Some big myths on Vedas and how they are most dangerous to our culture:
Myth 1: Vedas are not revealed. They are written by Rishis
Fact: Vedas were provided at inception of civilization by Paramatma and not created by an human.
a. All ancient aarsh texts and even new Purans consider Vedas as revealed knowledge. Even Vedas claim so. Further there is no evidence whatsoever to make a claim that Vedas are written by Rishis.
b. Rishis are those people who through their deep meditation found meanings of these verses. The suktas on which a particular Rishi meditated is referred with that Rishi’s name. So Rishi are Mantra-Drashta and not Mantra-Rachayita (They are seers and not creators of Mantras)
c. Many mantras in Vedas have more than one rishis. Some have even thousand rishis. How can thousand rishis together make one verse?
d. The same Mantra in Vedas occurring at different sections have different Rishis. How can that be possible if Rishis were creators of mantras?
e. The logic of those refuting revealed status of Vedas fall in two broad categories
Logic 1: They cannot be revealed because there is no Paramatma, and as per theory of evolution and discoveries of archaeology, man could not be so advanced millions years ago. Further this is against modern science.
– There is no way modern or any science can prove that Paramatma does not exist. So-called scientists have no answer to fundamental questions of universe – who ensures that laws of universe work? what started this process of creation and degeneration? what ensures that we feel pain and sorrow and pleasures. And who is “we”?
Athiests have no answers to these. As a man with advanced studies of modern science by grace of my education, I could find no answers except vague statements to these answers.
– Theory of evolution is a largely rejected theory today because recent discoveries of science and genes do not provide any conclusive evidence towards it. There is no proven theory (and mere conjectures) to answer how humans got created from dust? Why we see snippets of advancements of science and technology in ancient ages if those were indeed primitive times (like iron pillar of delhi, pyramids of egypt, speed of light in Sayana Bhashya, description of aeroplane making in Vimana Shstra etc etc)
– Archeology is a big hoax. What these archeologists do is create entire structure of humanoid in diagrams merely from a biig tooth like stone they discover in one place. There are several excellent resources on net available which discuss these hoaxes in detail.
Basically, the modus operandi of archaeologists suffer from very serious flaws: they have scratched not even .1% of entire earth surface and yet make tall claims, they forget that decay of organic/inorganic things they expect to discover can be much more severe than what their simple maths calculations predict. their dating methods are at best grossly inaccurate, their conjecture that any object could be tooth or bone is highly based on imaginations alone.
Please read http://www.pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/sci-ev/sci_vs_ev_TOC.htm for a good detailed review among many available from scholars.
Thus ceteras paribus, there is no evidence whatsoever to prove that Vedas were not revealed and plethora to prove that they are revealed.
This fact of revelation of Vedas is the core foundation of our culture. The moment you try to shake it, you would foolishly put yourself in same category as Islam or Christianity. Any difference with them then becomes only a temporary political issue and not one based on sound logic and reason. The whole of so-called Hindutva and culture movement then falls flat. Because if none is ultimate truth, how you justify that some other psycho, rapist, murderer, jehadi etc is wrong and you are right. Afterall in that case, everyone is equally worng and equally right.
Logic 2: Islam is a brutal religion. Islam is based on belief that Quran is revealed text. Hence anyone who believes on any revealed text is brutal. Since we are not brutal, we cannot beleive that any text (vedas or anything else) can be revealed.
This is the logic Sri Elst has provided. Perhaps this is the irony of those who may have mugged up lot of facts but did not do a thorough practical course in science and logical analysis. That is why perhaps, our ancient education system had so mush of strong emphasis on maths and science. Even Dayanand emphasised the same for same reason – Rote mugging and worshipping stones will make your intellect stone! (This is as per Vidur Niti, if I am correct)
By this logic, whatever Islam believes in, we cannot believe in same! They believe that humans have two legs. So we cannot have two legs! They believe that one should not consume alcohol, so we should start becoming drunkards. They believe Christians will go to hell. Hence we should believe Christians should go to heaven!!
