“Our music tradition [Indian] in the North as well as in the South, remembers and cherishes its origin in the Samaveda… the musical version of the Rigveda.”
The Vedas (“Knowledge”) are the oldest Hindu texts. Hindus regard the Vedas as having been directly revealed to or “heard” by gifted and inspired seers (rishis) who memorized them in the most perfect human language, Sanskrit. Most of the religion of the Vedic texts, which revolves around rituals of fire sacrifice, has been eclipsed by later Hindu doctrines and practices. But even today, as it has been for several millennia, parts of the Vedas are memorized and repeated as a religious act of great merit. certain Vedic hymns (mantras) are always recited at traditional weddings, at ceremonies for the dead, and in temple rituals. Veda, (Sanskrit: “Knowledge”) a collection of poems or hymns composed in archaic Sanskrit by Indo-European-speaking peoples who lived in northwest India during the 2nd millennium BCE. No definite date can be ascribed to the composition of the Vedas, but the period of about 1500–1200 BCE is acceptable to most scholars. The tales tell humans did not compose the revered compositions of the Vedas, but that God taught the Vedic hymns to the sages, who then handed them down through generations by word of mouth. Also, the followers of the Hindu dharma regard the Vedas as Apaurusheya; meaning, not of a man or impersonal and according to the Vedanta and Mimamsa schools of philosophy, the Vedas are considered as svatah pramana (In Sanskrit, meaning “self-evident means of knowledge”). Some schools of thought even assert that the Vedas as of eternal creation, mainly in the Mimasa tradition. In the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma, the Supreme Creator. However, the Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity. The hymns formed a liturgical body that in part grew up around the soma ritual and sacrifice and were recited or chanted during rituals. They praised a wide pantheon of gods, some of whom personified natural and cosmic phenomena, such as fire (Agni), the Sun (Surya and Savitri), dawn (Ushas, a goddess), storms (the Rudras), and rain (Indra), while others represented abstract qualities such as friendship (Mitra), moral authority (Varuna), kingship (Indra), and speech (Vach, a goddess)
The components of the Vedas
Vedic literature ranges from the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE) to the Upanishads (c. 1000–600 BCE) and provides the primary documentation for Indian religion before Buddhism and the early texts of classical Hinduism.
The most important texts are the four collections (Samhitas) known as the Veda or Vedas: -the Rigveda (“Wisdom of the Verses”), the Yajurveda (“Wisdom of the Sacrificial Formulas”), the Samaveda (“Wisdom of the Chants”), and the Atharvaveda (“Wisdom of the Atharvan Priests”). Of these, the Rigveda is the oldest. In the Vedic texts following these earliest compilations—the Brahmanas (discussions of the ritual), Aranyakas (“Books of the Forest”), and Upanishads (secret teachings concerning cosmic equations)—the interest in the early Rigvedic gods wanes, and those deities become little more than accessories to the Vedic rite. Belief in several deities, one of whom is deemed supreme, is replaced by the sacrificial pantheism of Prajapati (“Lord of Creatures”), who is the All. In the Upanishads, Prajapati merges with the concept of brahman, the supreme reality and substance of the universe (not to be confused with the Hindu god Brahma), replacing any specific personification and framing the mythology with abstract philosophy. The entire corpus of Vedic literature—the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads—constitutes the revealed scripture of Hinduism, or the Shruti (“Heard”). All other works—in which the actual doctrines and practices of Hindus are encoded—are recognized as having been composed by human authors and are thus classed as Smriti (“Remembered”). The categorization of the Vedas, however, is capable of elasticity. First, the Shruti is not exactly closed; Upanishads, for example, have been composed until recent times. Second, the texts categorized as Smriti inevitably claim to be in accord with the authoritative Shruti and thus worthy of the same respect and sacredness. For Hindus, the Vedas symbolize unchallenged authority and tradition.
