Vedas (वेदाः)

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The Vedas (Samskrit : वेदाः) are a large body of ancient sacred texts which have originated in Bharatavarsha ( भारतवर्षः | the ancient Indian subcontinent). The Vedic Seers have received the Vedas through revelation. Vedas are considered to be Apaurusheya (अपौरुषेयः), or entirely superhuman, without any authorship.[1] Composed in Vedic samskrit (वैदिकसंस्कृतम्), these texts constitute the oldest layer of samskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of the world.

The Four Vedas which are regarded as authoritative texts by the followers of Sanatana Dharma are Rigveda (ऋग्वेदः), Yajurveda (यजुर्वेदः), Samaveda (सामवेदः ) and Atharvaveda (अथर्ववेदः). The Yajurveda is again divided into two parts- The Shukla (शुक्लः) and the Krishna (कृष्णः). The Krishna or the Taittiriya (तैत्तिरीयः) is the older version and the Shukla or the वाजसनेयी ॥ Vajasaneyi is a later revelation to Maharshi Yajnavalkya (याज्ञवल्क्यः) from Surya (सूर्यः).[1] The Rigveda is divided into twenty one sections, the Yajurveda into one hundred and nine sections, the Samaveda into one thousand sections and the Atharvaveda into fifty sections. In all, the Veda is thus divided into one thousand one hundred and eighty shakhas (शाखाः | recensions).[1]

परिचयः|| Introduction

The great Vedic commentator, of the thirteenth century, सायणाचार्यः ॥ Sayanacharya has given a definition of the वेदः ॥ Veda.

इष्टप्राप्ति - अनिष्टपरिहर्योर - अलौकिकम् - उपयम् यो ग्रन्थो वेदयति स वेदः ||[citation needed]

iṣṭaprāpti - aniṣṭapariharyora - alaukikam - upayam yo grantho vedayati sa vedaḥ ||

Meaning : The scripture, which describes the divine method for obtaining what is desirable and for giving up what is undesirable, is called वेदः ॥ Veda. This definition presents the purpose of the वेदः ॥ Veda. According to another definition, as per the Paribhasha sutras of अपस्तम्बः || Apastamba,

मन्त्र - ब्रह्मन्योर् - वेदनामधेयम् || mantra - brahmanyor - vedanāmadheyam || (Apas. Pari. 33)[2]

Meaning : The वेदः ॥ Veda is the name given to the मन्त्राः ॥ Mantras and the ब्राह्मणानि ॥ Brahmanas.

This definition describes the form of the वेदः ॥ Veda because it could be divided mainly into these two great divisions--the मन्त्राः ॥ Mantras and the ब्राह्मणानि ॥ Brahmanas. Accordingly, Mantra part is the main part of the Veda and whatever is not Mantra is Brahmana. Here, it is interesting to know that many ancient definitions of Veda, showing its significance, form  or contents are given in ancient Indian texts. Generally speaking, the word Veda signifies highest, sacred, eternal and divine knowledge as well as the texts embodying that knowledge.[3]

वैदिकसाहित्यं लौकिकसाहित्यं च ॥ Vaidika and Laukika Sahitya

Classical samskrit works (लौकिकसाहित्यम् | laukika sahitya), such as the mahakavyas ( महाकाव्यानि | the five great classic works on poetic form) and gadya kavyas (गद्यकाव्यानि | prose works) by various poets, are significantly different from the Vedic texts and are available in great volumes. Vedic texts and their usage of Samskrit language are distinct from the classical samskrit texts. Vedic Samskrit is more ancient than classical Samskrit. Long before Panini (पाणिनिः) systematized classical Samskrit grammar, Nirukta (निरुक्तम् ) was used to interpret Vedic Samskrit words.

Vedas are also called Shruti (श्रुतिः | what is heard) distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called Smṛiti (स्मृतिः | what is remembered). The Vedas are revelations of ancient sages after intense meditation, passed on to thousands of future generations by shabda (शब्दः | sound) or transmitted verbally thus, carefully preserved since ancient times. Vedic texts have been written and preserved in much later ages.

