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Who Can Learn the Veda's

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  #101  
Old 16 November 2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

hariḥ oṁ
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namasté ammasanand


One can look at this in multiple ways yet we must consider the approach i.e. being taught through symbols (saṃketa¹).
Each encounter satyakāma has is a new lesson, insight.


We note in these lessons 4 personalities are chosen to talk of 4 different qualities of brahman - another symbol. 4 personalities X 4 qualities
they point out yields 16 items. This 16 is a symbol for fullness. We find 16 items (usually) in pūja's/yajña. This 16 is considered the
16th tithi - fullness or pūrṇa of the moon soma, the next is called the 16th - total fullness.

This fullness is a key quality of the Supreme, of brahman. Even the notion that satyakāma should not return until the herd grew
to 1,000 is a symbol (see post 6). This 1,000 is the symbol of fullness. To become 'full' in one's knowledge and understanding.

And who are his teachers? It is ~nature~ functioning as the master of satyakāma, of symbols. Consider the following:
  • ṛṣabha - bull; also defined as the best or most excellent of any kind or race ; I view the bull as puruṣa-rṣabha the ~best~ of
    the human race. He talks of dik= diś = quarter or region pointed at , direction , cardinal points N,S,E,W.
    He informs that 1/4th of brahman as radiant or prakāśavān ( see post 9). He combines this radiance with the 4 directions as the lesson.
  • agni - fire , also the sacrificial fire, yet we know of agni as the devatā found in the ved. He is considered the entry point to the
    all the devata ; hence our oblations go into the 'mouth' of agni.
    He teaches of the 4 regions earth, mid-region heaven and the ocean. He informs that 1/4th of brahman is anantavān or ~endless~, boundless, limitless.
  • haṁsa - we know as a swan but is also the Universal Self. Note that a swan when in the water, stays above it, its feathers never
    absorbing the water, aloof from the water itself. This is how the Self too resides , aloof from the pangs and arrows of action, of life's
    ups-downs and mishaps.He teaches of fire, sun,moon and lightening.
    He says 1/4th of brahman is jyotiṣmān ~ luminous~, light (of the sun , dawn , fire , lightning ) , brightness.
  • madguṣṭi or madgu a water-diving bird. This word is rooted in majj defined as dive , plunge or throw one's self into.
    What does this have to do with brahman? He talks of the 4 parts (kalā) of prāṇa, eye, ear and mind. We find brahman within us
    as prāṇa, eye, ear and mind, brahman 'plunged / resides ' within us.
    To this madguṣṭi says brahman is known as āyatanavān or resting-place , support , seat , place , home , house , abode.
    Brahman takes His abode, or rests within us.
praṇām

words

saṃketa - hint , allusion
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Last edited by yajvan : 16 November 2010 at 08:07 PM.
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  #102  
Old 29 September 2011, 08:40 PM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

hari o
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namasté


If one reads the 1st post of this string it talks about satyakāma jābala and his desire to be a knower of truth. There is another luminary that I think is worth mentioning that has a ~simular~ background as satyakāma-ji. He is the ṛṣi of the aitareya upaniṣad. His name is aitareya mahīdāsa.

Just as we find satyakāma-ji called out in the chandogya upaniṣad, aitareya mahīdāsa is also mentioned saying he lived to 116 years of age. It is said he was the incarnation of viṣṇu. But what does he have in common with satyakāma-ji ? Questionable lineage.

Its is said he was born of the woman known as itarā. This word itarā means ' the other' ; this suggests this woman as 'the other' and not the legitimate wife of the father. She therefore did not have the rights and privileges of a ~legitimate wife~.

So, as the story goes , one day his father is having a big yajña performed. It is custom for the yajamāna's ( the one who performs and pays for the yajña, and in this case aitareya's father) son to be present and seated at this event. He was denied a seat at the yajña.

This was taken as a direct insult to itarā, aitareya's biological mother. Itarā-ma prays to bhūmi devī ,also known as mahī¹ and asks for atonement. Via her grace she appears and places aitareya-ji on a throne. She then proceeds to teach him the wisdom and knowledge of the Supreme.

He is known as aitareya mahīdāsa. Aitareya means the decendent of itarā his mother, and mahīdāsa is the servent (dāsa) of mahī or bhūmi devī. It is he aitareya mahīdāsa, that has brought the wisdom of the aitareya brāhmaṇa , aitareya āraṇyaka, and the aitareya upaniṣad to mankind.


It would be a great fortune for anyone on HDF to read this most insightful aitareya upaniṣad after knowing this story and the lineage of aitareya mahīdāsa.


praṇām

words
mahī and bhūmi - both names mean 'earth' so she is the devī of earth.
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  #103  
Old 11 October 2011, 07:57 AM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

http://agniveer.com/888/caste-system/

Quote:
.
Many examples exist of change of Varnas in Vedic history.
a. Aitareya Rishi was son of a Daasa or criminal but became a Brahmin of highest order and wrote Aitareya Brahman and Aitareyopanishad. Aitareya Brahman is considered critical to understand Rigveda.
b. Ailush Rishi was son of a Daasi, gambler and of low character. However he researched on Rigveda and made several discoveries. Not only was he invited by Rishis but also made an Acharya. (Aitareya Brahman 2.19)
c. Satyakaam Jaabaal was son of a prostitute but became a Brahmin.
d. Prishadh was son of King Daksha but became a Shudra. Further he did Tapasya to achieve salvation after repenting.
(Vishnu Puran 4.1.14)
Had Tapasya been banned for Shudra as per the fake story from Uttar Ramayan, how could Prishadh do so?
e. Nabhag, soon of King Nedishtha became Vaishya. Many of his sons again became Kshatriya. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.13)
f. Dhrist was son of Nabhag (Vaishya) but became Brahmin and his son became Kshatriya (VP 4.2.2)
g. Further in his generation, some became Brahmin again (VP 9.2.23)
h. As per Bhagvat, Agniveshya became Brahmin though born to a king.
i. Rathotar born in Kshatriya family became a Brahmin as per Vishnu Puran and Bhagvat.
j. Haarit became Brahmin though born to Kshatriya (VP 4.3.5)
k. Shaunak became Brahmin though born in Kshatriya family. (VP 4.8.1). In fact, as per Vayu Puran, Vishnu Puran and Harivansh Puran, sons of Shaunak Rishi belonged to all four Varnas.
Similar examples exist of Gritsamad, Veethavya and Vritsamati.
l. Matanga was son of Chandal but became a Brahmin.
m. Raavan was born from Pulatsya Rishi but became a Rakshas.
n. Pravriddha was son of Raghu King but became a Rakshas.
o. Trishanku was a king but became a Chandal
p. Sons of Vishwamitra became Shudra. Vishwamitra himself was a Kshatriya who later became a Brahmin.
q. Vidur was son of a servant but became a Brahmin and minister of Hastinapur empire.
9.
The word Shudra has come in Vedas around 20 times. Nowhere has it been used in a derogatory manner. Nowhere it mentions that Shudras are untouchable, birth-based, disallowed from study of Vedas, lesser in status than other Varnas, disallowed in Yajnas.
10.
In Vedas, Shudra means a hard-working person. (Tapase Shudram Yajurved 30.5). And that is why Purush Sukta calls them as foundation of entire human society.
11.
Since the four Varnas refer to 4 kinds of activities by choice, as per Vedas, the same person exhibits characteristics of the 4 varnas in different situations. Thus everyone belongs to all the 4 varnas. However, for simplicity sake, we refer to the predominant profession to be the representative Varna.
And hence, all humans should strive to be all the 4 Varnas to best of their capabilities, as per Vedic wisdom. This is the essence of Purush Sukta.
The Rishis like Vasisth, Vishwamitra, Angira, Gautam, Vaamdeva and Kanva exhibited traits of all the four Varnas. They discovered meanings of Vedic mantras, destroyed Dasyus, did manual labor and indulged in wealth management for social welfare.
We should also emulate the same.
In summary, we see that the Vedic society considers all humans to be one single Jaati or race, upholds the dignity of labor and provides equal opportunity for all humans to adopt the Varna of their choice.
There is no element of birth-based discrimination of any manner in the Vedas.
May we all unite together as one integrated family, reject the last element of birth-based discrimination of any manner and embrace each other as brothers and sisters.
May we also thwart the designs of those who want to mislead us by making baseless claims of casteism in Vedas and destroy the criminals aka Dasyu/Daas/Rakshas.
May we all come under the shelter of Vedas and work together to strengthen the humanity as one single family.
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  #104  
Old 15 February 2012, 09:47 AM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

Namaste,

I have a few points to be considered on this topic "Who can learn Vedas?"

The simple and straight answer is anybody can learn Vedas. But the main point is, the word learn is used in a very vague manner. If by learning we mean studying Vedas, there is absolutely no bar as there are many books on Vedas and one can learn from them.

If by learning we mean the practice of reciting Vedas which is called adhyayanam in Sanskrit, definitely it is a long process. Recitation of Vedas has been systemized and the purity of intonation of the words (in fact in Sanskrit it is called sabda which is not merely a combination of letters but is a combination of sounds) has been maintained by a rigorous practice extending over seven years. This practice is always done orally under direct control of a guru who is well versed. The purity of Veda intonation has been preserved over thousands of years by adhering to strict rules of pronunciation. The same word may be intoned in a different manner in some other context and there are pure sounds which cannot be represented by written letters.