The foremost collection, or Samhita, of such poems, from which the hotri (“reciter”) drew the material for his recitations, is the Rigveda (“Knowledge of the Verses”). Sacred formulas known as mantras were recited by the adhvaryu, the priest responsible for the sacrificial fire and for carrying out the ceremony. Those mantras and verses were drawn into the Samhita known as the Yajurveda (“Knowledge of the Sacrifice”). A third group of priests, headed by the udgatri (“chanter”), performed melodic recitations linked to verses that were drawn almost entirely from the Rigveda but were arranged as a separate Samhita, the Samaveda (“Knowledge of the Chants”). Those three Vedas—Rig, Yajur, and Sama—were known as the trayi-vidya (“threefold knowledge”). A fourth collection of hymns, magic spells, and incantations is known as the Atharvaveda (“Knowledge of the Fire Priest”), which includes various local traditions and remains partly outside the Vedic sacrifice. Vedic literature ranges from the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE) to the Upanishads (c. 1000–600 BCE) and provides the primary documentation for Indian religion before Buddhism and the early texts of classical Hinduism. The most important texts are the four collections (Samhitas) known as the Veda or Vedas: the Rigveda (“Wisdom of the Verses”), the Yajurveda (“Wisdom of the Sacrificial Formulas”), the Samaveda (“Wisdom of the Chants”), and the Atharvaveda (“Wisdom of the Atharvan Priests”). Of these, the Rigveda is the oldest. In the Vedic texts following these earliest compilations—the Brahmanas (discussions of the ritual), Aranyakas (“Books of the Forest”), and Upanishads (secret teachings concerning cosmic equations)—the interest in the early Rigvedic gods wanes, and those deities become little more than accessories to the Vedic rite. Belief in several deities, one of whom is deemed supreme, is replaced by the sacrificial pantheism of Prajapati (“Lord of Creatures”), who is the All. In the Upanishads, Prajapati merges with the concept of brahman, the supreme reality and substance of the universe (not to be confused with the Hindu god Brahma), replacing any specific personification and framing the mythology with abstract philosophy.
The Four Vedas
Considered as the earliest literary records of Sanskrit Literature, the Vedas compiled by Rishi Vyasa is believed to be the oldest Scriptures in the Hindu dharma. The Vedas are the large body of vast knowledge and text; the religious and spiritual teachings of which encompasses all aspects of life.
There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Atharvaveda and all of them together are attributed to as ‘Chaturveda’. The Rig Veda serves as the principal one and all three but the Arthaveda agree with one another in form, language, and content. Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – The Samhitas, most ancient layer of text in the Vedas, consisting of mantras, hymns, prayers, and benedictions which has in literary terms put together or joined the other three texts; the Aranyakas which constitute the philosophy behind the ritual sacrifice, the Brahmanas which inturn has the commentary on hymns of four Vedas and the Upasanas, the one that focuses on worship.
The Rig Veda
Rig Veda, one of the oldest texts of the Indo-Aryan Civilization still extant, is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic hymns. Two Sanskrit words Rig and Veda constituting it translates to ‘praise or shine’ and ‘knowledge’ respectively. A collection of 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten different Mandalas (or the books; Sanskrit), it is the principal and oldest of the four Vedas. The cultural-linguistic records; mainly the variation in form of Sanskrit used (from present-day) point out the origin of the Rig Veda to have been around 1600 BCE, though a wider approximation of 1700–1100 BCE has also been given by experts. The initial written Rig Veda dates back to 1st millennium BCE although the extant ones today date back only to somewhere between 11th and 14th centuries; primarily due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript materials which were either palm leaves or birch barks. Vedas, before the initial codification of which took place, were generationally handed over by the rich oral literary tradition, which was then a precise and elaborate technique. The earliest texts of the Rig Veda were composed in the greater Punjab (Northwest India and Pakistan), and the more philosophical later texts were most likely composed in or around the region of Haryana (Modern-day State of India). Like the other three Vedas, the believers of the Hindu dharma regard the Rig Veda too as Apauruṣeya; meaning, not of a man or impersonal and also not belonging to a particular author. The hymns and the verses were written by the Rishis (or the Sages) and as the ardent believers of the Hindu dharma claim the revered Lord himself taught the Vedic hymns to the sages, who then handed them down through generations by word of mouth. Rig Veda has been sub-classified into four major text types – the Samhitas or the hymns that sing the praises of the Rig Vedic deities, some of whom are Indra, a heroic deity and the king of the highest heaven called Saudharmakalpa who slain his enemy Vatra, Agni- the sacrificial fire, Soma, the sacred potion or the plant which was a fundamental offering of the Vedic sacrifices and Ishwara, the supreme god-just to mention a few; the Aranyakas which constitute the philosophy behind the ritual sacrifice, the Brahmanas which in-turn has the commentary of the ancient sacred rituals and the Upasanas, the one that focuses on worship. The Mandalas of the Rigveda which are ten in number and were composed by poets from different priestly groups over a period of several centuries is structured based on clear principles – the Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, and other gods, singing the praises of the Lord. As the text progresses, the hymns meticulous with meters from jagati and tristubh to anustubh and Gayatri reveal the history of the Vedic period; hinting to the primitive slash and burn agriculture, cattle raising and horse-racing, deeply aesthetic society practising henotheism (with substantial differences from monotheism) where they believed one God but the accepted its manifested deities, vividly evident from the central thought of the followers of the Hindu dharma ‘Brahman is everywhere, God inside everybody.’Rigveda, in contemporary Hindu dharma, has been a reminder of the ancient cultural heritage and point of pride for Hindus, with some hymns still in use in major rites of passage ceremonies, but to some experts, the literal acceptance of most of the textual essence is long gone. Louis Renou wrote that the text is a distant object, and “even in the most orthodox domains, the reverence to the Vedas has come to be a simple raising of the hat”. Musicians and dance groups celebrate the text as a mark of Hindu heritage, and these have remained popular among the Hindus for a long time. However, the contemporary Hindu beliefs are distant from the precepts in the ancient layer of Rigveda Samhitas.
