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The Vedas

The Sanskrit root Vid from which the word Veda is derived, means only knowledge — to know. Knowledge means knowing. This word knowing has a wide sense, wide form and wide connotation. It has in­numerable forms, innumerable states and innumerable conditions. But only three forms should be fixed before our view: Tam, Raj and Sat. Tam is the base; Raj is the middle state and Sat is the top. The base and the top are the farthest ends. The middle state alone is such that something can be thought about it and considered. Therefore that which is generally termed as knowledge is only the middle state; and through this alone can one try to know and explain all the three states.

The Veda is said to be the subject matter of three attributes — Trigunathmaka vishaya. But it lays more stress on the Raj aspect, i.e., the middle discriminating power. Tam, Raj and Sat are the three attributes. Tam is said to be the base, the root (origin) and the foundation. This word has many meanings in Sanskrit, but generally Tam is regarded as ignorance, laziness, idleness, grossness, confusion and so on. All these convey the sense of the base or the support. Raj is said to be the middle or the central state. Its nature is struggle, fickleness, thinking and so on. It always denotes the middle plane. Sat means joy, agreeableness, Pasandeedagi, height, subtleness, sanctity and greatness. This is the top. It is this connotation that is always) accepted.

It is due to the combination of these three attributes that the creation is known as consisting of three worlds and three divisions. The principle that lies hidden in these and that surrounds these forming the real substratum is called Veda. The Veda from point of view, is of three divisions, of three attributes. No place, no creation, no time nor any matter is outside of it. Space, time and matter (substance) all the three are made up of these three attributes. All these have the three states viz., the beginning, the middle and the end. Every tree has root, trunk and branches. The trunk is the middle portion. Generally it is the middle portion that catches our eye. And all the struggle of our life finds its expression in this middle state only. In every being there is this triple combination. But that which is kept inside it remains in the middle only. Thus it is the middle portion that becomes the centre of attention and thought. The beginning and the end of all activity are generally lost sight of. It is always the field and period of action that attracts our attention.

Every being has head, body and legs. It is the body of the individual which is the middle portion, and forms the medium of attraction. But in what way are the examples related to the Veda?

The combined state of these very links, knowledge of these links and the result of that knowledge is called the Veda. The essence of that element which surrounds all is knowledge. But it should not be confused with the state of feeling or experience. It would be a mistake in that case.

Knowledge is the principle, element and essence or spirit. Although the power of sight, audition, thinking and all beings, creatures, molecules etc., embody knowledge which forms the basis of all, it should not be taken in a restricted sense. Otherwise the Veda or knowledge loses its importance. The Veda is not restricted to a particular book, country, religion or nationality but it is the knowledge of the three worlds, including all creation, the nether and the higher worlds. Whether the Veda is understood or caught by the Rishis or Saints, it is the fountain of all wisdom (grace). It is the thread of that material in which all the worlds, planets, the Vasus, the Adityas and the Rudras are studded in seed form.

In order to know their real significance let us forget for some time the words Veda and knowledge and think, instead, of a spirit or Power which is all pervad­ing and all surrounding reality; which keeps up the identity of creation and which is called as Wisdom, the First Mind, the Mahat-Principle or the Lower nature Apara Prakruthi. One part of this Mind is turned upwards, which is the all-pervading and all-surround­ing essence of element, and which determines the forms of all the individuals. For example, the preliminary form of the insect Gnat or Wasp which has not developed any organ of distinction. After that the power which applies systematic force in each and every particle — Murd — and creates, or is capable of creating, different organs such as mouth etc., to distinguish it from other individual forms is known as knowledge or the First Intellect which is all-pervading. No creation or race or religion or creed is free from it. Indians called this power as knowledge or Veda. It cannot be denied that the people of other countries perhaps give it some other name. If the Hindus set aside the Traditional meaning of the words Veda and Jnana (Knowledge) and try to go ahead, then, most probably, they may have access to the original Reality. Otherwise they are at liberty to argue on the word-meaning, and carry on their disputations leading to life long quarrel. As this knowledge is revealed through the Rishis it is necessary to consider the real meaning of the word Rishi.

Rishi means: (1) Seer of mantra, (2) an individual having full power over Nature, (3) moving existence — whether it revolves with its own as its centre or on any other centre forming its axis. No space is free from this. Some are Vasus in whom the creation rests. Some are Adityas who give light to others with their own. Some are Rudras who makeothers weep in worldly matters, thus putting them on the right path.

