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The Secret of the Veda - Excerpts from Sri Aurobindo's book

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aramakrishnan1

Active member
[h=2]I am trying to understand this

The Secret of the Veda - Excerpts from Sri Aurobindo's book[/h]
This seemed to me something that should be part of our knowledge. Be warned though, the vocabulary is a hard bone.​


The hypothesis I propose is that the Rig Veda is itself the one considerable document that remains to us from the early period of human thought of which the historic Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries were the failing remnants, when the spiritual and psychological knowledge f the race was concealed, for reasons now difficult to determine, in a veil of concrete and material figures and symbols which protected the sense from the profane and revealed it to the initiated. One of the leading principles of the mystics was the sacredness and secrecy of self-knowledge and the true knowledge of the Gods. This wisdom was, they thought, unfit, perhaps even dangerous to the ordinary human mind or in any case liable to perversion and misuse and loss of virtue if revealed to vulgar and unpurified spirits. Hence they favoured the existence of an outer worship, effective but imperfect, for the profane, an inner discipline for the initiate, and clothed their language in words and images which had, equally, a spiritual sense for the elect, a concrete sense for the mass of ordinary worshippers. The Vedic hymns were conceived and constructed on this principle. Their formulas and ceremonies are, overtly, the details of an outward ritual devised for the Pantheistic Nature-Worship which was then the common religion, covertly the sacred words, the effective symbols of a spiritual experience and knowledge and a psychological discipline of self-culture which were then the highest achievement of the human race. The ritual system recognised by Sayana may, in its externalities, stand; the naturalistic sense discovered by European scholarship may, in its general conceptions, be accepted; but behind them there is always the true and still hidden secret of the Veda,—the secret words, nin. ya¯ vaca¯m˙ si,which were spoken for the purified in soul and the awakened in knowledge. To disengage this less obvious but more important sense by fixing the import of Vedic terms, the sense of Vedic symbols and the psychological functions of the Gods is thus a difficult but necessary task, for which these chapters and the translations that accompany them are only a preparation.

The hypothesis, if it proves to be valid, will have three advantages. It will elucidate simply and effectively the parts of the Upanishads that remain yet unintelligible or ill-understood as well as much of the origins of the Puranas. It will explain and justify rationally the whole ancient tradition of India; for it will be found that, in sober truth, the Vedanta, Purana, Tantra, the philosophical schools and the great Indian religions do go back in their source to Vedic origins.We can see there in their original seed or in their early or even primitive forms the fundamental conceptions of later Indian thought. Thus a natural starting point will be provided for a sounder study of Comparative Religion in the Indian field. Instead of wandering amid insecure speculations or having to account for impossible conversions and unexplained transitions we shall have a clue to a natural and progressive development satisfying to the reason. Incidentally, some light may be thrown on the obscurities of early cult and myth in other ancient nations. Finally, the incoherencies of the Vedic texts will at once be explained and disappear. They exist in appearance only, because the real thread of the sense is to be found in an innermeaning. That thread found, the hymns appear as logical and organic wholes and the expression, though alien in type to our modern ways of thinking and speaking, becomes, in its own style, just and precise and sins rather by economy of phrase than by excess, by over-pregnancy rather than by poverty of sense. The Veda ceases to be merely an interesting remnant of barbarism and takes rank among the most important of the world’s early Scriptures.

VEDA, then, is the creation of an age anterior to our intellectual philosophies. In that original epoch thought proceeded by other methods than those of our logical reasoning and speech accepted modes of expression which in our modern habits would be inadmissible. The wisest then depended on inner experience and the suggestions of the intuitive mind for all knowledge that ranged beyond mankind’s ordinary perceptions and daily activities. Their aim was illumination, not logical conviction, their ideal the inspired seer, not the accurate reasoner. Indian tradition has faithfully preserved this account of the origin of the Vedas. The Rishi was not the individual composer of the hymn, but the seer (dras.t.¯a) of an eternal truth and an impersonal knowledge. The language of Veda itself is S´ruti, a rhythm not composed by the intellect but heard, a divine Word that came vibrating out of the Infinite to the inner audience of the man who had previously made himself fit for the impersonal knowledge. The words themselves, dr.s.t.i and ´sruti, sight and hearing, are Vedic expressions; these and cognate words signify, in the esoteric terminology of the hymns, revelatory knowledge and the contents of inspiration.

In the Vedic idea of the revelation there is no suggestion of the miraculous or the supernatural. The Rishi who employed these faculties, had acquired them by a progressive self-culture. Knowledge itself was a travelling and a reaching, or a finding and a winning; the revelation came only at the end, the light was the prize of a final victory. There is continually in the Veda this image of the journey, the soul’s march on the path of Truth. On that path, as it advances, it also ascends; new vistas of power and light open to its aspiration; it wins by a heroic effort its enlarged spiritual possessions.

From the historical point of view the Rig Veda may be regarded as a record of a great advance made by humanity by special means at a certain period of its collective progress. In its esoteric, as well as its exoteric significance, it is the Book of Works, of the inner and the outer sacrifice; it is the spirit’s hymn of battle and victory as it discovers and climbs to planes of thought and experience inaccessible to the natural or animal man, man’s praise of the divine Light, Power and Grace at work in the mortal. It is far, therefore, from being an attempt to set down the results of intellectual or imaginative speculation, nor does it consist of the dogmas of a primitive religion. Only, out of the sameness of experience and out of the impersonality of the knowledge received, there arise a fixed body of conceptions constantly repeated and a fixed symbolic language which, perhaps, in that early human speech, was the inevitable form of these conceptions because alone capable by its combined concreteness and power of mystic suggestion of expressing that which for the ordinary mind of the race was inexpressible.We have, at any rate, the same notions repeated from hymn to hymn with the same constant terms and figures and frequently in the same phrases with an entire indifference to any search for poetical originality or any demand for novelty of thought and freshness of language. No pursuit of aesthetic grace, richness or beauty induces these mystic poets to vary the consecrated form which had become for them a sort of divine algebra transmitting the eternal formulae of the Knowledge to the continuous succession of the initiates.

