We shall now speak of the books which have been held to have an authority of their
own from the beginning of creation to this day, and also those which have been held to depend for t heir authority on others by the learned Aryas-free from partiality, likes and dislikes, conducting themselves according to the dictates of truth and religion, of amiable character and devoted to the good of all.
The books which are the word of God possess an inherent authority of their own, but those composed by men can have only an indirect authority. The four Vedas have an inherent authority in as much as being the word of God, who is omniscient, omnipotent and the possessor of universal learning, there can be no error or other shortcoming in them. The Vedas are to be considered their own authority like the sun and the lamp. As the sun and the lamp shining with their own light make all other physical objects visible so the Vedas, too, shining with their own light make all other physical objects visible so the Vedas, too, shining with their on light make the other books of knowledge shine.
The books which are opposed to the Vedas ought never to be accepted as authoritative. But the Vedas do not lose their authority even if they are opposed to other books because they are self-authoritative and other books.
depend for their authority on them. The Mantra or the Samhita portion alone or the four Vedas is self-authoritative. The Brahmanas, being only the commentaries on the Vedas, are authoritative only in so far as t hey are in agreement with them. Similarly, 1127 branches of the Vedas also re of authority only in so far as they agree with them because they too are only the glosses of the Vedas. The same may be said of the Angas (limbs) of the Vedas, viz., orthopy, rituals, grammar, etymology, prosody an astronomy. The four Upavedas viz. the Ayurveda, the science of life i.e. the medical science, theDhanurveda, the science of weapons and politics, the Gandharvaveda, the science of music and the Arthaveda, the science of mechanics, physics, etc. are in the same category.
The Charaka, the Sushrata, the Nighantu, etc. are included in the Ayurveda. The works on Dhanurveda have for the most part disappeared, but as this science is based on the practical application of the other sciences it is possible to compose books on it. There were many books on the Dhanurveda composed byAngira etc. and on the science of music. The Samaveda is the basis of Gandharvaveda.
On the Arthaveda we have the four works composed by Vishvakarma, Tvashta, Devagna and Maya.
We recommend the works of Panini muni on orthoepy, the Manava Kalpa Sutras on rituals, the Ashtadhyayi, the Mahabhasya, the Dhatupatha, theUnadipatha, the Ganapatha, the Pratipadika; the Nirukta or Yaska muni together with the Nighantu on etymology which is the fourth limb of the Vedas, theSutrabhashya of Pingalacharya on prosody, the works of Vashistha and other rishis on geometry, algebra, arithmetic and astronomy. These are the six limbs of the Vedas.
Besides these there are six secondary limbs also. Of them the first is the Purvamimansa Shastra of Jaimini muni, together with the commentaries of Yaska muni and others on the rules of action-portion, dealing with the duties and those who are to perform them. The second is the Vaisheshika shastra of Kanada muni together with the commentary of Gotama called the Prashastapada dealing in amore detailed manner with substances and their attributes. The third is the Nyayashastra
of Gotama together with the commentary of Vatsyayana dealing with physics. The fourth is the Yoga shastra of Patanjali together with the science of worship and meditation which lays down the means whereby to realize the inferential knowledge about all objects reached through the study and consideration of the subjects discussed in the Mimansa, Vaisheshika and Nyaya shastras.
The fifth is the Samkhya shastra of Kapila muni together with the commentary of the Bhaguri muni enumerating the elementary substances in order that one amy have specific knowledge of them. The sixth is the Vedaantaashastra of Vyasa muni together with the gloss and commentary of Baudhayana.
The ten Upanishads, the Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chhandogya and Vrihadaranyaka also ought to be included among the secondary limbs. In this way the four Vedas together with their branches and commentaries, the four Upavedas, the six Vedangas together with the six Upangas
of the Vedas make the fourteen sciences which ought to be studied by all men.
It is certain that one will become a highly learned man by studying and knowing them thoroughly and bey obtaining a complete knowledge of the mental and material sciences and of the action-portion. The Vedas are the word of God. The Brahmanas are their commentaries written by the rishis. They are to be accepted only in so far as they are in agreement with the Vedas, (which are full of true religious knowledge) and in consonance with the dictates of reason and proofs. But no one should ever admit the authority of other books which are composed by anaptas (men who are not apta i.e. good, holy and learned), countenance, the practice of vice, are full of partiality and low ideas, display very shallow knowledge, are opposed to the teachings of the Vedas and are devoid of the support of reason and proofs. We shall give a brief list of such books. All tantric books such as Rudrayamala, etc., the Paranas such as the Brahma Vaivarta, etc., the interpolated verses of the Manusmriti
and of the other smritis; works suchas Sarvasvata, Chandrika, Kaumudi, etc. pretending to be works on grammar; books such as Nirnaya Sindhu, etc. which are opposed to the Mimansa shastra; Tarkasangrah up to Jagadishi which are opposed to the Vaisheshika and Nyaya Shastras; books opposed to the Yoga shastra, such as Hatha Pradipika, etc., books opposed to the Sankhya Shastra, such as Sankhya Tatwa Kaumudi; books opposed to the Vedanta Shastra, such as Vedantasara, Parnchadashi, Yogavasthishtha; books opposed to the Jyotish Shastra, such as Muhurta Chintamani, et., which treat of auspicious moments, horoscopes, the influences of the stars; all books opposed to the Shrouta Sutras, such as Trikandika, Snana Sutra, Parishishta, etc. which lay down that salvation can be obtained and sins destroyed by simply fasting in the month of Margashirsha or on the 11th day of each half of a month, by residing at Kashi or on the banks of water (a river or tank), by visiting places, by seeing the idols, by repeating the name of a God, by bathing and by worshipping lifeless idols;
all books written by hypocritical sects and all books and teachings inculcating atheism. Good men should reject all such books because they are opposed to the Shastras, Vedas, etc. and are not supported by reason, proofs and tests.
Q. – “Should the small amount of truth which is to be found in these books of much falsehood be rejected?”
A. ~ “Yes, like poisoned food. As analyst reject poisoned food even if it might be otherwise nectar-like, so these false books should be at once rejected, because if they become current the true purport of the Vedas would not be widely known and the darkness of not allow the true view of things to come into existence.”
Now we shall give some examples of he pernicious teachings of the Tantric books. They believe that salvation can be obtained by observing the five things whose names begin with and em but not otherwise. We quote the following Shlokas.
“Wine (madyam) flesh, (mansam), fish
(minam), hidden signs (mudra) and fornication (maithaunam) these five things beginning with an em give salvation age after age. Let one drink and drink and drink again till one reels and falls on the ground. Let one rises up and drink again. Such a one will have no rebirth. Persons of all Varnas become twice-born no sooner than they enter the circle of Bhairava i.e. the Bhairavei bhakra but no sooner than they come out of it each man recovers his own varna.
A man avoiding cohabitation with is own mother may cohabit with all women and making his organ enter into the female organ let him repeat the Mantram with out sloth. A man may have intercourse even with his own mother.”
Such are the many teachings of the Tantras which enjoin the doing of practices characterized by stupidity, vice and perniciousness, worthy of Anaryas, devoid of reason and proofs, altogether opposed to the Vedas unrishi-like, and obscene. These practices should never be adopted by good men. It is very well known and easy to understand that wine drinking spoils the brain and therefore can never
lead to salvation, rather it lead to baneful consequences. Similarly, in the so-called “Ancient Histories,” the Puranas, the Brahma Vaivarta and others which are really of a recent date, are written very false stories of a sample as one takes out a grain of rice from the boiling pot in order to see if it has been cooked or not. In it there occurs a story that Brahma, the Lord of creatures, in flesh and blood, having four faces, seized his own daughter Sarasvati for committing rape upon here. This story is false because in reality it is an allegory.
The Sun or the Sun’s sphere is called Savitur (the begetter) and Prajapati (the Lord of creatures). Light and Dawn are like his two daughters. Metaphorically speaking the one which is produced from the other is like the offspring of the latter which is like the parent of the former. The Sun follows fast with his rays his daughter Dawn of a reddish complexion. Having seized her he begets upon her the Day which is like his sun. The Dawn is like the mother and the Sun like the father of this son,
because the Sun with his rays, which are like hs semen, begets the Day, his son, upon her, the Dawn. The Dawn is the reddish light on the horizon in the 2 and half hours of night before morning. By the intercourse of the father and the daughter is born a son, the full light of the day. As a son is born by the intercourse of his father and mother, similarly, here (the Day is born by the intercourse of the Sun with the Dawn).
Similarly, the rain-cloud and the earth stand to each other in the relation of the father and the daughter. The earth is produced from the waters, hence, the earth is the daughter of the rain-cloud. The rain-cloud by pouring rain water upon her makes her conceive. That conception results in the production of vegetables, etc. as their offspring. This also is an allegory.
This borne out by Vedic texts. Light of day is my father- protector and begetter – the producer of all activities. There is a mutual relation between the two. This extended or venerable earth is my mother. The rain-cloud and the earth are like two armies arrayed against each other or like the awning and the floor. The father rain-cloud pours the waters upon his daughter – the earth and makes her conceive. This is merely an allegory. Rigveda i. 164. 33.
The same allegory is described in the following Mantra.
The sun which is called Vahni makes his daughter, the said dawn, conceive by making his semen, the rays, flow into her and begets a son – the Day. Rig III. 31. 1.
In spite of the fact that this most excellent allegory was explained in the Nirukta and the Brahmanas, the Brahma Vaivarta and other books have described it and other stories other wise on account of misapprehension. No one should every believe them.
There are other false stories like the following in the Puranas which in reality are mere allegories, e.g. there is a story that there was a real person named Indra, the king of the devas, who committed adultery with the wife of Gotama. Gotama pronounced a curse upon Indra, “Thou shalt have 1000 female organs of generation” and another course upon his wife Ahilya, “Thou shalt become a rock of stone; thy curse will be removed when thou shalt come into contact with the dust of Rama’s feet.” This allegory is as follows:-
Indra is the sun which burns and illumines the terrestrial objects. The sun is called Indra on account of his possessing glory and luster. He is the fornicator of ahilya(night) who is the wife of Soma (moon) also called Gotama (the fastest mover). Gotama is the moon. The
moon and the night stand to each other in the relation of husband and wife. Night is called Ahily because in it the day (ahah) is absorbed (liyate. The moon pleases all beings with his wife Ahilya. The Sun is called the fornicator (jara) of Ahilya (night), the wife of Gotama (the moon), because he causes the night to grow old, lose her beauty. The word jara comes from the root jrish, ‘to grow old, to shorten the age’. Now the destroyer of the age of the night is the sun.
No one should ever believe the above mentioned false story related in these modern books in the face of this beautiful allegory described
in the true books for the purpose of giving instruction in respect of areal natural phenomenon. The same is the case with other similar stories.
Of a similar nature is the story that the there was a real person Indra, the king of the devas. He had a fight with Vritrasura, the son of Tvashta. Vritrasuraswallowed Indra which caused great fear to the devas. They sought out the protection of Vishnu who suggested a way out of the difficulty. He said thatVritrasura would be killed by his entering into the sea-foam. Good and learned men should regard these stories described in the so called Puranas, ancient in name only but really modern books, as false like the ravings of a maniac. In reality they are allegories.
I shall now describe the deeds of valor which Indra, the sun or God, who is the Vajri (thunderbolt-holder) wrought in days of yore. Vajra, according to the Shatapatha VII. 5, means light, pranas or valor. Vajri is the possessor or holder of vajra. he having killed the
ahi (cloud), caused him to stretch on the earth, that is, caused the waters to spread. By these waters he caused the rivers to overflow and burst their banks. The rivers are produced by the clouds. The water which falls from the upper regions is like the lifeless corpse of Vritra. Rig I. 32. 1.
Hence forward we shall give the meaning of the verse in brief.
The sun killed the cloud. He killed it by launching upon it the vajra the bright lightning produced by his rays which were hidden behind the cloud. With the lightning he pounded the body of Vritra into atoms and felled it to the ground and having reduced the water which had fallen on the ground into atoms made it again ascend into the sky. The waters spread over the earth and began to flow towards the ocean as the cows run after their calves. The waters are the body of Vritrasura. ‘The causing of the body of Vritra, viz. the waters, to fall
on the ground is a praise-worthy act of the sun. Rig I. 32.2.
