The Vedas

The Vedas are a collection of revelations to the seers (Sages) to whom the meaning of the mantras was revealed.

I am the breath of the Supreme Lord who inhales and exhales by proclaiming the Truth that transcends time and space and by indicating to the inhabitants of the three worlds the means for prosperity and peace. They cannot be amended, nor can they be contradicted during the three stages: past-present-future.

There isn't a living being in the world who doesn't fight to get what he wants and avoid what he doesn't like. Well, the Vedas provide instructions for success both spiritually and materially. They establish what must be done and what must not be done, so by following these prescriptions and restrictions, good is obtained and evil is avoided.

"Veda" derives its root from "Vid", which means "to know". The Vedas are embodiments of all wisdom and teach the way to obtain purity of heart and to abandon impurities. They are rather difficult to study and master the Vedas, because their revelation is uninterrupted and infinite. Studying the Vedas has always taken an infinite amount of time. And, if it is already difficult to study them, let alone put them into practice and benefit from them.

At first there was only one block of Vedas that included them all. Then Vyasa, (a partial manifestation of Narayana or Vishnu) noting the difficulties we have considered, made four sections of it:

  1. Rigveda,

  2. Yajurveda,

  3. Samaveda

  4. Atharvaveda.

In turn they contain mantras that are called "Samhita", so we have:

the Rigveda Samhita, I Yajurveda Samhita and Atharva Samhita.

The Vedas are also known by nine names:

1) Sruti; 2) Anusvara, 3) Trayi, 4) Amnayam, 5) Samamnayam, 6) Chandas, 7) Svadhyayam, 8) Gama and 9) Agama.

Each of these names are meaningful.

1) "Sruti" refers to the disciple's process of learning the Vedas who pays the utmost attention and care in listening to what the teacher teaches him, memorizing everything and putting into practice what he has learned. It is about the exact way of chanting the mantras and, therefore, how to make the most of the recitation of the Vedas. The sound of mantras must be performed in the same way as instructors teach, which must be followed with extreme seriousness. Therefore, the learning of Vedic mantras is passed down only orally.

2) "Anusvara" is the phase of reflection on what has been heard, contemplating the meaning of the mantras transmitted by the master and keeping them in their purity and integrity through constant recitation.

3) "Trayi". In the beginning the three Vedas - Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda - were united under the same name "Apurusheya", that is without human origin, of divine origin. Because of this divine origin, all three Vedas were called "Trayi", ie Triad.

4) "Amnayam" e

5) "Samamnayam" have in common the root "na" and means to acquire the knowledge of the Vedas through their meditation and practice.

6) "Chandas" has several meanings and one of them is about the knowledge that should be kept secret and carefully spread. Samaveda is completely made up of Chandas.

7) "Svadhyayam" is the tradition of the Vedas handed down from father to son, from generation to generation, according to a genealogical succession. The acquisition of the Vedas does not take place on books, but is transmitted over the centuries from master to disciple.

8) "Gama" e

9) "Agama" are the names attributed to the act of breathing in and out of God, whose breath gave rise to the Vedas.

In a word, the Vedas are the quintessence of the breath of God. The great prophets, who heard that divine revelation in their hearts, discovered the cornerstone of mantras in eight key letters, which in turn are mantras: A, Ka, Cha , Ta, Tha, Pa, Ya, Sapi. The Maharishis, or the great seers, infused the Vedas through the use of these eight letters, being able to have the vision of the Indestructible and Eternal Property.

Each Veda is in turn further divided into three sections: Mantra, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad (which are an appendage of the Aranyaka).

The Brahmana underwent a subsequent division into three parts:

Taittiriya Brahmana,

Aitareya Brahmana

Satapatha Brahmana, basically made up of mantras.

The attempt to divide the Vedas into many parts was intended to promote the well-being and happiness of the country and humanity. The celebration of sacrifices aimed to bring the rains back to the right time, so that the crops were abundant and men lived happily in prosperity.

