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Classification of vedic texts..

thebigthinkg

Active member
Classification of vedic texts

The vedic scriptures are seen through classification of saMhita, brAhmaNa, Aranyaka and UpaniSat. There are various ideas about what and how these classifications are meant for. Here is my understanding of it, which could be different from convention.

saMhita simply means collections. Collections of mantras are saMhita. The mantras describe various (cosmic in my view) events and happenings. My understanding is saMhitas were for brahmacAris to memorize the events/happenings as they were.

brAhmaNas are applications of saMhitas provided for gRhastAs. They describe various yajna rituals with stress on in which part which samhita mantra need to be recited. They are seen as application of saMhitas in day-to-day life by gRhastas. In fact grahastas lead a ritualistic life mostly. But in this process key mantras were continuously memorized and recited.

Aranyakas are reflections on saMhitas meant for the vanaprasthins. These are semi-philosophical, semi-ritual, which vanaprasthins (people who left gRhastAsrama and went to forests) took up and reflected further to find more esoteric truths out of vedic saMhitas.

Upa-niSat are theorems that emerge out of the Aranyakas meant for the saMnyAsins. These were philosophical which saMnyasin (who wander alone from place to place with detachment) took up with more reflections to produce socially useful/applicable philosophies for life and living beings.

The idea of this organization is that, at every stage of life, the vedic saMhitas or mantra collections along with their investigations/analysis are memorized, stored, investigated, truths found, debated, analyzed and passed on to next generations.
 

a-TB

Well-known member
Human mind like to see correlations even when they don't have meaning. The best way is to test a hypothesis to see if it holds true. If there are issues then we should discard them.

In world of imagination, simply by repetition one can believe correlations. Like Puranic stories whose purpose is to make complex concepts easy to understand and the stories employed logic perhaps prevalent at a given time and place. It has nothing to do with anymore insights of science of today which itself is based on some assumptions that are not rational.

As correctly pointed out , each Veda consists of four sections: samhita, brähmana, Aranyaka, and upanisad. It agrees with the teachings of my Google Guru :)

Sarilhita includes chants and prayers to various deities. The braahmana portion reveals the karmas and their modes of performance. The Aaranyaka section contains various Upasanas or meditations. Upanisads contain information that rejects prior section as unreal though they may have served some purpose for some people.

The Ashrama is just imagination superimposed on a life. No one really follows it today. Brahmacharis who do learn in veda patashala memorize a lot of all four sections. Without knowing meaning of course and most often the teachers do not know the meaning either. Unless they are experts in grammar and vedic part that are not covered by Panini grammar. Such scholars are rare.

Bulk of Vedas are to satisfy all kinds of desires in a dharmic way. They are belief based rituals and upasanas.

When a person is mature they are ready for last section. Many life style Sannyasis lack knowledge of upanishads

Sannyasi life style has nothing to do with the meaning of Sannyasa as in Gita. Krishna and Arjuna were not Gruhastas and yet Krishna taught about Sannyasa but that is not lifestyle.

So the correlation between Ashrama lifestyle classifications do not map with sections of Vedas.
 
OP
OP
T

thebigthinkg

Active member
Human mind like to see correlations even when they don't have meaning. The best way is to test a hypothesis to see if it holds true. If there are issues then we should discard them.

In world of imagination, simply by repetition one can believe correlations. Like Puranic stories whose purpose is to make complex concepts easy to understand and the stories employed logic perhaps prevalent at a given time and place. It has nothing to do with anymore insights of science of today which itself is based on some assumptions that are not rational.

As correctly pointed out , each Veda consists of four sections: samhita, brähmana, Aranyaka, and upanisad. It agrees with the teachings of my Google Guru :)

Sarilhita includes chants and prayers to various deities. The braahmana portion reveals the karmas and their modes of performance. The Aaranyaka section contains various Upasanas or meditations. Upanisads contain information that rejects prior section as unreal though they may have served some purpose for some people.

