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A layman reads Rig Veda

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1 Disclaimer:-

This thread is by a layman for similar laymen, who want to have some knowledge of what is in the Vedas. I am myself surprised at my audacity of having ventured to write on the Vedas with a very limited knowledge. Yes, I have studied, rather read, only two books on the topic and that too, only three times (and I feel that one should read it at least 10 times to get some sort of understanding.) – a translation of Sayana’s commentary by Wilson and a translation of the text by Griffith, (which is freely available on the internet), presumably based on MaxMuller’s monumental work. Of course I have the text by my side. On certain occasions I found Sayana’s (Wilson’s) interpretation better and on others, Griffith appealed to me better. There were occasions when both seemed wrong and I had to make out my own interpretation. Am I competent enough to do it, given my poor knowledge of Vedic language and literature? I was guided by simple common sense. I hope you will agree with me when I present, later, all the three interpretations together.

Vedic scholars, there are quite a few of them in this forum, may find fault with my version of the import of the Vedas. I welcome them. Please advise me when I am wrong. I am open to correction. After all, this is not a teaching effort, but a learning experience. Let it be an opportunity to learn from you, scholars. When you agree with me, a word of appreciation, or at least a click on the ‘like’ button will boost me up.

I thank Dr.Renuka, Sri MSK Moorthy and Sri Brahmanyan for their interest in this thread. Dr. Madam need not be alarmed. This megaaaa serial will be stopped the moment I sense that there is no feedback for a full month. So, keep interacting as long as you want it to go.

(Subject proper will start tomorrow.)
 

renuka

Well-known member
Finally..the serial starts again..where were you Sir..I was waiting when you will resume your post.

But sir...please never stop you post..do not feel there is no feedback..cos even if members seldom interact...you will never know how many silent members read posts and how many will benefit from it.

Some day when a new person google searches for some info on Rig Veda your post might pop up and help the person gain knowledge.

Sometimes what we do today only shows effect much later.

So keep typing...even if no one gives feedback..God is still watching.

After all everything we do is finally dedicated to God isnt it??

So lights..camera..action...lets the serial begin!
 
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vikrama
Thank you Dr.Renuka,
On we start. What led me to the study of RV?

2 Contradictions, thy name is Hinduism!

Vedas are hailed as the foundation of Hindu religion. When we see that Hinduism is a conglomeration of various beliefs and practices, we wonder what could be there in the Vedas which permits all these mutually contradicting practices. Any layman is likely to have this question in mind but everyone is overawed and silenced at the mention of the word Vedas. Because they are the breath of the Almighty God himself, it is sacrilegious to inquire into what the vedas contain.

Listening to religious discourses leads him nowhere. On the one hand there are the Vedantins who proclaim that whatever is around us is nothing but God. You are god and I am also God. The Advaitins and Visishtadvaitins do not agree with each other and they slyly deride each other during these discourses, though both claim to base their arguments on the Vedas.

Another upanyasaka waxes eloquent on the significance of Murti-pooja, (idol worship). If everything is god, why should one regard an idol alone as god? He himself raised this question and answered, “Though God resides in everything, He has a special place in the murtis, since they are consecrated with Veda mantras.”

Kabir comes to one’s mind, “Of what use is your idol? I would rather worship the grinding stone because this one at least satisfies my appetite.” And there are siddhars of Tamilnadu who spoke on the same vein.

நட்ட கல்லை தெய்வமென்று நாலு புஷ்பம் சாற்றியே
சுற்றி வந்து முணுமுணுத்து சொல்லும் மந்திரம் ஏதடா
நட்ட கல்லும் பேசுமோ? நாதன் உள்ளிருக்கையில்
சுட்ட சட்டி சட்டுவம் கறிச்சுவை அறியுமோ?

These siddhars are not branded as heretics and they are highly regarded by those who support the Vedas.

Agreed, idol worship is a stepping stone to realise that god resides in everything (according to Visishtadvaitins) or everything is God (according to Advaitins).

What is the name of the Almighty? Vedanta says that he has no name or form. But we swear by a particular name. (Leave alone the Muslims who insist that God should be referred to as Allah only and the Christians who swear by Jehovah, the Father in Heaven. )

Within the Hindu fold one says that Vishnu is the almighty and Siva is his grandson. V created Brahma and B created S. To prove his point he quotes a Veda Mantra, ‘narayana para brahma’ नारायणः परं ब्रह्म

Another says, Siva is the almighty and he divided himself into three -Brahma, vishnu and Siva. To substantiate, he quoted a mantra from Sri Rudram, प्रथमो देव्यो भिषक्।

Then there are Saiva Siddhantic people who say, “Paramasiva divided himself into five forms to perform five different tasks such as creation, maintenance, destruction, veiling and grace. These shapes are respectively called Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshwara, and Sadasiva. In fact Vishnu is no better than a devotee of the great Siva. But the first devotee at that.”

