Friday, September 26, 2008

Vedas are not for interpretation!

It is disheartening to see Indian scholars resorting to interpret Vedas to decipher our past history and about the people of ancient Bharath.

I refer to the otherwise wonderful write-up on the Vedic rishis and people of Saraswathi civilization as known from Harappan excavations, that tows the unacceptable line of reading from the Vedas, the people who lived in this land.

It is a matter of concern that even Indian writers have fallen into the folly of ‘reading’ history from Vedas!
From Max muller to modern day writers of foreign origin who have had no inkling of the purpose of Vedas, have done enough dis-service to humanity and to Hindus in particular by incorporating their knowledge into Vedas and inventing stories of Aryan invasion et al.

But the same must not be done by us – who have some idea about what Vedas are about.
Vedas are certainly not for deciphering our past history.

If you want to know about the people or kings who lived in olden days, read the puranas and Ithihasas. They only have chronicled the past of this country.

If you want to know about space, time and science, read the Siddhanthas, tantras, karanas, kosthukas and yantra vidhyas.

If you want to know about Brahma vidya or knowledge of the Brahman
or Supreme Consciousness, read upanishads and Brahma sutras.

If you want to know about a variety of things of mundane nature from earthquakes to animal behavior, read the samhitas.

Vedas do not come anywhere near people and mundane life.
They are not even linked with meanings.
They are basically about acoustics,
-the science of sound that is capable of invoking Gods.

The first 4 vedangas attached to Vedas tell you how to recite Vedas,
the 5th vedanga about when to recite them to extract optimum benefit and
the 6 th vedanga about how to use them as suitable for man
so that man can derive maximum benefits from nature and the Unknown.
That is all about the Vedas.

Any letter becomes shabda (sound or word), when it is twisted in a particular way.
The shabda or word denotes a meaning.
But the meaning is not attached to it, says Sweta ketu to his wife Suvarchala
(Maha bharatha, Shanthi parva, Moksha dharma, chapter 224)
The meaning is like the water on the lotus leaf!
They are together but attached to each other.
It is like the relationship between the earth and the sky.
The earth and sky seem to be touching each other, but in fact they are not.

Any shabda – if have meaning, it will be about perishable and created entity.
But Veda shabda is about imperishable Creator.
The shabda is Him and not the meaning of Him or any other thing of created world.
That is why it is said that Vedas always see Him.
When that sound is made, the Creator is present there!
The Vedas contain many names and words that seem to make sense or non-sense.
But that is not for what Vedas exist.

The only way we can understand this is through musical notes.
The seven swaras obviously have no meaning.
They are just sounds.
But when they are jumbled in particular fashion and
made in numerous ways in a particular jumble called as raga,
say, in Ananda Bhairavi, the mood of joy is felt.
The joy is not made by any meaning of the swaras.
The swaras create the Bhava or experience.
Similarly the vedic recitals create an experience or bhava that is God!
What is of importance is how they are recited in a particular pitch or a particular tone
But not about what they mean.
They only resurrect the God to whom it is directed.

This must be understood first before anyone attempts to know what Vedas say.
They don’t say anything.
They are like swaras – a long string of swaras of specific types to invoke specific deities.

That is why I am not able to digest articles written by quoting Vedas
that they talk about fights – innumerable fights.
One popular outcome of this is the postulation of a very wrong theory of Aryan invasion.
In the article I have quoted
the writers think like many foreign scholars and
have inferred that Rig Vedas contain reference to 5 types of people
who lived in the Saraswathi basin.

The terms Pancha jana, Pancha jaataa,
pancha maanusha,
Pancha chaarshayah,
Pancha krishtayah,
Pancha Kshitayah etc
that are found at different places in Rig Vedas have been interpreted to mean
5 types of people namely Anus, Druhus, Yadus, Turvasas and Purus.

If we look at some of the verses that made them think like this,
we will know it is metaphysical and not about physical entities.
From Rig veda :-
* Seven-sistered, sprung from threefold source, the Five Tribes' prosperer, she must be Invoked in every deed of might.(6-61-12)

* Indra who rules with single sway men, riches, and the fivefold race
Of those who dwell upon the earth. (1-7-9)

* All manliness that is in heaven, with the Five Tribes, or in mid-air,
Bestow, ye Asvins, upon us. (8-9-2)

* The Twain invincible in war, worthy to be renowned in frays,
Lords of the Fivefold. People, these, Indra and Agni, we invoke. (5-86-2)

* Who for the Fivefold People's take hath seated him in every home
Wise, Youthful, Master of the house. (7-15-2)

* Agni, may we show forth our valour with the steed or with the power of prayer beyond all other men;
And over the Five Races let our glory shine high like the realm of light and unsurpassable. (2-2-10)

The repetition of 5 races seem to have become the object of interest.
The mystery about the 5 can be solved
if we look at other related references the 5 are said to be Lorded by Indra and Agni
These two are none but indicators or progenitors of impulses
or sensory perceptions (gyanendriyas)
More on this in the earlier post

There are many 5 told in Vedas and other texts.
There are 5 qualities essential for attaining Brhama.
There are 5 purushas or sheaths that rest on the one seeking Brahma gyana.
There once lived a Rishi by name Panchasikha, (one having 5 tufts of hair on his head)
Since he had milk of a rishi-patni Kapila, he came to be known as Kapileya.
Bheeshma on arrow- bed tells about his story to Yudhisthira
on how preached Brahma gyana to king Janaka
that enabled him to shed remorse and sorrow when his city was on flames.

Panchasikha was so-called because of 5 qualities needed for knowing Brahman.
These qualities are
Damam – restraint
Samam – equanimity
Uparati – ceasing – like dead
Titiksha – renunciation
Samadhana – capability to put together issues to arrive at a solution.

These 5 qualities are controlled by Indra (lord of sense impulses / indriyas)
and agni (which swallows desires)
The rationale conveyed is that one must burn desires and control the indriyas.
This is indicated by the Rig Vedic verses on the five people
who are born with one (pancha jana)
- Born of a particular fashion (pancha jati)
- Born of thought (Pancha manusha - manusha is derived from the root word which means ‘to think’)
- Always moving about and not fixed (Pancha chaarshayah)
- needed to be cultivated (Pancha krishtayah)
and are of earthy nature (Pancha Kshitayah)

By overcoming these 5, one attains what rishi Panchasikha attained –
the crown of 5 tufts on his head!
Usually a sikha or kudumi or tuft of hair is sported to protect or cover or crown
the top-most naadi of man, namely the Brahma randhram
that is situated on the top of the head.
If a person is qualified to attain Liberation / has gained Brahma gyana,
his soul exits through this top part, at the time of death.
The tuft is supposed to have power –
or is an indicator of power of qualities required to ‘see’ Brahman
Such Liberation is possible only if a person has practiced the 5 qualities.
Since Liberation is the ultimate goal of Brahma gyana
the Vedas speak about the 5 qualities as 5 people who have to be nurtured well.
This is how we must try to relate the Vedic passages.


AK said...

I just stumbled across this blog post and I'm blown away. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, it's been a revelation!

A Krishna

jayasree said...

Thanks Mr Krishna.