[Advaita-l] Scholarly Article on Why Vedas are Valid

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 19 13:01:20 CDT 2011

> I do not understand what is self-defeating about this question. That yajna
> is primary, does not mean that the vedic gods should not have temples. Even
> Vishnu, for example is mentioned in the context of yajna in the vedas.
> Vishnu is in fact equated with the yajna itself. Does it mean that Vishnu
> should not have temples?

We might be talking at cross purposes here. My point is not that there
should be no temples for the vedic gods. My point is that we need not
have an expectation of temple worship for indra, agni, vAyu, varuNa etc. 
> Further, my original point that the worship of primary vedic gods like indra
> etc. is very rare today still stands.

My counter to that would be to suggest that we need to revisit what we
mean by primary vedic gods and minor vedic gods. The popular gods of
today have been the popular gods of yesterday and of the day before
yesterday too, as far as I can see. I could point out that the only god
who is honored with a long nAmAvalI in the veda is rudra-Siva, whose
worship remains widespread today, and that vishNu, who is equated
with the yajna, continues to be worshipped today, both in big temples.
If you look at the AraNyaka and brAhmaNa literature, rather than
accept an academic scholar's approach of counting number of hymns
in the Rk-saMhitA, you will see that the deva-s you would think to be
primary to the vedic world view are not so primary in terms of their
worshipfulness. It is all a matter of what one's perspective is.
Plus, the Hindu (for lack of a better word) attitude towards the gods 
has not been at all like that of the Abrahamic religions towards one
God and the "false gods". In the Mahabharata, for example, indra is
the king of the deva-s, but just read the number of times a kshatriya
hero either himself boasts or is praised by others as being the equal
of or better than indra. What this indicates is that even as early as
the time the epic was written, indra was not so much a god to be
put on a pedestal and worshipped, but rather one who was to be
emulated by kings, to be jealous of and to be rivalled. And that was
indeed the age of great yajna-s like rAjasUya and aSvamedha, with
the kings of the epic as their patrons.
> My point is that it is a very minor fraction of people who know that savitr
> is the deity for this mantra.

The problem is that a minor fraction of people seem to know what
anything is, when it comes to the veda! 
> >Again, this is immaterial to the organic growth of the religion that is
> today
> >called Hinduism. My point was that 2000 years ago, Indians and Greeks did
> >not consider themselves kin just because Varuna is cognate with Ouranos.
> I will tell you what my point is. My original point is that even the
> traditional Indian ritualistic people have changed over the ages. (I was
> replying to Sri Satish-ji) Since you were replying to my post, I do not
> understand what relevance the above point of yours has, unless you seem to
> be suggesting that the Indian ritualists were not open to outside
> influences. If the latter, then that is precisely the reason why I spoke of
> AMT.

I agree with you that the traditional ritualists in India have changed. I
was just pointing out that rather than just talking of change, one needs
to understand what changes they were (and are) open to, as opposed
to what changes they do not even consider. For example, you will not
find a single traditional ritualist considering including Jehovah or Allah
or Jesus, in spite of centuries of cultural and political contact with the
votaries of those religions, but they have all along been open to the
"folk deities" of the numerous groups that populate India. And I think
they would relate quite easily to the deities of native American and
African tribes too, if they were to encounter them at all. 

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