Author Topic: The Vedas  (Read 17307 times)

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #75 on: July 05, 2014, 09:05:51 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...

"Gayatri" is a maha-mantra, the king of mantras. A mantra is usually named after the deity it invokes. "Siva-Pancaksari", "Narayana-Astaksari", "Rama-Trayodasi": in each of these the name of the deity as well as the number of syllables in the mantra are combined. The deity for Gayatri is Savita. Gayatri is the name of the metre also. The metre too, one should infer from this, has divine power expressed through the sound and tone of a mantra.

Gayatri, unlike most other mantras and slokas, has only three feet. Each foot has eight syllables and altogether there are 24 syllables. Because it has only three padas or feet it is called "Tripada-Gayatri". There are other Gayatris also. The first Vedic mantra, "Agnimile", is in the Gayatri metre.

Siksa sastra may be said to be a "guard" to ensure the right enunciation of a (Vedic) mantra. But it is Chandas that determines whether the form of the mantra is right. Of course the form of a mantra can never be wrong. The mantras, as mentioned so often, were not created by the sages and are not the product of their thinking. It was Bhagavan who caused them to be revealed to them. Man, beast, tree and other sentient creatures and insentient objects of creation exist as they should be according to the law of nature. In the same way, the metre of a Vedic mantra must be naturally correct. However, Chandas helps us to find out whether a mantra or sukta that is being taught or chanted has come down to us in its true form. We may check the hymn according to its metre and if we find it faulty we may correct it in consultation with people who are wellversed in such matters.

Chandas is of help in giving shape to poetic thought and imagination. Like tala to music is chandas to poetry. It is because poetry is composed according to a certain measure and its rhythm determined in a certain order of syllables that it acquires a definite form. It is also easy to memorise. Modern society is discarding all those rules of discipline meant to give it a definite character and purpose. In keeping with this new trend, poetry too is being written without any metre and "poets" compose as they please. People don't realise that to be free means to be firmly attached to a system, that discipline is the road to a higher freedom.

Chandas is the means by which we ensure that the Vedic mantra is preserved in its original form, it being impossible to add one letter to it or take away another. The very purpose of the Vedas is the raising up of the Self. Must we then permit a single sound to be added to it or be taken away?

Each mantra has a deity (the deity it invokes), its own metre and its own seer (the seer who revealed it to the world). Mentioning the name of the rsi and touching our head with our hand have their own significance, that of holding his feet with our head. We first pay obeisance to the sages because it is from them that we received the mantras. We then mention the chandas or metre of the hymn and touch our nose with our hand. Chandas protects the sound of a mantra and is like its vital breath. So we place our hand on that part of our body with which we breathe. Without breath there is no life. While for all the Vedas taken as a whole Siksa is the nose and Chandas the foot, for the mantras proper Chandas is the nose.
When we commence to chant a mantra we must meditate on its adhi devata, or presiding deity, and feel his presence in our hearts. This is the reason why we touch our hearts as we mention the name of the deity.The Vedapurusa stands on Chandas. "Chandah pado Vedasya": the Vedic mantras are supported by Chandas.


We may only marvel at the intrinsic Error correction built into the Vedic Mantras that helps to check the integrity and purity of the Mantras!(Ravi)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 04:02:27 PM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #76 on: July 11, 2014, 08:10:14 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas[/b] continued...

Nirukta serves the purpose of a Vedic dictionary, or "kosa". A dictionary is also called a "nighantu", which term is used in Tamil also. Nirukta, which deals with the origin of words, their roots, that is with etymology, is the ear of the Vedapurusa. It explains the meaning of rare words in the Vedas and how or why they are used in a particular context. Many have contributed to Nirukta, the work of Yaksa being the most important.
Take the word "hrdaya" (heart). The Vedas themselves trace its origin. "Hrdayam" is "hrdi ayam" : it means that the Lord dwells in the heart. "Hrd" itself denotes the physical heart. But with the suffixing of "ayam" - with the Lord residing in it - its Atmic importance is suggested. The purpose of any sastra is to take you to the Supreme Being. "Hrdaya" is so called because Paramesvara resides in "hrd". Thus each and every word has a reason behind it. Nirukta makes an inquiry into words and reveals
their significance
.
"Dhatu" means "root" in English. In that language one speaks of the root only of verbs, not of nouns. In Sanskrit all words have dhatus. Such words, transformed or modified, must have been adopted in other languages.That is why we do not know the root of many words in these tongues.After all, such an exercise would be possible only if the words in question belonged naturally to them. Take the English work "hour". Phonetically it should be pronounced "h o u r" ("h" being not silent) or "h o a r". At one time the word indeed must have been pronounced "hoar". "Horasastra" is the name of a science in Sanskrit, "hora" being from "ahoratram" (day and night). "Hora" is two and half nadikas or one hour. The English "hour" is clearly from this word. In the same way "heart" is from "hrd". There are so many words like this which could be traced to Sanskrit. It must have taken a long time for words in other languages to evolve into their present form. That is why those who speak them find it difficult to
discover their origin [or root].
How does it help to listen to someone speaking a language without understanding what he says? It is as good as not listening to him. In other words it is like being deaf. Nirukta finds the meaning of words by going to the root of each. That is why it is called the ear of the Vedapurusa: it is the ear of Sruti which itself is heard by the ear.

