This article is also available in Urdu at http://agniveer.com/common-questions-vedic-religion-ur/
Let us now analyze some of the wrong answers discussed earlier in http://agniveer.com/5095/what-is-vedic-religion/ and understand some worth-knowing aspects of Vedic religion.
How is Vedic religion different from Hinduism?
- Even if you consider Vedic religion to have anything to do with the 4 Vedas, the word Hinduism is nowhere present there. Its a very recent term. Vedas thus remain a parent of Hinduism.
- Hinduism has a variety of interpretations including loyalty towards Hindusthan aka Indian subcontinent and its culture. But Vedic religion is for every human being – be he or she belong to India, or Zambia, or Sweden or Saudi Arabia.
- It is true that core essence of Hinduism is derived from Vedic religion. But one would still continue to be called Vedic even if he or she has never visited India or read any Indian text but still follows the basic tenet of rejecting falsehood and accepting truth.
In short, a true Hindu is Vedic but all Vedics need not necessarily be Hindu.
Can one refuse to believe in 4 Vedas and yet be follower of Vedic religion?
Yes. And several reasons for this.
- There is not one single mantra in entire Vedas that even remotely say that only those who believe in 4 Vedas are following Vedic religion. Yes, there are mantras that explain and lead us to conclude that Vedic religion and content of the 4 Vedas – both refer to same thing.
- The 4 Vedas contain codes of higher levels of truth. They are like detailed texts of Physics that contain very obvious concepts as well as more subtle concepts that can be mastered only after thorough practice and understanding. They are the foundation or first source of this Vedic religion. But just as a student of Class 6 claiming to know Physics merely because he mugged up the Einstein Paper on Theory of Relativity (that can be easily downloaded from google) would only be a subject of our laughter, in same vein, if someone claims to believe in 4 Vedas without actually knowing what Vedas mean would be equally laughable.
Most people claiming adherence to Vedic religion today actually fall in this category. And that is why despite their tall claims, they remain in miserable state in terms of their strength and impact on society.
An honest smart Vedic follower would simply assert that if we logically analyze the available information, we can conclude that Vedas are not some random creations by certain human beings and instead contain storehouse of basic to most advanced level of knowledge. And if that not be considered, then every other theory would have blatant contradictions and confusions to an extent that it would be impossible to decide what is right and what is wrong. And hence we should endeavor to explore the meaning of Vedas.
But this would come ONLY as a conclusion of a thought process and not as a blind dogma to begin with.
- There may be several reasons – previous knowledge, past experiences, thinking capacity, preferences etc – that would color the thinking process of an individual and hence it would not be as obvious for everyone to accept Vedas as divine or ultimate texts, as it may be for a few of us.
- Swami Dayanand once said that not everyone can be scholars but everyone can be Dharmic (honest) for sure. So if one is honest to his or her best intentions by denying infallibility of Vedas, he or she is STILL Vedic. In fact they are MORE Vedic than those blind herds who follow Vedas simply because they were told so. Had such blind followers would have been born in some other location, they may well have become blind followers of some other texts.
- If believing in Vedas be necessary to be follower of Vedic religion, it would mean that those who could not get access to books of 4 Vedas due to geography or poverty etc can never be followers of Vedic religion. Thus Vedic religion becomes religion of ONLY the fortunate ones. And hence, the claim of Supreme in Vedas itself that the knowledge of Vedas is for all human beings regardless of gender or profession or birth goes wrong!
- In reality, the whole concept of 4 Vedas is that the knowledge within them is already within us in same manner as spokes are attached to center of a wheel. By exercising the powers of our mind smartly, we reveal the knowledge that already lies within us! Refer Yajurveda 34.5. So the study of 4 Vedas externally is also a way to unravel the knowledge within. One can do so by mugging up 4 external Vedas or shouting Kalmas asserting one’s loyalty towards it. Or start with the most innate trait of rejecting falsehood proactively, keep gaining knowledge and performing worthwhile actions to build the basic foundation. And then guided by the inner voice, move ahead to master even the external 4 Vedas or whatever else is deemed necessary for achieving higher echelons of truth by a smarter soul.
In today’s context, this later way is much more natural and practical for most of us. Even someone like Swami Dayanand had to follow this approach to be the most renowned scholar of Vedas.
