Friday, November 10, 2006

'Om Tat Sat'


Ever tried to fathom into the expansive knowledge of the Vedic literature ??
The word 'veda' is derived from the root 'vid' meaning 'know' in Sanskrit. Vedic literature was compiled by sage Ved Vyas 5000 yrs. ago. The vedas are a compendium of knowledge on philosophy, science, religion & myriad other subjects. The goal of human life is to understand this wisdom.
The chart below shows the expanse of the Vedic Literature:
Srutis are eternal truths & Smritis are worldly wisdom.

The four primary vedas are - Rig, Yajur, Sama & Ahtharva. Additional details to these are given in the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas & Upnishads.
Additionally there are Upa-vedas: the Ayurveda, medical science taught by lord Dhanvantri; the Dhanur-veda, the military science taught by Lord Bhrigu; the Gandharva-veda, drama taught by Muni Bharata; the the Vriksh-ayurveda, the science of plant life by Surapala etc.

The six Angas or subsidiary are Kalpa or ritual, Siksha or pronunciation, Vyakarna or grammar, Nirukti or etymology, Chandas or metre & Jyotish or astronomy.
Sutras are the supplements. Shrauta-sutras, the rituals; Grihya-sutras, the social traditions; Dharma-sutras, the duties e.g. Manu-samhit - the law book. Shulba-sutras contains the Vedic mathematics further established by Brahmagupta, Mahavira & Bhaskara. The Pythagorean Theorem already existed here much before he discovered it. Artha-sastram was established by Brihaspati & written by Kautilya in the 4th century B.C. for Chandragupta Maurya. Sutras contain additional topics such as alchemy, architecture, erotics (Kama-sutra) etc.

The Tantras are verses of Lord Shiva describing 'tamsic' the lower nature, 'rajasic' the mode of action & 'satvic' the mode of purity.
Pancaratas glorify Vaisnavism or monotheism i.e. regard Sri Krishna as the Supreme Being.

The Puranas contain many stories e.g. the popular Narada-purana.
The Itihaas are the histories of the Universe. It includes Ramayana written by Valmiki; Mahabharata written by Vyasadev - it contains Bhagavad-Gita which is considered the essence of all vedic knowledge. Srimad-Bhagavatam or the Bhagavata-Purana is considered to be the post-graduate study of the Bhagvada-Gita.
Finally the Darshanas contain Vedanta or the theology of Upanishads founded by Badarayana, explained by Ved Vyas & Adi Sankara; Mimamsa or critical examination expounded by Jaimini, Nyaya or logic established by sage Gautama, Vaisheshika or atomic philosophy by Kanada; Yoga or meditation founded by Hiranyagarbha and explained by Patanjali; Sankhya or metaphysics explained by Lord Kapila that acknowledges matter & spirit as two separate entities of reality.

The Vedic process involves the 3 S system - 'saintly devotees', 'shastras' ( Vedic texts) & 'spiritual master'. E.g. of prominent philosophers are Sankara, who established the 4 'mathas' or schools of study at Dwaraka, Jagannatha Puri, Badrinatha & Shringeri; Ramanuja, who professed Vaishnavism; Madhvacharya, one of the founders of the Bhakti Movement in South India; Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, whose philosophy is taught by ISKONs ( International Society for Krishna Consciousness) better known as the Hare Krishna Movement.

The Vedic technology effectively establishes the relation between the objective approach of modern science & the subjective approach of the Vedic science.
1) Research in developmental neurophysiology has established the fact that during meditation the sensory components of the brain's response to somato-sensory stimuli are more widely distributed across the cortex indicating that the latent reserves of the brain are functioning.
2) A study by Maharishi Vedic School showed that long-term Trans-Meditation program participants, for more than 5 yrs, were physiologically/biologically 12 yrs younger than their chronological age, measured by lower blood pressure, better near point vision and better auditory discrimination. Short-term TM program participants were 5 yrs younger.
3) The fundamental quantum-mechanical level of nature, enables to apply the concepts in the real world. Like in an ordinary electrical conductor where the incoherent disordered electrons allow penetration by an external magnetic field, but in a superconductor where coherent collective functioning of the electrons spontaneously exclude an external magnetic field and maintain its impenetrable status; so will coherence & harmony within a nation defend it against external disturbing influences.
Several such examples can be cited to demonstrate the beauty of Vedic science.
The advanced concepts of Vedic philosophy can be difficult even for the greatest scholars to fathom. So just try to delve into the mystique of the Vedic literature !

“Whence all creation had its origin,

He, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
He, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
He knows or maybe even he does not know.”
(Creation Hymn from the Rig Veda 10.129)


(For BISCOM Presentation)

PS: Picture courtesy Google. 

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