वैदिकसंस्कृतम् ॥ Vedic samskrit language being ancient is difficult to understand without the knowledge of Vedangas (वेदाङ्गानि), especially Nirukta of Maharshi Yaska (महर्षिः यास्कः) and the grammar of Panini and Patanjali (पतञ्जलिः). Maharshi Yaska's Nirukta is special in that, it is not only a dictionary of Vedic words but also an explanatory text for different Vedic terms.

With the availability of modern technological advancements, vast data on various topics is created, in different parts of the world, dispersed all over the globe. Thus, people generated a large number of genuine as well as falsely interpreted data about the Vedas of Bharatavarsha (in the form of blogs, educational sites, wikipedia for example).

 व्युत्पत्तिः॥Etymology

The samskrit word वेद (veda) "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root विद् (vid) - ज्ञाने (वेत्ति) || jñāne (vetti) in the meaning "to know" (Dhatupatha 1064). It is also derived from three other roots according to Swami Dayanand Saraswati.[4]

  • विद् सत्तायाम् || vid sattāyām (विद्यते || vidyate Dhatupatha 1171) in the meaning "existence"
  • विद् विचारणे || vid vicāraṇe (विन्ते || vinte Dhatupatha 1451) in the meaning "enquiry"
  • विद् लाभे || vid lābhe (विन्दति || vindati Dhatupatha 1433) in the meaning "gain or result"

The four terms वेदः || Veda, आम्नायः || Amnaya, त्रयी || Trayi, श्रुतिः || Shruti are synonymous according to अमरकोशः ॥ Amarakosha.

Nine terms found in literature that are synonymous with the term Veda namely[5]

  1. श्रुतिः || Shruti
  2. अनुश्रवम् || Anushrava
  3. त्रयी || Trayi
  4. आम्नयः || Amnaya
  5. समाम्नायः || Samamnaya
  6. छन्दः || Chanda
  7. स्वाध्यायः || Svadhyaya
  8. आगमः || Agama
  9. निगमः || Nigama

The term Vedic texts is used in two distinct meanings:

  • Texts composed in Vedic Samskrit during the Vedic period
  • Texts considered as "connected to the Vedas" or a "ancillary of the Vedas".

The samskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge", but can also be used to refer to fields of study unrelated to spiritual knowledge, e.g. in अगद-वेद || agada-veda (medical science), सस्य-वेद || sasya-veda (science of agriculture) or सर्प-वेद || sarpa-veda (science of snakes), already found in the early Upanishads.

वेदोत्पत्तिः || Vedotpatti

Although the Vedas are said to be सनातनः ॥ Sanatana (eternal), however their origin is credited to ब्रह्मा ॥ Brahma. According to शब्दकल्पद्रुमः ॥ Shabdakalpadruma,

ब्रह्ममुखनिर्गतधर्म्मज्ञापकशास्त्रम् इति पुराणम् |

brahmamukhanirgatadharmmajñāpakaśāstram iti purāṇam |

Meaning : पुराण-s || Puranas proclaim that vedas are शास्त्र-s || shastras revealed from ब्रह्मा ॥ Brahma’s mouth that remind of one's धर्मः ॥ Dharma. Regarding the origin of Vedas, शब्दकल्पद्रुमः ॥ Shabdakalpadruma further states that according to the पुराणानि ॥ Puranas and मार्कण्डेय-महर्षिः ॥ Markandeya rishi - once ब्रह्मा ॥ Brahma meditated on how to create and the Vedas then took birth out of Brahma's four faces with 21 शाखाः || shakas of ऋग्वेदः ॥ Rigveda, 100 शाखाः ॥ shakhas of यजुर्वेदः ॥ Yajurveda, 1000 शाखाः ॥ shakhas of सामवेदः ॥ Samaveda and 9 शाखाः ॥ shakhas of अथर्ववेदः ॥ Atharvaveda as given below.

