Study of Vedas

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Apr 5 19:39:44 CST 2002

On Fri, 5 Apr 2002, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:

> Please consider carefully, the purpose and utility of
> learning Veda Samhitas at this age.

Last year or so I read in our local paper about a woman who at the age of
70 got her high school diploma?  What is the purpose and utility of that
at such an advanced age?  knowledge is its own reward and even a scrap of
knoledge earned late is preferable to ignorance.  If this is true for
mundane subjects than how much more so for spiritual ones?

> If I am right, you
> and I would have crossed half of our life span by now.
> It is totally unwise to return to India to work. I
> would rather suggest it only  if it is your intention
> not to work for money and pursue spiritual progress.
> It is true that you may find a Veda teacher. But is it
> really what you want to use this life for ?
> The purpose of life is Self Realisation and not
> learning the Veda Samhita by rote or even learn the
> meaning of those Samhita mantras.

If one truly believes the purpose of life is self-realization then one
MUST immediately resort to sannyasa.  There is no way self-realization is
possible outside of sannyasa.  If for whatever reason one feels one cannot
take sannyasa then one MUST follow ones svadharma.  There is no

For a Brahman, dharma includes learning the shastras including the shakha
of his ancestors.  there is no room for equivocation.  It's too bad that
many people don't do it or only get around to it late in life but the sins
of others are no excuse for sinning yourself.  Once you know what ought to
be done your conscience should not allow you to leave it undone.  and it
is better to do ones own duty however imperfectly than to chase after

> The bay area has many aspirants after Self
> Realisation. The local Chinmaya Mission, Vedanta
> Society and other religious organisations are active
> groups where you may develop more Vedantic knowledge.

Vedantic knowledge is good but for a grhastha it is optional.  In fact the
strictest gurus and mathas will only teach higher Vedanta to sannyasis.
In any case it cannot be a substitute for following your dharma.  Most
members of the list including myself are grhasthas. I am interested in
learning (and I encourage others to learn) Vedanta because as I said, more
knowledge is better than less but I can't use "well I run a list where we
talk about Advaita Vedanta" as an excuse for neglecting my dharma and in
cases where participating in this list conflicts with my nityakarmas, I
give the list a firm second place.

> You will even find scholars who can teach you Veda
> Samhitas, if you can search and if you have interest.
> With the better money you earn, you can do more
> service to people which is a 'surer' way to spiritual
> upliftment than learning Veda Samhitas.

What is service?  To which people?  Unless one has a clear idea of what is
to be done how can one help?  If one neglects ones' own well-being, what
are the chances one will be able to attend to the welfare of others?

Earning money is good, I enjoy it myself but it is very easy to
rationalize away the pursuit of materialism.  The Vedic life puts a check
to that by emphasizing enjoyment but in a disciplined way.  But the first
step to following it is to admit that there is a higher duty beyond ones
own needs.

> For Self Realisation you do not need to learn Veda
> Samhitas.

In the Gita, Arjuna is the apparent Vedantin.  He ask "Why should I engage
in all this violence in order to acquire a kingdom?  Surely it is better
to renounce it all and retire to the forest?"  Krishna Bhagawan
surprisingly is against this.  He instead recommends to Arjuna karma
yoga--the pursuit of ones swadharma out of a sense of duty only and as an
offering to the Lord.

Now these putative seekers of self-realization:  presumably they have
renounced everything.  If they haven't and they aren't even disciplined
enough to pursue their given duty, what makes you think they would be
disciplined enough to to be able to realize the self?

> So, please weigh in your true goals and then
> reevaluate your options. For the stress and dichotamy
> that exists in life, only true changes in Life style,
> and correct priorities can make a difference and
> provide sustainable spiritual progress.

I agree.  The Vedic way of life gives at least several thousand years of
evidence of how to sustain spiritual progress.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list