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Must-Read Analytical Essays on the shruti--Vedas and Upanishads

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In this thread we share and collect analytical essays on our shruti texts that we consider as a must-read, as they establish the mystical and divine connection of the texts and serve as pointers to the right vichAraNa--inquiry for a sAdhaka--seeker. Members are welcome to add their own must-reads, giving a synopsis of what they read in the target essay/article.

The RgVeda: Is It Mere Mythology? by V.V. Gangal pp.25-42
Journal of the Anantacharya Indological Research Institute, vol1 1998

The author of this essay beautifully sums up the purpose of his writing it in the last paragraph:

"My intention, here, is to show that there is more to the Rgveda than mere mythology or rustic ritual. In selecting DANDEKAR's article for scrutiny, the intention is not to attack AN aspect of the Vedic mythology, nor to "set up a pyrogenous mysticism" to borrow a telling phrase from DAVID M.KNiPE, because 'Fire and heat expressions ... are part of a complex and multifaceted whole', but to insist on establishing this 'multifaceted whole*. The Rsis' mystic living, vibrant experiences and their expressions in the Rgvedic 'poetry' are not dead specimens of living tissues preserved in mythological formalin."

The author blasts the discrediting, shortsighted western and westborn-Indian scholarship of our sacred Hindu texts and establishes the connections beyond the mythical and ritual in the RgVeda, taking the example of Agni.

He exposes that the western(-affilitated) scholars and says:

"Because of their stout and stubborn denial to see that whatever bits of mythology were employed by the Rgvedic mystics (i.e.Rsis) as symbols and metaphors were not for the entertainment of their primitive, imbecile minds but as an endeavour to put into human language, imperfect as it is, their direct, immediate, luminous, holistic visions of truth. But the Western prejudice (and its Indian avatara) is not yet discarded by us! When the Rgvedic mystics employ paradoxes, it is a 'jumble', when Zen Masters use them, it is high, esoteric 'realisation'!

A must-read essay...
The terminology of the Vedas and the European Scholars
by paNDita guru datta vidyArthi

Captioned is a small book in 54 pages, that would permanently change your outlook of the Vedas and give you the true insight into their study. The book also blasts the ignorant and deliberate falsification of the theme and contents of the Vedas by the European scholars such as Max Muller, HH Wilson et al., who all were only Christian missionaries--not impartial and true scholars--, and who sought to denigrate all that was not Christian, specially where they found anything to be older than the Bible's time frame of creation.

A speciality of the book was that it was published in the year 1893 and was earlier submitted as a paper in 1888, right during the lifetime of Max Muller; and the author paNdita gurudatta, being the direct disciple of svAmi dAyAnanda sarasvati of the Arya samAjam, was well-known in the Europe and USA, as a true scholar of the Vedas and the allied Sanskrit scriptures.

I have given a precis of book, paraphrasing freely with my own expressions, and picking up the vital points that the author elaborates on. I have also given my own section headings to break the monotony of reading a long piece of exposition.

The European pseudo-scholarship of the Vedas

The author starts his work with a delightful yet wholly true (as he proves later) criticism of Max Muller's translations and views of the Vedas (emphasis added):

...if the (supremacy of the) Vedic philosophy be true, the interpretations of the Vedas, as given at present by Professor Max Muller and other European scholars must not only be regarded as imperfect, defective and incomplete, but as altogether false. Nay, in the light of true reason and sound scholarship, we are forced to admit their entire ignorance of the very rudiments of Vedic language and philosophy.

We are not alone in the opinion we hold. Says Schopenhauer, "I add to this the impression, which the translations of Sanskrit works by European scholars, with very few exceptions, produce on my mind. I cannot resist a certain suspicion that our Sanskrit scholars do not understand their text much better than the higher class of school boys their Greek or Latin."

The author then quotes his Guru svAmi dayAnanda's words about these scholars:

"The impression that the Germans are the best Sanskrit scholars, and that no one has read so much of Sanskrit as Professor Max Muller, is altogether unfounded. Yes, in a land where lofty trees never grow, even ricinus communis or the castor-oil plant may be called an oak. The study of Sanskrit being altogether out of question in Europe, the Germans and Professor Max Muller may there have come to be regarded as highest authorities... I came to learn from a letter of a principal of some German University, that even men learned enough to interpret a Sanskrit letter are rare in Germany. I have also made it plain from the study of Max Muller's 'History of Sanskrit Literature' and his comments on some mantras of the Veda, that Professor Max Muller has been able only to scribble out something by the help of the so-called tikas, or paraphrases of the Vedas, current in India."
What it takes to be a scholar of Vedic Philosophy

To be a scholar of the Vedic philosophy, the author says:

One must be a complete master of the science of orthoepy, the science of language, the science of etymology, the science of morals, the science of poetry, and the sciences of geology and astronomy (that is, the six vedAnggas); he must be well versed in the philosophy of dharma, the philosophy of characteristics, the doctrines of logic or the science of evidence, the philosophy of essential existences, the philosophy of yoga, and the philosophy of vedanta (in other words, the six darshanas); he must be a master of all these and much more, before he can lay claims to a rational interpretation of the Vedas.

Such, then, should be our Vedic scholars-—thorough adepts in science and philosophy, unprejudiced, impartial judges and seekers after truth. But if impartiality be supplanted by prejudice, science and philosophy by quasi-knowledge and superstition, and integrity by motive, whereas predetermination takes the place of honest inquiry, Truth is either disguised or altogether suppressed.

Max Muller and Schopenhauer

Speaking of the religion of the Upanishats and the Bible, says Schopenhauer, who has 'washed himself clean of all early-engrafted Jewish superstitions, and of all philosophy that cringes before these superstitions':

"In India, our religion (Bible) will now and never strike root; the primitive wisdom of the human race will never be pushed aside by the events of Galilee. On the contrary, Indian wisdom will flow back upon Europe, aud produce a thorough change in our knowing and thinking."

Max Muller retaliates to the observation of his unprejudiced colleague thus, as the author quotes in his book:

"Hero again, the great philosopher seems to me to have allowed himself to be carried away too far by his enthusiasm for the less known. He is blind for the dark side of the Upanishat; and he wilfully shuts his eyes against the bright rays of eternal truths in the Gospel, which even Ram Mohan Roy was quick enough to perceive, behind the mist and clouds of tradition that gather so quickly round the sunrise of every religion."

How to study the Vedas...

After establishing the Christian missionary prejudices of the European Vedic scholars like Max Muller, the author proceeds to give an account of how the Vedas should be interpreted by a seeker after Truth:

• The first canon for interpretation of Vedic terms is laid down by yAska, the author of nirukta, whose fourth section of the fourth chapter opens with a discussion of this very subject.

• Three classes of words are used in the Sanskrit language: yaugika--where the meaning is derived, so connotative, laukika or rUDhi--where the word is an arbitary name with no connotations, so denotative, and yoga-rUDhi--where the word is a combination of both of these features.

For example, the names of the Vedic deities, without exception, are all yaugikas: mitra--friend, varuNa--of noble qualities, aryaman--judge or administrator of justice, Ayu--learned man, indra--governor, ribhuksha--wise man, marutas--those who practically observe the laws of the seasons, and ashva--anything that has speed, such as the three forces of heat, electricity and magnetism. (This detail is given in the authors's subsequent book 'The Wisdom of the Rishis'--more on this book later).

Our personal names are all laukikas or rUDhis. As for the yoga-rUDhis--the combination, the word kamala stands, for instance, in the relation of the born to mud, the bearer; hence kamala is denominated as pankaja, (panka--the mud, and ja--signifying to bear).

• yAska, gArgya, shAkatAyana and other Grammarians unanimously maintain that Vedic terms are all yaugika. This principle, the European scholars have entirely ignored, and hence have flooded their interpretations of the Vedas with forged or borrowed tales of mythology, with stories and anecdotes of historic
or pre-historic personages.
...and what the Study implies

• This means that the historaical personages J.Muir finds in the Rig Veda are only yaugika names! Thus, the names kaNva (1.47.2), gotama (1.71.16), gRtsamada (2.39.8), bhRgavas (4.16.23) and vRhaduktha (10.54.6) stand for learned men in general: kaNva and gRtsa only signify learned men in general (nighaNtu 3.13); bhRgvaH only signifies men of intellect (nighaNtu 5.5); gotama is one who praises; and vRhaduktha is simply one whose ukthas--knowledge of natural properties of objects is vRhat--complete.

• Same is the case with Max Muller discovering the story of shuna-shepa in the Rig Veda. shepa--conduct (nirukta 3.2: shepaH shapate spRushati karmaNo) being suffixed to shunaH--knowledge (shvA shasateH shvatervA gatikarmaNaH syAt), means one who has come into contact with knowledge, i.e., a learned person.

It is clear, then, that if this principle is once ignored, one is easily landed into anecdotes of historical or pre-historic personages.

• Even Max Muller in his mythological moods is compelled to confess, at least with certain portions of the Vedas, that their words are yaugika. Says he: "But there is a charm in these primitive strains discoverable in no other class of poetry. Every word retains something of its radical meaning every epithet tells; every thought, in spite of the most intricate and abrupt expressions, is, if we once disentangle it, true, correct, and complete."

He is more explicit elsewhere: "Names... are to be found in the Veda, as it were, in a still fluid state. They never appear as appellations nor yet as proper names; they are organic, not yet broken or smoothed down."

Max Muller's mythological interpretation and arbitrary classification

• But then Max Muller had his own agenda, so he could not grant the status of expression of monotheistic truth to all the Vedic verses. So he arbitrarily imposes a historical time frame on the Vedas, dividing their verses as belonging to the 'mantras period' and 'Chandas period'. The author foils Max Muller's attempt thus:

The word Chandas in laukika Sanskrit means spontaneity, so Max Muller attributes those verses where he finds only Chandas to an earlier period. The later Mantra period is full of technicalities and descriptions of elaborate ceremonies.

• What proof has Max Muller got for his arbitrary division? His proofs are only two. Firstly, the ill-conceived, confused idea of the difference between Chandas and Mantras; and secondly, the different phases of thought represented by
the two portions. We will consider each of these reasons in detail.

Says yAska in his nirukta 7.12:

mantraH mananAt ChandAmsi ChAdanAt stomaH stamanAt
yajuryajateH sAmasaMitamRuchA ||

which means that there is no difference in the meaning of mantra and Chandas. The Veda is called the mantra, as through it one learns the true knowledge of all existences. The Veda is also called the Chandas, as it removes all ignorance, and brings one under the protection of true knowledge and happiness.

Or, more explicitly still, we read in Shatapatha, 8.2.2[8]:

ChandAmsi vai devA vayonAdhAshchandobhirhIdaM sarvaM vayunaM naddham ||

The mantras {deva) are called Chandas for a knowledge of all human conduct is bound up with them. It is through them that we learn all righteous conduct. The yaugika sense of the words will also lead to the same conclusion. Mantra may be derived from the root man--to think, or matri--to reveal the secret knowledge.

pANINI thus derives the word Chandas: chanderAdeshchaChaH (unadi koSha, 4.210). Chandas is derived from the root chadi--to delight or illumine. Chandas is that the knowledge of which produces all delight or which illumines every thing, i.e., reveals its true nature.

• The second reason of Max Muller for assigning different periods to different portions of the Vedas, is that there are two different phases of thought discoverable in the Vedas. The one is the truthful and simple phase of thought and corresponds to his Chliandas period. The other is the elaborate and technical phase of thought that corresponds to his Mantra period.
But what proof has Max Muller to show that the hymns of his secondary period are full of elaborate and technical thought? Evidently this, that he interprets them thus. If his interpretations were proved to be wrong, his distinction of the two periods will also fall to the ground.

Now, why does he interpret the hymns of the mantra period thus? Evidently, because on the anthority of sAyaNa and mahIdhara, he takes the words of those mantras to signify technicalities, sacrifices, and artificial objects and ceremonies, or, in other words, he takes these words not in their yaugika, but in their rUDhi sense.

It is clear, then, that if Max Muller had kept in view the canon of interpretation given in nirukta, that all Vedic words are yaugika, he would not have fallen into the fallacious anachronism of assigning different periods to different parts of the Vedas.

Coupled with another prejudice which is cherished by many scholars that in the ruder stages of civilization, mankind with its limited experience of the world first tried to oppose, then feared and then worshipped the forces of Nature such as the wind, the rain, thunder and lightning. This is what led to these scholars finding mythology in the Vedas; and where he could not reconcile the mantras with the pure poetry of the Chandas, Max Muller brought in the historical divisions of philosophy and ritualism in the Vedas, instead of seeing them as an organic whole.

The fundamental error of this supposition lies in regarding a contingent conclusion as a necessary one: mythology might be the result of barbarous intellect and analogical reasoning, but it is not necessarily so always. It may even grow up as a degenerate, deformed and petrified remnant of a purer and truer religion.

The point is that had the European scholars never come across the mythological commentaries of sAyaNa and mahIdhara, or the puranic literature of post-vedic, (nay anti-vedic) period, it would have been impossible for them, from the mere grounds of comparative mythology or Sanskrit philosophy, to alight on such interpretations of the Vedas as are at present current among them.

And then there was this preposterous thought and writing of the Euro scholars that the religion of the Vedas which is replete with (animal) sacrifices was only ritualistic; and as Buddhism grew out and in protest of those Brahminic rituals, the Brahmans composed the Upanishads to cope with the spread of Buddhism and stress the philosophical core of their religion. The author blasts such blind disinformation, proving how the darshanas are much older than Buddhism.

Refuting European Translations

Here are some examples of the Rig Veda mantras translated in mythological terms and their true purport:

RV 1.050.04

taraNirvishvadarshato jyotiShkR^idasi sUrya |
vishvamA bhAsi rochanam ||1.050.04||

With speed beyond the ken of mortals, thou, sun,
Dost ever travel on, conspicuous to all.
Thou dost create the light, and with it illume
The entire universe. --Monier Williams' translation

sUrya, as a yaugika word, means both sun and the Divinity. MW takes it to represent sun only. The subject is the gorgeous wonders of the solar and the electric worlds. In pitch darkness when the sun is not illuminating the world around, there is no blue canopy, no fragrant flower, no green meadows, dirty gutters or crystalline streams, no sight of the peacock's train or the deer's slender legs or the chirrup of the birds with bright plumage--only the gloom of frozen darkness. But once the clouds are dispelled and the divine light of wisdom of the sun shines around, the world of color and sound springs up to our experience in a single moment. This Sun never sets, but always sheds its rays of Wisdom all around.

RV 1.162.01

We have shown why we regard Chandas and mantra as synonymous; also how Max Muller distinguishes between them and attributes a secondary age. He says, "One specimen may suffice, a hymn describing the sacrifice of the horse with the full detail of a superstitions ceremonial. (Rig Veda, i.162)."

We shall now take up this mantra, which is the specimen hymn of Max Muller, and show how, due to a defective knowledge of Vedic literature and to the rejection of the principle that Vedic terms are all yaugika, Professor Max Muller translates a purely scientific hymn, distinguishable in no characteristics from the Chandas of the Vedas, as representative of an artificial, cumbersome and highly superstitious ritual or ceremonial.
To our thinking, Muller's interpretation is so very incongruous, unintelligible, and superficial, that were the interpretation even regarded as possible, it could never be conceived as the description of an actual ceremonial.

mA no mitro varuNo aryamAyurindra R^ibhukShA marutaH pari khyan |
yadvAjino devajAtasya sapteH pravakShyAmo vidathe vIryANi ||1.162.01||

Max Muller translates it, "May Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Ayu, Indra, the lord of the Ribhus, and the Maruts not rebuke us, because we shall proclaim at the sacrifice the virtues of the swift horse sprung from the gods."

• That the above interpretation may be regarded as real or as true, let Professor Max Muller prove that Aryans of the Vedic times entertained the superstition that at least one swift horse had sprung from the gods, also that the gods Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Ayu, Indra, the lord of Ribhus and the Maruts, did not like to hear the virtues of the swift horse proclaimed at the sacrifice, for, if otherwise, they would have no reason to rebuke the poet.

• Not one of these positions it is ever possible to entertain with validity. Even the most diseased conception of a savage shrinks from such a superstition as the "swift horse sprung from the gods." It is also in vain to refer for the verification of this position to the ashvamedha of the so-called Puranas.

The whole truth is that this mythology of ashvamedha arose in the same way in which originates Max Muller's translation. It originates from an ignorance of the dialectic laws of the Vedas, when words having a yaugika sense are taken for proper nouns, and an imaginary mythology started.

• To take, for instance, the mantra quoted above. Max Muller is evidently under the impression that Mitra is the 'god of the day', Varuna is the god of the 'investing sky', Vayu or Ayu is the 'god of the wind', Indra the 'god of the watery atmosphere', Ribhus, 'the celestial artists', and Maruts are the 'storm-gods'. But why these gods? Because he ignores the yaugika sense of these words and takes them as propor nouns.

Literally speaking, mitra means a friend; varuNa, a man of noble qualities; aryama, a judge or an administrator of justice; ayu, a learned man; indra, a governor; ribhuksha, a wise man; marutahs, those who practically observe the laws of seasons. The word ashva which occurs in the mantra does not mean 'horse' only, but it also means the group of three forces--heat, electrictity and magnetism. It, in fact, means anything that can carry soon through a distance.

Hence writes svAmi dayAnanda in the beginning of this sUkta:—

"This Sukta is an exposition of ashva vidya which means the science of training horses and the science of heat which pervades everywhere in the shape of electricity."

That 'ashwa' means heat will bo clear from the following quotations:—

ashvaM na tvA vAravantaM vidadhyA agniM namobhiH |

The words ashvaM agniM show that ashva means agni or Heat. And further--

vRSho agniH samiDAte ashvo na devavAhanaH | taM haviShmanta iDate ||--RV 1.027.1

which means: agni, the ashva, carries like an animal of conveyance the learned who thus recognize its distance-carrying properties.

• Max Muller translates the "devajAta" of the mantra as "sprung from the gods." This is again wrong, for he again takes deva in its popular {laukika) sense, god; whereas devajAta means "with brilliant qualities manifested, or evoked to work by learned men:" the word deva meaning both brilliant qualities and learned men. Again Max Muller translates "vIrya" merely into virtues, instead of "power-generating virtues."

• The true meaning of the mantra, therefore, is:

"We will describe the power-generating virtues of the energetic horses endowed with brilliant properties, or the virtues of the vigorous force of heat which learned or scientific men can evoke to work for purposes of appliances (not sacrifice). Let not philanthropes, noble men, judges, learned men, rulers, wise men and practical mechanics ever disregard these properties."

sAyaNa's Error

RV 9.096.06

In this way, using the yaugika meaning of the Vedic terms, the author goes on to disprove Max Muller's translations of other remaining mantras in the RV 1.162. Then he blames sAyaNa for the influence of the European mistranslations, regarding sAyaNa "as the father of European Vedic scholarship". Like Muller, sAyaNa was also ignorant (or disregarded) the yaugika interpretation of the Vedas and translated them to reflect the religious rituals, customs and practices of his age, rather than any that prevailed during the Vedic times.

He quotes sayaNa's translation of the mantra RV 9.96:

brahmA devAnAM padavIH kavInAmR^iShirviprANAM mahiSho mR^igANAm |
shyeno gR^idhrANAM svadhitirvanAnAM somaH pavitramatyeti rebhan ||9.096.06||

Says sAyaNa:—

"God himself appears as Brahma among the gods,Indra, Agni, &c; He appears as a poet among the dramatists and writers of lyrics; He appears as Yashishtha, &c. among the Brahmanas; He appears as a buffalo among quadrupeds; He appears as an eagle among birds; He appears as an axe in the forest; He appears as the soma- juice purified by mantras excelling in its power of purification, the sacred waters of the Ganges, &c, &c."

sAyaNa's translation does not mirror the sense of the Vedas but his own age. His interprepation of brahma, kavi, deva rishi, vipra, mahisha, mriga, shyena, gridhra, vana soma, pavitra-—of all these words, without one exception, is purely rUDhi or laukika.

Now follows the exposition of yAska in his nirukta, 14.13. There is not a single word that is not taken in its yaugika sense.

sarvam.anubhavati/ aatma.gatim.aacaSTe/(14.13)

We will now speak of the spiritual sense of the mantra as yAska gives it. It is his object to explain that the human spirit is the central conscious being that enjoys all experience. The external world as revealed by the senses finds its purpose and object and therefore absorption in this central being. The indriyas or the senses are called the devas, because they have their play in the external phenomenal world, and because it is by them that the external world is revealed to us. Hence Atma, the human spirit, is the brahmA devAnAm, the conscious entity that presents to its consciousness all that the senses reveal.

Similarly, the senses are called the kavayah, because one learns by their means. The Atma, then, is 'padavi kachinam' or the true sentient being that understands the working of the senses. Further, the Atma is rishir vipranam, the cognizors of sensations; vipra meaning the senses as the feelings excited by them pervade the whole body. The senses are also called the mrigas, for they hunt about their proper aliment in the external world. Atma is mahisho mriganam, i.e., the great of all the hunters.
The meaning is that it is really through the power of Atma that the senses are enabled to find out their proper objects. The Atma is called shyena, as to it belongs the power of realization; and gridhras are the indriyas, for they provide the material for such realization. The Atma, then, pervades these senses.

Further, this Atma is svadhitir vananam, or the master whom all indriyas serve. Svadhiti means Atma, for the activity of Atma is all for itself, man being an end unto himself. The senses are called vana, for they serve their master, the human spirit. It is this Atma that being pure in its nature enjoys all.

