GOD AND THE VEDA.
“They are atheists and of weak intellect, and continually remain sunk in the depths of misery and pain who do not believe in, know, and commune with, Him who is Resplendent, All-glorious, All-Holy, All-knowledge, sustainer of the sun, the earth and other planets, Who pervades all like ether, is the Lord of all and is above all devatas. It is by the knowledge and contemplation of God alone that all men attain true happiness.” RIG VEDA: I, , .
. There are more Gods than one mentioned in the Vedas. Do you believe this or not?
A.~ No, we do not; as nowhere in all the four Vedas there is written anything that could go to show that there are more gods than one. On the other hand, it is clearly said in many places that there is only one God.
. What is meant by the mention of various devatas (Gods) in the Vedas then?
A.~Whatsoever or whosoever possesses useful and brilliant qualities is called a devata, as the earth for instance; but it is nowhere said that it is God or is the object of our adoration. Even in the above mantra it is said that He, who is the sustainer of all devatas, is the adorable God, and is worthy of being sought after, They are greatly mistaken who take the word “devata” to mean God.
He is called devata of devatas – the greatest of all devatas, – because He alone is the author of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution of the Universe, the Great Judge and Lord of all. The Vedic text “The Lord of all of all, the Ruler of the universe, the Sustainer of all holds all things by means of thirty-three devatas” has been explained as follows in the fourteenth chapter of the Shatpatha Brahman:-
. Heated cosmic bodies
. Super-terrestial space
. Says of ethereal space
These eight are called Vasus, because they are abode of all that lives, moves or exists. The eleven Rudras are the ten pranas – nervauric forces – enlivening the human body and the eleventh is the human spirit.
These are called Rudras because when they desert the body, it becomes dead and the relations of the deceased, consequently, begin to weep. The twelve months of a year are called Adityas, as they cause the lapse of the term of existence of each object or being. The (all-pervading) electricity is called Indra, as it is productive of great force. Yajna (assembly for the purposes of teaching and learning) is called Prajapati because it benefits mankind by the purification of air, water, rain and vegetables and because it aids the development of various arts, and because in it the honour is accorded to the learned and the wise.
These thirty-three aforesaid entities are called devatas by virtue of possessing useful properties and qualities. Being Lord of all and greater than all, the Supreme Being is called the thirty-fourth Devata who alone is to be worshipped. The same thing is written in the other Shastras. Had people consulted these books, they would not have fallen into this error, viz., to believe that there are more gods than one mentioned in the Vedas.
“By One Supreme Ruler is this universe pervaded, every world in the whole circle of nature, He is the true God. Know Him, O man! and covet not unjustly the wealth of any creature existing. Renounce all that is unjust and enjoy pure delight – true spiritual happiness – by the practice of justice and righteousness which is another name for true religion.YAJUR VEDA :
“God teaches in the Veda “I, O men, lived before the whole universe came into being, I am Lord of all, I am the eternal cause of the whole creation. I am the source and giver of all wealth. Let all men look up to me alone as children do to their parents. I have appointed different foods and drinks for all creatures to give them sustenance so that they may live in happiness.” RIG VEDA : , .
” I am God Almighty, I am the Light of the world like the sun. Neither defeat, nor death, can ever approach me. I am the controller of the universe, know me alone as the Creator of all. Strive ye diligently for the acquisition of power and wealth such ( as true knowledge). Ask ye of me. May ye never lose my friendship. I give true knowledge, which is real wealth, unto men who are truthful. I am the revealer of Vedas which declare my true nature. It is through the Vedas that I advance the knowledge of all. I am the prompter of the good and true. I reward those who devote themselves to the good of humanity. I am the cause, I am the support of all that exists in this universe. May ye never turn away from me. May ye never accept another God in my place, nor worship him.” RIG VEDA, :, .
“God, O men existed in the beginning of the Creation. He is the Creator, Support and Sustainer of the sun and other luminous worlds, He was the Lord of the past Creation. He is the Lord of the present. He will be the Lord of the unborn universe. He created the whole world, and he sustains it. He is Eternal Bliss. May ye all praise and adore Him as we do.” YAJUR VEDA, :
. Is God All-pervading or does He reside in some particular locality?
A.- He is All-pervading. If He were localized to some particular place, He could never be Omniscient, Inward Regular of all, Universal Controller, Creator of all, Sustainer of all and the Cause of resolution of all things into their elements, as it is impossible for the doer to do anything in place where he is not.
. Is God Just as well as Merciful?
A.~ Yes, he is both.
These two attributes are opposed to each other, since Justice consists in giving a person the just amount of pleasure or pain – neither more nor less – according to the nature of his deeds, while mercy consists in letting the offender go unpunished. How could He be both merciful and just at the same time?
A.- Justice and mercy differ only in name. The object served by justice is the same as accomplished by mercy. Now the object of infliction punishment through justice is to prevent people from committing crimes and thereby enable them to be freed from pain and misery. What is the object of mercy but to rid people of misery? Your definitions of justice and mercy are not correct, because the infliction of just punishment in exact accordance with the amount of crime is called justice.
If the offender be not punished, mercy will be destroyed, for letting one such criminal, a robber, to go unpunished amounts to giving pain to thousands of righteous and law-abiding people. What mercy can there be, then, in allowing one man to go unpunished and making others suffer? It will be an act of mercy indeed to that robber to keep him in prison and thereby prevent him from further commission of crimes. It will also be an act of mercy to thousands of other people to rid them of that robber or dacoit by putting him to death or keeping him in prison.
A.~ Is not an idea expressed by more than one word, and cannot one word be expressive of more than one idea?
Yes, it is so.
A.- Why did you doubt it then?
Q.Because we hear it said in the world.
A.- We hear both true and false statements being made in this world, but it is our duty to discriminate between them after due reflection. Behold the infinite mercy of God that He has created all things in this world for the good of all, and given them all freely! What mercy can be greater than this? On the other hand, the inequality in the condition of men – some are in a state of misery – while others in a state of happiness – is a clear proof of the operation of His Law of justice. They – mercy and justice – only differ in the fact that the intense desire in one’s mind to bestow happiness on all and accordingly is mercy, whilst the outward action – such as the just infliction of punishment on an offender by imprisoning him or putting him to death is – justice. The one object served by both is to rescue all from sin and consequent suffering
. Has God a form or is He formless?
A.- He is formless, because if He possesses a form He could never be Omnipresent, nor, therefore Omniscient, since a finite substance can possess only finite attributes, actions and nature. Besides, He could never be free from hunger and thirst, heat and cold, disease, imperfections and injuries. This proves, therefore, that God is formless, If He were to possess a body, another person would be required to make the different organs of His body, such as eyes, ears and the like, for He, who is the product of the combination of the different parts, must have an intelligent formless maker. Here if it be urged that God Himself made His own body simply by willing it, this too goes to prove that He was formless before He made His body. It is clear, therefore, that God is never embodied. Being without a body He is able to make the visible universe out of invisible causes.
. Is God All-powerful or not?
A.- Yes, He is, but what you understand by the word All- powerful is not right. It really means that God does not require the least assistance from any person in all His works such as Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution of the Universe, and administration of Divine Justice. In other words, He does all His works with His own infinite power.
. But we believe that God can do whatever He likes. There is no one above Him.
A.- What does He like? If you say that he likes and can do all things, we ask – “Can God kill Himself?” Or “can He make other Gods like Himself, become ignorant, commit sins such as theft, adultery and the like? Or can He be unhappy?” Your answer can only be in the negative, as these things are opposed to the nature and attributes of God; hence your contention, that God can do all things, does not hold good. Our meaning only, therefore, of the word All-powerful is true.
Q.Is God Anadi or Sadi?
A.- He is Anadi, that , He has no cause or beginning.
. What does God desire?
A.- The good of all, and the happiness of all, but He does not, by the caprice of His own will, subordinate one person to another without an offence.
. Should we glorify God, pray to Him and commune with Him?
Will God by one’s doing so suspend His laws, and forgive the sins of His devotees?
Why should we then worship God?
Its object is altogether different from the one you mention.
What is it?
A.- Glorification gives rise to love of the Supreme Being, reformation of one’s nature, character and attributes in accordance with the nature, attributes, and character of God. Prayer crates humility, courage, and obtains divine help. Communion results in union with the Great Being and in direct cognition of HIm.
Q.Will you Please explain it in detail?
Glorification is of two kinds:- Positive and Negative.
Positive glorification consists in praising God as possessed of positive attributes in the following manner:- “That Supreme Being overspreads all. He is entirely spirit, All-energy, All-powerful, Pure, Perfect, Omniscient, Inward Controller of all, Ruler of All, Eternal and Self-existent. He has from all eternity been teaching uncreated immortal human souls, the true knowledge of things through the revelation of the Veda – His eternal knowledge.” YAJUR VEDA, :
Negative glorification consists in praising God as devoid of such ungodly qualities as passion and malice in the following way:- “He is never embodied, is never born, is never liable to division and is free from nervous or arterial systems, never commits a sin , is never subject to pain, grief and ignorance and the like.” YAJUR VEDA, :.
The object of Glorification is to reform one’s nature, attributes and character after the nature, attributes and character of God, for instance let him be just as God is and so on. He who just praises God, but does not reform his character does himself no good.
Prayer to God is to be addressed in the following way:- “Endow us, O Lord, who art All-glorious, through thy mercy, at this very instant with that wisdom which the wise, the learned, and yogis pray for.” YAJUR VEDA: .
“Thou art Light, be merciful and shed that light into my heart. Thou art Infinite energy, through Thy grace endow me with unfailing energy. Thou are Infinite strength, endow me with strength. Thou art Infinite power, endow me with great power. Thou art wrathful with the wicked, make me also wrathful.
Thou art moved neither by slander, nor by praise. Thou art forbearing towards those who offend against Thee, make me also forbearing.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“May, O Ocean of Mercy, through thy grace my mind – the mind that in the wakeful state travels long distances, and, possesses brilliant qualities, which self-same mind – light of the senses – in sleep attains to the state of profound slumber and in dreams wanders over different places – always entertain pure thoughts for the good of the self as well as for that of all other living beings. May it never desire to injure any one.” YAJUR VEDA :.
“May, O Omniscient God, my mind – which is the source of all activity and which, thereby, enables men of learning, piety and courage to perform acts of great public good and heroic deeds on the field of battle and other occasions, which possess wonderful powers and admirable qualities and rules the senses harbour only righteous desires and completely renounce sin and vice.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“May, O lord, my mind – the mind which is the repository of the highest form of knowledge, is the faculty for consciousness and judgement, is the light of the senses, and is immortal, the mind without which a man is powerless to do even the most insignificant thing – aspire for purity and shun wickedness.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“May, O Lord of the Universe, my mind – the mind which is the medium through which all yogis acquire knowledge of the past, the present and the future which becomes the means of the union of the immortal human soul with the Supreme Spirit and thereby makes it cognizant of the three periods of time (past, present and the future),
the mind which is capable of conscious exertion and is closely united with the five sense, the faculty of discernment and the soul, and is the means of the advancement of that great Yajna called yoga – be endowed with true knowledge and yoga and thereby be freed from all kinds of pain and ignorance.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“May, O Great God, Wisest of the wise, through Thy grace, my mind – which like the hub of a wheel into which all the spokes are inserted, is the repository of the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, The Sama Veda and also the Atharva Veda, the mind in which Omniscient, Omnipresent conscious Being – the Witness of all – makes Himself known – be freed from all ignorance and be endowed with the love of knowledge.” YAJUR VEDA :
“May, O Lord, the Controller of the Universe, my mind – which is like a driver who can swing the horses around in all directions, sways men hither and thither, is seated in the heart, possessed of great activity and extreme energy – restrain all the senses from treading the path of wickedness and always direct them in the path of righteousness. Mayestt, Thou O Lord, of Thy kindness grant me this prayer.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“Lead us, O Bestower of all happiness, Omniscient, Supreme Spirit, into the path of rectitude and thereby inspire us with all kinds of knowledge and wisdom, rid us of all that is false and sinful in our conduct, and make us pure. To this end, we in all humility repeatedly praise and adore Thee.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“Mayest not, Thou, O Punisher of the wicked, destroy our young ones, nor our old ones, foetuses, mothers, and fathers, nor those who are dear to us, nor our relations, nor our bodies. Direct us to that path by following which we may not be liable to punishment by Thy Law.” YAJUR VEDA : .
“Lead us, O Supreme Spirit, Teacher of teachers, from falsehood unto rectitude, from darkness into light of knowledge, from death and disease to immortality and Eternal Happiness.” SHATPATHA :,,.
Prayer is said to be Positive or Negative according as the Deity is looked upon as possessed of good attributes or as free from bad qualities, faults and imperfections.
A man should act in accordance with what he prays for. For example, if he prays for the attainment of highest wisdom, let him do his utmost to attain it. In other words, prayer should be addressed to God for the attainment of an object after one has strenuously endeavoured to attain it. No one should pray in the following manner, nor does God ever answer such a prayer:-
‘O lord! destroy my enemies, make me superior to all. Let me alone be honoured by all, make all other subordinate to me, etc.’ For, if both enemies were to pray for each other’s destruction, should God destroy both of them? If someone were to say that of the two let that man’s prayer be granted who bears more love to God, we answer that the enemy of the man whose love is less, should also suffer destruction in a lesser degree. If people began to address such foolish prayers, the next thing they will do, will be to pray in this manner, “O God! Cook our food for us, put it on the table for us, scrub our houses, do our washing, till our land, and do a bit of gardening a well for us.” The greatest fools are they who, trusting in God in this wise, remain slothful and indolent; because who so-
ever will obey God’s commandment to work assiduously will never be happy. God commands thus:-
” Let a man aspire to live by doing work for a hundred years, i.e. as long as he lives. Let him never be lazy.” Behold! all the animate and the inanimate objects in this universe perform their respective functions. The ants and other creatures are always active, the earth and other planets are always in motion, the trees are always growing or decaying. Man should take a lesson from these. As men help him who helps himself, so does God help him who works righteously, just as servants do their work only if the master himself is active and not lazy.
Only a man with eyes and with a desire to see can be made to see and not a blind man, likewise God lends his help in answer to those prayers only that aim at the good of all, and not those that are meant to injure any one. He who only keeps on saying ‘sugar is sweet, sugar is sweet’ can never taste the sweetness of sugar, nor obtain it but he, who tries for it, sooner or later is sure to get it.
iii. Communion(upaasanaa). On this subject the Upnishad says:- “No tongue can express that bliss which flows, from communion with the Supreme Spirit, into the soul of that man whose impurities are washed off by the practice of yoga, whose mind being abstracted from the outside world is centred in the Supreme Spirit; because that happiness is felt by the human soul in its inner self alone.”
The word upaasanaa literally means to come close to. All that is required in order to come close to God is by the practice of the eight stages of yoga and directly to see the Omnipresent, Omniscient God should be accomplished.
. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
. Let him cease to bear malice to any living being, let him always love all.
. Let him always speak the truth, never an untruth.
. Let him never commit theft, and let him be honest in his dealings.
. Let him practice self-control, never be lustful.
. Let him be humble, never vain. “These five together comprise the first stage of Upaasanaa and are called Yamas.” YOGA SHASTRA SADHANPAD, . Next come the Niyamas which are also five:-
. ” Let a man be clean internally by renouncing all passions and vicious desires, externally by the free use of water, etc.
. Let him work hard righteously but neither rejoice in the resulting profit nor be sorrowful in case of loss. Let him renounce sloth and be always cheerful and active.
. Let him keep his mind unruffled no matter whether he is happy or miserable, and do righteous deeds.
. Let him always study the books of true knowledge, and teach them as well, and associate with good and pious men, and let him contemplate and mentally recite Aum which is the highest name of the Supreme Spirit.
. Let him resign his soul to the Will of God.” YOGA SHASTRA SADHANPAD, . These five together constitute the second stage of Upaasanaa Yoga.
The remaining six stages can be studied from Yoga shastra or our book called “An introduction to the Exposition of the Four Vedas.”
When a man desires to engage in Upaasanaa (communion), let him resort to a solitary, clean place and get comfortably seated, practise Praanaayaama (control of breath) restrain the senses from the pursuit of outward objects, fix his mind on one of the following places:- the navel, the heart, the throat, eyes, the top of the head or the spine. Let him, then, discriminate between his own soul and the Supreme Spirit, get absorbed in contemplation of the latter and commune with Him. When a man follows these practices his mind as well as the soul becomes pure and imbued with righteousness. His knowledge and wisdom advance day by day till he obtains salvation. He who contemplated the Deity in this way for even one hour out of the twenty-four hours always continues to advance spiritually.
. THE PRACTICE OF COMMUNION
Upaasanaa is positive when God is contemplated as possessed of such attributes as Omniscience, and it is said to be negative when the human soul being deeply absorbed in the Supreme Spirit – who even pervades such a subtle thing as the human soul – contemplates on Him as free from such qualities as malice, colour, taste, smell and touch. Its result is that the soul, by coming close to God, is rid of all its impurities, sorrows and griefs, its nature, attributes and character become pure like those of God Himself, just as a man shivering from cold ceases to suffer from it by coming close to fire.
Therefore it behoves all to worship God – praise Him, pray to Him and commune with Him. Leaving out the other results that accrue from Divine Worship the gain in spiritual strength is such that even the approach of pain or sorrow of the greatest magnitude cannot disturb the mental tranquility of the devotee. He is able to bear it most patiently. Is this a trifling thing? Besides, he who does not worship God is ungrateful as well as most foolish, because it is nothing but extreme ingratitude and foolishness to forget the kindness of that Supreme Spirit who has freely given away all things of this world to all living beings and to cease to believe in His very existence.
. How can God do the work which can only be done through sense organs when He is devoid of them?
A.-“God has no hands but grasps and moulds all things by virtue of His Omnipotence. He has no feet but transcends all in speed by virtue of His Omnipresence. He has no eyes but sees all perfectly, no ears but hears all, no internal organ of thought but knows all. No one can know His limits, has been eternally existing. He is the Supreme Spirit that pervades all.” SHWETA SHWETAR UPANISHAD, , . In other words, though devoid of senses and mind, He does all His work by virtue of His Omnipotence.
. Many persons say that He is ‘void of all activity and attribute.’ Is this true?
A.- “The Great Eternal Spirit undergoes no modifications, requires no instruments to work with, has no equal nor any superior. He is the Supremely Powerful Being, endowed with innate Omniscience, Omnipresence and Infinite activity.” SHWETA SHWETAR UPANISHAD , . Had God been destitute of activity, He could never create the world, sustain it and reduce it to its elementary form. He, therefore, being Omnipresent and Omniscient, also possesses activity.
. When He acts, is His action finite or infinite?
A.- In whatsoever space and time He wants to act, in the same He does, neither in less nor in more; because He is All-wise.
. Does God know His own limits or not?
A.- The Supreme Spirit is All-knowledge. For what is knowledge but the cognizance of things just as they are. God is Infinite, therefore His knowledge of Himself as Infinite is true knowledge – the reverse is ignorance. To conceive a thing as infinite when it is really finite or vice versa is called ignorance. The conception of the nature, attributes and character of things as they are is called true knowledge. Therefore the Yoga Shastra defines God thus:- The All-pervading spirit, who is free from all pain and grief (such as ignorance), and from desire for all those deeds which are productive of results that are good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, or of a mixed character and who is distinct from and superior to all souls, is called God.
. Is He conscious, one or many?
A – He is Conscious and one, souls are conscious and many.
. Can the existence of God be proven by Direct Cognizance?
Q – “The existence of God cannot be proved owing to want of evidence of direct cognizance, and “in the absence of evidence of direct cognizance, there can be no inferential and other evidences”; SANKHYA SHASTRA, ,; besides “from the absence of the relation of Vyaapti (the relation of the
pervader to the pervaded) there can be no inference.” SANKYA SHASTRA ,,. Both these kinds of evidence – Direct Cognizance and Inference – being unavailable, other kinds of evidence, such as Testimony of a truthful witness are out of question. Therefore the existence of God cannot be proved.
