the Rigvedic hymns in the religious work called yajna or sacrifice. The Yajur veda describes in prose the actual conduct of the rites. If the Rigveda serves the purpose of adoring deities verbally the Yajurveda serves the same purpose through rites.

continued

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2014, 06:53:42 PM »
The Four Vedas-kAnchi mahAswAmi continued...

The Yajurveda is different from the other Vedas in that it may be said to be divided into two Vedas which are considerably different from one another: the Sukla-Yajurveda and the Krsna-Yajurveda. "Sukla" means white, while "Krsna" means black. The Samhita of the Sukls-Yajurveda is also called "Vajasaneyi Samhita". "Vajasaneyi" is one of the names of the sun god. It was the sun god who taught this Samhita to the sage Yajnavalkya.

There is a long story about this, but let me tell it briefly. Before the time of Yajnavalkya, the Yajurveda was an undivided scripture. Yajnavalkya learned it from Vaisampayana. Later some misunderstanding arose between the two and the guru bade his student to throw up what he had taught him. Yajnavalkya did so and went to the sun god for refuge. The latter taught him a new Vedas, an addition to the scripture that is endless. That is how we came to have Vajasaneyi or Sukla-Yajurveda. The
other Yajurveda already taught by Vaisampayana acquired the apellation of "Krsna", so "Krsna-Yajurveda"

In the Krsna-Yajurveda, the Samhita and the brahmanas do not form entirely different parts. The Brahmanas are appended here and there to the mantras of the Samhita.

The glory of the Rgveda is that it is replete with hymns to all deities. Scholars are of the opinion, besides, it contains teachings for our life. The wedding rites are based on this part of this Veda which pertains to the marriage of the daughter of the sun god. There are also passages of a dramatic character like the dialogue between Pururavas and Urvasi. In later times Kalidasa based one of his dramatic works on this [the Vikramorvasiyam]. The hymn to Usha, the goddess of dawn, and similiar mantras are considered to be of high poetic beauty by men of aesthetic discernment.

Since the Rgveda is placed first among the four Vedas it must naturally have an exalted position. It is the matrix of the works (karma) of the Yajurveda and the songs of the Samaveda.

The importance of the Yajurveda is that it systematises the karmayoga, the path of works. The Tattitiriya Samhita of the Krsna-Yajurveda deals with sacrifices like darsapurnamasa, somayaga, vajapeya, rajasuya, asvamedha. Besides it has a number of hymnic mantras of a high order not found in the Rigveda. For example, the popular Sri Rudra mantras are from the Yajurveda. The Rigveda does contain five suktas known as "Pancarudra", but when we mention Sri Rudra we at once think of the mantras to this deity in the Yajurveda. That is why a supreme Saiva like Appayya Diksita laments that he was not born a Yajurvedin - he was a Samavedin.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2014, 07:08:04 PM »
The Four Vedas-kAnchi mahAswAmi continued...

Among the followers of the four Vedas, Yajurvedins predominate. The majority in the North(Brahmins) belong to the Sukla-Yajurveda while most people in the South belong to Krsna-Yajurveda. The day on which Yajurvedins perform their upakarma is declared a holiday. There is no such holiday for upakarma of Rgvedins and Samavedins. This is because Yajurvedins are in a majority. The Purusasukta of the Rigveda occurs with some changes in the Yajurveda. Today it is generally understood to be a Yajurvedic hymn.
For non-dualists, the Yajurveda has a special importance. A doctrine and its exposition consist of three parts: the sutra, the bhasya and the vartika.
The sutra states the doctrine in an apophthegmatic(cryptic) form; the bhasya is a commentary on it; and the vartika is an elucidation of the commentary.
To non-dualists the term "vartika kAra" at once brings to mind SuresvarAchArya. What is the commentary or bhasya for which he wrote
his vartika
?
Sankara's bhasya on the Upanishads are to be regarded as sutras. He wrote, in addition, a bhasya for the Brahmasutra also. His disciple Suresvara wrote a vartika on his master's commentaries. In this work he chose only two of the ten Upanishads for which Sankara had written his commentary - the Taittiriya Upanishad and the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. These two are from the Krsna and Sukla- Yajurvedas respectively, which means both are from the Yajurveda.

Another distinction of the Yajurveda is that of the ten Upanishads ("Dasopanishad") the first and the last are from it - the IsAvasyOpanishad and the BrihAdaranyaka Upanishad.

'SAma' denotes that which brings equipoise or tranquillity to the mind. There are four well-known ways of dealing with an opponent or rival: sAma, dAna, bhEda and Dhanda. The first method is that of conciliation, making an enemy a friend through affection. THe Samaveda enables us to befriend the divine forces, even the Paramatman. How do we make a person happy? By praising him. If the panegyricis set to music and sung he would be doubly pleased. Many of the mantras of the Rigveda are intoned with a cadence in the Samaveda; thus we have SAmagAna. While the riks are chanted with the tonal differences of udatta, anudatta and svarita, the sAmans are intoned musically according to certain rules. Our music, based on the seven notes (saptasvara), has its origin in Samaveda.