वेदस्य प्रादुर्भावो यथा कदाचित्कथं सृक्ष्यामीति ध्यायतो ब्रह्मणो मुखचतुष्टयेभ्यश्चत्वारो वेदाः प्रादुरासन् यथा

एकविंशतिशाखात्मक - ऋक् १ शतशाखात्मक - यजुः २ सहस्रशाखामयसाम ३ नवशाखामयाथर्व्व ४ इति पुराणम् अपि च श्रीमार्कण्डेय उवाच ।

vedasya prādurbhāvo yathā kadācitkathaṃ sṛkṣyāmīti dhyāyato brahmaṇo mukhacatuṣṭayebhyaścatvāro vedāḥ prādurāsan yathā

ekaviṃśatiśākhātmaka - ṛk 1 śataśākhātmaka - yajuḥ 2 sahasraśākhāmayasāma 3 navaśākhāmayātharvva 4 iti purāṇam api ca śrīmārkaṇḍeya uvāca ।

In the महाभारतम् ॥ Mahabharata also the creation of Vedas is credited to ब्रह्मा ॥ Brahma. The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by ऋषि-s || Rishis (seers), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot. The वेदाः ॥ Vedas (shruti) are different from other texts based on Vedas such as श्रौतसूत्रम् || Shrauta Sutra and गृह्यसूत्रम् || GrhyaSutra, which are smriti texts.[6]

तेभ्यस्तप्तेभ्यस्त्रयो वेदा अजायन्त । अग्नेर्ऋग्वेदो वायोर्यजुर्वेदः सूर्यात् सामवेदः । (Shat. Brah. 11.5) as given by Pt. Sri Jayadevaji Sharma[7][8]

tebhyastaptebhyastrayo vedā ajāyanta । agnerṛgvedo vāyoryajurvedaḥ sūryāt sāmavedaḥ । (Shat. Brah. 11.5) as given by Pt. Sri Jayadevaji Sharma

तेभ्योऽभितप्तेभ्यस्त्रयो वेदा अजायन्त ऋग्वेद एवाग्नेरजायत यजुर्वेदो वायोः सामवेद आदित्यात् (Aite. Brah. 5.32)[9]

tebhyo'bhitaptebhyastrayo vedā ajāyanta ṛgveda evāgnerajāyata yajurvedo vāyoḥ sāmaveda ādityāt (Aite. Brah. 5.32)

अग्निवायुरविभ्यस्तु त्रयं ब्रह्म सनातनम् । दुदोह यज्ञसिद्ध्यर्थं ऋग्यजुःसामलक्षणम् । । १.२३ । ।(Manu. Smri. 1.23)[10]

agnivāyuravibhyastu trayaṃ brahma sanātanam । dudoha yajñasiddhyarthaṃ ṛgyajuḥsāmalakṣaṇam । । 1.23 । ।(Manu. Smri. 1.23)

As seen, all the above three mantras from different sources speak of the origin of Rigveda from Agni (अग्निः), Yajurveda from Vayu (वायुः) and Samaveda from Surya (सूर्यः also called रविः।Ravi and आदित्यः । Aditya). Brahmanas (ब्राह्मण texts) ascribe the origin of Vedas from the Creator of the Universe, Brahma (ब्रह्मा) or Prajapati (प्रजापतिः).

वेदलक्षणानि || Vedalakshanas

Vedas have the following important attributes summarized here, apart from the many other characteristics, as discussed by scholars over ages.

  • आस्तिकत्वम् ॥ Astikatva (Belief in existence of a Supreme power)
  • अलौकिकत्वम् ॥ Alaukikatva (Brahmajnana-Knowledge of Supreme being)
  • अपौरुषेयत्वम् ॥ Apaurusheyatva (Authorless)
  • अनन्तत्वम् ॥ Anantatva (Endless)
  • सनातनत्वम् ॥ Sanatanatva (Eternal)
  • धर्मसाधकत्वम् ॥ Dharmasadhakatva (Means of Dharma)
  • सर्वज्ञानमूलकत्वम् ॥ Sarvajnanamulakatva (Source of all knowledge)

In मनुस्मृतिः ॥ Manusmriti, Manu extensively discusses various aspects of Vedas in the 12th अध्यायः ॥ Adhayaya.

