[Advaita-l] All should read the Vedas

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jan 26 15:03:52 CST 2005

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org wrote:

> I fully agree. Let me tell you what the Veda itself says, "This Svayambhu
> Brahma (the Veda, let me make it clear that ONLY the Samhita is called
> "brahma" and not the Brahmanas or Aranyakas)

Not knowing the Taittereya aranyaka I can't comment on that specific
passage perhaps someone else might want to, but as you are no doubt aware
apaurusheyatva extends to the samhitas, brahmanas, aranyakas, and
upanishads.  Prior to the 19th century, no Indian thinker thought

> So when I say that the word of the creator, I simply mean "parameshwara",
> which is the abhinna-nimittoapaadaana kaarana of Brahmasutra. And I'm
> calling the Vedas Its words on the basis of the Brihadaranyaka Shruti,
> which clearly states "that all the Vedas are the breath of that Supreme
> Being".

Ok, then I agree with you.

> However, I don't really understand what you mean by "they preceded the
> creator". I can't understand how can something precede the creator? Please
> clarify that to me.

Because I thought you were refering to the creator--Ishwara, saguna Brahman.

> All cultures have been overwhelmingly male, so to say. But you see they
> had to change according to the Yuga Dharma. Let me tell you that even one
> of the most orthodox and conservative religions Judaism had to undergo a
> radical change. Previously only "Bar Mitzvah" existed, which was like a
> initiation ceremony for boys, but then they had to come up with "Bat
> Mitzvah" which was for girls. Only the Reform Judaism has succeeded to
> exist with it largest group in the USA.

I'm glad you brought up the subject of the Jews.  For those who don't
know, there are three strains of Judaism.  There are the Orthodox who
strictly maintain all the traditions.  There are the Reform who believe in
"changing with the times" and have abandoned the comittment to tradition
and the Conservatives who in theory try and steer a middle course between
the two but in practice are indistinguishable from reform.

Fully 47% of non-orthodox jews marry out of their faith.  While they may
make token gestures at their heritage by e.g. having an "interfaith"
ceremony, _98%_ of the children of such marriages do not consider
themselves Jewish.  Together with low birthrates (correlated to lack of
institutional and family ties) the American Jewish population is
_shrinking_.  The Orthodox on the other hand, while still the smallest
variety, are growing.  This is due in part to high birthrates but also to
their far greater success in passing on their values through the
generations.  Furthermore there is a growing movement of Jews disaffected
with the watered-down religion they grew up with becoming Orthodox.
(For more information see: National Jewish Population Survey

It's the same in other religions.  In Great Britain more people attend
masjids than the churches of the official (and very liberal) sect.  But
other stricter forms of Christianity are doing ok.  I need not mention the
state of affairs in Islam.

And may I point out the "modern" era of Hinduism was ushered in by
Ramamohana Roy whose Brahmo Samaj as their very first act scandalized
Bengali society by giving janoi to a woman and having her read from the
Vedas.  Have you heard from the Brahmo Samaj lately?

It's not about political conservatism vs liberalism.  It's that religions
have to maintain a balance.  If they are too rigid and unwilling to
change, they decline.  But if they teach a wishy-washy "everyone should be
good" philosophy they fail to foster a commitment amongst their followers
and also decline.  I think our Dharma has lasted this long because it
overall does strike a balance between repression and "anything goes."  We
tinker with that balance at our peril.

> However, my point is that when that Supreme Being could chose women to
> reveal this truth which we call the Vedas, who are we to tell them off.

But it's not just us, everyone throughout history has done so.  Even those
female Rshis themselves.

> Yajnavalkya existed, because he is the Seer of the Shukla Yajur Veda. He
> got that knowledge from the Sun. So he must be existing. Then his wife
> must be existing too. In the same way Janaka existed, otherwise you would
> have to tell me that Sita didn't exist, Rama didn't exist, etc. So, then
> Gargi also existed historically.

Well, personally I do actually think such people did exist.  But I must be
honest and say I don't know for sure.  So my suppositions on the subject
cannot be a firm basis for Dharma.  But I do know my parents exist.  I do
know figures like Shankaracharya existed because there is independent
evidence from history and their is a line of disciples that exist to this

> But let me tell you that even people like Yaska quote the interpretations
> of the Vedas by the Yaajnikas, but he himself doesn't agree with them. So
> even in the time of Yaska many interpretations existed and Durga clearly
> mentions them.

Yes.  The emphasis should be that other interpretations did exist in the
past but they fell by the wayside.  The Yajnika interpretation won out and
it is the basis of our living dharma.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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