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  1. <quote> I am a Hare Krishna and i am from gujrat. I know what you are feeling. But i have to say this ! You have a pramukh swami's photo on your post, and you have using such words !! Why ? Are you sane ! Please understand you may have faults, but when you have pramukh swami's photo with you you have to act responsibly, even if you do not feel like it !
  2. Brahma Gayatri Bhasya (http://www.gosai.com/) by Srila Bhaktiraksaka Sridara Deva Goswami Maharaja "The gayatri mantra will excite us to be mindful about Srimati Radharani's lotus feet, to obey her orders." "Radha-dasyam, the service of Srimati Radharani, is the ultimate meaning to be extracted from the gayatri mantra." The Mantra om bhur bhuva sva tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo na pracodayat om om - the seed mantra which contains everything within it; bhur - the physical world; bhuva - the mental world; sva - the intellectual world; tat - that, the three planes of experience; savituh - the soul; varenyam - worshipable, venerable; bhargo - the supersubjective area, the svarupa-sakti; devasya - who is beautiful and playful, Krsna, Reality the Beautiful; dhimahi - come meditate; dhiyah - of meditation, of service; yo - who; na - us; pracodayat - enthuses our capacity; Translation "Above the three planes of mundane experience, bhu, bhuvah, svah is the soul, savitur, who shows us everything just like the sun. Above the soul is the supersubjective plane which is varenyam, most venerated and worshipable. That worshipable plane of existence is called bhargo, brilliant and illuminating. The supersubjective area, bhargo, is the plane known as the svarupa-sakti which is the internal pleasure potency of deva, Krishna, Reality the Beautiful. That bhargo is His own divine potency Srimati Radharani. Let us meditate upon the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani, whose extended self and essential nature, mahabhava, is the svarupa-sakti, and'> and who enthuses our capacity of devotional service. Let us surrender unto Her divine service." Introduction The meaning of the brahma gayatri must bring us to the conclusion of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The gayatri mantra and the Srimad-Bhagavatam are one and the same. It is the very gist of the Vedanta-sutra. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the elaborate commentary of gayatri: artho 'yam brahma-sutranam bharatartha-vinirnay gayatri-bhasya-rupo 'sau vedartha-parivrmhita "The meaning of the Vedanta-sutra is present in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The full purport of the Mahabharata is also there. The commentary of the brahma-gayatri is also there and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge." (Garuda Purana ) The meaning of the gayatri mantra must be in the line of Srimad-Bhagavatam. If we analyze how this is possible, we shall uncover the steps leading the gayatri mantra, to the Srimad-Bhagavatam. What is the meaning of gayatri ? The word gayatri is a combination of two Sanskrit words: ganat (what is sung) and trayate (gives deliverance). This means, "A kind of song by which we can get our salvation, relief, emancipation. Gayatri is known as veda-mata, the mother of the Veda. If we examine the Vedic conclusion from it's most condensed aphorism to its most extensive expression, we shall find that it begins with omkara : the Vedic symbol OM. That truth is expressed as the gayatri mantra, then it appears in the form of the Vedas, and'> and then as the Vedanta-sutra. Finally, the Vedic conclusion is given its fullest expression in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Since the meaning, the purpose of Vedic knowledge progresses in this line, the gayatri mantra must contain within it the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam ---that is, that the Krsna conception of Godhead is the highest. This must be the meaning of the gayatri mantra, but the problem is how to extract Srimad-Bhagavatam-----the Krsna conception------ from within the womb of gayatri. I heard that Jiva Goswami has given such an interpretation, but I could not find where it is written. I heard that he has given the meaning of gayatri leading to Krsna consciousness. Anyhow, the tendency awakened in me to draw the meaning to the Krsna conception. The general meaning of gayatri is "that song which grants liberation." Liberation must have some positive meaning. Liberation means not freedom from the negative side, but positive attainment. This is the definition given in Srimad-Bhagavatam : muktir hitvanyatha rupam svarupena--- unless and until we attain the highest possible positive position, real mukti, real salvation, has not been effected. Mere withdrawal from the negative plane cannot be called liberation. Hegal has said that the object of our life is self-determination. We must determine our normal function in the organic whole---not mere emancipation in a positive function in the domain of service. This is considered to be the highest attainment of life. This is the real meaning of gayatri. The word gayatri comes from two Sanskrit roots: ganat and trayate. Trayate means positive attainment to the final stage (sva-rupena vyavashitih ). And ganat means not mere sound, but musical sound. That musical sound which grants us the highest positive deliverance indicates the sankirtana of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the flute song of Sri Krsna. Brahma-Gayatri-Bhasya bhvades-tat savitur-vavarenya-vihitam ksetrajna-sevaya-arthakam bhargo vai vrsabhanuja-atma-vibhava-eka-aradhana sri-puram bhargo jyotir-acintya-lilana-sudha-eka-aradhana-sri-puram bhargo dhama-taraga-khelana-sudha-eka-aradhana-sri-puram bhargo dhama-sada nirasta kuhakam prajnana lila-puram devasya-amrta-rupa-lila-rasa-dheraradha-dhi-prerina devasya-amrta-rupa-lila-purusasyaradha-dhi-preyasina devasya dyutisundara-eka-purusasyaradhaya-dhi-preyasina gayatri-muralisÝa-kirtana-dhanam radhapadam dhimahi gayatri-gaditam mahaprabhu-matam radhapadam dhimahi dhir-aradhanam eva nanyad-iti-tad-radhapadam dhimahi srila sri-bhaktiraksaka sridhara deva-gosvami maharaja Purport The purport of the brahma-gayatri is as follows: The first word is OM. Om is the seed mantra which contains everything within it. The next word is bhur. Bhur is where we are--Bhu-loka-- the world of our experience. The next word is buvah. Buvarloka is the world of mental acquisition. It is the support, the background of our experience. Our present position of experience is the effect of our mental acquisition. That we are here in the world of experience is not an accident; we have acquired this position by our previous karma. The physical sphere, this present world of experience, is only the product, the outcome of our previous mental impulses. And the subtle world of previous karma, the mental sphere, is known as Bhuvarloka. The next word in the mantra is svah. Above Bhuvaloka is Sva-loka. The mental world (Bhuvarloka) means acceptance and rejection: what to do and what not to do--"I like this, I don't like that." Sva-loka, however, is the plane of decision, the world of intelligence (Buddiloka). Our intelligence tells us, "You may like this, but you don't do that, for then you will be the loser." That plane, the plane of reason, is known as Sva-loka. In this way, this material world is composed of three general layers, bhur, the physical world, bhuvah, the mental world, and svah, the intellectual world. Of course, a more detailed analysis will reveal seven layers: Bhur, Bhuvah Svah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, and Satyaloka. This has been dealt with in detail by Sanatana Goswami in his Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam. Here, these seven strata have been summarized in three planes of existence: physical, mental, and intellectual. And these three planes of experience have been summarized in a word, tat. The next word in the brahma-gayatri is savitur. Savitur generally means surya, the sun. And the sun means, figuratively, that which shows or illuminates; that by which we can see. The three gross and subtle strata within this world are shown to us by a particular thing, savitur. What it that? The soul. Actually, the world is not shown to us by the sun, but by the soul. What really gives us perception and allows us to see gross things? It is not actually the sun that helps us to see; we see with the help of the soul. This is found in Bhagavad-gita (yatha prakasayaty ekah krtsnam lokam imam ravih). The soul reveals this world to us just as the sun does. The sun can show color to our eyes, the ear can reveal the sound world, and the hand can reveal