आस्तिकत्वम् ॥ Astikatva

आस्तिकता ॥ Astikata is the belief in the existence of a Supreme power, superior to man, called variously as Brahman, Paramatma etc. This aspect has been described in different flavors by different rshis, scholars and acharyas but the essence of Sanatana Dharma (सनातनधर्मः) is that they are all Astika or holding a firm belief in the existence of a Supreme Being or force that is all pervading, all encompassing, higher than the man. The Vedas are full of mantras which tell us beyond doubt that this power (entity) is not only Supreme but also is One.[11]

उप त्वाग्ने दिवेदिवे दोषावस्तर्धिया वयं | नमो भरन्त एमसि || १४ || (Sama. Veda. 1.1.1.2.14)[11][12]

upa tvāgne divedive doṣāvastardhiyā vayaṃ | namo bharanta emasi || 14 || (Sama. Veda. 1.1.1.2.14)

अलौकिकत्वम् ॥ Alaukikatva (Brahmavidya)

The knower of Veda, wherever he stays in whatever ashrama he resides, becomes fit for the realization of Brahman[4]

वेदशास्त्रार्थतत्त्वज्ञो यत्र तत्राश्रमे वसन् । इहैव लोके तिष्ठन्स ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते । । १२.१०२ ।  (Manu. Smri. 12.102)[13]

vedaśāstrārthatattvajño yatra tatrāśrame vasan । ihaiva loke tiṣṭhansa brahmabhūyāya kalpate । । 12.102 ।  (Manu. Smri. 12.102)

अपौरुषेयत्वम् ॥ Apaurusheyatva

सनातनधर्मः || Sanatana Dharma based lifestyle of Hindu people living in the Indian subcontinent, advocates that the Vedas are अपौरुषेयः ॥ apauruṣheya ("not of a man" and "impersonal, authorless").

शब्दकल्पद्रुमः ॥ Shabdakalpadruma gives about the अपौरिषेयत्व ॥ Apaurusheyata of Vedas as

धर्मब्रह्मप्रतिपादकमपौरुषेयवाक्यम् इति वेदान्तशास्त्रम् | 

dharmabrahmapratipādakamapauruṣeyavākyam iti vedāntaśāstram |

Meaning : वेदान्तशास्त्रम् ॥ Vedanta shastra says, वेदाः ॥ Vedas propound अपौरुषेयः ॥ Apaurusheya or author-less words about धर्मः ॥ Dharma and ब्रह्मन्॥ Brahman. According to कुल्लुकभट्ट ॥ Kulluka Bhatta's commentary on मनुस्मृतिः ॥ Manusmriti (Manusmriti with 9 Commentaries, Page 52)[4]

सनातनं नितेयम् । वेदापौरुषेयत्वपक्ष एव मनोरभिमतः। पूर्वकल्पे ये वेदास्त एव परमात्ममूर्तेर्ब्रह्मणः सर्वज्ञस्य स्मृत्यारूढाः । तानेव कल्पादौ अग्निवायुरविभ्य आचकर्ष।[14]

sanātanaṃ niteyam । vedāpauruṣeyatvapakṣa eva manorabhimataḥ। pūrvakalpe ye vedāsta eva paramātmamūrterbrahmaṇaḥ sarvajñasya smṛtyārūḍhāḥ । tāneva kalpādau agnivāyuravibhya ācakarṣa।

Kulluka Bhatta's acceptance of the वेदानाम् अपौरुषेयत्वम् ॥ vedānām apauruṣeyatvam is clearly given as above. कुल्लुकः ॥ Kulluka has quoted from the Veda,

यथा च श्रुतिः - अग्नेर्ऋग्वेदो वायोर्यजुर्वेद आदित्यात्सामवेद ॥ yathā ca śrutiḥ - agnerṛgvedo vāyoryajurveda ādityātsāmaveda [4] directly.