If you have to practice recitation of Vedas you have to enroll yourself into a school which is called Patashala and they have got their own rules and regulations. The prevailing rule is one should at least be born as a Brahmin and has undergone thread ceremony. The course is all grinding full time course of 5 to 7 years to get the first stage completed which is called Samhita. Samhita is simple rendering of verses. The higher courses like Ganapatam, Grammar, Bashyam and other auxiliary subjects require study of another 10 years or so.

If you have to enroll into a Patashala, you have to necessarily fulfill the basic requirements. No one can expect to get admission to Harvard without having the proper qualifications required for a course. All those principles of Human Rights or womens lib are not going to help a person to get admission to Harvard!

The third aspect of learning Vedas is to understand the highest principles propounded in the Upanishads. The goal of the teaching here is to understand Self and to become a Brahma Nishta, a person who has realized that he is no other than Brahman. The requirement here in the words of Sri Yagnavalkya Rishi when he taught Maithreyi (Bruhadaranaya Upanishad) is sravanam, mananam and nidhidhyasam.

Sravanam literally means hearing, but here it is meant in the sense of learning from a Guru orally as stipulated by him. The tradition is a student approaches a Guru with a bundle of palasa twigs and makes obeisance to the Guru and requests for imparting the teaching. If the guru finds the student fit, he will start the teaching.

Mananam is repeatedly thinking and discussing what is learnt and clearing the doubts with the master so that the teaching is fully imparted to the student. If the teaching is not understood in the correct sense it could lead to disaster.

Nidhidhyasam is practicing what is learnt over a number of years. To reach the stage of realizing Brahman one has to practice several stages of meditation, acquire single minded focus, practice ahimsa in thinking, talking and in his actions. Again in the words of Sri Yagnavalkya the seekers of Brahman wish to realize It through regular reading of the Vedas, sacrifices (yagnas), charity and austerity. They give up wealth, renounce their family and become wandering mendicants leaving all the desires of this world.
In Katopanishad, Lord Yama clearly tells Nachiketa that it is very rare that a person wants to know about Self, it is rare for such a person to get a guru, it is rare to get a guru who himself realized self and (even after that) it is rare to realize Self.

For realizing Self there is no bar of caste or colour or race. There has been a number of sages who have realized Self and recently we had sages like Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Ramana Maharishi, Seshadri Swamigal etc (the list could be endless as there are number of them residing away from the population) and the last sage known as Walking God, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Matam, Kanchipuram, India who lived for 100 years.

There is no system of saint hood being awarded as in the case of Christianity and neither do these sages aspire for it. They are accepted as saints by the masses and the people who come in contact with them.

Now what is their characteristics and how do you identify them? They are normally recluse, do not want publicity, they rather consider publicity as an impediment to their spiritual progress, for them there is no difference between a good person and a thief for, they treat all of them in the same way, they are at peace with themselves and at peace with the world outside. They practice ahimsa and hence even the wild animals are at peace with them. Some of them go naked as they have overcome all the desires of flesh and they are happy like children. Many of the Munis of Jain community are avadhootas, who are naked saints and they are very much respected and admired for their qualities like their win over desire, anger, hunger and other bodily and mental afflictions normal persons undergo. It is difficult to identify a sage who has realized Self.

So to sum up:
1. Anybody can learn Vedas if it for the purpose of understanding Vedic principles. There is no bar.
2. If by learning, one wants to recite Vedas in the traditional way, he has to follow the rules of school for which he has to seek admission. He should be prepared for a grueling full time course of 5 to 7 years so that he becomes an expert in rendition.
3. If it is to understand Vedantic principles and to realize Self, then one has to necessarily seek a competent Guru and undergo the process. Normally it is the belief that one gets qualified even to understand Vedanta after many rebirths with the yearning for studying the subject. This many non Hindus do not accept as they do not believe in rebirths.
Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti!
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  #105  
Old 16 February 2012, 05:16 AM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

namate shrI anamaya.

A comprehensive coverage of the isuses involved in 'learning' the Vedas. This could be of great help to our Western Hindus and those born-Hindus, who often think about or speak out on the issue.
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  #106  
Old 16 February 2012, 08:22 AM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

namaste Yajvan.
Division of society in varnas which got converted into caste system is a major issue for criticism. Initially varnas were not based on birth.first reference is in the PURUSHA SUKTA in Rigveda ,the purusha is said to be divided into four parts.
BRAHMINS(priestly class)came from his MOUTH.
kshatriyas(rulers soldiers)came from his arms.
vaishyas(traders merchants) came from his thighs.
shudras(labour class) from his feet.