The Ashrama is just imagination superimposed on a life. No one really follows it today. Brahmacharis who do learn in veda patashala memorize a lot of all four sections. Without knowing meaning of course and most often the teachers do not know the meaning either. Unless they are experts in grammar and vedic part that are not covered by Panini grammar. Such scholars are rare.

Bulk of Vedas are to satisfy all kinds of desires in a dharmic way. They are belief based rituals and upasanas.

When a person is mature they are ready for last section. Many life style Sannyasis lack knowledge of upanishads

Sannyasi life style has nothing to do with the meaning of Sannyasa as in Gita. Krishna and Arjuna were not Gruhastas and yet Krishna taught about Sannyasa but that is not lifestyle.

So the correlation between Ashrama lifestyle classifications do not map with sections of Vedas.
It's true that we can map anything with anything. In fact we are doing it all the time in our mind and call it the 'logic'. However I could not understand the deduction steps in the above, as how the last line was landed on, from the assertions of the previous lines.

My deduction was
Samihatas are mantras that are recited, which is primarily done in brahmacari stage.
brAhmanas are ritualistic and done by grhastas.
Aranayaka seems ritualistic and introspective hence done by vanaprastins who do not lead a family, but have a home.
Upanishads seems introspective, philosophical in modern sense and hence done by saMnyasins who wander everywhere

nāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁkāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ sa sannyāsī ca yogī cana niragnir na cākriyaḥ
WHo does work without taking shelter in the fruits of work, that is sanyasi and yogi, not the niragni and non-doer.

Krishna is clearly referring to saMnyAsi as Asrama here. A saMnyAsi is not supposed to lit fire in that asrama as he has moved out of vanaprasthasrama and wandering. So he does not lit fire, nor does he do any work to live. He lives by alms of people.

yaṁ sannyāsam iti prāhuryogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava na hy asannyasta-saṅkalpo yogī bhavati kaścana
What they call saMnyAsam thus, pAndava, know that. Not certainly, the one without giving up determination, becomes yogi.

So if one is nir-agni and akriya, they don't do any work, they have no needs/wants, there are no fruits of the work and they will not take shelter in it. They will wander detached. But anyone not taking shelter in their fruits of work, continue performing their work is a saMnAsi and Yogi.

So I see that Asramas are defined also. But yes my mapping could be just imagination, but Asramas are not imagination, as far as I see it.
 

a-TB

Well-known member
It's true that we can map anything with anything. In fact we are doing it all the time in our mind and call it the 'logic'. However I could not understand the deduction steps in the above, as how the last line was landed on, from the assertions of the previous lines.

My deduction was
Samihatas are mantras that are recited, which is primarily done in brahmacari stage.
brAhmanas are ritualistic and done by grhastas.
Aranayaka seems ritualistic and introspective hence done by vanaprastins who do not lead a family, but have a home.
Upanishads seems introspective, philosophical in modern sense and hence done by saMnyasins who wander everywhere

nāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁkāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ sa sannyāsī ca yogī cana niragnir na cākriyaḥ
WHo does work without taking shelter in the fruits of work, that is sanyasi and yogi, not the niragni and non-doer.

Krishna is clearly referring to saMnyAsi as Asrama here. A saMnyAsi is not supposed to lit fire in that asrama as he has moved out of vanaprasthasrama and wandering. So he does not lit fire, nor does he do any work to live. He lives by alms of people.

yaṁ sannyāsam iti prāhuryogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava na hy asannyasta-saṅkalpo yogī bhavati kaścana
What they call saMnyAsam thus, pAndava, know that. Not certainly, the one without giving up determination, becomes yogi.

So if one is nir-agni and akriya, they don't do any work, they have no needs/wants, there are no fruits of the work and they will not take shelter in it. They will wander detached. But anyone not taking shelter in their fruits of work, continue performing their work is a saMnAsi and Yogi.

