[Advaita-l] Fw: Sankara Mutt
srikrishna_ghadiyaram at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 23 14:00:02 CDT 2008
Dear Sri Krishnamurthy
Your interpretation of the matter at hand is self-contradictory.
We all know that Veda mantras are in (some) Sanskrit. It is not the same Sanskrit in which Raghu vamsha or Mrichhakatikam is composed, not even the Sanskrit in which Bhagavad Gita is composed.
The knowledge to interpret the Veda Mantras is rooted in Vedic Sanskrit of a different age, and a lot more depends on the intent of the prayoga which one probably learns from tradition. Beyond that there will be the intuitive knowledge of a 'real' Brahmana who has been devoted to the Veda Dharma. So, I would not agree to the idea that knowing Sanskrit sounds (in any script) and having a dictionary will serve the 100% purpose.
We are not asking that the mantras be 'composed' in Arabic or English or some other Indian vernacular!
What we are asking is just what you have done, here in this mail!
You quoted a Gita verse and gave your commentary. Why did you not leave without it? Because you want me to understand what you are saying.
Probably, in your view 'Sanskrit learning austerity' is not required for Gita and is mandatory for Veda. In which book of Manu has this been codified? I am aware that each ritual in the Veda prescribes its own eligibility such as 'krishna keshah' etc. Do you think people will paint their hair black just to perform the ritual? If so, that is the interpretation of English translation, not becasue of English translation itself.
For centuries people have been keeping this simple 'way of life' and 'philosophy' a secret under the secrecy of language, using this as an intimidating tactic to cover up their right to exclusivity or eliteness. Even if one were to differ from my criticism, it is enough to understand that Veda need not be kept secret, no one can do harm by knowing what it is. Most of what the Veda talks about is a 'way of life' here and a 'way out of life here'. The more people understand in any vernacular, it can encourage people to be open minded. After all Veda wanted itself to be 'understood and followed' by people.
Unfortunately, because this is not understood clearly as a 'way of life alone', and people could look for other vocations as well, if the need forces and time permits, people chose 'Secular Macauley Education' in place of Vedic Education, instead of 'Secular Macauley Education' along with Vedic Education. If only we were clear about the place of Veda in overall scheme of 'life', we won't be stuck here discussing why 'English translations'.
We are not asking mantras to be 'composed' in English.
--- On Thu, 9/18/08, Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna <puttakrishna at verizon.net> wrote:
From: Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna <puttakrishna at verizon.net>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Fw: Sankara Mutt
To: "'Siva Senani Nori'" <sivasenani at yahoo.com>, "'A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta'" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 8:23 AM
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
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of Siva
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 9:57 AM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: [Advaita-l] Fw: Sankara Mutt
> Sri Narayan Iyer
> > My question basically arises due to non-availability of translation
> > samhitas, aranyakas etc. The only translated versions available are
> > scholars and the translation leaves much to be desired. Can Sankara
> > something about it.
> In this Google Age, meta-knowledge is everything; knowledge is a lowly
> 'acquirable' commodity; we expect to know everything about
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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 . Well, the behaviour on
> 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
> memory to mainly promote Telugu literature. One of the first projects I
> the trust, about ten years ago, was a reasonably thought-through project
> translating the Vedas - complete with budget, confirmed contributors etc.
> 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,
> 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
> 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
> believing that the Sun is Brahman. Then you start wondering why the Sun
> Brahman and you will arrive at the law of conservation of mass-energy,
> 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
> 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.
>  Why are the Upanishads very secret? The secret teaching - that
> 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
> - and with absolute recklessness... this kind of thinking and consequent
> misdeeds). I would want to add "fear of ridicule" as another
> 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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