the touch world. But really in the center is the soul. It is the soul who gives light to this world, who gives us an understanding of the environment, the world of perception. All perception is possible only because of the soul. Here, the word savitur, which generally means sun, can only mean soul, like the sun, shows us everything. All seven strata of our existence-represented by bhur, the physical plane, bhuvah, the mental plane, and svah, the intellectual plane-have here been reduced to one entity: tat-"that.That" is shown by the sun which in this context indicates the soul. Here soul means individual soul. The individual soul is the cause of his world. Not that the mind is in the world, but the world is in the mind. Berkeley has said that the world is in the mind. Here it is being expressed that everything is seen with the help of the sun. If there is no sun, everything is dark- nothing can be seen. So without light, nothing can be seen. And in a higher sense, light means the soul. The soul is the subject and the soul's object is the seven planes of experience within this world. The next word in the gayatri mantra is varenyam. Varenyam means puja: worshipable, venerable. This indicates that although within this plane--the objective world--the is the subject, there is another domain which is to be venerated and worshipped by the soul. That is the Supersoul area. That worshipable plane of existence is known as bhargo. Bhargo means the super subjective area, the area of the Supersoul. This is mentioned in the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam: dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi. Srila Vysadeva says that here he is going to deal with another world whose pristine glory is so great that by its own ray, all misconceptions are brushed aside. The subject is the soul, and its object is all these worlds of experience. And the super subject, is the venerable area which is superior to the subject, the soul-- that is the super subjective area. The word bhargo means"more subtle than the soul," and "holding a more important position than the soul." So this means the Supersoul, the Paramatma. In general, of course, the word bhargo ordinarily means light. Just as an X-ray can show us what the ordinary eye cannot see, bhargo is svarupa-sakti: higher, more powerful light that can reveal the soul. And that energy--bhargo--belongs to whom? It belongs to deva. What is the meaning of the word deva? Deva means "who is beautiful an playful," that is, Sri Krsna: Reality the beautiful. He is not a nondifferentiated substance, but is full of lila, pastimes. Deva means pastimes and beauty combined and this is Krsna. His domain is bhargo, brilliant, and it is varenyam, to venerated by the jiva soul. What is the nature of the svarupa-sakti? It is the vaibava, the extend body of Srimati Radharani. She holds the full service responsibility and the energy to serve Krsna. bhargo is no less than the vaibava, the extended body of Srimati Radharani, which contains everything for the service of Krsna. Bhargo represents Mahabava, the predominated moiety, and deva, Krsna, is Rasaraja, the predominating moiety. In the gayatri mantra, we are requested, bhargo devasya dhimahi: "come meditate". What sort of meditation is possible in that plane of dedication? Not abstract meditation, but service cultivation, krsnanusilanam. Dhimahi means " to participate in the spontaneous flow, the current of devotion in Vrndavana." And what will be the result (dhiyo yo nah pracodayat)? The capacity of our cultivation will be increased. As we serve, a greater capacity and willingness to serve will be given to us in remuneration-- just as interest is added to capital in the bank(dasa kari' vetana more deha prema-dhana). In this way, our dedicating principle will be increased again and again. Dhimahi means aradhana, worship. It cannot but be explained in terms of aradhana, puja, seva-- worship, adoration, loving service. The word buddhi means that which we cultivate with the help of our intelligence. But here, dhi is a reference to that venerable intelligence which descends into this plane to help us cultivate service. So dhimahi does not mean abstract meditation, but devotional service. This is the underlying meaning of the gayatri mantra. Gayatri, the song of deliverance, also means sankirtana. Kirtana is also sung, and it also improves us towards the highest goal. The sankirtana of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also reinstates us in out highest serving position. So brahma-gayatri in connection with Mahaprabhu comes to mean krsna-kirtana. Then it reaches Vrndavana and the flute-kirtana. And when we enter Vrndavana, we shall find that the sweet sound of Krsna's flute helps to engage all the Lords servants in their respective duties. When the flute is sounded, the gopis and others are adjusted in their respective duties. At night, the gopis, hearing the sound of the flute will run to the Yamuna, thinking, "Oh, Krsna's is there." And when Yasoda hears the song of Krsna's flute, she thinks, "My son is there. He is coming home soon." In this way, the sound of the flute engages all the servants of the Lord in their respective positions and inspires them to be mindful of their service. In my Sanskrit commentary on the gayatri mantra, I have written dhiraradhanam eva nanyaditi tad radha-padam dhimahi : All other services are represented fully in Radhika. Like branches they are all part of her. Madhura rasa is the chief or mukhya-rasa, the combination of all rasas. Srimati Radharani is Mahabhava--she represents the entire serving attitude. The flute-song of Sri Krsna, expressed as the gayatri mantra, is reminding us and engaging us in our service. And what is our service? Our service must be to surrender ourselves in the service of Srimati Radharani-to accept the suggestion of Radharani. The gayatri mantra will excite us to be mindful about Srimati Radharani's lotus feet, to obey her orders. She is mainly representing the whole service area. So to try to engage ourselves in her service, under her order- to accept her direction and to obey her- that is the service of Sri Radha. In this way, the meaning of the gayatri mantra has been drawn to radha-dasyam, self-determination (svarupena vyavasthitih ). In the meantime, the partial representations in vatsalya and sakhya rasa are also part and parcel of the original mellow of conjugal love, madhura rasa. The vatsalya rasa devotees will serve Nanda and Yasoda, the sakhya rasa devotee will serve Sridama and Sudama, but ultimately, the whole system in one conception is included in Radharani. Radha-dasyam, the service of Srimati Radharani, is the ultimate meaning to be extracted from the gayatri mantra. That is the supreme end of our life. It cannot but be so. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the ultimate or full-fledged theism to be extracted from the Vedas, Upanisads, and so many scriptures. All the revealed truth rises to its acme, to its highest position, in the conception given by Srimad-Bhagavatam. And Srimad-Bhagavatam teaches us that the highest realization, self-determination, is the service of Srimati Radharani-that under her guidance we may serve Sri Krsna. We aspire for a direct connection with her service. What, then, is the inner meaning or purport of the word bhargo? Bhargo means the sum, or "who shows us by light." Radharani is the daughter of Vrsabhanu. I have selected the word bhanu. To represent her personal extended self, I have given the word vaibhava. Vaibhava means, "what comes out," or "extended self." Prabhava is the central representation and vaibhava is the outer extension. The very gist of svarupa-sakti is Srimati Radharani, and the whole svarupa-sakti is her extended self. The town of her beautiful service is the whole svarupa-sakti. Just as rays of light extend from the sun, the whole internal potency is an extension of Mahabhava, Sri Radhika. She has developed herself into such a beautiful area of brilliance, of internal energy, and thereby she serves her Lord. All these necessary things have sprung from her. To help her in serving her Lord, they all come out. When the entire internal energy is condensed in a concise form, it is Mahabhava, Radharani. And when Radharani wants to serve, she extends herself in limitless different ways. And with some contribution from Baladeva and Yogamaya, the whole spiritual world, including Vrndavana, Mathura, and Vaikuntha, evolves to assist Srimati Radharani in the service of Sri Krsna. In this way, I have drawn out radha-dasyam, the service of Srimati Radharani as the meaning of the gayatri mantra and have tried to represent it in the above Sanskrit verse.
