Veda and Siva are identical. Veda is auspicious like lord Siva. Anyone who makes Vedic studies is always auspicious (sadasivah).In view of this one should encourage himself to study Vedas with extra effort. It is hard to divert to Veda-study anytime in life unless one puts his mind and effort unto that discipline. ‘Veda parayana’ and ‘vedaadhyayana’ are quite noble heralded by all and beneficial to everybody who practices or listens to the Veda mantras. The mantras which are Vibrant, they produce immense peace and comfort. In view of this AV says: ‘Bhadram karnebhih srunuyama devah’ as a part of request to gods that the devotee must look for the chance to listen to happy sounds that of Veda nada. Sayanacharya, the commentator of Vedas says Veda is a divine guidance for getting what is desired and for warding off the undesirable. The purusharthas are the desirable things in life. Vedas help us to realisze the highest goal namely ‘parama purushartha’ .It is to realize Brahman and liberate oneself from the cycle of births. The great sages went into deep meditation when the Veda is revealed to them .Thus Veda is divine and not a composition by a human being. In simple, it is revelation. Originally Vedas are known by the name Veda trayi and later the Atharvaveda is added.
Vedas are the treasure house of Knowledge that has been handed down to the mankind by the great Rushis who have elevated themselves and desired to uplift the humanity too to their level. Also they desired to guide the mankind to lead a full life of happiness, care and peace. The most revered Rushis are ten immaculate sons of Brahma: Bhrugu, Mareechi ,Atri, Angirasa, Pulaha ,Kratu ,Manu,aksha, Vasistha, and Pulastya. By birth man needs to culture, educate and uplift himself and the Vedic texts and literature allied help in en mass in that way. The literature and the Vedic traditions are so grand and elaborate that it needs a study. Vedas are the Library and hence it is exposed to any and everybody who is really agog to gather necessary knowledge for the promotion of life and multifaceted activity.
As everybody knows, there are more than 15thosuasand Veda mantra s available and these are known in four titles as Rgveda, Yajurveda,Samaveda and Atharva veda. The Rgveda contains ten mandalas and 10028 mantras and the remaining refer to the other Vedas. Besides these, each Veda has stretch into Brahmanas, Sutras, Aranyakas and Upanishads. As a result the stretch of each Veda is enormously large and it is a wonder. When we say, Vedas (srutis) are like the oceans difficult to fathom deep adequately. Samhitas are the collection of Mantras. Rather they are compilations. Brahmanas are the Explanations of some of the mantras of the respective samhitas. They highlight the sacrifices which are the web of knowledge .Brahmanas prescribe the rules of rituals. Rituals are usually performed when one is a householder. Sutras are the specialized aspects of Veda in the form of short Rules. The sutras are known into the divisions like Srauta(Sacrificial),Gruhya(domestic), Dharma(Law). Besides these we have Sulba Sutras (trigonometry) which are referring to the measurements of Yajnavedi for individual sacrifices and other aspects of Veda. There are Aranyakas, the Forest Treatises, where we have rules and social discipline, religious fervor and the goals of human life when they reach a stage of wisdom and disinterestedness. Aranyakas also serve as bridge between the ritualistic Samhita and the texts of pure knowledge the Upanishads Then we have Upanishads related to the four Vedas. Upanishads are the texts that teach us the profound knowledge concerning the individual, creation, the self etc. Each of the four Vedas has the above classification. Fortunately, Atharvaveda has a large number of Upanishads to contribute to the world of Philosophical thought compared to the other Vedas. What that has been instructive in the Vedic texts add for the regulation of one’s character and conduct and help him for spiritual insight and development in the same. Upanishads are the focus points of thinking aspect of the Veda mantras evolving theories useful for adopting and understanding the subtle aspects of human life and relation with higher levels (moksham) and make one’s birth a meaning and a tool to rise to further heights of wisdom. Vedic studies explore the width and depths of this kind of knowledge. It is therefore a need eternal
To interpret and explain properly the meaning of the mantras of Veda is not easy. It requires Rushi intelligence. ‘Nanrushih kurute kavyam’. In order to help construing the meaning we have six vedangas siskha vyakaranam, chandah, niruktam, jotisham and kalpa. These are called the members of the Veda (vedangas).There are many commentators like Sayana, Skandaswami,Bhatta Bhaskara etc to the vedamantras and their number is also appreciably large. However the vedartha, themeaning of the veda mantras, remains a mystery. Yaska realized that one should know the meaning of the mantras. If not he who just learns the Veda mantras would be a pillar enough to hold the weight(sthanurayam bharaharah yo adhitya vedam na vijanati artham,).Yaska concludes’ arthajna it sakamlam bhadram asnute)’ to meet the need. We have different commentators and others who tried to fix the meaning in a possible way. Yet the meaning is shrouded in mystery. Dr N.J Shende, my Research Guide used to say’ “understand the Rigveda with the help of Rgveda only. Know the details of the performance of the Sacrifice through the mantras of the samhita only .In order to fulfill the suggestion we need erudition, diligence, perseverance and wisdom and the guidance of the gurus in it. In this strain, we have several commentators for each Veda and still the meaning is worth the pursuit.