1. Mantra Drishta— Seer of Mantra; Mantra means mystery of Nature, a remedy, a plan or scheme. Whoever is alert in grasping this is a Rishi. Innumerable are such persons — but seven are of distinction; Bharadwaja, Agastya, Jamadagni, Atri, Goutame, Viswamitra and Brahaspati. These are seven principles of Nature that are found in the ethereal atmosphere, Akasha Mandala, in the form of Veda or Knowledge. Apart from these are all those personalities (indi­viduals) who are related to the special attributes of these Rishis and are subordinate to them.

2 .Yantra Drishta— the seer of the instrument which runs according to certain laws. The word Niyantru in Sanskrit means one who controls time, space and matter, and keeps them in order. Such a Rishi is called Aditya, which is the name of a deity that shines like the sun.

3. Tantra Drishta — the seer of the current of the movement of nature or vitality, and one who spreads this current. Such a Rishi is called Rudra. He shows the way through practical experience.

4. In addition to these there are Vasus and Dhruvas. Among men those who are conversant with the secrets of these, and participate in the activities of knowledge, meditation and higher knowledge or science — Vigyana — are called Rishis. Such men are found in every country and every race, their names and language being different i.e. Abdal, Kutub, Avatar, Vali, Nabi, Savabit, Sayyare, Sadhu, Sant etc.

These Rishis of India have given such a special name to Veda, by hearing, comprehending and accepting which the essence of the Veda can be easily realised. That name is Sruti. That which has been heard, is being heard and will be heard is also called Sruti. It is also known as Sruta which means that which is heard. A special meaning of Sruti is divine law, divine principle and divine secret which, again, is the Veda itself. Now-a-days it is also called Surat. The Rishis heard it before, and heard it within themselves; and we can hear the same thing for ourselves according to the laws laid down by the Rishis. Sruti is that which is only heard — the original independent and unmixed sound. Smriti is a remembered law or code of conduct-Dharma Sastra — which is mixed sound. Sruti being an independent original sound is an authority in itself, and Smriti being a remembered thing depends on another authority.

Sruti is the name of that sound which can be heard but which is not bound by word, letter and lip pronunciation. Smriti can, to a certain extent, be called the imitation of that original sound which is bound by the tongue, lips, teeth and intonation etc.

Sruti is independent, Smriti is dependent. Nobody can contradict the Sruti whereas Smriti can be contradicted or denied. As Sruti is authority in itself it needs nobody's certification. Smriti is less self-authoritative and as such it needs certification or another authority. Sruti never alters, Smriti always alters. Sruti is the absolute vibration because it consists of vibration only, whereas Smriti is the imitation of the original sound, hence artificial, dependent on alphabets, words, language and pronunciation. It is therefore syllabic — Varnatmak. A syllable consists of a letter or letters of the alphabet. Sruti can produce original influence which means the order of God. Sruti has the effect of negation which pronounces itself at the time of total dissolution. This sound pervades the body of all beings and sustains, nourishes or preserves them. This is the suggestive meaning of the word Sruti. It is a mystery, a secret known by the Seers only. People of this manifested world and the world of effects cannot understand this, although they can express this sound reflected in their thought through various expressions— such as 'God is great', 'Garlic and Carrot', 'Shut up, you idiot'.

There is yet another meaning of the Sruti sound, which is called Udgeet — Ud meaning higher, other worldly, original, collection of attributes (becoming) and geet meaning song. Thus the word means 'The song of the original and the manifestation', 'the song of Being and becoming', 'the song of heaven and earth', or human voice.

Om is the imitation of the Udgeet, and is a combi­nation of three letters pronounced with the help of lips, tongue and intonation. Om is the real Veda when its natural tone is heard. This Om is converted from its sound-form to letter-form with the help of a special thought (force). That special thought is birth, existence and return or death. But uttering Om merely with the tongue is mere imitation or idol worship, because giving our heart to a matter of thought is idol-worship; whereas connecting ourselves with Reality is knowledge. Such a kind" of idol-worship is not to be deprecated for it is only a means to reach the original Reality.

(1) A — Creation; U — Maintenance, preservation, sustenance; M — Dissolution.

(2) A — Brahma, the Creator, U — Vishnu, Preserver, M — Siva, the Destroyer.

Aum — OM, has all the three attributes of God viz.,

A is movement

U is the maintenance of that stability

M is the End of the movement.

Om has the three specialities of disturbance. Om is Sruti, Udgeet. If it is heard systematically, Reality will be attained and the goal of life will be reached. All these following three states can be easily had by remembrance of meditation on, and absorption on, Om.