  3. Dear JNDas Prabhuji, Thank you for your advice and also i have searched the threads here and there is a wealth of information available. I will see if i can write up a paper on this and then use it at some time some place. Especially your thread is very enlightening http://www.audarya-fellowship.com/forums/hinduism/43014-eating-meat-2.html?highlight=Did+Rama+eat+meat My heart still yearns for a place on the internet where these mischief mongers are exposed and where Hindus could learn more about their own dharma, at least the basics. Thank you so much. Sunindia 22
  4. Dear jndas Prabhuji I agree these people have no basis, but you know what is happenning ? They are presenting these ideas in open forums with huge audiances in india and hindus with little or no knowledge are converting due to this. They are using our scriptures including Gita to convert people. Here is the public proof:- http://www.thetruecall.com/home/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=167 http://www.thetruecall.com/home/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=185 http://www.thetruecall.com/downloads/Transcript/Part%201-ZakirNaik.pdf http://www.thetruecall.com/downloads/Transcript/Part2-RaviShankar.PDF http://www.thetruecall.com/downloads/Transcript/Responses.PDF http://www.thetruecall.com/downloads/Transcript/QnA.PDF What i was thinking is could we have a rebuttal website or a part of some website, exposing these people for what they are ? If sadhus or disciples of sashus like you do not help peacefully defend dharma ? who will ? Please think about it. All that i am saying is we have a rebuttal website that reponds to all this, in one place on the internet that Hindus could use to find out the truth. Sunindia22
  5. COMMENTARY The Itihasas and Puranas Are Vedic To substantiate the statement from the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad quoted in Text 12.4 (B.a. Up. 2.4.10), which establishes the Vedic nature of the Itihasas and Puranas, Srila Jiva Gosvami here cites more evidence from the Puranas, Itihasas, and Upanisads. From these references the following is clear: The Puranas and Itihasas have the same source as the four Vedas and are in fact called the fifth Veda. Srila Jiva Gosvami here refers to the frequent objection that the Itihasas and Puranas cannot be the fifth Veda because they are part of the four Vedas. While explaining the above-mentioned statement from the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad, some followers of the Mimansaka school claim that the words Itihasa and Purana refer to historical passages found in some parts of the Vedas and not to separate works. Examples of sruti statements sometimes considered Puranic are yato va imani bhutani jayante ("from whom these beings take birth"; Taittiriya Up. 3.1) and sa brahmana srjati rudrena vilapayati harir adir anadih ("Lord Hari creates through Brahma and destroys through Rudra, but He Himself is the eternal source of all"). These and similar passages are referred to as "Purana" because they deal with creation and destruction, which are among the subjects treated in the Puranas. Mimansakas further argue that over an immense period many of these original Puranic portions of the Vedas were lost and those that remained became difficult to understand. Therefore, the Mimansakas propose, Srila Vyasa mercifully wrote new Itihasas and Puranas for the benefit of the unintelligent people of Kali-yuga, and this is what is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.4.25). Hence the Itihasas and Puranas mentioned in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad are part of the Vedas, not independent books, and therefore it is incorrect to conclude that they are the fifth Veda. This is the Mimansakas' argument. Srila Jiva Gosvami refutes this argument with references from the Vedas and also from the Itihasas and Puranas themselves. These citations confirm the Itihasas' and Puranas' status as the fifth Veda on the grounds that they emanated separately from Lord Brahma's mouths. If they were only parts of the Vedas, there would be no reason for these authoritative scriptures to call them the fifth Veda. Moreover, there are many statements about the apauruseya, Vedic nature of the Itihasas and Puranas in the Vedic Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanisads, Kalpa-sutras, Dharma-sutras, and Grhya-sutras, as well as in the Puranas, Itihasas, and other smrti texts. Here are a few of these statements: rcah samani chandamsi purana yajusa saha ucchistaj jajnire sarve divi deva divi-sritah "The Rg, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas appeared from the Supreme Lord along with the Puranas and all the demigods residing in the heavenly planets" (Atharva Veda 11.7.24). sa brhati disam anu vyacalat tam itihasas ca purana ca gathas ca itihasasya ca sa vai puranasya ca gathana ca narasamsina ca priya dhama bhavati ya eva veda. "He approached the Brhati meter, and thus the Itihasas, Puranas, Gathas, and Narasamsis became favorable to him. One who knows this verily becomes the beloved abode of the Itihasas, Puranas, Gathas, and Narasamsis" (Atharva Veda 15.6.10, 12). evam ime sarve veda nirmitah sa-kalpah sa-rahasyah sa-brahmanah sopanisatkah setihasah sanvakhyatah sa-puranah. "In this way all the Vedas were manifested along with the kalpas, rahasyas, Brahmanas, Upanisads, Itihasas, anvakhyatas, and Puranas" (Gopatha Brahmana, Purva 2.10). nama va rg-vedo yajur-vedah sama-veda atharvanas caturtha itihasa-puranah pancamo vedana vedah. "Indeed Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva are the names of the four Vedas. The Itihasas and Puranas are the fifth Veda" (Chandogya Up. 7.1.4). mimansate ca yo vedan sadbhir angaih sa-vistaraih itihasa-puranani sa bhaved veda-para-gah "One who thoroughly studies the Vedas along with their six limbs and the Itihasas and Puranas becomes a true knower of the Vedas" (Vyasa-smrti 4.45). In the next text Srila Jiva Gosvami explains why the Itihasas and Puranas are counted as the fifth Veda. TEXT 14.1 pancamatve karana ca vayu-purane suta-vakyam itihasa-puranana vaktara samyag eva hi ma caiva pratijagraha bhagavan isvarah prabhuh eka asid yajur-vedas ta caturdha vyakalpayat caturhotram abhut tasmims tena yajnam akalpayat adhvaryava yajurbhis tu rgbhir hotra tathaiva ca audgatra samabhis caiva brahmatva capy atharvabhih akhyanais capy upakhyanair gathabhir dvija-sattamah purana-samhitas cakre puranartha-visaradah yac chista tu yajur-veda iti sastrartha-nirnayah iti. In the Vayu Purana [60.16-18, 21-22] Suta Gosvami explains why the Itihasas and Puranas are considered the fifth Veda: "Srila Vyasadeva, the almighty Supreme Lord, accepted me [suta Gosvami] as the qualified speaker of the Itihasas and Puranas. In the beginning there was only one Veda, the Yajur Veda, which Srila Vyasa divided into four parts. These gave rise to the four activities called catur-hotra, by means of which Srila Vyasa arranged for the performance of sacrifice. "The adhvaryu priests carry out their responsibilities with yajur-mantras, the hota priests with rg-mantras, the udgata priests with sama-mantras, and the brahma priests with atharva-mantras." Suta Gosvami further states: "O best of the twice-born, thereafter Srila Vyasa, who best knows the meaning of the Puranas, compiled them and the Itihasas by combining various akhyanas, upakhyanas, and gathas. Whatever remained after Vyasa divided the Vedas into four parts was also Yajur Veda. This is the conclusion of the scriptures." TEXT 14.2 brahma-yajnadhyayane ca viniyogo drsyate 'misa yad brahmananitihasa- puranani iti. so 'pi navedatve sambhavati. ato yad aha bhagavan matsye kalenagrahana matva puranasya dvijottamah vyasa-rupam aha krtva sa harami yuge yuge iti purva-siddham eva purana sukha-sangrahanaya sankalayamiti tatrarthah. The Puranas are also used in the formal study of the Vedas called brahma-yajna: yad brahmananitihasa-puranani. "The Itihasas and Puranas are Vedas" [Taittiriya Aranyaka 2.9]. If the Itihasas and Puranas were not Vedic, they would not be used this way in the brahma-yajna. Therefore in the Matsya Purana [53.8-9] the Supreme Lord says, "O best of the twice-born, foreseeing that the Purana will gradually be neglected, in every age I assume the form of Vyasa and abridge it." In other words, Srila Vyasa condenses the already existing Purana so that people can easily comprehend it. TEXT 14.3 tad-anantara hy uktam catur-laksa-pramanena dvapare dvapare sada tad astadasadha krtva bhur-loke 'smin prabhasyate adyapy amartya-loke tu sata-koti-pravistaram tad-artho 'tra catur-laksah sanksepena nivesitah iti. The Matsya Purana [53.9-11] also states, "The Purana consisting of four hundred thousand verses is divided into eighteen parts, in which form it is passed on by oral recitation here on earth in every Dvapara-yuga. Even today the original Purana of one billion verses exists in the worlds of the demigods. The essential meaning of that Purana is contained in the abridged version of four hundred thousand verses." TEXT 14.4 atra tu yac chista tu yajur-veda ity uktatvat tasyabhidheya-bhagas catur-laksas tv atra martya-loke sanksepena sara-sangrahena nivesito na tu racanantarena. Suta's statement
  6. Although the soul is in truth both conscious and active, the proponents of Sankhya philosophy wrongly separate these two functions of the living force (atmani ye ca bhidam), ascribing consciousness to the soul (purusa) and activity to material nature (prakrti). According to the Sankhya-karika (19-20), tasmac ca viparyasat siddha saksitva purusasya kaivalya madhya-sthya drastrtvam akartr-bhavas ca "Thus, since the apparent differences between purusas are only superficial (being due to the various modes of nature that cover them), the purusa's true status is proven to be that of a witness, characterized by his separateness, his passive indifference, his status of being an observer, and his inactivity." tasmat tat-sa yogad acetana cetana-vad iva lingam guna-kartrtve 'pi tatha karteva bhavaty udasinah "Thus, by contact with the soul, the unconscious subtle body seems to be conscious, while the soul appears to be the doer although he is aloof from the activity of nature's modes." Srila Vyasadeva refutes this idea in the section of the Vedanta-sutra (2.3.31-39) that begins, karta sastrartha-vattvat: "The jiva soul must be a performer of actions, because the injunctions of scripture must have some purpose." Acarya Baladeva Vidyabhusana, in his Govinda-bhasya, explains: "The jiva, not the modes of nature, is the doer. Why? Because the injunctions of scripture must have some purpose (sastrartha-vattvat). For example, such scriptural injunctions as svarga-kamo yajeta ('One who desires to attain to heaven should perform ritual sacrifice') and atmanam eva lokam upasita (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 1.4.15: 'One should worship with the aim of attaining the spiritual kingdom') are meaningful only if a conscious doer exists. If the modes of nature were the doer, these statements would serve no purpose. After all, scriptural injunctions engage the living entity in performing prescribed actions by convincing him that he can act to bring about certain enjoyable results. Such a mentality cannot be aroused in the inert modes of nature." Jaimini Rsi, in his Purva-mimansa-sutras, presents material work and its results as the whole of reality (vipanam rtam). He and later proponents of Karma-mimansa philosophy teach that material existence is endless - that there is no liberation. For them the cycle of karma is perpetual, and the best one can aim for is higher birth among the demigods. Therefore, they say, the whole purpose of the Vedas is to engage human beings in rituals for creating good karma, and consequently the mature soul's prime responsibility is to ascertain the exact meaning of the Vedas' sacrificial injunctions and to execute them. Codana-laksano 'rtho dharmah: "Duty is that which is indicated by the injunctions of the Vedas." (Purva-mimansa-sutra 1.1.2) The Vedanta-sutra, however - especially in the fourth chapter, which deals with life's ultimate goal - elaborately describes the soul's potential for achieving liberation from birth and death, while it subordinates ritual sacrifice to the role of helping one become qualified to receive spiritual knowledge. As stated there (Vedanta-sutra 4.1.16), agnihotradi tu tat-karyayaiva tad-darsanat: "The Agnihotra and other Vedic sacrifices are meant only for producing knowledge, as the statements of the Vedas show." And the very last words of the Vedanta-sutra (4.4.22) proclaim, anavrttih sabdat: "The liberated soul never returns to this world, as promised by the revealed scripture." Thus the fallacious conclusions of the speculative philosophers prove that even great scholars and sages are often bewildered by the misuse of their own God-given intelligence. As the Katha Upanisad (1.2.5) says, avidyayam antare vartamanah svaya dhirah panditam-manyamanah janghanyamanah pariyanti mudha andhenaiva niyamana yathandhah "Caught in the grip of ignorance, self-proclaimed experts consider themselves learned authorities. They wander about this world befooled, like the blind leading the blind." Of the six orthodox philosophies of Vedic tradition - Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Mimansa and Vedanta - only the Vedanta of Badarayana Vyasa is free of error, and even that only as properly explained by the bona fide Vaisnava acaryas. Each of the six schools, nonetheless, makes some practical contribution to Vedic education: atheistic Sankhya explains the evolution of natural elements from subtle to gross, Patanjali's yoga describes the eightfold method of meditation, Nyaya sets forth the techniques of logic, Vaisesika considers the basic metaphysical categories of reality, and Mimansa establishes the standard tools of scriptural interpretation. Apart from these six, there are also the more deviant philosophies of the Buddhists, Jains and Carvakas, whose theories of voidism and materialism deny the spiritual integrity of the eternal soul. Ultimately, the only perfectly reliable source of knowledge is God Himself. The Personality of Godhead is avabodha-rasa, the infinite reservoir of unfailing vision. To those who depend on Him with absolute conviction, He grants the divine eye of knowledge. Others, following their own speculative theories, must grope for the truth through the obscuring curtain of Maya. Srila Sridhara Svami prays, mithya-tarka-sukarkaserita-maha-vadandhakarantara- bhramyan-manda-mater amanda-mahimams tvad-jnana-vartmasphutam sriman madhava vamana tri-nayana sri-sankara sri-pate govindeti muda vadan madhu-pate muktah kada syam aham "For the bewildered soul wandering within the darkness of those exalted philosophies promoted by the harsh methods of false logic, the path of true knowledge of You, O Lord of magnificent glory, remains invisible. O Lord of Madhu, husband of the goddess of fortune, when will I become liberated by joyfully chanting Your names - Madhava, Vamana, Trinayana, Sri Sankara, Sripati and Govinda?" At this point we have more or less reached the end of what was intended to be said in this paper. We are aware that some readers will not completely agree with our views, owing to the fact that this presentation is primarily based on the conclusions of Vaisnava philosophy. However, it is hoped that some of the material presented will give further impetus to the thoughtful minds of those who are skilled in analytical thinking and are lovers of the Ultimate Truth. The following is an excerpt from the Tattva-Sandarbha which gives extensive evidence for the status of the Puranas and Itihasas as Vedic literature. TEXT 13.1 ata eva skande prabhasa-khande pura tapas cacarogram amarana pitamahah avirbhutas tato vedah sa-sad-anga-pada-kramah tatah purana akhila sarva-sastra-maya dhruvam nitya-sabda-maya punya sata-koti-pravistaram nirgata brahmano vaktrat tasya bhedan nibodhata brahmya purana prathamam ity-adi. The Prabhasa-khanda of the Skanda Purana [2.3.5] therefore states: "Long ago, Lord Brahma, the grandfather of the demigods, performed severe penances, and as a result the Vedas appeared, along with their six supplements and their pada and krama texts. Then the entire Purana emanated from his mouth. Composed of eternal sound and consisting of one billion verses, it is the unchanging, sacred embodiment of all scriptures. You should know that of the various divisions of this Purana, the Brahma Purana is the first." TEXT 13.2 atra sata-koti-sankhya brahma-loke prasiddheti tathokta trtiya-skandhe ca rg-yajuh-samatharvakhyan vedan purvadibhir mukhair ity-adi-prakarane itihasa-puranani pancama vedam isvarah sarvebhya eva vaktrebhyah sasrje sarva-darsanah ity api catra saksad eva veda-sabdah prayuktah puranetihasayoh. The figure one billion cited here refers to the number of verses existing in Brahma's domain. Srimad-Bhagavatam's Third Canto gives a similar description in the passage starting with the words rg-yajuh-samatharvakhyan vedan purvadibhir mukhair: "Beginning from the front face of Brahma, gradually the four Vedas - Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva - became manifest" [bhag. 3.12.37]. In this passage we find the statement, "Then Brahma created the fifth Veda - the Puranas and the histories - from all his mouths, since he could see all the past, present, and future" [bhag. 3.12.39]. Here the word veda is used specifically in reference to the Itihasas and Puranas. TEXT 13.3 anyatra ca purana pancamo vedah, itihasah purana ca pancamo veda ucyate vedan adhyapayam asa mahabharata-pancamanity-adau. anyatha vedan ity-adav api pancamatva navakalpyeta samana-jatiya-nivesitatvat sankhyayah. And elsewhere it is said, "The Puranas are the fifth Veda,The Itihasas and Puranas are called the fifth Veda" [bhag. 1.4.20], and "He taught the Vedas along with the fifth of their number, the Mahabharata" [M.Bh. Moksa-dharma 340.21]. If the Itihasas and Puranas were not Vedic, it would have been inappropriate for the preceding verses to include them as the fifth Veda, since normally one counts together only objects of the same kind. TEXT 13.4 bhavisya-purane karsna ca pancama veda yan mahabharata smrtam iti. tatha ca sama-kauthumiya-sakhaya chandogyopanisadi ca rg-veda bhagavo 'dhyemi yajur-veda sama-vedam atharvana caturtham itihasa purana pancama vedana vedam ity-adi. Also, the Bhavisya Purana states, "The fifth Veda, written by Sri Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa, is called the Mahabharata." Another reference is found in the Chandogya Upanisad of the Kauthumiya school of the Sama Veda: "Venerable sir, I have studied the Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas, and also the Itihasas and Puranas, which are the fifth Veda" [Kauthumiya Chandogya Upanisad 7.1.2]. TEXT 13.5 ata eva asya mahato bhutasya ity-adav itihasa-puranayos caturnam evantar- bhutatva-kalpanaya prasiddha-pratyakhyana nirastam. tad ukta brahma purana prathamam ity-adi. Thus is refuted the frequently raised objection that the Itihasas and Puranas, said in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad to emanate from the breath of the Supreme Being, are included in the four Vedas and therefore have no separate existence. The same is stated in the words "Brahma Purana is the first..."(Skanda Purana).
  7. Traditionally, in Indian philosophy, six schools are accepted that are all based on the Vedas in various ways. These philosophies are known as sad-darsana and were originally propounded by the following sages: (1) vaisesika, propounded by Kanada Rsi (2) nyaya, propounded by Gautama Rsi (3) yoga or mysticism, propounded by Patanjali Rsi (4) the philosophy of sankhya, propounded by Kapila Rsi (5) the philosophy of karma-mimansa, propounded by Jaimini Rsi (6) the philosophy of brahma-mimansa, or Vedanta, the ultimate conclusion of the Absolute Truth (janmady asya yatah), propounded by Vedavyasa. The text quoted below is taken from Canto Ten of the Bhagavata Purana. The passage comes from the eighty-seventh chapter, which is called Prayers of the Personified Vedas and constitutes one of the most philosophical chapters of the Bhagavata-Purana. The translation and commentary are by Hrdayananda dasa Gosvami. The text gives a summary of each of the six philosophical systems. Bh.P. 10.87.25 TEXT 25 janim asatah sato mrtim utatmani ye ca bhida vipanam rta smaranty upadisanti ta arupitaih tri-guna-mayah puman iti bhida yad abodha-krta tvayi na tatah paratra sa bhaved avabodha-rase TRANSLATION Supposed authorities who declare that matter is the origin of existence, that the permanent qualities of the soul can be destroyed, that the self is compounded of separate aspects of spirit and matter, or that material transactions constitute reality - all such authorities base their teachings on mistaken ideas that hide the truth. The dualistic conception that the living entity is produced from the three modes of nature is simply a product of ignorance. Such a conception has no real basis in You, for You are transcendental to all illusion and always enjoy perfect, total awareness. PURPORT In traditional Indian philosophy, the followers of Vaisesika, Nyaya, Sankhya, Yoga and Mimansa philosophies all have their own erroneous ideas, which the personified Vedas point out in this prayer. The Vaisesikas say that the visible universe is created from an original stock of atoms (janim asatah). As Kanada Rsi's Vaisesika-sutras (7.1.20) state, nitya parimandalam: "That which is of the smallest size, the atom, is eternal." Kanada and his followers also postulate eternality for other, nonatomic entities, including the souls who become embodied, and even a Supreme Soul. But in Vaisesika cosmology the souls and the Supersoul play only token roles in the atomic production of the universe. Srila Krsna-dvaipayana Vedavyasa criticizes this position in his Vedanta-sutras (2.2.12): ubhayathapi na karmatas tad-abhavah. According to this sutra, one cannot claim that, at the time of creation, atoms first combine together because they are impelled by some karmic impulse adhering in the atoms themselves, since atoms by themselves, in their primeval state before combining into complex objects, have no ethical responsibility that might lead them to acquire pious and sinful reactions. Nor can the initial combination of atoms be explained as a result of the residual karma of the living entities who lie dormant prior to creation, since these reactions are each jiva's own and cannot be transferred from them even to other jivas, what to speak of inert atoms. Alternatively, the phrase janim asatah can be taken to allude to the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali Rsi, inasmuch as his Yoga-sutras teach one how to achieve the transcendental status of Brahmanhood by a mechanical process of exercise and meditation. Patanjali's yoga method is here called asat because it ignores the essential aspect of devotion - surrender to the will of the Supreme Person. As Lord Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita (17.28), asraddhaya huta datta tapas tapta krta ca yat asad ity ucyate partha na ca tat pretya no iha "Anything done as sacrifice, charity or penance without faith in the Supreme, O son of Prtha, is impermanent. It is called asat and is useless both in this life and in the next." The Yoga-sutras acknowledge the Personality of Godhead in an oblique way, but only as a helper whom the advancing yogi can utilize. Isvara-pranidhanad va: "Devotional meditation on God is yet another means of achieving concentration." (Yoga-sutra 1.23) In contrast, Badarayana Vedavyasa's philosophy of Vedanta emphasizes devotional service not only as the primary means to liberation but also as identical with liberation itself. A-prayanat tatrapi hi drstam: "Worship of the Lord continues up to the point of liberation, and indeed goes on in the liberated state also, as the Vedas reveal." (Vedanta-sutra 4.1.12) Gautama Rsi, in his Nyaya-sutras, proposes that one can attain liberation by negating both illusion and unhappiness: duhkha-janma-pravrtti-dosa-mithya-jnananam uttarottarapaye tad-anantarabhavad apavargah. "By successively dispelling false conceptions, bad character, entangling action, rebirth and misery - the disappearance of one of these allowing the disappearance of the next - one can achieve final liberation." (Nyaya-sutra 1.1.2) But since Nyaya philosophers believe that awareness is not an essential quality of the soul, they teach that a liberated soul has no consciousness. The Nyaya idea of liberation thus puts the soul in the condition of a dead stone. This attempt by the Nyaya philosophers to kill the soul's innate consciousness is here called sato mrtim by the personified Vedas. But the Vedanta-sutra (2.3.17) unequivocally states, jno 'ta eva: "The jiva soul is always a knower."
  8. According to learned scholars, there are three different sources of knowledge, which are called prasthana-traya. According to these scholars, Vedanta is one of such sources, for it presents Vedic knowledge on the basis of logic and sound arguments. In the Bhagavad-gita (13.5) the Lord says, brahma-sutra-padais caiva hetumadbhir viniscitaih: "Understanding of the ultimate goal of life is ascertained in the Brahma-sutra by legitimate logic and argument concerning cause and effect." Therefore the Vedanta-sutra is known as nyaya-prasthana, the Upanisads are known as sruti-prasthana, and the Gita, Mahabharata and Puranas are known as smrti-prasthana. All scientific knowledge of transcendence must be supported by sruti, smrti and a sound logical basis. It is said that both the Vedic knowledge and the supplement of the Vedas called the Satvata-pancaratra emanated from the breathing of Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedanta-sutra aphorisms were compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, a powerful incarnation of Sri Narayana, although it is sometimes said that they were compiled by a great sage named Apantaratama. Both the Pancaratra and Vedanta-sutra, however, express the same opinions. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore confirms that there is no difference in opinion between the two, and He declares that because the Vedanta-sutra was compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, it may be understood to have emanated from the breathing of Sri Narayana. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that while Vyasadeva was compiling the Vedanta-sutra, seven of his great saintly contemporaries were also engaged in similar work. These saints were Atreya Rsi, Asmarathya, Audulomi, Karsnajini, Kasakrtsna, Jaimini and Badari. In addition, it is stated that Parasari and Karmandi-bhiksu also discussed the Vedanta-sutra aphorisms before Vyasadeva. The Vedanta-sutra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jnana, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jnana. The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: jivera 'svarupa' haya krsnera 'nitya-dasa'. "The living entity is an eternal servant of Krsna, the Supreme God." (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sadhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jnana. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (prayojana-jnana). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. The words anavrttih sabdat in the Vedanta-sutra indicate this ultimate goal. Srila Vyasadeva, a powerful incarnation of Narayana, compiled the Vedanta-sutra, and in order to protect it from unauthorized commentaries, he personally composed Srimad-Bhagavatam on the instruction of his spiritual master, Narada Muni, as the original commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Besides Srimad-Bhagavatam, there are commentaries on the Vedanta-sutra composed by all the major Vaisnava acaryas, and in each of them devotional service to the Lord is described very explicitly. Only those who follow Sankara's commentary have described the Vedanta-sutra in an impersonal way, without reference to visnu-bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord, Visnu. Generally people very much appreciate this Sariraka-bhasya, or impersonal description of the Vedanta-sutra, but all commentaries that are devoid of devotional service to Lord Visnu must be considered to differ in purpose from the original Vedanta-sutra. In other words, Lord Caitanya definitely confirmed that the commentaries, or bhasyas, written by the Vaisnava acaryas on the basis of devotional service to Lord Visnu, and not the Sariraka-bhasya of Sankaracarya, give the actual explanation of the Vedanta-sutra.