Such, then, is the yaugika sense which yAska attaches to the mantra. Not only is it all consistent and intelligible unlike sAyaNa's which conveys no actual sense; not only is each word clearly defined in its yaugiika meaning, in contradistinction with sAyaNa who knows no other sense of the word than the popular one; but there is also to be found that simplicity, naturalness and truthfulness of meaning, rendering it independent of all time and space, which contrasted with the artificiality, burdensomeness and localisation of sAyaNa's sense, can only proclaim sAyaNa's complete ignorance of the principles of Vedic interpretation.

Monotheism and Universality of Vedic Philosophy

The author then proceeds to make fun of Max Muller's description of Vedic Religion as Henotheistic and establishes that it is monotheism throughout, both in the Vedas and Upanishads.

He also throws new light on the meaning of the 33 devatas that sage Yajnavalkya speaks of to ShAkalya in the ShatapAtha BrAhmaNa.

"Says Yajnavalkya, O ShAkalya, there are 33 devaias; 8 vasus, 11 rudras, 12 Adityas, indra and prajApati; 33 on the whole. The eight vasus are 1. heated cosmic bodies, 2. planets, 3. atmospheres, 4. superterrestrial spaces, 5. suns, 6. rays of ethereal space, 7. satellites, 8. stars. These are called vasus (abodes), for the whole group of existences resides in them, for they are the abode of all that lives, moves, or exists.

"The eleven rudras are the ten nervauric forces enlivening the human frame, and the eleventh is the human spirit. These are called the rudras (from root rud to weep), because when they desert the body, it becomes dead, and the relations of the dead, in consequence of this desertion, begin to weep.

"The twelve adityas are the twelve solar months, marking the course of time. They are called Adityas as by their cyclic motion they produce changes in all objects, and hence the lapse of the term of existence for each object. Adityas means that which causes such a lapse.

"Indra is the all-pervading electricity or force. PrajApati is yajna (or an active voluntary association of objects, on the part of man, for the purposes of art, association with other men for purposes of teaching or learning). It also
means the useful animals. Yajna and useful animals are called prajApati, as it is by such actions and by such animals that the world at large derives its materials of sustenance.

"'What, then, are the three devatas?'--Asks ShAkalya. Says Yajnavalkya, they are locality, name and birth. 'What are the two devatas?'-—asked he. Yajnavalkya, replied, 'the positive substances, prANa, and negative substances, anna. Adhyardha is the universal electricity, the sustainer of the Universe known as sUtrAtma. Lastly, he inquired, 'Who is the one Devata?' And Yajnavalkya replied, "God, the adorable."

These, then, are the thirty-three devatas mentioned in the Vedas. Let us see how far this analysis agrees with our a priori deduction. The eight vasus enumerated in Shatpatha Brahmana are clearly the localities; the twelve adityas comprise time; the eleven rudras include, firstly, the ego, the human spirit, and secondly, the ten nervauric forces which may be approximately taken for the vital activities of the mind, electricity is the all-pervading force; whereas prajApati, yajna or pashus may be roughly regarded as comprising the objects of intelligent deliberate activities of the mind.

When thus understood, the 33 devatas will correspond with the six elements of our rough analysis. Since tho object, here, is not so much to show exactness of detail as general coincidence, partial differences may bo left out of account.

Here are some mantras that give clear proofs of the monotheism of the Vedas:

hiraNyagarbhaH samavartatAgre bhUtasya jAtaH patireka AsIt |
sa dAdhAra pR^ithivIM dyAmutemAM kasmai devAya haviShA vidhema ||10.121.01|| RV

"God existed in the beginning of creation, the only Lord of the unborn universe. He is the Eternal Bliss whom we should praise and adore."

In Yajur Yeda, xvii.19, we find:

"Being all vision, all power, all motion in Himself, He sustains with His power the whole universe. Himself being One alone."

And in Atharva Veda, XIII.iv.16—21, we find:

"There are neither two gods, nor three, nor four, nor ten. He is one and only one and pervades the whole universe. All other things live, move and have their existence in Him."


A must-read...
Vedic Texts: The Atmoshpere
RV 1.002.01

वायवायाहि दर्शतेमे सोमा अरंकृताः ।
तेषां पाहि श्रुधी हवम् ॥१.००२.०१॥

vAyavAyAhi darshateme somA araMkRutAH |
teShAM pAhi shrudhI havam ||1.002.01||

1.002.01 BEAUTIFUL Vayu, come, for thee these Soma drops have been prepared:
Drink of them, hearken to our call.--RTH Griffith

1.002.01 Vayu, pleasant to behold, approach; these libations are prepared for you drink of them; hear our invocation.--HH Wilson

Pandit gurudatta vidyArti (he was a paNDit--master, who was humble to call himself a vidyArti--student), the disciple of svAmi dayAnanda sarasvati (of the Arya samAjam) who got his guru-kaTAkSham--guru's dIkShA--initiation of the disciple, by kaTAkSham--a sideways glance, when the guru was on his deathbed, has taught us to look for yaugika--derived, rather than rUDhi or laukika--conventional and worldly, meanings in the interpretations of Vedic texts, has given us this startlingly refreshing, scientific explanation of the above verse, in his book 'Wisdom of the Rishis' (http://www.archive.org/download/wisdomofrishis00vidyuoft/wisdomofrishis00vidyuoft.pdf).

He explains how the above verse is a scientific explanation of the phenomenal functions of vAyu--the wind of our atmosphere, rather than an adoration of vAyu bhagavAn!

• There is nothing which so beautifully illustrates the bounteous dispensation of Providence in Nature for mankind, as the atomosphere that surrounds the earth as a gaseous envelope, and is characterised by its lightness and elasticity--so readily conveying even the slightest disturbance, unlike the solid and liquid, the two other states of matter.

• Is not, then, a light, mobile, tremor-communicuting, effluvia-carrying medium a better and a more exact appellation for this masterly creation of the Architect of Nature than the ugly, un-meaning, inexact and half-articulate word air.

• It is exactly this sense, italicized in the above lines, which the Vedic word vAyu conveys, the word with which the mantra quoted above begins.

vAyu, derived by the NiruktakAra from the root vA--to move, to carry odoriferous matter; or from vaH--to communicate tremors, is always moving in the form of currents; is the cause of extension of vision and of other appearance; it furnishes the plant with air and food and preserves the equilibrium between the vegetable and the animal kingdoms and it makes our sound and all others' as well, heard.

• As the sun rays heat up the atmosphere, the vAyu circulates, the heated layers going up and the colder coming down, and thus create the monsoons by winds (known as trade-winds), that flow from the cold Arctic regions towards the equatorial regions that receive the maximum heat from the sun rays. This first phenomenon of the forever circulating currents of vAyu--atmosphere, is conveyed by the word AyAhi that is attributed to the vAyu. The vAyu is thus AyAhi--always moving, arriving (like the waves), in the form of currents.

• Next, the modifying phenomenon of light on the atmosphere. The sun rays that travel from the vacuum of space through the variegated warm layers of vAyu, take zigzag paths due to refraction of the rays, and create mirages and appearances that enable us to see the objects of this material world in their colourful splendour. Thus the vAyu, combining with the sun rays, extend our vision of the objective world. Therefore, the Vedic mantra quoted above has the word darshata--the cause of extension of vision of other appearances.

• A third and very important part the vAyu--atmosphere plays in the economy of nature is the purpose it serves of the maintenance of the vegetable world. There is always a certain quantity of carbonic acid in the vAyu--atmosphere, which however slight, sufficient to maintain the equilibrium of the animal and vegetable worlds. The carbon that the trees and plants have in their body derive it from the carbonic acid in the atmosphere, and by the action of chlorophyl decompose the acid, retain the carbon and set the oxygen free, for the animals (that includes humans) to breathe in; the animals in turn, breathe out the carbonic acid to supplement its quantity in the atmosphere and for the use of the plant world. Thus all vegetable and animal life depends on the presence of vAyu--air, which maintains the dynamic equilibrium between these two classes of organic nature.

The word soma used in the Vedas means something that springs out of breath, and especially designates the vegetable kingdom which as such, is necessarily dependent upon the soil from which it springs. Hence we have soma araMkRutAH teShAM pAhi in the Vedic mantra, meaning thereby that the vAyu--atmosphere furnishes the plants with air and food, and preserves the equilibrium between the vegetable and the animal kingdoms.

• Another major phenomenon of vAyu--the atmosphere is that it is vehicle of all sounds. Man is often called a speaking animal, although it is this capacity that distinguishes him from the animals. Now this speech, which, in this sense, is at the root of our advancement and civilization, essentially consists of articulated sounds, the utility of which would have been entirely marred, if there had been no vAyu--atmosphere.

vAyu, then is also a vehicle of sound, a fact which is mentioned in the mantra in the last two words, shrudhI havam--makes our sounds and all others' as well, heard.


Pandit gurudatta vidyarthi, born on 26th Apr 1864, became a scholar in the Sanskrit language and the Vedic scriptures even when he was just 26 years old, exceeding the knowledge of the master scholars who taught him, and then solving himself, his own puzzles on the Vedas and Grammar. Born in the kShatriya--warrior varNa--class, he approached the Pandits of the Arya Samaj and challenged them that if they denied him teaching Vedas, then he considered the Vedas as trash! His guru svAmi dayAnanda's nayana dIkSha changed the tendencies of atheism in the young disciple and made him a true vedAntin, who like his master, abhorred the image worship, the purAnas--anything that stood in between him and the Brahman in him. He died of consumption in March 1890, at an early age of 26, which was a great loss for true Vedic scholarship.
Bravo Sri Saidevo! You have beaten your own record. First, you gave us a very useful personal library. Now you are giving us in a nutshell the essence of each book, thus making our work simpler. Thanks a lot. Please Keep it up.

Could you please clarify a doubt of mine.

Our personal names are all laukikas or rUDhis. As for the yoga-rUDhis--the combination, the word kamala stands, for instance, in the relation of the born to mud, the bearer; hence kamala is denominated as pankaja, (panka--the mud, and ja--signifying to bear).
I can understand that 'pankaja' is a yaugik word. I can not understand that 'kamalam' is a yogarudi. Could you please elaborate?
namaste shrI vikrama.

I am happy with your appreciation: the idea is give some pointers to some enlightening articles I happen to read; and, as I have stated, the thread is open for any member to share what they have read about the correct interpretation of shruti.

"Our personal names are all laukikas or rUDhis. As for the yoga-rUDhis--the combination, the word kamala stands, for instance, in the relation of the born to mud, the bearer; hence kamala is denominated as pankaja, (panka--the mud, and ja--signifying to bear)."

Reading the above comment by panDita gurudatta, I was also initially confused as to how the word 'kamalah' could be a yogarUDhi, but a second reading clarified the issue. What the author means is that 'kamalam' is a rUDhi word indicating the lotus flower, but when the relatiionship of the flower-plant to its place of birth in the mud is thought up, we come up with the yogarUDhi name 'pankaja', the mud-born flower.