The hymns possess indeed a finished metrical form, a constant subtlety and skill in their technique, great variations of style and poetical personality; they are not the work of rude, barbarous and primitive craftsmen, but the living breath of a supreme and conscious Art forming its creations in the puissant but well-governed movement of a self-observing inspiration. Still, all these high gifts have deliberately been exercised within one unvarying framework and always with the same materials. For the art of expression was to the Rishis only a means, not an aim; their principal preoccupation was strenuously practical, almost utilitarian, in the highest sense of utility. The hymn was to the Rishi who composed it a means of spiritual progress for himself and for others. It rose out of his soul, it became a power of his mind, it was the vehicle of his self-expression in some important or even critical moment of his life’s inner history. It helped him to express the god in him, to destroy the devourer, the expresser of evil; it became a weapon in the hands of the Aryan striver after perfection, it flashed forth like Indra’s lightning against the Coverer on the slopes, theWolf on the path, the Robber by the streams.

The invariable fixity of Vedic thought when taken in conjunction with its depth, richness and subtlety, gives rise to some interesting speculations. For we may reasonably argue that such a fixed form and substance would not easily be possible in the beginnings of thought and psychological experience or even during their early progress and unfolding.Wemay therefore surmise that our actual Sanhita represents the close of a period, not its commencement, nor even some of its successive stages. It is even possible that its most ancient hymns are a comparatively modern development or version of a more ancient1 lyric evangel couched in the freer and more pliable forms of a still earlier human speech. Or the whole voluminous mass of its litaniesmay be only a selection by Veda Vyasa out of a more richly vocal Aryan past. Made, according to the common belief, by Krishna of the Isle, the great traditional sage, the colossal compiler (Vyasa), with his face turned towards the commencement of the Iron Age, towards the centuries of increasing twilight and final darkness, it is perhaps only the last testament of the Ages of Intuition, the luminous Dawns of the Forefathers, to their descendants, to a human race already turning in spirit towards the lower levels and the more easy and secure gains—secure perhaps only in appearance —of the physical life and of the intellect and the logical reason.

But these are only speculations and inferences. Certain it is that the old tradition of a progressive obscuration and loss of the Veda as the law of the human cycle has been fully justified by the event. The obscuration had already proceeded far before the opening of the next great age of Indian spirituality, the Vedantic, which struggled to preserve or recover what it yet could of the ancient knowledge. It could hardly have been otherwise. For the system of the Vedic mystics was founded upon experiences difficult to ordinary mankind and proceeded by the aid of faculties which in most of us are rudimentary and imperfectly developed and, when active at all, are mixed and irregular in their operation. Once the first intensity of the search after truth had passed, periods of fatigue and relaxation were bound to intervene in which the old truths would be partially lost. Nor once lost, could they easily be recovered by scrutinising the sense of the ancient hymns; for those hymns were couched in a language that was deliberately ambiguous.

A tongue unintelligible to us may be correctly understood once a clue has been found; a diction that is deliberately ambiguous, holds its secret much more obstinately and successfully, for it is full of lures and of indications that mislead. Therefore when the Indian mind turned again to review the sense of Veda, the task was difficult and the success only partial.One source of light still existed, the traditional knowledge handed down among those who memorised and explained the Vedic text or had charge of the Vedic ritual,—two functions that had originally been one; for in the early days the priest was also the teacher and seer. But the clearness of this light was already obscured. Even Purohits of repute performed the rites with a very imperfect knowledge of the power and the sense of the sacred wordswhich they repeated. For the material aspects of Vedic worship had grown like a thick crust over the inner knowledge and were stifling what they had once served to protect. The Veda was already amass of myth and ritual. The power had begun to disappear out of the symbolic ceremony; the light had departed from the mystic parable and left only a surface of apparent grotesqueness and naivete.

The Brahmanas and the Upanishads are the record of a powerful revival which took the sacred text and ritual as a starting-point for a new statement of spiritual thought and experience. This movement had two complementary aspects, one, the conservation of the forms, another the revelation of the soul of Veda,—the first represented by the Brahmanas,2 the second by the Upanishads.

The Brahmanas labour to fix and preserve the minutiae of the Vedic ceremony, the conditions of their material effectuality, the symbolic sense and purpose of their different parts, movements, implements, the significance of texts important in the ritual, the drift of obscure allusions, the memory of ancient myths and traditions.Many of their legends are evidently posterior to the hymns, invented to explain passages which were no longer understood; others may have been part of the apparatus of original myth and parable employed by the ancient symbolists or memories of the actual historical circumstances surrounding the composition of the hymns. Oral tradition is always a light
that obscures; a new symbolism working upon an old that is half lost, is likely to overgrow rather than reveal it; therefore the Brahmanas, though full of interesting hints, help us very little in our research; nor are they a safe guide to the meaning of separate texts when they attempt an exact and verbal interpretation.

The Rishis of the Upanishads followed another method. They sought to recover the lost or waning knowledge by meditation and spiritual experience and they used the text of the ancient mantras as a prop or an authority for their own intuitions and perceptions; or else the Vedic Word was a seed of thought and vision by which they recovered old truths in new forms. What they found, they expressed in other terms more intelligible to the age in which they lived. In a certain sense their handling of the texts was not disinterested; it was not governed by the scholar’s scrupulous desire to arrive at the exact intention of the words and the precise thought of the sentences in their actual framing. They were seekers of a higher than verbal truth and used words merely as suggestions for the illumination towards which they were striving. They knew not or they neglected the etymological sense and employed often a method of symbolic interpretation of component sounds in which it is very difficult to follow them. For this reason, while the Upanishads are invaluable for the light they shed on the principal ideas and on the psychological system of the ancient Rishis, they help us as little as the Brahmanas in determining the accurate sense of the texts which they quote. Their real work was to found Vedanta rather than to interpret Veda.

For this great movement resulted in a new and more permanently powerful statement of thought and spirituality, Veda culminating in Vedanta. And it held in itself two strong tendencies which worked towards the disintegration of the old Vedic thought and culture. First, it tended to subordinate more and more completely the outward ritual, the material utility of the mantra and the sacrifice to a more purely spiritual aim and intention. The balance, the synthesis preserved by the old Mystics between the external and the internal, the material and the
spiritual life was displaced and disorganised. A new balance, a new synthesis was established, leaning finally towards asceticism and renunciation, and maintained itself until it was in its turn displaced and disorganised by the exaggeration of its own tendencies in Buddhism. The sacrifice, the symbolic ritual became more and more a useless survival and even an encumbrance; yet, as so often happens, by the very fact of becoming mechanical and ineffective the importance of everything that was most external in them came to be exaggerated and their minutiae irrationally enforced by that part of the national mind which still clung to them. A sharp practical division came into being, effective though never entirely recognised in theory, between Veda and Vedanta, a distinction which might be expressed in the formula, “the Veda for the priests, the Vedanta for the sages.”

The second tendency of the Vedantic movement was to disencumber itself progressively of the symbolic language, the veil of concrete myth and poetic figure, in which the Mystics had shrouded their thought and to substitute a clearer statement and more philosophical language. The complete evolution of this tendency rendered obsolete the utility not only of the Vedic ritual but of the Vedic text. Upanishads, increasingly clear and direct in their language, became the fountainhead of the highest Indian thought and replaced the inspired verses of Vasishtha and Vishwamitra.3 The Vedas, becoming less and less the indispensable basis of education, were no longer studied with the same zeal and intelligence; their symbolic language, ceasing to be used, lost the remnant of its inner sense to new generations whose whole manner of thought was different from that of the Vedic forefathers. The Ages of Intuition were passing away into the first dawn of the Age of Reason.

Buddhism completed the revolution and left of the externalities of the ancient world only some venerable pomps and some mechanical usages. It sought to abolish the Vedic sacrifice and to bring into use the popular vernacular in place of the literary tongue. And although the consummation of its work was delayed for several centuries by the revival of Hinduism in the Puranic religions, the Veda itself benefited little by this respite. In order to combat the popularity of the new religion it was necessary to put forward instead of venerable but unintelligible texts Scriptures written in an easy form of a more modern Sanskrit. For the mass of the nation the Puranas pushed aside the Veda and the forms of new religious systems took the place of the ancient ceremonies. As the Veda had passed from the sage to the priest, so now it began to pass from the hands of the priest into the hands of the scholar. And in that keeping it suffered the last mutilation of its sense and the last diminution of its true dignity and sanctity.

Not that the dealings of Indian scholarship with the hymns, beginning from the pre-Christian centuries, have been altogether a record of loss. Rather it is to the scrupulous diligence and conservative tradition of the Pandits that we owe the preservation of Veda at all after its secret had been lost and the hymns themselves had ceased in practice to be a living Scripture. And even for the recovery of the lost secret the two millenniums of scholastic orthodoxy have left us some invaluable aids, a text determined scrupulously to its very accentuation, the important lexicon of Yaska and Sayana’s great commentary which in spite of its many and often startling imperfections remains still for the scholar an indispensable first step towards the formation of a sound Vedic learning.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri Ramakrishnan,

Aurobindo has been able to attract good following. He is held in high esteem by many. But his views mainly revolve around the promise of a spiritual bonanza to those who believe in his line of thought; that Man will evolve into a Superman, that mankind is not the last level in the evolutionary scale, but it can and will evolve spiritually beyond its current level to a state of spiritual and supramental existence. This higher level he called a "Divine life on Earth", which will be highly spiritualized, will possess a supermind and will be driven by consciousness of truth. In accordance with the abovesaid belief of his, Aurobindo has interpreted many riks or verses of the rigveda. He had not similarly dealt with the Yajurveda. (Only recently some follower of Aurobindo seems to have done that.) Does this mean that Yajurveda has no encrypted information passed on by some Superhumans?

When someone has a preconceived idea like that of Shri Aurobindo, it is not very difficult to read such meanings from archaic texts like the Rigveda whose language was partly not understood even at the time of Yaska when he wrote the nirukta to help understand the meaning of the vedas. Since you have not given the interpretation of individual riks as per Aurobindo, we need not go into those.

But the essential tenet viz., that Man will evolve into Superman with a very highly developed Supermind, and be driven more by his consciousness of truth, etc., are capable of becoming realities even if we keep aside the spiritual and Yogic methods usually prescribed to achieve those ends and pursue the scintific and technological research, imho. In fact almost all human beings can live guided by truth but we do not do that despite the availability of religion and advices/teachings from ever so many gurus, gm/gw (godmen/godwomen), etc. Is this not sufficient to convince any one that if Humankind is destined to evolve into Supermen as pronounced by Aurobindo, it will happen only in Nature's own time and pace, and not due to the intercession of such Gurus?

I will therefore say that those who may be interested in Aurobindo or his line of thoughts may very well follow those but it is better not to clutter our mind/brain with such imaginary hopes like Man evolving into Superman, Vedas having concealed, cryptic knowledge of some long-lost Superhumans and similar beliefs.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri Sangom,

Let us leave it to the individuals to enquire themselves and choose whether they will attempt to become Superman or remain like an ordinary mortal instead of driving him/her towards one particular direction. In fact the major difference between say. Christianity and Hinduism is the lack of freedom in one of them. Christians are to stick to the Bible as the last word and their individual thought process is thus stopped. In contrast, Hinduism had the Vedas, Upanishads, Purans and many of the well established scriptures, but it did not stop the later humans to make Divya Prabandhams, Devarams, Thiruvasagam, etc. Everyone sails in their own direction and record their unique experience and thus we have ocean of religious material in Hinduism and it is not stopping here also. In future, many are going to write many more books. The Superpower that conducts this universe is too huge a phenomena and everyone is attempting their own way to understand it. It cannot be simplified to a Single person like us with a single name and ideology, the way Bible did. Bharatha Desam had produced many great Rishis, Munis and Sidha Pursushas who went on enquiring the inner consciousness and went so deeper to produce scriptures like Vedas. Religion in India is more a journey towards the Eternal Truth, rather than having faith in the so-called “Last Word”. If it was in the west that Lord Krishna gave Bhagvad Gita, it could have been said as the last word by God and no more enquiries into it. But in India, Bhagvad Gita was interpreted into Advaitha, Dvaitha and Visishadvaita by the three great Acharyas Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva based on their level of journey towards the eternal truth.
The West went on research on the things that are seen externally and made inventions that made our life comfortable like TV, Phone, Rail, Aeroplane etc. For spiritual knowledge, they came to Bharat.
For a person who knows nothing about music like me, everyone who sings in Super Singer are very good. But the judges are in a different plane altogether and make their judgements with their higher level of understanding of the musical aspects. If I make a comment that the Judges made the wrong decision instead of appreciating their knowledge of Music, then the world will laugh at me. Similarly Aurobindo is definitely at a higher level of understanding than all of us and I am not eligible to comment on his treatment of Vedas.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri Ramakrishnan,

I appreciate your very polite reply, mildly rebuking me for my comments. Thank you.

But even in the Supersinger contest, I think it is ultimately the SMS support from all and sundry, which enriches Airtel, is the deciding factor.

In a similar fashion, even though Aurobindo Ghosh (AG in short) has a dedicated following, his teachings have not attracted a large number of people as is the case of Satya Sai Baba or Mata Amritanandamayi. I do not know the exact reason, but may be it is because AG's language is abstruse. Hence even if AG's hypotheses are correct, it will have only a limited impact.

I also do not concur with your view that Hinduism affords 'freedom' for its adherents. True, we have a gargantuan scriptural tradition but the corner-stone of hinduism is the tenet that the vedas are true and whatever is contained in the vedas are to be accepted as true and not to be questioned or disagreed with or even doubted; if one does so, he is a heretic. In Christianity which you cite as a religion which requires "Christians to stick to the Bible as the last word and their individual thought process is thus stopped", we find the Bible itself was rewritten and this rewritten version has enough adherents; can you think of such a revision of say our vedas? So, kindly think which religion is more rigid in enforcing its tenets.

It should also be noted that we have a tradition - of course within the inerrancy of the vedas - of religious/philosophical views being questioned and alternative views being vigorously propagated - advaita and visishtadvaita being good example. If one reads the books on advaita it will be found how much strain has been put into the various commentaries in order to "prove" that it was the advaitic pov which was advocated by the various scriptures. Hence I do not think there should be any objection to a realistic evaluation of AG's theory of Superminds, or for that matter the advaita, visishtadvaita or other vedantic formulations by anyone in this age of internet and access to vast knowledge through the web, even for an ordinary person; it will serve the same deciding factor role as the SMS-es in the Supersinger contest, imho.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
"Hence I do not think there should be any objection to a realistic evaluation of AG's theory of Superminds, or for that matter the advaita, visishtadvaita or other vedantic formulations by anyone in this age of internet and access to vast knowledge through the web, even for an ordinary person; it will serve the same deciding factor role as the SMS-es in the Supersinger contest, imho."
I do not understand how you have come to an understanding that yours is " a realistic evaluation" on AG.
All those SMSes which select the Supersinger are definitely not the result of quality evaluation of the musical talent, but the individual sending the SMS has his own reasoning to vote for his choice and in most cases, the quality of music was not the parameter on which he judged the one he voted. Likewise, any layman can comment on Vedas, Purans, Upanishads just having read/ write knowledge of Sanskrit and can say they that these scriptures have nothing so great in them. Also many a times, some people go a step further and ascribe vested interest on the Rishis / Munis themselves. All those accusations are at the maximum equivalent to those SMSes that are not a quality analysis.
Please note that these Rishis, Munis did not write the Vedas or other scriptures to score some browny points or to compete with other religions.
For the Bible, we have a Church to protect it from criticism and a lot of political support crying blasphemy and what not ? You have mentioned as below
"I also do not concur with your view that Hinduism affords 'freedom' for its adherents. True, we have a gargantuan scriptural tradition but the corner-stone of hinduism is the tenet that the vedas are true and whatever is contained in the vedas are to be accepted as true and not to be questioned or disagreed with or even doubted; if one does so, he is a heretic"
I do not find any central command for Hinduism that prevents you from airing your critical views of Vedas. No one has forced anyone to agree / disagree, accept as true / deny it whole on the Vedas. You are on a journey towards eternal truth. Take the route of Vedas if that helps you. Of late, I found someone defending the Vedas in the web with complete scientific and logical reasoning. Kindly visit Agniveer.com and put all your questions on Vedas and I am sure that the Supersoul will clarify to you completely.
You said that Bible was written afresh (may be you are refering to the Old Testament / New Testament). Even this New Testament is thousands of years old and Christianity has not inspired a lot of people to produce literary/ spiritual works in the standard of Devarams, Thiruvasagam, Prabandhams, Thirumurais etc. in the last 1000 years. So, the Last "New Testament" still remains the Last Word and Christianity has become static since the issue of this VERY OLD NEW TESTAMENT.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri Ramakrishnan,

Regarding bible kindly read this.

In view of the fact that you do not admit the tenet of the vedas being inerrant, I think I should stop further discussions.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
The discussion cannot definitely stop here when you say that I did not admit the tenet of Vedas being inerrant.
I wud like to know those errors in Vedas so that I wud not enter into discussions with anyone defending Vedas. I have plans to spend my post retirement age in pursuing study of Vedas (too late, but better than never) and propagate the knowledge to all. If there are errors in Vedas and it is not worth being called "Shruti", all my plans could be wound up right now. I look forward to know the first and deadly error in Vedas as quickly as possible.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri.Sangom, you wrote
"In Christianity which you cite as a religion which requires "Christians to stick to the Bible as the last word and their individual thought process is thus stopped", we find the Bible itself was rewritten and this rewritten version has enough adherents; can you think of such a revision of say our vedas? So, kindly think which religion is more rigid in enforcing its tenets"
If Old testament would have remained as Bible, Christianity must have been "History" by know. There was a need to abandon it and thus came the "New Testament". Vedas, even though were far older than the Old Testament, never had the need to be revised.
I wonder how Vedas could be talked in par with a religious scripture that starts with the premise that all Humans are sinners. No belief in re-birth is another pitfall of that religion. I see that religion is only interested to play politics around the world and capture as much land it can. It has never helped spiritual advance of human soul and solely talking about having faith on God. As it did not help in spiritual advance of human souls, it is slowly being abandoned by those in the western countries.
 

sangom

Well-known member
I wud like to know those errors in Vedas so that I wud not enter into discussions with anyone defending Vedas. I have plans to spend my post retirement age in pursuing study of Vedas (too late, but better than never) and propagate the knowledge to all. If there are errors in Vedas and it is not worth being called "Shruti", all my plans could be wound up right now. I look forward to know the first and deadly error in Vedas as quickly as possible.

I was perhaps not able to communicate clearly /you have yet to learn that the fundamental condition in accepting anything within the hindu fold of scriptures, philosophy, etc., is that such new scripture/philosophy should not question the accuracy of whatever is supposed to be expressed in/by the vedas; this condition is usually referred to as the "inerrancy of the vedas". Buddha and Mahavira questioned the very efficacy or relevance of the vedas and hence those two systems and their followers have been considered outside the hindu religion.

Chaarvaaka pooh-poohed vedas and all those things practised by the veda-abiding brahmins and he along with his thoughts and followers were made to disappear completely from the face of the earth (how, one does not know, but one view is that those chaarvaakas were lured to a particular place under the guise of a discussion to take place but the house was set on fire.)

This is what is usually referred to as "vedas being inerrant", i.e., not capable of being erroneous. It is not that someone has pointed out some grave and deadly error in vedas and that has not been accepted. But if you are genuinely and dispassionately interested in learning more on this topic please try to read Yaska's nirukta, pl. search for 'nirukta' in Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine and download the books.

Originally posted by aramakrishnan1"
Shri.Sangom, you wrote
"In Christianity which you cite as a religion which requires "Christians to stick to the Bible as the last word and their individual thought process is thus stopped", we find the Bible itself was rewritten and this rewritten version has enough adherents; can you think of such a revision of say our vedas? So, kindly think which religion is more rigid in enforcing its tenets"
If Old testament would have remained as Bible, Christianity must have been "History" by know. There was a need to abandon it and thus came the "New Testament". Vedas, even though were far older than the Old Testament, never had the need to be revised.
I wonder how Vedas could be talked in par with a religious scripture that starts with the premise that all Humans are sinners. No belief in re-birth is another pitfall of that religion. I see that religion is only interested to play politics around the world and capture as much land it can. It has never helped spiritual advance of human soul and solely talking about having faith on God. As it did not help in spiritual advance of human souls, it is slowly being abandoned by those in the western countries.​
I feel you have not looked into the url given by me. It is sad that you have such an attitude towards those who write their opinions which are not to your liking. I was not talking about the old and new Testaments. Kindly try to shed a little bit of your ego (I suppose AG does not advice humility to his adherents.) and condescend to read the web page I suggested; it talks about the New testaments of the Protestants as different from the one for the Catholics.

Vedas could not be revised formally because,

  • [*=1]the vedas were in the exclusive control and possession of the priestly groups/clans of the vedic society.[*=1]it was transmitted by word of mouth from teacher to student/s and right from the ancient days (days of the rigveda itself, as per the mANDUkya sUkta) the emphasis seems to have been correctly mugging up and regurgitating (a la Yajnavalkya and the taittireeya story) whatever was committed to memory by rote.[*=1]Even before the time of Yaska, the first person who wrote a dictionary of vedic terms, one Kutsa (Kautsa) had the view that the vedas were meaningless (blabber?) and Yaska has mentioned this. When the sole criterion and objective of the study of the vedas was to use the vedic mantra chants to perform various vedic sacrifices which involved ritual killing of animals as their essential part, earn money & wealth as "dakshiNa" and live comfortably, and the priests themselves did not have any deep knowledge of what the vedas meant and nor was their internal or external compulsion to critically evaluate the vedas, it was but natural that there was no occasion to "revise and rewrite" the vedas.[*=1]There, however, appears to have been sufficient disagreement with the vedic way of life. Whether triggered by the success of Buddhism and Jainism or otherwise independently, the earlier Upanishads seem to voice their independent lines of thought but, again, they could not publicly disagree with the vedic tenets and so their wording was so couched as to appear to be in accordance with the vedas. Ultimately, Sankara was probably the first to come up with the vedanta philosophy (though there were some others including his guru Govinda Bhagavatpada and paramaguru, Gaudapada) who entertained their own philosophical views which tended to be closely aligned to the Buddhist Madhyamika philosophy.[*=1]Even if someone had attempted a revision of the vedas, it would have been difficult to rewrite using the rigvedic language which is different from the sanskrit of Panini, because the said rigvedic language had gone out of use even by the time the Taittireeya Yajurveda mantras (other than those borrowed from the rigveda into it) were compiled.
Are not all humans sinners according to Hinduism also? The Atreya smRti 141-142 enjoins that—
"janmanA jAyate shUdraH
One is a Shudra by birth

saMskArAd dvija ucyate

By observing Samskaras one becomes a Dvija

vedapAThI bhaved vipraH

By studying the Vedas one becomes a Vipra

brahma jnAnAt tu brAhmaNaH

One who knows Brahman is a Brahmana


And Bhagavdgita IX-32 certifies that women and Sudras are pāpayonayaḥ, born in sin. Is this not the same as what the Bible says? Why at all human birth?-for expiation of sins, that is one view under hinduism; otherwise why cannot a sinner become jeevanmukta straight away?

Hinduism believes in re-birth as different from the Abrahamic religions, right; but those Abrahamic religions also have provisions designed to discourage wrong-doing in the forms of purgatory and hell. You may kindly note (and confirm it by study and convince yourself) that the Rigveda does not envisage any hell or heaven and nor any rebirth. In that way the earliest hindu belief system had the very same or even a deeper "pitfall" than Christianity.