अनन्तत्वम् ॥ Anantatva

Vedas are unlimited in extent. What is stated in the Vedas is that they are verily endless - "ananta vai Vedah". It cannot be said that the Vedas in their entirety got revealed to the Rishis. Only a portion — a small portion of the limitless Vedas — became revealed to them. The four Vedas and a thousand and odd Veda saakhaas (or branches) of the Vedas are only a portion of what was made known to them as evident from the life of Bharadvaja rshi.

अनन्ता वै वेदाः । (Tait. Brah. 3.10.11)[15]

edit 

Anantatva of Vedas - Bharadvaja Rshi's Story

Taittriya Brahmana recounts the anecdote of Bharadvaja Rshi who spent successive lifetimes to master Vedas and performed tapas to extend longevity. He had an immense quest for knowledge. He pleased Indra with his tapas and asked for another lifetime for learning Vedas. Indra appeared before him and showed him 3 mountains. Seeing the vast Vedarashi Bharadvaja Rshi was overwhelmed. Indra says, these mountains are the Vedarashis. They are endless and cannot be known in one lifetime. So seek the knowledge of Brahmavidya, which is the purpose of the Vedas. Indra picked one handful from each of the three mountains and declares that the knowledge acquired by Bharadvaja was equivalent to those 3 handfuls in all lifetimes he had. He was taught Agni Savitra Vidya by Indra. Thus Bharadvaja was cured of the pride of learning.


सनातनत्वम् ॥ Sanatanatva

In the opinion of मनुः ॥ Manu, Veda is the eternal eye सनातनचक्षुः ॥ Sanatana Chakshu of पितृ || Pitru, देवः || Deva, and मनुष्यः || Manushya. Veda is beyond the sphere of human power to create (अशक्यम् || Ashakya) and beyond the human comprehension too (अप्रमेयम् || Aprameya).[4]

पितृदेवमनुष्याणां वेदश्चक्षुः सनातनम् । अशक्यं चाप्रमेयं च वेदशास्त्रं इति स्थितिः । । १२.९४ (Manu. Smri. 12.94)[13]

pitṛdevamanuṣyāṇāṃ vedaścakṣuḥ sanātanam । aśakyaṃ cāprameyaṃ ca vedaśāstraṃ iti sthitiḥ । । 12.94 (Manu. Smri. 12.94)

धर्ममूलकत्वम् ॥ Source of Dharma

मनुस्मृतिः ॥ Manusmriti has attached great importance to the Vedas and advocates primarily that the source of धर्मः ॥ Dharma are the वेदाः ॥ Vedas. Secondly, its source is attributed to tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who follow the Veda, thirdly, to the customs of holy men and finally आत्मनस्तुष्टिः ॥ Atmasantushti (satisfaction of the inner self).[4]

वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलं स्मृतिशीले च तद्विदाम् । आचारश्चैव साधूनां आत्मनस्तुष्टिरेव च । । २.६ । । (Manu. Smri. 2.6)[16]

vedo'khilo dharmamūlaṃ smṛtiśīle ca tadvidām । ācāraścaiva sādhūnāṃ ātmanastuṣṭireva ca । । 2.6 । । (Manu. Smri. 2.6)

Further मनुः ॥ Manu says - The eternal वेदशास्त्रम् ॥ Veda shastra upholds or protects all beings (by being their flawless guideline). Those endeavoring for the welfare of all beings (यज्जन्तः) regard Vedas as their supreme authoritative instrument in achieving it.

बिभर्ति सर्वभूतानि वेदशास्त्रं सनातनम् । तस्मादेतत्परं मन्ये यज्जन्तोरस्य साधनम् । । १२.९९ । । (Manu. Smri. 12.99)[13]

bibharti sarvabhūtāni vedaśāstraṃ sanātanam । tasmādetatparaṃ manye yajjantorasya sādhanam । । 12.99 । । (Manu. Smri. 12.99)

मनुः ॥ Manu declares that He alone knows the Dharma who explores the utterances of the ancient sages by the means of reasoning which is not against the Vedas.[4]

आर्षं धर्मोपदेशं च वेदशास्त्राविरोधिना । यस्तर्केणानुसंधत्ते स धर्मं वेद नेतरः । । १२.१०६ । । (Manu. Smri. 12.106)[13]

