Archive for the ‘Vedas’ Tag

Vedic Astrology

Image Credit: Darrell Hargett

Albert Einstein; the great physicist said, "Time is the fourth Dimension," Vedas say that "Time is the first dimension." In the beginning there was nothing. This concept of "nothing" is beyond the comprehension of ordinary human mind! It is so because before the concept of time there was absolutely nothing which is known as the "Shoonya" or ‘Zero’ or complete silence. Only the yogis who have attained "Nir Vikalpa Samadhi" state can experience this "nothing" and none else can. It is a state beyond time or "timeless state."

Vedas say that from this nothing originated vibration known as the "Pranava" or the sound ‘AUM’. From this sound there emerged five symbolic instruments of creation of universe. These were known as the Five "Tan matras". From the Tan matras came five primordial forces called Space and Time, Atmosphere, Light, Fire, Liquids, and finally the solidification of all. The mixing of these forces resulted in creation of the universes, as we know it now. It is an accepted scientific fact that even the universes are time bound. The theory of relativity; so called because all facts are related to time, speaks of speed in relation to time.

Vedas speak time as the limiting factor for all creation. Every thing is time bound. So the question came as to what is the scale of time? The Vedic seers, who are known as the Rishis, Maha Rishis, Brahma Rishis and Deva Rishis according to their knowledge of time and creation, have equated "Time" in relation to the age of Brahma the agent of creation. His age is 100 years in a special time scale. Note: Brahma is the name of the creative agent which should not be confused with "Brahman" the Timeless primordial force behind all creation.

The Rishis found that as far as the earth and the life in it are concerned the motion around the Sun is enough as a time scale for knowing the changes which would occur with the movement of the earth in relation to the Sun. They also found other celestial bodies like the Moon, Mars, Mercury; Jupiter, Venus and Saturn cast their influence on the earth. The seers also advised that every action must produce a reaction which comes back to the source of its origin in due cycle of time. The word "Karma" means action. Newton’s third law of motion is based on this concept.

The Planets were found to be the best guides as to the type of forthcoming reaction good or bad in the moving time scale. Thus was born the science of Vedic astrology, which is known as "Jyotisha" or ‘illuminator’ in Sanskrit. Vedas are knowledge taught by teacher to disciple through the medium of sound. They cannot be learnt by reading or memorizing. An ordinary example can be cited to illustrate the point. Ordinary "Yes" means I accept. "Yes? Also means what do you want? ‘Yyeess’ means I have my doubts, ‘Yus’ mean’s reluctant acceptance, Yes sir means please tell me and so on.

Astrology is a part of Veda hence it is known as Vedanga (anga means limb). We call it Vedic astrology because it is based on time schedules stipulated in Vedas according to yogic meditational observations of the planets in motion around the sun in relation to the earth and its motions.

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The Land of Vedas

Image credit: Paul Gyswyt

Veda is the entire knowledge of nature. The word ‘Veda’ is originated from the Sanskrit verb – ‘ vid ‘ denoting ‘knowing’. Thus, Veda means knowledge. Veda is believably the first creation in the history of knowledge and education. It originated right from the beginning of this creation or when man started to breath, that’s why Veda interprets ‘sosham’ denoting Sanskrit-word – sah + aham = ‘that is me’ God says – "The point where you began and the point where you exist, as well as the point where you will end-everywhere I am dwelling. India, the land of Veda, and the origin of spiritualism have a huge store of religious and cultural knowledge and all of them are originated or interpreted from Veda; not only spiritual but material, scientific knowledge is also introduced in Veda. Everybody knows the oldest alive knowledge in Sanskrit was introduced by Veda. The Vedic knowledge is so deep and so large that it is absolutely impossible to interpret and spread it in a short time and limited space. It’s most important knowledge with an authentic interpretation and application system to let people know the way to leave in peace, harmony and successes.

There are four Vedas – The Vedas are believably ‘unmade’ because it is so huge with the deep knowledge one can’t imagine to compile in the pages and that is why Veda is called – ‘apaurusheya’ that is to say man can’t make it. When it was introduce there was no existence of paper or any writing material or activities, therefore, Veda was introduced and spread by hearing tradition the Sanskrit word – shrotra = ears, therefore Veda is called shrotra; to be hearable, and the people who practice Veda are called -‘ Shrotriya’ (Brahman).