The words of Rig Veda put to music, and are to be sung rather than to just be read or recited. Sama Veda, also the Veda of Melodies and Chants, is the third in the series of the four principle scriptures of the Hindu dharma – Four Vedas. The Sama Veda, divided into two major parts, first to include the four melody collections, or the Saman, the songs and the latter the Arcika, or the verse books a collection (Samhita) of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses. A liturgical text, relating to public worship, all but 75 verses of the total 1875 is derived from the Rig Veda. The ancient core Hindu scripture, of which only three recensions, the early edited versions have survived, the research scholars point out its existing compilations to have been originated in the post-Rigvedic period, dating approximately around 1200 or 1000 BCE, also the period being contemporary to Atharvaveda as well as Yajur Veda. But at the same time, many scholars are quick to point out that no specific date of creation can be attributed to the Vedas, which reconciles with the claim of ardent believers of the Hindu dharma of the Veda being Apauruṣeya; meaning, not of a man or impersonal and also not belonging to a particular author. Widely referred to as the ‘Book of Songs’, it is derived from two words, Saman, of Sanskrit, meaning Song and Veda, meaning Knowledge. It is the Sama Veda, that has served as the principal roots of the classical Indian music and dance tradition, and proudly the tradition boasts itself as the oldest in the world. The verses of Sama Veda, as the tradition had followed, is sung using specifically indicated melodies called Samagana by Udgatar priests at rituals dedicated to different diets. As it is the words of Rig Veda put to music, no wonder, alike the Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with singing the hymns of Rig Vedic deities, Indra, a heroic deity and the king of the highest heaven called Saudharmakalpa who slain his enemy Vatra, Agni- the sacrificial fire, Soma, the sacred potion or the plant which was a fundamental offering of the Vedic sacrifices and Ishwara, the supreme god-just to mention a few; but in the latter part shifts to abstract speculations and philosophy, the nature and existence of the universe and God himself are questioned and so are the social and religious duties of a man in the society. The purpose of Samaveda clearly is liturgical. Two of the 108 Upanishads still extant are embedded in the Sama Veda, namely; Chandayoga Upanishad and Kena Upanishad. Upanishads, in a way the essence of Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism and are also shared in some other religions like Buddhism and Jainism. The Chandayoga Upanishad speculates about the origin of the universe and about space and time. Three proficient men in their Udgithas or chanting put forward some logical speculations even modern science could not outrightly reject. The Kena Upanishad tells us about how every man born has an innate longing for spiritual knowledge and that bliss comes only from spiritual attainment.
Such has been the influence of Sama-veda on Indian classical music and dance. So much so that the very essence of classical Indian music and dance tradition is rooted in the sonic and musical dimensions of the Sama-Veda itself. The Samaveda, in addition to singing and chanting, mentions instruments and also the specific rules and regulations of playing them, so as to preserves the sanctity of those ancient instruments. If one were to summarize the significance of the Sama Veda in a single line, Sama Veda, in contemporary Hinduism, has been a reminder of the majestic ancient cultural heritage and a point of pride for Hindus; not to mention that it still finds its usage in today’s society.