A.- No, what the above aphorisms really mean is that the evidence of direct cognizance is wanting not in order to prove the existence of God but to prove Him as the Material cause of the universe, for in the same chapter occur the following aphorisms :- “If the All-pervading Spirit be the Material Cause of the universe, He would be transformed into various material objects just as the primordial matter by the combination of invisible and minute atoms becomes metamorphosed into various visible and tangible objects. He is, therefore, not the material cause of the universe but the efficient cause.” SANKHYA SHASTRA, ,.
“If the Conscious Being – God – be the material cause of the universe, He being possessed of infinite power, the world also should possess infinite power. But such is not the case. Therefore, God is not the material but the efficient cause of the world.” SANKHYA SHASTRA , .
“The Upnishad also describes the primordial matter alone as the material cause of the world” SANKYA SHASTRA , as in the following verse:- “the primordial matter is transformed into the diverse objects of this world.” SHWETA SHWETAR UPANISHAD , . Matter being subject to change is transformable, whereas God – the All-pervading spirit – being unchangeable is not metamorphosed into any other form or shape. He is unchangeable and always resides in the interior of the heart. Therefore, whosoever calls the sage Kapil – the author of the above aphorism – an atheist, is himself an atheist. Similarly,
the authors of the other Shastras, for instance, Mimaansaa from the mention of the words Dharm and Dharmi, Vaisheshika from that of the word Ishwar (God) and Niyaaya from that of Atmaa – All-pervading Spirit, are not atheists. He, who is Omnipresent, Omniscient and even pervades the human soul, is believed in by all of them – Mimaansaa, Vaisheshika, etc. – to be God.
. Does God incarnate or not?
A.- No; because it is said in the Yajur Veda. “He is unborn.” Again “He overspreads all.” He is pure, is never born and never takes on a human form.” It is clear from these quotations that God is never born.
But Krishna says in the Gita, “Whenever there is decay of virtue, I take on a human form.” GITA : . What is your answer to this?
Being opposed to the Veda, it cannot be held to be an authority. Though it is possible that Krishna, being very virtuous and being extremely anxious to further the cause of righteousness, might have wished that he would like to be born again and again at different times to protect the good and punish the wicked. if such was the case, there is no harm in it; because ‘whatever the good and the great possess – their wealth, their bodies, aye even their hearts – is at the service of humanity? In spite of all this Krishna could never be God.
. Why do people then believe in the twenty-four incarnations of God?
Q.If this be the case, why do people then believe in the twenty-four incarnations of God?
A.- From want of knowledge of the Vedas, from being led astray by the sectarians and being themselves uneducated, people are involved in ignorance and, therefore, no wonder, believe in and say such false things.
How could such wicked men as Raavana and Kansa be destroyed if God did not incarnate?
A- Firstly, whosoever is born, is sure to die. Secondly, what are Kansa and Raavana, when compared with the Almighty God,
who without being incarnated has created this world, is sustaining it and can resolve it into its component elements? He being Omnipresent also pervaded the bodies of Kansa and Raavana and could at His will cut their vitals and instantaneously kill them. What shall we then call such a man but a fool who says that the Supreme Spirit possessed of Infinite Power, attributes and activity takes on a human form and becomes subject to births and deaths in order to kill an insignificant creature.
Were anyone to say that God incarnates for the salvation of his devotees, then too it could not be true, for, if the devotees conduct themselves according to the Will of God, He is powerful enough to save them. What! Is the destruction of Kansa or Raavana or the lifting of a mountain, such as Govardhan, even more difficult than the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the sun, the moon and the earth and other planets? Whosoever ponders over the great things that God has done in this universe, cannot but come to the conclusion that “There is no one like Him, nor shall ever be.”
Nor can the incarnation of God be demonstrated by reason, just as the saying of a man, that space entered a womb or was put in a closed hand, can never be true, for space being Infinite and Omnipresent can neither go in, nor come out; similarly, God, being Infinite and All-pervading, it can never be predicated of him that He can go in or come out. Coming and going can be possible only if it be believed that there are places where He is not. Then was not God already present in the womb and was not He already present outside that He is said to have gone into and come out of it? Who but men devoid of intelligence, can believe in and say such things about God? Therefore, it should be understood that Christ and other were also not incarnations of the Deity, having fear and grief, births and deaths, they were all men.
. Does God forgive the sins of His devotees or not?
A.- No; for, He were to forgive their sins, His Law of Justice would be destroyed, and all men would become most sinful. Knowing that their sins will be forgiven, they will become fearless and will be greatly encouraged to commit sins. For example, if the ruler of a country were to pardon the criminals, they would be encouraged to commit crimes greater still. For knowing well that the king
will not punish them, they will be confident in their minds that they will get the king’s pardon by folding their palms and doing other acts of humility. Even those who are not criminals, being no longer deterred by any fear of punishment, will begin to commit crimes. Therefore, it is but just that God should give souls the just fruits of their deeds and not to forgive their sins.
. Is the human soul a free-agent or otherwise?
A.- It is a free-agent in the matter of performing deeds, but it is subjected to the laws of God in the matter of reaping the fruits thereof; He alone is said to be a doer who is free to act.
. What is free-agent?
A.- He is called a free-agent who has the body, the vital forces, the senses and the mind subordinate to his will. If the soul were not a free-agent it would not reap the fruits of its deeds – good or bad. Just as soldiers acting under the direction of their commanding officer are not held guilty of murder even on killing many on the field of battle; similarly, if God were to influence the course of human conduct or if human actions were subordinate to His Will, it would not then be the human souls that would have to bear the consequences of those actions but God Himself.
Being the prompter He alone would suffer pain or enjoy happiness. Just as that man alone who murders another with some kind of weapon is arrested and punished for the crime and not the weapon; likewise, the souls subordinate to the Will of God could not justly be made to reap the fruits of their deeds – sinful or virtuous. It follows, therefore, that the soul is free to act according to its capacity, but once it has committed a sinful act, it becomes subjected to the operation of the laws of God, and thereby reaps the consequence of its sin. In other words, the soul is a free-agent in so far as the performance of deeds is concerned but it has to submit to Divine laws in the matter of suffering pain and misery for its sins.
. Had not God created the soul and endowed it with energy, it could never have been able to do anything; hence whatever a human soul does is done solely through Divine impulse
A.- The soul was never created. It is beginningless like God and the material cause of the universe – primordial matter. The body and bodily organs were made by God, but they are all under the control of the soul. Now whoever performs an act – good
or evil – reaps the fruit thereof and not God – the Maker of his body and bodily organs. This we can illustrate thus :- A man dug iron-ore out of a mountain, a merchant bought it of him; a blacksmith bought it from the latter’s shop, and made a sword out of it and sold it to a soldier who killed a man with it. It is not the miner, nor the iron merchant, nor the blacksmith, nor the sword that are held responsible by the king for the crime of murder and punished. It is the soldier alone, who killed another with the sword, that is apprehended. In the same way, it is not God – the Maker of the body and bodily organs – Who reaps the fruits of the deeds done by the soul. On the other hand, He it is Who makes the soul bear the consequences of its acts. Had God been the actual doer, no soul would ever have committed a sin, because being Pure and Righteous, He could never prompt any soul to commit a sin. It, therefore, follows that the soul is a free-agent in doing deeds and so is God free in doing His deeds.