Vedas are in 4 independent volumes and every volume covers such wide area of natural activities. In short, Veda covers – spiritualism-devotion, physics-mathematics, arts-commerce and astrology to medical sciences.

The Vedas are considered the earliest literary record of Indo-Aryan civilization, and the most sacred books of India. They are the original scriptures of Hindu teachings, and contain spiritual knowledge encompassing all aspects of our life. Vedic literature with its philosophical maxims has stood the test of time and is the highest religious authority for all sections of Hindus in particular and for mankind in general. “Veda” means wisdom, knowledge or vision, and it manifests the language of the gods in human speech. The laws of the Vedas regulate the social, legal, domestic and religious customs of the Hindus to the present day. All the obligatory duties of the Hindus at birth, marriage, death and so on owe their allegiance to the Vedic ritual. They draw forth the thought of successive generation of thinkers, and so contain within it the different strata of thought.

The Vedas are probably the earliest documents of the human mind and is indeed difficult to say when the earliest portions of the Vedas came into existence. As the ancient Hindus seldom kept any historical record of their religious, literary and political realization, it is difficult to determine the period of the Vedas with precision. Historians provide us many guesses but none of them is free from ambiguity.

It is believed that humans did not compose the revered compositions of the Vedas, which were handed down through generations by the word of mouth from time immemorial. The general assumption is that the Vedic hymns were either taught by God to the sages or that they were revealed themselves to the sages who were the seers or “mantradrasta” of the hymns. The Vedas were mainly compiled by Vyasa, Krishna, Dwaipayana around the time of Lord Krishna (c. 1500 BC)

The Vedas are four: The Rig-Veda, the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. The Rig Veda being the main. The four Vedas are collectively known as “Chathurveda,” of which the first three Vedas namely, Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda agree in form, language and content.

Each Veda consists of four parts – the Samhitas (hymns), the Brahmanas (rituals), the Aranyakas (theologies) and the Upanishads (philosophies). The collection of mantras or hymns is called the Samhita. The Brahmanas are ritualistic texts and include precepts and religious duties. Each Veda has several Brahmanas attached to it. The Upanishads form the concluding portions of the Veda and therefore called the “Vedanta” or the end of the Veda and contains the essence of Vedic teachings. The Upanishads and the Aranyakas are the concluding portions of the Brahmanas, which discuss philosophical problems. The Aryanyakas (forest texts) intend to serve as objects of meditation for ascetics who live in forests and deal with mysticism and symbolism.

Although the Vedas are seldom read or understood today, even by the devout, they no doubt form the bedrock of the universal religion or “Sanatana Dharma” that all Hindus follow. The Vedas have guided our religious direction for ages and will continue to do so for generations to come and they will forever remain the most comprehensive and universal of all ancient scriptures.

The Rig Veda or The Book of Mantra is a collection of inspired songs or hymns and is a main source of information on the Rig Vedic civilization. It is the oldest book in any Indo-European language and contains the earliest form of all Sanskrit mantras that date back to 1500 B.C. – 1000 B.C. Some scholars date the Rig Veda as early as 12000 BC – 4000 B.C. The Rig-Vedic ‘samhita’ or collection of mantras consists of 1,017 hymns or ‘suktas’, covering about 10,600 stanzas, divided into eight ‘astakas’ each having eight ‘adhayayas’ or chapters, which are sub-divided into various groups. The hymns are the work of many authors or seers called ‘rishis’. There are seven primary seers identified: Atri, Kanwa, Vashistha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gotama and Bharadwaja.

The rig Veda accounts in detail the social, religious, political and economic background of the Rig-Vedic civilization. Even though monotheism characterizes some of the hymns of Rig Veda, naturalistic polytheism and monism can be discerned in the religion of the hymns of Rig Veda. The Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda and are ascribed to the Vedic period.

