Understanding the Vedas

How can one get a basic understanding of the Vedas?

Tapas, 2 February 2020

Hare Krishna

All glories to Gurudeva

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Dear Prabhuji

I have no knowledge on Vedas. Request you all for helping me to have some basic knowledge on Vedas.

Dandavat Pranam

your ever endearing servant

Tapas

Dejan (Dan) Boskovic, 2 February 2020

Hare Krishna 

All glories to Gurudeva 

All glories to Srila Prabhupāda!

Thank you for your mail, prabhuji.

Radhanath Swami in one lecture said that we should chant 16 rounds a day and attend one lecture to have protection against Maya. We should be scared of Maya too, I am pretty sure he said that in the same lecture. And as I hear pure devotees who do a lot for Krishna never feel like they do enough.

I read and have read Bhagavad Gita few times and am on tenth chapter but my knowledge is not realized yet. Sastra said that you must approach a bonafide spiritual master and serve him and he will tell you the truth because he has seen it. He has that realized knowledge. That is my opinion ,Srila Prabhupāda said we can’t do this just by reading but that is the process of devotion sravanam(hearing) read Bhagavad Gita read everything you can get your hands on and try to brake 4 pillars of demoniac life (meat, eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling) chant 16 rounds minimum and thus make your self eligible to receive a spiritual master. Which you can get to know a little through the lectures on YouTube and he will make your knowledge perfect. 

That is the best answer I can give you that I am trying to follow. But I am a neophyte. I suggest you keep asking. And see if more advanced devotes give you an answer that is practical and will enliven you more and make your quest for knowledge of the Vedas enjoyable and fruitful.

Haribol

yours 

Dan

Manian VB, February 2020

Pranams to devotees. 

The  best veda is Bhagavad gita. if you strictly follow its teachings your soul will be up lifted

Sundar Gopal Das, 4 February 2020

Dear Sriman Tapas,

Hare Krishna!

Pls accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru & Gauranga.

Thank you so much for your query.

Actually, the ultimate goal of Vedas is to know Lord Sri Krishna-vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo (Bg.-15.15). So Srila Prabhupada has given us the most important teachings of Lord Sri Krishna in the form of Bhagavad Gita-As it is and Srimad Bhagavatam which is the natural commentary on Vedanta by Srila Vyasadeva along with his Bhaktivedanta Purport. Actually, it is not very easy to derive the most essential Bhakti element from the complicated presentation of Vedic wisdom. The embedded complication act as default encryption is not meant for deprivation of this valuable knowledge but to restrict unauthentic and unscrupulous interpretation. That’s why it is advisable instead of independent study of Vedas, better scrutinizingly go through the treasure house of essence of Vedic wisdom as given by Srila Prabhupada through his books.

In addition, the introduction to Isopanishad, Srila Prabhupada’s one lecture on the “Teachings of Vedas” has been included:

https://vedabase.io/en/library/iso/introduction/

After completely studying all the books of Srila Prabhupada, if you are further interested in Vedas, you can read the followings:

Also you can go through this booklet named ‘Elements of Vedic Thought and Culture’  written by His Holiness Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami (Disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada) :

https://mayapur.store/english-books/3-elements-of-vedic-thought-and-culture.html

Furthermore, you can order the following book online from BBT:

http://bbt.org/book/veda-secrets-east-anthology 

Does this make any sense?

with regards,

your servant,

Sundar Gopal Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 6 February 2020

Dear Sriman Tapas,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

What do you wish to know about the Vedas when Sri Krishna says the following:

yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ pravadanty avipaścitaḥ

veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha nānyad astīti vādinaḥ

kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā janma-karma-phala-pradām

kriyā-viśeṣa-bahulāṁ bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this

Bg. 2.42-43 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/42-43/)

bhogaiśvarya-prasaktānāṁ tayāpahrta-cetasām

vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ samādhau na vidhīyate

In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.

Bg. 2.44 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/44/)

trai-guṇya-viṣayā vedā nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna

nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kṣema ātmavān

The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.