. What are God and the soul in essence, and what are their natures, attributes and actions?
A.- In essence they are both conscious entities. By nature both are pure, immortal and virtuous, etc., but the creation of the universe, its sustenance and dissolution into elementary form and its control, the awarding of the fruits of their deeds – good and evil – to souls are the righteous actions of God; whilst the reproduction and rearing of children, the distribution of knowledge and arts, etc., are acts of the soul which may be virtuous or sinful. Eternal knowledge, Eternal bliss and Omnipotence, etc., are the attributes of God whilst those of souls are :-
Desire for the acquisition of things; repulsion, activity, feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, sorrow, displeasure; consciousness, inspiration and expiration, nictation – closing and opening of the eyes, organic growth, discernment, memory and individuality, movement, regulation of the senses, internal changes and disorders, such as hunger and thirst, joy or sorrow, etc., are the attributes of the soul which distinguish it from God. The existence of the soul is known only by these attributes. as it is not material nor perceptible by the senses. These attributes manifest themselves only so long as the soul is present in the body, but cease to do so as soon
as the soul leaves it. Those qualities that manifest themselves in the presence of a substance and cease to do so in its absence belong to that substances alone; as for example, light is the property of the sun and of the lamp, because it is absent in their absence and present in their presence. Similarly, God and the soul are known by their attributes.
. God being cognizant of the three periods of time (the past, present and the future), knows all things about the future, and as God knows so has the soul to act, consequently the soul ceases to be a free-agent. God, therefore, cannot be justified in punishing it for its misdeeds, because it acts in accordance with what God before knew.
A.- It is foolishness to speak of God as being cognizant of the three periods of time, because what ceases to exist is called the Past, and what does not exist but will come into existence is called the Future. Now is there any kind of knowledge that ceases to exist with God or that He does not possess in the present but will possess in the future? Hence God’s knowledge is always uniform and uninterrupted. He always lives in the Present. The past and the future relate to the human soul only. It is true, though, that the knowledge of three periods of time can be said to exist in God when it is spoken of in relation to the actions of the soul, but not absolutely.
As the soul acts by virtue of its free will, so does God know, what it does, by virtue of His Omniscience, and as God knows, so the soul acts. In other words, God possess the knowledge of the past, the present, and the future and gives soul their deserts; whilst the soul is a free-agent in whatever it does and in possessing a limited knowledge of the present. Just as God’s knowledge of actions of human souls is beginningless, so is His knowledge of awarding just punishment. Both kinds of knowledge in Him are true. Can it ever be possible that the knowledge of actions, be true while that of doing justice be false? Hence your objection does not hold good.
. Are the souls in different bodies distinct or is there only one soul pervading them all?
A.- Distinct. Had there been only one soul pervading them all, wakeful state, slumber, deep sleep, birth and death, union and
disunion (with the body and the senses) could never take place; the nature of the soul, therefore, is finite, and so is its knowledge; it is also subtle, whilst God is still more subtle, Infinite, Omnipresent, Omniscient by nature. Hence God and the human soul stand in the relation of the pervader to the pervaded.
Q.One thing cannot contain another at the same time; therefore, God and the soul can only be in the relation of close union but not in that of the pervader to the pervaded.
A.- This law holds good in the case of things of the same condition but not in that of different conditions; just as iron is gross while electricity is subtle, the latter pervades the former and resides in the same space with it. Similarly, the human soul less subtle than God, whist the latter more subtle than the former, therefore it is that God pervades the human soul while the latter is pervaded by the former.
Just as God and the soul stand to each other in the relation of the pervader and the pervaded, so do they do in the relations of one who is served and the servitor, the supporter and the supported, the Master and the servant, the Ruler and the ruled, the Father and the son.
. If God and the human soul be different, how will you interpret the following mighty texts of the Vedas? – “I am God,” Thou art God” and ” The soul is God.”
A.- These are not Vedic texts at all, but quotations from the Brahmanas. They nowhere called ‘mighty texts’ in the true shastras. Their true meanings are as follow:- We take the first quotation which does not mean ” I am God” but ” I live in God.”
Here is used what is called substitution of the thing that contains or supports for the thing which is contained therein or supported thereby’; just as we say “watch-platforms are shouting.” Now the platforms, being inanimate, do not possess the power of shouting; hence it means that the men on those platforms shout. Thus the platforms, that support the watchmen, are substituted for the men who are supported by. Similarly it should be understood in the above text that God the support is substituted for the soul which is supported thereby or contained therein.
If you say that all things exist in God what is then the special object of saying that the soul exists in God? We answer that though it is true that all things exist in God, nothing is so close to God as the human soul. Being possessed of similar attributes, it is only the human soul that can know God, and during the time of salvation lives in the very presence of God, having direct cognizance of Him all the time. Hence the relation of God to the soul is that of a container or supporter to the thing contained therein or supported thereby and that of one companion to another.
It is clear, therefore, that God and the soul are not one. Just as a person says in reference to another ‘He and I are one’, i.e., in complete harmony with each other, in the same way, the human soul, being irresistible drawn towards God by its extreme love for Him and thereby completely immersed in Him during Samaadhi can say “God and I are one”, that is, in harmony with each other as well as occupying the same space. That soul alone can declare its unity or harmony with God by virtue of similarities of attributes that becomes like God in its nature, attributes and character.
Q.Well, what meaning will you give to the second text “(tat) God (twam) Thour (asi) art i.e., O soul! Thou art God.”
A.- What do you understand by the word (tat)?
A.- How do you know that the word (tat) refer to Brahma?
Q.Because there is mention of the word Brahma in the sentence preceding the above quotation. (Tadeva…….advitiyam)
A.- It seems that you have never read the Chhaandogya Upanishad (the book from which the quotation was taken). Had you read you would not have made the wrong statement that the word Brahma occurs in the said text. The true text runs as (Tadeva….advitiyam). There is no such word as Brahma there.
Q.What do you understand by the word tat then?
A.- That Supreme Spirit should be sought after. He is infinitely subject. He is the Soul of the whole material universe as well as of the human soul: The Self-same Spirit is the Great Reality. He Himself is His Own soul. O my dear son Swetketo! (Tat) “that Omniscient, Supreme Spirit is within thee.” For instance the great sage Yajnavalkya says to his wife in the Brahadaranyak Umnishad ” O Maitreyi, The Great God reside within the soul and is yet distinct from it. The ignorant soul does not know that the Supreme Spirit pervades it. The soul is a body unto Him. In other words, just as the soul resides in the body, so does God reside within the soul, and yet He is distinct from it. He witnesses the deeds – good and evil – of the soul and gives it its deserts and thereby keeps it under control. Do Thou know O Maitreyi, that the very same Immortal, Omniscient Being resides within they soul.” Can anyone give a different meaning to texts like these?