The wonder is, all the above three regard the vedas supreme.

Then there are village deities such as Mariamman, Aiyanar etc. Mostly they are worshiped by non-brahmins and the priests also are non-brahmins. But in certain places like Samayapuram, these deities come up in social status and are worshiped by Veda mantras. What is the position of Vedas with regard to these deities?

(more contradictions in the next post)
 
Dear Shri Vikrama,

Nearly some two years ago, I had started a thread titled "Let us familiarise ourselves with Rigveda", and just the way you do, with the aid of a translation of Sayana’s commentary by Wilson and a translation of the text by Griffith, etc., and modelled to the best of my understanding. But my thread was attacked mercilessly by one self-proclaimed spokesperson of orthodoxy (who has since taken on Tamil for his exercises) and virtually all my interpretations were called as an upstart's pompous attempt to degrade Hinduism.

While there was some appreciation to my posts (including perhaps, from yourself) there was hardly anyone to suuport me or oppose the critical thread started by the other member. Then I gave up my attempt.

I am writing this just to remind you of my past experience and to caution you to obey the Lakshman Rekha which possibly is sAyaNa's commentary. You can have your megaaaaa serial simply by taking one rik and explaining each word in a separate post. That way you will be able to achieve the existing "maximum poster" 's place rather easily too.

Wishing you goodluck!!
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Vikrama Ji,


Since the topic is about worship ..does it state anywhere in the Vedas about how the concept of God started?

Cos you see the 1st primitive man would have not yet be aware of God and at first only the forces of nature would seem greater than him hence may be that is why the forces of nature were deified and given names like Indra,Varuna,Vayu,Surya etc.

So does it state anywhere how and when did the concept of God start?
 

mskmoorthy

Active member
Looking forward to your write up - Hope we do not get into controversy even before you start - May be we should start with a sAnti Sloka Samjnāna-Süktam - Rgveda X.191 - You can explain and give different interpretations and relate to literature and history (Again this is my humble suggestion - nothing more)

I have browsed rik Veda as need/question arises (I am not knowledgeable by any means)
Here is a rendition in youtube (please look at more and the comments too :) )

Samjnāna-Süktam - Rgveda X.191- by Ātmaprajnānanda Saraswati- YouTube

Also looking forward to comments by other learned members of this forum. I come here to learn, understand and clear my doubts.
 
Looking forward to your write up - Hope we do not get into controversy even before you start - May be we should start with a sAnti Sloka Samjnāna-Süktam - Rgveda X.191 - You can explain and give different interpretations and relate to literature and history (Again this is my humble suggestion - nothing more)

I have browsed rik Veda as need/question arises (I am not knowledgeable by any means)
Here is a rendition in youtube (please look at more and the comments too :) )

Samjnāna-Süktam - Rgveda X.191- by Ātmaprajnānanda Saraswati- YouTube

Also looking forward to comments by other learned members of this forum. I come here to learn, understand and clear my doubts.

This is usually called "aikamatya sooktam" in our tabra circles. The swaras of that swamini are way different from what our books indicate. Yet, this sooktam is very usually recited at the completion - not at the commencement - of any vaideeki function (it is the last sookta in the currently recognised version of Rigveda itself).
 
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vikrama
Dear Sri Sangom,
Thank you for your word of caution and I will bear it in mind. When you wrote about RV I was one of your admirers and had even requested you to clarify on certain mantras. I was sorry that the thread could not be continued. Now that you are here, kindly bless me and put me on the correct path whenever I go wrong.
 
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vikrama
Dear Srimati Renuka,
I have not studied RV deep enough to reply to you in detail. in my three cursory readings, I have formed a hypothesis of what Veda is about and I would like to share it so that I can get myself corrected. I could have waited til I have made some more readings before publishing my theory. But I am not sure whether I will live long enough to complete my studies. I hope that someone will take up the strands I left and proceed further. That is what made me come out with my half-baked knowledge.
 
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vikrama
Dear Sri MSKMoorthy,
Thank you for your suggestion. Though I have not explicitly stated, it is always the prayer in my mind that there should be peace everywhere.

I am not going to give the meanings of each mantra or each sukta and that is beyond my capacity and the scope of this thread. I will write about the general impression I got after reading the book. Hence I have not followed any formalities.
 
Dear Sri Sangom,
Thank you for your word of caution and I will bear it in mind. When you wrote about RV I was one of your admirers and had even requested you to clarify on certain mantras. I was sorry that the thread could not be continued. Now that you are here, kindly bless me and put me on the correct path whenever I go wrong.