Western scholars learned Vyakarna and Nirukta from pandits in Kasi and acquainted themselves with the origin of words as described in the latter sastra. From this they developed the new science of philology. It is primarily from our Vyakarana and the Nirukta that the linguistic science has developed.
From their researches, Western scholars have arrived at the conclusion that all languages have one source. People all over the world are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the area where this primal language was spoken. There are differences of opinion with regard to this area, the home of this tongue. We need have no worry about it. After all, we believe that all places on earth are our home. "Yadum oorEy!" is a famous Tamil declaration. "Svadeso bhuvanatrayam" - the three worlds are our motherland.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #77 on: July 12, 2014, 09:01:32 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...

I have so far dealt with siksa, Vyakarana, Chandas and Nirukta. These four form part of Sadanga (the six limbs of the Vedas). I will now speak about Jyotisa, it being the first of the remaining two of the Sadanga. Jyotisa, which is the science of the celestial bodies and the eye of the Vedapurusa, consists of three "skandhas" or sections. So it is called "Skandha-trayatmakam". Sages like Garga, Narada and Parasura have written samhitas (treatises) on this subject. The sun god, in disguise, taught the science to Maya, the carpenter of the Asuras. The work incorporating his teachings is called the Suryasiddhanta. There are treatises on astronomy written by celestials and sages and ordinary mortals. Of them some are by Varahamihira, Aryabhata and Bhaskaracarya. In recent times we had Sundaresvara Srautin who wrote a work called Siddhanta-Kausthubham.

Why is Jyotisa regarded as the eye of the Vedapurusa?What purpose is served by the eye? Near objects may be perceived by the sense of touch. With our eyes we learn about distant objects. Just as our eyes help us to know objects that are distant in space (that is just as we see distant object with our eyes), Jyotisa sastra help us to find out the position of the heavenly bodies that are distant in time (their configuration many years ago in the past or many years hence in future). We can find out directly the positions of the sun and the moon and other heavenly bodies. Just as we can know near objects, even if we are blind, by feeling them with our hands, we can learn about the positions of the heavenly bodies near in time even without the help of astronomy. What is 50 feet away is to be perceived by the eye. Similarly, if you want to know the position of planets 50 years ago or 50 years hence, you have to have recourse to Jyotisa.
We cannot, however, form a full picture of near objects only by feeling them. For instance, we cannot know whether they are green or red. For this, we must see them with our eyes. Again, even if we are able to see the planet with our naked eye, we will need the help of astrology to find out its effects on our life, how its positions in the heavens will influence our destiny.
This is the reason why Jyotisa is called the eye of the Vedapurusa. Vedic rituals are performed according to the position of the various planets [and the sun and the moon]. There are rules to determine this. The right day and hour [muhurta] for a function is fixed according to the position of the celestial bodies. Here again, Jyotisa performs the function of the eye. This Anga of the Vedas is indeed called "nayana" which word means "to lead". A blind man needs to be led by another. So it is the eye that leads. Astronomy / Astrology is the eye that enables us to fix the hours for Vedic rituals.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #78 on: July 15, 2014, 07:21:03 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...


Astronomy examines the position of the planets and other heavenly bodies. It does not concern itself with how they affect the life of the world or the individual. It is not its function to find out how far the celestial bodies are beneficial to us or how they may be made favourable to us. Such functions belong to astrology. Jyotisa includes both astronomy and astrology. Telling us about the results of performing a ritual at a given time, keeping in mind the position of the planets, the sun and the moon and the naksatras ( asterisms ), comes under the purview of astrology. The hours favourable to the performance of Vedic rites are determined according to calculations based on the movement of planets. All this entails mathematical work.
The measurements of the place where a sacrifice is to be conducted (yajnabhumi) are based on certain stipulations. These must be strictly adhered to if the sacrifices are to yield the desired benefits. Mathematics developed in this way as a handmaid to the Vedic dharma.
Jyotisa, as we have seen, consists of three sections. There was a scholarly man in the Matha who was particularly learned in this science. We wished to honour him with a title and decided upon "Triskandha- Bhaskara". "Skandha" literally means a big branch springing from the trunk of a tree. The three skandhas of Jyotisas are: siddhanta, hora and samhita.
The siddhanta-skandha deals with arithmetic, trigonometry, geometry and algebra. The higher mathematics developed by the west in later centuries is found in our ancient Jyotisa.
Arithmetic, called "vyakta-ganita" in Sanskrit, includes addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. "Avyakta-ganita" is algebra. "Jya" means the earth and "miti" is method of measurement. "Jyamiti" evolved with the need to measure the sacrificial place:"geometry" is derived from this word. The "geo" in geography is from "jya". There is a mathematical exercise called "samikarana" which is the same as "equation".
The sixth Anga of the Vedas, Kalpa (I will speak about it later ), has a great deal to do with the fifth, that is Jyotisa. Kalpa has a section on "sulbasutras". These sutras mention the precise measurements of the "yajnavedi" (sacrificial altar). The character of the yajnabhumi is called "cayana". The sulba- sutras deal with a number of cayanas like, for instance, the one shaped like Garuda. They tell us how to construct a brick-kiln ---the number of bricks required for the cayana of such and such shapes. The siddhantaskandha is used in all this.
There is an equation in the Apastamba sulba sutras which could not be proved until recently. Westerners had thought it to be faulty merely as they could not solve it. Now they accepted it as right. That Indians had taken such great strides in mathematics; thousand of years ago has caused amazement in the West. There are a number of old equations still to be solved.
Our sastras mention branches of mathematics like "rekhaganita, "kuttaka", "angapaka", etc. "Avyakta-ganita" is also called "bijaganita".