All deities are pleased with SAmagana. We become recipients of their grace not only through the offerings made in the sacrificial fire but through the intoning of the sAmans by the udgata. SAmagAna is particularly important to soma sacrifices in which the essence of the soma plant is offered as oblation.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2014, 07:20:55 PM »
The Four Vedas-kAnchi mahAswAmi continued...

Though the samans are indeed Rigvedic mantras, they are specially capable of pleasing the deities and creating Atmic uplift because they are intoned musically. This is what gives distinction to the Samaveda. Sri Krsna Paramatman says in the Gita : "Vedanam Samavedosmi"(Of Vedas, I am samaveda). The Lord is everything, including good as well as bad. Even so, as he speaks to Arjuna about the things in which his divine quality specially shines forth, he mentions the SAma veda among them. In the Lalitha-Sahasranama (The One Thousand Names of the Goddess Lalitha), Amba has the name of "SAmagAna-priya (one who delights in SAmagana); she is not called "Rigveda-priya" or "Yajurveda-priya".

Syamasastri refers to the Goddess MinAkshi as "SAmagAna-vinodhini" in one of his compositions. In the Siva-astottaram ["Siva astottarasatam, the 108 names of Siva], Siva is worshipped thus:"SAmapriyAya namah"

The Tevaram extols Siva as one who keeps chanting the Chandoga-Saman (Chandoga-Saman odhum vAyan). Appayya Dikshita has sought to establish that Isvara or Siva, Amba and Visnu are "Ratna-trayi" (the Three Gems) occupying the highest plane. And all three have a special relationship with SAmaveda.

"Atharvan" means a purohita, a priest. There was a sage with this name. That which was revealed by the seer Atharvan is the Atharvaveda. It contains mantras with which one wards off misfortunes and disasters and brings about the destruction of one's enemies. The Atharvaveda is a mixture of prose and poetry. The mantras of other Vedas also serve the same purpose as those of the Atharvaveda. But what is special about the latter is that it has references to deities not mentioned in the others and has mantras addressed to fierce spirits. What has come to be known as "mantrikam" (magical rites) has its source in this Veda.
But it is to be noted that the Atharvaveda also contains mantras that speak of lofty truths. It has the Prithvi-sukta, the hymn to earth, which glorifies this planet with all its creatures. The Atharvaveda is noteworthy for the fact that the Brahma, the supervisor of sacrifices, is its representative. The Atharvaveda, that is its Samhita, is rarely chanted in the North and is not heard at all in the South. But we must remember that of the ten important Upanishads three belong to this Veda - Prasna, Mundaka and Mandukya. It is believed that those who seek liberation need nothing to realise their goal other than MAndukya Upanishad.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2014, 07:25:40 PM »
The Four Vedas-kAnchi mahAswAmi continued...

We learn from stone inscriptions that the Atharvaveda had a following until some centuries ago. Information about Vedic schools is provided by such inscriptions found near Perani, not far from Tindivanam, at Ennayiram and a place near Walajabad, in the neighbourhood of Kancipuram. Even during the reign of the later Cholas the Atharvaveda was learned in the Tamil country.

There are eighteen divisions among the Brahmins of Orissa. One of them is made up of "Atharvanikas", that is Atharvavedins. Evev today Atharva vedins are to be met, though their number is small, in parts of Gujarat like Saurashtra and in Kosala( in U. P).

Gayatri is the mantra of mantras and it is believed to be the essence of the three Vedas - which means that the Atharvaveda is excluded here. According to one view, before he starts learning the Atharvaveda, a brahmacharin must go through a second upanayana ceremony. Generaly, the Gayatri imparted to a child at Brahmopadesa ceremony is called "Tripada- Gayatri" - it is so called because it has three padas or three feet. Each foot encompasses the essential spirit of one Veda, The Atharvaveda has a seperate Gayatri and if people belonging to other Vedas want to learn this Veda they have to go through a second upanayana to receive instruction in it. For the followers of the first three Vedas, however there is only one Gayatri and those belonging to any one of them can learn the other two Vedas without another upanayana.

continued...

atmavichar100

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2014, 08:53:32 PM »
Quote
.If only a few get to read this and even understand a little of this,and feel the urge to explore the vedas,it will be a homage to this great sage with whom it has been a privilege for us to have lived in this birth on terra firma.His words have the power that will bear fruit in its time.

Dear Sri Ravi

Thanks for starting this thread on "Vedas" with the beautiful explanation of the same by Kanchi Maha Swamigal .   His explanations on Vedas and other things related to Indian Culture is always very refreshing and inspiring .

Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha