Preface to the first edition Published in 1958
The Veds are books on material as well as spiritual knowledge. Because their language is very ancient and not well-known, differences have been found among learned persons regarding their interpretation, but there is absolutely no doubt that high-level spiritual principles, learning, arts and practical knowledge are contained in them. Since all this knowledge has been given very concisely in the form of 'sutras' or axioms in one or two stanzas, all the readers are not able to understand their aims immediately. But on the basis of the 'richas', the learned ones have been providing inspiration and guidance for thousands of years to the spiritual seekers who want to progress on the path of excellence.
The specialty of the Vedas is that their knowledge is not limited to any particular race, sects or sub-sects with differences of opinions but all persons in the world have the same right to it, because the Vedas are universal in their approach and message. Hence they can prove useful at any time to the cultured and spiritually minded men and women in any country. The aims and guidance obtained from the Vedas prove beneficial and uplifting to every human being.
The difference in interpretation of the Vedas is not a present- day phenomenon only. It used to happen in ancient times also. It is also a widely held belief by the Indian public that the various aggressors who invaded India over more than a thousand years have misinterpreted the Vedas in their fanatic zeal to reduce the importance of the Vedas and have even gone to the extent of wickedly calling them the songs of the half civilised shepherds and cowherds. Nevertheless, even ancient Indian learned men have made different interpretations of the Vedas. Religious-minded good men have interpreted the Vedas from a spiritual viewpoint and others have made distorted interpretations to suit their own ends according to the hideous principles of Vaam Marg (which is something akin to witch-craft). For example, the demon-king Ravan misinterpreted the Vedas to encourage violence, and some of his followers are seen even to-day.
In this way, such pseudo-religious people have caused great harm to the Vedas and have always tried to lower their status and usefulness. It is but natural that when three to four explanations are given for the same stanza and one expert expresses a completely opposite opinion to another's, doubts and lack of faith will raise their heads in people's minds.
But now the time is ripe to find a solution to these perverse and mutually opposing interpretations spread during the dark medieval periods. Modern scholars have revealed the orginal aim of the Vedas by analysing the Vedic mantras and have represented in very clear and easily understandable form the core knowledge, advice and the principles of truth enshrined in them, so that even an ordinary reader can understand and benefit from them. The book in your hands contains the essence of selected 'richas (stanzas) with explanations from an impartial view and with proper aims. By understanding them properly and putting them into conduct, the readers will be convinced that the Vedas are in reality mines of gem-like thoughts. By such conduct man becomes free from faults and wickedness and starts living a life of high-level thinking. There is no doubt that every man can make his life successful by benefitting from the immensely valuable advice on the subjects of truth, non-violence, forgiveness, pity, generosity, helping others, good dealings, organisation and cooperative life.
Preface to the revised third edition
The Veds are the immortal speech of God, the Supreme Father. All the critics of the world acknowledge the fact that the Veds are the most ancient scriptures and that they are the jewels in the crown of the entire literature of the world. There is an endless treasure of knowledge and spiritual information, i.e. information on the soul and God in the Veds. Nectar flows forth from their every word. All the fundamental learning of this world has been born from the Veds.
We should very lovingly and with great faith read such invaluable books. We should decide to fulfill our duties by reflecting and contemplating upon them. We get material as well as spiritual knowledge of high level from the Vedas. The reading of Vedas saves us from sins. creates hope and joy in life, makes life peaceful, pure and stable, turns us away from the wrong path and takes us to the right path and when we stay away, then it also warns and alerts us.
The more we reflect on the meanings of the Ved-mantras, the more it will make our life shine. Every mantra is capable of opening up the path to brighten every aspect of man's life.
The revered Gurudev has included specially selected mantras from ail the four Veds in this book. With the aim of enabling even the most ordinary man to derive inspiration from this book, after giving the meaning of each mantra, its message has been added in very simple language. It also helps to increase knowledge. But the mantra is not limited to the message alone. With deep reflection and contemplation, we can get many types of messages and inspirations from the same mantra. The message of a total 185 mantras has been given in five parts as follows:
Part 1: Brahmanatva or the meaning of being a Brahman: Nobody becomes a Brahman merely by birth in a race or clan. He becomes a Brahman by virtue of his qualities, deeds, excellence of nature and dedication of his life to people's welfare. The mantra! included in this part give information on God's existence, Hi! worship and the duties of the Brahmans.
Part 2: Atmabal or the power of the soul : Man has to struggle continuously to achieve the objective of life. Tremendous will power is required for facing the widespread bad customs, wicked activities and corruption and to adopt good activities and honesty in life. Information on mantras which help to achieve this aim, is given in this section.
Part 3: Charitra nirman or the formation of good character : For the upliftment of the soul, the foremost requirement is the excellence of character. Lucid explanation of the mantras highlighting the importance of good qualities in life is given in this part.
Part 4: Dushpravrutti nivaran or the eradication of wicked activities : Wicked activities and addictions turn man's joyous life into hell. The inspiration and guidance for liberation from them is given in this part.
Part 5: Parivar aur swasthya or the family and health: Family-life is the backbone of the entire social organisation. Happiness, peace and heavenly atmosphere of prosperity depend only on its excellence. In this section the mantras which can make our lives bright and praiseworthy have been given. These mantras explain the importance of a happy, a confident and cultured woman and health.
The person who wrote and translated the five parts must have really spent time and labour on it. However the thoughts presented here are of Revered Gurudev onIytnd this work has been possible only by his inspiration. The aim 0 our life can be easily achieved by study, reflection and contemplation of the explanations of the mantra.
A Brief Introduction to the Life of Revered Gurudev
Born on 20/9/1911 at Aanwalkheda village in Agra district. Father-Pand Roopkishore Sharma, Mother-Daankunvri Devi.
Intense spiritual and devotional activity right from childhood. Always spiritual discussions with classmates. Unlimited love for the Himalayas. Ran away from home at the age of ten. When caught, claimed Himalayas as his home and insisted on going there.
Constuctive thinking right from childhood. Accent on village development and self-employment through spinning and weaving in every home. Distribution of leaflets in village bazaars for public- awareness.