I would request the members who are well versed in Sanskrit to give us the root of the word 'kamalah': is it 'ka+malah' or 'kam+alah' or anything else. The term 'kamalah' also means 'pale red', hence we say 'kamala orange'.
Vedic Texts: The Atmoshpere: RV 1.002.01
T.Williams' Criticism and Gurudatta's reply

paNDita gurudatta vidyArti in his exposition of the above RgVeda verse we read above, stated that the English word 'air' cannot be construed as having the same meaning as the Vedic yaugika word 'vAyu' because 'air' is "ugly, un-meaning, inexact and half-articulate". This was enough to provoke a criticism of the exposition by one Mr.T.Williams, who sought to deny GDV's derivation of the roots and meanings of the word 'vAyu'. Perhaps Westerners couldn't stand the thinking that the Hindu Vedic Rishis must have known in the days of yore, what only the western science could unravel.

Here is the criticism and the replies to it from GDV and his editor AP:

TW: Mr. Guru Datta says that the Vedic word 'Vayu' conveys meaning of "a light, mobile, tremor-communicating, effluvia-carrying medium." He has no other authority for this meaning than the verbal root from which the word 'Vayu' is derived.

Reply by GDV: No other authority, it must be remembered, is at all required. For, in the Vedic literature the yaugika sense of the word is the only guarantee of its correctness, and in some cases, is the only sense possible to give to a word.

TW: Now, sir, whatever meaning the word 'Vayu' may have on account of its derivation, that very same meaning would the English word 'wind' have and also the Greek word, Englished as 'air', for both these words have the same root as 'Vayu'. which root is no more less than that represented by the Samskrita 'vA'.

Reply by GDV: This is incorrect, for, it is only proper to take that sense of the word only, which is recalled into consciousness of those who employ the word whenever the word is spoken. Now, the word 'wind' does not recall any such meaning in the minds of its speakers. But in the case of Vedic word, (which as Vedic are quite distinct from laukika) no sense is at all recalled, unless it be the very sense accruing to it from its derivation. This essential ditference between laukika and Vedic words, the critic does not understand, and hence his mistake.

TW: Mr.Guru Datta is wrong in saying that the Nirutakara derives 'Vayu' from the root 'vA' to move, to carry odoriferous matter, or from 'vaH' 'to communicate tremors.' YAska, the prince of Niruktakaras, only gives 'vA' (Nir. 110,2) and his commentator adds to 'vA', 'gatigand-hanayos' quoting from Ad.P. It is probable that this 'gandhana', suggested Mr.Datta's 'odoriferous matter', but he ought to know that it is now a settled thing that the word 'gandha'--smell, comes from the verbal root 'gandh', which never means to smell, but 'to go or to hurt, or to ask'; and 'gandhana' is from this verbal root and not from the noun 'gandha.'

Reply by GDV: The critic is wrong when he thinks that the author of the Vedic Text No.I confounds 'gandhana' with the noun 'gandha'. For, it is 'gandhana' which means a form of 'sUchana' producing that form of consciosness which is called smelling.

TW: But this is not his great mistake in his derivation of 'Vayu': it is in his saying that 'vaH' is given by a Niruktakara as an alternate root! What is his authority for this? He should have given chapter and verse for his statement. The derivation from 'vA' is clear enough and the only one given by the chief Niruktakara YAska, or by any other commentator that I have yet seen.

Reply by AP: Is it not strange to find that the critic should betray the very same ignorance of Nirukta with which he charges Pt.Guru Datta. Fop 'vA' is not the only root given by Niruktakara, as the critic would suppose, but in one place whose reference is not given in the text, the Niruktakara derives it from at least these, 'vati vetti and eti', I quote the passage from memory, "Vayurvater vetter vosyadgati karmanah, eteriti sthaulashtive." (The actual passage is: "vaayur.vaater.veter.vaa.syaad.gati.karmaNah/(10,1); eter.iti.sthaulaasthiivir.anarthako.vakaarah/(10,1)"--sd)

TW: It is from this root that 'wind' and 'air' are derived, so that I repeat, whatever Mr.Datta has to say for 'Vayu', that is true, that must also be said for those two words. His vituperate reference to the word 'air' is both foolish and ignorant.

Reply by AP: Mr.Williams must be a great philologist to derive 'wind' and 'air' from the same root.

Mr.Williams could well have spared such harsh words. They cannot prove his contention.

TW: Now, from what I have said, there is nothing specially to be attributed to the Vedas because this word 'Vayu' occurs in it as an appellation of the Atmosphere. Long before Madhucchandas composed, or, if Mr.Datta will have it, saw this Rk., the idea of the word 'Vayu' as an appellation for the atmosphere was the common property of all the Indo-European peoples.

Reply by GDV: What does vague philology know of human history? Long ages after Madduchhandas or earlier rishis saw this Rk., the European nations had not even assumed their existence, what to say of "the idea of the word vayu as an appellation of the atmosphere" being the common property of all the Indo-European peoples.
Idolatry in the Vedas

T.Williams whose arguments we read and saw countered above, wrote a letter to the Editor of the 'Arya Patrika', quoting the verse RV 1.002.01 on vAyu, asserting that it is a sure testimony of idolatry in the Vedas, and questioning Pandit Gurudatta's etymological translation of the verse. Below is an account of how the Pandit and his Editor countered Williams' arguments--with my paraphrases around the key points.

वायवायाहि दर्शतेमे सोमा अरंकृताः ।
तेषां पाहि श्रुधी हवम् ॥१.००२.०१॥

vAyavAyAhi darshateme somA araMkRutAH |
teShAM pAhi shrudhI havam ||1.002.01||

Come O sightly Vayu, these somas are prepared. Drink of them.
Hear our invocation.--T.Williams

The light, mobile, tremor-communicuting, effluvia-carrying medium vAyu extends our vision, nourishes the plants and preserves the equilibrium (between vegetable and animal kingdoms); and as a vehicle for sounds, makes our sounds and those of others, heard.--paNDita gurudatta vidyArthi

The main contention of T.Williams with which he defended his own translation and questioned Pandit GDV's was that his own translation was grammatically (and etymologically) correct, whereas the GDV's was only etymologically right. As a great scholar of Sanskrit and the Scriptures, the Pandit cannot afford to ignore the grammar, but in fact should give priority to it.

Contention of TW

• The 'pAda' form of the verse shows authoratatively that the word 'vAyu', in the vocative case can only be rendered in English as "O Vayu!" The Sanskrit grammar cannot allow any other case.

• Since vAyu is in the vocative, its dependent three verbs are in the imperative, and should only be rendered in English as "O Vayu, come", "O Vayu, drink" and "O Vayu, hear".

• With Datta's authority, which cannot possibly be wrong, if we substitute 'amosphere' for 'vAyu', we get: "0 atmosphere, come--O atmosphere drink--O atmosphere hear."

Thus, even with Datta's authority, this Vedic verse only shows that some simple-minded Arya, ages upon ages ago, thought the atmosphere was a god that would come at his invitation, drink at his request and listen to his call!!

This simple Ayra was of a sociable turn, for the beverage he had prepared for the atmosphere to drink was the exhilarating Soma, so beloved of the gods and of Indra in particular.

Reply by GDV:

• Williams betrays a strange ignorance of Samskrita Grammar here. Besides the fact, that there is nothing in this Mantra to substantiate that the 'soma' is the beverage referred to, there is something to show that the word 'soma' does not mean 'beverage' here.

The Samskrita word are 'ime somAH', which mean 'these somAs'. Now had somA meant, 'beverage', we should have met with the word 'soma' in the Singular number and the qualifying pronoun 'asau' or 'ayam' and not 'ime'. It will not do to say that there may be many kinds of beverage, for although it may be true, 'somA' is one kind of beverage, and hence cannot be spoken in the plural number. To substantiate his view, Mr.Williams should also quote Mantras that deal with the materials of 'somAH' and of their mode of preparation.

• Grammar compels TW to disregard any scientific interpretation of the mantra. So he attributes motives of primitive worship to the 'simple-minded Arya'. Surely it is a "Christian" virtue to attribute motives without the slightest evidence for them.

Why is it that TW does not substantiate his meaning of 'somA' juice the plural number of the word 'somA', together with a plural pronoun 'ime', and the assertion that 'somA' was much beloved of the gods and particularly of Indra?

It is because if he did, and did so honestly he would find his meanings falsified, instead of being substantiated, and himself a mere misrepresenter of Vedic mantras, through fear that if the Vedas turn out to be true, what will become of the almost score-centuried Bible Revelation?

Contention of TW

• I have demonstrated then, by the help of Mr.Guru Datta, that there is Idolatry in the Vedas.

Reply by GDV:

• In the Light 0f TW's logic and learning, the use of a noun signifying anything other than God in the vocative case, and the consequent use of the 2nd person in the depending verbs, etc; or of the imperative mood, is a proof incontestable of Idolatry in a book that so reads.

I quote from Shakespeare "Frailty, thy name is woman," and apply the canons of TW here. Fraitly is in the vocative case, thy is a pronoun in the 2nd person. Hence this verse clearly proves the existence of idolatry in Shakespeare s Hamlet.

Or in Tennyson's 'In Memoriam':

"So careful of the type? but no!
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, "Athens and types have gone,
I care for nothing, all shall go.
Thou makest thine appeal to me.
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit doth but mean the breath:
I know no more," etc;

where the poet represents Nature as "crying" caring for nothing hearing appeals answering appeals bringing no life bringing to death "knowing" only something, are not these clear indications of idolatry?

Or again;

O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me,
No casual mistress, but a wife.
My bosom frind and half of life
As 1 confess it need must be;
O Sorrow, thou wilt rule my blood,
Be sometimes lovely like a bride.
And put thy harsher mood aside,
If thou wilt have me wise and good.

Here is sorrow in vocative case, with second person, pronoun, 'thou' represented as capable of living as a wife, as hearing, as confessing, as ruling, as desiring others to be good and wise; and here is poet-laureate appealing to this god in prayer "wilt thou." Can there be anything clearer than this?

It is, indeed, very strange that these and other passages so often occuring in English poetry will be construed neither by T.Williams, nor by any other Christian philologist, but as the result of poetic imagination, and personification; and yet, when even these philologists come across similar passages in the Vedas, they forsake their common sense and at once begin to find idolatry in the sacred books of the 'pagans'.

Contention of TW

Now TW takes a different astra--arrow, and tries to attach GDV's guru svAmi dayAnanda.

• I will begin with the third case, and ask, are 'AyAhi, pAhi and shrudhi' in the second singular, imperative; or are they not?

Every sound grammarian would say they are. The mere tyro in grammar would know that 'AyAhi' is as I have said. It is evidently a Vedic as well as a later Sanskrit form. It cannot possibly be anything else, so YAska, when he quotes this verse (Nir.10,2), does not give the modern equivalent of 'AyAhi' simply because the ancient and modern forms are identical, or, to use technical terms, the word 'AyAhi' is both Naigama and Laukika. But for 'pAhi' and 'shrudhi', YAska does give their modern equivalents and says they mean 'pivahi' (actually it is 'piba'--sd) and 'shriNu'.