- While many mantras of Vedas have fairly intuitive meanings that are easy to be grasped by most of us, yet all mantras do contain deeper meanings that can be unraveled only with further and further mind control. There is a mantra that states that just as a loyal wife only comes close to her husband, in same manner meaning of Vedic mantras are understood only by the deserving. So no one on earth can claim to have understood the Vedas properly. Everyone is just a preliminary student. And hence, no one is competent enough in first place to put precondition of allegiance to Vedas – the ultimate benchmarks – for someone to adopt Vedic religion. This would be as foolish as refusing someone admission in primary school because he did not admit that sin^2y + cos^2y = 1!
So yes, belief in 4 Vedas as divine or benchmarks of wisdom may be a natural conclusion for many of us. But this is NOT a precondition to be admitted to school of Vedic religion.
The precondition is only ONE – Accept truth by rejecting falsehood!
Yes, and the reasons are almost same as above. Further there is an additional reason:
- Vedic God is different from God of Bible, Quran or Purans. Most people when they refuse to believe in God are actually refusing to accept superstitions in name of God as propagated in name of religion. The anathema of West against God is only for the God of Bible. This is justifiable because God of Bible has many contradictory properties and at times acts like a mortal human being. But Vedic God is different. In fact God may not be the right word to denote the Vedic concept of Supreme.
The Vedic concept is much more intuitive and natural – that there is a source of unchangeable laws of the world that govern this world and us. Physicists may simply call it Law of Nature. Now a smart Vedic follower adds a dash of positivity into this and says that this source of unchangeable laws is acting in a manner that we can enhance our happiness through right actions. We are neither left in lurch like orphans nor allowed to escape fruits of our action. So there is a well-founded optimism that the laws of nature ensure justice and support. We believe so because we see this very obvious in world around and in our innate tendencies.
But someone intellectual who was nurtured in a society that had completely different notions of a Supreme entity – an anthropomorphic entity, or a moody emperor, or a magician etc – may find such a God hard to digest. And it would be difficult for him to dissociate word God from this meaning and give it a new meaning in perspective of Vedas. For example, Arya is a very noble word. But in Germany, people would somehow try to link it with some sort of racism because of the Hitler episode. These words trigger certain emotions due to their previous associations and hence difficult for many to appreciate any new meaning easily.
Thus atheism is a natural and rightly-directed aversion of a truth-seeker from what his mind considers as unfounded notions. So in being atheist, he or she is STILL acting as a loyal follower of Vedic religion.
In other words, a truth-seeking atheist or agnostic or even a superstitious believer in some other notion of God is STILL a Vedic person, if he or she believes in these notions honestly after whatever experience, expertise, intellect that they possess at a given moment in time.
What about Havan, Sandhya etc? Can one be Vedic without adopting these healthy practices?
Yes. We have already discussed some reasons above. Let us add a few more:
- Havan and Sandhya are very healthy practices but their nature and method is geography and time bound. Havan means burning useful products to purify environment. Sandhya is a form of meditation and self-suggestion to gain stronger spiritual powers. Now Vedas do not prescribe a specific method of conducting these. Their form and methods have varied over ages. So to associate Vedic religion with any such ritualistic practice would be against the very essence of Vedas.
- But yes, Havan and Sandhya are powerful techniques for a healthy mind, body and environment being practiced since ages. Depending upon one’s intellect level and past experiences, one may take time to understand their significance and right customized method suited to one’s own level. But till that happens, only a dogmatic mind would outcast such a person from Vedic religion. On contrary, dogmatics have no place in Vedic religion.
So while one can say that Havan, Sandhya, waking early, brushing teeth, exercising, proper hygiene are hallmarks of a rational well-intentioned person, one cannot deny admission to Vedic school to anyone merely because his background did not allow him to appreciate the benefits of these practices.
- Further Vedas contain hundreds of healthy recommendations for us all. I would say that Havan and Sandhya are among the least emphasized ones. Virtues like early morning routine, having a muscular strong body through strenuous exercising, not compromising an inch in matters of principles and morality, working proactively for uplift of nation and destruction of its enemies etc are more emphasized ones. So one can then choose another set of recommendations (like 5 mile jogging and 40 pushups daily) and start terminating Havan/ Sandhya compliant students from school of Vedic religion!
The simple point is that all these are next levels in specific subjects, but not entry-exit criteria for Vedic religion.
So you mean Arya Samaj is not necessarily follower of Vedic religion?