Bg. 2.45 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/45/)

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

dasadas.com

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Studying the Vedas

Do you want to study the Vedas? Do you want to get a firm understanding of the essence of all Vedic wisdom?

Bhaktin Bhavita, 30 November 2018

Hare Krishna dear devotees

Please accept my humble and respectful obeisances

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

All glories to Guru Maharaj

I’d like to know, I am currently doing the self realization course, which goes through the verses of the Gita. The purpose of this course amongst other things is to give us an opportunity to thoroughly study the Bhagavad Gita.

I would like to know, how do the devotees end up understanding scriptures so thoroughly. Remembering various Sanskrit words etc…

I find myself reading various books by Srila Prabhupada yet if someone were to come to me and ask me a question I would struggle to give a detailed response. It kind of seems like I am doing all of it in vain.

Please offer advice.

Sincerely,

Bhaktin Bhavita

Bhakta Sunil, 03 December 2018

Hare Krishna Mataji

Any amount of reading or devotional activity which you do is your permanent asset and never goes in vain

So please continue, although you may feel that you do not remember or can repeat

The remembrance of verses and the responses which you can give to others will automatically improve with continuing of reading, chanting as self purification occurs and your realizations keep happening to you from reading of the books

Even if you can improve even 1% daily it indicates job well done irrespective of whether you could quote verses or responses from the books

Lord give the remembrance those who want to remember Him,

Even if you could not give detail response to someone who asks you but if at that moment you sincerely chant the Maha mantra or pray to God to guide you then you will become potent to respond in detail

Hope this helps,

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Shreyas, 04 December 2018

Hare Krishna Bhaktin Bhavita Mataji (and all devotees),

Please accept my humble obeisance!

All Glories to Srila Prabhuipada!

All Glories to Sri Guru & Gauranga!

Very relevant question. I recall similar feelings I would develop in the past and hence am very happy to discuss on this aspect.

It’s a matter of training. Everything we do in life has taken a shape due to our practicing it day after day in a favorable culture. If not this, then those samskaras come from previous births.

Whenever we compare ourselves with others, it should happen on the basis of Satisfaction. We should know that a particular quality in a devotee has manifested because of one’s hard efforts and by Krishna’s empowerment. Some grasp immediately, some take time, others (like me) keep forgetting slokas, concepts time after time. Everyone has their own past history. So, if you also spend years training yourself in daily hearing, reading, chanting attentively and practicing various limbs of devotional service in association of devotees, you will also cultivate these qualities. It’s simply a matter of Perseverance. We have to faithfully stick with the process and sincerely practice w/o losing enthusiasm and patience even if it apparently seems that we are too conditioned and slow to catch up unlike others. This requires faith.

If we have faith that Krishna can empower me at this very moment if He so desires and His not doing so is also out of His concern and affection for me, so that I can become more sincere and selfless in my practice, then we will remain happy & busy in our efforts to please Krishna.

Fortunately, Vedas are revealed. It’s not understood by mental/intellectual exercise. It’s not revealed by brain exercises. Vedas are revealed by sincere selfless devotional service unto Lord and His pure devotees:

yasya deve parä bhaktir yathä deve tathä gurau

tasyaite kathitä hy arthäù prakäçante mahätmanaù

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” [SU 6.23]

1)      Srila Gaur Kishor Das Babaji, spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur), was illiterate. He couldn’t even write his own name. But when he spoke, he quoted various references from Vedas.

2)      Once Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sri-Ranga-Ksetra in South India. There a Brahmana was crying in ecstasy while reading Bhagavad Gita and others were laughing on him because of his improper pronounciation of slokas. When Mahaprabhu asked, what section of BG interests you so much? The Vaishnava Brahmana replied that I cannot read properly, neither can I understand properly what I read. I am simply reading it because my spiritual master has instructed so. But when I see the picture of Parthasarthi Krishna, who has accepted the role of a chariot driver of His devotee, I cry tears thinking of His love and kindness for His devotees. This is what gives me joy. Mahaprabhu immediately embraced the Vaishnava Brahmana and declared him as the authority on reading Bhagavad Gita.

