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Vedams & our Vidhika- SampradhAyam: Part 1

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Fri Mar 13 1998 - 08:51:58 PST

Dear Followers of SanAthana Dharmam :

It is my deep pleasure and distinctprivelege 
to share some thoughts with you on the four Vedams 
and their six angAs , which are distilled in 
the four prabhandhams ( Tamizh MaRais ) 
of NammAzhwAr  and the the six Veda angams 
that are considered to be cvlose to the six
prabhandhams of Thirumangai AzhwAr . 

I am so glad that Sriman A. Krishnan of 
Srirangam and his fellow trustees of the 
Delhi Vedic Trust have painstakingly recorded
the Shukla Yajur Vedam ( KaNva and Madhyandina 
sAkhAs ) , Rg Vedam ( Shakala SaakhA) ,
Yajur Vedam ( Shukla and KrishNa samhithAs ), 
Sama Vedam ( Ranayaniy, Jaimini and Kouthuma SakhAs)
and Atharva Vedam ( Saunaka SaakhA ).

Sriman Mani Varadarajan has brought our attention
to the availability of these high quality audio
tapes from Sri A.Krishnan , a permanent resident
of Srirangam and one of the trustees of the Delhi 
Vedic Trust , who will be in this country until
June of this year . He can be reached by e-mail, regarding the acquisition of 
these outstanding audio casettes and 
more than that the bringing in of the sacred 
Veda Dhvani that is enshrined there into your 
homes and temples .

All the members of the Bhakthi list with links
to their local temples could perhaps render a great 
service to their communities by persuading the temple
executives to purchase for their temple's use these 
tapes for use in the daily , seasonal pujA and
special festivals . I am thinking here 
especailly of Sriman TatachAr of Cincinatti 
temple , Sriman M.G. prasad of Balaji Temple 
of Bridge water and links to MahA Ganapathi templeat Queens , NY , Sri
Vijayaraghavan of Buffalo temple ,
Sriman Krishnamachari of Aurora temple , Sriman
Murali Rangaswamy of MahA Lakshmi temple ,
Sriman ParthA of Houston MeenAkshi Temple and
others  . 

As many of you know , there are 
special passages of VedAs recommended for EkAdasi
( achithram and AsvamEdham ) and other sacred days. 
These  tapes could be an invaluable source and resource 
to help the children learn about the ancient and 
illustrious Vedic roots of our tradition .

This will be an one time ivestment 
that is not much for the temples . 
The Veda Dhvani can thus be enhanced
in this country . In this context , Jaimini's 
Purva MeemAmsa SutrA (1.VI.11) says:

vruddhisccha karthrubhUmnAasya 

( Meaning ) :  Also because a multiplicity 
of persons uttering the WORD( veda manhtram) 
bring about an increased magnitude ( in the
word Sound /Veda Dhvani ) .The auspicious effects of 
that dhvani and their sound vibrations have  
a profoundly purifying and calming effect on one's
mind and body . This has been well studied .

The Sanskrit and the Tamil VedAs help us 
in Nithya SamyOgam with the Veda Purushan 
celebrated in the Purusha Sooktham , which is 
found in all the four VedAs .The skambha sooktham dealing
with creation and the Ucchishta Brahmam (Atharva
Vedam ) and many ohter passages are profound 
reflections of these timeless tresaures 
passed onto us in the guru-sishya mode 
by aural means alone . 

This ancient & sacred tradition of passing on the Vedic
inheritance has been referred to by another Sutram
of Purva MeemAmsam : Tulyamja sAmpradhAyikam 
( 2nd PadA .first AdhikaraNam, sUtram 8) .

Why do we repeat the Veda mantrAs with purity of
Svarams ? Why do we learn it at all ? Jaimini 
points out two reasons among many :

AakAlikEpsA (Purva Meemsa SoothrAs 1.2.14 )
and guNArhthEna puna: sruthi: ( SoothrA 1.2.41) 

The first of the above two soothram says that 
one recites because there  is a desire for 
immediate good ; the next one states that 
the repeated recitation is for the purposes of
qualification .There is a major hint here about the
purification of oneself for the two great
journeys , which are referred to at the 
beginning of Jaimini's Purva MeemAmsa and
BaadarAyaNA's Uttara MeemAmsa SoothrAs :

athAthO Dharma jig~yAsA ( Jamini 1.1.1)
athAtho Brahma Jig~yAsA ( BaadharAyanA 1.1.1)

The first Soothram deals with the invitation
towards the inquiry into the nature of our Duty.
This one deals with the Karma KhAnda (work-portion )
of the VedAs , which have been sometimes 
dismissed as ephemeral and limited .

Therefore , the first of the Brahma Soothrams
shifts gear and invites us to the inquiry 
about the knowledge of Brahman , who 
is eternal and infinite . 

After preparation from the study of VedAs 
( SvAdhyAyaa ), one starts with the inquiry
into Brahman to realize eternal and unlimited 
fruits (i-e) Moksham . The study of VedAs
thru a Guru ( AchArya mukhEna ) is a prerequisite
for the inquiry into Brahman .