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2014, 07:30:02 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas [/b] continued...

Eight hundred years ago there lived a great mathematician called Bhaskaracarya. An incident in his life illustrates how relentless destiny is. Bhaskaracarya had a daughter called Lilavati. The great astrologer that he was, he found that she had "mangalyadosa" in her horoscope, but he felt confident that he could change his daughter's destiny, as foreshadowed by the stars, with his ingenuity and resourcefulness, as an astrologer. He decided to celebrate Lilavati's marriage during a lagna in which all the planets would be in positions favourable to the bride. This should, he thought, ensure that Lilavati would remain a "dirgha-sumangali". In those days there were no clocks as we have today. A water-pot was used to measure time. It consisted of an upper as well as a lower part. The water in the upper receptacle would trickle down through a hole into the lower container. The lower part was graduated according to the unit of time then followed - nazhikai (nadika), one sixtieth of a day or 24 minutes. So the time of day was calculated by observing the level of the water in the lower container. ("Water-clock" and "hour-glass" are English names for such an apparatus. Since water evaporates quickly sand was used instead. )
According to the custom then prevailing, Lilavati's marriage was to be celebrated when she was still a child. On the appointed day, she sat beside the water--clock and bent over it fascinated by the apparatus. As she fumbled around a pearl from her nose--stud got loosened and fell into the apparatus lodging itself in its hole. The flow of water into the lower receptacle was reduced. So what the clock indicated as the hour fixed for the marriage was not the right one---the auspicious hour had passed. Nobody including Lilavati, had noticed the pearl dropping into the water-clock. When they came to know about it, it was too late. They realised that destiny could not be overcome.

Later Bhaskaracarya wrote a mathematical treatise and named it "Lilavati" after his daughter. The father taught his widowed daughter mathematics and she became highly proficient in the subject. Lilavati deals with arithmetic, algebra, etc. It is a delightful book in which the problems are stated in verse as stories. Bhaskaracarya also wrote the Siddhanta-Siromani which deals with how the positions and movement of the heavenly bodies are determined.

Parts 7, 8, 9 and 10 of Euclid's Geometry are believed to be lost. All the 12 books on mathematics in Sanskrit are still available. "Making additions several times is multiplication; carrying out subtraction several times is division. " We remain ignorant of such easy methods of calculations dealt with in our mathematical texts.

Varahamihira lived several years before Bhaskaracarya, that is about 1,500 years ago. He wrote a number of treatises including the Brhat- Samhita and the Brhajjatika. The first is a digest of many sciences, its contents being a wonderful testimony to the variety of subjects in which our forefathers has taken strides. Brhajjatika is all about astrology.

Aryabhata, famous for his Aryabhatiya-Siddhanta, also lived 1, 500 years ago. The vakya--ganita now in use is said to be based on his Siddhanta. Varahamihira and Aryabhata are much acclaimed by mathematicians today.
All these books on mathematics also deal with the movements of the celestial bodies. There are seven "grahas" according to the ancient reckoning--the five planets and the sun and the moon. Rahu and Ketu are called "chaya-grahas" (shadow planets) and their orbits are opposite of the sun's and the moon's.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #80 on: July 17, 2014, 07:46:26 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...


The conditions of man correspond to the changes in the position of the nine grahas. A human being does not enjoy happiness all the time nor does he always suffer hardships-- that is he experiences a mixture of happiness and sorrow. While he may be pushed up to a high position today, he may be thrust down to the depths tomorrow. It is not man alone that is subject to changes of fortune. Establishments too have their ups and downs, so also nations.
The sages saw a relationship between the position and movements of the planets and the destiny of man, the sorrow and happiness experienced by him. There is a branch of astrology called "hora--skandha". If we knew the planetary position at the time of commencing a job or enterprise, with its help we should be able to find out how it would take shape, how we would fare in it. If our horoscope is cast on the basis of the configuration of the planets at the time of our birth, our fortunes over the entire period of our life can be predicted. Different reasons are given for the ups and downs in a man's life for his joys and sorrows. It is similar to finding out the different causes of the ailment he suffers from. The physician will explain that the disease is due to an imbalance in the "dhatus". The mantravadin will say that it is due to the gods being displeased with the patient, while the astrologer will observe that it is all in his (the patient's) stars. The pandit versed in Dharmasastra will explain that the illness is the fruit of the man's past
actions, his karma. And the psychologist will express the view that the bodily affliction is related to an emotional disturbance. What is the true cause?
All these different causes may be valid. All of them together go to create an experience. When it rains it becomes wet and the place is swarmed with winged white ants. Frogs croak. All these are indicators of the rain.Many outward signs manifest themselves as the fruits of our past karma. They are all related to one another. The course of the planets governing our life is in accordance with our karma. We come to know the consequences of our past actions in previous births in various ways.
Astrological calculations help us to find out such consequences as indicated by the heavenly bodies.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #81 on: July 17, 2014, 07:53:10 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...

