as on 16.11.19
Vedic Virtual University
A Project of indian/international foundation for vedic science and Nadi Vaidya kayakalp
When we talk about Veda, we, generally, have a picture of a holy scriptures in mind. We generally think that Vedas are the same category of literature as that of Bible or Koran. People think that Vedas are related to Hindus as the Bible and Koran to Muslims and Christians respectively. In fact, this view received its first sanction at the hands of various European scholars who started the studies of the Vedas having regarded them as religious scriptures of Hindus. This was evident from the Max Mñller's series called by him as the 'Sacred Books of the East Series'. That is why, the Vedas were also categorized in the list of sectarian or communal literature. Vedas, in fact, are the documents dealing with God’s creation. They exist since the time humanity came into being on this globe. By then, there was no religion or sect on the earth. Vedas were regarded as sacred, not because that they were related to a particular community or because they were composed by the prophet of a particular community, but because they were the store house of all the true sciences, because they represented the various aspects of creation and cosmic life, because they contained universal laws irrespective of cast, creed, race, religion or region
What is Veda?
The word Veda is derived from the root √vid meaning to know. So Veda means knowledge.
Vedas, in fact, are the blue-print of the creation. They are books representing various aspects -metaphysical, astrophysical and physical aspects - of creation. Since the creation of universe is the handiwork of God, the authorship of creation can be assigned to God alone and none else. So, authorship of knowledge of creation contained in Vedas is assigned to almighty God. As such Vedas are called apaurusheyas.
Authorship of the Vedas
Moreover, there has long been a debate as to whether Vedas were authored by God or man. It has always been answered: vedaah apaurusheyaah, i.e. Vedas are not authored by Puru–a. The term Purusha has been used to signify both man and God by the various contenders in order to support their contentions. It must be understood that the term Purusha here does not mean God but man. So the term ‘vedaaÌ apaurusheyaah’ would only mean ‘Vedic knowledge is not man made knowledge’.
The other way round also, the Veda, as pointed out above, being knowledge, or dharma would reside permanently in its dharmÏ, the object, i.e. Brahman who is All knowing, whilst a man knows a little. Brahman alone is qualified by knowledge of creation being its sole creator. The knowledge is the inherent quality of God.
Moreover it can again be proved on the evidences gathered from the Vedic literature. For example, the Shatapatha Braahmana (184.108.40.206) has made a clear cut statement that the Vedas are the expressions of creation. Accordingly:
evam vaa are’sya mahato bhootasya nihshvasitam-etad-vaa Rigvedo Yajurveda Saamaveda’tharvaangirasah.
[Meaning] The couplets that are known as ÿgveda, Yajuveda, SÈmveda and Atharvaveda are the exhalations of this grand creation.
At another place in the same work, it has been clearly picturised leaving no space for further doubt and suspense regarding the God made Vedas. According to the Shatapatha Braahmana (220.127.116.11) :
‘There are two types of creations. One is manmade produced through the sexual behaviour. Another is divine or God made cosmic creation. Chandas deal with the cosmic creation. They are produced by Rishis through their mouth. Instead of sexual intercourse’.
Thus from the forgoing discussion it can unhesitatingly be inferred that the couplets or Chandas received/imbibed by Brahma in Samadhi in the beginning of creation were the literary items originated first ever in the literary history of humankind. These chhandas that dealt with the cosmic creation of God or say authored by God were pronounced by the Rishis through their mouth.
Here Gita’s view on the Veda may also be quoted. GÏta says : trigunavishayo vedah, i.e. the Vedas deal with the trigunaatmaka prakriti. The material creation evolved out of the imbalance of three gunas, viz. sattva, rajas and tamas.
The above cited view and GÏta on Vedas clearly points out that Vedas are the knowledge of creation and the creation is the handy work of the almighty God. As such the authorship of the Vedas, the knowledge of his creation can be assigned to God alone and not to any human being propounding it. For example, an engineer who creates an engine becomes the author of the knowledge of engine. Similarly, when a potter makes a pot, he becomes the author of the pot. Similarly, when Brahman creates the universe, He becomes the author of His creation and so also the author of the Vedas. This process may also be illustrated by the following example. Whenever any thing is created its knowledge comes into existence in the cosmos immediately after its creation. Similarly, when God created this universe, His knowledge of the creation of universe, i.e Veda came into existence in cosmos immediately after the origin of creation. Brahmaa had a direct insight of this universal knowledge called Veda in his Samaadhi. This process of direct insight is also called enlightenment or revelation. Patanjali has shed ample good light on this process of direct insight in his Yoga Darshan. According to him, when a high profile yogi attains perfection in nirvichara Samaadhi (a state of mind in which a yogi can meditate even without contents), his intellect becomes free from rajas and tamas and settles down permanently in satva guna and clears of all thoughts (Yoga Darshan, 1.47). At this stage Intellect transforms into Prajnaa which is the highest form of Intellect (Yoga Darshan, 1.48). Prajnaa bears the Rita (cosmic laws) directly. When a person rises to the state of prajnaa, he knows truth directly without the intermediary of language or thought. He achieves a state of direct enlightenment. His knowledge then is prefect. What he sees is truth, because it is directly realized and free of subjective and situational conditions and the limitations of thought and language. His knowledge is not relative now. It is absolute which is nothing else but Veda. This is how Brahmaa had direct access to the knowledge of creation through his prajnaa in the beginning of human creation. In fact, this creation is the embodiment of Veda. It is the vaak (speech) of Brahman. Since this creation is exclusive work of Brahman, so it is verily said, eko vedah (the Veda is one). This Veda exists in two forms. 1. In visible form as a universe. 2. In the audible form of vibrations or quanta. Thus every body sees this Veda of creation, but very few except Brahmaa are capable to read and comprehend it. Everybody is not able to hear this speech. That is why the Rigveda (10th Mandala) it is said: Some on seeing the Veda does not see it, while another hearing the speech does not hear it.
Yaaska (Nirukta, 1.20) while narrating the history of origin of the Vedas says, ‘There were Rishis who had a direct insight of Dharma (laws of creation in the form of Veda Mantras or Chandas). This knowledge was passed on through oral instructions to succeeding generation of Rishis who were devoid of powers of direct insight. They further passed this knowledge to their successors in documented form who were not able even to receive it through oral instructions.’
Thus Brahmaa was the first Rishi who had direct insight of the Veda. He divided the Veda into four forms: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Saamveda and Atharvaveda and passed the same on to the four Rishis, namely Agni, Vaayu, Aaditya and Angiraa.
Rigveda deals with all the components- metaphysical, astrophysical and physical of creation.
Yajurveda deals with the process of creation. This process of creation is called as Yajna, particularly Shrauta Yajna. The various phases of creations have been depicted by various types of Shrauta Yajnas.
Saamveda deals with the comic vibrations or songs called as Saama Gaanas. The entire universe is buzzing with sounds/vibrations which are not audible to human ears. Only the high profile yogis can enjoy these divine sounds.
Atharvaveda deals with all aspects of the mundane life. This material creation would have become meaningless, had there been no biological life. In fact, the presence of living beings gives meaning to this material creation. So the very objective of Atharvaveda is to deal with the origin and evolution of biological life, particularly the life of human beings.