In one lecture Srila Prabhupada states that when one becomes a pure devotee, then Krishna upon seeing the sincerity of the devotee, reveals the knowledge into his/her heart of how to defeat even a Mayavadi.

While above points hold true, we also have a duty of representing our parampara properly. So we also have to become expert in our representing of Srila Prabhupada books but simply the endeavor to do so is pleasing to Guru & Krishna if done with the intent of pleasing them. So service attitude matters. Memory, skills, etc. will automatically be given by Krishna if He so desires. Things will reveal as we purify our senses in the process. No scholarly qualification is required.

In your case, it is rather a blessing to know personal shortcoming. It makes us humble to chant the Holy Names and gives opportunity to appreciate others by seeing how Krishna has empowered them. At the same time, there must be other skills that each one of us have that others also glorify about. That we must fully dovetail in serving Krishna. That will satisfy the soul and give it joy to connect with the spiritual sound vibration.

Lastly, I request all devotees to read BTG article “Prayerful Reading” by HG Bhurijan Prabhu. Can search on Vedabase. Wonderful article on how to read Srila Prabhupada books.

your servant

Shridhar das

Bhakta Sunil, 15 Dec 2018

P.S : Mataji we have a wonderful opportunity to read the books in group right here via Google Groups in form of book reading academy where you can not only read in group but also share your own realisations and get answers to your queries too

If you like to take this opportunity right now, kindly reply back and you will be getting the proper instructions how to join the Google group

Are you ready?

Bhakta Sunil

Bhavita Keshav, 15 December 2018

Hare Krishna

Yes please this sounds like a wonderful opportunity!

Helen Thomas, 16 February 2019

I am interested in joining the book reading academy if possible please.

Hare Krsna

Helen Thomas

P.S: Anyone interested in getting Srila Prabhupada’s books or in the Bhagavata Online Academy of the Ultimate Self Reaization Course, please contact me!

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

Are Krishna and Rama mentioned in the Vedas?

Are Krishna and Rama even mentioned in the Vedas? Is this worship of Rama and Krishna somehow new and concocted by modern religious teachers? What about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Is this just a case of a man masquerading as God?

Nikhil Mishra, 02nd August 2016

Hare Krsna devotees

All glories to guru and gauranga.

Humble obeisance to all of you.

A question came in my mind. That ” was reference of krsna or ram mentioned in any of the four vedas “? Kindly enlighten me on this matter.

Sincerely
Nikhil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 04th August 2016

Dear Sriman Nikhil,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

This is an important question. Thank you for asking.

Many persons from other traditions question Vaishnava practices on the plea that the Vedas are bona fide literatures, the other Vedic literature is not, therefore the tradition of accepting Lord Rama or Lord Krishna as the Supreme is wrong. Many preachers actually attempt to use this argument to discredit the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam as authoritative.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, yes, Lord Vishnu is mentioned in the Vedas directly, several times. The Rig Veda alone mentions Lord Vishnu and established Him as the Supreme at least 9 times.

I humbly quote my spiritual master Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari’s writing from 31st January 2010:

quote

Question: Is Krishna a Form of Vishnu or Vishnu a Form of Krishna?

I have a question about something you said the other day in your “Thought for the Day” Q&A section. You quoted the following verse:

“Those who are actually learned in the Absolute Truth look to the abode of and worship only the Vishnu form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in any of His various forms such as Krishna, Rama, etc.”–Rig Veda (1.22.20)

This verse states that Krishna is a form of Vishnu. I don’t understand how this verse supports Krishna as the original Personality of Godhead. This verse seems to disagree with Krishna’s own statements in the Bhagavad-gita. I am very perplexed by this. How can I know if Vishnu is a form of Krishna or Krishna is a form of Vishnu? Please help me understand. Thank you very much.

Humbly,

C.B.


Answer: Since Krishna is the Original Vishnu, Both Are Correct.

Srila Prabhupada explains Rig Veda (1.22.20) in his Srimad Bhagavatam purport to SB 3.16.4 that the qualified brahmanas worship only the Vishnu form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which means Krishna, Rama and all Vishnu expansions.

What is confusing you is that the term Vishnu is used in two different ways. Sometimes Vishnu is used as the name of the category of the Supreme Lord in any one of His unlimited forms. And sometimes it used for a specific four-armed form of the Supreme Lord such as Maha-Vishnu. When we speak of the Vishnu category of beings we understand that the original Vishnu is Krishna and that all the other Vishnu category personalities are emanating from Him. This is why devotees of Krishna are known as Vaisnavas, which means “devotees of Vishnu.”

So in summary, since Krishna is the original Vishnu from whom all other Vishnus expand, we can say both that Vishnu is a form of Krishna and that Krishna is a form of Vishnu.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
unquote

Finally, to support my claim of how the text Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam are equally or more important than the Vedas, I invite you to please read this exchange between Sri Narada, and Sri Veda Vyasa, two foremost Vedic authorities:

http://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/1/5

Specifically, this part which involves the disciple Veda Vyasa, asking a question to his Guru Sri Narada:

SB 1.5.5 — Śrī Vyāsadeva said: All you have said about me is perfectly correct. Despite all this, I am not pacified. I therefore question you about the root cause of my dissatisfaction, for you are a man of unlimited knowledge due to your being the offspring of one [Brahmā] who is self-born [without mundane father and mother].

SB 1.5.8 — Śrī Nārada said: You have not actually broadcast the sublime and spotless glories of the Personality of Godhead. That philosophy which does not satisfy the transcendental senses of the Lord is considered worthless.
SB 1.5.9 — Although, great sage, you have very broadly described the four principles beginning with religious performances, you have not described the glories of the Supreme Personality, Vāsudeva.
SB 1.5.10 — Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there.
SB 1.5.11 — On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.
SB 1.5.12 — Knowledge of self-realization, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]. What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilized for the devotional service of the Lord?

Also, Sri Krishna describes the Vedas and their purpose thus:

http://www.vedabase.com/bg/15/1

And finally, Krishna derides the ritualistic followers of the Vedas thus also:

yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ
pravadanty avipaścitaḥ
veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha
nānyad astīti vādinaḥ
kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā
janma-karma-phala-pradām
kriyā-viśeṣa-bahulāṁ
bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati
Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this. BG 2.42.43

I hope that this is useful and helpful.

Thank you again for asking this important question! Devotees feel free to add to the answer if I have missed out anything and enrich this conversation and our collective understanding.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Nikhil Mishra, 04th August 2016

Thank you very much Mahabhagavat prabhu for taking out your time and address my question. Terming it as ‘ important’ , gives me a sense of humility and pride simultaneously.

Your answer makes sense to my cluttered mind.

I beg mercy of you and all devotees to overcome my physical , mental inertia so that i can start performing bhakti yoga in more sincere , regular way .

Hare krsna
Nikhil

Shreyas, 04th August 2016

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisance!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I would like to add that – It is astonishing that Lord Chaitanya’s appearance, who is the source of our Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, Krishna Himself, has been prophesied in many numbers throughout shruti and smriti. As far as 4 Vedas are concerned, the below verses confirm the same:

In the Atharva-Veda; Purusa-Bodini-Upanisad, it is said:

saptame gaura-varna-visnor ity aena sva-saktya
caikyam etya pratar avatirya saha svaih sva-manum siksayati

“In the seventh manvantara, in the beginning of the Kali-Yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will, accompanied by His own associates, descend in a golden form to the earth. He will teach the chanting of His own names.”

In the Atharva Veda, the Supreme Person says:

itotham krta sannyaso’vatarisyami sa-guno nirvedo
niskamo bhu-girvanas tira-atho’ lakanandayah kalau
catuh-sahasrabdhopari panca-sahasrabhyantare
gaura-varno dirghangah sarva-laksana-yukta isvara
prarthito nija-rasasvado bhakta-rupo misrakhyo
vidita-yogah syam

“I will descend on the earth after the passage of four thousand years in the Kali-Age, [kalau chatuh sahasrabdhopari] and before the passage of five thousand years [pancha sahasra abhyantare].”