So I see that Asramas are defined also. But yes my mapping could be just imagination, but Asramas are not imagination, as far as I see it.
Thank you Mr TBT for your response.
I pointed to contradictions in the logic and hence the conclusive line.

Just like you recapped, here is a brief summary using different expressions.

The Ashrama is but a model to live and not everyone followed all the steps even in olden days.

Vedas are organized according to maturity of a person. For those with desires it is all Kamya Karmas to bring the person under the grip of Dharmas as opposed to realizing desires by adharmic means. They include all sections for most part except last section. Then a person is told to do only Nithya Karma when they are mature

Ashrama stage of life is not correlated to maturity levels of a person. Sannyasis act with all kinds of desires and there are Brahmacharis who are Sannyasis at heart.

Introspection etc is related to Jnanam and it never mixes with Karma/rituals. You can find any number of teachings asserting that
Jnana and Karma do not mix
Upasana can mix with Karma.

Upasana in last section (upanishad) has very little to do with upasana in earlier section

So the issue is that there is one class of Brahmachari, Gruhastha and Vanaprastha mainly with differing levels of desires - For them the first 3 sections as a whole apply

The last section is only for those that have desire to know truth of life at any cost.
-------

Regarding your citation of Gita verse 6.1 and 6.2, they do not refer to Sannyasa Ashrama at all
You can refer to Gita taught by Swami Dayananda,

Here is a quick reference from Google search




The translation is more in alignment with teachings of Krishna in other chapters

Besides Ashrama is a mithya. Teaching is not going to rely on a Mithya item
It is like aligning a serious study syllabus to a school uniform.

So in my understanding Sannyasa in Gita is due to understanding only and not to lifestyle
 
OP
OP
T

thebigthinkg

Active member
Thank you Mr TBT for your response.
I pointed to contradictions in the logic and hence the conclusive line.

Just like you recapped, here is a brief summary using different expressions.

The Ashrama is but a model to live and not everyone followed all the steps even in olden days.

Vedas are organized according to maturity of a person. For those with desires it is all Kamya Karmas to bring the person under the grip of Dharmas as opposed to realizing desires by adharmic means. They include all sections for most part except last section. Then a person is told to do only Nithya Karma when they are mature

Ashrama stage of life is not correlated to maturity levels of a person. Sannyasis act with all kinds of desires and there are Brahmacharis who are Sannyasis at heart.

Introspection etc is related to Jnanam and it never mixes with Karma/rituals. You can find any number of teachings asserting that
Jnana and Karma do not mix
Upasana can mix with Karma.

Upasana in last section (upanishad) has very little to do with upasana in earlier section

So the issue is that there is one class of Brahmachari, Gruhastha and Vanaprastha mainly with differing levels of desires - For them the first 3 sections as a whole apply

The last section is only for those that have desire to know truth of life at any cost.
-------

Regarding your citation of Gita verse 6.1 and 6.2, they do not refer to Sannyasa Ashrama at all
You can refer to Gita taught by Swami Dayananda,

Here is a quick reference from Google search




The translation is more in alignment with teachings of Krishna in other chapters

Besides Ashrama is a mithya. Teaching is not going to rely on a Mithya item
It is like aligning a serious study syllabus to a school uniform.

So in my understanding Sannyasa in Gita is due to understanding only and not to lifestyle

Ok, So I assume that since, in your understanding, Asramas were a 'model' and kind of virtual, you think that these texts were not related to asramas, as they did not exist in the first place..

But as I translated what is in Gita 6.1 and 6.2, krishna is referring to sanyasa asrama with nir-agnir and akriya. In any case, thanks for your comments and feedback.
 

a-TB

Well-known member
Ok, So I assume that since, in your understanding, Asramas were a 'model' and kind of virtual, you think that these texts were not related to asramas, as they did not exist in the first place..

But as I translated what is in Gita 6.1 and 6.2, krishna is referring to sanyasa asrama with nir-agnir and akriya. In any case, thanks for your comments and feedback.