Omens, Signs

Where can you discover water? Where does ground water occur? Or where do streams flow inside the earth? By what signs on the surface do you make out the presence of water underground? How are perfumes manufactured? What are the right measurements for a house? These questions are discussed in the samhita-skandha of Jyotisa. Also omens and signs.
"Sakuna" is one thing, "nimitta" quite another. "Sakuna" literally means a bird: only signs connected with birds come under the category of "Sakuna". All things in this world are interrelated: all happenings are linked to one another. If we know the precise scale and manner in which events are woven together, we would be able to know everything.
Everything in this world occurs according to the will of the One Being and according to a precise system. So with reference to one we can know all others. Palmistry, "arudam" (a method of divination), astrology, all are interrelated.
What does a bird flying from right to left indicate? What is foretold by the chirping of such and such a bird? Question like these belong to the sakuna-sastra. "Nimitta" means omen. "Nimittani ca pasyami viparitani Kesava" says Arjuna to Krsna before the start of the battle of Kuruksetra. He uses the right word "nimitta" while we use the word "sakuna" carelessly. When a cat crosses our path it is an omen; when an eagle flies above us it is a sakuna. To go back to Arjuna, the Lord tells Arjuna: "Nimittamatram bhava Savyasacin". This is in answer to Arjuna telling Krsna, lamenting, that it is sinful to kill one's enemies [or one's kin]. Says Krishna: "I have already resolved to slay them in this battle. So they are already as good as dead. It is I who will kill them. You are a mere tool." (Nimittamatram bhava).
A nimitta does not produce any result on its own. It points to the result that has already been ordained by some other factor - or, in other words, it merely indicates the fruits of our past karma.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #82 on: July 19, 2014, 06:49:48 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...

Not Blind Belief?.

"Hindu sastras are all nonsensical ",exclaim critics of our religion. "They say that north of the earth is the Meru Mountain, that our one year is one day for the celestials residing there, and that the sun revolves round it. They believe that, besides the ocean of salt, there are oceans of sugarcane juice and milk, in fact several kinds of oceans. They describe the earth with its five continents as consisting of seven islands. It is all prattle". Why should the ocean be salty? Who put the salt in it? Why should not there have been an ocean tasting sweet or of milk? Is the talk about the seven islands and the seven oceans absurd? What do the sastras say about the position of the earth, the same sastras that speak about the seven oceans, and so on? "Meru is situated on the northern tip of the earth", they state. "Directly opposite to it is the Pole star (Dhruva)".
The northern tip of the earth is the North Pole. Is the Pole star directly opposite to it? No. "aeons ago", scientists explain, "it was so. But later big changes took place and the earth tilted a bit." The sastras refer to a time when the Pole star was directly opposite the North Pole and at that time the seven islands and the seven oceans must have existed. When the rotating earth tilted a bit the oceans must have got mixed and become salty and in the process the seven islands must have become the five
continents
.
If there is a place above the North Pole it must be Meru where we have our svarga or paradise. Let us imagine that this earth is a lemon. A spot on its top is the Meru peak. In relation to that spot any other part of the fruit is south. Where can you go from there, east or west? You can go only south. You will learn this if you mark a point on the top of the lemon.
For all countries of the earth, for all "varsas", north is Meru. "Sarvesamapi varsanam Meruruttaratahsthitah".
On the North Pole it is six months day and six months night. We must have been taught this in our primary classes. It means our one year is one day on the North Pole. This is what is meant by saying that our one year is one day for the celestials.
When the earth rotates, the northernmost and southernmost points are not affected. In some places there will be sun for 18 hours and in other places only for six hours. There are many differences in the durations of day and night with regard to different places on earth. Only on some days does the sun rise directly in the east and is overhead without departing even by one degree. On other days it rises from other angles (from northeast to south-east). Such is not the case on the North Pole. There the sun shines six months and the other six months it is darkness. And, again, during the sunny months it would seem as if the sun were revolving round this place(the North pole).
The six-month period when there is sun in the North Pole is called uttarayana and the similar sunny period on the South Pole is daksinayana.
The North Pole is called 'Sumeru' and the South Pole 'Kumeru'.("Sumeria" is from Sumeru. In that land, it is said, the Vedic gods were worshipped. ) Just as the North Pole is the abode of the gods, the South pole is the abode of the fathers (pitrs) and hell. To see the gods and the pitrs who are in the form of spirits and the denizens of hell one must obtain divine sight through yoga. Merely because we do not possess such sight we cannot deny their existence. There was Blavatsky who was born in Russia, lived in America and later came to India. She speaks about the worlds of the gods and of the spirits. A great scientist of our times, Sir Oliver Lodge, affirmed
the existence of spirits and deities and stated that mankind could benefit from them. If you ask why Jyotisa, after dealing with the science of astronomy, should turn to spiritualism, the answer is that there is no contradiction between the two as supported by the example of a scientist like Sir Oliver who too turned to spiritualism.

