Veda is the root of Dharma! (Post No.4811)

Sri A V Swaminatha Sivacharya of Mayuram addressing the conference

Research Article written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 13 MARCH 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 16-07

 

Post No. 4811

Pictures are taken by London swaminathan

 

 

WARNING: PLEASE SHARE MY ARTICLES; BUT DON’T SHARE IT WITHOUT AUTHOR’S NAME AND THE BLOG NAME. BE HONEST; OTHERS WILL BE HONEST WITH YOU

 

—Research article written by Santanam (London) Swaminathan—

ARTICLE FOR SAIVA CONFERENCE SOUVENIR which was held in Vaishnava College at Arumbakkam, Chennai on 8,9,10 and 11th March 2018)This article is about the Date of the Vedas; Poets and Poetesses of the Vedas; Higher thoughts in the Vedas; Vastness of the Vedas; Mystery about the Vedas; Linguistics and Numbers in the Vedas; Secret Language of the Vedas; Maturity of thoughts in the Vedas; World Welfare in the Vedas; Vedas and other civilizations; Importance of Preserving the Vedas.)

 

Chief of Dharmapura Adeenam with his junior

 

MANU’S QUOTE ON VEDAS

वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलं स्मृतिशीले च तद्विदाम् ।

आचारश्चैव साधूनामात्मनस्तुष्टिरेव च ॥ Manu 2-6

 

“The whole Veda is the (first) root of the righteousness/ dharma/ religion and sacred law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the Veda further, also the customs of holy men, and finally self-satisfaction”- MANU 2-6

पितृदेवमनुष्याणां वेदश्चक्षुः सनातनम् ।

अशक्यं चाप्रमेयं च वेदशास्त्रमिति स्थितिः ॥ Manu12-94॥

 

 

“The Veda is the eternal eye of the ancestors, gods and humans; the teachings of the Vedas are impossible to master and impossible to measure; this is an established fact”- Manu 12-94

 

Rig Veda is the oldest religious book and the oldest anthology in the world. It is amazing to see a galaxy poets associated with the Rig Veda (RV). We have the names of over 430 poets in the Vedic Anukramani; another wonder is that we find over 20 poetesses in the Rig Veda.

 

There are two more interesting things about the RV

  1. a) the way it was preserved through the word of mouth for several thousand years and
  2. b) the method with which every word was preserved intact through Gana patam, Jata parayanam etc.

 

Manu has beautifully described the importance of the Vedas in two bullet points:

1.Root of Dharma/ Hindu Religion

2.Vedas are immeasurable; eye of the gods, human beings and our ancestors.

 

How beautifully he has described it in two couplets!

 

Dr R Nagasamy, eminent historian and london swaminathan with Ilaya Sannidhanam of Dharmapura Adheenam

Age of the Vedas

150 years ago, Westerners dated Vedas around 1200 BCE; but Hindus believed that they are eternal and ‘heard’ by the Rishis or seers like we hear radio broadcasts. If you tune to a frequency you listen to Chinese or Russian broadcast; Vedic Rishis also ‘saw’ the Vedic mantras like we see the TV broadcasts and so the seers are called ‘Mantra Dhrustas’. Since they heard the Mantras, the Vedas are called Sruti (tat which is heard). The meaning is Vedas contain eternal truths; we know the laws of gravity existed even before Issacs Newton wrote it in a book; we know that the Theory of Relativity existed even before Albert Einstein published it. Similarly, the Vedic truths existed even before the seers told us.

 

What are they?

Satyam Vada= Speak the Truth

Dharmam chara = Be charitable

Satyameva Jayate = Truth alone triumphs

Ekam Sat Vipraahaa Bahudaa vadanti = Truth is one; scholars call them differently

 

These are common to any religion; they are eternal truths; It will exist even after the disappearance of human race like the Laws of Physics.

 

We all know that all the languages have ‘A’ as the first letter. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, Jesus in the Bible, Thiruvalluvar in the Tamil Veda Tirukkural repeated this universal truth. It is in the Rig Veda. The first hymn begins with the word Agni and the last one finishes with Agni. Even if we take Aum as the first word in any mantra that is also formed of A U M. I can list hundreds of eternal truths like this in the Rig Veda.