When it comes to translation we have to ensure that there is integrity of message across the entire text. The only person who did that without involving any beliefs is Sankara. Hence his teaching is useful.

In this forum, at a debate ,to know more, I ended up buying two books, both which had translation of the Sankara's commentary for Gita verses.

Let me show you why your translation will not fit with other teachings in Gita. I would like to show that by copying from the book what one author translated the commentary on this verse. The passage is a section from Sankara's commentary pertaining to the words you called out. Translator of Bhashya is Panoli. You can get the book at many places.

In Sankara's words"

"Sannyasa means renunciation. He who possesses it is a Sannyasi. Yoga is the tranquility of mind. He who possesses it is a yogi. He should be thought of as being endowed with both qualities "

"Not merely the one who has given up fires and performs no action, is to be considered as a Sannyasi and a yogi"

Bottom-line is that Sankara does not consider the word nir-agnir and akriya as referring to Sannyasi lifestyle. And he has ensured the consistency in understanding the whole of Gita. I do not know Sanskrit to translate anything except rely on trustworthy sources.

Thanks for engagement.
 
OP
OP
T

thebigthinkg

Active member
When it comes to translation we have to ensure that there is integrity of message across the entire text. The only person who did that without involving any beliefs is Sankara. Hence his teaching is useful.

In this forum, at a debate ,to know more, I ended up buying two books, both which had translation of the Sankara's commentary for Gita verses.

Let me show you why your translation will not fit with other teachings in Gita. I would like to show that by copying from the book what one author translated the commentary on this verse. The passage is a section from Sankara's commentary pertaining to the words you called out. Translator of Bhashya is Panoli. You can get the book at many places.

In Sankara's words"

"Sannyasa means renunciation. He who possesses it is a Sannyasi. Yoga is the tranquility of mind. He who possesses it is a yogi. He should be thought of as being endowed with both qualities "

"Not merely the one who has given up fires and performs no action, is to be considered as a Sannyasi and a yogi"

Bottom-line is that Sankara does not consider the word nir-agnir and akriya as referring to Sannyasi lifestyle. And he has ensured the consistency in understanding the whole of Gita. I do not know Sanskrit to translate anything except rely on trustworthy sources.

Thanks for engagement.
It is because saMnyAsa asrama was defined as 'nir-agnir' and 'nir-akriya' the refutation of that exists. In fact that makes it all clear, what is being referred in that line is the Asrama dharma. That's the point I made.
 

a-TB

Well-known member
It is because saMnyAsa asrama was defined as 'nir-agnir' and 'nir-akriya' the refutation of that exists. In fact that makes it all clear, what is being referred in that line is the Asrama dharma. That's the point I made.
Sannyasa has many meanings, lifestyle being one of them. This verse specifically says that Sannyasa is NOT that lifestyle. It is not a refutation but clarification so as to not make a mistake.

Throughout Gita lifestyle is not referred to by the word Sannyasa. The question of interpreting that verse to mean as Ashrma does not exist among many meanings for the word Sannyasa. Wisdom library site has 23 different meanings for word Sannyasa.

Anyone can stay away from agni rituals including cooking (but eat what others cook). Being a lazy person one can refuse to do any work. That cannot be Sannyasa. So the two words are called to note that Sannyasa is not about some external appearance but one of renunciation in life.

The thread started as mapping veda sections into ashrama and as example, to support thesis that ashrama is referred to , you quoted that Sri Krishna is referring to Sannyasa Ashrama, But Sri Krishna, according to Sankara says, Gita verse is NOT referring to (superficial) lifestyle .,
 
Last edited:

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
What if the Gita verse is referring to actual meaning of sanyasa in both states?
As in
1) Ashrama
2)Non Ashrama.

That is sanyasa is a state of renunciation of one's fruits of action be it if one is the Ashrama system or one who is not in the Ashrama system and a gentle reminder for those in the Ashrama system that mere superficial niragnir and nir akriya does not automatically qualify as sanyasa if renunciation of fruits of actions is absent.