The difference in Quran and Vedas are manifold:
a. Quran was revealed (if at all!) few hundred years ago. Even foreign so-called scholars believe Vedas to be first texts of mankind. A revealed text must be revealed at beginning of creation and not in between.
b. Quran is written in Arabic, a language specfic to a geography. Vedas are in vedic Sanskrit which is mother of all languages of world today
c. Quran contains location specfic descriptions and customs. Vedas contain no geography or history
d. Quran beleives itself to be final edition of God’s message. Now first, God’s message, by definition, has to be flawless and not subject to modifications. And if indeed modifications are necessary in God’s message, then there can be no FINAL edition. The process should then continue.
Vedas on other hand are one and same – they cannot be altered, contain fundamental truths. Their applicability may change depending in times. But the core rules are always applicable.
e. A revealed text should contain source of all possible knowledge. Only Vedas pass this litmus test.
f. Vedas can not be altered at all. Many editions of Quran exist
g. Quran was started by Prophet Muhammad – his personal life exemplifies his character!
So to assume that Vedas are not revealed because Quran is not revealed is only a defect of logic-less mind and prejudice.
Myth 2: Vedas contain Polytheism
Fact: Vedas contain worship of one and only one Paramatma
Logics given by believers of this myth are as follows:
Logic 1: Vedas contain names of many Gods and Goddesses
a. Paramatma is omnipotent and limited human mind cannot comprehend all attributes of Paramatma at same time. So vedas contain prayers to same one Paramatma. Different mantras however focus on different attributes of Paramatma and hence use different adjectives for Paramatma.
b. Even Vedas claim that there is only one Ishwar and not more than that.
Logic 2: Vedic suktas have names of Devatas associated with them. These are the various Gods and Goddesses.
The name of Devata associated with Vedic mantras refer to the subject of that particular sukta. That has nothing to do with various Gods and Goddesses in conventional sense. There are 33 devatas referred in Vedic texts, but this is also clearly elucidated that these refer to inanimate objects and not worth being worshipped. Vedas clearly proclaim that Paramatma is One and He alone is to be worshipped.
The whole confusion comes because ignorants assume Devata to be synonym of Paramatma. Devata means something or someone that gives, enlighten or illuminates. So in many contexts, Paramatma is also Devata. But so is soul/ Atman and all other animate and inanimate objects which satisfies this meaning of Devata. Thus parents, teacher, scholars, spouse are also devatas. Devatas deserve respect because they give us selfless benefits.
But Devata is not the goal of Worship, only Paramatma is, and Vedas are extremely clear on this.
Myth 3: Vedas can be interpreted by western scholars better because they are more scientific:
Fact: To be eligible to interpret Vedas, one has to qualify certain minimum basic requirements
Vedas are for every human being. But to be able to decipher meanings of vedic mantras in scholarly manner, several requirements are must:
a. Understanding of roots of vedic words, grammar and usages
b. A scientific and rational temper of mind
c. And most importantly, being a yogi.
Just as you do not get admitted to IIT or IIM without passing the entrance test, one cannot be eligible to comment on Vedas unless he or she is a yogi.
In other words, one cannot be taken seriously on vedic matters if he or she is say a drunkard, meat-eater, prone to anger, egoist, frustrated, hedonist, etc etc. Simply put he or she has to be a yogi to be a rishi (one who can understand the true meaning of Vedas).
Thus Vedas is not a text which every Tom, Dick or Harry can start commenting upon merely by studying some basic conventional sanskrit grammar and reading few sanskrit books. The mantras of Vedas are to be unlocked through process of deep meditation and contemplation. More one progresses on yogic path, more clearly is he or she able to understand Vedas. But for a non-yogi with stone mind, only stones can be obtained from Vedas.
Most western scholars, based upon their PhDs from universities based on and equipped for non-vedic studies start assuming that they have a preferential superiority over analysing Vedas. They simply ignore the eligibility conditions for entering into vedic arena.
This is not a blanket statement against all foreigners, but simply on basis of works of most prominent western indologists. This is also not to say that these problems are not infecting those native of India. In fact the problem is much more severe because of their inferiority complex coupled with prejudiced mindsets – likes of Romila Thapar, DN Jha etc are ready examples.
Thus all those who claim to have superior claim on Vedas because of their so-called scientific studies need to be analysed more in detail. People who turn out to be non-yogis (as per Paatanjal Yoga Sutra) have to rejected outrightly.
I shall elucidate on more myths and in more details in future. I wrote this small piece to provide a sense of direction in this matter.