 

DATE OF RIG VEDA

After the research done by the scientists of the Atomic Energy Commission in the Sarasvati river basin, we come to know that the mighty river existed before or around 2000 BCE. Vedas praise the mighty river in scores of verses. That places the age of Vedic hymns around or before 2000 BCE. Before the Sarasvati River Research, we had some archaeological evidence from Bogazkoy in Turkey. We have the names of the Vedic gods in a treaty in the Mitanni civilization and the treaty is clearly dated 1380 BCE. Apart from this we have astronomical evidence to show that the Vedas can be dated between 4000 BCE and 6000 BCE. No one has challenged the dates put forth by the German scholar Herman Jacobi and the Hindu scholar and freedom fighter Bala Gangadara Tilak.

Big Crowd on the very first day, inaugural session.

VASTNESS AND MATURITY

There are other ways of measuring the age of a community or a society or a civilization. The vastness of the Vedic literature point out to a very matured and long lived society. Even before the Greeks started writing a book (Iliad and Odyssey by Homer)  the Vedic seers produced four Vedas and immeasurable Brahmanas , Aranyakas and Upanishads. The Vedic verses alone count over 20,000 verses. To produce such enormous quantity of verses with quality is possible only when a society lives for a long period.

 

It is true that there are 60,000 clay tablets in Babylonia and it is true the ancient Egyptians have the Book of Dead and hieroglyphic writings on the walls of Egyptian Pyramids and papyrus rolls. But they can’t even come nearer to Vedas in matured thoughts and scientific approach.

 

The decimal system, the Vedic grammar, the prosody, the metres, the number symbolism, the linguistic references, the Divisions of speech, the cosmological enquiries etc show that the Vedic Hindus were highly educated, highly advanced, and part of a well matured civilization. The number of poets and poetesses around 2000 BCE also point in this direction.

 

Above all, we have very clear evidence of Guru Parampara- the lineage of teachers– in the Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad. We have over 50 generations of teachers around 850 BCE. Even if we give 30 years per Guru we will get 1500 years before 850 BCE! Greek writers mentioned that Hindus talked about 140 generations of king before Megatheres. That will give 3500 years before Third Century BCE, that is at least 5800 years! We have the list of kings enumerated in all the Puranas.

Dr R Nagasamy, famous archaeologist and london swaminathan in the conference

 

WORLD WELFARE

The last hymn of the RV beautifully summarises the very purpose of the Vedic recitation: it prays for the welfare of the society. We fought two world wars before creating one UNO with such welfare thoughts. One would wonder to see such higher thoughts in the RV thousands of years before our time!

Read the verse below:

 

Common be your Prayers

 

Common be your End

 

Common be your Purpose

 

Common be your Deliberations

 

Common be your Desires

United be your Hearts

United be your intentions

Perfect be the Union amongst you

RV 10-191

 

We have the root of democracy in the Vedas. The Sabhas and Samitis elected the kings.

Lalgudi Veda and Dr Subramaniam in the dining hall.

 

VEDAS- FULL OF MYSTERIES

Tamils are the people who understood the Vedas very well. They named the Vedas ‘Marai’ meaning secret. Vedas are full of mysteries. The poets themselves said that Gods love secret or coded language. Tamils also described the Vedas as unwritten chastity; once it is written it loses its chastity or sanctity. Karikal Cholza did a fire sacrifice by constructing a fire altar in the shape of an eagle. Choza Perunarkilli did Rajasuya Yagna; Pandya Mudukudumi Peru valuthi’s country was full of Yupa/ Vedic sacrificial pillars according to 2000 year old Tamil Sangam literature.

 

The geographical area that the Vedas covered 2000 years ago was very vast- the whole of Asia. We have Vedic names from Iran to Vietnam; from Turkey to Indonesia. No ancient culture had such a spread over the vast land mass.

 

NUMBER SYMBOLISM

The secret language of the Vedic seers became complicated with the number symbolism they used. Dirgatamas’ one hymn (RV 1-164) is a good example to show how advanced they were in languages. The linguistic passages, the prosody, the number symbolism all these place the Vedic civilization above other ancient cultures.

 

Dr R Nagasamy, Research scholar Ramadevi in the conference

 

SCIENCE IN THE VEDAS

 

Questions concerning the beginning and origin of all things were asked and answered by the Vedic Rishis. Thus, in the hymn 10-121 Hiranyagarbha (golden egg) is described as existing in the beginning of the creation, the sole Lord of beings, supporting heaven and earth. This developed in to Big Bang theory in cosmology.

 

In 10-90 hymn popularly known as Purushasukta, the idea that the whole world is one being, the Virat purusha, who having pervaded the world from all sides, still remained over and above it, is dealt with.

 

In the hymn 10-82, waters are spoken of as being the first substance or prime cause, which is a scientific fact.

In hymn 10-125, Vak (speech) is represented as the companion and upholder of the gods and as the foundation of all religious activity and its attendant boons.

 

Hymn 10-129 is a typical hymn in this connection. It is called the Creation hymn. Deussen says of this hymn: “In its noble simplicity, in the loftiness of its philosophic vision, it is possibly the most admirable bit of philosophy of olden times… No translation can ever do justice to the beauty of the original”

Nasadiya Suktam (10-190) in the Rig Veda shows that the Vedic Hindus were well advanced in Astronomy and cosmology. They were great mathematicians and used decimal system in almost all the hymns 6000 0r 7000 years ago! Now if anyone says that the Vedic Hindus were primitive nomads and pastoral people we can have a good laugh.

 

The Nasadiya Hymns (RV 10-129) traces the creation of the existent to the non-existent. One must read much between the lines to fit it in a true metaphysical pattern. But from the text itself it is obvious that the poet succeeded in stretching his imagination to a point of time when creation had not yet come into being ( before the Big Bang!). He can visualize the primal darkness of non-existence and the complete void in Time and Space. He has a dim misty vision – but a powerful and gripping one all the same – of being slowly emerging of non being. The power of the hymn lies in this vision.

Such thoughts can’t come from a primitive culture; unless they are highly civilized they can’t sing such songs.

Hundreds of people attended the conference

WHY SHOULD WE PRESERVE IT?

Kanchi Paramacharya emphisized the need of preserving the Vedas with a story. A blind man was holding a lamp and walking in the dark streets. People were wondering why should a blind man hold a lamp when he can’t see anything. When people asked him the reason, he told them that it was true that he couldn’t see the difference between light and darkness but it would definitely help others walking in the dark (they wouldn’t bump on him) . Similarly, we may be blind about the meaning of Vedas or the significance or the greatness of Vedas, but if we carry the Vedic torch in our hands it would definitely help the future generations. There may be another Veda Vyasa or Adi Sankara or Thiru Jnana Sambandar or Nammaalvar in the future who can enlighten us with the same Vedic truths. All the Tamil scriptures sung by Nayanmars and Alvars and hundreds of Tamil saints praised the Vedas sky high.

 

The whole Sangam literature has got hundreds of references to Vedas and Vedic themes in its 2500 plus poems. If we don’t preserve the Vedas our future generations would struggle to find the true meanings of those poems and a Hiranyakasipu or a Ravana can misinterpret them. Like Manu pointed out, our Dharma is rooted in the Vedas. We need to preserve our culture and religion. All our modern missiles (Agni, Varun etc) in the military, motto of all our government institutions, the state governments including the Tamil Nadu government have Vedic themes (Vaimaiye Vellum = Satayameva Jayate in Government of India and Tamil Nadu Government emblems). To understand them better we need the knowledge of the Vedas. Hundreds of words found in the RV are in our day to day vocabulary.

Let us preserve the Vedas like the great Tamil poet Bharati said:

Vetri Ettu Thikkum Etta Kottu Murase

Vedam endrum Vazka enru Kottu Murase

 

“Let the Vedic drum make sound in all the eight directions; let the Vedas long live!”

 

Let us sing the glory of the Vedas in Tamil like our great poet Bharati said,

Tamilzil Paza Maraiyaip paaduvom.

“Let us sin the glory of the Vedas in Tami”l.

 

We will repeat what Tirumular said,

“Vedas and Agamas are true; they are sacred; some debate which one is superior. The fact is Vedas are for common knowledge and Agamas are for specialised knowledge. Wise see both as one” (Vethamoodu aaagamam meyyaam……………..)

 

–Subham–

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