Yajur Veda, of Sanskrit origin, is composed of Yajus and Veda; the two words translate to ‘prose mantras dedicated to religious reverence or veneration’ and knowledge respectively. Third of the fourth canonical texts of the Hindu dharma, this liturgical collection is famous as the ‘book of rituals’. Of the ancient Vedic text, it is a compilation of ritual offering formulas or the prose mantras to be chanted or muttered repeatedly by a priest while an individual performs the ascertained ritual actions before the sacrificial fire or the Yajna. It has been, since the Vedic times, the primary source of information about sacrifices and associated rituals, more importantly, it has served as a practical guidebook for the priest, or the Purohits, as referred to as in Hindu dharma who execute the acts of ceremonial religion. The scholarly consensus points out the bulk of Yajur Veda dating to 1200 or 1000 BCE, which when analyzed is younger than Rig Veda, whose origin has been approximated around 1700 BCE, but is contemporaneous to the hymns of Sama deva and Atharva Veda. However, very much like the other Vedic texts, no definite date can be ascribed to its composition, rather they are believed to be of generational descend from Vedic periods by literary oral tradition, which was then a precise and elaborate technique. Also due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript materials; the birch barks or palm leaves, no certain time period in the history can be ascertained to the origin of Yajurveda. The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity.The Yajurveda is broadly grouped into * Krishna Yajurveda and Shukla Yajurveda, also referred to as the Black Yajurveda and the latter as the White. In reference to the verses of the Krishna Yajurveda being un-arranged, unclear, and disparate or dissimilar, the collection is too often referred to as Black Yajurveda. In contrast, the well-arranged and imparting a particular meaning, the *Shukla Yajurveda is known as the White Yajurveda. The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda, Samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrowed from and built upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda. The middle layer includes the Satapatha Brahmana, one of the largest Brahmana texts in the Vedic collection and The youngest laye r of Yajurveda text includes the largest collection of primary Upanishads six in number, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy. These include the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Isha Upanishad, the Taittiriya Upanishad, just to name a few.
The fourth and final of the revered text of the Hindu dharma, the Vedas, the Atharvaveda, in short, is depicted as “knowledge storehouse of Atharvāṇas” Atharvāṇas meaning, formulas, and spells intended to counteract diseases and calamities, or “the procedures for everyday life”. A late addition to the Vedic scriptures, the word owes its roots to Sanskrit and the widely used epithet for the scripture is ‘the Veda of Magic formulas’. As it sides with popular culture and tradition of the day rather than preaching religious and spiritual teachings, it is more often viewed not in connection with the three other Vedas, but as a discrete scripture. In popular context with being widely popular as the Veda of Magic formulas, it is a mixture of hymns, chants, spells, and prayers; and involves issues such as healing of illnesses, prolonging life, and as some claim also the black magic and rituals for removing maladies and anxieties.However, many books of the Atharvaveda are dedicated to rituals without magic and to theosophy, a philosophy in itself asserting that the knowledge of God can be achieved through spiritual practice or intuition. It is a collection of 730 hymns with about 6,000 mantras, divided into 20 books, with three Upanishads embedded to it; Mundaka Upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, and Prashna Upanishad. Though not all but a considerable part of it is the adaptation of Rig Veda, the most ancient of all Vedic Scripture. As the tales have it and alike other three Vedas, the believers of the Hindu dharma regard the Atharvaveda too as Apauruṣeya; meaning, not of a man or impersonal and also not belonging to a particular author. The hymns and the verses were written by the Rishis (or the Sages) and as the ardent believers of the Hindu dharma claim the revered Lord himself taught the Vedic hymns to the sages, who then handed them down through generations by word of mouth However, no definite date can be ascribed to the composition of any Veda as the generational descend of the texts in Vedic periods was by literary oral tradition, the core text of the Atharvaveda falls within the classical Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, during the 2nd millennium BC – younger than the Rigveda, and roughly contemporaneous with the Yajurveda mantras and the Sāmaveda. The Samhitas in the Atharva Veda have written accounts of Surgical and medical speculations, it includes mantras and verses for treating a variety of ailments. For instance, the verses in hymn 4.15 of the recently discovered Paippalada version of the Atharvaveda, it discusses how to deal with an open fracture, and how to wrap the wound with Rohini plant (Ficus Infectoria, native to India). And so have speculations been made about remedy from herbal medicines, on the nature of man, life, good and evil and even spells and prayers to gain a lover. And some hymns were even about peaceful prayers and philosophical speculations, the origin of the universe, and the existence of God himself. It is indeed a collection of all sort of speculations that quite often leaves us bewildered. As mentioned earlier, the contents of the Atharvaveda quite contrast with the other Vedas and is often viewed as a discrete scripture rather than in connection with the three Vedas. The 19th century German Indologist and historian Albrecht Weber has best put it as, “The spirit of the two collections [Rigveda, Atharvaveda] is indeed widely different. In the Rigveda there breathes a lively natural feeling, a warm love for nature; while in the Atharva there prevails, on the contrary, only an anxious dread of her evil spirits and their magical powers. In the Rigveda we find the people in a state of free activity and independence; in the Atharva we see it bound in the fetters of the hierarchy and superstition.” The Atharva Veda still finds its relevance in today’s contemporary society as it has been a pioneer in influencing modern medicine and healthcare, culture and religious celebrations, and even literary tradition in the Indian sub-continent as it contains the oldest known mention of the Indic literary genre. The fourth and final of four Vedas still is one of the most cherished books for any Vedic scholar today.