  9. The philosophy of the Vedas has been summarized in the codes of the Vedanta-Sutras of Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa. The following is a quote from the Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.106, with translation and commentary by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami. We present this quote because it gives a concise yet detailed summary of the structure and contents of the Vedanta-Sutra. TEXT 106 prabhu kahe, vedanta-sutra isvara-vacana vyasa-rupe kaila yaha sri-narayana TRANSLATION The Lord said, "Vedanta philosophy consists of words spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana in the form of Vyasadeva. PURPORT The Vedanta-sutra, which consists of aphorisms revealing the method of understanding Vedic knowledge, is the concise form of all Vedic knowledge. It begins with the words athato brahma-jijnasa ("Now is the time to inquire about the Absolute Truth"). The human form of life is especially meant for this purpose, and therefore the Vedanta-sutra very concisely explains the human mission. This is confirmed by the words of the Vayu and Skanda Puranas, which define a sutra as follows: alpaksaram asandigdha sara-vat visvato-mukham astobham anavadya ca sutra sutra-vido viduh "A sutra is an aphorism that expresses the essence of all knowledge in a minimum of words. It must be universally applicable and faultless in its linguistic presentation." Anyone familiar with such sutras must be aware of the Vedanta-sutra, which is well known among scholars by the following different names: (1) Brahma-sutra, (2) Sariraka, (3) Vyasa-sutra, (4) Badarayana-sutra, (5) Uttara-mimansa and (6) Vedanta-darsana. There are four chapters (adhyayas) in the Vedanta-sutra, and there are four divisions (padas) in each chapter. Therefore the Vedanta-sutra may be referred to as sodasa-pada, or sixteen divisions of aphorisms. The theme of each and every division is fully described in terms of five different subject matters (adhikaranas), which are technically called pratijna, hetu, udaharana, upanaya and nigamana. Every theme must necessarily be explained with reference to pratijna, or a solemn declaration of the purpose of the treatise. The solemn declaration given in the beginning of the Vedanta-sutra is athato brahma-jijnasa, which indicates that this book was written with the solemn declaration to inquire about the Absolute Truth. Similarly, reasons must be expressed (hetu), examples must be given in terms of various facts (udaharana), the theme must gradually be brought nearer for understanding (upanaya), and finally it must be supported by authoritative quotations from the Vedic sastras (nigamana). According to the great dictionary compiler Hemacandra, also known as Kosakara, Vedanta refers to the purport of the Upanisads and the Brahmana portion of the Vedas. Professor Apte, in his dictionary, describes the Brahmana portion of the Vedas as that portion which states the rules for employment of hymns at various sacrifices and gives detailed explanations of their origin, sometimes with lengthy illustrations in the form of legends and stories. It is distinct from the mantra portion of the Vedas. Hemacandra said that the supplement of the Vedas is called the Vedanta-sutra. Veda means knowledge, and anta means the end. In other words, proper understanding of the ultimate purpose of the Vedas is called Vedanta knowledge. Such knowledge, as given in the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra, must be supported by the Upanisads.
  10. The second difficulty one faces in trying to study the Vedas concerns their language. There are two varieties of Sanskrit, vaidika ("Vedic") and laukika ("worldly" or "ordinary"), and the Vedas contain only the former. Years of study are required to become an accomplished scholar of ordinary Sanskrit, but if such a scholar wishes to understand Vedic Sanskrit he has to learn extra rules of grammar and a different vocabulary, which may require years of additional study. And even when the language of the Vedic verses is fathomed, these verses are so cryptic that one cannot possibly decipher them without hearing them explained by a bona fide guru in disciplic succession. Another difficulty: Even before studying the Vedas one must study their six corollaries, or "limbs," called Vedangas. These six limbs are siksa, the science of pronunciation; kalpa, the process of performing sacrifice; vyakarana, the rules of grammar; nirukta, the meanings and derivations of difficult words used in the Vedas; jyotisa, astronomy and astrology; and chandas, Vedic meters. Each of these limbs is extensive and requires serious study. So far our citation from the Tattva-Sandarbha. In the end of this paper we will include a more extensive quote from the same book in order to complete authoritative evidence that the Puranas are Vedic literature, indispensable for the proper understanding of the Vedas. Much could be said about the spreading of the Vedic culture over the globe. However it would become the theme of yet another exhaustive paper. Most widely acknowledged is the linguistic connection with the Vedic language, Sanskrit. Everybody knows about the Indo-European languages but there is no consensus about their origin. While the Vedic language seems to have been better preserved in the Western world, the Vedic religion has remained more stable in the Eastern world. Though worship of the sun and of fire was also prominent all over Europe.
  11. The following part of our paper is an excerpt from the Tattva-Sandarbha, a book which was written in sixteenth century India by Srila Jiva Gosvami, one of the greatest Sanskrit scholars and philosophers of all times. The text is supposed to shed some light on the difficulties of Vedic study and give yet another angle of perspective on Vedic research and analysis. TEXT 12.1 tatra ca veda-sabdasya samprati dusparatvad duradhigamarthatvac ca tad- artha-nirnayakana muninam api paraspara-virodhad veda-rupo vedartha- nirnayakas cetihasa-puranatmakah sabda eva vicaraniyah. tatra ca yo va veda-sabdo natma-viditah so 'pi tad-drstyanumeya eveti samprati tasyaiva pramotpadakatva sthitam. But at present it is difficult to study the Vedas in their entirety or to understand them. In addition, the great thinkers who have commented on the Vedas interpret them in contradictory ways. We should therefore study the Itihasas and Puranas, since they are Vedic in nature and are conclusive in determining the Vedas' meaning. Moreover, with the help of the Itihasas and Puranas we can infer the meaning of the unavailable portions of the Vedas. Thus at present only the Itihasas and Puranas constitute the appropriate source of valid knowledge. TEXT 12.2 tatha hi mahabharate manaviye ca itihasa-puranabhya veda samupabrmhayet iti puranat puranam iti canyatra. na cavedena vedasya brmhana sambhavati na hy aparipurnasya kanaka-valayasya trapuna purana yujyate. This is why the Mahabharata [Adi-parva 1.267] and Manu-samhita state, "One should complement one's understanding of the Vedas with the help of the Itihasas and Puranas." And elsewhere it is stated, "The Puranas are called by that name because they complete (purana)." One should not try to "complete" or explain the meaning of the Vedas with something that is not Vedic in nature, just as one should not finish an incomplete gold bracelet with lead. TEXT 12.3 nanu yadi veda-sabdah puranam itihasa copadatte tarhi puranam anyad anvesaniyam. yadi tu na, na tarhitihasa-puranayor abhedo vedena. ucyate visistaikartha-pratipadaka-pada-kadambasyapauruseyatvad abhede 'pi svara- krama-bhedad bheda-nirdeso 'py upapadyate. But, one may object, if the Itihasas and Puranas are actually included as part of the text of the Vedas, we need to identify some other Puranas than those we are familiar with; otherwise the Itihasas and Puranas would not qualify as nondifferent from the Vedas. To this we reply that the Itihasas and Puranas are nondifferent from the Vedas inasmuch as both kinds of literary works have no human author and present the same detailed knowledge. Nonetheless, there is some difference between them with regard to intonation and word order. TEXT 12.4 rg-adibhih samam anayor apauruseyatvenabhedo madhyandina-srutav eva vyajyate eva va are 'sya mahato bhutasya nihsvasitam etad yad rg-vedo yajur-vedah sama-vedo 'tharvangirasa itihasah puranam ity-adina. The Madhyandina-sruti [brhad-aranyaka Up. 2.4.10] implies the oneness of the Itihasas and Puranas with the Rg and other Vedas in terms of the apauruseya nature all these works share: "My dear Maitreyi, the Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas, as well as the Itihasas and Puranas, all appear from the breathing of the Supreme Being." COMMENTARY Difficulties in Studying the Vedas In the previous texts Srila Jiva Gosvami has established that the Vedas - Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva - constitute the valid means of acquiring knowledge about the Supreme. Here he points out the practical difficulties involved with studying them nowadays. The first difficulty is the unavailability of the complete text of the Vedas. Originally the Veda was one, and at the advent of the current age, Kali-yuga, Srila Vyasadeva divided it into four: vyadadhad yajna-santatyai vedam eka catur-vidham (Bh.P. 1.4.19). Then, as explained in the Kurma Purana (52.19-20), Vyasadeva's followers further divided the four Vedas into 1,130 branches: eka-vimsati-bhedena rg-veda krtavan pura sakhana tu satenaiva yajur-vedam athakarot sama-veda sahasrena sakhana prabibheda sah atharvanam atho veda bibheda navakena tu "Formerly the Rg Veda was divided into 21 branches, the Yajur Veda into 100 branches, the Sama Veda into 1,000 branches, and the Atharva Veda into 9 branches." Each of these branches has 4 subdivisions called Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka, and Upanisad. So all together the Vedas consist of 1,130 Samhitas, 1,130 Brahmanas, 1,130 Aranyakas, and 1,130 Upanisads, a total of 4,520 titles. By the influence of time, however, many texts have been lost. At present only about 11 Samhitas, 18 Brahmanas, 7 Aranyakas, and 220 Upanisads are available. This constitutes less than 6% of the original Vedas.
  12. The Aranyakas, literally 'forest-born', are a class of philosophical writings which are closely connected with the Brahmanas. They are called Aranyakas because they were either composed in forests or studied there. The Upanisads are considered to be attached to them. Besides the scriptures mentioned above there are also the six Vedangas, literally 'limbs of the Vedas'. These are auxiliary works, the study of which is considered to be essential for the proper understanding of the Vedas. The Vedangas are considered to be part of the Vedas and are mainly composed in Sutra style. They are listed as follows: Siksa, the science of proper articulation and pronunciation, comprising the knowledge of letters, accents, quantity, the use of the organs of pronunciation and phonetics. Chandas, metre, represented by a treatise ascribed to Pingla-naga. Vyakarana, linguistic analysis or grammar, represented by Panini's celebrated Sutra. Nirukta, explanation of difficult Vedic words. Jyotisa, astronomy Kalpa, ceremonial The first and second of these Vedangas are said to be intended to secure the correct reading or recitation of the Vedas, the third and fourth the understanding of it, and the fifth and sixth its proper employment at sacrifice. Other scriptures also counted among Vedic texts, are for example the Ayur-Veda, and the Dhanur-Veda. The Ayur-Veda is the sacred science of health and medicine and is considered as a supplement of the Atharva-Veda. The Dhanur-Veda or science of archery is regarded as an Upa-veda connected with the Yajur-Veda, and derived from Visvamitra or Bhrgu. There are many more subjects elaborated on within the Vedic literature, such as the silpa-sastras, a class of works dealing with any mechanical or fine art including architecture and others. The celebrated Vimanika-sastra however, is not counted among the Vedic works because it is quite recent and of dubious origin.
  13. In the following part of this paper we will take a closer look at what is included in the Vedas. In other words those scriptures that can be called Vedic will be named and a list of topics discussed in the Vedas will be presented. Generally the Vedas are accepted as four, Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Each Veda has two distinct portions, known as mantra and brahmana. The mantra section contains hymns to the fire, the sun, the air, the sky and the wind or to the respective deities who personify these elements. The brahmana section contains descriptions of the rituals and ceremonies in which the mantras were supposed to be used. It also gives historical explanations in connection with the mantras. The mantras are of three types, 1. Rc, which are verses of praise in metre, and intended for loud recitation; 2. Yajus, which are in prose, and intended for recitation in a lower tone at sacrifices; 3. Saman, which are in metre, and intended for chanting at the Soma ceremonies. Also included under the designation Vedic are the Sutras, Upanisads, and Aranyakas. The Sutras are manuals for teaching in ritual, philosophy, grammar and so on. Most closely connected to the Vedas are the Srauta- and Kalpa-sutras. They are giving concise rules for the performance of every kind of sacrifice. Of course there are others like the Grhya-sutras, Dharma-sutras, Panini's celebrated grammar, Patanjali's Yoga-sutras and many more. The Upanisads are philosophical writings attached to the Brahmanas. Their aim is the exposition of the secret meaning of the Vedas. The Upanisads are considered to be the source of the Vedanta and of Sankhya philosophies. Regarding the Upanisads, the following eleven Upanisads are considered to be the topmost: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhad-aranyaka and Svetasvatara. However, in the Muktikopanisad, verses 30-39, there is a description of 108 Upanisads. They are as follows: (1) Isopanisad, (2) Kenopanisad, (3) Kathopanisad, (4) Prasnopanisad, (5) Mundakopanisad, (6) Mandukyopanisad, (7) Taittiriyopanisad, (8) Aitareyopanisad, (9) Chandogyopanisad, (10) Brhad-aranyakopanisad, (11) Brahmopanisad, (12) Kaivalyopanisad, (13) Jabalopanisad, (14) Svetasvataropanisad, (15) Hamsopanisad, (16) Aruneyopanisad, (17) Garbhopanisad, (18) Narayanopanisad, (19) Paramahamsopanisad, (20) Amrta-bindupanisad, (21) Amrta-nadopanisad, (22) Siropanisad, (23) Atharva-sikhopanisad, (24) Maitrayany-upanisad, (25) Kausitaky-upanisad, (26) Brhaj- jabalopanisad, (27) Nrsimha-tapaniyopanisad, (28) Kalagni-rudropanisad, (29) Maitreyy-upanisad, (30) Subalopanisad, (31) Ksurikopanisad, (32) Mantrikopanisad, (33) Sarva-saropanisad, (34) Niralambopanisad, (35) Suka-rahasyopanisad, (36) Vajra-sucikopanisad, (37) Tejo-bindupanisad, (38) Nada-bindupanisad, (39) Dhyana-bindupanisad, (40) Brahma-vidyopanisad, (41) Yoga- tattvopanisad, (42) Atma-bodhopanisad, (43) Narada-parivrajakopanisad, (44) Trisikhy-upanisad, (45) Sitopanisad, (46) Yoga-cudamany-upanisad, (47) Nirvanopanisad, (48) Mandala-brahmanopanisad, (49) Daksina-murty-upanisad, (50) Sarabhopanisad, (51) Skandopanisad, (52) Mahanarayanopanisad, (53) Advaya-tarakopanisad, (54) Rama-rahasyopanisad, (55) Rama-tapany-upanisad, (56) Vasudevopanisad, (57) Mudgalopanisad, (58) Sandilyopanisad, (59) Paingalopanisad, (60) Bhiksupanisad, (61) Mahad-upanisad, (62) Sarirakopanisad, (63) Yoga-sikhopanisad, (64) Turiyatitopanisad, (65) Sannyasopanisad, (66) Paramahamsa-parivrajakopanisad, (67) Malikopanisad, (68) Avyaktopanisad, (69) Ekaksaropanisad, (70) Purnopanisad, (71) Suryopanisad, (72) Aksy-upanisad, (73) Adhyatmopanisad, (74) Kundikopanisad, (75) Savitry-upanisad, (76) Atmopanisad, (77) Pasupatopanisad, (78) Param-brahmopanisad, (79) Avadhutopanisad, (80) Tripuratapanopanisad, (81) Devy-upanisad, (82) Tripuropanisad, (83) Katha-rudropanisad, (84) Bhavanopanisad, (85) Hrdayopanisad, (86) Yoga-kundaliny-upanisad, (87) Bhasmopanisad, (88) Rudraksopanisad, (89) Ganopanisad, (90) Darsanopanisad, (91) Tara-saropanisad, (92) Maha-vakyopanisad, (93) Panca-brahmopanisad, (94) Pranagni-hotropanisad, (95) Gopala-tapany-upanisad, (96) Krsnopanisad, (97) Yajnavalkyopanisad, (98) Varahopanisad, (99) Satyayany-upanisad, (100) Hayagrivopanisad, (101) Dattatreyopanisad, (102) Garudopanisad, (103) Kaly-upanisad, (104) Jabaly-upanisad, (105) Saubhagyopanisad, (106) Sarasvati-rahasyopanisad, (107) Bahvrcopanisad and (108) Muktikopanisad. Thus there are 108 generally accepted Upanisads, of which eleven are the most important, as previously stated.