So it will be better that I discuss with you after you begin studying and confirming for yourself whatever you write, instead of simply shooting off your "impressions" as absolute truths.

Bye! for now, my friend.
 

sarang

Well-known member
Charvakas all over Bharatavarsha were raided, herded (as CBI is doing today), and burnt at the stake! An audacious attempt to score when none is available.

Only vedantins learnt and taught charvaka philosophy in all the veda patasalas. Students learnt other systems too. As there were no takers, it collapsed. Today's valiant atheists can start schools to revive the subject if they see any merit in it. Government grants and private funding will pour in because of the claim that it is anti vedic and anti hindu.

Chaarvaaka pooh-poohed vedas and all those things practised by the veda-abiding brahmins and he along with his thoughts and followers were made to disappear completely from the face of the earth (how, one does not know, but one view is that those chaarvaakas were lured to a particular place under the guise of a discussion to take place but the house was set on fire.)
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri Sangom, you wrote :

Are not all humans sinners according to Hinduism also? The Atreya smRti 141-142 enjoins that—
"janmanA jAyate shUdraH
One is a Shudra by birth

saMskArAd dvija ucyate
By observing Samskaras one becomes a Dvija

vedapAThI bhaved vipraH
By studying the Vedas one becomes a Vipra

brahma jnAnAt tu brAhmaNaH
One who knows Brahman is a Brahmana

Favourite topics first :

Where it is said that “Shudra” means sinner ? How did you assume it so ?

The stanzas quoted above, as I understand mean similar to the example given below :

All children does not possess “Secondary School Leaving certificate” from birth even though their parents might have scored high marks in Class X. Only those who pass all the levels below and those who obtain the requisite marks in the level ten become eligible for the certificate.

Where is the question of Sin in this stanza ? Waiting for you to explain.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri.Sangom, you wrote
  • [*=1]the vedas were in the exclusive control and possession of the priestly groups/clans of the vedic society.[*=1]it was transmitted by word of mouth from teacher to student/s and right from the ancient days (days of the rigveda itself, as per the mANDUkya sUkta) the emphasis seems to have been correctly mugging up and regurgitating (a la Yajnavalkya and the taittireeya story) whatever was committed to memory by rote.
The above statements meant that a dedicated group / community helped us obtain the Vedas in their purest form by passing it from one generation to the next during the past thousands of years. So, it confirms that the Vedas were found worth of carrying it through many generations. It is amazing to just imagine how the paper, pen, book, printing press and all the modern gadgets were not at all needed by the dedicated community to bring the Vedas into our hands in the purest form.​
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri.Sangom, you wrote :

And Bhagavdgita IX-32 certifies that women and Sudras are pāpayonayaḥ, born in sin. Is this not the same as what the Bible says? Why at all human birth?-for expiation of sins, that is one view under hinduism; otherwise why cannot a sinner become jeevanmukta straight away?

The Sins that Hinduism talks about are those that are accrued by the Athma while it took birth in a body. It is not only Sins, but also the fruits that are brought by the Athma from one birth to the next that accompany it. There is a saying in Tamil "Theedhum nandrum pirar thara vaara" which infers the individual is responsible for the paavam and punniyam accrued during the birth. Hinduism believes in the merit system in the birth and re-birth cycle, which is quite logical.

The Sin that Bible talks about is the first Sin of somebody else who has no connection to the human being.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
[h=2]Four Key Ideas in Veda[/h]


This is the first, the central teaching: the central aim is the seeking after the attainment of the Truth, Immortality and Light. There is a Truth higher and deeper than the truth of the outer existence, there is a Light greater and higher than the Light of human understanding which comes by extraordinary and transhuman sight, hearing. There is an Immortality towards which the human soul has to rise. We have to find our way to that and get into touch with that Truth and Immortality. We have to be newborn into the truth, to grow in it, to ascend in spirit into the World of Truth and live in it. Such a realization alone is to pass from mortality to Immortality, to unite with the supreme Godhead.Here is the second doctrine of the Mystics: There is an inferior truth of this world because it is mixed with much falsehood. There is another higher truth, the Home of Truth, The Truth, the Right, the Vast as taught in the mantrās. True knowledge there is termed ŗta-chit, Truth-Consciousness. And there are other worlds, but the highest is the World of Truth and Light. This is the World celebrated as the svar, the Great Heaven.And this is the substance of the third Doctrine: In the world-journey our life is a battlefield of the devās and asurās; the Gods dev are the powers of Truth, Light and Immortality and the asurās, the powers of the opposing Darkness. These are Vŗtra, Vala, the Paņis, the Dasyus and their kings. We have to call in the aid of the Gods devāhto destroy these powers of Darkness who cover the Light. We have to invoke the Gods devāh in the inner sacrifice by the voice potent with the power of the mantra. To them offering of whatever is ours is made; receiving all that is given by them in return, we shall be enabled and competent to ascend the path towards of the goal of all round perfection and bliss.Finally, this is the supreme secret of the vedic rişhis: At the summit of all the mystic teaching is ‘The One Reality’, ‘That One’ which later became the central goal of the rişhisof the Upanishads, taught with explanation in detail.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri.Sangom, you wrote :

And Bhagavdgita IX-32 certifies that women and Sudras are pāpayonayaḥ, born in sin. Is this not the same as what the Bible says? Why at all human birth?-for expiation of sins, that is one view under hinduism; otherwise why cannot a sinner become jeevanmukta straight away?

Bhagvad Gita IX-32 meaning is given below :

O Arjuna, even those who may be born from the wombs of degraded women, merchants and menials; if they take full shelter of me, they also reach the supreme goal.