Importance of the Vedas
The Rigveda The religion reflected in the Rigveda exhibits belief in several deities and the propitiation of divinities associated with the sky and the atmosphere. Of these, the Indo-European sky god Dyaus was little regarded. More important were such gods as Indra (chief of the gods), Varuna (guardian of the cosmic order), Agni (the sacrificial fire), and Surya (the Sun). The main ritual activity referred to in the Rigveda is the soma sacrifice. Soma was a hallucinogenic beverage prepared from a now-unknown plant; it has been suggested that the plant was a mushroom and that later another plant was substituted for that agaric fungus, which had become difficult to obtain. The Rigveda contains a few clear references to animal sacrifice, which probably became more widespread later. There is some doubt whether the priests formed a separate social class at the beginning of the Rigvedic period, but, even if they did, the prevailingly loose boundaries of class allowed a man of nonpriestly parentage to become a priest. By the end of the period, however, the priests had come to form a separate class of specialists, the Brahmans, who claimed superiority over all the other social classes, including the Rajanyas (later Kshatriyas), the warrior class. The Rigveda contains little about birth rituals but does address at greater length the rites of marriage and disposal of the dead, which were basically the same as in later Hinduism. Marriage was an indissoluble bond cemented by a lengthy and solemn ritual centring on the domestic hearth. Although other forms were practiced, the main funeral rite of the rich was cremation. One hymn, describing cremation rites, shows that the wife of the dead man lay down beside him on the funeral pyre but was called upon to return to the land of the living before it was lighted. This may have been a survival from an earlier period when the wife was actually cremated with her husband. Among other features of Rigvedic religious life that were important for later generations were the munis, who apparently were trained in various magic arts and believed to be capable of supernatural feats, such as levitation. They were particularly associated with the god Rudra, a deity connected with mountains and storms and more feared than loved. Rudra developed into the Hindu god Shiva, and his prestige increased steadily. The same is true of Vishnu, a solar deity in the Rigveda who later became one of the most important and popular divinities of Hinduism.
The Yajurveda and Samaved The Yajurveda contains the lines, usually in brief prose, with which the executive priest (adhvaryu) accompanies his ritual activities, addressing the implements he handles and the offering he pours and admonishing other priests to do their invocations. The Samaveda is a collection of verses from the Rigveda (and a few new ones) that were chanted with certain fixed melodies.
The Atharvaveda The Atharvaveda stands apart from other Vedic texts. It contains both hymns and prose passages and is divided into 20 books. Books 1–7 contain magical prayers for precise purposes: spells for a long life, cures, curses, love charms, prayers for prosperity, charms for kingship and Brahmanhood, and expiations for evil actions. They reflect the magical-religious concerns of everyday life and are on a different level than the Rigveda, which glorifies the great gods and their liturgy. Books 8–12 contain similar texts but also include cosmological hymns that continue those of the Rigveda and provide a transition to the more-complex speculations of the Upanishads. Books 13–20 celebrate the cosmic principle (book 13) and present marriage prayers (book 14), funeral formulas (book 18), and other magical and ritual formulas. This text is an extremely important source of information for practical religion, particularly where it complements the Rigveda. Many rites are also laid down in the “Kausika-sutra” (the manual of the Kausika family of priests) of the Atharvaveda.
CONVERSATION BETWEEN A YOUNG GIRL AND A HINDU
Well, it’s Ur Unique Culture…. HINDUISM…!
Why I’m Hindu ?
A Hindu was flying from JFK New York Airport to SFO San Francisco Airport CA to attend a meeting at Monterey, CA.
An American girl was sitting on the right side, near window seat. It indeed was a long journey – it would take nearly seven hours.
He was surprised to see the young girl reading a Bible unusual of young Americans. After some time she smiled and we had few acquaintances talk.He told her that I am from India
Then suddenly the girl asked: ‘What’s your faith?’ ‘What?’ He didn’t understand the question.
‘I mean, what’s your religion? Are you a Christian? Or a Muslim?’
‘No!’ He replied, ‘He am neither Christian nor Muslim’.
Apparently she appeared shocked to listen to that. ‘Then who are you?’ “I am a Hindu”, He said.
She looked at him as if she was seeing a caged animal. She could not understand what He was talking about.
A common man in Europe or US knows about Christianity and Islam, as they are the leading religions of the world today.
But a Hindu, what?
He explained to her – I am born to a Hindu father and Hindu mother. Therefore, I am a Hindu by birth.
‘Who is your prophet?’ she asked.
‘We don’t have a prophet,’ He replied.
‘What’s your Holy Book?’
‘We don’t have a single Holy Book, but we have hundreds and thousands of philosophical and sacred scriptures,’
‘Oh, come on at least tell me who is your God?’
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘Like we have Jesus and Muslims have Allah – don’t you have a God?’
He thought for a moment. Muslims and Christians believe one God (Male God) who created the world and takes an interest in the humans who inhabit it. Her mind is conditioned with that kind of belief.
According to her (or anybody who doesn’t know about Hinduism), a religion needs to have one Prophet, one Holy book and one God. The mind is so conditioned and rigidly narrowed down to such a notion that anything else is not acceptable. He understood her perception and concept about faith. You can’t compare Hinduism with any of the present leading religions where you have to believe in one concept of God.
He tried to explain to her: ‘You can believe in one God and he can be a Hindu. You may believe in multiple deities and still you can be a Hindu. What’s more – you may not believe in God at all, still you can be a Hindu. An Atheist can also be a Hindu.’
This sounded very crazy to her. She couldn’t imagine a religion so unorganized, still surviving for thousands of years, even after onslaught from foreign forces.
‘I don’t understand but it seems very interesting. Are you religious?’
What can He tell to this American girl?
He said: ‘I do not go to Temple regularly. I do not make any regular rituals. I have learned some of the rituals in my younger days. I still enjoy doing it sometimes’.
‘Enjoy? Are you not afraid of God?’
‘God is a friend. No- I am not afraid of God. Nobody has made any compulsions on me to perform these rituals regularly.’
She thought for a while and then asked: ‘Have you ever thought of converting to any other religion?’
‘Why should I? Even if I challenge some of the rituals and faith in Hinduism, nobody can convert me from Hinduism. Because, being a Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively, without conditioning. I remain as a Hindu never by force, but choice.’ He told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an organized controlling body like the Church or the Order, I added. There is no institution or authority..
‘So, you don’t believe in God?’ she wanted everything in black and white.
‘I didn’t say that. I do not discard the divine reality. Our scripture, or Sruthis or Smrithis – Vedas and Upanishads or the Gita – say God might be there or he might not be there. But we pray to that supreme abstract authority (Para Brahma) that is the creator of this universe.’
‘Why can’t you believe in one personal God?’
‘We have a concept – abstract – not a personal god. The concept or notion of a personal God, hiding behind the clouds of secrecy, telling us irrational stories through few men whom he sends as messengers, demanding us to worship him or punish us, does not make sense. I don’t think that God is as silly as an autocratic emperor who wants others to respect him or fear him.’ He told her that such notions are just fancies of less educated human imagination and fallacies, adding that generally ethnic religious practitioners in Hinduism believe in personal Gods. The entry level Hinduism has over-whelming superstitions too. The philosophical side of Hinduism negates all superstitions.
‘Good that you agree God might exist. You told that you pray. What is your prayer then?’
‘Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,’
लोका समस्ता सुखिनो भवन्तु !!! ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः !!!
‘Funny,’ she laughed, ‘What does it mean?’
‘May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Let there be Peace, Peace,and Peace every where.’
‘Hmm ..very interesting. I want to learn more about this religion. It is so democratic, broad-minded and free’ she exclaimed.
‘The fact is Hinduism is a religion of the individual, for the individual and by the individual with its roots in the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. It is all about an individual approaching a personal God in an individual way according to his temperament and inner evolution – it is as simple as that.’
‘How does anybody convert to Hinduism?’
‘Nobody can convert you to Hinduism, because it is not a religion, but it is a Culture, a way of living life, a set of beliefs and practices. Everything is acceptable in Hinduism because there is no single Authority or Organization either to accept you or to reject you or to oppose you on behalf of Hinduism.’
