Spiritual Progress

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Jan 5 16:36:44 CST 1998

On Mon, 5 Jan 1998, Vaidya N. Sundaram wrote:

> Namaste:
>  I would like to point out a few points here in regard to
> Sri. Jaldhar`s analysis as seen below.
> On Mon, 5 Jan 1998, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> > > Spiritual progress
> > >
> > > The Vedas which are God's revelations have given to posterity the concepts
> > > of one God, one world and one humanity.
> >
> > This is open to debate.
>  I do not see any point in the original article that is debatable.
> I see it quite clearly that Vedas are Divine revelations.
> I also see that Vedas speak of a Sinlge Godhood and they have not been
> given selectively. they have been given to all of humanity.

The problem is that the English word God does not directly map to a single
Sanskrit equivalant.  Does God mean Parameshwar or Ishwar?  If the former
than I would agree with you but if the latter it is well known that we in
India worship many different Gods.  The Vedas prescribe the worship of
both for different purposes.  Without further qualification, statements
such as the Vedas teach the worship of one God are highly simplistic and

As for one world and one humanity, this is demonstrably false.  Nobody
anywhere thought in these terms until modern times.

> > >  The Rishis who took to propagate
> > > them by transmission through direct teaching were eager to share their
> > > profound thoughts with fellow human beings.
> >
> > With their fellow Brahmans.  This is something that makes a lot of people
> > uncomfortable but nevertheless it is true.
>  Before we go further and see that the last statement is false, think about
> the fact that the Great Vishwamitra was not even a Brahmana !! He was a
> Raja Rishi, a Kshatriya, who by intenance penance achieved 'that by which
> every thing else is known'.
>  The Rishis were not in any way partial in their transmission of knowledge.
> I think Sri. Jaldhar has not taken the time to ponder on the fact that
> the PAta ShAlAs of the Rishis were open to every one. Be they Princes or
> poor, they were accorded the same treatment. They had to gather firewood
> get alms for food and do the daily chores - all apart from learning the
> Vedas. The Upanishads as well as the Puranas are full of stories which
> show that Kings have befriended lay men in these schools. Lets read them
> first and then pass judgements.

There is no historical basis for any of this.  For all of our recorded
history, The Vedas were taught by Brahmans to Brahmans.  Which is not to
say that nothing was taught to others.  That's not what I'm saying.
Puranas, Mahabharata etc. also the products of Rshis containing the
essence of the Vedas are meant for those to whom Vedic study is off-limits
as they themselves explicitly state.  If the Vedas were for all that
entire category of shastra would be redundant.

>  More over, the famous Rishis were not famous for teaching the Vedas to
> their "fellow Brahmins". Rishis like Vishwamitra were called Vishwamitra
> for the reason that they were friends of the Universe (Vishwam=Universe and
> Mitra = Friend) One does not get that title by teaching the Vedas to the
> Brahmins alone.

Why not give some real life examples?  Who were the teacher of Veda to any
old person in the 15th century? how about the 10th? or the 5th?  There
aren't any.

> > > Their wisdom forms the foundation of Hindu religion, the Rig Veda is full of
> > > verses, the Yajur, of formulas, the Sama Veda of Riks in metrical forms. The
> > > Atharva Veda contains chants and incantations.
> > >
> > > The sages were aware of the process of re-channelising mind's energy. They
> > > had understood that the assistance of the mind is needed in all that one has
> > > to do. They wanted to redirect its powers, Godward.
> > >
> >
> > Mantras have a spiritual effect.  It's best to leave it at that.  A lot of
> > this mind-energy channeling talk is just pseudoscience.
>  What is the spiritual effect that Sri. Jaldhar refers here that is not
> a conditioning of the mind. A mantra is by definition, a Conditioner of
> the Mind. Hence the name Mantra !! Ignorance of the science of Mantra japas
> is not justification enough to call it a pseudoscience.

I don't call Mantra japa a pseudo science.  It's some of the more
extravagent claims that are made about energy waves and such which I
object to because this is simply not true.  Moreover it is disrespectful
to the dignity of the mantras to assume they are worthless without a
"scientific" explanation.  Our Grandfathers didn't need any of that.  They
learnt because it was their duty and their tradition and that's all.

> [[ ... some excellent exposition deleted ...]]
> >
> > The use of the word God with all the connotations the English word carries
> > may obscure the fact that various Mimamsaka and Vedantic schools have a
> > range of opinions from completely theistic to somewhat agnostic.  For
> > Advaita Vedantins God exists and is to be worshipped but Moksha itself is
> > not something God can give.
> >
>   All Advaitins at least have to accept Sri AdiShankara as one the Greatest
> Advaitin. Even Sri Shankara`s Viveka ChUdAmani in verses 494-5 speaks of
> both a non-dual Brahman as well as being God Supreme. this is the sishyas
> experience as experienced by him by the grace of the Holy Shankara.

I don't disagree with you in the least.  However there are other
sampradayas which are also based on Vedic teachings.  I happen to think
(and I'm sure you'll agree) that Shankaracharya and his followers provide
the best exposition of Vedanta but I would be blind to assume there were
not other interpretations.

In some of those interpretations Mukti is something given by God (who is
seperate to a greater or lesser degree from His creation) at will.  This
is not the Advaita doctrine.

The point of mentioning these things is to show that the Vedas deserve
much closer attention and a keener understanding than the sweeping
suggestions made in the review which was quoted.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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