The Vedas

Fear of darkness is fear of the unknown.
Fear of Light is fear of the known.
Fear of the unknown is stupidity.
Fear of the known is absurdity.

- Atharva Veda

“The Vedas do not embody depression, repression, self-mortification, sin-awareness or hell-conscious-ness. The Vedas embody the divine duty of the earthly life and the ever-increasing beauty of the heavenly life. The Vedic seers accepted the heart of life to found the ultimate Reality upon earth. The Vedic seers accepted the body of death to carry it into the land of Immortality. Inspiration of the clear mind they liked. Aspiration of the pure heart they loved. Realisation of the sure soul they became.”

Sri Chinmoy on the Vedas

Source (1)

The Vedas are amongst the oldest literature in the world. Their exact date and authorship is unknown. The ancient Seers wrote in anonymity merely writing down their profound spiritual experiences and spiritual realisations.

The Vedas are an extensive collection of scriptures and philosophical discourses, relating primarily to matters of spirituality and worship. However, some Vedas also delve deeply into scientific matters. The Vedas also contain many elaborate rituals and sacrifices. These often involve the fire God Agni who acts as an intermediary between humans and God. In our modern age some of these rituals appear outdated and incomprehensible. Many scholars have criticised the Vedas for their emphasis on ritual and the Caste system.

However often Indian culture and religious practises diverged from the purity of the initial Vedic injunctions. We cannot judge a sacred text by the human imperfection and ignorance, which have been added to Vedic science. At the heart of the Vedas is the revelation man can and must seek a direct communion with Brahman, the Absolute indivisible being. Sri Chinmoy says of the Vedas.

“ Unlike other scriptures, the Vedas have the sincere and brave heart to say that they are not indispensable; nay, not even important. They say that what is really important and supremely indispensable is the realisation of Brahman, the One without a second.”

The guiding principles of the Vedas are truthfulness and non violence. India’s great philosophy of non-violence or ahimsa has its roots firmly in the Vedas. This live loving philosophy instructed and inspired notable saints such as Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavir and the Jains, in the 20th Century Mahatma Gandhi lived faithfully to this ancient ideal of the Vedas. Finally the Vedas exhort seekers to follow the path of love and self sacrifice. Here love means pure love focused on devotion to the Absolute Supreme. Self sacrifice actually means sacrifice of a seekers lower nature so that he can enter into a higher life. These high ideals of the Vedas are often missed by scholars who examine the Vedas with a critical eye. Sri Chinmoy makes this observation.

"Most historians put the lesser truths mentioned in the Vedas, those relating to the caste system and magic formulas, in the vanguard of their discussions, and pay little attention to the highest Truth, the Knowledge of Brahman. They have no time to know soulfully and devotedly the life-energising and life-fulfilling messages that the Vedas actually contain. The life-giving and life-revealing messages of the Vedas do not seem to satisfy them. The birth of the Vedas, the outer growth of the Vedas and the decline of the Vedic influence on India are more than enough to satisfy them."

- Source (1)

The Vedas are timeless and universal. They do not belong to any culture. The great German philosopher Schopenhauer considered the Upanishads to be “the consolation and illumination of his life.”

Despite being coming from an ancient culture the Vedas have been widely appreciated by scholars around the world. Max Muller stated of the Vedas

“I maintain that everybody who cares for himself, for his ancestors, for his history, for his intellectual development, a study of Vedic literature is indispensable.”

Sri Chinmoy states why the Vedas are studied with devotion even today.

"Why do we appreciate the teachings of the Vedas? We appreciate the teachings of the Vedas because they inspire us to rise and go beyond the body-consciousness. The Rig Veda inspires us to make the world great and perfect. The Sama Veda inspires us to become one with the divine Melody and cosmic Rhythm. The Yajur Veda tells us, "May our lives be successful through self-sacrifice. May our life-breath thrive through self-sacrifice." The Atharva Veda inspires us to go forward along the path of continuous progress. It tells us that Brihaspati, Guru of the cosmic gods, is leading and guiding us."



(1)Excerpt from The Vedas: Immortality's First Call by Sri Chinmoy.


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The Vedas

Life of Sri Krishna

About Sri Krishna

Introduction to Gita

Selections from the Gita

Commentary on the Gita