Now about the third so-called ‘mighty text’ “This (soul is God (Brahma).” Its true sense is that when during the state of trance (samadhi) a yogi gets direct cognition of God, i.e., sees God, he says: “This (the very God who resides within me) is Brahma, i.e., pervades the whole universe.” It is clear, therefore, that the Vedantists of to-day, who declare that the human soul and God are one and the same, do not understand the Vedant Shastra.
Q.In the Chhaandogya Upnishad God says “Having created the universe and different bodies, I enter the body as a soul and manifest myself under different names and forms.” CHHAANDOGYA : ,. Again, says the Taitreya Upnishad “Having created the universe and different bodies God Himself entered them.” How can you give different meanings to these texts?
A.- Had you understood the construction and meanings of words and sentences you would not have so perverted the sense of the original in translation. You must understand that there are two entities, one is the pervader and other post-pervader. Now God is like the post-pervader who enters after the soul has already entered the body and reveals the science of names and forms through the Veda. He caused the soul to enter the body and He Himself entered the soul thereafter. Had you understood the meaning of the word anu (post or after), you would not have mistranslated it.
Q.Suppose a man were to say that the same Deva Datta who was seen at Kahi in the hot season, is her now-a-days at Mathura in the wet season. Now if you disregard the differences of time and locality (as hot and wet season, Kashi and Mathura) and take only the individual into consideration, the fact of the existence of the man Deva Datta only is established. Similarly on the ‘principle of partial rejection and partial acceptance’ if the unknown time,
locality and illusion – opaadhi i.e., the obstruction medium – the case of I’shwara God in the active state), and of the known time and locality, ignorance, and finiteness in the case of the human soul be disregarded, and only the property of consciousness common to both be taken into account, the existence of Brahma (God) in both is established. On the same principle by the rejection of Omniscience and similar other attributes of God, and of the finiteness of knowledge in the case of the soul, and the acceptance of consciousness alone which is common to both, the unity of God and the soul is established. What answer can you give to this objection?
A.- Would you first please tell us whether you hold I’shwara and the soul to be eternal or non-eternal?
Both being the product of Opaadhi, we regard them as non-eternal.
A.- Do you hold Opaadhi to be eternal or non-eternal?
Our belief on this subject is summed in the following verses:- “We Vedantis hold the following six entities as beginningless:- () Soul, (). I’shwara – God in the active state, () Brahma – God in passive condition, () the distinctive difference between Ishwara and soul, () Ignorance, () the union of ignorance with a conscious entity. Of these six, Brahma alone is beginningless but terminable like that kind of Non-existence which though, existing in the present shall cease to exist in the future. These five continue to exist as long as ignorance lasts; and because their beginning is not known, they are called beginningless, but as they cease to exist when the soul attains true knowledge they are called terminable or non-eternal.”
A.- Both these verses are wrong. As there can be no soul with the conjunction of ignorance with I’shwara, and no
I’shwara, without the conjunction of maayaa – illusion or ignorance with Brahma, the sixth entity of your verse -i.e. the conjunction of ignorance with a conscious entity as a separate entity becomes superfluous; because the ignorance or illusion is absorbed into the soul and I’shwara, and forms part and parcel of them. For the same reason it is useless to count I’shwara and the soul as beginningless entities distinct from Brahma. Hence according to your view only two entities – Brahma and ignorance – are demonstrable and not six. Besides your idea of I’shwara and the soul as two entities born of upaadhi or ignorance can only be true if you could demonstrate the existence of ignorance or illusion in Brahma Who is Infinite, Eternal, Holy, All-knowledge, Immortal and Omnipresent.
Were you to believe that the ignorance (depending upon and relating to self) in Brahma is restricted to one place at a time and exists from eternity, the whole Brahma cannot entirely be pure. Besides when you admit the presence of ignorance in one place, it being movable will keep shifting from place to place; hence which ever part of Brahma it goes to, that will become ignorant and whichever part it leaves, will become enlightened. This being the case, you could call no part of Brahma as eternally pure and enlightened.
Moreover ignorance on account of its presence and consequent pleasure and pain, etc., in one part of Brahma, will affect the whole, like a wound which though confined to one part of the body causes pain to be felt throughout the system. Again, that part of Brahma which is in the pale of ignorance will know itself free from it. Hence, Brahma will be divided into parts, one inside, the outside the pale of ignorance. If you reply ‘Let Him be divided, it would be of no consequence to Him.’ He would then no longer remain indivisible. He could not be ignorant. Besides ignorance or incorrect knowledge being only an attribute must necessarily reside in some substance in permanent relation to it. Hence it could not temporarily reside in Brahma.
If you believe that Brahma becomes the soul through the intervention of an obstructing medium (opaadhi) called Antahkaran ( internal organ of thought), we ask whether Brahma is All-pervading or circumscribed. If you answer that He is All-pervading but the obstruction medium is circumscribed, i.e., limited as regards
space, and is separate in each man, does that medium then move about or not?
Q.It moves about.
A.- Does Brahma as well move with it or does it remain stationary?
Q.He remains stationary.
A,- Then whichever part the obstructing medium – the antahkaran – leaves, that must become free from ignorance, whilst whichever part it goes to, that part of the pure enlightened Brahma must necessarily become ignorant. In other words, Brahma would in one moment become ignorant and in the next enlightened. Hence salvation and bondage will also become of momentary duration, and just as one cannot remember what another has seen or heard, similarly what Brahma has seen or heard yesterday he could not possibly remember today; because the time and place of his observation are totally different from those of his remembrance.
But Brahma is the same in all you say. We ask, therefore, why Brahman is not All-knowing? If you say that the obstruction media – antahkaranas – are different or distinct from each other in different people, the resulting knowledge will, therefore, also be different. Our answer is that the medium being material, it cannot be the seat of consciousness. And if you say that it is neither Brahma nor the antahkaran, (the obstructing medium) – internal organ of thought – but the ‘image of Brahma’ -chidaabhaas – that is, the seat of knowledge, then too it is conscious entity that possesses knowledge. Why it is then finite in knowledge and power?
It is clear, therefore, that you cannot establish I’shwara and the soul as products of the influence of the ‘obstructive mediums, ignorance or illusion’, on Brahma. I’shwara is really another name for Brahma – the All-pervading God, while the other conscious, eternal, uncreated and immortal entity is called the soul.
If you say that the soul is nothing but the image of Brahma (chidaabhaas), we answer that the image being of momentary duration will soon perish. Who will then enjoy the bliss of salvation? Hence God and the soul were never one, nor are they at present, nor shall they ever be.
How can you then establish the doctrine of non-duality which is clearly inculcated in the Upanishads as shown by the following quotation form the Chhaandogya? “O my dear son, in the beginning there was but One (God) and no other.” According to our belief the existence of everything else – whether of the same kind as, Brahma or of a different kind from, or as differentiated parts of, the same Brahma – besides Brahma, being negative the existence of Brahma alone is established. How could the doctrine of non-duality hold good when you believe that Brahma (God) is distinct from the soul?
A.- Why have you fallen into this error? Fear not and try to understand the relation of an adjective to a substantive. Now what is the function of an adjective?
Q.Its function is to differentiate.
A.- Then why not also admit that it serves to elucidate and explain the character of the substantive. You should, therefore, understand that in the verse quoted above the word advait (i.e., and no other) is an adjective, qualifying the noun Brahma; its differentiating function is that it differentiates Brahma from innumerable souls and atoms, whilst its explanatory function is that it serves to elucidate that there is one God and one only. As when you say, “In this town Deva Datta is the one rich man. There is no other”, or In this regiment Vikram Singh is the one brave man and there is no other”, you mean that in this town there is none so rich as Deva Datta and there is none in the regiment so brave as Vikram Singh, but it does not negative the existence of other men less rich and less brave than Deva Datta and Vikram Singh respectively. None of animate (as plants and animals) and inanimate (as land and water, etc.,) things in the town and the regiment. Similarly, in the text, ‘In the beginning there was one God and no other’, it is implied that there was nothing besides God equal to Him, but it does no exclude the existenc of other things such as souls and the primordial elementary matter which are inferior to God. It is clear, then, that it means that there is but one God whilst the souls, and the material atoms are more than one, and the adjective advatiya (no other) serve to differentiate other existence from God as well as to elucidate the oneness of God. Therefore, it does not mean that the
soul and matter – in atomic or the present visible condition – do not exist. On the other hand, they all exist but they are not equal to God. The explanation neither disproves the doctrine of non-duality nor that duality. So not be perplexed, think over it and try to understand it.
. God and the soul possess the attributes of Existence, Consciousness and Blissfulness common to each other and are therefore, one. Why do you then refute this belief?
A.-The fact of two things possessing a few attributes common to each other does not make them one. Take for instance, solids and liquids and fire, all these are inanimate and visible but that does not make them one. The dissimilar attributes differentiate them,the hardness and prevent them from being considered as one.
Or take another illustration. Both a man and an ant see with their eyes, eat with their mouths and walk with their feet, yet they are not one and the same, having their bodily forms different from each other, a man having two feet whilst an ant many, and so on. Similarly, God’s attributes of Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Infinite Bliss and Infinite activity, being different from those of the soul’s and the attributes of the soul, such as finite knowledge, finite power, finite nature, liability to error and circumscription, being different from God’s, God and the soul can never be one. Even in essence, they are different, God being most subtle, and the soul less subtle than God.
Q.”He who makes even the slightest distinction between God and soul is subject to fear, as fear is possible only from a second person (i.e., not from one’s own self).” VRIHADAARANYAKA UPANISHAD. Does not this inculcate the unity of the soul with Brahma?
A.- Your translation of this verse is wrong. The correct meaning is, that the soul that denies the existence of the Supreme Being or believes Him to limited to some particular time or place, or conducts itself against the will, nature, character and attributes of God or bears malice to another, becomes subject to fear. Because
that person alone is afraid of God or of man who believes that God has nothing to do with him or says to another man, “What do I care for you? What can you do against me?” or do other harm or give them pain. Those who are in harmony with each other in all things are called one, as the following expression is very often used. “Deva Datta, Yajna Datta and Vishnu Datta are all one”, meaning thereby that they are all of one mind. Harmony is the cause of happiness, whilst want of harmony begets misery and pain.
. Do God and the soul always remain distinct from each other or do they ever become one?
A.-We have already partly answer this question but we will add here that on account of similarity in attributes and close relationship they are one, just as material solid substance is one with space, in being lifeless and inseparably associated with it: whilst they are distinct from each other on account of dissimilarity of such attributes, as omnipresence, subtlety, formless and endlessness, etc., of space and limitation visibility and such other attributes of a solid object; in other words, a solid object can never be separate from space, as it must have space to exist in, whilst on account of dissimilitude in nature they are always distinct from each other.
In the same way, the soul and the material objects can never be separate from God as He pervades them all, nor, can they be one with Him as they are in nature different from Him. Before a house is built, the earth, water, iron and other building materials are found to exist in space; after a house is built they will exist in space, and continue to do so even after it is demolished and the material composing it scattered; in short, the building material can never be separate from space, nor, can it being different in nature, ever be one with it.
Similarly, both the soul and the material cause of this universe, being pervaded by God, never were, nor are, nor shall ever be separate from Him, and being in their natures distinct from Him can ever be one with Him. The Vedantists of today are like one-eyed men who see only one side of the street they pass through and are bent on giving such a great importance to the close connection or relationship between God and the soul that they completely ignore the dissimilitude between the two. There is not a single substance in this world that is devoid of
Positiveness – the property of possessing some qualities – and negativeness – the property of being devoid of some qualities – of close relationship and its reverse, similitude and dissimilitude , etc.
. Is God positive – possessed of attributes (Saguna) entity or a negative – destitute of attributes of (nirgun) one?
A.- He is both.
How can two swords be put in one scabbard? How can one thing be both positive and negative?
A.- A thing that is possessed of certain qualities is called Positive (Saguna), whilst, one devoid of certain qualities is called negative (Nirguna). Hence all things are both positive and negative, being possessed of certain qualities and destitute of others, as the material objects being possessed of visibility and other properties are positive, whilst being devoid of intelligence and other attributes of conscious beings, they are negative. In the same way, conscious beings (as souls) are positive, as they possess intelligence, whilst they are negative, as they are devoid of visibility and other properties of the material objects.
All things, therefore, are positive (Saguna) and negative (Nirguna) by virtue of being possessed of certain natural qualities, and devoid of those that are antithetic to them. There is not a single substance that is only positive or only negative. Both positiveness and negativeness always reside in the same object. In the same way, God is positive being possessed of certain natural attributes, such as Omniscience, Omnipresence, etc. He is also negative being free from the attributes of visibility and other properties of material objects, and from feelings of pleasure and pain, and other attributes of the soul.
People speak of a thing as Nirguna (Negative) when it is formless and as Saguna (Positive) when it is possessed of a form. In other words, God is called Saguna (Positive) when He incarnates, and Nirguna (Negative) when He is not embodied. Is this view of the terms positive and negative right?
A.- No, it is a false conception entertained by ignorant minds that are destitute of true knowledge. The ignorant always make senseless noise like the lowing of cattle. Their utterances should be looked upon as valueless as the ravings of a man in delirium from high fever.
Q.Is God Ragi – one possessed of feelings and passions, etc.- or Vairakta – one who has renounced all things?
