What you have learnt is Handful, what you haven’t learnt is…………

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What we have learnt — picture
Article written by S NAGARAJAN
Post No. 1776; Date 5th April 2015
Uploaded from London at  12–48

Hindu Vedas, Vedangas and the Great Sages Associated With the Vedas

By Santhanam Nagarajan

The primary scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas.

They are beginning less, endless. They are eternal in nature.

The Vedas are not composed by any man. They are ‘apaurseya’ (meaning not man made).

They are called ‘Sruthi’ (meaning ‘heard’).

The Vedas were revealed to the sages after the creation of the Universe for the benefit of mankind. These have been handed down from generation to generation in the teacher -disciple tradition orally because the method of chanting cannot be mastered otherwise.

The oral method of instruction has ensured that there has not been any distortion.

The Vedas are four namely Rik , Yajur , Sama  and Atherva Veda.

These Vedas consist of thousands of mantras so to say countless. The mantras  are vibrations which are very potent.

Each of the four Vedas has further been divided into various branches. The Rik has 21 branches, the Yajur has 101 branches, the Sama has 100 branches and the Atharva Veda has 9 branches.

But at present some of the branches alone exist. Thus we have only one branch in Rik Veda. This is called pauzhiyam.

We have three branches in Yajur Veda namely Tatittriya, Kanva and Madhyandina,  only two branches in Sama  namely Chandoga and Talavakara and only one branch in Atharva Veda. This is available in Northern part of India.

Krishna Dwaipayana also known as Vyasa divided Vedas into four parts. He selected four of his intelligent disciples to study these diligently.

He taught Rig  to Paila, Yajur  to Vaisampayana, Sama  to Jaimini and Atharva Veda to Sumantu.

He also taught the 18 Puranas and Idihasa (meaning great epics) to Romoharshana.

Then again Paila has divided Rig Veda into two parts and imparted its teachings to two of his disciples – to Indrapramiti and Baspala. Baspala has divided his own branch to four parts and taught them to his pupils Bodhya, Agnimadaka, Yagnyavalkya and Parasara. Indrapramiti has taught his own branch to his son Mandukya.

One should not take the outward meaning of the mantras. Each and every word has ten meanings. Not by scholarly reading buy by intuition only one could understand these.

From time immemorial till modern days many have revealed the fantastic sciences that are potent in these which include vedic mathematics, the science of building planes, the ways to enhance one’s life span etc.

Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Dayanada Saraswathi, Aurobindo, Swami Bharathi Krishna Tirtha are some of the great men who revealed the greatness of Vedas.

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What you have learnt: Bharadwaja Story

Vedas are countless and one cannot master it completely.

An interesting story with regard to mastering of Vedas is worth reading.

The great sage Bharadwaja started studying the Vedas. One purusha ayus (meaning a full span of life for human which is one hundred years) was completed. Still there was a lot to learn. He prayed Indra for another purusha ayus. Indra granted. One more hundred years passed. But Bharadwaja found that a lot more to learn. He again prayed and Indra again granted another 100 years. Thus 300 years passed. After 300 years Indra appeared and Bharadwaja was proud that he completed Vedas fully. Indra made three huge mountains before him. He took a handful of the earth from each of the mountains and told the sage, “Oh, Bharadwaja, what you have learnt so far is equivalent to these three handfuls of the earth only and whatever Vedas you are yet to learn are equivalent to these three huge mountains.” Thus Vedas are endless.

Sage Vaisampayana, the disciple of Ved Vyas has compiled twenty seven branches of Yajur Veda.

Sukarna was the son of Sumanthu and the grand son of sage Jaimini; they have studied one branch of Sama Veda. Sumanthu divided Sama Veda samhitha into one thousand branches. Kaysaly, Hiranyanabha, Pauspincha are his disciples. Hiranyanabha had 500 disciples for himself. One disciple Kruthi has studied twenty four Samhithas of Sama Veda.

Maharishi Maunchakesh have compiled Nakhyatra, Veda kalpa, Samhitha kalpa, Agnirakshya kalpa and Santi kalpa. These five bikalpas are the important parts of Atharva Veda Samhitha.

The Vedas are also called as Veda purusha. He has got six different organs or limbs namely 1) Shiksha 2) Vyakaranam (meaning Grammar) 3) Chandas (meaning Sconce of Prosody) 4) Niruktam (Science of etymology) 5) Jyotisham (Astronomy and Astrology) 6) Kalpam

These six are called as Vedangas.

Shiksha is that work which helps us to obtain the full results of Vedas. It is found that there are 35 of them. Shiksha tells us about the various aspects of letters. Details are not enumerated here.

Vyakarana helps us in understanding the Vedas by analyzing the words and their meanings.

Chandas tells us about the various meters such as Gayatri, Trishtub etc.

Niruktam gives a detailed exposition about the Vedic words and their meanings.

Jyotisha is based on Jyothis Lord namely the sun. This tells us the proper timings for the performance of various Vedic rituals.

Kalpa means the performance or practice of something. It tells us the method of practicing the various sacrifices and other karmas (or duties) mentioned in the Vedas.

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