{hinduloka} $title={Table of Content} Transcendental Knowledge of Vedic Literature

There are two different kinds of knowledge to acquire; higher knowledge ( Para Vidya ) and lower knowledge ( Apara Vidya ). The lower knowledge consists of all textual knowledge - the Four Vedas; Pronunciation etc. ( Siksha or Phonetics); Ritual Procedures ( Kalpa ); grammar ( Vyakarana ); etymology ( Nirukta ); Metrics ( Chanda ) and astrology ( Jyotisha ).

The higher knowledge is by which the eternal and imperishable Self or Atman is realized, which knowledge brings about the immediate realization of the Ultimate Reality, the source of Everything.

Knowledge of Atman is very subtle; it cannot be obtained by one's own efforts; Atman   cannot be grasped intuitively with only intellectual tools. Thus, Angirasa distinguishes between the path of knowledge (Terrestrial) and the path of realization (Transcendental), between opinion and truth. 

To understand this and to realize Reality (Transcendental Knowledge) the aspirant must seek a guru. The teacher who has realized his identity with the  Atman  alone can impart this much sought-after wisdom to the power of his own experience.

In practical life we ​​think of Secular Education as Apara Vidya which is needed to lead the Pravritti Marga with Manava Dharma (Human Values) and think of Spiritual Education and Knowledge which leads us to Liberation ( Moksha) through renunciation to lead the Nivritti Marga as Paravidya .

Spiritual education enables us to control thoughts, selfishness, cultivate divine virtues and attain knowledge of the Self. It helps students to develop a strong, healthy body and mind, self-confidence, courage, ethical perfection, initiative in all worthy endeavors and good character. It instilled in him the ideals of simplicity, service and devotion. These ideas must give his existence and perfume his thoughts, words and actions. The rich man should regard his wealth as belonging to God and feel that he is only a guardian appointed to see its proper use. Likewise, the knowledge we gain here should be used to serve the poor and suffering, in the service of the state, saints and worshipers of God.

The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita teach us that living a comfortable life in the here and now is not the ultimate goal of life. Immortality and Eternal Happiness is not possible with wealth. Therefore, one should turn away from these small and temporary benefits and aspire to the bliss of infinite fellowship with the Almighty.

The term Upanishads means 'sitting very close'. This shows the intimate relationship between the mentor and the student. The Upanishads are given to us through a discourse between the disciples and the great seer called the Maharshi . They the disciples sat close to each other to listen to the most noble and devout topic, namely, "The Supreme Brahman and Karma Nishkaama (one's duty to oneself and society)."

These values ​​are well conveyed in the Upanishads in the elements of Nichiketa and Maitreyi, explaining what should be the approach and purpose in life. The Katopanishad is actually an interpretation of the story mentioned in the Katha Samhita . The story of Nachiketa is narrated in this Upanishad .

Vajasrawa, the father of Nachiketa performed the Viswajita sacrifice in which he had to give everything he had as payment to the priests. The cows he gave her were all decrepit and barren. Seeing such imperfection, Nachiketa was compelled to ask his father to give it to several priests as a dakshina (fee) to complete the sacrifice. The father angrily said that he would rather leave it to the God of Death ( Mrityu ), Yama . Nachiketa took his father's words seriously and went to the abode of the god Yama and waited for him for three nights without food to meet him, who had been far from his abode. Yamagave three awards to Nachiketa. Nachiketa prays that her father is free from anxiety and that he is kind to her, at first grace. He wants Yama to teach him Agniveda with whom one obtains Swarga ( Moksha ), with a second gift. The third award Nachiketa prayed for was for knowledge of the nature of Moksha . Yamasaid that he would give him wealth, long life, comfort, happiness and worldly benefits in exchange for those boons but Nachiketa was not lured by this temptation. He scorned all mortal endings and prayed for the knowledge, he wanted it. He said: 'O Yama! Keep all these trains, girls, wealth and years of life with you. They only exhaust the power of the senses. In the end I have to come into your clutches only. Teach me knowledge that will make me immortal." One must develop the Nachiketa element in life.