The Aranyaka were intended for those who, after a life lived in the family, wanted to retire to the forest to enjoy the joy and peace produced by the recitation of the mantras collected in this section of the Vedas. The name Aranyaka was attributed, because these writings collected the experiences and feelings that found elevation in the forest and that were expressed in mantras. A considerable portion of Aranyaka is aggregated to the Karmakanda, the section that explains the path of action, useful in carrying out sacrificial ceremonies.

The Vedas taught the Path of Action. All branches of knowledge - physics, chemistry, botany, economics, music, etc. - are dealt with by the Vedas and those teachings have to do with the outside world. For this reason the Vedas are considered "Dvaita", that is dualistic. The Upanishads have instead taught the Path of Knowledge, through introspection.

Of the four main goals of man: Justice, Wealth, Desire and Liberation - the Vedas have devoted themselves only to the first three. The Upanishads have declared that the nature of the Supreme can only be grasped by the Path of Knowledge.

Knowledge is of two types: there is Higher (spiritual) Knowledge and Lower (earthly) Knowledge. This second category of knowledge includes all human knowledge, as well as everything related to Justice, Wealth and Desire. Only Liberation is of Higher Knowledge and it is to this type of education that one must strive.

This Knowledge is found in Vedanta. The Upanishads are a completion of the Vedas, for there is all the Vedic essence in them. This is why they have been called Vedanta, the only road that leads to light and bliss. While the Vedas are in dualism, Vedanta is non-dualist (Advaita) and it is nondualism that makes Bliss experience.

In the Vedas the principle of the "Ego" predominates, while Vedanta has declared that only by eliminating the sense of "I" and "Mine" is it possible to access Realization. It is the "I" that must be eradicated; as long as it exists, it will not be possible to enter the world of Supreme Knowledge, but will remain tied to that of Lower Knowledge. Therefore, try to understand the difference between the Vedas and the Upanishads. Vedanta is the quintessence of the Vedas: it is necessary first to put into practice, then to preach, only under these conditions will it be possible to understand the principle of Advaita, that is, of Nondualism.

1) The Rig Veda

it is basically a collection of mantras and hymns of praise to the gods. In this see there are many adored deities, but the main ones are 33. This sacred text teaches unity. Encourage all men to pursue the same holy desires. The hearts of all must be impregnated with the same good impulses, all men must beat the only path of Truth, since all are nothing but the manifestation of the One. Among the various most important hymns drawn from this sacred see we have the Ganapati Prarthana, a hymn that is recited before undertaking any rite or activity, the Purusha Shuktam, a wonderful hymn that treats the creation and the Svasti Vachaka Sloka famous mantra from which it originates the prayer Samasta Loka sukino Bavanthu.

2) Yajur Veda

Its name derives from the root Yaj which has various meanings, the main ones however are "adoration of God", "charity" which grants gifts. The Yajur Veda describes methods and methods for the celebration of Yajna (Riti) and Yaga, in order to propitiate the divinities. It consists of two editorial offices, one focused on the Aditya tradition, the Sun, and the other on Brahma. The former is known as SHUKLA YAJURVEDA (White Yajurveda) and the latter with that of KRISHNA YAJURVEDA (Dark Yajurveda).

  1. Krishna Yajur Veda (Dark Yajurveda)

It included 86 branches (shakha) in the first section, each with its own explanatory texts. But most of them disappeared from human memory, due to lack of study and practice. Only four survived!

Among the most important hymns of this Vedas we have the Rudram with its 11 Anuvakam and 11 Chamakam, the Sarva Devata Gayatri

  1. Shukla Yajur Veda (White Yajurveda)

It had seventeen noteworthy branches, but they also disappeared in Time. Today we only have two! If we wanted to consider how great the importance and the extremely high sense of these two branches are, we would have to conclude that the unique value of this Veda is almost indescribable.

3) Sama Veda

Samaveda had a thousand branches, today it only has three. If a spiritual treasure of this magnitude could survive in the few remaining branches of the Vedas, how much greater would the spiritual inheritance have been with an intact heritage!