You say that this verse certifies that women and Sudras are Papa yonaha, born in sin. Why is there a ocean of difference from the actual meaning given above and your distorted version. This is how Missionary men taught us their own distorted version of Vedas and Gita to sell the well rejected Bible (by the Europeans themselves).
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
My Guruji used to say that one who has little faith in Geetha, should learn it
from a Bhagavat Geeta Devotee for seeking liberation from all evils and sins,
who spells it out correctly; identical to Vishnu Sahasranamam. Vishnu
Sahasranamam is chanted every day evening at our temple. He further used
to say that this information is applicable to every one of us without any
exception. One can never restrict the occurrence of happiness and distress
if we are destined to go through them. As far as I am concerned, I will call it
as our Ten Commandments.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri aramakrishnan1,

According to Nirukta, the word sUdra means sucati draavayateeti sUdrah (one who is always in sorrow and runs - tries to runaway from it). Why should someone be in sorrow always, unless it is due to his sins? Chanakya's arthasastra seems to confirm this.

BG IX-32 is this:—
मां हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य यॆऽपिस्युः पापयॊनयः।

māṃ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye:'pisyuḥ pāpayonayaḥ|

स्त्रियो वैश्यस्तथा शूद्रास्तेऽपि यान्ति परां गतिम् ॥

striyo vaiśyastathā śūdrāste:'pi yānti parāṃ gatim ||

If you are not in a position to get convinced from the above that Krishna includes women, vaisyas and sudras in the "pāpayonayaḥ" category, then I do not know how to make you understand. But in modern commentaries, it will be found that some convoluted effort is made not to bring in such a meaning because of the fear of feminist ire. Due to this, vaisyas and sudras also get out!

You say "O Arjuna, even those who may be born from the wombs of degraded women, merchants and menials; if they take full shelter of me, they also reach the supreme goal.", you are citing one of the modern commentaries/translation.

I give below some of the older translations/commentaries:

Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


pic06-2.jpg

Visnuswami



Sridhara Swami's Commentary What is there to wonder that bhakti or loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna purifies one of previously abominable behaviour? When it liberates from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death even low born and unqualified persons. This is being confirmed here that those born sinfully out of wedlock, those born in the poorest and most degraded of families such as mleccha or meat eaters, those who are vaisyas the mercantile class engaged only in business, sudras the menial class, women and all others who are devoid of Vedic knowledge. If any of them are accepted by the bonafide spiritual preceptor in one of the four authorised channels of spiritual knowledge and take complete refuge in the Supreme Lord Krishna worshipping Him or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions, it is assured undoubtedly that they will attain the Supreme destination of eternal association with Him.

The above one belongs to the modern version. Now, let us see Sankara's commentary of this sloka —

मां हि (यस्मात्) पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य - माम् आश्रयत्वॆन गृहीत्वा
यॆ अपि स्युः (भवेयुः) पापयोनयः पापा योनिः येषां ते पापयोनयः पापजन्मानः। के ते इति आह -स्त्रियो वैश्याः तथा शूद्राः ते अपि यान्ति (गच्छन्ति)
परां गतिं - प्रकृष्टां गतिम् ॥

A rough English translation of Sankara's commentary above will be:

They who are of sinful birth, are pāpayonayaḥ. Who are they? It is said here — women, vaisyas, as well as sudras. Even they attain to the supreme goal, O Partha, if they come to Me, seeking shelter in me.

Now, why are women pāpayonayaḥ? This goes to the Indra- Visvarupa (son of tvaṣṭā, a brahmin) episode. The earliest possible reference is in taittirīya saṃhitā 2.5.1. Indra transfers one-third of the brahmahatyā sin due to his killing viśvarūpa to women on account of which they started menstruating (called malavadvāsā) and staining their clothes.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri.Sangom,

Are sUdras condemned people according to Vedas ? I am bringing some extracts from Agniveer website to clarify.
QUOTE
Can we have a look at certain worship mantras from Vedas that mention Shudras:

Yajurved 18.48:
O Lord! Provide enlightenment/ compassion to our Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. Provide me also with the same enlightenment so that I can see the truth.

Yajurved 20.17:
Whatever crime we have committed against my village, forest or committee; whatever crime we have committed through our organs, whatever crime we have committed against Shudras and Vaishyas, whatever crime we have done in matters of Dharma, kindly forgive us relieve us from the tendency of the same.

Yajurved 26.2:
The way I gave this knowledge of Vedas for benefit of all humans, similarly you all also propagate the same for benefit of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Shudras, Vaishyas, Women and even most downtrodden. The scholars and the wealthy people should ensure that they not deviate from this message of mine.

Atharvaved 19.32.8:
O Lord! May I be loved by everyone – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Shudra or Vaishya. May I be admired by everyone.

Atharvaved 19.62.1:
May all noble people admire me. May kings and Kshatriyas admire me. May all look at me with admiration. May the Shudras and Vaishyas admire me.

It is clear from these mantras that a Vedic person:
- seeks to be forgiven for crimes against all including Shudras
- seeks to propagate Vedas to all including Shudras
- considers all Varnas – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra to be equal and respects them equally.

Thus it is clear that as per Vedas, Shudras deserve the same respect as other Varnas and as per Vedic prayer, Shudras are accorded great esteem.
It is also interesting that in all of these mantras, the word Shudra comes before Vaishya. So one cannot counter-argue that Shudras are given last mention or least preference.
These are sufficient evidence to conclude that Shudra, as per Vedas, imply something quite different from a caste or community that has to be discriminated against.
UNQUOTE
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Bhagvad Gita IX-32 :

My interpretation of the verse still remains "even those who may be born from the wombs of degraded women". It has never meant that all women are degraded.
Anyway, in this verse Lord Krishna did not condemn to eternal hell even those who are born from the wombs of degraded women, but offers Mukthi to them.
 
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aramakrishnan1

Active member
Shri. Sangom,
Inside every living being undergoing birth and death, the Atma is that of the Paramathma. Every one could attempt towards self realisation and reach the Supreme reality at any stage. As the same Supreme reality manifests in every one of us, no one is denied the ultimate goal of realising the Supreme reality within oneself and liberate yourself from the Brith- Death cycle.
The assistance of scriptures towards the actual realisation is only to the extent of how it helps to hearing story of a movie from a friend instead of watching the movie itself.
The various Jaathis performing their activity in the society is all about the Secular living (i.e disconnected /ignorance from the spiritual living) only. In the Spiritual level, inner purity and devotion to God can lead anyone towards the Supreme Reality.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri.Sangom,

Are sUdras condemned people according to Vedas ? I am bringing some extracts from Agniveer website to clarify.
QUOTE
Can we have a look at certain worship mantras from Vedas that mention Shudras:

...
These are sufficient evidence to conclude that Shudra, as per Vedas, imply something quite different from a caste or community that has to be discriminated against.
UNQUOTE

Dear Shri aramakrishnan1,

The references seem to be to Shukla Yajur Veda (Vaajasaneyi samhita - VS); Krishna YV has a different notation. I will study and come back to this topic.

In the meanwhile our original point under discussion was whether sudras were considered sinners in hinduism. I suppose the BG verse and Sankara's commentary should be sufficient to show the truth that shudras were considered as paapayonayah.

The verses from the VS are not any indication that shudras were not considered as paapayonayah. All that the quotes cited by you indicate is that prayers - most probably at the conclusion of some vedic sacrifice, include some lines for the boon to all classes of the then hindu society. It is relevant to note that these prayers do not include pancamas, candalas, nishadas and so on. So, still these prayers are circumscribed to the limited vision of the vedic priests as to which all classes constitute their society. Equality is seen only in Yajurved 26.2:
The way I gave this knowledge of Vedas for benefit of all humans, similarly you all also propagate the same for benefit of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Shudras, Vaishyas, Women and even most downtrodden. The scholars and the wealthy people should ensure that they not deviate from this message of mine.

We will have to look into the context of this. See you after I refresh all these.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri.Sangom,

Are sUdras condemned people according to Vedas ? I am bringing some extracts from Agniveer website to clarify.
QUOTE

Yajurved 26.2:
The way I gave this knowledge of Vedas for benefit of all humans, similarly you all also propagate the same for benefit of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Shudras, Vaishyas, Women and even most downtrodden. The scholars and the wealthy people should ensure that they not deviate from this message of mine.
Dear Shri aramakrishnan1,

I have just seen this one verse in VS. It is as follows:—

यथेमाँवाचङ्कल्याणीमावदानि जनेभ्य : ।
ब्रह्म राजन्याभ्याँ शूद्रायचार्याय च स्वाय चारणाय च ।
प्रियो देवानान्दक्षिणायै दातुरिह भूयासमयम्मे कामँ समृध्यतामुपमादो नमतु ॥

This chapter contains supplementary verses for various rituals (vedic yagas) like Agnihotra, Somayajna, Vajapeya and Rajasuya, two modifications of the Soma sacrifice, construction of altars and hearths, especially the Agnicayana, Sautramani, a ritual originally counteracting the effects of excessive Soma-drinking, Ashvamedha, supplementary formulas for various rituals, Purushamedha, Sarvamedha, Pitriyajna, Pravargya, which are dealt with in VS.


The English translation of the above will roughly be as under:-

That I to all the people may address this salutary speech,
To priest and nobleman, Sûdra and Arya, to one of our own
kin and to the stranger.
Dear may I be to Gods and guerdon-giver. Fulfilled be this
my hope: be that my portion! (Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith)

You will observe that there is no reference to veda in this yajus at all; it says "vaacam kalyaaneeem" or salutary words mangala vaacakam and this is obviously to be uttered by the designated priest who expresses his wish to be dear to the gods (devaanaam priyah) and also in the same breath. to the yajamana who gives dakshina.

This has been "twisted" in the agniveer website to give an erroneous impression to readers. One has to go to the original books/texts and verify before relying completely on what such websites (I think it is some hindutva site) say.

So, the Shukla yajurveda does not exhort any one to go preach the vedas to sudras. If there were such a precedne in the veda, do you think Rama would have beheaded Shambuka?

 

sangom

Well-known member
Bhagvad Gita IX-32 :

My interpretation of the verse still remains "even those who may be born from the wombs of degraded women". It has never meant that all women are degraded.
Anyway, in this verse Lord Krishna did not condemn to eternal hell even those who are born from the wombs of degraded women, but offers Mukthi to them.

When you have such clear and definite views even overriding the views of Sankara, it is surprising that you wanted to understand what Aurobindo had written. You can have your views just as much as I can have mine, sir.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Shri. Sangom,
Inside every living being undergoing birth and death, the Atma is that of the Paramathma. Every one could attempt towards self realisation and reach the Supreme reality at any stage. As the same Supreme reality manifests in every one of us, no one is denied the ultimate goal of realising the Supreme reality within oneself and liberate yourself from the Brith- Death cycle.
The assistance of scriptures towards the actual realisation is only to the extent of how it helps to hearing story of a movie from a friend instead of watching the movie itself.
The various Jaathis performing their activity in the society is all about the Secular living (i.e disconnected /ignorance from the spiritual living) only. In the Spiritual level, inner purity and devotion to God can lead anyone towards the Supreme Reality.

Dear Shri aramakrishnan1,

What you write appears to me to be from incomplete knowledge of what our scriptures actually say, and having acquired some superficial ideas about advaita, iskcon-type of krishnaism, etc. I think it is beyond my ability to discuss anything with your closed mindset which is very sure that it is right. Let me wish you that "realising the Supreme reality within oneself", as quickly as possible!
 

zebra16

Well-known member

Dear Shri aramakrishnan1,

I have just seen this one verse in VS. It is as follows:—

यथेमाँवाचङ्कल्याणीमावदानि जनेभ्य : ।
ब्रह्म राजन्याभ्याँ शूद्रायचार्याय च स्वाय चारणाय च ।
प्रियो देवानान्दक्षिणायै दातुरिह भूयासमयम्मे कामँ समृध्यतामुपमादो नमतु ॥


The English translation of the above will roughly be as under:-

That I to all the people may address this salutary speech,
To priest and nobleman, Sûdra and Arya, to one of our own
kin and to the stranger.
Dear may I be to Gods and guerdon-giver. Fulfilled be this
my hope: be that my portion! (Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith)

Would this mean that vaisyas are some times referred in vedas as "aryas"?

Regards,
 
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