[Advaita-l] Veda is eternal
subhanu at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 26 04:31:52 CDT 2011
Raghav Kumar wrote:
“The taittiriya brAhmaNa apparently has the mantra - "anantA vai vedAH". (the
vedas are infinite/endless). Here the word endless (i.e., they do not end in
time) seems inappropriate and anantAH meaning "infinite" seems truer to the
context viz., the sage Bharadhwaja requesting Brahmaji for an extension to
his life, to study more of the Vedas. Whether this statement is only
arthavAda or the Veda-mantras indeed are infinite, needs sAyana bhAShya
Namaste the mantra “anantA vai vedAH” [22.214.171.124] come from the kAThaka portion of Taittiriya Brahmanam 126.96.36.199-15, where the story of bharadvAja is told. The brahmana portion of the sAvitra-chayanam starts at 188.8.131.52 and is a good example of how the brahmanam provides the context and explanation for inner yajna as opposed to a superficial external yajna of pure ritual which many western scholars mistakenly believe is the sum and substance of the karma-kanda portion of the veda.
We therefore find in this brahmana portion a number of stories relating the glory of this yajna (The sAvitra-chayanam is a variant of the agnichayanam. TB 3.11 gives another variant, the nachiketa chayanam, where we find the proto story of the kathopanishad given). The stories involve AruNi, Janaka, Gautama and Bharadvaja.
In the story of bharadvAja, this rishi is described as spending 3 lifetimes studying the vedas. Whilst resting, Indra asks him what he would do if Indra gave him another lifespan. He responds that he would continue studying the vedas. Indra then takes 3 handfuls of dirt from 3 mountains in front of them, explaining that these mountains represent the vedas and “anantA vai vedAh”, that they are endlessly vast , ie without end, too vast to complete. He then points to the 3 handfuls of dirt, stating that so far this is all he has studied. He should therefore devote is time to a true performance and understanding of the sAvitram yajna to obtain complete knowledge, for “ayam vai sarva-vidyeti” “this yields knowledge of everything”. Earlier in the brahmanam this is explained as AtmAnam veda, knowing the inner self. Having mastered this yajna bharadvaja becomes one with the Sun, the symbol for atman (see Taittiriya Upanishad Bhrgu Valli, sa yaschAyam puruSe, yaschAsAvAditye, se ekaH ; That which is in man is also in the Sun, and is One), attaining his true nature in the realm of light (svargam lokam iyAya).
So you can see that the context here is never-ending/too much to master, very much in the spirit of the panchatantra shloka “anantapAram kila shabdashAstram”, “The shastras are without limit”
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