(i) Sat —Existence; the beauty and charm of life.

(ii) Chit —Knowledge; right knowing and right understanding of life.

(iii) Anand — the joy or pleasure of life.

Om is sound and sound only. It is a vibration, a melody, and the melody is related to singing and hearing only. If it is sung and heard properly, systematically, both the singer and the hearer will enjoy bliss, and within a very short time they will be able to see Reality. Every individual is Sachchidananda. No one is devoid of Sat — existence, Chit — Knowledge and Anand — Bliss. It is due to ignorance that man has thought himself to be something other than what he really is. Here, in the Satsang, it will be tried to remove his ignorance side by side with the practice of meditation which will enable him to experience Sat-chit- anand.

As Om is mere sound, Udgeet, and Sruti, it will not be wrong to pronounce it as ‘yoam’, ‘swam’ ‘Twam’ and so on which will still be an imitation of Om. It will be quite in tune, and no other sound is more in tune than this. That is why it is called 'Beejmann' (real remedy, real plan, real scheme). This is the origin, and all else in the three worlds are its imitation.

Vedas are not four but three only, because there are only three kinds of sound in Om. Four Vedas are admitted on the basis of system, content and order. Only three things in this world are fit to be practised, liked or chosen and to be thought of: Sat-existence, Chit-knowledge and Anand - bliss.

There are only three types of existence, knowledge and bliss.

1. Existence is of three types:

(a) of existence — Sat

(b) of knowledge — Chit

(c) of bliss — Anand.

2. Knowledge is of three types:

(a) of existence — Sat

(b) of knowledge — Chit

(c) of bliss — Anand.

3. Bliss is of three types:

(a) of existence or life.

(b) of knowledge and

(c) of bliss.

Vedas are liable to be questioned because the real mantra, Sruti or Udgeet is Om. In them are found 'becoming-ness', the quality of being counted and hearty sentiments of the hearts of human beings. That is why there appears some difference whenever they are caught in words. For example, one and the same integer or unit assumes different forms of sums under the principle of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The whole sum in spite of inversions and seeming contradiction is integer or Unit only, and has the form of integers alone, in just the same way as water assumes various forms on passing through various channels as a fountain, well, tank, river or canal. Nevertheless it remains the same water. Or to take another example, a seed contains in itself the root, tree, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruits and flower and, having undergone all these forms, becomes a seed which was its original form. Even so Om remains Om only, though it is bound in the form of the word. Owing to its different combinations the Vedas were constituted in different Chand metres and Mantras. As it contains human feelings, the effect of love and harshness, force and mildness, friendship and enmity etc. are seen in it. They give power to the Will of man, and they also transform themselves into different attainments, powers, miracles and habits. This is the method of chanting the mantra. It is necessary that the mantra should be pronounced in a special manner according to the special purpose. Then only will a special effect be produced. This principle is the soul of the science of music. If you pronounce a word, or sing it with a particular thought in your heart, a particular effect will be produced.

The water of the cloud also is water only. Stones assume particular shapes by water falling drop by drop on them. It strengthens the soil on which it flows and enables the seed to manifest itself to the fullest possible extent.

Air is the same all over. It aggravates the disease of the diseased; develops the strength of the strong; increases the joy of the jubilant and the fickleness of the fickle-minded. The same theory holds good in all cases and matters governed by it. The same is the case with Om in producing different effects. Take the ex­ample of singing (music). The secret of man's inner thought lies hidden in Om. By the combination and permutation of a word the songs or poems are leng­thened or shortened. 'Ding' is the sound obtained from a bell. If it is rung once only 'Ding' is heard. If twice, 'Ding, Ding' is heard, and if rung thrice what we hear is 'Ding Ding Ding'. Om is the mother of all sounds. It exists even in your belching, sneezing and yawning. Whatever sound you hear — the sound of the bell, conch, flute, tabla and tabor — the same Om is heard if you apply your mind to it. The Rishis have suffi­ciently thought over this and published it.

When the Mantra period came people lost the reality (originality). People lost the reality during the Mantra period. But as they had faith and devotion in what the sages had said, they believed the mantras themselves to be the Sruti and developed this thought with due faith.

Existence —the world of Manifestation.

Sruti is complete word. The flow of creation starts from it only. This flow assumed three forms: (i) Creation or manifestation; (ii) State of preservation or Middle, (iii) Dissolution or end. All these three states are present in Om in the seed-form; and the order of these states always follows one after the other, working in the form of creation, preservation and dissolution. Knowledge is present in it because it is all-containing. Nay, it is knowledge itself! It is necessary that there should be knowledge along with the word. Word and its meaning go together and both are one. From this view point Sruti is called 'the knowledge of the three worlds'.