The Sama Veda or The Book of Song is purely a liturgical collection of melodies (‘saman’). The hymns in the Sama Veda, used as musical notes, were almost completely drawn from the Rig Veda and have no distinctive lessons of their own. Hence, its text is a reduced version of the Rig Veda. As Vedic Scholar David Frawley puts it, if the Rig Veda is the word, Sama Veda is the song or the meaning, if Rig Veda is the knowledge, Sama Veda is its realization, if Rig Veda is the wife, the Sama Veda is her husband.

The Yajur Veda or The Book of Ritual is also a liturgical collection and was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. The Yajur Veda practically served as a guidebook for the priests who execute sacrificial acts muttering simultaneously the prose, prayers, and the sacrificial formulae (‘yajus’). It is similar to ancient Egypt’s “Book of the Dead”. There are no less than six complete recessions of Yajur Veda – Madyandina, Kanva, Taittiriya, Kathaka, Maitrayani and Kapishthala.

The Atharva Veda or The Book of Spell is the last of the Vedas. This is completely different from the other three Vedas and is next in importance to Rig-Veda with regard to history and sociology. A different spirit pervades this Veda. Its hymns are of a more diverse character than the Rig Veda and are also simpler in language. In fact, many scholars do not consider it part of the Vedas at all. The Atharva Veda consists of spells and charms prevalent at its time, and portrays a clearer picture of the Vedic society.

Indian Way

Posted January 2, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

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Charter of the Hindu Faith

King

Long after the English language has disappeared from India, the gift that has here been made, through that language, to the world, will remain and bear its fruit in East and West alike. What Hinduism had needed, was the organizing and consolidating of its own idea. What the world had needed was a faith that had no fear of truth. Both these are found here. Nor could any greater proof have been given of the eternal vigor of the Sanâtana Dharma, of the fact that India is as great in the present as ever in the past, than this rise of the individual who, at the critical moment, gathers up and voices the communal consciousness. Go you out into the entire world, and preach the Gospel to every creature! If one religion is true, then all the others also must be true. Hindu faith is yours as much as mine.

Indians do not merely tolerate, we unite ourselves with every religion, praying in the mosque of the Mohammedan, worshipping before the fire of the Zoroastrian, and kneeling to the cross of the Christian. We know that all religions alike, from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism, are but so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the infinite. So we gather all these flowers, and, binding them together with the cord of love, make them into a wonderful bouquet of worship. None is foreign or alien. There exists only humanity and truth.

Behind every Indian lay an ocean, calm with long ages of spiritual development. Behind him lay a world that dated itself from the Vedas, and remembered itself in the Upanishads, a world to which Buddhism was almost modern; a world that was filled with religious systems of faiths and creeds; a quiet land, steeped in the sunlight of the tropics, the dust of whose roads had been trodden by the feet of the saints for ages upon ages. Behind Indian, in short, lay India, with her thousands of years of national development, in which she had sounded many things, proved many things, and realized almost all, save only her own perfect unanimity, from end to end of her great expanse of time and space, as to certain fundamental and essential truths, held by all her people in common.

All religions are travelling, a coming up, of different men, and women, through various conditions and circumstances to the same goal. Wherever you see extraordinary holiness and extraordinary power, raising and purifying humanity, know you that I am there. To the Hindu, man is not travelling from error to truth, but climbing up from truth to truth, from truth that is lower to truth that is higher. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine, that religion is perfected in us only when it has led us to "Him” who is the one life in a universe of death, Him who is the constant basis of an ever-changing world, that One who is the only soul, of which all souls are but delusive manifestations are great outstanding truths which is authenticated by the longest and most complex experience in human history.

Hinduism in its wholeness bases on the Vedas. All that is true is Veda. By the Vedas, no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. From the high spiritual flights of the Vedanta philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seem like echoes, to the lowest ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of the Buddhists, and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have a place in the Hindu’s religion. There is no sect, no school, and no sincere religious experience; however, like an aberration it might seem to the individual that might rightly be excluded from the embrace of Hinduism. The distinctive doctrine is that of the Ishta Devatâ, the right of each soul to choose its own path, and to seek God in its own way. No army, then, carries the banner of so wide an Empire as that of Hinduism, thus defined. Indian spiritual goal is the finding of God, even so is Indian spiritual rule; the perfect freedom of every soul to be itself.