Please go ahead. Let us see the emerging child's head !! My best wishes will always be there.
 
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vikrama
3. More contradictions

How should one worship God? There are many answers to this question. One upanyasaka said, “Vedas are the whole truth. Perform yagas and homams as prescribed in the Vedas. You are sure to gain your desire.”

Another pleaded for temple worship as the temples are places sanctified by Veda mantras.

The next day, in another programme in the same place, the performer said, “No need to perform yagnas or go on pilgrimage to various temples. This is not possible for Kali Yuga. Keep repeating the name of the god. This will give you all. This is in agreement with the Vedas.”

*******

What happens after death? Like Naciketas, everyone has this question. But it seems that we can not get an accurate reply till we ourselves meet the god of death. Even in Katha Upanishad, I do not think that Yama has given a definite answer to this question. He refuses to divulge the secret of life after death and on the boy’s insistence, speaks about preyas (pleasant) and shreyas (beneficial) and goes on to flatter Naciketas for choosing the latter. Naciketas forgets his original question and prepares himself to listen to Yama’s sermon on Brahman and its realization by man. Of course, Yama hints at rebirth and preaches the way to escape from the cycle of birth and death. But what exactly happens after death? Does the life go to pitruloka or svaraga/naraka or a new body?

Yama’s failure to give a convincing reply has caused the sprouting of many theories regarding the life after death. The vaidikas say that after quitting the body, the life travels for 10 days towards pitru loka, on the path of which lies the Vaitarani, an unpassable river. The karmas perfomed by the son of the deceased enable one to cross the river easily. The atma has the form of Vasu for some time. When his son joins him, the father becomes rudra and the son becomes Vasu. When the grandson comes to pitruloka, the grandfather becomes Aditya and in the next step he is moved out of the pitru loka to svarga.

'Performing obsequies or sraddhas are not mentioned in the Vedas and they will not reach the atma in another body.' - This statement comes not from the mouth of an atheist but from Sri Dayananda Saraswati (of Arya Samaj), a staunch believer and advocate of Vedas who declared that Vedas are the eternal source of knowledge and exhorted people to go back to Vedic times.

The theory prevalent widely is that life goes to svarga or naraka according to the punya or papa one committed during life time. After enjoying the fruits of his deeds, he returns to earth in another form to enjoy the balance of his karma. Vaidikas also speak of Prarabdha karma.

Where does life go immediately after death, pitruloka or svarga/ naraka or another body? If all are true, in what order?

These were the some of the questions that goaded me to take up the study of RV.

Dear Sri Sangom,

The head of the child will appear only after 7 or 8 posts. Please bear with me.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Where does life go immediately after death, pitruloka or svarga/ naraka or another body? If all are true, in what order?

Dear Sir,

I thought the Mahabharat subtly dealt with this when Yudhisthira was taken to heaven in his human form and he saw the Kauravas in heaven and the Pandavas and Draupadi in hell much to his dismay.

Then he was told that those who have abundance of Punya and a little Papa suffer in hell for a short while and then enjoy heaven.

And those who have abundance of Papa and hardly any Punya enjoy in heaven first and later suffer in hell.

I guess it goes along the lines of the Sucakatahanyaya(needle and the frying pan nyaya) where a person goes to a blacksmith to order a frying pan and another person comes along to order a needle.

The blacksmith makes the needle first as it consumes less time and then makes the frying pan cos it consumes more time and in that way he can finish both work with with no delay by handling the lesser time consuming task first.

So I guess the same rules apply for a person based on his Punya and Papa..he undergoes the less time consuming portion of his karma first and then followed by the more time consuming portion.

Hence a Mr Good guy suffers in hell for a while and then enjoys long time in heaven and a Mr Bad guy enjoys in heaven for a short while and later suffers in hell for a long time.
 
Dear Sir,

I thought the Mahabharat subtly dealt with this when Yudhisthira was taken to heaven in his human form and he saw the Kauravas in heaven and the Pandavas and Draupadi in hell much to his dismay.

Then he was told that those who have abundance of Punya and a little Papa suffer in hell for a short while and then enjoy heaven.

And those who have abundance of Papa and hardly any Punya enjoy in heaven first and later suffer in hell.

I guess it goes along the lines of the Sucakatahanyaya(needle and the frying pan nyaya) where a person goes to a blacksmith to order a frying pan and another person comes along to order a needle.

The blacksmith makes the needle first as it consumes less time and then makes the frying pan cos it consumes more time and in that way he can finish both work with with no delay by handling the lesser time consuming task first.

So I guess the same rules apply for a person based on his Punya and Papa..he undergoes the less time consuming portion of his karma first and then followed by the more time consuming portion.

