Vedic Religion

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Jul 23 23:25:29 CDT 1999

On Fri, 23 Jul 1999, Ravi wrote:

> I some very basic questions. Kindly address it.
> 1) What makes a religion vedic?
>         It was mentioned twice in the recent past that few vaishNava
> traditions pay mere lip service to veda-s. Then how can one honestly
> call it vedic? Please explain.

Both worship of Shiva Bhagawan and Vishnu Bhagawan is taught in the
Vedas so adherents of their repective agamas can claim these are
"extra" teachings.  For example, some Shaiva texts say Sadashiva speaks
the Vedas from four of His heads and the Shaivagamas from the fifth.  Or
they might say that the Vedas have lost their power or are too difficult
to follow in the Kali Yuga so they have to be used instead.  Or look at
the way "Hindu rennaissance" types present themselves as rescuers of the
"pure" Vedic religion from the clutches of "Medieval superstition."

>         The four veda-s have many shAkA-s which it was pointed out recently
> that many were lost and inaccessibe at the present time(question 2)!
> When we do not know what constitutes the entire corpus of veda-s how
> can one claim to be vedic? One of those shAkA-s might have had
> principles which say Islam follows expounded in it with allah-upanishad
> (there was a news article about something like allah-upanishad few
> years back!!)

The Vedic tradition is primararily oral and it is unbroken.  So it is not
just the written words that we need to consult but the people who maintain
them.  If the Vedas taught the worship of Allah then why didn't
Shankaracharya (or any other Vedantic Acharya) mention it?  Why didn't
Maharshi Jaimini mention it.  Or Krishna Bhagawan?

> 2) How can the lost veda-s be reclaimed if there are no mantra
> draShta-s at this age. It was pointed out recently that tradition holds
> that there are no more mantra draShta-s (or something to that effect).
> Making such an assumption seems very unfair and unreasonable to me.

After this Kali Yuga is over there will be another Satya Yuga with a new
set of mantra drashtas.  This cycle of growth and decay goes on

> 3) Some of the mantra draShta-s were women, at least I know of apAlA
> whose mantra is used vedic wedding ceremony and oocurs in rig veda (I
> read this in a book called vivAha mantrArthangal by one balasubrahmania
> aiyar). Her mantra is addresses to Indra where she offers the juice of
> somalatha to him. Does this not indicate that women can chant veda-s?
> If not why?

Can a man write a book on gynecology even though he is unable to have a
baby?  Does he have the ability to get pregnant just because he knows a
lot about gynecology?

Women cannot chant the Vedas for one reason and one reason only.  The
Vedic traditions say they can't.  We do not infer anything about their
intelligence, moral fitness  or ability or anything else from this.  The
only important thing to note about a Rshi is somehow they saw a mantra and
passed it on to someone else.  They were not necessarily the nicest of
people (In the puranas a major occupation of Rshis seems to be cursing
some hapless person.)  They came from all castes.  Some were householders,
some were sannyasis. Some were rich some poor.  Some were not even Human.
It doesn't matter.

Btw (I happen to know this because I said this katha at the Bhavanath
Mahadeva mandir in Junagadh during my trip to India.) this Rshi Apala had
seven husbands.  Yudhishthira cites her example as a justification to the
reluctant king Drupada to allow the marriage of his daughter to all five
Pandavas.  But note Drupadas counter-argument is that something is not
right just because a Rshi does it.

> 4) If veda-s are required for self-realization, then  is it the entire
> set or few sentences in them would be regarded as adequate? If latter
> is the case, then the religions which share those few sentence and
> abide by them are quite adequate to achieve realization. If it is
> entire set, anyway we dont have it!

Are there any religions that share a few sentences.  Let them be measured
against the yardstick of the Vedas.  If they easure up there is nothing
wrong with them.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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