He told her – if you look for meaning in life, don’t look for it in religions; don’t go from one cult to another or from one Guru to the next.
For a real seeker, He told her, the Bible itself gives guidelines when it says ‘ Kingdom of God is within you.’ I reminded her of Christ’s teaching about the love that we have for each other. That is where you can find the meaning of life.
Loving each and every creation of the God is absolute and real. ‘Isavasyam idam sarvam’ Isam (the God) is present (inhabits) here everywhere – nothing exists separate from the God, because God is present everywhere. Respect every living being and non-living things as God. That’s what Hinduism teaches you.
Hinduism is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas. It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them, God is timeless and formless entity.
Ancestors of today’s Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these truths are opened to anyone who seeks them. But there is a section of Hindus who are either superstitious or turned fanatic to make this an organized religion like others. The British coin the word ‘Hindu’ and considered it as a religion.
He said: ‘Religions have become an MLM (multi-level- marketing) industry that has been trying to expand the market share by conversion. The biggest business in today’s world is Spirituality. Hinduism is no exception’
He said “I am a Hindu primarily because it professes Non-violence – ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma’ means – Non violence is the highest duty. I am a Hindu because it doesn’t condition my mind with any faith system.
A man/woman who changes his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life.
In Hinduism we don’t have any managers of god.
Some say “Be Muslim”.Some say “Be Christian”. Vedas say “Be Human”.
Some say “Follow Prophet”.Some say “Follow Jesus”. Vedas say “Follow Conscience”.
Some say “God is over 7th Sky”. Some say “God is over 4th Sky”. Vedas say “God is with me, within me”.
Some say “God tests”. Some say “God punishes”. Some say “God forgives”. Vedas say “God supports”.
Hinduism is the original rather a natural yet a logical and satisfying spiritual, personal and a scientific way of living a life.
Hinduism is not a religion,its a culture,a way of life.
COVID and “VEDAS”
Virus prevention in ancient Hindu scriptures
This is just a beginning. The war is not yet started. Be prepared for anything. Mark my words – No GOD can save you from viruses. For, viruses are also part of Brahmam (Cosmos). It also has divinity in it. But you can easily prevent virus infection.
How? According to authentic Vedic scriptures, there are three major causes for the diseases: 1. Annarasaja (diseases come from food), 2.Dosham (Tridoshas as per Ayurveda, you know it) and 3.Krimijanya (diseases from pathogens and microbes). Virus infections are Krimijanya. Krimi means worms, pathogens, and microbes. There are two types of krimis: (1) drishtah (that you can see with eyes or equipment) and (2) adristah (you can’t see even with an ordinary microscope). Those even could be virtual ones. Classical Ayurveda discusses about these worms and how to prevent it.
As per scriptures, the adristah krimi can cause physical and mental diseases. A doctor once told me: “Uday, Virus can’t create mental diseases.” But I guess, viruses can effect neurons, axons to cause the release of neurotransmitters which would affect the thoughts. But, it is a different subject and let’s discuss it later. Science has proved that viruses create a lot of diseases in the human body. Elsewhere in the scriptures, it is mentioned that viruses come under the category of ‘achethanam’ (life but no consciousness) whereas a human is under chethanam (life with consciousness). As per Hindu scriptures, everything has life and the presence of divinity in it (Isavasyam idam sarvam).
As we have learned, viruses are small obligate intracellular parasites, which by definition contain either a RNA or DNA genome surrounded by a protective, virus-coded protein coat. It develops ‘chethana’ the moment it gets into contact with a body with ‘chethana’.
As modern humans, we inhabit the earth and destroy it for our pleasure. Similarly, a virus gets into our body considers it as just a host to inhabit and reproduce. Unlike humans, it doesn’t consciously destroy the host. There are millions of viruses inside our body, happily living and co-existing. However, the body reacts to certain types of viruses only. When aggressive-reaction of the human body towards the external object creates the problem, we fall sick.
The Mahabharata Santi Parva Section XV says: “There are many creatures that are so minute that their existence can only be inferred. With the falling of the eyelids alone, they are destroyed.”
Chhandogya Upanishad also discusses the birth of small creatures that live for a few hours and pass away. Their life is so short, of such an insignificant duration that one may say that they are born and then die. When you are seeing them being born, they are dead also at the same time. So short is the life of these creatures.
