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Vedas/Upanishads

V1S_at_ecl.psu.edu
Date: Fri Aug 25 1995 - 06:46:31 PDT

Greetings =) My node has been down for two weeks, and it's nice to get back
into the thick of things..

"From:	IN%"sreekrishna@mmd.com" 24-AUG-1995 21:02:11.38

I think this is a ver valid comment.  Brahmins drove
Buddhism pretty much out of India, but still remained vegetarian. It is hard 
us to say whether it was their preference(ie., vegetarian meals) even before
Buddha's time. Nevertheless, the fact that  meat lost importance in Brahmin's

This is a knotty question, given the vide variation in Brahminic practice
through India.. eg. "jal tori" in Bengal ;)

"life indicates that they never cared for that  or found it more beneficial to
their health and spiritual life. Also  the Vedic sacrifices ( of Vedas) had
already been reduced in the Jnana Yagna of the Upanishads (Vedanta), for eg.,
Yasvaivam vidusho yagnasyatma .............., where all the beastly things of
Vedic sarifice  has been substituted symbolically with spiritual things like
shraddha. I don't know whether these mantras pre date Buddha. In any event,
Jnana Yagna mantras are  part of the Sri Vaishnava Aradhanam.  

I remember hearing in one place that one of the
reasons yagnya is not practiced is that kali yuga is too polluted to actually
perform something with the mantra siddhi potential of yagnya..

However, we still do see some vajapeya yagnyas ( mainly ) around !

Let us do remember what the purusha sookta says :

" yagnyena yagnyam ayajanta deva - taani dharmaani prathamaani aasa"

By sacrifice, the Gods sacrificed, TO sacrifice - these were the First Dharmas.

This is the importance of sacrifice to ANY system based on the Vedas. This 
is the glory , the path of " poorve  saadhyaah:" - those who went before us,
the great achievers.

Denigrating their ways as " beastly " doesn't quite seem right to me.

"Perhaps, tha anology for  consuming meat but not  truely caring for it  is
evident in our own life in the Americas. Many Hindus, who never tasted meat in
India have started enjoying meat here. As much as they enjoy meat, perhaps 
they won't miss it if  meat  is totally banned.

Okay.. here I will take issue with SRikrishna =) I don't think the "not truly
caring for it" is pretty much asking for Hamlet's " lay not that holy
unction to your soul".. More on this soon.

"Also Vedic sacrifices belong to the Vedas. Vedanta philosophy is of the
Upanishads. Most Hindus consider Upanishads and Vedas as the  two faces of a
same coin. However, many Western scholars hold the view that the Vedas and
Upanishads originated from different sources. They claim that the Vedas are
foreign to India and the Upanishads are strictly of indigenous origin. Joseph
campbell  further comments that the Brahmins of the Vedas were the best
interpreters of the myth the world had ever known at that time (now  of course
it would be Joseph Campbell!) and once they came across the Upanishads (forest


This is very valid and plausible. Consider the fact that the Vedic Aryans were 
a pretty happy devil may care bunch who went about cattle raiding,
annihiliating people on whims, and fornicating without too much guilt.. =)
In fact, if you look at specifically Bhaargava mythos ( Aurva, Ushanas Kaavya/
Shukracharya, Rama Jaamadagnya ( Parashurama) etc. ) you find people who go
around regularly tweaking the devas' ears. SUaknya's husband Chyavana is the
sage credited with including the Ashvinis in the soma offerings ( vital to
the Gods' well being ) in exchange for youth so that he could enjoy Sukanya's
charms.

Lo and behold these cattle barons settle down in India and become positively
strait-laced and strait-jacketed ( sometimes) in their attitudes.. *grin!*

As for being the best interpreters of myth - I would hold this very valid.
If one goes by Kunhan Raja's exposition on the "asya vamasya palitasya hotuh:"
series of hymns in Rg Veda, ( this theory is supported by other researchers 
too ) - It appears that a significant part of the sacrifice was the part where
the hotr engaged in ritual competition, as it were, reciting verses with 
a roman-a-clef format. The verses are full of obscure references, the 
significance of which is lost to us, mostly. They must have made sense to 
Dirghatamas' audience, however.. SO they were very "up" on their mythos.

Then again, look at the Rks that describe Apala Atreyi's 'coming of age' ..
A presumably innocent maiden, Apala Atreyi, goes to the river bank, bathes,
picks the appropriate herbs, and chews them, pressing out the Soma juice.
Indra hears her teeth grinding as he is wandering around, and comes to claim
his share of the soma.. in return, she asks for hair on her belly - a reference
to sexual maturity. By seemingly innocent accident, Apala follows the exact
soma sacrifice formats with appropriate invocations to Indra, and offerings - 
something that begs the question of whether she KNEW what she was doing =)
Again, suggested by her name, Atreyi - which means both fertile woman and
daughter of Atri.

Personally, I find the dryness of the Upanishadic / Vedantic pompous
intellectualism and denial of things earthy quite pallid in comparison to
the Vedas that are pretty much chock full of verve =) I encourage people to
give them a second look. As a suggestion, avoid common Indian authors and
commentators, they seem to hidebound by tradition and a denial of what
the Vedas express, in light of the aforementioned straitlaced and straight
faced tradition to publish the "interesting" parts or even consider them
*griN!* It's kind of like reading the Song of Solomon in a Catholic Bible -
with repeated admonitions to " wake not love before its time".. *griN!*
Which is a little different, you must admit from the sensual import of 
" O cluster of Henna blossoms! Thy satchel of myrrh! "

Oh well =) Maybe I *am* an anachronist at heart...

- SUndar