The connection between Dharmam and Vedam 
( Vaidhika Dharmam ) as well as between 
Dharmam and Brahman as the complimentary 
step is pointed out by Sage Jaimini in 
his MeemAmsa Soothram 1.3.1:

dharmasya sabdhamUlathvAth asabdham
anapEksham syAth 

( Meaning ) : DharmA having the VedAs for its 
sole basis , that which is not VedA should be
disregarded . The sole authority of the VedAs
over all else including sruthis is indicated here.
Although Smrithi has its basis in the VedAs ,
it should be discared , if it has any discrepancy
with the VedAs according to Sage Jaimini and 
his intrepreters , KumArila BhattA , PrabhAkarA 
et al . 

The relation between Dharmam and Brahman is 
saluted by NigamAntha MahA Desikan in his 
DasAvathAra Slokam associated with Sri RamachandrA
as the embodiment of Dharmam :

" sarvAvastha sakruth prapanna-
  janathA samrakshaNika vrathee
  viratheem dhanvee sa tanveetha na:"

The Lord is Dharnma SvarUpee; He has the avowed 
dheekshA to protect any one , who has sought His
refuge/protection even once . That is His Dharmaam
and Swami VedAntha Desikan prays to this embodiment
of Dharmam to give us the strength not to lapse into
Adharmam , anything discarded by the VedAs . The samyOgam
(connection ) of the VedAs and Dharmam is thus indissolvable.

In the third adhyAyaa , first paadham , Jaimini 
starts with Sesha -Seshee relations.In the first
sUthram , he decalres the subject matter of 
the adhyAyam : AthAtha: sEsha LakshaNam .
sEshA stands for anga and aasrithA and a
subsidiary of the primordial,the principal ,
the Ucchishta Brahmam .Jaimini goes onto
say in the next Soothram : " sEsha: ParArhtathvAth ".
He defines "sEsha" to mean a subsidiary thing ,
which exists because of the principal , the nithya
vasthu , the nigamAntha vasthu . The Sesha-sEshi 
relationship has been elaborated at great length 
for our benefit by the Foundation-thinker of
Sri VisishTaadhvaitham , AchArya RaamAnujA and
his successors .

Veda manthrAs are thus very important for us .
They are the root of the tree of DharmA .
These manthrAs have been classified under 
three heads : Rg , Yajus and Saama . Atharva VedA
has its own place for the approach of the Brahman
thru tantrA and other rituals . Rg vedam
thru prayer and intellectual pursuits;
Yajur Vedam thru invocation of Agni 
for transprting the message enshrined in 
hymns to the Sureme . Saama Vedam thru 
rendering of those hyms of Rg and Yajur 
vedams in music or singing . 

I will conclude this posting with Jaimini's
defenition of the three VedAs and their 
charactrestrics this way  : 

thEshAm Rg YathrArthavasEna pAdhavyasthA (JS :1.12.35)

(Meaning ) : The name Rg (rik ) is applied to
those manthrAs that are divided into paadhAs 
( feet ) , that is , certain well defined 
parts , each of which consists of a defenite
number of syllables ; and are called on that
account by such prosodial names (chandas) 
like GayathrI(24 syllables), Trishtup (44) ,
Bruhathi (36) ,Anushtup (32) Asthi (64) , 
Jagathi (48 ) et al . 

Saama Vedam is defined as the one given to music ,
where the mantrAs are sung in different styles
of music like RathantarA , Brihath and the like . 
These different methods of singing are followed 
precisely . Bruhath sAman is sung for instance
with force and loudly in contrast to RathAnthara
saaman ( geethishu SamAkhyA : JS 1.12.36).

Yajur Veda mantrAs are defined as those
not having metres (paadhams ) or associated
with singing ( sEshu yaju: sabdha: ). If there 
are any metrical portion in Yajur vedam , 
they are considered by some under the above 
strict definition as comparitively modern . 

The two kinds of hymns are further dividable across 
the four vEdAs as SthOthrAs and SaasthrAs :

sthuthasasrayOasthu samskArE 
yAjyaAvadhyEvatA abhidhAnathvAth - Js: 1.5.13

SthOthrAs and SaasthrA hymns bring about santification like
YaajyA hymns , because they distinctly signify deities 
( which are sEshAs to the SEshi ) .

SthOthrAs are the name of those hymns that
consist of manthrAs capable of being set to
music and sung ,- as distinct form the SaasthrA
hymns consisting of manthrAs not sung .

I will conclude this posting about Bhagavdh SvarUpam of 
the VedAs with the famous Bhagavadha SlOkam 
the Lord , who is Sarva manthra SvarUpi ,
sarvAntharyAmi an din the form of Sarva Krathus
( Yaj~nams ). He is present in the form 
to be worshipped with Bhakthi and Detatchment
( VairAgyam ) by PrapannAs . May my Salutations 
be to this Dharma Vigraha , Veda Moorthy ,
Yaj~na VarAhan with the four rthviks 
at his feet ( ChathurhOthArangrou ).

namO namasthE akhila manthra devathA 
dravyAya sarvakrathavE kriyAthmanE I
vairAgya bhakthyAthmajayAnubhAvitha 
Jn~Aya VidhyA guravE NamO Nama: II
  ---Srimadh Bhagavatham : 3.13.39

Sri Veda PurushAya nama:
Sri Jn~Ana GuravE nama:

DaasAnu Daasan 
Oppiliappan koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan