Study of Vedas

Srikrishna Ghadiyaram srikrishna_ghadiyaram at YAHOO.COM
Fri Apr 5 22:12:18 CST 2002

Hari Om !!

--- "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM> wrote:
> 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?

I guess, this is what I am trying to high-light. How
foolish it is to spend time to acquire worldly
knowledge on death bed. It is apt for an American or
an Indian who knows not higher goals of this precious
life. But, if that is all one can aspire for, well,
one may go for it.

There is no doubt in my mind that one should learn the
Truth of Life and Realise it personally. Vedas whether
it be Samhitas or Vedanta (should and) are described
as a means of Knowledge. While one can certainly
benefit in gaining insights of these teachings by
learning Samhitas or Vedanta, it should not be an end
in all. More over it weighs in a lot on our mental and
intellectual ability.

Some time ago, I too felt that I should have learnt
the Vedas under some unexplicable emotion; rather when
I hear that this Vedic knowledge is endangered, as if
I am going to save it. But I realized it was not "I"
who can do it, the Supreme has His plans for it. It is
for me to use my time effectively to learn the
essentials at first and get into a more contemplative
life style, withdrawal and identify my own attachments
and get over those short comings. In my view they are
more important than at first emotionally deciding to
learn Samhitas. After all the Goal is Realisation not
memorisation of Samhitas.

We all know one has to give up Samhitas for realising
or rather being One with Brahman , after duly and
directly experiencing the Truth. It is with this
clarity that I said, I wish not to waste this short
life for Samhitas but Seek within. Of course, all
entertainment, diversion or time pass can be gained
through Swadhyaya, if not engaged in Enquiry with in,
so that a man does not destroy the progress of mind.

> > 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
> alternative.

Yes, Sanyasa at physical and mental and intellectual
levels is needed. I learnt a small distinction in the
interpretation of Sanyasa. In the beginning it is for
the purpose of developing non-attachment i.e Sadhana
Sanyasa. Once established in non-attachemnt it is True
Sanyasa. In that perspective, I said that one needs to
adapt to a better life style conducive to this higher
goal. Without making abrupt changes to present life,
if one can practice those virtues of non-attachment in
this present life, and see how one does in, say, one
year, then more sustainable Sanyasa can be adapted.

I also read Malayala Swami saying that it is good to
live for one year in an asram before taking Sanyasa.
It seemed practical to me. We have a scope to evaluate
ourselves, and do not do things out of a temporary
mental situation.

Swadharma is not a matter of Sanyasa or otherwise.
Yes, one has to do present duties and confirm to
Sanyasa dharma too if adopted.

> 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
> anothers.

It is true, if one thinks he/she is a Brahman or a
Kshatriya, they should do what is prescribed of them.
But, with some intellectual analysis one can
discriminate if one is just a Brahmana or beyond that.
But as one has already accepted to certain life and
committed to others one should preferably complete
those by performing those duties with detachment, as
much as possible.

> > 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.

I guess it is upto ones scheme of evaluation or
evolution of mind. As long as one is bound by thoughts
that one is a Grihastha etc., one may continue to do
those duties. But, one has to come out of such
identifications any way, some time.

> > 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?

This is the question I suggested in the beginning,
"Please consider carefully, the purpose and utility of
learning Veda Samhitas at this age." A search for
these questions, What is Service ? Whom to serve ? is
what should lead one internally to the Supreme, that
is my belief. As it is said, "This is the Supreme Good
to man and nothing else"

> 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.

As long as one "enjoys" action in this plane,
Realisation is possibly, not possible. As we all know
Karma is binding. So, I was only suggesting that one
should discover that art of detached Karma through
Service to One, and All as One. Let the higher duty
unfold itself, in this pursuit.

> > 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.

I guess Krishna did not suggest Karma Yoga in the way
interpreted, in isolation. I believe Krishna's
response was due to Arjuna's untimely wavering. If
only Arjuna fought the battle and won the Kingdom and
then renounced, then Krishna would not have told him
the same lesson, or atleast in the same way. So, it
was truly fatal to the Pandava's duty if Arjuna ran
away from battle, for his inner traits would remain
unfulfilled. So, he had to fight. Of course it was the
plan of Krishna. So, Krishna taught Arjuna the value
of performing Swadharma with detachment, as an
instrument of God/Him. A similar thing can be
explained about a Sanyasi too.

> 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?

All is a matter of failures to succeed. It is the mind
which is progressing through evolution. For one fails
now, one should not give up an attempt. After all what
is failure ? We all know failure in the pursuit of
nobler is better than success in paltry.

> > 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.

So, it is important that one re-programs his/her life
style in connection with the society and family and
practice Happy cheerful living in all times, in
hormony with nature and fellow beings, as a first
step. True, Vedic way of living should lead one to
peace. But, since we are in an intellectual community,
we are trying to understand the rationale, so that we
can implement such changes more effectively in to our
own lives.

Note: While writing my response to this post, it is
not my intention to say that I know better than you or
any one else. But to present the ideas from a layman's
perspective, as I am, and still migrate the view to a
higher goal.

Om Namo Narayanaya !!


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