At the same time also stressing that sanyasa is more a state of being rather than just a phase of life..reminding us that sanyasa as in giving up fruits of action can exists even in Non Ashrama situations like the life of a grhasta..where one does actions in Karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadacana format though one still practically does actions and uses fire in day to day life as in cooking or in some cases rituals that involve fire.


We usually feel that karma yoga,jnaana yoga and bhakti yoga are divorced from each other but is it so?
Can one who still does the rituals expected from a house holder still qualify to be in the state of sanyasa?

Well..why not?
One can preform actions without seeking for the fruits of actions yet not be attached to inaction..is it a state of sanyasa?
Yes.

When he does an action sans attachment it qualifies as karma yoga..he is able to do so owing to jnaana yoga which gave him the viveka..all due to the bhakti he has for God.

All three states of karma,jnaana and bhakti are interelated and sanyasa is an unified state of being of all three.
 

sravna

Well-known member
What if the Gita verse is referring to actual meaning of sanyasa in both states?
As in
1) Ashrama
2)Non Ashrama.

That is sanyasa is a state of renunciation of one's fruits of action be it if one is the Ashrama system or one who is not in the Ashrama system and a gentle reminder for those in the Ashrama system that mere superficial niragnir and nir akriya does not automatically qualify as sanyasa if renunciation of fruits of actions is absent.

At the same time also stressing that sanyasa is more a state of being rather than just a phase of life..reminding us that sanyasa as in giving up fruits of action can exists even in Non Ashrama situations like the life of a grhasta..where one does actions in Karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadacana format though one still practically does actions and uses fire in day to day life as in cooking or in some cases rituals that involve fire.


We usually feel that karma yoga,jnaana yoga and bhakti yoga are divorced from each other but is it so?
Can one who still does the rituals expected from a house holder still qualify to be in the state of sanyasa?

Well..why not?
One can preform actions without seeking for the fruits of actions yet not be attached to inaction..is it a state of sanyasa?
Yes.

When he does an action sans attachment it qualifies as karma yoga..he is able to do so owing to jnaana yoga which gave him the viveka..all due to the bhakti he has for God.

All three states of karma,jnaana and bhakti are interelated and sanyasa is an unified state of being of all three.
Brilliant explanation Renuka!
 

Hari2605

Member
Classification of vedic texts

The vedic scriptures are seen through classification of saMhita, brAhmaNa, Aranyaka and UpaniSat. There are various ideas about what and how these classifications are meant for. Here is my understanding of it, which could be different from convention.

saMhita simply means collections. Collections of mantras are saMhita. The mantras describe various (cosmic in my view) events and happenings. My understanding is saMhitas were for brahmacAris to memorize the events/happenings as they were.

brAhmaNas are applications of saMhitas provided for gRhastAs. They describe various yajna rituals with stress on in which part which samhita mantra need to be recited. They are seen as application of saMhitas in day-to-day life by gRhastas. In fact grahastas lead a ritualistic life mostly. But in this process key mantras were continuously memorized and recited.

Aranyakas are reflections on saMhitas meant for the vanaprasthins. These are semi-philosophical, semi-ritual, which vanaprasthins (people who left gRhastAsrama and went to forests) took up and reflected further to find more esoteric truths out of vedic saMhitas.

Upa-niSat are theorems that emerge out of the Aranyakas meant for the saMnyAsins. These were philosophical which saMnyasin (who wander alone from place to place with detachment) took up with more reflections to produce socially useful/applicable philosophies for life and living beings.

The idea of this organization is that, at every stage of life, the vedic saMhitas or mantra collections along with their investigations/analysis are memorized, stored, investigated, truths found, debated, analyzed and passed on to next generations.
தமிழில் பதிவு போடவும் நிறைய நண்பர்கள் படிக்க முடியும்.தங்கள் கருத்து விளக்கம் கொடுத்து தமிழ் மூலம் பதிவு செய்க.
 
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