[Advaita-l] Vedas versus Knowledge

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 21 02:12:42 CDT 2003

Dear List members,

>By studying the Vedas one gets to acquire knowledge but neither
>these knowers nor the Vedas themselves know the Reality.

I don't see a reason to doubt what sort of knowledge one can get from the 

To begin with, Sri Sankara made it clear that there is no agent for 
realization. So looking to vedas or other items for help is futile, the 
initiative has to come from within.

The vedas are eternal and apaurusheyas, and even Lord Narayana did not 
create them, but only revealed them first to Lord Brahma, who further 
revealed to others.

At the same time, Br.U. says that by studying the vedas one becomes food for 
the rishis who revealed those vedas. In other words study of vedas binds us 
to some sort of cause-effect relationship with the rishis. We should not be 
excessively worried about such cause-effect relationships because 1. 
Becoming food for the rishis is better than becoming food for other worldly 
cause-effect relationships we are already immersed in. 2. Study of vedas 
actually helps us in getting rid of the swamp of this world and get 
connected to the cause-effect relationship originating from Lord Narayana 
when he first revealed the vedas, and makes us part of the original 
cause-effect chain instead of leaving us rotting in the secondary or 
tertiary chains. This is not a bad idea at all! It is like getting admission 
to a top university as against trying out a correspondence course without a 
proper direction.

After realization whatever one speaks of is veda, so reading vedas revealed 
by other rishis is senseless. In fact there would be no idea of 'other 
rishis' at all. Any expression of this person who has realized as such is 
veda. It may be argued that expression itself is born of ignorance, but we 
have no authority to talk of the ignorance of a realized invididual. How 
about saying Lord Krishna taught Gita to Arjuna under influence of some sort 
of ignorance? To give another example, desire is a very nasty thing, but the 
rishis lined up at Lord Shiva's residence waiting to see when He gets the 
desire to meet Parvati devi and grant Kumara.

While it is true that no veda can match the highest levels of abstraction 
needed for attaining nirguna, very often vedas and vedangas provide the most 
desperately needed concepts in our search for higher truth, precisely 
because they were spoken by persons who had already reached realization 
(something we didn't achieve yet). I don't mean anyone thought so, but 
rejection of vedas may amount to jealousy or contempt for success of other 
rishis. In my opinion this includes the so called ritual portions.

As we are living far below the highest reality, any minor clues we can find 
are welcome to get out of this swamp. Why kick the ladder even before we 
climb it? (Kicking the ladder after climbing makes better sense! and that is 
what is also recommened by acharyas, IMO).


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