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« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 06:56:01 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #83 on: July 21, 2014, 07:09:44 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas -Sadanga: The Six Limbs of the Vedas continued...

Hand of the Vedapurusha

The sixth limb or Anga of the Vedapurusa is Kalpa, his hand. The hand is called "kara" since it does work (or since we work with it). In Telugu it is called "sey ". Kalpa is the sastra that involves you in "work". A man learns to chant the Vedas, studies Siksa, Vyakarana, Chandas, Nirukta and Jyotisa. What does he do next? He has to apply these sastras to the rites he is enjoined to perform. He has to wash away his sins, the sins earned by acting according to his whims. This he does by the performance of good works. For this he must know the appropriate mantras and how to enunciate them correctly, understanding their meaning. Also certain materials are needed and a house that is architecturally suited to the conduct of the rituals. The fruits yielded by these must be offered to the Isvara. Kalpa concerns itself with these matters.
Why does a man learn the vedas? Why does he make efforts to gain perfection with regard to the purity and tone of their sound by learning Siksa, grammar and prosody? And why does he learn Jyotisa to find out the right time to perform rituals? The answer is to carry out the injunctions of Kalpa.
How is a rite to be performed, what are the rituals imposed upon the four castes and on people belonging to the four asramas (celibate students, house-holders, forest recluses and ascetics)? What are the mantras to be chanted during these various rites and what are the materials to be gathered? What kind of vessels are to be used, and how many rtviks (priests) are needed for the different rituals? All these come under the province of Kalpa.
A number of sages have contributed to the Kalpa sastra. Six sages have composed Kalpasutras for the Krsna-Yajurveda which is predominantly followed in the South - Apastamba, Baudhayana, Vaikhanasa, Satyasadha, Bharadhvaja, Agnivesa, Asvalayana and Sankhayana have written Kalpasutras for the Rigveda but the former's is most widely followed. For Sukla-Yajurveda there is the Kalpasutra by Katyayana. For the Kauthuma, Ranayaniya and Talavakara Sakhas of the Samaveda, Latyayana,
Drahyayana and Jaimini respectively have composed Kalpasutras.
Kalpa contains Grhyasutras and Srautasutras for each recension. Both deal with the 40 samskaras to be performed from conception to death.
The cremation of the body is also a sacrifice, the final offering: it is called "antyesti" and it is also to be performed with the chanting of mantras. "Isti" means a sacrifice and in antyesti the body is offered in the sacred fire as a "dravya" or material.
A Brahmin has to perform 21 sacrifices: seven "haviryajnas" based on agnihotra; seven pakayajnas and seven somayajnas. Of them the seven haviryajnas and the seven somayajnas are not included in the Grhyasutras. They belong to the Srautasutras. Together with these there are forty rites for a Brahmin -- they are called samskaras. A samskara is that which refines and purifies the performer.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #84 on: July 23, 2014, 07:22:56 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas-The upangas

Of the fourteen branches of learning (caturdasa-vidya), after the four Vedas and the Sadanga, we have the four Upangas of the vedas remaining. "Upa+anga"="Upanga. "The prefix "upa" is added to suggest what is auxiliary to a subject.?Sabhanayaka" means speaker; "upasabhanayaka" means deputy speaker. In the same way we have, after the six Angas (Sadanga), the four Upangas. These are Mimamsa, Nyaya, the Puranas and Dharmasastra.
"Mam" is the root of the word "Mimamsa"; "san" is the pratyaya. "Mimamsa" means "esteemed or sacred inquiry", an exposition. What is esteemed or worthy of worship? The Vedas. Mimamsa is an exegesis of the Vedas. Nirukta explains the meaning of the words of the Vedas, also their etymology in the fashion of the dictionary. Mimamsa goes further, to find out the significance of the mantras, their intent. It also gives its decisions on these points.
We have already discussed the karmakanda and the jnanakanda of the Vedas. Karmakanda is called the purva-bhaga,the first or early part of each Vedic recension, and the second or concluding part is the uttarabhaga.
Mimamsa too is divided in this way into Purvamimamsa and Uttaramimamsa. The first holds that sacrifices and other rites of the karmakanda form the most important part of the Vedas, while the second maintains that the realisation of the self taught in the jnanakanda is their true goal. I spoke about the Uttaramimamsa when I dealt with the Upanishads and the Brahmasutra.
Uttaramimamsa, that is the Brahmasutra as well as the Upanishads, constitutes"Brahmavidya" or Vedanta here. It is the foundation of the three important philosophic systems - Advaita (non-dualism or monism), Visistadvaita (qualified non-dualism or qualified monism) and Dvaita (dualism).
Our present subject is Purvamimamsa. As a matter of fact the term "Mimamsa" itself usually denotes "Purvamimamsa". But mention of it brings to mind Uttaramimamasa also.
Every system has, as we have seen its sutras, bhasya, and vartika. The Purvamimamsa-sutra is by Jamini Maharsi, its bhasya by Sabarasvamin and its vartika by Kumarilabhatta. Kumarilabhatta's Bhattadipika remains the most important Purvamimamsa work. Kumarila was an incarnation of Kumarasvamin or Subrahmanya. Prabhakara has written a commentary or Purvamimamsa in which he expresses views which, on some points, are divergent from Kumarlibhatta's. So, two different schools are identified in Mimamsa-"Bhatta-mata" and "Prabhakara-mata". Let us consider Mimamsa in general terms, ignoring the difference between the two schools. "Bhattamata", it is obvious, gets its name from the fact that it represents the views of Kumarilabhatta.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #85 on: July 29, 2014, 09:30:49 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas-The upangas continued...