Indra, the sun, with his sharp and potent electrical rays cut the shoulders of the mighty Vritra, the rain-cloud, and killed him i.e. cause him to pour down rain and made him lie down on earth. Rig I.32.5
As a man, when his limbs are cut off with a sword, etc. falls to the ground so the rain-cloud with his shoulders, hands and feet cut off by Indra (the sun) with his vajra (electrical rays), falls down to the ground and lies there. [‘In the Vedas the past tenses lung, lang and lit are used to denote the present tense “made to lie” – is used to denote the present tense].Rig I. 32. 7
According to the Nighantu, Vritra is the name is the name of the rain-cloud. Nighantu I. 10.
Indra (the sun) is the enemy (the destroyer) of the rain-cloud. The rain-cloud is the son, of Tvashta (the sun) because after the juices and waters are transformed into small particles and carried up into the air they again unite and take the form of a cloud which is called Asura.
The sun again destroys it and fells it to the ground (in the shape of rain). It enters the earth and causes the rivers to flow. In this way it goes to the ocean and again ascends intothe sky. Indra again removes it. The rain-cloud is called Vritra because it is agreeable to men, or because it hides the light of the sun or because it grows in size. Nirukta II.17
The watery body of Vritra casts a long shadow or produces a deep darkness, hence it is said that vritra is sleeping on the ground. Rig I.32. 10.
Vritra which can assume any form at will cannot hold Indra in check even with his thunder and lightning. A battle rages between Vritra and Indra. When Vritragains an upper had he cuts off the light of the sun, when the forces (i.e. heat) of the sun prevail he puts Vritra to flight and conquers him. In the end victory remains with the sun and not with
Vritra Rig !. 32. 13.
This Vritra sleeps covering the whole world. Hence he is called Vritra – the enveloper. Indra (the sun) killed Vritra (the rain-cloud). Having been killed he fell to the ground and there being mixed with vegetation produced a stench. When he was in the sky he fell all around in the shape of rain. After death he went down to the ocean and looked fearful. Hence the waters of the ocean inspire fear. In this way the waters of the rivers, seas and lands, through the sun, ascend into the sky and fall as rain, and grass, etc. is produced by rain. Shatapatha I.1. 3.5.
The air and the sun are the bright denizens of the intermediary space. The sun being luminous is the denizen of the bright firmament. Nirukta VII. 5.
There are many mantras in the Vedas bearing on this subject.
Good me should never place faith in the false stories narrated in the so-called ancient books, the Puranas, the Brhamvaivarta, etc. – but which are really modern, in face of these beautiful and excellent allegories existing in the true Shastras.
Similarly, in modern books the various stories of the wars between the Devas and the Asuras have been perverted altogether. The wise or for the matter of that, others also, should never believe them, because they are not stories but allegories.
The Devas and the Asuras were engaged
in fighting with one another.
Now who are called the Devas and the Asuras. ‘The learned are the Devas‘ Shat. III.7.6.10. Verily the learned shine forth with the light of knowledge, and the ignorant are enveloped in the darkness of ignorance. There is always a war (opposition) going on between them. This is the war between the Devas and theAsuras.
Those who speak the truth, believe the truth and act the truth are the Devas. Those who tell lies, believe lies and act lies are the Asuras or men. There is an opposition or war between these two. The mind of man is the deva, the pranas are the asuras. There is a conflict between these two also. Mind with strength of knowledge keeps the pranas in check, and the mind is restrained with power of the Pranas. This is the war between these two. God created the devas i.e. the mind and the five organs of knowledge from the particles of light. Hence they
possess the property of illumining. From the particles of darkness God created the earth, etc. the five organs of action and the pranas. These also are warring with each other because there is a conflict between light and darkness. Shat.I.1.1.4,5 & 7.
God, having mind to create the world, created from the cause, through His principal attributes and actions, the atoms of tire, the luminous orbs, the sun and others. These devas resorting to the light created by God, made possible the activities requiring light. The deva hood of the devas is that they take delight in light. After that God created the pranas, the air and the opacious globes, the earth, etc. They resorting to the earth produced medicines, vegetables, etc. All these are effects and devoid of light. There is a conflict between
these shining and opaque substances. This also is a war between the devas and the asuras. Similarly, the virtuous-minded men are the Devas, the vicious-minded men are the Asuras. There is always a war going on between them. This again is the war of the Devas and the Asuras. Once more, the day is a devaand the night an Asura. There is a conflict between day and night. Both the Devas and the Asuras are the progeny of God. Hence they are entitled to God’s objects or (heritage). Nirukta II. 8 and XZ 34. Shat XI I. 6, 7 to 12, and I 7.5. 22.