A.- He is neither the one nor the other. For, you desire for the possession of a thing that exists without you or is better than you; but as there is nothing that is outside or separate from God or better than He, He could not possibly be Ragi. As a Vairakta is one who renounces what he has, God being All-pervading can not renounce anything; therefore He is not Vairakta either.
. Does God possess desire (Ichchhaa)?
A.- No, not that kind of desire which is another name for a passion excited by the love of an object from which pleasure is expected, because, you only desire to obtain a thing which you do not already possess, which is of a superior quality and is productive of pleasure. Now there is nothing that God does not possess or is superior to Him, and being All-Bliss He can also have no desire for further happiness. Therefore, there is no possibility of the presence of desire in God. But there is no God called I’kshan, what I’kshan means is knowing all kinds of true knowledge and creating of whole universe.
We have treated this subject very briefly but it is hoped that it will suffice for the wise. Now we proceed to the treatment of the subject of the Veda.
The Atharva Veda says, “Who is that Great Being who revealed the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, The Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda? He is the Supreme Spirit Who created the universe and sustains it.” ATHARVA VEDA :,,.
Again., says the Yajur Veda “The Great Ruler of the Universe, Who is Self-existent, All-pervading, Holy, eternal and Formless, has been eternally instructing His subjects – immortal souls – in all kinds of knowledge for their good through the Veda.” YAJUR VEDA O; .
. Do you believe God to be Formless or embodied?
Q.Being formless how could He reveal the Veda without the use of the organs of speech, as in the pronunciation of words the use of such organs as the palate and of a certain amount of effort with the tongue are indispensable.
A.- Being Omnipotent, and Omnipresent, He does not stand in need of the organs of speech in order to reveal the Veda to the human souls; because the organs of speech , such as the mouth, the tongue, etc., are needed in pronouncing words only when you want to speak to another person, and not when you are speaking to yourself. It is our daily experience that various kinds of mental processes and the formation of words are continually going on in our mind without the use of the organs of speech.
Even on shutting your ears with the fingers you can notice that many different varieties of sound are audible that are not produced by the use of the organs of speech. In the same way, God instructed human souls by virtue of His Omniscience and Omnipresence without the use of the organs of speech. After the Incorporeal God has revealed the perfect knowledge of the Veda in the heart of a human being by virtue of His presence within it, he teaches it to others through speech. Hence, this objection does not hold good in the case of God.
. The Vedas were revealed in the Sanskrit language. Those Rishis were ignorant of that language. How did they then understand the Vedas?
A.- They were made known to them by God, and whenever great
Sages, who were yogis, imbued with piety, and with the desire to understand the meanings of certain mantras and whose minds possessed the power of perfect concentration, entered the superior condition, called Samaadhi, in contemplation of Deity. He made known unto them the meanings of the desired mantras. When the Vedas were thus revealed to many Rishis, they made expositions with historical illustrations of the Vedic mantras and embodied them in books called the Brahmanas which literally means an exposition of the Veda.
“The names of the Rishis, who were seers of certain mantras and for the first time published and taught the exposition of those mantras, are written along with those mantras as token remembrance.” Nirukta -. Those who look upon those Rishis as the authors of the mantras should be considered absolutely in the wrong. They were simply seers of those mantras.
Which books are called the Vedas?
A.- The book called the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda – the Mantras Sanhitas only and no other.
But the sage Katyayana says. The mantras Sanhitas together with the Brahmanas constitute the Vedas.
A.- You must have noticed that in the beginning of every Mantra Sanhita and at the end of each of its chapters it has always been the practice from time immemorial to write the word Veda, but it is never done so in the case of Brahmanas. We read in the Nirukt, “This is in the Veda, this is in the Brahmanas;” NIRUKT : & – in the same way we read in Panini, ” In the Chhanda (Veda) and Brahmanas, etc.” ASHTADHYAYI : , . It is clear from these quotations that the Veda is the name of books distinct from the Brahmanas. The Veda is what is called the Mantra Sanhita or a recollection of mantras, whilst the Brahmanas are the expositions of those mantras. Those who want to know more about this subject can consult our book called ” An introduction to the Exposition of the Vedas”, wherein it is proved on the authority of various kinds of evidence that the
above quotation quoted as Katyayan”s could never be his. Because if we believe that, the Veda, could never be eternal, for in the Brahmanas there are to be found biographies of various Rishis and Sages, kings and princes; but since biographies of persons can only be written after their birth, the Brahmanas that contain those biographies must have been written after the birth of those Rishis and kings, etc., and therefore, cannot be eternal. The Veda does not contain the biography of any person, on the other hand in it only those words are used by which knowledge is made known. There is no mention of any proper names of any particular event or individual in the Veda.
. How many Shaakhaas (branches) are there of the Veda?
A.- Eleven hundred and twenty-seven.
Q.What are Shaakhaas (branches)? A.- The expositions are called shaakhaas.
Q.We, hear of learned people speaking of the different parts of the Veda as shaakhaas. Are they wrong?
A.- If you think over it a little, you will understand that they are in the wrong, because all the Shaakhaas are attributed to Rishis such as Ashwalaayani and others, whilst the authorship of the Veda is ascribed to God. It other words, as the author of the four Vedas is believed to be God, so are Rishis held to be the authors of the shaakhaas, such as Ashwalaayani. And besides, all the shaakhaas take Veda texts and expound them, while in the Veda texts only are given. Therefore, the four Vedas – the books of Divine revelation – are like the trunk of a tree, whose branches (shaakhaas) are the books, such as Ashwalaayani, written by Rishis and not revealed by God,
As the parents are kind to their children and wish for their children and wish for their welfare, so has the Supreme Spirit, out of kindness to all men, revealed the Veda by whose study men are freed from ignorance and error, and may attain the light of true knowledge and thereby enjoy extreme happiness as well as advance knowledge and promote their welfare.
. Are the Vedas eternal or non-eternal?
A.- They are eternal. God being eternal, His knowledge and attributes must necessarily be eternal, because the nature, attributes and character of an eternal substance are also eternal and vice versa.
Q ~ Oh, I see. God must have given knowledge to those Rishis who afterwards composed the Vedas. Is that what you mean?
A.- There can be no ideas without words. No one but an All-knowing Being has the power to make such compositions as are full of all kinds of knowledge and require the perfect knowledge of music and poetry, meters, such chhandhaas and notes, etc. True, after having studied the Vedas, the Rishis, in order to elucidate the various branches of learning, made books on Grammar, Philology, Music and Poetry, etc. Had not God revealed the Vedas, no man would have been able to write anything. The Vedas, therefore, are revealed books. All men should conduct themselves according to their teachings, and when questioned as to his religion let everyone answer that his religion is Vedic, i.e., he believes in whatever is said in the Vedas.
The subjects of God and the Veda have been thus briefly been treated. In the next Chapter we shall discourse on the Creation of the world cosmogony.