A variety of subjects are spoken in detail in the Vedas but all of them have the one purpose of leading us to the Vedantic enquiry into Truth and jnana. The concluding portion of a work, speech, article etc, is usually the most significant. If we want to find what so-and-so has said in a speech or in an article, we do not have to read all of it. We glance through the first para and, skipping through, come to the last. Here we get the message of the speech or article. We are able to decide on the content of either by going through the first and concluding passages. The first and last parts alike of the Vedas speak of the Paramatman; so that can be said to be the
"subject" of the Vedas.
The government enacts many laws. But, later in the course of their enforcement, doubts arise with regard to their intention. Then another law is enacted to settle its meaning:it is called the law of interpretation.In this way Mimamsa has come into being as the law of interpretation for the Vedas which constitute the eternal law of the Lord. I will speak to you in detail about Mimamsa which is one of the fourteen branches of the Vedic lore. But one aspect of it I should like to mention here itself.
According to Mimamsa sastra, there are six ways in which to determine the meaning of the Vedic pronouncement or "vakhya". They are listed in this verse:

Upakrama-upasamharau abhyasao purvata phalam
Arthavado pappati lingam tatparya-nirnaye


"Upakrama" and "upasamhara" together form the first method. The other five are "abhyasa", "apurvata", "phala", "arthavada" and "upapatti". These six are employed to determine the meaning or intent not only of Vedic passages but of, say, an article or discourse.
"Upakrama" means the initial part of work, treatise, and "upasamhara" the conclusion. If the first and concluding parts of a work speak of the same idea, it is to be taken as its subject. "Abhyasa" is repeating the same thing, the same idea, again and again. If the same view or the idea is repeated in a work, it must be understood as its theme. "Apurvata" denotes an idea not mentioned before or mentioned for the first time. So a view or idea expressed afresh in the course of work or discourse is to be taken as the purpose or message intended. "Phala" is fruit, benefit, reward or result. If, in the course of work or speech, it is said, ?If you act
in this manner you will gain such and such a fruit or benefit", it means that the purpose of the work or speech is to persuade you to act in the manner suggested so that you may reap the fruit or "phala" held out.
Suppose a number of points are dealt with in a work or discourse. Now, based on them, a story is told and, in the course of it, a particular matter receives special praise. This particular point must be regarded as the purpose of the work or speech in question. The method employed here is "arthavada ". If a viewpoint is sought to be established with reasoning it must be treated as the subject of the work concerned. Here you have "upapatti ".

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #86 on: July 30, 2014, 07:30:10 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas-The upangas continued...

Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-sutra is a voluminous work and has twelve chapters, each having a number of "padas" and each pada having a number of "adhikaranas". In all, there are 1000 adhikaranas.If the Vedas are the law that determines how dharma is to be practised, it is jaimini who interprets the meaning of this law. His interpretation is Mimamsa.When there is legal dispute, a verdict is given, say, according to the decision of the Allahabad or Bombay high court based on similar cases.
The decision given by one court with regard to one case may be applied to a similar case that comes up before another court. In Jamini's Mimamsa a thousand issues (or points) are examined, taking into account the views opposed to those of the author of the sutras, and the meaning of the Vedic passage determined with cogent reasoning. To explain: first, a Vedic statement is taken up; second, questions are raised about its meaning ("samasya"); third, the opposing school's point of view is presented ("purvpaksa"); fourth, that point of view is refuted ("uttarpaksa"); and, fifth, a conclusion is arrived at ("nirnaya"). The process of arriving at the meaning of each issue or point constitutes an adhikarana.
The sutras of Jaimini are very terse. Sabara's commentary on them is called Sabaram. The word "sabari" usually means a hunter. "Sabari" of the Ramayana, they say, was originally a huntress. Sabara, the Mimamsa commentator, had an aspect of Isvara in him. It is believed that Isvara composed the commentary (Sabaram) when he appeared as a hunter to grant the Pasupata weapon to Arjuna. Since it has one thousand adhikaranas, Purvamimamsa is called "Sahasradhikarani". One must add here that in this work the meaning of the Vedic texts are determined by countering many a captious argument.
("kuyukti").
While Purvamimamsa concerns itself with the meaning of the karmakanda of the Vedas, Uttaramimamsa deals with the meaning of the jnanakanda that is the Upanisads. The Upanisads speak primarily of the Paramatman and our inseparable union with him. Vyasa, in his Brahmasutra, determines the meaning of the divine law constituted by the Upanisads. Ironically enough, the sage who composed the sutras for Uttaramimamsa, Vyasa, was the guru of Jaimini who composed the sutras of Purvamimamsa.
Suresvaracarya wrote a commentary on the Taittiriya and Brhadaranyaka Upanisads from the non-dualistic point of view. It is note worthy that he had earlier been and adherent of Purvamimamsa. He made the transition from the path of works to the path of jnana, on becoming a disciple of Sankara and wrote a commentary on his guru's bhasya. Before becoming a disciple of our Acarya and a sannyasin he was called Mandanamisra.
The story goes that Sankara approached Mandanamisra for a philosophical disputation during a sraddha performed by the latter. Vyasa and Jaimini were the two Brahmins to take part in the ceremony.

continued....
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 08:35:35 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #87 on: August 02, 2014, 08:48:48 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas-The upangas continued...

