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 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.
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….