Author: Phani Madhav R.S.S
“VEDANTA” is a subject which purely teaches the main theme of Vedas. Vedanta means that it is the essence of Vedas. Obviously, if we find any book or any article, we would certainly try to know the beginning and the end, so that the main theme or the essence of that can be known! In the same manner trying to find the beginning and end of Vedas through an enquiry into that will give out a clear main theme of Vedas, but, we can’t find the beginning and end of Veda’s as they are immortal and infinite. In this universe man can find beginning and end to those things which are created by man only, but this Creation, Vedas, Time and Space are never created by man and they are unknown to the human minds with confined consciousness but, we can feel their inner truth with Super consciousness.
Vedanta gives a clear conclusion to Vedas; it will reveal you the “TRUTH” that which is the cause for Vedas. The beginning is called as “UPAKRAMAM” and the end is called as “UPASAMHARAM”. Between Upakramam and Upasamharam there are number of principles, doctrines and theories but we can know all those only when we see Upakramam and Upasamharam. Only when we read a book from beginning to end, shall we come to know the main theme of that book and points in that book. In the same way “Vedanta” is a subject which deals with every point of Veda and gives out a crystal clear understanding regarding the points that are dealt in Vedas. Veda is called as “ETERNAL LAW” as it is the immortal one and primordial and primitive cause, Vedas are with out beginning and end. Vedas are not confined to space and time. Vedas stand as substratum to everything of this universe; Vedas are the primary cause for “LAW”, all the species on this earth are governed by that very law. Vedas are not born, they are not composed by man. Vedas are taught only by speech; they should not be kept on paper. So, they are called as “Sabda Brahmam”. “AUM” is the cause for Vedas, “AUM” belongs to the supreme self, the supreme self is beyond sound and speech. That is the cause of all but, yet seems to be not. “Supreme Self” is the cause for the manifested form of self called “Vishnu” “Brahma” and “Siva” and again “Vishnu” is the cause for Vedas, as “Vishnu” is immortal, infinite, unfathomable and beginning less and endless, Vedas do also have the same characteristics. Vedas discuss about the supreme self, they try to express and describe the form, shape, colour, altitude of supreme self but at last, they concluded with “Not this Not this” (Neti – Neti; in Sanskrit).
“YO vedadau Swarah prokto vedante cha prathisti tha” (in Sanskrit)
Means, that supreme self is existing eternally in the beginning and end of Vedas.
To know the meaning and theme of Vedas here are certain principles. “Memamsa “ will reveal us about these principles. To know the meaning and theme of Vedas, we have seven principles that are revealed by ‘Memamsa’. They are 1. Upakramam, (Beginning) 2.Upasamharam, (Conclusion) 3. Abhyasam, (Practice) 4. Apoorvatha, (Praise) 5. Phalam, (Result) 6. Arthavadam, (Meaning) 7. Upapathi. Before we discuss about these seven principles. There are two types of Memamsa revealed by Jaimini and Vyasa. They are (1) Purva memamsa (2) Uthara Memamsa. According to the purva Memamsa, composed by “Jaimini” we have 10 points. (1) Creation: By the Supreme Self, it is infinite and immortal. It is like a flow of fission and fusion. (2) Jeva: Materialistic consciousness filled individual who thinks that he is Karta(Doer) and Bhokta (Owner). (3) Cause for attachment or bondages: Restricted actions. (4) Bondage: The sorrow that is to be experienced in hell as a result of the restricted actions. (5) Liberation: Securing or achieving the pleasures of heaven. (6) Abnegation for Liberation: Righteous actions that are revealed by Vedas. (7) Adhikari: Aims at the fruits of action. (8) Main Action: Karma Kanda (Duty/Action). (9) Duality/Non duality: Duality in self. (10) Result: Purification of mind - Chitta Suddhi.
According to the “Uthara Memamsa” , composed by “Vyasa Maharshi” also, we have 10 similar points but, their definitions and principles are different. (1) Creation: It is Maya, which is having form, name and action, which created the universe with unmanifestable materialistic power, that which is depending on the Supreme Self. (2) Individual (Jeva) : Jeva is known to be as ignorant. The universal consciousness of self is clouded by nescience. (Avidya). (3) Cause for Bondage: Nescience. (4) Bondage: Actions performed with Nescience. (5) Liberation: Achieving or experiencing supreme bliss by the cessation of actions of nescience. (6) Abnegation for Liberation: Trying for Real – Existence – Infinite – Non-dual knowledge of Parabrahman. (Brahma-Jnana). (7) Main Action: Jnanakanda. (Knowledge). (8) Duality/Non-duality of Self: Non-duality. (9) Adhikari: Aims at the pure- (Nirmala – Nirdhosa) four qualities called “Sadhana Chatushtaya”. (10) Result: Direct knowledge regarding Supreme Self and Non-duality in thought, experience. (aparoksha jnanubhuti tatdwara jivanmukthi.)
Now, Let us come to the main seven principles, and deal with each principle:
(1 &2) UPAKRAMAM & UPASAMHARAM:
The beginning and end of Vedas explain the similar and one point. If beginning is other than the end. Then how can the conclusion be the absolute? The beginning point is undifferentiated from the ending point. If beginning and the end have “Oneness” in the principle. Then, that is said to be the main theme of that particular book or essay. So Upakramam and Upasamharam deal with the same points.
Repeating the same principle again and again, a hundred of times is nothing but, Abhyasa. If we want to recollect some principle or point and to keep it in memory we will repeat it many number of times. To make any point or thought as a principle or doctrine, Abhyasa will invigorate it. So, Abhyasa is nothing but incessant practice.