No Concept of God in Mimamsa

Why should the Acarya have sought a debate with Mandanamisra, the mimamsaka? (A mimamsaka is an adherent of Purvamimamsa. We Uttaramimamsakas are called "Vedantins". ) The Acarya it was who revivified the Vedic religion and reestablished it on a firm footing. Why, then, should such a preceptor have been critical of Mimamsa which is an Upanga of the very Vedas?
Before answering this question, we must consider the goal of any sastra or system, whether it be Mimamsa or anything else. Any discipline, to repeat what I said before, must have the ultimate purpose of leading us towards Isvara. I further observed that even subjects like grammar, lexicography, prosody had such an end in view and that was the reason why they were included among the fourteen branches of Vedic learning.
Now what is the concept of God like in Purvamimamsa?
We must here consider how Vedanta or Uttaramimamsa views God, for it is the system to which is the Acarya gave his wholehearted support and which he also commented upon. After all, it is the Acarya who chiefly matters to us. And to him it is that Vyasa's Brahmasutra matters most.What does this text have to say about Isvara?
The Brahmasutra declares: "Karta sastrarthavattvat. "" It means Isvara is the creator of the cosmos. Even adherents of other religions call God ?Karta ". But Isvara is more than a Karta and has one more function. We do good and bad - good actions and bad actions. It is Isvara who vouchsafes us the fruits of such actions: "Phalam ata upapatteh". Isvara is the "phaladata" (giver of the fruits of our actions) of our karma. We do good and evil with our mind, speech and body. The lord is witness to all
this and he dispenses the fruits of our actions. These are the two characteristics (laksanas) of Isvara according to Uttaramimamsa
.
What does Purvamimamsa say about Isvara?
Both Sankhyas and mimamsakas belong to the Vedic system. But the Sankhyas believe that Isvara is not the Karta or author of the jagat (universe). "Isvara is pure knowledge, jnana, " they say. "This cosmos is insentient, made of earth and stone. What constitutes jnana cannot be the cause of insentient matter. To believe that Isvara is the author of the universe is not right." Such is the Sankhya view. Supporters of Sankhya describe Isvara, who unattached to the universe and is pure jnana, as "Purusa". It is this Purusa that our Acarya calls the ultimate "Nirguna- Brahman" (the Brahman without attributes). However, he criticises the Sankhya concept maintaining that the Nirguna-Brahman itself becomes the Saguna-Brahman of Isvara to create the world and to engage itself in other activities.

To mimamsakas only such rites matter as are enjoined on us by the Vedas. They are silent on the question of Isvara and of who created the world. However they are emphatic on one point - that Isvara is not the one who dispenses the fruits of our actions. They don't quarrel on the point of whether or not Isvara is the Karta of the universe. They declare: "It is wrong to claim that Isvara gives us the fruits of our actions according to whether they are good or evil. He is not the one who metes out the
fruits of our actions. It is the Vedic works performed by us that decide the fruits to be earned by us.
"

So adherents of both Sankhya and Mimamsa, in their different ways, reject the view of the Vedas and the Brahmasutra that Isvara possesses the two laksanas mentioned earlier. The mimamsakas believe that Isvara doesn't dispense the fruits of our actions because, according to them, the Vedic works we perform give rewards on their own. We earn merit or demerit according to how the Vedas and sastras view our actions. So it is our karma that brings its rewards or retribution, as the case may be, not Isvara.

Among the religious systems that accept the Vedas, Sankhyas and Mimamsa alone hold the view that Isvara is not the creator of the world, that he does not award the fruits of our actions.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #88 on: August 04, 2014, 07:19:46 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas-The upangas continued...

Sankhya

According to Sankhya, the Atman is Purusa and is the basis of all, though, at the same time detached from everything. In its view Maya which keeps everything going is Prakriti. The cosmos is contained in 24 "tattvas" [ principles or categories] of which Prakrti is one- Prakrti is indeed the first of these and it has the name of"pradhana". From it arises the second tattva of "mahat" which is the intellect of Prakrti (like the intellect of man). From mahat (the great) is derived the third tattva of
"ahamkara", the ego, self-consciousness, the feeling that there is a separate entity called "I".