Saunaka, a sage approached the sage Angeerasa and asked: “O venerable sir! What is the highest knowledge of knowing which all other sciences are known?” Angeerasa replied: "That is the knowledge of the Self". He then instructs Saunaka in the science of the Self.

Maitreyi is the one who knows the Self. She was the wife of the sage Yagnyavalkya. Yagnyavalkya wants to leave the world. He wanted to divide his wealth between his two wives. The wise Maitryi asked: "My lord, if you give me the wealth of the three worlds, will I become immortal?" Yagnyavalkya replied: “There is no beloved Maitreyi. Immortality is not achieved by wealth. You will only live the luxurious life of a rich woman. Maitreyi firmly said: “Then I don't want this wealth. Teach me the highest knowledge by which I will become immortal.” Yagnyavalkya was very pleased with his wisdom and imparted knowledge of the Self to him.

The Isavasyopanishad deals with Karmayoga for which the doctrine of the Bhagavadgita has been developed in all aspects.

In the  Bhagavadgita,  God exalts the virtuous. The Bhagavadgita  defines virtue as wisdom and knowledge. One needs to study the thirteen thoughts of inner wisdom that were recommended to Arjuna by Sri Krishna:

“Humanity, unpretentiousness, forgiveness, non-injury, honesty, service to the teacher, purity, steadfastness, reflection on the evils of birth, death, old age, disease and pain, not identifying with children, wives and others. A constant state of equanimity whether one acquires what is not wanted or desired, steadfast devotion to God, love of seclusion, aversion to worldly association, steadfastness in Self-knowledge, this perception of the end of true knowledge is expressed as knowledge; what is contrary to this is ignorance.”

The Upanishads  provide this in -depth knowledge through discourse between the mentor and the student. Such knowledge is given to eligible students and seeks students after the initial entrance test before entering Gurukula (school of spiritual sciences). These teachings are very serious in the evolution of human beings in all areas-moral, ethical, intellectual and spiritual.

Let us look at how the seers of the  Upanishads  taught their disciples. 

Garuda Purana says that 

Reading to a person without wisdom is like showing a mirror to a blind person.

Brahma rishis do not place value on uncoordinated knowledge or unacceptable opinions, but consider these a dangerous tool in the hands of an unskilled craftsman. 

The greatest emphasis is placed on character development. No teacher will impart knowledge unless he finds his pupil ready to receive it, as you have observed in the example above, not even to their closest relatives.

The early Vedic literature provides an indication of why spiritual knowledge was not easily obtained. The early Brahmodya Vedas are riddles related to the nature of the world, rituals, origin of the world, creation, spiritual knowledge, etc. The section below taken from the early Brahmodya will describe the genre. This view is transcendental, concerned with questions of true knowledge and understanding, with natural language and with the transcendental unity that underlies the diversity of the phenomenal world.   

Chatwaari vaakparimitaa padaani taani vidubrahmana ye maneeshinah | Guhaa treeni vihitaa nengayanti tureeyam vaachoe manushyaa vadanti || Indram mitram varunaam agni-maan hurathoe divyah sa suparnoe garutmaan | Ekam sad-vipraa bahudhaa vadanti agnim yamam maatarisvaana-maahuh ||

Language is measured in four quarters; the knowledgeable Brahmins (Gods) know this. Three-quarters kept secret, not circulated; Only humans (those who are not Brahmins and are Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Soodras) speak the fourth language. They called him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Agni; and also Garutmaan, the god eagle. Being only One sage (Brahmin) calls it multiplication. They call him Agni, Maatarisvan.

(Rig Veda 1:164; 45-46)

The three-quarters referred to here are the three-quarters of the eternal Purusha described in the Purusha Sukta which is beyond human comprehension.