Hence a Mr Good guy suffers in hell for a while and then enjoys long time in heaven and a Mr Bad guy enjoys in heaven for a short while and later suffers in hell for a long time.

I hope Shri Vikrama allows these discussions, even before his commencing the veda posts.

According to me, all that religions tell us about death, after-death existence, hell & heaven, etc., are all untrue and all subserve the vested interests of those religions only.

Taking hinduism for example, in the Rigveda, there are no hell or heaven business; the pitrus - here again, only the male ancestors figure for all practical purposes and the female ancestors are at best shadowy figures (and still even our most 'emancipated' females are unable to see through this!!), loka is just as a replica of this world; those who are fortunate (those who earn lot of puNya in this world by performing the various vedic specified yAgas) will be able to live in the pitruloka in company with the devas and these first class pitrus are called "Angirasas", angiras being son of Agni, the number two Rigvedic deva.

The ideas of soul, rebirth, hell & heaven are imported ideas afaik.

My own personal conviction is that there is neither an individualistic, quantum-like soul or Atma, nor rebirth of this Atma, nor hell and heaven. When we die, the life in our body escapes and possibly dissolves into the universal force or spirit which causes a physical body to be alive. Our accumulated Karmas alone continue to cause a new birth to experience their results. Most probably Adishankara referred to this accumulated Karmas only as the "adhyAsa" in his advaita philosophy. But we have successfully and completely botched up advaita.
 

renuka

Well-known member
My own personal conviction is that there is neither an individualistic, quantum-like soul or Atma, nor rebirth of this Atma, nor hell and heaven. When we die, the life in our body escapes and possibly dissolves into the universal force or spirit which causes a physical body to be alive. Our accumulated Karmas alone continue to cause a new birth to experience their results. Most probably Adishankara referred to this accumulated Karmas only as the "adhyAsa" in his advaita philosophy. But we have successfully and completely botched up advaita.


Dear Sangom ji,

I think I had written on almost the same lines before some time back stating that since anything created can not simply vanish but just change form so after death there is a possibility that we lie dormant like how a tree lies dormant in a seed..so we could be just dormant droplets of energy.

Since after death body gets destroyed and back to basic elements and the propelling energy is the karma(after all karma is energy too since it has an action and reaction)..so after lying dormant for a while God knows where..a new body is formed by the interacting of the elements and take up a physical body again.

There is a possibility that the experiences we had been through in life still leave an imprint in the now lying dormant mind of the deceased and that makes him/her experience the pain or pleasuer which we call heaven and hell.

I don't know if I am right..it is just my unproven thoughts...when we put bacteria in a petri dish and freeze the dish..the bacteria does not replicate or move about and neither does it die..it lies dormant..so same way I guess after "death"..we lie dormant "frozen" in some form or the other till the time is right for reemerging.

So may be death can be dubbed as a state of prolonged suspended animation.
 
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Dear Sangom ji,

I think I had written on almost the same lines before some time back stating that since anything created can not simply vanish but just change form so after death there is a possibility that we lie dormant like how a tree lies dormant in a seed..so we could be just dormant droplets of energy.

Since after death body gets destroyed and back to basic elements and the propelling energy is the karma(after all karma is energy too since it has an action and reaction)..so after lying dormant for a while God knows where..a new body is formed by the interacting of the elements and take up a physical body again.

There is a possibility that the experiences we had been through in life still leave an imprint in the now lying dormant mind of the deceased and that makes him/her experience the pain or pleasuer which we call heaven and hell.

I don't know if I am right..it is just my unproven thoughts...when we put bacteria in a petri dish and freeze the dish..the bacteria does not replicate or move about and neither does it die..it lies dormant..so same way I guess after "death"..we lie dormant "frozen" in some form or the other till the time is right for reemerging.

So may be death can be dubbed as a state of prolonged suspended animation.

Smt. Renuka,

There is a difference between our viewpoints. According to mine, this "I" or "we" does not exist after death. What remains possibly, under suspended animation is the layer created by our individual Karma. Be that as it may, I am interested in knowing how you fit in god/s, different divinities like Siva, Vishnu, etc., gurus and godmen etc., into the above scheme.

Hope you will elaborate.
 
OP
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vikrama
According to me, all that religions tell us about death, after-death existence, hell & heaven, etc., are all untrue and all subserve the vested interests of those religions only.

Taking hinduism for example, in the Rigveda, there are no hell or heaven business; the pitrus - here again, only the male ancestors figure for all practical purposes and the female ancestors are at best shadowy figures (and still even our most 'emancipated' females are unable to see through this!!), loka is just as a replica of this world; those who are fortunate (those who earn lot of puNya in this world by performing the various vedic specified yAgas) will be able to live in the pitruloka in company with the devas and these first class pitrus are called "Angirasas", angiras being son of Agni, the number two Rigvedic deva.

The ideas of soul, rebirth, hell & heaven are imported ideas afaik.

My own personal conviction is that there is neither an individualistic, quantum-like soul or Atma, nor rebirth of this Atma, nor hell and heaven. When we die, the life in our body escapes and possibly dissolves into the universal force or spirit which causes a physical body to be alive. Our accumulated Karmas alone continue to cause a new birth to experience their results. Most probably Adishankara referred to this accumulated Karmas only as the "adhyAsa" in his advaita philosophy. But we have successfully and completely botched up advaita.​


Sri Sangom echoes my thoughts. I totally agree with the above.

Now the point is, what led me to the study of RV. There are conflicting theories on everything in Hinduism but everyone hails Veda as the base of the religion. My wonder is how a Veda could be the base of so many conflicting principles and practices. Look at my post quoted below, again.

Vedas are hailed as the foundation of Hindu religion. When we see that Hinduism is a conglomeration of various beliefs and practices, we wonder what could be there in the Vedas which permits all these mutually contradicting practices. Any layman is likely to have this question in mind but everyone is overawed and silenced at the mention of the word Vedas. Because they are the breath of the Almighty God himself, it is sacrilegious to inquire into what the vedas contain.

I went in search of the core of the Vedas to find how it sustains such differing theories. I found that there is no such thing as heaven or hell as Sri Sangom says. I will be elaborating it later.
 
OP
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vikrama
4 Poochandi in the name of vedas

History tells us that people, in the past, have opposed social reforms in the name of Veda and their claims were subsequently proved wrong. When the British government proposed banning Sati, there were clamours that Sati is a Vedic practice and banning it will be an interference in religious rights of the Hindus. Raja Rammohan Roy, supporter of the Government move, challenged the Vaidikas to show which part of the Veda contains the injunction for the wife to be immolated on the pyre of her husband, there was no response.

In the same way, when Gandhiji preached against untouchability, there were oppositions in the name of Vedas. Gandhiji did the same thing as Roy. He said that if the Vedas support such segregation, I would rather disown that religion. Nobody came forward to quote from the Vedas in support of the apartheid.

Under these circumstances, one does not know whether a statement by an upanyasaka or religious leader on a particular issue is really based on the vedas and would naturally like to know for himself what the Vedas say.

So that is the driving force for me to study the Vedas.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Smt. Renuka,

There is a difference between our viewpoints. According to mine, this "I" or "we" does not exist after death. What remains possibly, under suspended animation is the layer created by our individual Karma. Be that as it may, I am interested in knowing how you fit in god/s, different divinities like Siva, Vishnu, etc., gurus and godmen etc., into the above scheme.

Hope you will elaborate.

Dear sir,

I had read before in one of the books of Paramahansa Yogananda that anything Divine having taken a human form leaves a cosmic blueprint till the next cycle of creation.

So any Avatar/Divine Messenger that has taken birth upon leaving their mortal coil persists as a cosmic blue print.

According to my personal belief which I have gathered by reading I figure out that all forms of Saguna Brahman(Shiva,Vishnu etc) remain functional till they get reabsorbed into the Cosmic Energy at Pralaya.

Coming to Gurus..most of them are humans like us only Karma and level of consciousness differs.
 
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vikrama
5 A cat tries to drink out the ocean

While wishing to study the Hindu religious literature, one is reminded of the simile of Kamban, of a cat wishing to empty the ocean of milk by drinking it ! It is so vast that a whole life-time would be insufficient to master them all. The statement of Kanchi Mahaswamigal that in case of disagreement between the puranas, Dharma Shastras and other scriptures Vedas are the final authority, came in handy. So the layman decided to study the Vedas only, avoiding the puranas, Dharma Shastras etc.

In each Veda, there are four parts. Samhita, Brahmanam, Aranyakam and Upanishad. Samhita is the earliest part. The other three are sort of explanatory notes on it. Moreover, the Samhitas are said to be inspired writings whereas the others were written after study and deliberation. They difer from each other and they reflect the understanding of the individual authors. If one wants to know the real content of Samhitas without being influenced by later day explanation, one should study only the Samhita. They being the oldest books of mankind, the meaning of the verses should be found as far as possible, from themselves and not from outside.