ārṣaṃ dharmopadeśaṃ ca vedaśāstrāvirodhinā । yastarkeṇānusaṃdhatte sa dharmaṃ veda netaraḥ । । 12.106 । । (Manu. Smri. 12.106)

सर्वज्ञानमूलकत्वम् ॥ Source of all knowledge

According to Brhadyogi-Yajnavalkya-Smriti (Page No. 11 of Ved aur Vedarth)[17][6]

न वेदशास्त्रादन्यत्तु किंचिच्छास्त्रं हि विद्यते । निःसृतं सर्वशास्त्रं तु वेदशास्त्रात् सनातनम् ॥ (Brha. Smri . 12.1)

na vedaśāstrādanyattu kiṃcicchāstraṃ hi vidyate । niḥsṛtaṃ sarvaśāstraṃ tu vedaśāstrāt sanātanam ॥ (Brha. Smri . 12.1)

Meaning: There is no other shastra greater than the veda shastra because all shastras emanate from the eternal vedashastra.[18] The महाभारतम् ॥ Mahabharata says -

यानीहागमशास्त्राणि याश्च काश्चित्प्रवृत्तयः। तानि वेदं पुरस्कृत्य प्रवृत्तानि यथाक्रमम्॥ (Maha. Anushasana Parva 122-4)[19]

yānīhāgamaśāstrāṇi yāśca kāścitpravṛttayaḥ। tāni vedaṃ puraskṛtya pravṛttāni yathākramam॥ (Maha. Anushasana Parva 122-4)

All the आगम-s || Agamas and शास्त्र-s || shastras whichever are created and are available now have been built using the Vedas as the foundation.[17]

अधिकारः ॥ Ownership of Vedas

The ownership of our knowledge systems are mainly in the hands of foreigners (through Indology) or Indians trained by Westerners who write our इतिहासः || Itihasa (history) from the colonial standpoint, which is to maintain Western hegemony in academia and promote Western Universalism. This strategy of conquest has been in operation since the Edinburgh enlightenment (1750, as cited by Dharampal 2000) which compelled the East India Company to change its barbaric methodologies of conquest used in Europe, the Africas & Americas (Todorov 1974) to a more subtle & devious method to conquer India. The result was a complete infiltration of western false interpretation of Vedas in our knowledge networks through gross error.[3]

Vedic scholarship in India, in the true sense of the term, appears to have ceased with the great work of महर्षिः यास्कः ॥ Maharishi Yaska, albeit with a few exceptions like Swami Dayanand, Shri Aurobindo and Shri Tulsi Ram. Swami Dayananda asserts that the commentaries of modern writers like सायणाचार्यः ॥ Sayana, स्कन्दः ॥ Skanda, Vejikaa, महीधरः ॥ Mahidhara and Western Indologists are gross misinterpretations.[citation needed]

Many great Indian scholars endeavor to bring back the great Vedic tradition by translations conducted with Bharatiya perspective. Many drawbacks can be pointed out as to the lack of visibility of Indian Scholars well versed in Vedas.[citation needed]

  1. Many vedic scholars are aged seniors who chose to live in distant remote areas, silently practicing their knowledge. Unable to imbibe different modern ways of life their existence has become obscure.
  2. Mental and physical connect with the modern systems is lacking owing to simple lifestyle and lack of funds to these scholars.
  3. Indian Urban society discusses or views the modern so called "Indology", with the western indoctrination, refusing to accept the fundamental theories of the Vedic scholars.
  4. English language given its present day glory and spread, is grossly insufficient to explain the numerous nuances of the divine language samskrit.
  5. Extensiveness of the Vedas and sufficiency of a lifetime to study and interpret them in modern sense requires expertise in both the subject and language which is difficult to achieve in a life time.
  6. Invasion of भारतवर्षः ॥ Bharatavarsha by various foreigners have brought about adjustments and alterations in the dharmic lifestyle as survival tactics against the foreign rulers, which brought about a loss of the fundamental principles advocated by the scriptures.
  7. Modernization or replacement of ancient tools of work with modern instrumentation has led to loss of knowledge of such ancient systems which promote dharmic lifestyle inconveniencing the scholars and forcing many of them to adapt to such new lifestyles.
  8. Present day adaptation of western ways of life has replaced the ancient lifestyle leading to a cultural loss of vedic rituals and traditions, whereby the younger generations are unwilling to study or practice the older traditions. This led to formation of only a few scholars in the later generations.