This inclusion of all, this freedom of each is the glory of Hinduism. India’s supreme call, of sweetest promise is "Hear, you children of immortal bliss! Even you that dwell in higher spheres! India has found that Ancient One who is beyond all darkness, all delusion and knowing Him, you also shall be saved from death. Here is the word for the sake of which all the rest exists and has existed. Here is the crowning realization, into which all others are resolvable. Let everyone help in the building of a temple wherein every worshipper in the land can worship, a temple whose shrine shall contain only the word Om, there are some of us who catch in the utterance the glimpse of a still greater temple — India herself, the Motherland, as she already exists — and see the paths, not of the Indian churches alone, but of all Humanity, converging there, at the foot of that sacred place wherein is set the symbol that is no symbol, the name that is beyond all sound. It is to this, and not away from it, that all the paths of all the worships and all the religious systems lead. India is at one with the most puritan faiths of the world in her declaration that progress is from seen to unseen, from the many to the One, from the low to the high, from the form to the formless, and never in the reverse direction. We differ only in having a word of sympathy and promise for every sincere conviction, wherever and whatever it may be, as constituting a step in the great ascent.

I only reveal India of the treasures that India herself possesses in her. The truths revealed are equally authentic. The truths lain in its difficulty of access, in their want of modern clearness and incisiveness of statement, and in their loss of mutual coherence and unity. The texts that today carry the bread of life to thousands might have remained the obscure disputes of scholars. Plunge yourself into the depths of the realization and come back only to tell its secrets to the pariah, the outcast, and the foreigner.

Swami Vivekananda who, while proclaiming the sovereignty of the Advaita Philosophy, as including that experience in which all is one, without a second, also added to Hinduism the doctrine that Dvaita, Vishishtâdvaita, and Advaita are but three phases or stages in a single development, of which the last-named constitutes the goal. This is part and parcel of the still greater and more simple doctrine that the many and the One are the same Reality, perceived by the mind at different times and in different attitudes or as God is both with form and without form, He is that which includes both form and formlessness.

Here is the meeting-point, not only of East and West, but also of past and future. If the many and the One be indeed the same Reality, then it is not all modes of worship alone, but equally all modes of work, all modes of struggle, all modes of creation, which are paths of realization. There is no distinction, henceforth, between sacred and secular. To labor is to pray. To conquer is to renounce. Life is itself religion. To have and to hold is as stern a trust as to quit and to avoid.

This is the realization which makes Karma, not as divorced from, but as expressing Jnâna and Bhakti. The workshop, the study, the farmyard, and the field are as true and fit scenes for the meeting of God with man as the cell of the monk or the door of the temple. There is no difference between service of man and worship of God, between manliness and faith, between true righteousness and spirituality. Art, science, and religion are but three different ways of expressing a single truth, but in order to understand this we must have the theory of Advaita.

The formative influence that goes to determine this vision is threefold. There is, first, literary education, in Sanskrit and English. Second, the contrast between the two worlds will open that have with it a strong impression of that particular experience which form the theme of the Indian sacred books. Third, it is evident that this, if true at all, had not been broken in by Indian sages, as by some others, in a kind of accident; to a certain extent was it the subject-matter of a science, the object of a logical analysis that shrank from no sacrifice which the pursuit of truth demands.

The preparation for the task is not complete. One has to wander throughout the length and breadth of India, from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, mixing with saints and scholars and simple souls alike, learning from all, living with all, seeing India as she is, and so grasping in its comprehensiveness that vast whole. These, then — the Shâstras, the Guru, and the Motherland are the three notes that mingle themselves to form the music of the understanding messages of Advaita. These are the treasure which is India’s to offer. These furnish an Advaita student with the ingredients whereof he compounds the world’s heal-all of his spiritual bounty. These are the three lights burning within that single lamp which India has lighted and set up, for the guidance of her own children and of the world Bless the land that bore message of Advaita and believe that not even yet has it been given to us to understand the vastness and significance of the message of Advaita.

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