Bharati terms the Samhitas as the original Vedas. Look at his quotation-

உபநிஷத்துக்கள் வேதாந்தம் என்ற பெயர் படைத்தன. அதாவது வேதத்தின்
நிச்சயம். இவை வேத ரிஷிகளால் சமைக்கப்பட்டனவல்ல. பிற்காலத்தவரால் சமைக்கப்பட்டன. ஸம்ஹிதைகள் என்றும் மந்திரங்கள் என்றும் சொல்லப்படுவனவே உண்மையான வேதங்கள். அவையே ஹிந்து மதத்தின் வேர். அவை வசிஷ்ட வாமதேவாதி தேவ ரிஷிகளின் கொள்கைகளைக் காட்டுவன. உபநிஷத்துகள் மந்திரங்களுக்கு விரோதமல்ல. அவற்றுக்குச் சாஸ்திர முடிவு. அவற்றின் சிரோபூஷணம். ஆனால்
, பச்சை வேதமென்பது மந்திரம் அல்லது ஸம்ஹிதை எனப்படும் பகுதியேயாம். மகாகவி பாரதி

Among the four Samhitas- Rik, Yajur, Saman and Atharvan – Rik is the oldest. The other Samhitas have borrowed heavily from Rik. Hence to understand the root of Hinduism – What is the basis of Hinduism which makes it so accomodative as to permit such diverse principles and practices, sometimes mutually contradicting, to grow under the same roof - one has to study Rig Veda Samhita.
 
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vikrama
6 In search of a Guru

For the author of this post, learning Rig Veda was not easy. He approached many Vedic scholars with a request to teach him the meaning of Rig Veda. Nobody came forward. Of course they were prepared to teach the recitation of the mantras but none would teach the meaning. If he were young, he would learn the Vedic text by heart and then go to Sankara Mutt where they teach Sayana Bhashya. But the septuagenarian found it difficult to learn anything by heart. Some discouraged him saying that one should not know the meaning of the Vedas and the sounds alone are important. It is the vibration caused by the recitation that keeps the world safe. There were others who conducted classes explaining the meaning of Upanishads. But one felt that Upanishad is just a branch of the Vedic tree and he should get at the root to know its essence that caused such evolution in different directions.

The last teacher he approached was well known for his exposition of Vedanta. He advised, “ Go to Jayalakshmi Indological Stores. There are books which give meaning on Samhitas. Read them and know for yourself.” Like Ekalaiva, the layman accepted him as his guru and began to read the books he bought at that shop.

Before writing on what I have learnt so far, I prostrate before that Guru mentally and seek his blessings.

We should be grateful to Sayanacharya who put the commentary of Vedas into writing. But for him the Vedas would have been totally unintelligible.

With a keen desire to know the spiritual wealth of India, some western scholars sat at the feet of their Indian Gurus, learnt the language and literature of India. Some of them took interest in the Vedas and translated them into European languages. Their European disciples did research in the Vedas and wrote many books. It is through them that laymen like me could read the Vedas. They should be thanked. They who brought it into the internet also deserve no less thanks.

Above all there is a group of people who have been preserving the oral tradition of the Vedas for ages. They have dedicated themselves to it. They have changed their life-pattern to suit the Vedas and have withstood very strongly against the currents of modernism. While the books we buy in shops are full of mistakes even after careful proof reading, the oral tradition has preserved the Vedas intact with no deviation in letter or its accent. So these vaidikas should be thought of reverentially.

(My findings will begin to appear from next post.)
 
Dear Sri Sangom,

I hope Shri Vikrama allows these discussions, even before his commencing the veda posts.

Taking hinduism for example, in the Rigveda, there are no hell or heaven business;

and

The ideas of soul, rebirth, hell & heaven are imported ideas afaik.

I feel that for analyzing the existence of hell and heaven in Hinduism one can look at the other vedas too, instead of just focussing on Rig veda alone. The following mantras, which give a concept of existence of hell, are found in taittiriya Aranyakm TA 1.73.1. to 1.73.1.8:

dakshiNna poorvasyAndiSi visarpi narakaH (.) tasmAn nah pari pAhi
dakshinAparasyan diSi avisarpi narahaH (.) tasmAn nai pari pAhi
uttarapoorvasyAndiSi vishAdi narakaH (.) tasmAn nah pari pAhi
uttarAprasyan diSi avishAdi narakah (.) tasmAn nah pari pAhi

Again what is the reason that the concept of hell, heaven and rebirth etc. should be attributed to imported ideas and why can not it be culmination and advancement of natives philosophy is also not clear.
 
Dear Sri Sangom,



and



I feel that for analyzing the existence of hell and heaven in Hinduism one can look at the other vedas too, instead of just focussing on Rig veda alone. The following mantras, which give a concept of existence of hell, are found in taittiriya Aranyakm TA 1.73.1. to 1.73.1.8:

dakshiNna poorvasyAndiSi visarpi narakaH (.) tasmAn nah pari pAhi
dakshinAparasyan diSi avisarpi narahaH (.) tasmAn nai pari pAhi
uttarapoorvasyAndiSi vishAdi narakaH (.) tasmAn nah pari pAhi
uttarAprasyan diSi avishAdi narakah (.) tasmAn nah pari pAhi

Again what is the reason that the concept of hell, heaven and rebirth etc. should be attributed to imported ideas and why can not it be culmination and advancement of natives philosophy is also not clear.

