[Advaita-l] Fw: Sankara Mutt

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Thu Sep 18 10:23:34 CDT 2008

Sri shiva Senani,
VERY WELL SAID!!! Cannot disagree with you a bit!
There is a qualification (pre-requisite) that is needed for learning
Any discipline - science, art or religion. Learning Sanskrit is the
pre-requisite for learning our Veda (unfortunately I am not versed in
Sanskrit either). As you rightly pointed out, until we do that, we have the
word of our elders. After all, this can't be any worse than the improperly
translated public domain information. This is the reason why Krishna ordered
"idam te nAtapaskAya nAbhaktAya kadAchana
na chAshushruShave vAchyam na cha mAm yO abhyasUyati" - (18-67).

The four qualifications Krishna is prescribing for learning the science of
Liberation(which applies for learning any discipline for that matter) are

1) austerity -preparing the mind for the receipt of the knowledge
2) Devotion - This also translates to shradDha; without faith, there is
scope for misuse of the knowledge.
3) Service to elders and teacher
4) Regard for the Lord.

Needless to say learning Sanskrit is the austerity required for studying


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of Siva
Senani Nori
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 9:57 AM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: [Advaita-l] Fw: Sankara Mutt

> Sri Narayan Iyer
> praNAm.
> > My question basically arises due to non-availability of translation of
> > samhitas, aranyakas etc.  The only translated versions available are by 
> western 
> > scholars and the translation leaves much to be desired.  Can Sankara
mutts do 
> > something about it.  
> In this Google Age, meta-knowledge is everything; knowledge is a lowly 
> 'acquirable' commodity; we expect to know everything about everything in
> instant. So, why not Vedas? For the simple reason that, they ought not to
> translated or made available to all and sundry. 
> For those who have the eligiblity and duty to learn the Vedas, the proper
way to 
> learn the Vedas is in person from a teacher. After mastering the corpus,
> of meditation upon the meaning is mandated along with daily recital of
> portion of the corpus and regular practices involving the corpus.
> having seen the face of one's grandson, one ought to give up the practice
> or less, except offering three handfuls of water to the Sun thrice a day,
> explore the Ultimate. Thereafter with a burning desire to know the
Ultimate, one 
> ought to give up everything in life and pursue the Ultimate.
> That is the way Vedas are meant to be learnt. That is the way, the Sankara
> arrange for teaching the Vedas. They believe in this ardently and do not
see why 
> a translation is needed (If you are a believer, you would not ask for one;
> you are not, well, thank you for your interest as an anthropologist in
> more about our tribal ways, but we are not interested; if you want
to learn our 
> language and translate yourselves, so be it). For those, who want to know
> essence of Vedas, but can't learn the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the

> Puranas are available. They can be translated; they have been translated;
> available; and we have the word of our elders - who have no motive to
> us - that they contain the essence of the way of life taught in the Vedas.
> Now, you may ask, as to what all of us do on this list. Very orthodox
> freely translate portions of the Veda, and cite numerous sources where 
> translations are available. Is this not wrong? Definitely, it is against
> practice of our elders. If the Vedas are supposed to be secret, the
> are more secret than that, guhyaati guhyam [1]. Well, the behaviour on
this list 
> is less than perfect, but one tends to get less and less imperfect, as one

> travels in this path.
> I can speak from experience. My grandfather was a very learned scholar,
> critic and was instrumental in the development of the modern Telugu
> through the institution of 'Sahiti Samiti'. My uncles set up a trust in
> memory to mainly promote Telugu literature. One of the first projects I
took to 
> the trust, about ten years ago, was a reasonably thought-through project
> translating the Vedas - complete with budget, confirmed contributors etc.
I got 
> a strong rebuttal from my uncle with a stern warning not to behave above
> In a way, my education also started on that day. Ten years down the road,
I have 
> some idea as to why such a thing is not done.
> Sir, the secret of Vedas, that so intrigued Dara Shikoh, can be stated in
> sentences. This world is unreal; Brahman alone is real; the Atman is the
same as 
> Brahman. Everything else in the vedas is to to elaborate, explain and
> one to realise, this truth. One more thing. Claims such as the above were
> made lightly by our ancestors. So every syllable was shown to serve one of
> stated purposes by the commentators / critics.
> Now that the secret essence is out of the bag, the only remaining purpose
> secondary: to explain, elaborate and prepare. The parts that explain,
> and discuss -  the Upanishads - have been translated and extensively
> upon. An English translation of the part that prepares - the karma kanda -
> fairly useless in achieving its purpose. The purpose - of preparation - is

> served only when the corpus is approached with great reverence. You 
> repeat thousands of times the phrase "asau aaditya brahma" and you will
> believing that the Sun is Brahman. Then you start wondering why the Sun is

> Brahman and you will arrive at the law of conservation of mass-energy,
that is 
> you realise the Brahman in the annamaya koSa. Then like Indra or Bhrigu,
> reflect, and realise that it cannot be so; so you meditate further and
> the Brahman in the praaNamaya koSa. And so on. I might be off the mark in
> speculation, but observe the elders:
> they do not even open the cover of a Ramayana or Mahabharata or Bhagavata 
> without first bowing to the god on the cover and ensuring that they are in
> clean state. I heard of a project of translating some work from Sanskrit
> Telugu commissioned (~ 120 years back) by a Madras based publisher,
> Sastrulu and Sons; the commissioned scholars used to start work more or
less at 
> dawn, would work studiously till a late lunch and then stop. They would
> back the next day at dawn again. Sacred work was not done after meals.
> being the reverence for Ramayana etc., one can only imagine what is the
> respect towards Vedas.
> Once one has it, the question of translation does not arise.
> To sum, the Vedas are not translated because they would serve no useful
> in translation.
> budhajanavidheyah
> Senani
> [1] Why are the Upanishads very secret? The secret teaching - that Brahman
> is Real, that you are That, that the world is not real - is prone to
> mis-interpretation and consequent misfortunes (I am Brahman, what I do is 
> dharma, so I will behave selfishly - Brahman itself is this selfishness
you know 
> - and with absolute recklessness... this kind of thinking and consequent 
> misdeeds). I would want to add "fear of ridicule" as another reason, but
> mature, calm, self-restrained ancestors would not have minded ridicule, I
> they would merely have wanted to avoid misfortune for the fallen (from the

> Righteous path).

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