We may read a book for the first time and grasped some information. In the second reading also we may find the same information. And in the third and fourth reading also we may find the same, but, if we find any thing new information in those readings, then it is said to be the principle of that particular reading. Besides the information we acquired in previous readings this takes a peculiar representation because, it is acquired after so many readings. So, it will have some vitality and that is called as “APOORVATA”.
We generally find some slokas in a book which say that by reading this book so and so result comes out and the meaning of the sloka will be backed up by some experiences, illustrations and etc.,. We can find this commonly in devotional books, slokas, prayers where at the end we find some special paras which will reveal about the result, they are called “Phala Sruti”. So this is called as “Phalam” means the result or fruit.
Speaking about lot of topics and describing, explaining, praising one particular topic or point with some examples and illustrations is called as “Arthavadam”.
Speaking about some point and proving its time of existence, character and etc., then that point will be the main point of that essay and that is said to be the ‘UPAPATHI’. For example in Adisankaras life history the author will prove his time and age of existence, his place of existence, his characters, behavior, his magnanimity and grandeur and etc., then these points will become the importance of that book.
Memamsa says that by the consideration of the seven principles the meaning of the subject can be decided. Deciding the meaning of subject with the help of the above cited seven points is known as “TATPARYA LINGAM”. If any one of the above principles are acquired it is enough and if all the seven are acquired then there will be no doubt regarding the meaning extracted from the subject.
If we consider Vedas with this law of Memamsa then, we can easily know that the beginning and end of the Vedas are one and the same and also that the former lies in latter and the latter lies in former. The swara (Tune) of veda at the beginning will continue till the end, likewise the beginning starts with describing, explaining and expressing parabrahman and this continues till the end and yet, describing, explaining and expressing parabrahman will not end. The Vedas are still chanting Neti – Neti (Not this-Not this) from ages. So, by taking “this” into consideration we can say that the “end” is still so far away and most probably it may not exist. “This” is the word which shows the object nearer to us. Then, Vedas are still saying and negating “Not this” so, it indirectly means that Vedas are marching towards the “end” of that subject. Then how it became beginning less?
Vedas started the subject – parabrahman with a continuous series. It is obvious that if one subject is started in continuous series then the subjective aspect is sure to exist from long before. So, “Para Brahman” is beginning less and endless and in praising and explaining “Parabrahman” Vedas also turned to be beginning less and endless. We do not know, when, where and how Vedas came into existence and we have a story of ancient history of the Sage Bharadwaja who tried to learn Vedas completely. This story is “ Bharadwaja Maharshi is under going vedic education in deep meditation. One day, he learned Vedas to the maximum that no one can ever learn, still he is having unsatisfaction so, he prayed for Lord Brahma, the creator. Brahma appeared before Bharadwaja and asked him what for he prayed him? Bharadwaja said that he would like to study Vedas completely and asked Brahma a boon to live on the earth until he completes it. Then Brahma replied, “Oh! Bharadwaja! Vedas are infinite series without beginning and end. No one can study Vedas completely for ever, and even I do not know Vedas completely and I’am unable to see the beginning and ending.” And he continued, “Oh! Dear Bharadwaja! So, please leave the thought of learning them completely. I will show you the mightiest mountains of Vedas, see them.” Bharadwaja saw the mountains of Vedas which are glowing with lights of hundreds and thousands of Suns. Bharadwaja was astonished and he started crying. “Oh! How mad ‘am I to think that I could study Vedas completely”. Then Brahma, the creator gave him boon that until he completes studying three morsels of Vedic knowledge, he will be alive. But I’m sorry to say that Bharadwaja is still studying it, from thousands and lakhs of years. So, the conclusion is Vedas are endless too.
The beginning and end of Vedas can’t be found but we can know the theme of Vedas and knowledge by means of Vedanta. The supreme self is very nearer to us and it is millions of miles away from us, too! Means that self is very far away from the farthest and very near here, than the most nearest. The self, which is said to be beyond every thing and very far away is existing in us, from long long ago. The Externalization of the modifications of mind is the cause for the fear that self is very far away. If the mind is restrained from modifications, transformations and externalization and is concentrated inwards then one can see how much nearer it is!
“TAT” that self and “TVAM” you, of the Vedas tell that “You are Parabrahman” – That Thou Art. The continuous thought of “I AM” is known by that supreme consciousness. If that consciousness and knowledge of the self are not in existence then you can’t even think and act. The knowledge which is keeping you in knowing that “It is Apple, That is a boy, this is a book” is nothing but supreme self. Searching outside rather than subtle enquiry inside is the cause for nescience. Self is the ultimatum for every thing. It is the substratum of this universe. The beginning and end of Vedas, is Para Brahman, the silent spectator of this creation is Para Brahman.
Knowledge is “TAT”, the supreme self, knower is “TVAM”, the Individual and knowledge is “TATVAM ASI –THAT THOU ART”, “YOU are that supreme self”. This is the stanza from Brahma sutras. This stanza says that the substratum for every thing is that supreme consciousness which is infinite but, it seems to be finite in us. That is the only one self which stands for “TAT” and “TVAM”. Our subject which explains about “TAT” and “TVAM” is called as “TATVAM”
Vedanta is the subject which explains and describes about the need of Vedas and gives a clear conclusion. If one can understand the theme of Vedanta and imply it in daily life, everything then appears as supreme self, there disappears sorrow and infinite supreme bliss flows continuously.
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