The entire universe has billions of viruses in it. You can’t destroy them. They are much more powerful than human beings. They can mutate, become powerful and attack us again. So, the only way to survive is to prevent them from attacking us.
How to prevent viruses?
Simple – follow the Brahminical way of living.
It has nothing to do with today’s caste Brahmins! Brahminica l way of living is irrespective of caste, sex, creed or religion. Brahminical means just a scientific way of living with an understanding that everything is Brahmam (cosmos), which exists inside and outside. There is nothing other than Brahmam. It doesn’t differentiate between humans and viruses. For Brahmam everything is inclusive. It doesn’t destroy viruses to support human life.
Hence, our ancestors have developed a way of life in tune with the Dharma of Brahmam. We call it Dharmic way. (Dharma = duty, responsibility, right, and privilege together).
1. First and foremost: Get up at Brahma Muhurta (Some people call it Saraswati Yamam) – that’s up to 48 minutes before Sunrise. After your daily routines, expose yourself to the rising sun and do Surya namaskar if possible. No one needs to explain the benefits of Sunlight. Or at least do tharpanam – offering gratitude to sun or Gods that you believe. If you are non-believer, just be thankful for solar energy. According to Hindu scriptures, Surya is depicted as the destroyer of Krimis (pathogenic organisms).
2. After the bath, don’t touch anyone and don’t let others touch you. Hindus have been following this for the last 5000 years but the rest of the world or ignorant self-acclaimed pseudos abused it as “UNTOUCHABILITY”. No one has the right to touch your body and you don’t have the right to touch others. You called it as superstitious discrimination. Now you know the science behind it. Respect all saying ‘Namaste’, with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest.
3. Light lamp – after bath light lamp in front of your favorite God. If you are an atheist just light lamp. Preferably, use two wicks (spin) to light a lamp. Don’t use stainless steel lamps, use Brass or Bronze lamp. If possible use ghee instead of oil. Agni (fire) by its intense power destroys organisms and other agents that are harmful to the body says our scriptures. In Yagna ingredients also, similar things are used which are capable of killing environmental viruses when burned. Dhoop sticks also contain the same properties.
Sun & Agni (fire) was described as an internal source of krimichikitsa (treatment for microbes), clearly says Ayruved (Herbal medicine), Aasthavangani (surgery and eight other ways of treatment), Aswinikumar Sanhita (Medicine), Brahatsanhitaa (treating the ill), Pushkal Sanhita (reason of getting sick of ill) and Dhanwantari Sutra.
4. Eat ONLY sattvik food. What’s sattvik food? Broadly people say it is non-violent food, avoiding parts of a dead body, hence vegetarian food. (Remember, the moving species comes under Chethana and those which cannot move by itself is Achethana). However, Sattvik food is not just being vegetarian. It means freshly cooked (MUST consume within four hours after cooking) food, fresh fruits, and vegetables. That was real Brahminical food. The followers won’t eat after sunset.
5. Perform a ritual called chitrAhuti before eating food. Those who are not interested in rituals don’t have to go into more deep – just sprinkle water around our plate ( or plantain leaves) before starting our lunch. If you are non-believer, its just to prevent insects and mainly ants coming on to the food plate. Also, drink a mouthful of water before eating.
Ritualistics believe “annam parabrahma swaroopam” (food is God’s personification), hence pray for the well being of all those who provide us food (employer, farmer, etc).
“Swasti prajabhya: paripalayantham nyayeana margena mahim maheesah
gobrahmanebhya shubamsthu nityam lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu
Om santhi, santhi santhihi”
6. From our childhood, we were not permitted to allow our lips to touch the cup or bottle from which we drank tea or water. We didn’t know the significance then as there always had taboos about anything that may lead to the transfer of pathogens present in one’s mouth to others. The taboos ncludes not sharing plates, not taking bites off each other’s food. Now we know we have to follow these ‘superstitions’ strictly to avoid diseases.
Obviously, it says only if cattle and the Brahmins have well been forever, then all the beings in all the worlds become happy. It also says our Kings (the politicians and leaders) should be Dharmic. We all recite this mantra without knowing the full stanza.
Here, let me assert again, Brahmin is NOT today’s caste-based community and Brahmin-hood is NOT as a hereditary vocation as found today. It is a position to be attained by your karma as mentioned above and the people of the entire world should live like Brahmins.
So, it is simple, live like a Brahmin and avoid caste, religion, race, and creed.
Let’s follow Vedic dharma which says “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – the world as one family….