Arya Samaj etymologically means a society of noble persons. So from this perspective, all people who follow Vedic religion are also Arya Samaji.
Now Swami Dayanand Saraswati started Arya Samaj in late 19th century to unite intellectual people into worthy actions. Thus his criteria were not the most preliminary but a more intermediate level so that they could not only act as followers of right principles but as well be teachers of these principles. So all intermediate to advanced students of Vedic religion formed the Arya Samaj. He thus formulated a 10 point principles of Arya Samaj.
But he even attempted to attract the more basic students through a variety of means. He had in his various other ventures, even those people who did not adopt all the principles of Arya Samaj but yet were right-intentioned aka followers of Vedic religion. Thus his Paropkarini Sabha had even someone like Justice Ranade who was a noble person but not member of Arya Samaj as formulated by Swami Dayanand.
Cutting the story short, all those who sincerely understand and believe in 10 principles of Arya Samaj are undoubtedly followers of Vedic religion. They are in fact worthy lighthouse of society and they proved so by initiating various social reforms and freedom movement in India. Swami Dayanand wanted to address imminent needs of the society and Arya Samaj represents those eligible students of Vedic religion who had potential to act as torch bearers. Who possessed a minimal level of intellect, knowledge and dedication. Who could act as leaders of rest of the society.
But this does not preclude other noble souls who did not explicitly believe in 10 principles of Arya Samaj because of a variety of reasons, as discussed in previous sections, from being termed as great followers of Vedic religion. Thus all freedom fighters, social reformers, soldiers who sacrificed their lives for Mother nation are all proud examples of Vedic religion. All scientists who put their best efforts to unravel mysteries of nature through an honest thinking process were also great examples of Vedic religion.
Note that it is never that someone is either follower of Vedic religion or not a follower of Vedic religion. This is true for Christian or Muslim. One is either a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Christian or a non-Christian. But one can be Vedic in one aspect of life and non-Vedic in another. Further, the degree of adherence also varies from time to time. So Vedic religion is a light. There is hardly a place that has absolutely zero photons. But intensity of light may vary from place to place and time to time.
For sake of simplicity, we call those people as followers of Vedic religion who proactively invite this light of wisdom in their lives regardless of their existing darkness. Those who at least attempt to open their windows to sunlight regardless of how tight and jam it may be.
Coming back to Arya Samaj, in modern times, Arya Samaj has become a very confusing word. It does etymologically represent society of noble persons and there are many dedicated followers of 10 principles of Arya Samaj as laid out by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. They are indeed great examples of Vedic religion – the more advanced students! However they are individuals.
But there is also an institute or organization named Arya Samaj that runs through huge number of Arya Samaj temples and various organizational bodies etc. Who are very famous in Bollywood for supplying priests for scenes of marriage. And who earn a huge income through marriage of eloped couples. This spineless culture of Arya Samaj is nothing more than a mockery of the legacy of Swami Dayanand and anything but Vedic religion. They may do their Havans, Sandhyas and shout slogans of ‘Vedic Dharma ki Jai’, and hold public meetings attended by big-shots politicians and tycoons. But their intent is well observable from their tangible outputs. There is a fundamental Vedic principle that those who claim to have greater knowledge and capability should also deserve greatest punishment. Refer http://agniveer.com/4272/manu-smriti-and-punishment/.
Another principle states that the frauds should be respected not even by words. So this Arya Samaj – which is nothing more than a grand disorganized kitty party – deserves the lowest marks if one were to score the entire population on Vedic Dharma compatibility.
Our recommendation would be to stay away from kitty-parties if you sincerely want to transform your own life and that of society through adoption of Vedic Dharma or Vedic religion.
I do not agree to all that is written in Satyarth Prakash or in Agniveer site. I have my differences. I find another method of worship effective. Can I still be a follower of Vedic religion?
As we have said earlier, you have your right to differ or even counter not only Agniveer site or Satyarth Prakash – source of most of Agniveer concepts – but also the 4 Vedas. The ONLY criteria is that you should be doing so with genuineness and without bias. The reason to defend something should NOT be that we have been believing so for past several months or years, or because we have given a public statement in its favor, or because it forms basis of our profession, or because we may be ridiculed or punished if we change our stand. The only basis of defending something should be that we honestly believe that it is correct. And yet we should always have one door open for any change that may come tomorrow as we gather new information and process further.