The Upanishads are truly the treasure house of the spiritual aspirations of all mankind. Their message is relevant throughout time for all people and all traditions or religions. They are the main foundation of the famous school of Vedanta Philosophy and Universal Tradition, the Sanatana Dharma .

It is a central tenet of our faith that the present life of each person should be the last in the infinite succession of lives that he has in the history of his soul. The soul itself is intangible; its relation to the body is due to the work of ' avidya ' or ignorance. 

Practice to Follow the Spiritual Path

The present life of each person is a glorious opportunity to be used in such a way that there will be no more life in the afterlife. The death that will inevitably come at the end of this life must be the last, and the living soul that must not enter into another body after that with the operation of the law of Karma. Since the residual Karma carries the soul in relation to the body, all Karma must be liquidated, burned, with the present life body itself. It is for this purpose that man must strive.

For this purpose, says Sankara , following the Vedas , everyone has to go through certain disciplines. They refer to Work, Worship, Wisdom, Karma, Bhakti and Jnana. All spirituality must be built on a high moral code, which involves doing what is prescribed and what is forbidden. 

We must determine the nature of duty in the context of our daily lives. What is Dharma? What is the basis? 

As good citizens, we say that the Laws of the State define our duties. This law is a legislative enactment which is part of our constitution. Who gave this authority to the constitution? It is drawn up by representatives elected by the people. But the voters differed in intellectual and moral qualities and the representatives they returned were not always the best. It is an indispensable part of this imperfect world. 

We also see that in some cases law and justice are incompatible. Our courts are called courts of law. They are not courts of justice in the strict sense of the expression. Sometimes judges feel powerless in the face of unjust laws, and, in their decisions, they recommend that the laws be modified to suit the requirements of justice.

Legislative enactment regulates public behavior. But what about individual morality? What are the criteria for personal action, what should a person do for himself and for himself?

In our religion it has been said that in terms of one's conduct one should be guided by the Vedic ordinances: ' Vedokhilo Dharma Moolam ', the Vedas are the source of all Dharma. The Vedas have no author, are not man-made. They are the intuition of the yogic sage into the Eternal Truth.

What to do if there is no guidance from the Vedas? 

Much of the Vedas have been lost. If the breadth of the Vedic texts cannot guide us in our conduct, then it is determined that we should seek guidance in the writings of sages like Manu, Yagnavalkya, Parasara and others who have left behind what are called ' Smriti ' or 'memoirs'. which should determine our behavior. 

The author of this smriti is not a lawgiver. It is a false belief to think so. They did not issue new laws. Smriti implies what is remembered. This is a record of the memory of a wise man. The Vedic text includes what may have been lost in the course of time. The great poet Kalidasa beautifully conveys this to us when he says: ‘Sruterivaartham smritiranvagacchat’ , smriti follows in the footsteps of sruti .

What should we do when there is no smriti to guide us in a crisis? Since these people who know Smriti are well versed in the basic principles of eternal behavior, their statements are expected to be in line with the spirit of smriti . So, it says, ' seelascha tadvidam ', follow the behavior prescribed by the sruti writers .

What is the difference between Struti and Smriti ?

The Shruti are sacred texts that make up the core corpus of Hinduism, namely the Upanishads, Vedas, Brahmins  and Aranyakas . The entire body of post-Vedic Classical Sanskrit literature is called Smiriti , which literally means "that which is remembered". Vedanga, Shad darshana, Puranas, Itihasa, Upveda, Tantra, Religion and Upanga are all part of Smiriti.