Between the Rigveda and the Yajus, there seems to have been quite some time lapse. We, at this point of time, may not be able to judge how the vedism worked in the intervening stage. (I do not accept the idea that Vyasa differentiated all the three (or is it four?) vedas; it is just legend.)

In this interrugnum between rigveda in the beginning and yajur-veda's attaining its present form, there could have been contacts with other systems of philosophical/religious thoughts through many, many ways and that was how the hell & heaven ideas might have got embedded into the Yajurveda itself.

Essentially, the hell-heaven concept is accepted, the rebirth idea is superfluous, imo. Possibly, this rebirth idea is a product of the Upanishadic period in Hinduism when the thinkers were attaching way too much attention and importance to the "I" and "mine" concept, although, outwardly, they were classifying these as "ahamkAra" and a hindrance to self-realization or ultimate liberation (mOksha). To my mind, it looks as though the composers of the upanishads (at least many of these, even if we exclude aitareya and one or two more) were themselves obsessed with this problem of ahamkAra and that was why they postulated it as the biggest obstacle to liberation. They tried to get rid of it in many ways like vAnaprastam, samnyAsam, etc., and also stumbled upon misleading notions like yoga, kundalini, prANAyAma, the five coverings and so on.

This led AdiShankara to arrive at his advaita philosophy and postulate that there is one and only Parabrahman as the root cause and that all the rest of human understanding is kind of "false belief" or dream-like stuff. Yet, the whole philosophy revolved around the same "I" % "mine" concepts only, I feel.

What is now required is to know whether there is any real "I". And then only we can say anything about rebirth, naraka, swarga, etc. But who knows about "I"?
 
OP
OP
vikrama
Though I would like to carry on with the chosen topic without digression, I may be permitted to say a few words on RV and its relation to other branches of Vedic literature. AFAIK, RV is the oldest and the mother of all Vedic literature. All other books were only evolution of RV. Different branches grew in different directions resulting in mutually contradicting views. My quest is what the root is like that bears all these different branches.

A careful examination of the contents reveals that the other vedas are only modified forms of RV. Three verses from RV which occur also in YV are given hereunder.

1 अप्स्वन्तरमृतप्सु भेषजमपामुत प्रशस्तये । देवा भवत वाजिन: RV 1.23.19
There is amrta in water. There is medicine in water. May the devas hasten to praise water.

अप्स्वन्तरमृतमप्सु भेषजमपामुत प्रशस्तिष्वश्वा भवथ वाजिन: TS 1.7.74
There is amrta in water. There is medicine in water. Hence, o horses, hasten in praise of water.

2 प्रप्रायमग्निर्भरतस्य शृण्वे वि यत् सूर्यो न रोचते बृहद्भा:। अभि य: पूरुं पृतनासु तस्थौ द्युतानो दैव्यो अतिथि: शुशोच।। RV 7.8.4
Far famed is this the Yajamana’s/ Bharata's own Agni. He shines like the Sun with lofty splendour.
He who has vanquished Puru in the battle, the heavenly guest has glowed in full refulgence.

प्रप्रायमग्नि: भरतस्य शृण्वे वि यत् सूर्यो न रोचते बृहद्भा:। अभि य: पूरुं पृतनासु तस्थौ दीदाय दैव्यो अतिथि: शिवो नः।। TS 2.5.12.24
Far famed is this the Yajamana’s/ Bharata's own Agni. He shines like the Sun with lofty splendour.
He who has vanquished Puru in the battle, may the heavenly guest glowing in full refulgence be auspicious to us.

3 च्चिद्धि ते पुरुषत्रा यविष्ठाचित्तिभिश्चकृमा कश्चिदाग:। कृधी ष्वस्माँ अदितेरनागान्व्येनांसि शिश्रथो विष्वगग्ने RV 4.12.4
Most Youthful God, whatever sin, through folly, we here, as human beings, have committed,
In sight of Aditi make us sinless remit, entirely, Agni, our offences.


यत् ते वयं पुरुषत्रा यविष्ठाविद्वाँसश्चकृमा कच्चन आग:। कृधी स्वस्माँ अदितेरनागाः व्येनांसि शिश्रथो विष्वगग्ने TS 4.7.15.21
There is no material difference in meaning.

In the following example, only one letter is changed.