Now, Sir, I find 'AyAhi' occurs 64 times in the Rigveda, and 'yahi' 67 times, and in every case they are to be translated as 2nd sing, impv, so that any man that translates otherwise is to be condemned on every hand as violating the plainest grammar and disregarding venerable authority.

Now, I, find that Dayananda Sarasvati renders 'AyAhi' not 'agacchava', but it is to 'agacchati' that he clings. So he gives for 'pAhi', 'rakShayati', and for 'shrudhi', 'shravayati'. The man who dares to say these does so in utter defiance of grammar or authoritative precedent. There is absolutely no justification for such rendering in any shape or way. For a man to treat a book that he professes to revere, in this disgraceful way, stamps him as one utterly unscrupulous.

Reply by GDV:

GDV simply cuts the Gordian knot to this accusation and says:

If in explaining the above lines of Tennyson, a Professor in the Chair of English language, should convert "O Sorrow" into mere "Sorrow," he would be, equally with Dayananda Sarasvati, "violating the plainest grammar and disregarding venerable authority." The English Professor who dares do so in defiance of grammar or authoritative precedent, must be regarded as utterly unscrupulous."

Contention of TW

• Mr.Datta explains nothing about the verbs grammatically, which is extraordinary. If the Veda asserts a thing (as to teach what Atmosphere is), it must employ a verb. But of the three verbs employed in the verse Mr.G.Datta says nothing qua verbs, i.e; he does not discuss their grammar in the least; and as with the verbs so with the nouns. The grammar is not discussed in the least. Why is this?

It is because if he did and did so honestly, he could not regard the verse as a scientific statement of any sort whatever, for, grammar would compel him to represent the verse, as the simple prayer of a simple-minded Arya, whose rude conceptions of a God were no higher than that of regarding the atmosphere around us something divine, that might come at his call, drink of the soma he had prepared, and listen to his call.

Mr.Guru Datta makes the science, he asserts the Rigveda contains, depend not upon grammar and authoritative rendering, (such as YAska), but upon etymology; and the futility of this as regards its securing for the Rigveda any extraordinary credit, I have already shown when I demonstrated that Vayu, air and wind, have exactly the same connotation, so that what may be claimed for the one, may, with equal right, be claimed for the three.

• Mr.Editor, there is an axiom of Panini, 'bahulam Chandasi', which occurs in his grammar some 18 times. Now this axiom or sutra would seem to be the Magna Charta of Dayananda and his followers, for, it means in the hands of unscrupulous people, that the Veda may mean just what any one may choose to make it mean; and so becomes not merely 'bahulam' but 'bavala'.

Reply by GDV:

• The charge is uttery unfounded, and only proves the 'bavala' of the writer of the charge.

Reply by Editor, AP:

The Editor clinches the issue by saying that the quotes from the works of poets given by Pandit Gurudatta might not be enough for a person like T.Williams, who as a man of faith would require something directly from the "inspired writings" to inculcate the rankest idolatry for what Mr.Williams cares.

To please Mr. Williams we open the word of God and, after a minute's looking over, light on the following edifying passages:

"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors: and the king of glory shall come in."--David's Psalms, Psalm XXIII. Verse 9.

"Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands."--D, PS.P.LXVI.V.I.

"Why leap ye, high hills?"--David's Psalms, Psalm LXVII.

We leave it to Mr.Williams to say whether or not the Bible, inculcates idol-worship according to his mode of finding out idolatry in another man's sacred book.


How adament, aggressive and desperate should have been the Christian Missionaries of the collonial days who ruled us for 200 years under the guise of a political government? With their pseudo-scholarship of Sanskrit, they never hesitated to make a mountain of a mohehill and a molehill of a real mountain. All that because they couldn't digest the superiority of the Hindu Scriptures over their Bible in every area of man's holistic life that should be lived in harmony with Nature and his Creator.

For the Europeans with their just 2000 year old civilization marred by religious wars to establish the monopoly of Christianity, it was a real panic to find the Hindu Civilization and Scriptures to be far far precedent and antecedent in time to the Biblication concept of creation of the world by God, hardly 6,000 years ago.

This tendency of condemning anything other than Christian, specially the Hindu texts and values, is even much more aggressive, albeit in subtler and meaner forms of expression today in general all over the world, although there might be specific cases of genuine study and research.

The Hindus must therefore have no option but to learn Sanskrit, read their texts using Hindu translations and research them on the lines indicated by Dayananda Sarasvati, Gurudatta, Aurobindo, KL Kashyap, Kapali Shastry and many others, and spread the true knowledge that was prevalent during the Vedic times using the expressions of that age.
T.Williams' finding of idolatry in the invocation to vayu is far-fetched, no doubt. But his points of grammar are not, it seems to me, properly refuted by Sri GDV.

Sri GDV's explanation of the meaning of vayu as "The light, mobile, tremor-communicuting, effluvia-carrying medium" may be justified on etymological grounds. His interpretation of 'darshata' as "extends our vision" can also be accepted with some reservation. His rendering of 'drink soma' and 'listen', as "nourishes the plants and preserves the equilibrium (between vegetable and animal kingdoms); and as a vehicle for sounds, makes our sounds and those of others, heard" seems far-fetched.

'ime somaH' in plural is translated by Griffith, if I remember correct, as drops of soma. This is in agreement with the usage of 'ap' always in plural. Perhaps TW was not able to explain the plural.

But his contention that the imperatives in the sloka are taken as third person singular present tense verb by Swami Dayananda has not been properly refuted by GDV. It seems , Sri Dayananda bends the words to suit his own preconceived ideas. He wants to prove the existence of modern scientific inventions like electricity in the vedas and distorts the meaning disregarding the rules of grammar.

I would like to be enlightened if I have not understood properly.
namaste shrI vikrama.

You may be right in your POV, but I am far from being well read in Sanskrit texts and Vedas, so I can't say anything on your comments.

Here is the next mantra with its scientific interpretation. Please do post your views on it.


Vedic Texts: Composition of Water
RV 1.002.07

मित्रं हुवे पूतदक्षं वरुणं च रिषादसम् ।
धियं घृताचीं साधन्ता ॥१.००२.०७॥

mitraM huve pUtadakShaM varuNaM cha riShAdasam |
dhiyaM ghRutAchIM sAdhantA ||1.002.07||

1.002.07 Mitra, of holy strength, I call, and foe-destroying Varuna,
Who make the oil-fed rite complete.--RTH Griffith

1.002.07 I invoke Mitra, of pure vigour, and Varuna, the devourer of foes; the joint accomplishers of the act bestowing water (on the earth). [Mitra = the Sun; Varuna = the regent of the waters; both are among the twelve Adityas; Mitra presides over day, Varuna presides over night; dhiyam ghr.ta_ci_m sa_dhanta_: dhi, an act; ghr.ta_ci_m, water-shedding].--H.H.Wilson

PaNDit gurudatta vidyArti gives a scientific interpretation of this verse as the process of forming water by the combination of two other substances.

• THE word rig signifies the expression of the nature, properties and actions and re-actions produced by substances. Hence, the name has been applied to Rig Veda, as its function is to describe the physical, chemical and active properties of all material substances as well as the psychological properties of all mental substances.

• Next to a knowledge of things comes the practical application of that knowledge, for all knowledge has some end, that end being usefulness to man. Hence, Yajur Veda come& next to Rig Veda, the meaning of yajur being application.

• It is upon this double principle of liberal and professional (or technical) education that the well-known division of the course of study of the Aryas, the Vedas, into Rig and Yajur, is based.

• The Vedas, instead of being regarded as universal text-books of liberal and professional sciences, are now regarded as simply codes of religious thought.

The scientific interpretation of the above mantra would thus be:

• This mantra describes the process or steps (dhiyaM) whereby the well-known of liquids, water, can be formed by the combination of two other substances (ghRutAchIM sAdhantA).

• The word sAdhantA is in the dual number indicating that it is two elementary bodies which combine to form water.

• What two elementary substances, according to this mantra, are, is not a matter of least importance to determine. The words used to indicate those two substances are mitra and varuNa.

• The first liberal meaning of mitra is measurer. The name is given to a substance that stands, as it were, as a measure or as a standard substance. It is the measurer of density, or of value, otherwise known as quanti-valence.

The word mitra is formed by adding the uNadi koSha suffix ktra, to the root mi, according to the sutra amichimish-sibhyaH kra ||4.164||. The meaning is minoti mAnya karoti mitraH--one that measures or stands as a standard of reference.

• The other meaning of mitra is 'associate'. Now in this mantra, mitra is described as an associate of varuNa. It will be shown how varuNa indicates the oxgygen gas.

Again, we have in nighaNTu, the Vedic dictionary, chapter 5, section 4: mitra itipadanAmasupaThitam ||. Hence mitra means that which approaches or seeks association with others.

varuNa is formed by adding unadi suffix unan to root vri to accept, kRudAsibhyaH unan ||53||. Hence it means that which is acceptable to all or seeks all.

• Now it is well known that hydrogen is not only the lighest element known, nor is it only monovalent, but that it has strong affinity for oxygen; hence it is that mitra is described as an associate of varuNa.

• Many other analogies in the properties of mitra and hydrogen go to suggest that what is in the Vedic terms styled as mitra, is in fact idential with hydrogen. Mitra, for instance, occurs as synonymous with udAna, in many parts of Vedas, udAna is well characterized by its lightness or by its power to lift up.

• The second element with which we are concerned is varuNa. varuNa is the substance that is acceptable to all. It is the element that every living being needs to live.

Its well known property is riShAdasa, i.e., it eats away or rusts all the base metals, it burns all the bones, etc; and phsiologically purifies the blood by oxidizing it, and thereby keeping the frame alive.

It is by these properties that varuNa is in general distinguished; but it is especially characterized here as riShAdasa. No one can fail to preceive that the substance thus distinctly characterized is oxygen gas.

• Another word used in the mantra is pUtadakShaM. pUta is pure, free from impurities. dakSha means energy. pUtadakShaM is a substance, pure, possessed of kinetic energy. Who that is acquainted with the kinetic theory of gases, cannot see in pUtadakShaM the properties of a gas highly heated?

• The meaning of the mantra taken as a whole is this: Let one who is desirous to form water by the combination of two substances take pure hydrogen gas highly heated, and, oxygen gas possessed of the property rishadTia, and let him combine them to form water.


It wouid, no doubt, sound strange that long before Cavendish performed his experiment on the composition of water, or long before oxygen and phlogiston were known to the philosophers of the west, the true philosophy of the composition of water was recorded in the Vedas and perhaps understood by many philosophers of the east.

Let not any of our readers imagine that the interpretation of the Vedic mantra given above is purely an imaginary production of the brain of the writer. The above interpretation is, in fact, based upon some already existing commentaries of the Vedas, and there is enough either in ancient commentaries or in that of Swami Dayananda to suggest this and similar interpretations of all mantras.
Dear Sri Saidevo,
You are doing a wonderful service. Please do not mistake me that I am interfering or questioning you. I have a sincere desire to get at the truth.