This is a natural way that we all adopt to become mature. Or else, after our brains had fully grown up by age of 4, we would have remained as dumb forever! So Vedic religion is all about being in harmony with nature without bringing false ego in picture!
How is Vedic religion different from other cults or religions?
- All other cults come in package deals. You have certain core beliefs, some books, some prophets, some priests, some rituals and some prophecies. You have to either accept all or be out. Even if you in reality accept only a few components of the package, you still have to publicly announce allegiance to the entire package. So in a way, falsehood is promoted. You must announce your loyalty to what you can neither verify nor logically understand nor find reasonable or face exit.
Vedic religion is made to fit. You believe in only what you find logically sound, reasonable, intuitive and what you can understand right now. You can refuse to claim allegiance to any book, saint, belief etc and yet be Vedic so far you adhere to honesty.
- All other cults work on binary logic. Either you are one of them or an outcast. Vedic religion is not a cult. You are naturally Vedic. And as per your intents, you are less or more Vedic in various aspects of life. Its between you and the Supreme Force (whatever label you may give it – God, Ishwar, Laws of Nature etc) and no one has right to pass judgment on whether you believe in this religion or not.
- Vedic religion is inspired directly by the oldest text of the humankind – the 4 Vedas. It considers only eternal principles and leaves everything that is geography or time specific to wisdom of individual and society. Further, it does not even demand allegiance to 4 Vedas also. Ved means knowledge or enlightenment. So any approach in life that is knowledge seeking is Vedic religion.
- You cannot be a Muslim and Christian at the same time. But you can be a Vedic even though you are a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew or whatever.
- While all other religions mean blindly accepting certain sets of assumptions, Vedic religion means being enterprisingly honest.
So your Vedic religion has no basis, no benchmarks, no foundation. One can do whatever he or she wants and still be Vedic. Huh! It is better to be more disciplined by following a cult like Christianity or Islam.
This only reflects that we have become mental prisoners. A prisoner who has been kept in a dark cell finds the sunlight of freedom unbearable. There are true stories of convicts committing suicide because they found free life so uncomfortable. They could not even relieve themselves unless someone blew a whistle! Vedic religion is definitely not for the lovers of prisons. Its all about freeing yourself.
But Vedic religion is also not about being undisciplined. It is, on contrary, all about being RATIONALLY disciplined. So Vedic religion is not about succumbing to lust because you seem to find it most enjoyable in a particular moment and ultimate truth. It is all about applying the mind that has been bestowed to think of the consequences and perform a what-if analysis. What-if everyone in world starts becoming lustful like me. What-if someone becomes lustful for my own mother or sister. What-if the way I enjoy lust, someone else enjoys murder etc etc. And conclude that the truth is that one is the master of mind. That by mastering the mind, one can seek enjoyment in anything he or she desires. So as a smart master of mind, I shall seek far more enjoyment in whatever brings me long term strength, vitality and energy and not vice verse. I shall seek enjoyment in that in which even if all the people of world start seeking enjoyment, still the world becomes only a more beautiful and happy place.
This intellectual growth is far more disciplining than any cult-rituals.
How do I get started?
- You can adopt good rituals from any cult or society and still be Vedic. Being Vedic is no way contradicting to your being a Christian or a Muslim or an Atheist. Simply adopt the best practices and junk the rest. You already do so. Nobody in world can follow each letter of Bible or Quran. That is technically impossible. So you do already customize the books as per your own requirements. Take it a step further. Instead of performing this customization because that was inevitable, do a customization that best fits your needs.
Question everything ruthlessly and ask yourself – why do I follow this? Simply because I was born here, or I was socially adapated to believe so or there is something more? Keep eliminating whatever comes as a wrong answer. Whatever does not fit reason. And then you would have gradually come closure to truth – to a unique customized religion for yourself – specially made for you.
You can keep fine-tuning this tailor-made religion forever in life. Not only would it be a most enjoyable passion but also help you discover the true you. In process, you would have been following Vedic religion all the way.
So, you can start from whatever feels comfortable to you, and keep introspecting to have not only discipline but also elegance in whatever you do.
- Yet another way could be to collect common good points of all religions and reject the cult specific traits. For example, all religions talk of truth, peace, honesty, compassion etc. Grab these points together and this becomes a good starting point to have a customized religion for yourself that is lean and effective.