  14. Another quite striking example can be quoted regarding the starting date of Kali-yuga. The Kali-yuga, according to Puranic references as well as references from the Jyotisa-sastras, began on February 18, 3102 BC. The sastras claim that there was a planetary alignment of the seven planets including the sun and the moon. Dr. Richard Thompson, in his book Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy, shows how this planetary alignment can be verified by making the necessary calculations with modern computer programs. The standard view of modern Western scholars is that this date for the start of Kali-yuga is fictitious. Indeed, these scholars maintain that the battle of Kuruksetra itself is fictitious, and that the civilization described in the Vedic literature is simply a product of poetic imagination. There is not enough space here to present the brilliant research work of Dr. Thompson in more detail. His book will be listed in the bibliography at the end of this paper. The Surya-siddhanta, perhaps the most famous work on Indian astronomy, is full of amazingly accurate astronomical data. This work gives the figures for planetary cycles in orbital revolution per divya-yuga. One divya-yuga is 4,320,000 solar years. One thousand such divya-yugas give the duration of one day of Brahma, called a kalpa. At the end of each kalpa there is a partial devastation. We include these ideas in this paper to point at the very vast time frame which is accepted for periodic cosmic phenomena in the Puranas and other Vedic literature. The Surya-siddhanta says about itself that it was spoken by a messenger from the sun-god, Surya, to the famous asura Maya Danava at the end of the last Satya-yuga. This is of course an enormous time span but there are some quite remarkable statements in that book which give us something to think about. There is for example a description of certain constellations, whose astronomical data in terms of their position in the heavens appear to be totally wrong. However, if, with the help of computers and suitable programs a retrocalculation is done, it shows that the positions of the stars would be accurate for a time about 50,000 years earlier. There is no question of such calculations being faked and the oldest available manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta come from a time where such calculations could not possibly have been done without the help of computers. One more intriguing point in connection with the Puranic time scale and its four yugas: The Rg-Veda verse quoted above, "Four are his horns, three are his feet, two are his heads and seven are his hands" (IV.58.3), can be symbolically interpreted as, 4,3,2 and 7 zeros. That is exactly the duration of one kalpa, or one thousand times the aggregate of the four yugas, or 4,320,000,000 years. The Aryan invasion is a myth invented by Western scholars in order to discredit the original Vedic civilization. They could simply not tolerate the idea that an advanced human culture could have originated in India. It had to come from outside. In any case, the term aryan, is not designating a racial type but rather a cultural class. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami defines, "The word Aryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization." While it is a fact that people existed who immigrated from Central Asia to Central India, there is no evidence that they were the ones who established the Vedic culture. The Vedic culture was already very old and advanced by the time these people arrived in Aryavarta, 'the abode of the noble and excellent ones'. A modern scholar has written: "Current archeological data do not support the existence of an Indo-Aryan or European invasion into South Asia at any time in the pre- or protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural development from prehistoric to historic periods. The early Vedic literature describes not a human invasion into the area, but a fundamental restructuring of indigenous society ... The Indo-Aryan invasion as an academic concept in eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe reflected the cultural milieu of that period. Linguistic data were used to validate the concept that in turn was used to interpret archeological and anthropological data." [Jim G. Shaffer "The Indo-Aryan Invasions: Cultural Myth and Archeological Reality," in J.R. Lukak's The People of South Asia (New York: Plenum, 1984)]
  15. In modern times the Vedic literature has been examined and translated by Western scholars such as Mueller, Wilson, Keith, Griffith and Bergaine. They did not have very deep insight into the workings of the Vedic culture and were often inspired by questionable motives. In the nineteenth century it was the declared policy of the British government to show that Western culture, based on Greek tradition and further enhanced by the Christian belief, was far superior to the Vedic tradition. Monier Williams' celebrated Sanskrit dictionary was compiled with this aim - to demolish and discredit the ancient Sanskrit teachings and to replace them with Sanskrit editions of Christian literature. This can hardly be called a noble and certainly not a scientific approach. In this regard David Frawley writes, "The great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, for example, refers to a civil war involving all of north India that occurred some time before that of the Buddha. Kings from throughout the whole country of the time are mentioned as having been involved in the battle. This we have turned into a local skirmish among petty princes in the northwest corner of India, which was later exaggerated by poets. We assume exaggeration, if not deception, on the part of the ancients rather than giving them credit for what they actually say when it goes against what we believe possible for them... The question of the Rg-Veda is even more difficult because many ideas about it have been accepted as fact, even though they are highly speculative and not proven by the actual text. The modern idea is that the Vedic people were a racial type (Aryans). They are said to have invaded India in the second millennium BC as primitive nomads from Central Asia. The Rg-Veda is said to have been composed in the Punjab region of northwest India as the first step of this invasion. These are ideas used to interpret the text. They are not found within it. In fact, they require altering the meaning of words and changing the orientation of the text to make them credible. However, no one seems to read the Rg-Veda these days in the original Sanskrit. We read it through the interpretations and naturally it proves the interpretations. If we find astronomical references to early areas (before 2000 BC) in the Vedas, we cannot say that these are too early for them to be real. This is not scholarship, it is prejudice, which literally means pre judgment." At this point we have to - in order to keep the text short - simply summarize a couple of evidences which point to a much earlier date of the Rg-Veda than what is generally given by modern Western or even Indian scholars. The Rg-Veda contains astronomical references which are based on a knowledge of the phenomenon of precession. The Vedic culture expressed through the Rg-Veda employed sidereal time. Thus the points of vernal equinox or winter solstice would be mentioned as having occurred or occurring in particular lunar constellations, called naksatras. It is relatively simple to calculate on that basis what the dates of a vernal equinox mentioned in the text were according to our calendar. In this way we get the following table: Degree Naksatra Date 07o 00' Pisces Uttarabhadra c. 1991 AD, Today 00o 00' Aries Asvini c. 400 AD, Puranic Era 23o 20' Aries Bharani c. 1280 BC, Vedanga Jyotisa 06o 40' Taurus Krttika c. 2250 BC, Late Vedic Age 00o 00' Gemini Mrgasira c. 4000 BC, Middle Vedic Age 26o 20' Gemini Punarvasu c. 6000 BC, Early Vedic Age 05o 00' Cancer Pusya c. 6500 BC, Early Vedic Age The dates in the above table can be supported by a number of quotes from the Rg-Veda, too numerous to be quoted in this paper. For more detail the reader is referred to David Frawley's chapter on Vedic Astronomy. He writes: "While the references before the Krttikas (Taurus vernal equinox) are less clear, that reference itself is definite. Its language is as clear as stating, 'now the vernal equinox is in early Taurus.' It proves that whoever the Vedic people were and wherever they lived, their culture was in its later phase by 2000 BC. With this reference substantiated the others become hard to dismiss... With such astronomical references in all Vedic texts, on what grounds can we deny them? If the Rg-Veda uses the same terms as later astronomy, we cannot say they are wrong or referred to something else because it does not agree with our theories. Our theories may be wrong but the stars are not."
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