My Sanskrit knowledge is poorer than yours. I studied Sanskrit only upto SSLC some 54 years ago and since then I had no occasion to develop it or to make use of it.

Regarding your today's posting, the explanation given to mitra and varuna are wonderful. But I doubt whether the same meaning can be applied in all contexts wherever the word mitra and varuna occur.
Moreover the summed up meaning of the sloka is silent on the meaning of 'huve' for which the English translators assign the meaning 'call' or 'invoke'.

I understand that you are giving an abridgment of the book. If you could find the answers for my doubts in the left out portions, kindly let us know.
namaste shrI vikrama.

The term 'huve', from 'hve' has the meanings "call, call up, invoke, challenge, call away, vie". In the scientific interpretation of the verse, I think it signifies the combination of the elements hydrogen and oxygen to form water: mitram--hydrogen, calls up, challenges, varuNam--oxygen, who is known for his riShAdasa--power of erosion and destruction, let us say, for a duel in the chamber of pUtadakShaM--pure energy of extreme heat, where they fight to become water!

This explanation has some fun words added by me, but it is essentially a dance of aggression of the two elements that go to form water.

IMHO, scientific interpretation is perhaps not possible for all the mantras of the Rig Veda, although I would welcome it. I think the Rig Veda mantras are capable of three levels of interpretation: the ritual level, the scientific level and the spiritual level. The European translations are obsessed with the ritual level only. For a spiritual interpretation of this passage, check Chapter 7 of aurobindo's book 'The Secret of the Vedas'.
Criticism of Monier Williams' book 'Indian Wisdom'

The Christian agenda behind the (pseudo-)scholarship and writings of most European scholars, specially of the colonial era, is well known to many Hindus. Less known is that of a popular scholar like Monier Williams, whose Sanskrit-English dictionary is one of the most widely used today.

Monier Williams' Christian Agenda

Monier Williams in his work, 'Indian Wisdom', an anthology from Sanskrit literature, spells out his seven objects of writing the book. In four of them he describes his Christian agenda (emphasis added):

"IV. That Islam, Buddhism and Brahmanism (mark the last) are the three false religions of the world or that Christianity is the only true religion.

"V. That taking Christianity, Brahmanism, Islam and Buddhism, the possession of absolute divine truth can only belong to one of the four.

"VI. That the absolute divine truth as super-naturally communicated by the common Father of mankind (remember this truth is Christianity) is one that is intended to prevail everywhere.

"VII. That firstly this absolute truth is the only religion, that gives a correct answer to the question, what is the ultimate object or aim? And secondly that this absolute truth or Christianity alone gives the true scheme by which the common end or object of all is to be accomplished."

In fact, the Professor of Boden also wrote a book titled 'The Study of Sanskrit in Relation to Missionary Work in India', thus properly focussing his extensive knowledge of Sanskrit and its scriptures.

The question of revelation in the Vedas

In the first lecture of the book titled 'The Hymns of the Vedas', Williams questions the validity of the Vedas as revealed knowledge, in the sense in which the Bible is to the Christian or the Quran to the Muhammedan.

He says:

• The Quran is "a single volume manifestly the work of one author, descended entire from heaven in the night called al qadr, in the month of Ramazan."

• "The Old Testament was furnished with its accompaniment of Chaldee translations and paraphrases called Targums."

• "The word Veda, on the other hand, means knowledge; and is a term applied to divine unwritten knowledge, imagined to have issued like breath from the Self-existent, and communicated to no single person, but to a whole class of men called Rishis or inspired sages.

By them the divine knowledge thus apprehended was transmitted, not in writing, but through the ear, by constant oral repetition through a succession of teachers, who claimed as Brahmans to be its rightful recipients...

Moreover, when at last, by its continued growth, it became too complex for mere oral transmission, then this Veda resolved itself, not into one single volume, like the Quran, but series of compositions, which had in reality been composed by a number of different poets and writers at different times during several centuries."

Monier Williams herein asserts:

1. That the Vedas are really unwriten knowledge issuing like breath from the Self-existent.

2. That they were communicated to a whole class of men called Rishis or inspired sages.

3. That they continued to grow, hence their present written book form.

4. That the Vedas are a series of compositions by a number of different poets and writers at different times during several centuries.

Pandit Gurudatta counters each of these four assertions and establishes the true origin of the Vedas with solid pramANas--testimonies, and exposes the ignorance, pseudo-scholarship and the fear of being called a heretic by the Church on the part of the Professor of Boden.

1. the Vedas are really unwritten knowledge issuing like breath from the Self-existent.--MW

• Now, does Professor Williams imagine that there can ever be anything like a written knowledge? I am not here speaking of the knowledge being written down, but of written knowledge.

• Professor Williams seems to imagine that the Vedas are laboring under a very serious defect. The Christians, he seems to think, have a definite revelation, as it is put down in black and white; and so have the Muhammedans, for, their book descended from heaven in its present form. So the Christians have a settled revelation in a definite form.

• In this he is entirely wrong, and, if not wrong, he very sadly betrays a want of philosophical culture.

For, Vedas being unwritten knowledge, let me ask--Can there be anything which can with philosophical precision be called written knowledge? Let us be clear on the subject. A revelation is a revelation insofar as it is revealed to somebody. The Bible is alleged to be a revelation, it was therefore revealed to some body. A revelation is only a revelation insofar as it is revealed to the intellect, i.e; insofar as the person to whom it is revealed, becomes directly conscious of the facts revealed.

Admitting, then, that the Bible is a revelation, and that there was somebody to whom it was revealed, that some body must have been conscious of the contents of the revelation. Is this, his consciousness of the facts revealed in any way distinct from the knowledge of the facts revealed?

If not, then the Bible is a knowledge, and, insofar as it lay in the consciousness of the person to whom it was revealed, which is the true signification of the word revelation, it was unwritten knowledge.

Thus, then,the Bible revelation is also unwritten knowledge, and Professor Williams cannot in any way free himself from the dilemma that

•• either Bible revelation itself is an unwritten knowledge and in that case does not differ in any way from the Revelation of the Vedas which is also unwritten knowledge,

•• or that the Bible is a mere record not felt in consciousness, but made to descend just as Quran descended to Muhammed. Muhammed himself being illiterate, not understanding it, but only being specially directed and empowered by God to circulate it for the spread of the faith.

In this case, the Bible is no more a revelation! It is a mere dead-letter book sent miraculously through some people who themselves did not understand it. Can Professor Williams get rid of this difficulty?

The fact is that he wants to sing praises of popular dogmatic Christianity, and being afraid lest he should be called a heretic, condescends to let the Bible rot into a mere dead-letter book, rather than accept a position which should make him to be considered a heretic.

Whether it is more philosophical to believe that God sent a sealed book which descended entire, or that God only reveals to the under standing of some who thus illuminated record down what they are revealed to, is for you to judge.

Origin of the Vedas
2. That they were communicated to a whole class of men called Rishis or inspired sages.--MW

The second assertion refers to the mode of revelation of the Vedas or the origin of the Vedas. Elaborating on this assertion, MW says:

There are numerous inconsistencies in the accounts of the production of the Veda:

1. One account makes it issue from the Self-existent like breath, by the power of
adrishta, without any deliberation or thought on His part;

2. another makes the four Vedas issue from Brahman like smoke from burning fuel;
3. another educes them from the elements;
4. another from Gayatri;
5. a hymn in the Atharva Veda educes them from kala or Time (XIX, 54);

6. The Shatapatha Brahman asserts that the Creator brooded over the three worlds and thence produced three lights, the fire, the air and the sun, from which respectively were extracted the Rig, Yajur and Sam-Vedas. Manu (1.23) affirms the same.

7. In the Purusha Sukta, the three Vedas are derived from the mystical victim Purusha.

8. Lastly, by the Mimansakas the Veda is declared to be itself an eternal sound and to have existed absolutely from all eternity, quite independently of any utterer or revealer of its text. Hence it is often called Shruta "what is heard."

9. In opposition to all this, we have the rishis themselves frequently intimating that the mantras were com posed by themselves."

• Pointing out to the nine different theories of the production of the Vedas, Professor Williams thinks that he has done enough to demolish the ground of Vedic revelation; but he is sadly mistaken.

He simply betrays the woeful depth of his ignorance of even the ordinary Samskrita words, not to speak of the higher Samskrita literature.

• The fact is that not only are there no nine conflicting hypotheses, but that these are one and the same hypothesis invariably maintained by each and all of the ancient Vedic writers.

• Tne one unitary conception concerning the production of the Vedas is that the Vedas are a spontaneous emanation from the Diety, an involuntary, natural and original procession of God's innate wisdom and knowledge principles into this world. It is this one uniform idea which is maintained through out.

Let us take each one of the theories enumerated by Professor Williams.

1. The Vedas issued from the self-existent like breath.

• Says shatapatha brAhmaNa, 14.5.4[10]:

एवं वा अरेऽस्य महतो भूतस्य निःश्वसितमेतद्यद्
ऋग्वेदो यजुर्वेदः सामवेदोऽथर्व आंगीरस इत्यादि ।

evaM vA are&sya mahato bhUtasya niHshvasitametadyad
Rugvedo yajurvedaH sAmavedo&tharva AMgIrasa ityAdi |

The meaning is that Yajnavalkya replies to Maitreyi in answer to her question: "O Maitreyi, the Vedas have proceeded from God, who is even more omnipresent than ether and more extensive than space, as naturally and spontaneously as the breath proceeds spontaneously and involuntarily from the human organism,"

and not deliberately and with thought as Professor Williams will have his own revelation, for the God of Truth and the God of Universe, who is also the God of the Aryas, need not trouble the cerebral substance of his brain with violent vibrations to produce the thought of imparting a revelation to mankind.

• Wisdom and knowledge flow from God as naturally and spontaneously as the breath flows in and out from the human organism. The power of adrishta to which Professor Williams refers in his note, is nothing different from the invisible, spritual potency of the recipients of the revelation to receive the revelation of the Vedas. This, then, is the first account.


To continue with the other accounts of the origin of the Vedas...
IMHO, scientific interpretation is perhaps not possible for all the mantras of the Rig Veda, although I would welcome it. I think the Rig Veda mantras are capable of three levels of interpretation: the ritual level, the scientific level and the spiritual level. The European translations are obsessed with the ritual level only. For a spiritual interpretation of this passage, check Chapter 7 of aurobindo's book 'The Secret of the Vedas'.

Thank you Sri Saidevo for your explanation. I read the Secret of the Vedas. Though Aurobindo seems right in his interpretation, in certain contexts, his interpretation demands a lot of compromise and imagination. As for his psychological terms, I am totally at loss. I could not grasp the exact their meaning.
Please continue to give us the essence of your readings. It makes our work easier.
2. The four Vedas issue from Brahman like smoke from burning fuel.

We come now to the second. According to this, the Vedas issue from Brahman like smoke from burning fuel.

