Study of Vedas

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Apr 10 08:40:43 CDT 2002

On Mon, 8 Apr 2002, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> Now, I
> do not know when was the last time our Shakha was studied. If I am to look
> to my past, I only see us as landlords. If I were to follow my dharma, I
> would probably have to go and start farming what little land we still have
> left.

Do you and your community still wear janoi?  If not then you have ceased
to be Brahmans altogether.  If so, then you had gayatri upadesh so Vedic
study has continued albeit at the most minimal level.  What about your
purohits?  Presumably they perform marriages, pujas, and the like.  and
presumably they have passed down the knowledge of how to do that down the

Historically, we see that most Indians have been involved in agriculture
regardless of their traditional occupation.  One should distinguish
between the work done to earn a living and ones dharma.  Ideally there
should be no friction between the two.  A Brahman butcher for example
would be quite problematic but it is not a new thing that Brahmans have
been involved in doing more than priestly work.  In my case though my
surname Vyas indicates my ancestors were kathakaras at one point, I know
for a fact that they have been mainly schoolteachers and petty bureaucrats
in the past.

> Dharma may not have changed but circumstances have become exceedingly
> detrimental to the practice of Sanatan Dharma, as our shastras teach us.

I suspect it was more detrimental to practice Sanatan Dharma in the Mughal
age then it is in todays independent and democratic India.

> So basically, I have no idea as to my dharma - most of my ancestors, at
> least to my knowledge, lived off their land holdings. If I am to follow
> their footsteps, I will end up becoming a small farmer. If on the other
> hand I try and learn my Shakha, it will be of no seeming use if I am not
> 100% devoted to it, which implies quitting my job and taking up the study
> of Vedas full-time.

I can virtually guarantee to you that if you try and go from 500 years of
neglect to Maharshi in one generation you will fail.  This is the same
mistake all the other Vedic revivalist movements made.  It may well
actually take another 500 years to get back to that level.  What you
should aim for is forward movement.  If your knowledge and practice can be
better than your parents generation, if you can lay a foundation so your
childrens knowledge and practice will be better than yours then you have
done your duty.

> Even if I am to start, given that even an imperfect
> practice if dharma is better than nothing at all, I don't know if I would
> be really practicing the ways of my ancestors. [Fortunately, I have been
> able to trace our family bhaats (bards) who can tell me what we did several
> hundred years back and that will give me more insight.]

Yes that's the key.  Don't just go by books but investigte your history.
You atleast know your shakha now.  That proves there must have been some
idea of Vedic study at some point, it is now just a matter of working your
way back.

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

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