4) Atharva Veda

Atharva means stable, adamant, unalterable. This Vedas contains various mantras and magical formulas. They are celebrated as Siddha Mantra, that is, as mantras that ensure the promised effects. One of the most beautiful and well-known texts of this Veda is Ganapati Atharva Sirsham. The Divinity who presides over them is called Gayatri Mantra, also known as Gayatri Devi. She is worshiped as the one who has the Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda for her feet, for passive part the aspect of stability, the Science of interpretation and research and for activity the Atharva Veda.

An example of Sai Baba makes the concept clearer:

The Atharva Veda is like an immense tree of which the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Sama Veda are the trunk and the branches, while the sruti and the Puranas are the leaves.

The Sages Atharva and Angiras, who had a vision of the mantras of this Vedas have been able to identify the dual nature of God and Creation: It can appear pleasant or terrible according to the credentials of the one who experiences it. But ultimately and in the deepest sense, these mantras are intended to reveal the atma and promoters of peace and prosperity for mankind.

Sathya Sai Baba in a 1987 speech says in this regard:

<< The well-being and prosperity of the world depend on the Vedas, every human being must have reverence for the Vedas and take the commitment to support and promote them in a correct way. Do not be afraid, be fearless in divulging them. >>

The Vedas, even if repeated, were ignored and this led to the destruction of the knowledge and wisdom of the Indians, while the closure of mind was enormously accentuated. More and more those who do not have love and respect for the Vedas and, even among the Brahmins, who should be the custodians, the interest is declining. Who are the Brahmins? Brahma means incarnation of the mantra. The name Brahmin is given to those who contemplate Vedic mantras and constantly reflect on them; but today's Brahmins have turned away from God, the true incarnation of the mantra. Contaminated by a modern education, by an invasion of desires, by greed, by attachment to money, by the lack of noble ideals and by petty interests, they have forgotten the divinity that is in them. As a result, the world has lost peace and a state of well-being.

What is meant by "Veda"? One of the meanings is "awareness", another is "intelligence", a third is "discrimination". Anyone wishing to develop their intelligence and discernment should learn the Vedas. Today intelligence is used only to ask such questions: how can I have more prestige? How to be richer? What to do to have more comfort, more tranquility and more possessions?

And so people do nothing but increase desires, while they do not have thoughts like: I want to become a virtuous person, I want to be upright, I want to follow the path that leads to Divinity, I want to get to God.

To pursue petty projects men devote themselves to ignorance and selfishness, losing sight of their human nature. They are human beings only in terms of external form, but not in terms of content. What contribution can such people make to the world? The Vedas have always tried to build the man capable of emanating humanity and not of beings who are human only in appearance.

Today a large number of people recite the Vedas without understanding their meaning. One can taste the fullness of bliss only when one fully understands the meaning of the chanting mantras. If you just repeat the name of a delicious food, without ever tasting it, you won't get any strength or satisfaction from it. The sweet taste of the Vedas can only be felt when one has put into practice what one reads and sings. It is not enough to recite them to have a full understanding of Divinity. The complete vision of God will be granted only when the meaning of the Vedic mantras is lived in practice.

The vision of the Vedas is broad, full of noble thoughts and feelings based on wisdom. The Vedas teach us to have an equanimous mind in every circumstance of life and have a sense of unity entirely, inducing us to be imperturbable in joy as in pain, unfortunately the people of today mechanically recite the Vedas without understanding their meaning. If at least we understood a hymn or even a single mantra.

The meaning of sacrificial rites

It would be better not to talk about what has not been understood in its right meaning, which is lost when misleading interpretations are followed, just as the sense of sacrifice that is accomplished is also lost. For example, in the Rigveda the description of 33 Divinities is made, among which the Sun is the most important. Each of these forms were seen to have limbs and limbs, as if they were human beings. The aspect of God expressed in the Sun is very popular and other names such as Ritwik, Hota and Brahma have been attributed to it. Sacrifices have been offered at this divine manifestation. "Agni", the God of Fire, is nothing but an image of the Sun and has parents.

Thyagaraja (a great sage) exhorted: "O mind, understand the meaning of Rama and then sing it."