Vedas are known for Traditional excellence. They were taught from teacher to pupil (antevasi) and there was a grand system of oral tradition althrough. It was all by heart, where we could be surprised at the memory power of the students. If one starts with the first sukta first mantra of Rv’ ‘agnimele purohitam.., he would say the last mantra of the last sukta of RV. This condition which India underwent the traditions have been lost. In fact, We had several recensions to each Veda. But we lost many recensions. For example, for Yajurveda, both divisions put together. We had 108 recensions,. But now only four recensions for the Krishna Yajurveda and two recensions for the Sukla Yajurveda only are available in print. So when we consider the portions of sacred treasure of Veda that we lost and what we have, then there is no comparison at all. Unfortunately we are not able to retain what we have with enough studies in view of so much of growth of other branches of knowledge, specializations and study. It is true that real vidya(knowledge) is Vedavidya only. It is said Sastra vidya is permanent and saastra vidya is transitory. When old age comes sastra vidya does not work. Vedic learning comes under Saastra vidya only. (saastra vidya eve gariyasi.)The long drawn Vedic tradition is surviving owing to several securities, preservative measures done by our Vedic seers. One is accentuation, rather the svaraprakriya in vogue to the Veda mantras and the insistence that the mantras be committed to memory and with practice. Sankara Madhva,Ramanuja and several other Acharyas have given life to Veda mantras and catered the tastes and liking s of people at large and made the Veda Pramanyata and astikatva, a truth and an eternal value. Vedic Studies in a traditional format are focused in Pathasalas , temples, mathas and at other religious centers. However the Veda pathas are conducted in private houses by the sastrys and learned people.Thus the Vedic learning and study is made a living pursuit. They emphasized the Upanishadic dictum
Here Veda itself defines brahmana is not the person by caste but by education and culture, the samskara ( brahmavit bhrahmanah). More than the Individual, the Vedic Knowledge acquired or present in him is valued greatly. Now We have several national and International Vedic Institutes which are engaged in the mission of popularizing and simplifying the Vedic knowledge reachable to all by publishing the editions of the Vedic Texts, conducting seminars, discourses , symposia etc., related to Vedic Subjects. In this Context we may mention a few Institutes apart from the university departments of Sanskrit in India. The Vedic Research Institute in Poona, The Vedic Institute at Hoshiarpur and several more could be known which are doing excellent service to Veda The centre for Advanced Study in Sanskrit, Poona University and so on. As a Private organization I may mention the World Association for Vedic Studies Inc., USA., Its branch at Delhi and its Chapters at various centres in India .One is in Bangalore. It is working active conducting activity on Vedic studies to reach the large general public. . Vedas are for peace was the theme propagated by the Sri Devi VedaVidyalaya at Srisailam and Vedas for the academic excellence is the message of Nada Veda Adhyayana Kendra at Bangalore. Now a days , a great impetus has been given to the Vedic Studies and the archaic language of the Vedas is made understandable by the effort so fo the scholars all over the globe. In this connection we should say this effort started from the Puranas, Epics and the authors and works of the Classical Sanskrit. Poets like Vyasa, Valmiki,Kalidasa, Bharavi and several others have upheld the torch of Vedic Wisdom in a manner suiting to the taste of people from time to time .The statement’ Vedo akhilo dharma mulam’ is well illustrated by the scholars at all times.
The Academic lift was given by the western Scholars and later the Indian and other Scholars in the event of studies on Veda. It was Prof Colebrook who wrote first essay on Vedas published in the JRAs, London. It was Prof Max Muller who attempted to write a History of Sanskrit Literature covering Vedas and its Literature .Prof Weber wrote on Vedic Literature, .Prof Keith wrote another on /Veda and Prof Winternitz who wrote History of Sanskrit Literature and spared a volume for the Vedas. His German book is available in English Language translated .Prof Renou prepared first Vedic Bibliography .Prof Macdonell has prepared Index of Vedic Words. Prof Peterson, the first Professor of Sanskrit at the Bombay University prepared a Vedic Reader for study of Veda to the students of post graduate degree. Later we have another such prepared by Prof. Macdonell. As a contribution of Indian Scholars, we have Ramakrishna Gopal(R.G) Bhandarkar after whose Name the Bhandarkar Institute at poona is functioning. He prepared books on Sanskrit in a graded way for the study and scholarship in Sanskrit, The first History of Sanskrit Literature was prepared by Dr .C.V. Vaidya of Poona. In the Sacred books of the East good lung space has been given to the study Vedas and the allied Literature whose General Editor was MaxMuller. The first Vedic Concordance was prepared by Prof Bloomfield, a monumental work of guidance and ready Indexing of Veda mantras .Prof Jacobi prepared the first Upanishadic Concordance which is very useful to start with. It was Prof MaxMuller who printed RVSamhita and made a few copies to let know the world that the East has a very valuable literature, He attested that RV is the first book literary record of Mankind to be occupying the first place in the order for arranging the books in a shelf. Prof Wilson, Prof Geldner and many others translated RV. Like many others the other Vedas. Translation is also an exercise of Interpretation. When we take into account the enormous study work and research done in the field of Veda, we feel fortunate to say that there is ample material and apparatus available to pursue studies on Veda to one’s own satisfaction and achievement.
Now the world has become a Global village. The reason is the spreading of the Veda vibhava in number of aspects. As Veda acknowledges by itself thus’
In nutshell, it is hinted here that Veda is wealth (vedamulam idam jagat). It adds to the brilliance, intelligence and sound applications for sure success. The employment of the Veda suktas and the mantras is flexible and suited to relevant contexts. Though there are some mantras repeated in the samhita, the meaning and the contextual utility vary. For example, consider the RV, the mantra ‘dahikarnno akarisham jishno rasvasya vajinah surabhino mukhaakarat. This mantra occurs four times in the samhita. But the Gayatri mantraRV( 3.62.10) of well known fame occurs only once .However, the study of it tells us the value embedded in the mantra making it powerful, generative of Energy and long lasting. The existence in the jagat ( the world) is possible through Knowledge of superior level.
The subject matter of the Veda is Sacrifice. In the web of sacrifice all aspects of human need and intelligence are covered. There is a great deal of rationale in the mantras of the Veda. Mantra means anyone who meditates or reveres, he would be protected. Also each mantra has the character of remembrances. A kind of security is extended to the mantropasaka’. It is said manayantam trayata iti mantrah. Also ‘manananat mantrah’ meaning they are open for studies in a manner suiting to their taste.
Veda is known into two divisions viz and Mantra and Brahmana in respect of content. Also in the same manner, it is into ‘mantra’ and ‘kalpa’ meaning the formulas and applications. As Acharya sankara says in the manishapancakam stotram, Vedas are useful and tenable for study and practice. When both are coupled, the mind and self would be in perfect peace. He instructs thus:
taduditam karmasvanushthiyatam.(Reduce in to practice that that is told) The applications are generative of the inner powers packed in the mantras. Vedas are for healing and form a powerful therapy. It obviates the medicine. If medicine for cure is suggested, the mantra makes it work quickly and brings about healing. It all bases on faith and belief. It is true that the Mahanarayana Upanishad says ‘dhatuh prasada’ is all in all and one can see the Deity himself .Purusha sukta promises who ever studies Veda and follow devotion to him all deities remain under command(tasyadevah asan vase).At another place, a subhashito says:
The recent trends in the curriculum of Vedic study spreads extensively. Many aspects of the Veda for knowledge, interest and practical utility are unearthed. The aspects of Science are the target to expend concentration for studies. In the name of Vedic Science, lot of knowledge from the Vedas is gathered and applications are made synthesizing with the cotemporary knowledge of the respective sciences. In Taittiriya Aranyaka(YV) it is mentioned that the sage Pranatrata, the son of Garga Mahamuni saw the sun revolving(apasyamahametat suryamandalam parivartamanam. gargyah pranatratah). Such instances in good number could be cited to see rationale in Vedaadhyayana. The purport of the Vedic studies lead to the supreme knowledge of Brahman that ensures peace here and liberation finally. This is achieved through series of techniques such as study, understanding, worship (yajna), Yoga, meditation (Dhyana), tapas and so on. To say in simple terms the RV provides praise of gods. YV establishes ritualistic procedures, Samaveda provides peace of mind. Atharva Veda contains mantras that ward off evil and, hardship.One needs all these for a smooth run of life and spirituality. At the contemporary times the consciousness to learn, study and practice has increased and it is happy a sign that one gets the back up that he is not alone but has great treasure to back upon.