  • Shruti means "what is said". Smriti meaning "to remember." 
  • Shruti is direct knowledge. The universal truths of faith were heard by the Great Rishi, who recorded them for the benefit of posterity. Smriti is a keepsake of the case. 
  • Shruti is timeless. Smriti was created by humans. 
  • The main authority is ShrutiSmriti is an afterthought. 
  • The final authority is Shruti. If Smriti contains anything against Shruti, it should be rejected. 
  • Shruti doesn't issue any orders. It only provides guidance. Smriti gives orders and punishments in the form of prayers if they are not followed. 
  • Shruti never goes out of style. Smriti may become obsolete, requiring modification or amendment. Shruti is eternal because it never changes. Smriti, when followed at any given time, makes the necessary adjustments. As a result, the essence of Smriti becomes complex. 
The Four Vedas, Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas, as well as the 108 Upanishads, are known as Shruti.
Upanishads, known as Shruti. The 18 sages who perfected the Vedas with their superpowers and obtained Smritis from them were Manu, Parasara, Yajnavalkya, Gautama, Harita, Yama, Visnu, Sankha, Likhita, Brhaspati, Daksha, Angiras, Pracetas, Samvarta, Acanas, Atri, Apastamba, and Satatapa.

Maybe now we don't find anyone experienced in Smriti . We should then emulate the behavior of various good people's actions: ' Achaarascha saadhoonaam '. Sadhu is a good person who is pure in heart.

In the Taittiriyopanishad, rishi Yagnavalkya in his darsana call to his disciples says:

Now if there is any doubt about your actions or any uncertainty regarding your behavior in life, you must act in those matters just as the learned scholars, present there, the wise, religious (experienced) are not prepared. by others, not cruel (i.e., gentle) and devoted to the Dharma…

Therefore, in order to know what is permissible and what is not permissible, we must be guided by the Vedic statements which state the provisions of ‘ vidhi ’ (rules to be followed) and ‘ nishedha ’ (forbidden deeds).

So in order to know how we should act in the course of our life, we have to ask for guidance in the end to literature i.e. the Vedas . To know what the Vedas say , it is necessary to study them and continue to recite them daily, lest because they are not written down, they are forgotten.

 So, Sankara said, ' Vedonityam adheeyatam ', the Vedas should be studied and kept alive in daily speech. Having learned it, the next thing that follows is: ' taduditam karma svaanushteeyatam ', the tasks prescribed by them must be done properly. God is happy with it :' tena eeshya vidheeyataam apachitih '. Release properly and properly the karma that is yours and it will be your most pleasing worship to God.

To live a good life, we have to get rid of evil in our thoughts, speech, and behavior. For this purpose, we must constantly engage in thinking the good thoughts and good deeds prescribed in the Literature. The idle mind is the devil's workshop. In the process of doing good deeds, evil automatically disappears from the mind. Doing good deeds makes us constantly think of God and thus we gain more and more of His grace.

Thus, the first stage in the spiritual ladder is the execution of the obligatory duties specified in the Literature. This must be done with the intention of enjoying the fruits of the action; but pure from a sense of duty in the spirit of devotion to God. Karmanushtanam  carries out the task with dedication, imparts mental purity and also makes a condition for God’s grace. The faithful fulfillment of the individual Dharma itself is true praise and true worship of God.

The practice of Dharma, devotion to God and the acquisition of Jnana (the highest solvent of all suffering) are the three stages of the spiritual path.

The final realization is the result of Jnana,  the Supreme Truth received from the Guru and contemplated by the disciple. In that state, one is freed from the bondage of life and is said to have been liberated even while one is alive. This state is called ' Jivanmukti '. This is the goal of the spiritual path laid down in Hinduism.

Prayer creates a height from which true faith and belief ( Bhakti ) can grow. Prayer never ends by itself. Most traditions have taught men and women to go beyond silence, beyond the repetition of mantras to the transcendental stage. It teaches us that our words cannot define God or divine mysteries, no matter how eloquent our prayers may be. They can only serve as springboards for the sacred, helping ourselves to the deeper streams of her being and thus living more intensely and fully. But prayer cannot be effective unless it is accompanied by ethical religious practices, especially with the virtue of compassion which is the only and only test of true spirituality.