• The meaning is very clear. It is that the Vedas proceed from Brahman, God as spontaneously as the smoke proceeds from burning fuel silently, noiselessly, naturally and without any exertion. The central idea is yet the same, but to the jaundiced eye of Monier Williams this is a second account inconsistent with the first.

3. another educes them from the elements;

The third hypothesis accounts for the origin of the Vedas from the elements. Here Professor Williams is wrong in his translation.

• The original word in Sanskrita for what he calls the elements is 'bhUta'. Now 'bhUta' does not mean elements but Godhead. bhavanti vidyante padArtho asminniti bhUtaH.

• God is called BhUta, as all things that have ever existed exist in him. To convey the idea that, the Vedas have existed for ever in the womb of the Divine Wisdom, the Vedas are spoken of as issuing from BhUta, i.e, God who is the Universal Intelligent repository of all things past or old, i.e; all eternal essences and principles. This account does not in the least conflict with the first two, but the poetical use of the word 'bhuta' for God rather more sublimely exexpresses the same sentiment.

4. another from Gayatri;

The fourth account is that of the Vedas proceeding from GAyatrI. There also Professor Williams betrays his entire ignorance of Vedic literature by saying that this fourth account is a differ ent one, inconsistent with the three foregoing ones.

• In 3rd Chapter, 14th section NighaNTu, which is the lexicon of Vedic terms, we have gAyati archati karma, tasmAd gAtatrI bhavati | the meaning of which is that the root gAyati signifies archati--to worship. Hence, the Being who deserves to be adored and worshipped by all, is called gAyatrI.

• So also says Nirukta in its 7th Adhyaya, III Pada, and 6th Section: gAyatrI gAyateH stuti karmaNa strigamana vA, viparItA, gAyato mukhAdudapataditi cha brAhmaNam |. The Vedas, then, have proceeded from GAyatrI i.e., God who is worshipped and adored by all.

5. a hymn in the Atharva Veda educes them from kala or Time (XIX, 54);

Now comes the fifth account of the same in the 3rd Mantra of 5th Kanda of 19th Chapter.

kAlAdRuchaH samabhavan yajuH kAlAdajAyata which Monier Williams translates as if meaning that Rig and Yajur Vedas have been produced by time (kAla). Here again, our learned Boden Professor of Samskrita and world-renowned Oriental Scholar does not understand the meaning of the word 'kAla'.

• Says NighaNTu, Chap.II, Kanda 14, kAlayati gatikarmA tasmAt kAlaH which means that the Spirit that is intelligent and pervades all is called 'kAla' or kAlayati saMkhyAti sarvAn padArthAn sa kAlaH--that Infinite Being, in whose comparison all that exists is measurable, is called 'kAla'.

Kala, therefore, is the name of the same Infinite Being, the same god GAyatrI or Brahma or Swayambhu from whom the Vedas have been described to proceed in the first four accounts given above.

6. Vedas from the three lights, the fire, the air, and the sun

No mistake can be more serious on the part of Moiiier Williams than the one he has committed in rendering Shatapatha BrahmaNa's account of the origin of the Vedas.

According to this account, the Creator brooded over the three worlds and thence produced three lights, the fire, the air, and the sun, from which respectively were extracted the Big, Yajur and Sama Vedas.

• Here also Williams' mistake lies in substituting English words for Samskrita ones. Williams' own translation with the only modification of putting the original Samskrita words for which he has put the English ones will be:

God, the Creator, brooded over the three worlds and thence produced the three jyoties Agni, VAyu, and Ravi and thence extracted the three Vedas.

Now 'jyoti' does not mean light but illuminated being, man in the spiritual state, i.e., in the superior condition, and Agni, VAyu, and Ravi are no names for fire, air and sun, but are names of three men.

• The meaning of the passage then is, that God in the beginning, created the organizations which received the spirits of three men known by the names of Agni, VAyu and Ravi. To these three rishis, Agni, VAyu and Ravi, men in the superior condition, God revealed the knowledge of Rig, Yajur and SAma respectively. Now, in what way does it contradict the other explanations?

• Nor does Manu prove what Williams says. Says Manu 1.23:

agni-vAyu-ravibhyas tu trayaM brahma sanAtanam |
dudoha yaj~jasiddhyartham Rug-yajur-sAma lakSaNam ||

This means, that the three Vedas, Rig, Yajur and Sama were revealed to the three rishis, Agni, VAyu and Ravi, to give a knowledge of how to accomplish the purpose of life in this world.

7. In the Purusha Sukta, the three Vedas are derived from the mystical victim Purusha.

We come now to the 7th account in Purusha Sukta, where according to Monier Williams, the Vedas are derived from the mystical victim, Purusha.

• I here quote the Mantra of the Purusha Sukta:

tasmAdyaj~jAtsarvahuta RuchaH sAmAni jaj~jire |
ChandAMsi jaj~jire tasmAdyajustasmAdajAyata ||10.090.09||

The plain meaning of which is that Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Chandas or Atharva Vedas have proceeded from that Purusha who is Yajna and Sarvahuta.

• Williams renders it into the mystical victim, Purusha. But he is in the wrong. Purusha is the universal spirit that pervades all nature. Says Nirukta II 1-5.

puruShaH puriShAdaH purishayaH pUrayatervA
pUrayatyantarityantara puruShamabhipretya
yasmAtparaM nAparamasti kiMchidyasmAnnANIyo na jyAyo&sti kiMchit
vRukSha ivastabdho divi tiShThatye kastena idaM pUrNaM puruSheNa sarvam...
iti nigamo bhavati

the meaning of which is, that God is called Purusha, because he is puriShAda that is, he pervades the universe and even lives in the interior of the human soul. It is in this sense that the mantra of the Veda is revealed, saying there is nothing superior to God, nothing separate from him, nothing more refined, nothing more extended. He holds all but is himself unmoved. He is the only one. Yes, He, even He, is the spirit that pervades all. It is clear then that Purusha means the universal spirit of God.

• We come now to the second word Yajna. Says Nirukta, III.4.2:

yajnaH kasmAt prakhyaataM yajatirkarma iti nairuktA yAch~jyo bhavati iti vA yajurunnas bhavati iti vA bahukRuShNAjina ity aupamanyavo yajU~MShyenam nayati iti vA (3,19)[319]

The meaning is this. Why is Yajna the name of God; because He is prime mover of all the forces of nature; because He is the only being to be worshipped; and because to Him the Yajur mantras point out.

• The meaning, then, of the passage of Purusha Sukta quoted by Williams is this: From that God who is called Purusha, i.e., the Universal Spirit, and who is also called Yajna for reasons given above, have proceeded the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvan.

8. Eighthly, the Mimamsakas declare the Vedas to be eternal and independently existent, a view which does not at all conflict with the former ones.

9. In opposition to all this, we have the rishis themselves frequently intimating that the mantras were com posed by themselves.

And lastly, says Williams, "We have the rishis themselves frequently intimating that mantras were composed by themselves."

In these days of spiritualism, no wonder if the spirits of the rishis appeared before Monier Williams and mystically whispered into his ears the composition of the Vedas by themselves. But in so far as the writings of the rishis themselves go, not only is the assertion of Williams merely false and baseless but positively injurious and very pererted.

• For the rishis themselves declare themselves to be not at all the authors of the Vedas. The Vedas are regarded by all of them as apaurusheya, i.e., not production of human beings.

• I will quote here Nirukta I,6,5:

1,20. sAkShAt kRuta dharmANa RuShayo babhUvuh
1,20. te avarebhyo asAkShAt kRuta dharmabhya upadeshena mantrAn samprAduH

Also, Nirukta II,3,2, as follows:

RuShirdarshanAt stomAn dadarsha ity aupamanyavas tad yad enAmstapasyamAnAn brahma svayambhu abhyAnarShat ta RuShayo abhavamstad RuShInAm RuShitvam iti vij~jAyate

The meaning of these is that rishis were those people who had realised the truths in the Mantras and having done so began to enlighten those of their fellow-brethren who were ignorant of the truths in the same. Further on, says Aupamanyava, the rishis are only the seers of the Mantras, but not the composers.

We have now shortly dismissed with the first proposition of Williams and partly with the second. The assertion of Williams that the mantras of the Vedas were composed by a whole class of men called rishis is entirely baseless.

• Not only were they not composed by the whole class, but not even by one individual of that class. The reason why Williams regards this to be so, is that every mantras of the Vedas gives four things, its Chanda, Svara, Devata, and Rishi. The name of the rishi only indicates the man who, for the first time, taught the meaning of that mantra to the world at large.

Criticism of Monier Williams' book 'Indian Wisdom'
The undefiled monotheism of the Vedas

Continuing his criticism of the captioned book, Pandit Gurudatta VidyArthi takes up Williams' allegation that the Vedas lack the conception of One God of the Bible.

Monier Williams list out the 13 gods worshipped in the Vedas and questions the lack of monotheism except in a few verses of the Vedas.

1. Dyausth-pitar, as the father of the sky Dyauh-pitar, which among Greeks or Romans becomes Zeus or Jupiter.
2. Aditi, the goddess of infinite expanse mother of all gods.
3. VaruNa, the god of investing sky, corresponding to Ahurmuzda of Persians and Ozr and Gos of Greeks.

4. Mitra, the god of the day, associate of VaruNa.
5. Indra, the god of the watery atmosphere.
6. Vritta, the spirit of evil that opposed Indra.
7. Vayu, the god of wind.
8. Maruts, the storm-gods.

9. Adityas, who were first regarded as seven in number. The number was finally increased to 12. The worship of the sun and 12 solar months being thus established.

10. Agni, god of fire.
11. Ushas, goddess of dawn.
12. Ashvins, twin precursors of dawn, called also Dasras or doctors and Nasatyas or never untrue.
13. Yama, the god of departed spirits.

Before Listing out these gods to show that the Vedas worshipped natural forces that caused awe and affected man's life, Williams says:

"In the Veda, this unity soon diverged into various ramifications. Only a few of the hymns appear to contain the simple cenception of one divine self-existent omnipresent being and even in these the idea of one God present in all nature is somewhat nebulous and undefined."

We shall show that the Vedas only sanction pure undefiled monotheism, whereas the Bible is the book wherein the idea of one Divine, Self-existent, Omnipresent God is most nebulous and extremely undefined.

Rig veda 1.089.05

tamIshAnaM jagatastasthuShaspatiM dhiyaM jinvamavase hUmahe vayam |
pUShA no yathA vedasAmasadvR^idhe rakShitA pAyuradabdhaH svastaye ||1.089.05||

We worship Him, the Lord of the universe of the inanimate and animate creation, for, He is the blesser of our intellect and our protector. He dispenses life and good among all. Him do We worship, for as He is our preserver and benefactor, so is He our way to bliss and happiness also.

Rig veda 1.022.20

tadviShNoH paramaM padaM sadA pashyanti sUrayaH |
divIva chakShurAtatam ||1.022.20||

The wise people always desire to obtain communion with Him who pervades everywhere, for, He is everywhere, Neither time nor space, nor substance can divide Him. He is not limited to one time or one place or one thing, but is every where just as the light of the sun pervades everywhere in unobstructed space.

VAjasaneyi-samhitA (32.11), shukla yajur veda

parItya bhUtAni parItya lokAn parItya sarvA pradIsho dishashcha |
upasthAya prathamajamRutasyAtamanAtmanAmabhi saMvivesh ||32.11||

God pervades through all matter and space even the distant suns, the far-off directions and is consciously present everywhere. He is conscious of His own powers. He made the element al atoms with which to begin the creation of the Universe. He is all-bliss and eternal happiness. Any human soul that perceives and realises the existence of this Divine Being within himself and lies in the presence of this God, is saved.

atharva veda

mahadyaksham bhuvanasya madhye tapasi krAntaM salilasya pRuShTe |
tasminchChaayante ya u ke cha devA vrkShasya skandhaH parita iva shAkhAH ||

Brahma who is the greatest of all and worthy of being revered by all, who is present in all the worlds, and fit to be worshipped, whose wisdom and knowledge are boundless, who is even the support of the infinite space, in whom all reside and are supported, as a tree resides in the seed and is supported by it, so is the world supported by Him.

atharva veda 13.4.16-21

na dvitIyo na tR^itIyash-chaturtho nApyuchyate |
na paMchamo na ShaShThaH saptamo nApyuchyate |
nAShTamo na navamo dashamo nApyuchyate |
tamidaM nigataM sahaHsa eva eka eka vRudeka eva |
sarve asmin devA ekavRuto bhavanti ||

He is only one, there is no second, no third, no fourth God. There is no fifth, no sixth, no seventh God, Yes, there is no eighth, no ninth no tenth God. In him, the Unitary Being, all live, move and have their being.

You have seen, then, what the religion of the Vedas is. Can there be better, clearer, more distinct expression of monotheism than this? Can we better assert the divinity and omnipresence of God?

We now come to the Bible, the pet darling of Monier Williams,the Christian's rock of ages, to prove the excellence of which Monier Williams so misinterprets, distorts and vilifies the Vedas.

Bishop Watson in his letters to Thomas Paine said, "An honest man, sincere in his endeavours to search out truth in reading the Bible, would examine first whether the Bible attributed to the Supreme Being any attribute repugnant to holiness, truth, justice and good ness, whether it represented Him as subject to human infirmities."--B.Watson, P.114.

I would follow the same course. We find that the Bible does represent God as subject to human infirmities and that it does attribute to Him attributes repugnant to holiness, truth, justice and goodness.

It represents God as subject to human infirmities. It represents Him as having body, subject to wants and weaknesses like those of ourselves. When He appears to Abraham, He appears, according to the Bible, as three angels. Then they talked to Abraham, etc. The Bible runs thus:

"2. And he (Abraham) lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.

3. And said, my Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

4. Let a little water, pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.

5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye, your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for, therefore, are ye come to your ser vant, And they said "so do, as thou hast said."

6. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, (his wife) and said, "Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth."

7. And Abraham ran into the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8. And he took butter; and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

9. And they said unto him. Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo, Sarah, thy wife, shall have a son."--Vide Genesis, Chap. XVIII.

The rest of the criticism is missing. Ed.
Pandit Gurudatta VidyArthi in the following essay, found in the pages 330-334 of the book The Wisdom of the Rishis, explains how statements such as, "The Vedas are eternal; they will exist even if their publication in book form or even their oral chanting stops", are not just theological hyberboles.

The real nature of the Veda:
Origin of thought and language

Language, as Aristotle calls it, is but the outward thought, and thought is the inward language. Both of them are logos.

[The term 'logos' in Greek Philosophy means "reason, thought of as constituting the controlling principle of the universe and as being manifested by speech."--sd]

• Wherever a word exists in any language, the corresponding thought is sure to exist, and a thought has no clear and distinct shape in the mind of the thinker, unless it is fixed in a word.

• So the thought and language of man grew simultaneously, and our surest method of tracing the thought of man to its very root is to trace the history of human speech.

• Herein lies the greatest importance of the Vedas. They supply us with ample material for tracing the history of human speech and thought to its very origin.

• And inasmuch as they give us this--when, and how of the origin of all human thought,--they have a right to be called the revelation. No other existing book can satisfy this condition, and can, therefore, be no revelation.

But where, then, did, language come from? This theory of revelation will lead us in the right direction.

• It is well known that the Indian grammarians call the alphabetical sounds of the Sanskrita language the akShara samAmnoya. This means the Veda, i.e., the revelation which consists of literal sounds.

• In other words, according to the Hindu theories of revelation, which we have seen to be the only true one, these literal sounds are (akShara), the eternal sounds of Nature.

• The origin of the articulate speech of man, which is made of these literal sounds, is in the sounds of nature.

• And this everybody will acknowledge, if he examines carefully the roots of the Sanskrita language, out of which have been formed, as YAska and ShAkatAyana tell us, all the nouns and verbs, &c., of the language.

• The roots are the sounds which man learned to imitate from nature, and out of these by-and-bye grew the language which is now our pride, as also did its sister languages.

• For sometime men used to talk only with roots, as they could not have done otherwise. And these roots expressed single ideas.

• When man had progressed so far that the combination of two single thoughts became a necessity of his life, two roots expressing the two different ideas were placed side by side.

• To take the more familiar English language, the word kingdom means the house or dominion of a king. Before their composition, both of these words conveyed a separate and independent idea.

When the necessity was felt of expressing an idea compounded of these two, these words were placed side by side. But dom did not as yet lose its independence, and carried to the mind of the speaker, as before, the idea of a separate power.

By-and-bye, however, it became dependent on king, and lost its separate and independent power. In fact, it became, to borrow an expressive idea from the Chinese grammarian, empty. Henceforward it was only as mere suffix, and nothing more.

• The same happened with the last of the roots which we have seen were placed side by side in the beginning of the second stage in the development of language.

• Thus, for example, the two roots रुद्--rud (to howl) and र--ra (to give) were placed side by side, when it became a necessity to express the compound idea of a being, which "gave" and "sent the rolling sound of thunder". This gave us the word रुद्र--rudra, the "howl-giver."

The word is a compound, very similar to the later इन्द्रजित्--indrajit, which literally rendered is only "Indra-win," the high accent being on the word इन्द्र--indra.

• But the principal idea being that of the root रुद्--rud, the other became very soon empty, and was reduced to a mere suffix, giving to the root the idea of agency, just as in the word इन्द्रजित्--Indrajit.

• One thing let us remember now. It is that, in order to understand any thought properly, we must trace the word which is its outward representative, to its root, and thence form the radical meaning to trace all the intermediate steps to the then meaning of the word. Then only shall we find what were the sensuous beginning of all our ideas, i.e., their true revelation.

• But we must have light-houses to guide our courses in this dark ocean of linguistic investigation. There must be some intermediate link that may give us some clue at least to the origin and development. And that light-house, that link, is supplied by the Veda. There we see the ideas growing and coming out, and inasmuch as they are the only existing revelation.

The name of the Veda explained

• Revelation in Sanskrita is called either the shruti, the AmnAya, or samAmnAya, and the veda.

I have explained the meaning of shruti. It means the voice of Nature.

When these voices have done their work, man has come to know something, to possess all these ideas which he could not have possessed without them; then this shruti becomes the veda, inasmuch as it is now known.

The word AmnAya comes from the root mnA--to meditate upon, with the prefix A--on all sides, and the suffix ya. It means that which ought to be thoroughly meditated upon.

• And indeed it is only by a thorough and critical examination of the SaMhitAs that we can reach in that mass of song true to revelation. This Veda is quite independent of the SaMhitAs, It will exist all the same, whether they exist or not.

But if the SaMhitAs be lost, it will become difficult for us to recover the true Veda: for it is to be found in them alone, as their names themselves testify.

• The SaMhitAs are called respectively the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, etc. The meanings of these are the following: The Rig Veda means a book, a collection in which the Veda is found in the Richas or praises; the SAma Veda means that science which is on the subject of sAmans--chanting hymns, and so on.

• With this meaning these books are, in a figurative sense, sometimes simply spoken of as the Vedas; but their true names are simply the Rik, the SAman, etc. or, the Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, etc.

Thus we see that in reality the Veda cannot be a book, it cannot even be articulate speech. The true Veda is rather a matter of feeling and knowing. And that feeling and that knowledge the SaMhitAs give us in a very tangible form.

Dear Sri. Saideo and Sri. Vikrama,
Thank you verymuch on your extraordinary contribution,quoting from Swami Dayananda,Pujya Guru Datta Vidyarti, Profs. Maxmuller and Wilson.GDV's explanations are illuminating. I have not read his book and I shall do so.
Notwithstanding all the comments and discussions,modern Hinduism owes to Prof. MaxMuller for having brought it to a wider english speaking elite, including Hindus, to understand the Vedas , Samhitas and upanishads.
I have written a book on The Glory of Vishnu Sahasranamam and some of the scientific aspects in it and this book has been posted by Sri. Praveen in this web site under the classification "Literature".This book also deals with some of the aspects dealt with exhaustively by you, while quoting from GDV. I shall value your going through this book and for your valuable comments.
namaste shrI Ramanathan.

Inasmuch as your work has been introduced by our Shringeri gurus, what can a small worldly person like me offer by way of comments? I am glad to have the book, shall go through it as early as possible. I am sure your work will inspire young Hindu minds to research. Perhaps you might consider it publishing in free online publication websites such as the Scribd

Can I mail it to my friends and post it in the Scribd

Dear Sri.Saidevo,
I thank you very much for your prompt response. My intention is only to make it read by as wide a population as possible. I greatly welcome your offer to get it posted in Scribed.Pl do so and also to any other post where you think it can reach a wider audience.Kindly keep me informed of these post details so thast I can also follow it up and see the responses.
Pl do mail the book to your friends who will be interested in it.
Happy new year to you and all the members of your family.
Harih Om,

As asked above, kamala means kam jalam alati alankaroti 'that which adorns the water'. Any word can be interpreted as yaugika or rUDha, and some words can be yoga-rUDha. Thus, anything adorning water can be called kamala (yaugika), and particularly the lotus is know as kamala (rUDha), therefore kamala is also yoga-rUDha.
Now, although I find the interpretations of Dayananda and his disciple to be interesting, they are still interpretations, and so being can't be necessarily better than Sayana's or the western scholars'. We should not forget that no one outside a standard parampara has any authority to comment on shastra (BG 4.2). Among those mentioned above, Sayana is the only one who at least represents a tradition. The primary objection that I could raise against the strictly yaugika interpretations above mentioned is that all the demigods such as Indra, Vayu, etc. would be denied any existence as persons, and thus we would have to give up all the purANas, since they have a good deal of descriptions of their activities. And of course, to decry the authority of the smrtis is one Dayananda's sole proposals. Can anyone prove it otherwise?
Not open for further replies.

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