In this article, we shall briefly discuss the origin of Vedas. With this article, we begin a series to understand the Vedic framework – origin, definition, content, concepts etc. The series would be based on works of our great scholars from dawn of civilization to recent times. All conclusions shall be made after thorough analysis. We may skip certain details for sake of readability. The articles largely follow the structure laid in Introduction to Vedas (Rigvedadibhashyabhumika) by Swami Dayanand Saraswati and readers are advised to read this book for further details.
The only promise that can be made about this series is that one who carefully reads this, shall never ever face any depression or helplessness in life, shall be in a position to live life more blissfully and meaningfully, and contribute utmost for defense of truth and Dharma.
Origin of Vedas
Note: This chapter assumes reader to be a theist. Atheism has been rejected in previous article and we shall do a more comprehensive rejection later.
Yajurved 31.7 clearly states that Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda were originated from Him – the ultimate Ishwar who is omnipresent.
Atharvaveda 10.7.20 reiterates the same essence beautifully. It says that Rik, Yajuh, Sama and Atharva originated from the ultimate Ishwar. It asks “Which deva (provider ofbliss/knowledge) gave the Vedas?” And answers that the One who is controlling and maintaining the entire universe is the creator of Vedas. Atharva is like the mouth of that Ishwar, Samaveda is like the hair on the skin, Yajurveda is akin to the heart and Rigveda is the Prana or source.
Shatpath Brahman 22.214.171.124 states that Ishwar, who is present even beyond the Akash/Sky created the Vedas. The way breath goes out of body and then comes in, during inception of creation, Ishwar creates the Vedas and illuminates the world, and in the phase of dissolution (Pralay), Vedas no more remain in world. However just as a sapling remains inside the seed, Vedas still remain in knowledge of Ishwar, unchanged.
Shankaracharya writes in commentary on Geeta 3.15 that Vedas are actually never created or destroyed. They merely get illuminated and de-illuminated but remain in Ishwar.
Rigveda 10.190.3 states that the creation remains same in all cycles and hence even the constitution of the creation – the Vedas – also remain exactly the same.
Doubt: When Ishwar is shapeless, how did He create the Vedas?
Ishwar does not need physical organs like humans to perform His tasks. Such limitations do not exist in case of Ishwar. Vedas describe Ishwar as possessor of infinite limbs and mouths. It implies that Ishwar can perform all His functions without recourse to physical organs or support of anyone else. When Ishwar can create such a magnificent world, why should one doubt His capability to create Vedas!
Shwatashwataropanishad 3.19 states that he holds everyone even though He has no hands and legs!
Doubt: No soul can create the world, but they can definitely create books of grammar and other fields of knowledge. Why then is Ishwar necessary to create the Vedas?
The knowledge possessed by humans is dependent. It needs training and dissemination of knowledge to further research and discover new knowledge. If you keep a person isolated in jungle since birth, he or she would be unable to learn the ways of humans even a bit. Even today we find many tribes in jungles who live like animals. Similarly knowledge is necessary at inception for humans to possess the capability to discover new knowledge or create books.
Doubt: Ishwar has gifted humans with basic knowledge or natural instincts. This is superior to all texts because only through this we understand anything. So with progress of this knowledge, why should people not be able to design Vedas. Why should then we consider Vedas to be originated from Ishwar?
1. Was natural instinct not available with junglee tribes and child born and brought up in isolation? Why could not they turn scholars? Why chimpanzees fail to evolve and learn over centuries. Why insects continue to commit suicide in light and not learn from it?
2. Even language originates from Vedas. In absence of belief in Vedas, origin of language also remains a mystery for modern superstitious scientists!
3. Even we learn because we go to schools or receive lessons from our mentors. How could then people during early ages learn so much as to draft Vedas that contain such a huge number of mantras, in a language that is more encompassing than any later language, covers such a wide number of topics, contains such fine thoughts that surpass any text of later era, and is preserved in such a manner through Paatha and Maatra method that change of even a single syllable is not possible!
4. What is claimed to be basic knowledge is merely sufficient to allow us to learn more complex knowledge and not create new knowledge out of nothingness. Just as eye is capable to see only when linked with mind and mind can function only when linked with soul, similarly basic knowledge or natural instinct is capable only to lead us to higher sources of knowledge and not to discover knowledge of Dharma, Artha, Karma and Moksha (Duties, Purpose, Desire and Salvation).
5. That is why initial knowledge from Ishwar is necessary to kickstart the process of knowledge assimilation. Yogadarshan 1.26 states that He is the teacher of the oldest teachers and is unhindered by time. Kumarilbhatta writes in his treatise on Meemansa that Vedas are Apaurusheya (not created by humans) because no one knows their creators. Sankhya 5.6 states the same. Sayana also reiterates the same opinion.
Doubt: What was the purpose of Ishwar in creating the Vedas?
1. Let me counter-question: What was the purpose of Ishwar in not creating the Vedas?
2. Ishwar has infinite knowledge and He is benevolent. Now knowledge is the most valuable attribute to possess. So unless Ishwar illuminates us with His knowledge, He does not remain benevolent. Ishwar justifies his attributes only by illuminating us with His knowledge – the knowledge of Vedas.
3. Ishwar is like our parents. He loves us and wants us to be blissful. Thus He has gifted us with knowledge of Vedas so that we can use this knowledge to maximize our bliss. Had Ishwar not blessed us with this knowledge, purpose of creation would have defeated. Everything else in the world makes sense only when we possess the knowledge to utilize them for our ultimate objective of maximizing bliss.
4. Knowledge is more bliss-producing than all the wonders of creation. And when Ishwar has gifted us with such wonderful gifts of creation, why would He keep Vedas to Himself and defeat His very purpose of creation, as well as His core attribute of benevolence.
And such is this knowledge, unlike Bible, Quran and Purans, that WD Brown wrote in “Superiority of Vedic Religion” that ” Vedic religion is thoroughly scientific where science and religion meet hand in hand . Here theology is based on science and philosophy.”
In “The Bible in India” by L Jacoliot, it is stated that ” Veda, of all revelations, is the only one whose ideas are in perfect harmony with modern science.” Huge number of other scientists who scratched the surface of Vedas share such views.
Doubt: How did Ishwar arrange for pen, ink and paper to write Vedas in inception of creation?
1. This is a most stupid doubt. As discussed earlier, when Ishwar can create universe without any additional tools, why should He be unable to create Vedas?
2. Ishwar did not illuminate Vedas by publishing them in beginning of civilization. He illuminated the minds of noble Rishis – Agni, Vayu, Aditya and Angira during inception of civilization. Shatpath Brahman 126.96.36.199 elaborates this. These Rishis in their state of meditation receive the knowledge of Vedas and they adopt it in same manner as a toy moves when its button is pressed – in exactly the manner it is supposed to move!
Doubt: Agni, Vayu, Aditya appear to be name of inanimate objects Fire, Air and Sun.
This doubt is again baseless. Knowledge cannot be acquired by inert matter. If someone says, Court has issued summon, it does not mean the building of court has issued summon. It means that the people working in court have issued the summon. Similarly, knowledge can be acquired only by humans.
Doubt: Ishwar may have given them knowledge and they then created Vedas with this knowledge
Yet another baseless doubt. When knowledge is sourced from Ishwar, then Vedas created by Rishis are also sourced from Ishwar. Why would Rishis add their own masala for distortion when they have the knowledge of Ishwar in pure form?
Doubt: If Ishwar is Just, why did He not illuminate everyone’s mind with Vedas and chose only four among them? Hence Ishwar is biased.
The choice of only four Rishis confirms that Ishwar is just. Because justice implies meritocracy – rewarding one as per his or her deeds. So Ishwar chose the most meritorious among them for dissemination and further propagation of Vedas as per their past deeds. Rigveda 10.71.7 states that though all possess eyes and ears but intellect differs among humans.
Doubt: But we are talking of inception of creation. How can we talk of past deeds then?
Creation and Dissolution is a continuous cycle without beginning or end. During beginning of creation, souls take birth as per their deeds in previous creation. Never is the account of past deeds, completely vacant in this process.
Doubt: Why is Ishwar anti-women? Why did He not choose women for dissemination of Vedas?
Soul has no gender. Ishwar gave Rishis the body of men during inception of civilization because a male is more suited for propagation of knowledge among rest of the people who are thriving only through their natural instincts. A male is more suited to tame such uncivilized people. However in later phase, many women also became Rishis who discovered new meanings of these Vedic mantras.
Doubt: Are Chhandas like Gayatri also created by Ishwar?
Yes, when Ishwar has infinite capabilities, why doubt this one?
Doubt: Brahma created Vedas from his four mouths and Ved Vyas later compiled them in written form and divided in four parts- we hear this in history.
This theory has no basis. No authoritative text mentions this. This theory is propounded in Purans which are much later dated and full of blatant discrepancies. Some people believe Purans to be perfect and derived from Ishwar. But this claim is only as true as the claim of Quran and Bible hailing from Ishwar.
The fact is that Brahma learned the four Vedas from these Rishis. Brahma was a person with one head, two hands and two legs and not the caricature as represented in false Purans. Ved Vyas was commentator of Yoga Darshan and writer of Mahabharat. Nowhere except in Purans we find the theory of Ved Vyas being writer of four Vedas. And if these Purans have to be believed, we shall also have to believe in false stories of Jesus, Muhammad, Victoria etc, condemnation of women, denigration of our role models like Ram and Krishna and other foolishness that we accuse Bible and Quran to also contain. Further there is no foolproof mechanism to claim that the books we call Purans today are authentic. This prerogative or litmus test of authenticity is passed only by Vedas.
If Vedas were one in inception and later divided into four parts by Veda Vyas, then no text prior to Veda Vyas should refer to Vedas in plural. Also names of four Vedas should not be present. But if we look at actual references, this does not hold true and hence Vedas have been four from inception.
To cite references, please see the following for usage of Vedas in plural or name of more than one Vedas:
Atharva 4.36.6, Atharva 19.9.12, Rig 10.90.9, Yajur 31.7, Atharva 16.6.13, Yajur 34.5, Atharva 10.7.20, Yajur 18.29, Yajur 36.1, Yajur 12.4, Shatpath 188.8.131.52, Taittriya Samhita 184.108.40.206, Maitrayani Samhita 16.8, Shankhayan Grihya Sutra 1.22.15, Yajur 10.67, Atharva 11.7.14, Atharva 15.6.7-8, Atharva 12.1.38, Atharva 11.7.24, Rig 4.58.3, Yajur 17.61, Gopath Brahman 1.13, Shatpath 220.127.116.11, Brihad Upanishad 3.4.10, Aitareya Brahman 25.7, Gopath 3.1 etc.
Such references also come in Upanishads, Manu Smriti, Mahabharat, Sarvanukramani, Ramayan and many other texts.
In fact, the fact that Mahabharat is said to be fifth Veda by many Pundits implies that Vedas were originally four. Also Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharvaveda and Arthaveda are called Upaveda. This also implies that Vedas are four in number.
Doubt: In Veda Samhitas, we find names of Rishis before each Sukta or Chapter. They must have written those verses
1. These are names of Rishis who researched on particular verses of Vedas. Many verses have large number of Rishis.
2. Brahma was born long before Vyas, Madhuchhanda and other Rishis. When Brahma studied Vedas from original four Rishis, as explained even in Manu Smriti, there is no doubt that Vedas existed long before these Rishis.
We shall scrutinize this false allegation in greater depth in a subsequent post.
Doubt: Why we find two names to denote knowledge of Ishwar – Veda and Shruti?
Veda is derived from Vid root. Vid means knowledge as in Vidya, or existing as in Vidyamaan, or benefit or thought. Shruti is derived from “Shru” root meaning “to listen”. Since by studying them we get knowledge, understand truth, derive benefits and can become thinkers, they are called Vedas. And since we have been listening to this knowledge from inception of civilization and none ever saw the originator (since He is shapeless), they are called Shruti.
Doubt: How old are Vedas?
As per the details of texts like Surya Siddhanta and traditions throughout India, Vedas are supposed to around 1.97 billion years old. Scholars have debates over whether this period refers to time of origin of earth or humans and it remains a topic of research. However in India, whenever a Yajna happens, people call out in detail the time since origin in units of Manvantar, Yuga and Year. This calculation is same across all parts of India.
Doubt:What about works of Wilson and Max Muller who claim Vedas to be 2000-3000 years old?
They were rogue Christian missionaries with no knowledge of Sanskrit or Indian culture who came with purpose of destroying Indian culture. They have been quite successful in their designs and performing their duties for which they were paid by British. But unfortunately, their crazy theories have no basis whatsoever. There is no logical or rational foundation of their claims but they are parroted by communists and missionaries because they thrive on denigrating the foundations of our culture. Vedas existed since inception of civilization and shall remain till dissolution of creation 2.33 billion years from now.