How Om gave birth to the three attributes, three mantras, the principles and nature is the subject of Sankhya philosophical thought. It has been dealt with elaborately in the second volume separately. How human life manifests itself with its peculiarities is a subject related to human Iife which is action or Vyavahar.

Om has three peculiarities:

(i) A, U and M. The 'A' of Om is the beginning 'U' the middle; and 'M' the end. Om is all containing,

(ii) The 'A' of Om is Sat — existence; 'U' is Chit knowledge, and 'M' is Anand — Bliss. Om is Sachchidanand.

(iii) 'A' is the foundation or base; 'U' is the wall and 'M' is the roof. Om is in all the three.

(iv) 'A' is action — Karma, 'U' is Knowledge - Jnan and 'M' is Upaasana.

(v) 'A' is the body, 'U' is the heart, and ‘M' is the soul or atma. Om is all the three.

(vi) 'A' is Sattva, 'U' is Raj and ‘M' is Tam.

Om is thus the constitution of three attributes.

Besides these, the words Vyavahar - business of the world, Prathibhas - appearance and Paramarth - Reality are substituted in order to express the inten­tion of the heart, and make others understand (a) that the wordly affair - Vyavahar is Sat (b) appearance – Prathibhas - is chit and (c) Reality - Para­marth - is Anand or bliss.

Sat is existence which is expressed through the acti­vity of the world, struggle, occupation and profession, craft and industry and duty etc. All these find expres­sion through Sat, because nobody would have done these, nor was any possibility of doing these, if there were no existence.

The performance of almost all actions and duties is connected with the body. So this body itself is the obvious and open form of manifestation. Viewed from this point the body is Sat and, therefore, this body and the actions of this body - Karma - are considered to be the beginning or basis of the Veda. Action - Karma is the first and foremost necessary condition of life. How can the existence be inferred without body?

There are three types of bodies:

i. Outer or gross body which is called 'Sthool-shareer'. This is made of sense-organs, flesh, skin, bones, blood, fat etc. This is the sheath of food or the Annamaya-kosha.

ii. The subtle body is called ‘Sookshmas- shareer’. It is made of mind – Manas, intellect - Buddhi, psyche - Chit and egoism - Ahankar. This is the sheath of mind - or Manomaya-kosha. That which is made of knowledge, thoughts, intelligence etc. is known as the sheath of knowledge or the Vignanamaya-kosha.

iii. Third is the soul or the causal body which is called Karana Shareer. It is made of happiness, joy and bliss. This is the sheath of bliss or Anandamaya Kosha, the food of which is joy. If you think over these names deeply, then you will know that these bodies really exist.

The knowledge of the outer body i.e. the Sthoola Shareer comes in the waking state or Jagratha Avastha The knowledge of the subtle body or sukshma shareer comes in the dream state or Swapna avastha which is connected with the mind. The knowledge of the causal body or Karana Shareer comes in the deep sleep state or sushupti. This is the soul itself.

The knowledge of these comes in three ways:

(1) The knowledge of the gross body comes through the five senses which are capable of knowing the form or Roopa, the sound or Sabda, the smell or Gandha, the taste or Rasa and the touch or Sparsa.

(2) The knowledge of the subtle body comes through inference which involves thinking, reasoning and arriving at conclusion. The intellect (Chitta), mind (manas), the reason (buddhi) and egoism (Ahankara) are involved in it.

(3) The knowledge of the causal body or soul body comes through authority or Sabda Pramanya.

Probably the learned pandits consider the meaning of "Oneness of Manifestation" to comprehend the external world through the external senses and quarrel over it. But the real meaning of it is as mentioned above. It is experienced internally, and the external senses and worldly knowledge cannot function there. Therefore all this is body only, and the body alone is existence. Among the bodies there is only the gross body which is considered to be the instrument of solid action, worldly activities etc.

The gross body is the instrument of action. Nay! it is action itself, and cannot exist without any activity.

The subtle body is the instrument of knowledge or thought. Nay! it is knowledge itself, and it cannot exist without thinking and understanding.

The causal body or the soul is the instrument of joy. Nay! it is joy itself, and it cannot exist without bliss and happiness.

Viewed from this point, action is the beginning, knowledge the middle and bliss the final state. That way the action is considered to be the beginning of the Vedas.