[Advaita-l] vedas - classification

Shrinivas Gadkari sgadkari2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 17 02:42:55 CST 2006

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com

>Many people are confused about this. The confusion
vanishes if we simply 
>stop thinking of the Vedas as a "book" in the modern
sense of the word.
>Whether a given passage is karmakANDa or upAsanAkANDa
or jnAnakANDa has to 
>be understood with respect to understanding the
content of the passage. At 
>its base, it is very simple, as the classification
refers mainly to the 
>thrust of the passage. Does it teach action,either
directly or through 
>inference, or does it teach a particular mode of
worship/meditation (e.g. 
>pancAgni-vidyA), or does it only teach knowledge
(e.g. ayam AtmA brahma)? 
>This mode of classifying the subject matter of the
veda is often independent 
>of samhitA, brAhmaNa, AraNyaka distinctions in the
title headings of the 
>sections of the veda.


Just to add to this:

It is possible to look at the vedas simply 
as a huge collection of vidyA-s. Each vidyA 
has a part dealing with jnAna-vijnAna, an 
associated set of mantra-s, recommended practices 
to make faster progress in learning the vidyA, 
plus anecdotes related to each vidyA. This 
complete collection is the veda.

At some point, it was found necessary/ useful 
to collect mantras associated with various vidyA-s 
and create samhitA-s out of them. What we have 
today as the four "veda"s, is vyAsa's collection 
of mantras into four samhitA-s.

Note: A collection of the anecdotes is the purAna-s.

It is also possible to conceive of a grand shAstra 
that collects all vidyA-s, vedic and non-vedic.

An important question that needs to be addressed is: 
"what is the fundamental difference between a vedic 
vidyA, and a non-vedic vidyA?".

Based on my current understanding, it seems the 
most convincing criterion is: 
vedic vidyA: is based on concepts, observations that
are available for general experience (vAstu tantra).
non-vedic vidyA: is based on concepts, observations
that are available for experience only based on the
level of sAdhanA (puruSa tantra).

Possibly every non-vedic vidyA can be reformulated 
by people of refined intellect into a vidyA that uses
only concepts that are available for general
experience, thereby converting it into a vedic vidyA.


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