Message of the month
The Word “Veda” means “sacred knowledge”, which was revealed to the four great Rishis—Agni, Vayu, Aditya, and Angira—at the beginning of creation. The Vedas are called Shruti, meaning “the words and sounds heard by the sages in yogic unity with Supreme Parabrahman.”
The Vedas are considered to be the divine revelation, which has been handed down to humanity as a necessary guidance in order to live in peace and harmony on earth. The ancient sages were blessed with stupendous memory; they preserved this sacred knowledge in their memory with proper accentuation and passed it on to the successive generations through oral teachings with utmost care and accuracy. Later, when the Sanskrit script was developed, the learned sages compiled the Vedic wisdom into four Holy scriptures; the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Atharvaveda. Vedic literature is the proud possession of mankind since the beginning of human history. The important feature of Vedic knowledge is its all pervasiveness, encompassing almost every aspect of life. In this reference Professor F. Max Muller writes, “The Vedic literature opens to us a chapter in what has been called the education of the human race, to which we can find no parallel anywhere else.” He further says, “The Vedas has a twofold interest; it belongs to the history of the world and to the history of India—as long as man continues to take an interest in the history of his race, and as long as we collect in libraries and museums the relics of former ages, the first place in that long row of books which contains the records of the Aryan branch of mankind, will belong forever to Rigveda.”
The hymns of the Vedas describe the glories of the Supreme Lord and the perennial interdependence, which exists between God, nature, and the other created beings. There are beautiful illustrations of the origin of the universe and detailed descriptions of the bounties and blessings of nature and how we can make the best use of the natural reservoirs while keeping in mind the global welfare. In Vedic hymns we find a remarkable fusion of spirituality, philosophy, science, and religion. As a matter of fact, almost all the different branches of knowledge and systems of Indian philosophy owe their allegiance to the Vedas. Appreciating the profundity of the holy divine revelation, Henry David Thoreau has said, “Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climes and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I am at it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night. ”
The great educator Thoreau not only read the Vedas but also recommended the study of the sacred wisdom in his lectures on philosophy. The Vedas are the living inspirations for leading a dynamic life. Professor Heeren, while writing on the sublimity of the Vedic knowledge, says, “Vedas are without doubt the oldest work composed in Sanskrit. The Vedas stand alone in their solitary splendor—standing as a beacon of divine light for an onward march of humanity.” The great Russian saint and educator Leo Tolstoy also held the Vedas and Upanishads in deep reverence and spread their teachings in Russia. The Hymns of the Vedas are the inspired utterances of the great sages perceived through their heightened consciousness.
The Vedas are a unique treasure of a sacred knowledge, inspiring philosophy, cherished religious treatises, laws of nature, cosmology, meteorology, laws of science, sociology, astrology, psychology, pharmacology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, administration, theology, and the deepest mysteries of yoga and meditation.
In reference to the magnitude of Vedic wisdom Mrs. Wheeler Wilcox, a great American scholar, says, “India - The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas.”
The Vedic sages have tried to cover almost all phases of human activity, its purposefulness and attainments. The Vedas are the repository of all knowledge and wisdom. These superb poetic compositions encompass the knowledge of the whole universe, which cover the subject matter that relates to animate and inanimate. “Yada bhutam bhavyam bhavishyashch saraam vedaat prasidyati” is the famous saying about the Vedas–meaning, “Vedic knowledge envelopes in it the entire wisdom of the past, present, and future.” It is valid for all times in every field of life, for everyone in the universe. The revered knowledge of the Vedas holds the most honorable place among the ancient teachings of the world and is definitely relevant to the philosophical and scientific development of modern generation.
The hymns of the Vedas have been categorized in three sections. The first part is known as Samhitas, which constitutes the mantra portion. The second part is known as Brahmanas, which deals with rites, ceremonies, and rituals. The third part constitutes the Aranyakas which describes the knowledge of the Supreme-Self. Each of the four Vedas has one Upaveda (sub-Veda) i.e. for the Rigveda—Ayurveda (the science of life), the Yajurveda—Dhanurveda (the military science), the Samaveda—Gandharvaveda (the science of sound), and the Atharvaveda—Arthaveda (multiple branches of knowledge).