What does it mean to sing Rama? "Ra" refers to the Atma, that is, to the Spirit and "Ma" to the Jivatma, that is to the soul of each individual. The intrinsic meaning of the word Rama emerges in the conjunction of the Lord with the individual Soul; it is the combination of the form of the Lord with the devotee.

Currently the study of the Vedas is very generic and broadly defined, while neglecting how to apply them in daily life. And so, from birth to death, you spend a life on the Vedas, without even knowing them thoroughly, This will be the topic we will discuss tomorrow. All that has been prescribed by the Vedas is for life; everything is a hymn to the Name of the Lord: accompany him in contemplation, remembrance and recitation of the Name. In this joyful psalmody, by thinking of the Lord and praising His Name, you will have His vision.

The way traced by the Vedas

To reach the ultimate and eternal goal of this finite world, follow the sacred path indicated by the Vedas. They teach the way to sanctify life in the world. The Vedas do not promise you bliss, but indicate in what circumstances you can obtain it: only through sacrifice will you obtain liberation. However, the Vedas also expose a number of ways to obtain temporary joys. If you take food when you are hungry, feel joy. But how long does it last? A few hours later you are back with hunger pangs again.

The Vedas said that the appetite is satisfied with food and they describe how to take it, how much should be taken and in what proportion. All of this is taught in Chamaka.

Namaka teaches how to make sacrifices and sacrifices. One of the words used in the sacrifice is "Namaskara", the true meaning of which is "This is not mine". There is a nice difference between, "mama", (mine) and "namama" (not mine)! This "mine" is a disease.

The Vedas have explained "namama", not mine, not this, not this, not this. I am not the physical body; I am not the mind; I am not the intellect; I am not the memory; I'm not this limited individual. If you keep denying "I am not this, I am not this, I am not this"; if everything is Divine Essence, what remains? Mind, intellect, senses, body have all been able to carry out their activity only thanks to the existence of the Spirit, the Atma. Every effort must be made to understand Him.

This is a knowledge found in the final part of the Vedas, Vedanta.

At least a little effort should be made every now and then to experience the truth of Vedanta. As far as you can, dedicate yourself to good deeds. Be at the service of the whole society.

Repeat the Name of the Lord, do nothing mechanical or forced, do nothing out of jealousy, do not do anything by force. Coercion is of no use; let the only force be that of love that comes from the heart. We must aim at inner strength rather than outer strength. Do everything with love in your heart!

On August 9, 2006, Sai Baba said, "It is Bhagavān's decision that the recitation of the Vedas be done in all countries, by all, by all social classes, by all communities and by all individuals!"

“Regular study of the Vēdas and the practice of their teachings confer all forms of abundance. The Vēdas are a gift from God for the well-being of all humanity. The Vēdas do not distinguish between religion, caste or nationality. Vedic mantras can be sung by everyone. It is Swami's desire that the Vēdas spread in every country so that every human being beyond religion, caste or nationality can learn and sing them. »

The Vedic hymns taken from the four Vedas that are still kept today to be studied and recited are the following:

  • Ganapati Prarthana

  • Sri Rudram

  • 1) Namakam

  • 2) Chamakam

  • Purusha Shuktam

  • Na Karmana

  • Siksavalli

  • Atma Shuktam

  • Nilashuktam

  • Bhrguvalli

  • You have to Shuktam

  • Bhu Shuktam

  • Pavamana Shuktam

  • Ayusya Shuktam

  • Isavasyopanisat

  • Ganesha Shuktam

  • Proksana Mantram

  • Sivopasana Mantrah

  • Durga Shuktam

  • Narayana Shuktam

  • Ganapati Atharva Siersam

  • Visnu Shuktam

  • Laghunyasam

  • Hiranyagarbha Shuktam

  • Medha Shuktam

  • Bhagya Shuktam

  • Navaraha Shuktam

  • Sri Shuktam

  • Brahmanandavalli

  • Mantra Puspam

  • Sarva Devata Gayatri

  • Durva Shuktam

  • Udakashanti Mantrah

  • Suryopanisat

  • Narayana Upanishad

  • Swastika Vachaka Sloka

  • Ksama Prarthana

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