धर्मस्य वैदिकदृष्टिः ॥ The Vedic View of Dharma

A clash between the ideologies of modernity and the philosophy of civilization of cultures could have dangerous repercussions and this has been a frequently recurring thought in contemporary discourse. To understand the implications of these notions it becomes essential to emphasize that religion and dharma are not synonymous and hence cannot be talked of in the same breath.

The Vedas are the source of all Dharmas (in moral, social, religious, judicial, and spiritual sense) that have been in practice since times immemorial and hence is called सनातनधर्मः ॥ Sanatana Dharma (eternal dharma).

धर्मः ॥ Dharma is a samskrit expression of the widest import. There is no corresponding word for Dharma in any other language in this world as it is a unique and ancient concept promulgated by rishis since times immemorial. It would be futile to attempt to give any definition of the word. It can only be explained and has a wide variety of meanings. For instance, the word "Dharma" is used to mean Nyaya (न्यायः Justice), what is right in a given circumstance, moral values of life, pious obligations of individuals, righteous conduct in every sphere of activity, being helpful to the the needy, giving charity to individuals in need or for a public cause, natural qualities or properties of characteristics of a living being or things, duty and law as also constitutional law. धर्मः ॥ Dharma is regarded as the greatest and most valuable contribution to humanity by भारतवर्षः ॥ Bharatavarsha.

Contemporary knowledge and academia is not able to help us ascertain the right direction in life. To understand भारतीयता ॥ Bharatiyata as experienced by our ancient Rishis and lead a Dharmic life requires revisiting our civilisational heritage through the wisdom bank of the Vedas. Compiling relevant literature that is timely, supportive and relevant to the original वेदविद्या || VedaVidya may be seen as regressive by self-styled modernists and liberals, but this should not deter us as it is an indication of the power of the annihilating forces.[3]

Predictions of the future being bleak and bringing destruction are made regularly, yet the same destructive systems are seen as wisdom? Notably, "If the future is seen as destructive, how come revisiting time-tested successful systems is seen as unproductive?" The compilation of our Dharmic texts also becomes essential as the self-appointed ‘knowledge leaders’ will need some definitive yardstick to judge both the progressive and the destructive. Without such a yardstick, knowledge creation remains the outcome of a whimsical mind, or propaganda for political/territorial gains or media-generated fodder for control of the world’s resources by a few rich corporations, leading to eventual destruction.

संवादः ॥ Discussion

Western Indology

The study of samskrit (संस्कृतम्) in the West began in the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer drew attention to Vedic texts, specifically the उपनिषद्-s || Upanishads. The importance of वैदिकसंस्कृतम् ॥ Vedic samskrit for Indo-European studies was also recognized in the early 19th century. English translations of the Samhitas (संहिताः) were published in the later 19th century, in the Sacred Books of the East series edited by Müller between 1879 and 1910. Ralph T. H. Griffith also presented English translations of the four Samhitas, published 1889 to 1899.

Voltaire regarded Vedas to be exceptional, he remarked that:

""The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.""

Rigveda manuscripts were selected for inscription in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007.

Indologists Hegemony

The true Dharmic point of view that made us the richest civilization not only economically but culturally has remained unknown, a fact that can be attributed to the Indologist hegemony over global discourse. Until now the Vedas were read and understood in India and the West as interpreted by सायणाचार्यः ॥ Sayanacharya and his ‘collective authorship’ or Occidental linguists and missionaries of the East India Company (EIC). Notably, these great scholars' work was used not to defile the Indian narrative but through translations, create their knowledge systems (as in grammar, education systems, science, technology).