असदत्र सुवीर्यमुत त्यदाश्वश्व्यम् .RV 8.31.18
असदत्र सुवीर्यमुत त्यदाश्वश्विम् .TS 1.8.22.13

Both the RV and the TS mantras are by the same Rishi. How did this change happen? One is tempted to guess the following.

Some student while using the RV mantra for his sacrifice, could have forgotten a word and could have replaced it with that of his own, knowingly or unknowingly. His disciples would have followed the same version as their Guru. When the number of such deviations becomes large, the original RV people would have refused to accept it as genuine. Vyasa, as a compromise, would have labelled the latter as a new Veda and called it Yajus.

Sama Veda is nothing but a concise edition of RV. Of its 1875 mantras, 1800 are found in RV. The others could also have been part of RV of some shakha now lost. On careful analysis , it may be noticed that most Sama mantras are the first verse of various suktas of RV.

Let me give an analogy. While reciting Thevaram in temples, the oduvars usually do not recite all the ten verses of a padhigam. They sing only the first and the last verses of the padhigam and move on to the next.

What do we do while performing Brahma Yagna? We are supposed to recite all the four Vedas everyday as a daily routine. As this is not possible, we just recite the first mantra of each and finish the ritual.

In the same way, People in a hurry could have selected a few verses from RV and compiled them into a mini prayer book. This abridged edition was given a new name – Sama Veda. Here also changes in letters and words are observed. Look at the following examples and see how RV mantra got transformed in SV.

अहं प्रत्नेन न्मना गिर: शुम्भामि कण्व-वत् येनेन्द्र: शुष्ममिद्धधे RV 8.6.11
अहं प्रत्नेन न्मना गिर: शुम्भामि कण्व-वत् येनेन्द्र: शुष्ममिद्धधे SV 1501

पुरुत्रा हि सदृङ्ङसि विशो विश्वा: अनु प्रभु: |
समत्सु त्वा हवामहे RV 8.11.8
पुरुत्रा हि सदृङ्ङसि दिशो विश्वा: अनु प्रभु: |
समत्सु त्वा हवामहे SV 1167
 
Though I would like to carry on with the chosen topic without digression,

Shri Vikrama,

A very valuable attempt Shri Vikrama, and all my appreciation to you for that. Please continue your invaluable work.

I hope you will not mind our observations/comments on your posts.

1 अप्स्वन्तरमृतप्सु भेषजमपामुत प्रशस्तये । देवा भवत वाजिन: RV 1.23.19
There is amrta in water. There is medicine in water. May the devas hasten to praise water.

अप्स्वन्तरमृतमप्सु भेषजमपामुत प्रशस्तिष्वश्वा भवथ वाजिन: TS 1.7.74
There is amrta in water. There is medicine in water. Hence, o horses, hasten in praise of water.


The TS version comes in 1-7-7-2 as per the book I have. It is the second anuvaka of the anuvāka called ratha saṃskāra by the adhvaryu as part of the vājapeya sacrifice. This vājapeya sacrifice reportedly contained, as a main rite, a race among seventeen chariots; the distance to be covered was seventeen javelin throws (the second throw being from the point where the javelin hit the ground in the first throw and so on.) and it seems the yajamāna invariably won that race (details of how the race was done and how this success could be stahe-managed are unclear.).

This mantra and the subsequent lines of the anuvāka read as under:

"In the waters

d. is ambrosia, in the waters is medicine;
Through the guidance of the waters
Be ye steeds, O ye that are strong.

e. Or Vayu thee, or Manu thee,
The seven and twenty Gandharvas;
They first yoked the steed;
They placed swiftness in it.

f. Child of the waters, swift one, the towering onrushing wave most fain to win the prize, with it may he win the prize.

g. Thou art the stepping of Visnu, thou art the step of Visnu, thou art the stride of Visnu.

h. May the two Ankas, the two Nyankas, which are on either side of the chariot,
Speeding on with the rushing wind,
The far-darting, powerful one, the winged one,
The fires which are furtherers, further us."

I, therefore, feel that the conclusion viz., "Some student while using the RV mantra for his sacrifice, could have forgotten a word and could have replaced it with that of his own, knowingly or unknowingly. His disciples would have followed the same version as their Guru. When the number of such deviations becomes large, the original RV people would have refused to accept it as genuine. Vyasa, as a compromise, would have labelled the latter as a new Veda and called it Yajus."

may be a hasty one. It is more probable that the Rik was consciously altered slightly to suit the occasion in the
vājapeya sacrifice, since all the rik mantras were (and still are) believed to be superhuman revelations to the
ṛṣis who are considered as mantradraṣṭās or seers of the mantras.

I have a gut feeling that there will be many more such deliberate adaptations in both Yajurveda and even the atharva.
 
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