Ahamkara divides itself into two: first as the sentient and knowing life of a man, his mind, his five jnanendriyas and five karmendriyas. The second is constituted by the five "tanmatras" and the five "mahabhutas" of the insentient cosmos. The jnanendriyas are faculties with which a man gets to know outside objects: the eyes that see objects, the nose that smells, the mouth that tastes, the ear that hears and the skin that feels by touch.
With his karmendriyas he performs various actions. The mouth serves as a karmendriya also since it performs the function of speech. The hand, the leg, the anus and the genitals are all karmendriyas. The "asrayas" for jnanendriyas are sound (ear), feeling, sparsa (skin), form (eye), flavour or taste (mouth), smell (nose). These five are tanmatras. The tattvas in their expanded insentient forms are space (sound), air (feeling or touch), water (flavour), earth (smell), fire (form)- these are mahabhutas. Thus Prakrti, mahat, ahamkara, mind, the five jnanendriyas, the five karmendriyas, the five tanmatras, and the five mahabhutas- all these make up the 24 tattvas.
These tattvas are accepted by non-dualistic Vedanta also. According to it, it is Isvara (the Brahman with attributes) who unites Purusa (or the Atman without attributes) with Prakrti or Maya. Sankhya, however, is silent on Isvara.
The three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas, according to the Sankhya philosophy, are accepted by all Vedantic systems including non-dualism.
Sattva denotes a high state of goodness, clarity and serenity; rajas is all speed and action and passion; and tamas denotes sleep, inertia, sloth. The Gita has much to say on the subject in its "Gunatraya-vibhaga yoga". The Lord says: "Nistraigunyo Bhava" (Go beyond all three gunas and dwell in the Atman). Sankhya also believes that all undesirable developments are due to an imbalance of the gunas and that they must be maintained evenly. But, unlike the Gita, Sankhya does not tell us the means to achieve this- like worship of Isvara, surrender to him, Atmic inquiry and so on.
Purusa alone has life, Prakrti is inert. By itself Prakrti is incapable of performing any function. It manifests itself as the 24 tattvas only in the presence of Purusa. But Sankhya also speaks contradictorily that Purusa is "kevala-gnana-swarupin" unrelated to Prakrti. "Kevala" means what is by itself, isolated, without the admixture of anything else. "Kaivalya" is the name Sankhya gives to liberation. The state in which an individual, after discarding the 24 tattvas and being released from inertia, remains in the vital Purusha by himself is "kaivalya".

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« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 07:21:46 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: The Vedas
« Reply #89 on: August 05, 2014, 07:12:17 AM »
KAnchi mahAswAmi on the vedas-The upangas continued...

Advaita also has the goal of one being absorbed in Purusa, that is the Atman, and discarding all else as Maya. To attain this state, the Acarya has cut out a path for us, the path that takes us to final release through works, devotion and philosophic inquiry. Sankhya does no such thing. Most of its teaching relates to forsaking the 24 tattvas.
Another unsatisfactory aspect of Sankhya is this. Purusa (the Atman) is jnana by itself and has no function. Prakrti has a function but is insentient and without jnana. How does this insentient Prakriti unfold itself as the 24 tattvas? According to Sankhya, this phenomenon occurs in the presence of Purusha. This is not a convincing explanation. How does Prakrti perform its function under Purusha that has no function? Supporters of Sankhya answer: "Are not iron filings brought into motion by the presence of a magnet? Does the magnet consciously want to keep them in motion? The magnet is by itself and the iron filings are in motion. Similarly, though Purusha is by himself, Prakrti is activated as a consequence of its vitality. "
Purusha and Prkrti work together like a cripple carried by a blind man. The cripple cannot walk and the blind man cannot see. So the cripple perched on the shoulders of the blind man shows the way and the latter follows his directions. Similarly, Prakrti which has no jnana carries Purusha who is full of jnana, but Prkrti without jnana is behind all affairs of the world.
This may sound good as a story or a metaphor but it does not make sense unlike the explanation provided by  Advaita - that the Nirguna- Brahman becomes Saguna-Brahman (Isvara) to conduct the world.
Another important difference between Advaita and Sankhya is this.Although Sankhya believes in a Purusa made up of jnana it does not state unequivocally like Advaita that all souls are the same as Purusa. All individual souls, according to Sankhya, exist by themselves. Though the ideas of Sankhya are confusing sometimes, it is regarded as one of our basic systems of philosophy. ("Sankhya? means enumerating, numbers: from it comes Sankhya.)
The author of Sankhya Sutra is Kapila Maharishi. Notable works of this system are Isvarakrsna's Sankhya karika and Vijnanabhiksu's commentary on the Sankhya-sutra.
The Gita too deals with Sankhya. When Bhagavan Krsna speaks of the two paths, Sankhya and Yoga, He means jnana by the former and karmayoga by the latter (not Rajayoga.)
Sankhya does not go beyond asking us to have an awareness of Purusha separate from Prakrti. Rajayoga, however, goes further from this point and tells us the practical means, the "sadhana", to be followed to become aware of Purusa dissociated from Prakrti. The concept of Isvara and devotion to him is part of yoga and it has lessons to bring the mind under control. What generally goes under the name of yoga is Patanjali's Rajayoga, according to which yoga is the stopping the mental process (or the oscillating vitality of consciousness). It is this yoga that has become
popular in Western countries.
Sankhya and yoga are not included in caturdasa-vidya but, all the same, they are important among our sastras.
Though devotion to Isvara is not part of Mimamsa, it accepts the authority of the Vedas. Likewise Sankhya too respects the authority of the Vedas and does not support belief in Isvara.