Interestingly, Sayana’s and others' commentary of the Vedas and not of ancient authentic vedic scholars like महर्षिः यास्कः ॥ Maharishi Yaska or the more recent Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo or Shri Tulsi Ram’s works are used as primary sources by the Indologist or their trained or sponsored Indian scholars. Their work has been commented upon by Shri Aurobindo (page 3, the Secret of the Veda, 1998), thus

"Indian scholar Sayana and we have in our own day the interpretation constructed after an immense labour of comparison and conjecture by modern European scholarship. Both of them present one characteristic in common, the extraordinary incoherence and poverty of sense which their results stamp upon the ancient hymns. When we come to read the hymns as a whole we seem to be in the presence of men who, unlike the early writers of other races, were incapable of coherent and natural expression or of connected thought. "

The EIC through Indology, a medium used to serve the colonial agenda, translated our works not only to digest our knowledge systems but to create a narrative that show the colonized as ‘uncivilized’ and the white man’s on a mission to save the ‘pagan’. For example, Sayana was deemed a scholar and his works are very popular and freely available on the Internet. Significantly his commentary on the Rigveda was edited by Max Mueller, though under his name is done by ‘collective authorship’ , by Sayana, his brother, students and Max Mueller himself. Max Mueller, the self-styled Indologist, an employee of the colonial East India Company who bore the expenses for publishing the first volume (1849).


The euphoria over the digital revolution and the perceived increase in ‘knowledge' is a chimera, as the increase in information has also seen a parallel decline in knowledge-gathering. Consequently, opinions and beliefs not backed by evidence from primary sources is seen as intellectual rigor. In this alarming situation, it becomes necessary to reclaim our values based on the eternal culture of सनातनधर्मः ॥ sanatana dharma that stands as a guidepost for the people of भारतम् ॥ Bharat. At the same time, this endeavor helps support the movement for reclaiming our position of विश्वगुरुः || Vishvaguru that guides the world towards renewal and progress.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Swami Sivananda, All About HInduism
  2. Apastamba Paribhasha Sutras (Kanda 1)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Narayanacharya, K. S. (2011). Veda Sanskritiya Parichaya. Hubli:​Sahitya Prakashana​.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Patel, Gautam. (1999). Traditional Vedic Interpretations. New Delhi : Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan
  5. Venkateswara Rao. Potturi (2010) Paaramaathika Padakosam Hyderabad: Msko Books
  6. 6.0 6.1 Acharya Dharma Deva Vidya Martanda. (2002). The Rigveda, with Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati's commentary, English translation, Vol I. New Delhi:Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha.
  7. Sharma, Pt Sri Jayadevaji (2008) Rigveda Samhita Bhashabhashya Volume 1 Ajmer: Arya Sahitya Mandal Ltd
  8. Singh, Ahilya. (2010) PhD Thesis Title: Pracheen bharat mein aarthik jeevan prarambh se vaidik kaal tak. V. B. S. Purvanchal University.
  9. Aitareya Brahamana (Panchaka 5)
  10. Manusmriti (Adhyaya 1)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Vidyamartand, Acharya Dharmadeva. (2008) Solutions to Modern Problems in Vedas Rajasthan:Sri Ghudmal Prahladkumar Arya Dharmarth Nyas
  12. Samavedam Kauthumeeya shaka (Prapathaka 1)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Manusmriti (Adhyaya 12)
  14. Dave, Jayantakrishna Harikrishna. (1972) Manusmriti with 9 Sanskrit Commentaries, Volume 1 Bombay : Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  15. Taittriya Brahmana (Kanda 3 Prapathaka 10)
  16. Manusmriti (Adhyaya 2)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Shastri, Jwalanth Kumar. (2009) Ved aur vedarth Rajasthan: Sri Ghudhmal Prahladkumar Arya Dharmarth Nyasa
  18. Gharote. M. L. (1982) Brhadyogi-yagnavalkya-smriti, English Translation Lonavla : Kaivalyadhama S. M. Y. M. Samiti
  19. Shrimad Mahabharata (Anushasana Parva)