“I will come on the earth on the bank of the Ganges, [tira-sthah alakanandayah]. I will be a tall and saintly Brahmana devotee. I will have all the auspicious symptoms of an exalted person [dirghangah sarva-laksana-yuktah].”

“I will exhibit renunciation. I will have all auspicious signs. I will be a devotee, practicing bhakti yoga. I will taste the rasa of My own devotional service.”

In the Sama Veda, the Supreme Lord says:

tathaham krta sannyaso bhu-girvano ‘vatarisye
tire’lakanandayah punah punah isvara-prarthitah sa-
parivaro niralambo nirdhuteh kali-kalmasa-kavalita-
janavalambanaya

“I shall come to the earth, accompanied by My associates, in a place by the bank of the Ganges. I will advent to save the people who are afflicted and devoured by the sins of the age of Kali. I will manifest as an Avadhut Brahman Sannyasi.”

The descriptions of Lord Chaitanya’s descent are many throughout Upanishads, Mahabharata, Puranas, etc. However, I have only mentioned from 4 Vedas.

your servant
Shridhar Das

Todd Eberwine, 04th August 2016

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisance!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I just wanted to express my gratitude for these answers. I don’t often contribute to the conversations here but I am always following along, reading and learning from those more learned than I. Many thanks to all of you who take the time to give such wonderful answers to these wonderful questions.

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at www.sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

Idol Worship? Or Deity Worship?

Often, I have come across a denigration of the Vedic Culture of Worship of God as “idol worship”. “Idolatry is a sin, you are going to hell”, I have heard very often.

And because the education system I was schooled in was western in its origin, there were many subtle and not-so-subtle references to this idea that somehow or other, this worship of Deities in the Vedic temples was deeply wrong.

And of course, this early conditioning gave me fodder for my atheism, my voidism, my impersonalism, my agnosticism, and essentially held me back from pursuing a spiritual path of any kind.

What is an idol? And how can a stone or metal or wooden image be God? Or how can a message written down in any language represent God?

It’s a fact that God is non-material, and therefore cannot be perceived by material senses. But the material senses are all I have, then how do I perceive God?

First of course, the perception of God is by hearing about Him. His name, His pastimes, and His qualities. In other words, the Name of God is the Form of God.

So, a name written down, is also God. Because God is Absolute, then God is fully present in His name.

But those scriptures which contain God’s name also contain descriptions of God’s qualities, of God’s interactions with others like myself, persons of the flesh. Jayadvaita Swami, born into Judaism, writes “Whose worship is Idol Worship”…

That very same God with the Names, is also described to have a form. Not a form like mine, which suffers birth, death, old age, and disease, but a form that is Eternal, Full of Joy, and Full of Knowledge.

How may I perceive that form with my two little material eyes?

As confirmed in the Padma Purana,

atah shri-krishna-namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah

“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.”

Padma Purana

Therefore, God, out of His kind mercy, appears before me in a form that I can very well perceive. But when He does, that form is non-material. That same old paint, wood, stone, and metal are transformed, just like an ordinary paper and ordinary ink are transformed with the name of God.

If worshipping a form of God according to the scriptures is wrong, then so is revering the name of the God written down or spoken even, because to utter a name in sound is to cause the form of the word to manifest.

Those who hate “idolatry” should then possess no Cross, no Qu’ran, no Wall, no Scripture, no Shrine, Nothing.

Idolatry is worship of the mundane, be it a car or a beautiful actor, be it a very knowledgeable professor of some mundane subject of the material world, or a great orator, or businessperson.

The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is described in the Brahma-samhita as chintamani-dhama, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Krishna, known as Goloka Vrindavana, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees called ‘desire trees,’ which supply any type of eatable upon demand, and there are cows known as surabhi, which supply a limitless supply of milk. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (lakshmis)and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes. The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute (venum kvanantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds—His eyes are like lotus petals and His bodily color like clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of cupids. He wears saffron cloth, a garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Bhagavad Gita As It Is

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