- For those looking for a ready-made alternative for discipline instead of too much of customizations to begin with, Arya Samaj principles would be a great beginning. Grab a copy of Satyarth Prakash or Light of Truth or contact us!
You can thus have a very rational template of disciplined routine that not only brings discipline but also adds to your health and intelligence. So simply download Satyarth Prakash or Light of Truth. Review it carefully, especially Chapters 7 onwards. Also review all articles on Agniveer. This would provide sufficient beginning material for you to start being a master yourself. If in doubt, contact us or post a question in Agniveer Discussions.
(Note: this is still only a recommendation and not a compulsion. The beauty of Vedic religion is that there is no compulsion and only enlightenment! All that these articles and Satyarth Prakash do is to compile logical analysis of many a common questions that come in our mind but we are afraid to ask.)
What benefits would Vedic religion give me?
This is same as asking what benefit would water give me or air give me. Your intellectual survival depends only upon your knowledge-enhancement. And for humans, happiness derived from knowledge-enhancements surpasses other forms of enjoyments far many times. It is because of this that humans could have build a civilization and did not waste time only in food, sex and sleep like other animals.
So Vedic religion will help you unlock those levels of happiness that you could never imagine before.
Vedic religion is all about using your will to achieve your goals. A follower of Vedic religion does not leave anything to destiny. You desire and achieve. You learn how to use power of mind to achieve whatever you want. Nothing apart from Vedic religion can teach you this skill better.
Vedic religion makes you totally fearless. You know that nothing except your own intentions can harm you. And you know that your intentions are under your own control. So no one is as daring as a Vedic person. No ghost, no jinna, no omen, no curse, no sight, no threat, no dracula, no witch, no horoscope, no palm-lines can affect him. He is fearlessness incarnate.
Vedic religion ensures you are always positive and futuristic. A Vedic person is never in guilt-traps. He knows that his present is reflection of his intents till previous moment. And his future is shaped by his present intent. He thus uses his present to enforce a positive intent and ensure a bright future. He never wastes time brooding the past or giving up in guilt-traps.
Vedic religion makes you enjoy your relations. You consider everything as a gift from Supreme Force in return of your noble intents so far. You attempt to improve all relations, sincerely love them and think well of them because that is the only way to bring happiness. You do worthwhile deeds for happiness of your family, society and world. And this brings even more happiness. Your happiness thus multiplies. The world becomes a heaven for you full of love and success.
Vedic religion helps you become a complete person. Because you operate at will-power level, you can easily transfer your skills in one area into another. You become an expert all-rounder.
Vedic religion helps you develop a natural resistance against committing stupid and foolish acts. You no more have to resist yourself from lust, greed, frustration, anger, jealousy because of fear of some miraculous power or incentive of greater enjoyments in future. On contrary, Vedic religion teaches you how these stupid acts are actually spies bringing greater trouble. You instead naturally incline towards much more healthy and much more enjoyable sources of short-term and long-term gratification. You no longer have to keep saying sorry and keep doing confessions. You simply enjoy more by acting more smartly by understanding why you should avoid falling in shit.
And above all, Vedic religion gives you ultimate peace and brings you in harmony with nature. You enjoy every moment thousand times more than you ever enjoyed before. Its an enjoyment full of enthusiasm, action, health and energy. Your sleep is peaceful, your waking is enthusing, your actions are dynamic, your thoughts are pure, you health is exemplary and your zeal is infecting on everyone around you. You become definition of peace and enjoyment.
I can keep writing. But its already there for you to experience RIGHT NOW! So what are you waiting for! Start your journey to become a Powerman immediately! All you have to do is to assert your proactive loyalty to the following.
‘I promise to accept truth through a continuous process of rejecting falsehood every moment to best of my abilities in the most sincere manner.’
May you become live examples of the following verse from Rigveda by embracing this Vedic religion:
I have gained such tremendous powers that I am unstoppable by anyone on the planet. Just as powerful horses take away the chariots wherever they desire, I can achieve whatever I aspire for. I can easily destroy the mightiest of challenge that confronts me. I can change the course of history and set the greatest precedence for future. All this has happened because I have decided to follow the path of wisdom. (Rigveda 10.119)
If you are convinced that you would be a a loyal follower of Vedic religion, use the comment section to announce your assertion and inspire others. Remember the corollary that happiness multiplies by sharing!