Glimpses of The Atharva Veda


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About the Author

The Author : Born 1st July 1932, Odisha (India)- graduated from Bihar College of Engineering, Patna (1954) in Civil Engineering, did Post-graduation from Brighton College of Technology, (U.K)- served in fifferent highway projects for thirty four years- worked as Chief Engineer, R & D, Works Dept, Odisha state- represented India in World Roads Congress (1966)- Wrote biographies of eminent engineers Dr. M. Visweswaraya, Dr. A.N. Khosla.

Under the guidance of his scholarly father, studied Vedic grammar and Texts in childhood. At the age of twentysix, his first book 'Veda Manushya Kruta ki ?' (Are the Vedas a creation of man) in Odia was a landmark in Vedic Literature. The book received Odisha Sahitya Academy Award in the same year. Rigveda Saurabha, Yajurveda Saurabha, Sama Veda Sourabha, Atharva Veda Saurabha, Upanishad Prakash (Vo 1 and II), Shuddha Manusmruti, Patanjala Yoga Darshan are a few to mention out of forty and odd books edited and published.

Established the Arya Samaj and Vaidika Anusandhan Pratisthan at Bhubaneswar for propogation of Vedic knowledge.

A crusader against social evils- encouraged and conducted inter-caste and widow marriages- supported women priest-hood in Vedic worship and ceremomies- fought against caste system, slaughter of animals in religious places etc.

A few outstanding recognitions and awards- Meghji Bhai Puraskar, Mumbai (1994), Maharshi Dayandan Puraskar, Nasik (2005), D. litt. Utkal University (2006), D. list. Tinipati Sanskrit University (2014), Ganga Prasad Upadhyaya Puraskar, Allahabad (2008), Rastriya Vaidik Sahitya Puraskar (2015), Hindon city Rajasthan, Upadhi- Vidya Vagish, Arya Bibhusana, Arya Ratna, Acharya etc.

Widely travelled in U.K, U.S.A, Germany, France, Russia, Mauritius, Kenia, Holland, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand on lecture tours.

Present Address 139, Sahidnagar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha (India) 0674-2548410, 9437053732 (M), E-mail : ypdas6 1


The Vedas

The Vedas, since the dawn of human civilisation have been regarded as the first Source Books of knowledge, given to man for his individual and collective welfare. They speak of eternal truth and not the history of earlier people as understood by many today. There is no primitivism in the revealed knowledge. It would be erroneous on our part if we interpret the Vedic verses anthropologically or archaeologically.

The traditionally accepted postulates in interpreting the Vedic Texts are: (1) The Supreme Knowledge emanates from the Supreme Creator. There should be no contradiction, therefore, between what we read into the Texts and what we observe in the Creation. (2) The words in the Vedas are in a fluid language which in its natural form is capable of multiple interpretations. A term like 'gau' may mean earth, speech, an animal, an organ of the body. On the other hand, words in the man-made Sastras have definite restricted connotations. (3) Since the Vedas are revealed prior to human history, no historical or geographical references are to be sought from the Vedic words. The earliest sages chose appropriate names of their surrounding objects from the words of the Vedic Texts. (4) In order to interpret a Vedic word, one should be familiar with the rules of Vedic grammar, etymology and proper accentuation. A slight change of accents brings about significant aberrations in the meaning of the word.

The Vedas, also known as Sruti differ from all human literature of different disciplines classified under certain patterns called Sastras. Astronomy, botany, physics etc. are man-made tools or Sastras to explore the creation. Likewise orthography (siksa), grammar (Vykarana), lexicon (Nighantu), astronomy (Jyotisa), prosody (Chhanda) and the system of rituals (Kalpa) etc are also Sastras evolved by the seers to explore the mystery behind the Vedic verses. These verses are preserved through all the ages with their syllables and accents chronologically, all in their right places, not even one missing, with their own significance through oral chants handed over traditionally to posterity. On the other hand, additions and omissions are frequently noticed in man-made Sastras.

The vast ancient literature of the Brahmanas, the Sakhas, the Vedangas, the Upangas and the Upavedas may be considered as expositions of Vedic Texts. After the above-mentioned efforts made by the seers, it had never been, perhaps, felt necessary to write down systematic commentaries of the Vedas for many centuries.

In modern times, the available commentaries-cum-interpretations may be classified under (a) Pre-Sayana commentaries, (b) Commentaries of Sayana and his school, (c) the works of Western scholars and (d) the works of Swami Dayananda and Shri Aurobindo. Skandaswami, Udgitha, Venkata Madhava, Ananda Tirtha are among a few commentators prior to Sayana whose interpretations of small portions of Rigveda are available. Sayana is an illustrious commentator of the four Vedas in ritualistic tradition. In the list of Western scholars who devoted their time to the study of the Vedas, mention may be made of Roth, Benfey, Weber, Ludwig, Maxmuller, Grassman, Wilson, Monier Williams, Muir, Griffith, Whitney, Oldenberg and a few others. In the modern times Dayananda Saraswati has made commentaries on Yajurveda and a substantial portion of Rigveda on indigenous lines with depth of vision.

It will be beneficial here to quote Shri Aurobinda on all the above mentioned commentaries in his famous book ' On the Vedas'.

"But it is the central defect of Sayana's system that he is obsessed always by the ritualistic formulae and seeks continually to force the sense of the Veda into the narrow mould."

"The European scholars took up the ritualistic tradition but for the rest, they dropped Sayana overboard and even on to their own explanation of the words."

"In the matter of Vedic interpretation, I am convinced that whatever may be the final complete interpretation, he (Dayananda) will be honoured as the first discoverer of right clues."

Sayana's ritualistic interpretation instead of bringing glory to the Vedas, has led to disrepute in the hands of European scholars who basing on Sayana put forth their own ideas and imagination.

Much later in history, the Texts of the Vedas came to be used for ritualistic purposes. It must be borne in mind that the revealed Scriptures speak of spiritual Yajna, Cosmic Yajna as well as Havir Yajna (fire rituals) with parallelism. Agni in the texts may be the fire, solar heat and light. In the psychic realm, it may be guiding intelligence, the most adorable Lord Himself. That may also mean leader of a nation or the instructor of an institution. The Vedic terms, in their essential nature are multi-purpose ones, somewhere referring to ephemeral and materialistic aspect and in other places highly transcendental knowledge. This is the cryptic beauty of the Divine words. The Divine knowledge is one, with a uniform message of dynamic realism possessing the same teachings for our life. Their contents should be regarded as an integral whole with no evolutionary developments and no distinction of primitive or highly evolved passages. This is classified under three broad headings; the Thana (knowledge), the Karma (code of action) and the Upasana (coming into proximity of the Supreme Self). These are Rk, Yajuh? and Saman comprising poetry, prose and song respectively. The fourth, Atharva, deals with science of all kinds. These four Texts cover almost all phases of human activity and its purposefulness and achievements.

Vedic philosophy is not centred round pantheim or polytheistic heathen worship of several gods. It is a harmonious concept of one Supreme Lord who is All-knowing, Omnipotent and Infinite Unity along with infinitesimal souls or lower selfs and a third eternal category of matter (Prakriti) which provides material canvas to the Supreme Artist. The world is real but changeable and in no sense a myth.

**Contents and Sample Pages**