Many see this as discrimination but clear thinking shows-
BRAHMINS WERE MAINLY RELATED TO STUDYING TEACHING AND AS PRIESTS SO SURELY MOUTH WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR BODY. Even in Bhagwatam one finds reference to mouth being equivalent to their body.
Similiarly arms were important for soldiers and thighs for traders.
But i haven t got why shudras from the feet,may be to show they were base of the society on which the others depended.
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  #107  
Old 16 February 2012, 08:35 AM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

MANU SMRITI also writes first a little liberally about shudras but later parts have been highly criticised . may be additions were done by higher casts to gain authoratarian positions.
Bhagawad geeta refers that varnas were divine classification made on basis of thir charactaristics and occupation. Bhagwan also says at one place that he is present in both in a brahmina and a chandala(outcaste).
There are also refernces that people changed thier varnas. MAHABHARATA was meant to spread knowledge to lower varnas.
These all are my views and sorry for my English.
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  #108  
Old 16 February 2012, 04:25 PM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

hari o
~~~~~~

namast

Quote:
Originally Posted by OjasM View Post
namaste Yajvan.
Division of society in varnas which got converted into caste system is a major issue for criticism. Initially varnas were not based on birth.first reference is in the PURUSHA SUKTA in Rigveda ,the purusha is said to be divided into four parts.
BRAHMINS(priestly class)came from his MOUTH.
kshatriyas(rulers soldiers)came from his arms.
vaishyas(traders merchants) came from his thighs.
shudras(labour class) from his feet.

Many see this as discrimination but clear thinking shows-
BRAHMINS WERE MAINLY RELATED TO STUDYING TEACHING AND AS PRIESTS SO SURELY MOUTH WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR BODY. Even in Bhagwatam one finds reference to mouth being equivalent to their body.
Similiarly arms were important for soldiers and thighs for traders.
But i haven t got why shudras from the feet,may be to show they were base of the society on which the others depended.
Thank you for your note... even though it is not in vogue to say this I see the value of this division. In our 'new age' many feel slighted that there may be differences in people. At our core we are one, yet as we express the Supreme in our actions we can be many.
The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal - Aristotle



That said, Here is a another view on the matter. We know that the brahmaṇa-s, kṣatriya-s, vaiśya-s, and śudra-s can be found in society.
Just as this cātur-varṇyaṁ ( 4 levels) can be found in society it too can be found in our own selves. This insight comes to us from the writings of śrī siddharameśvara maharāj.
  • The śudra-s labor and toil - this is a function of the body. To work , act, move.
  • The vaiśya-s apply the intellect, mind, etc for business and transactions - this is the function found in the subtle
    body and the realm of mind.
  • The kṣatriya-s offer the 'field' and that of destruction of the other two levels ( śudra & vaiśya) - this is the function of the causal body some call 'void'.
    This 'destruction' comes every night with the advent of sleep - the mind and body is destroyed as it were, no longer exists in deep sleep.
  • The brahmaṇa-s offer the highest, wisdom, knowledge. They are above and beyond the other 3 ( aloof as it were) and they do not dabble in the other 3's business. The brahmaṇa is consumed with the Supreme, (rāmaḥ) and let the world go on about its business - This is turīya the 4th , or turīyāvastha and is also part of us.
So, pending one's vision and point of view there is much that can be said on this matter.


praṇām

words
turīyāvastha - turīya + avastha or the state , condition, stability of turīya or the 4th.
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____yajvan___
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  #109  
Old 20 June 2012, 07:35 AM
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Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

Anyone can learn Vedas, God resides in hearts of all beings as per Lord Krishna, are professions are by training not birth.
Manu Smriri is not holy text, and it may well have been corrupted:
http://agniveer.com/manu-smriti-and-punishment/

Quote:
Manu Smriti and Caste System
1. Manu Smriti hails from an era when even the concept of birth-based caste system did not exist. Thus Manu Smriti nowhere supports a social system based on birth. Maharshi Manu took inspiration from Vedas (refer Rigveda 10.10.11-12, Yajurveda 31.10-11, Atharvaveda 19.6.5-6) and proposed a social system based on qualities, actions and nature of the individual.

2. This is called Varna System. Now the very word Varna derived from root word “Vrinja” means “Choice“. A similar usage happens in common used word “Varan” meaning “choosing” or “Var” meaning a husband chosen by the girl. This also shows that in Vedic system the girl had complete rights to choose her husband.

3. The biggest proof of Manu Smriti proposing Varna System and NOT Caste System is that in the first Chapter of Manu Smriti, there is mention of origin of 4 Varnas and no mention of castes or gotras. Had caste or gotra been important, Manu would have mentioned which castes belong to Brahmins, which to Kshatriyas, which to Vaishyas and which to Shudras.
This also means that those who feel proud in calling themselves Brahmins or upper-caste by birth have no evidence to prove so. They can at best prove that a few generations of their forefathers used to also call themselves upper-caste. But there is no way to prove that they were upper-castes since inception of civilization. And when they cannot prove so, what right do they have to allege that a so-called birth-based Shudra was also not a Brahmin several generations ago? And that they themselves were not Shudras a few generation ago!
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