Of these the Asuras, the pranas, etc. are elder because air was created before light and the pranas are a form of air, and also because all men are born ignorant and become learned afterwards, and because fire was produced from air and the organs of sense were produced from Prakriti. the Asuras are therefore elder and the Devas younger. In one sense the Devas, the sun, etc. are elder and the Asuras, the earth and others, are younger. As all of them
were created by Prajapati, hence, they are like His children. There is a war between them also. Those men, who pamper their own bodies, are engaged in furthering their self-interest and, are crafty and deceitful, are the Asuras. And those who do good to others, alleviate the sufferings of others, are without guile and virtuous, are to be considered Devas. There is a war between the devas and the asuras is these and similar kinds.
The learned should never believe in the truth of these false stories described in the Puranas (Old books) which are wrongly so called and in other modern books, the Tantras, etc., in face of this most excellent allegory related in the
true Shastras for the purpose of imparting instruction.
Similarly, the stories of Kashyapa, and of the places of pilgrimage (Tirthas), such as Gaya, etc. contained in the books, Brahmavaivarta, etc. are opposed to the true Shastras, the Vedas and others. For example, there is a story that there was a rishi named Kashyapa, the son of Marichi. To him Prajapati Dakshagave his 13 daughters in marriage according to law. He begot the Daityas (demons) on Diti, the Adityas (suns) on Aditi, the Danavas (giants) on Danus, the serpents on Kaddru, the birds on Vinata, and the monkeys, bears, trees, grasses, etc. on others. All such stories are false inasmuch as they are full of darkness, opposed to reason, proof and knowledge and are impossible.
God makes this whole universe. Hence He is called Kurma which is synonymous with Kasyapa. God is therefore, called Kashyapa also. He has create all living beings. They are therefore, called the progeny of Kashyapa. God is so called because etymologically the
word kashayapa means ‘one who sees’. As God, on account of His omniscience, knows even the minutest thing thoroughly without a mistake He is calledPashyaka, ‘the Seer’. By interchanging the first and the last letters Pashyaka becomes Kashyapa as hinsa becomes sinha and kratu becomes tarku according to the authority of the Mahabhashya. The living beings are therefore the progeny of Kashyapa. Shat. VII. 5. 1.1.
Now as to performing a Shraddha at Gaya. Prana is power and prowess. In it resides the knowledge of Self. God also resides in Prana, because Prana is a name for God. The knowledge of Brahma self resides in Gayatri. it is also called Gaya. Pranas are also called Gaya. That one should perform shraddha atGaya means that men should endeavor to realize God through the Pranas, controlling them by means of Samadhi (meditation) and having
profound faith in God. Gayatri is so called because it rescues them from deterioration Gaya is also the name of home, progeny and living beings. All men should have a faith in them. It is necessary that house-hold duties should be faithfully performed.
Gaya Shraddha means rendering faithful service to the father, the mother and preceptor, the uninvited learned guests and other persons worthy of honor. One should also faithfully provide for the instruction of one’s own children and do good to other living beings.
It is certain that by a faithful performance of these acts and by the acquisition of knowledge one attains to the station of (Moksha) salvation (called)Vishnupada ‘the station of Vishnu’. Mistaking the meaning of these two words Vishnu and Gaya, some self-seeking gourmands have caused the form of man’s feet engraved on a rock in the country of Magadha (modern Bihara) and have given it the name of Vishnupada – Vishnu’s feet, and have named that placeGaya.
All this is false because Vishnupada is the name of Moksha and Gaya, the name of Prana, home and living beings. That they have fallen into an
error is evident from the following authority.
Having mistaken the true meaning of this verse of the Rigveda they have given currency to the above story. The meaning is, ‘God, the Creator of the whole universe, is called Vishnu because He is All-pervading. He is called Pusha also’. The author of the Nirukta says that this verse of the Rigveda means that God being without form or a body pervades the
moveable and the immoveable creation. He traversed the whole of this threefold, creation [Vichakrame means ‘traversed with the feet’ because the root Kramumeans ‘to walk with feet.’] This world and all created things were brought into reality with the atoms of prakriti and His own power by God and He assigned them three regions, viz. all the heavy and opaque substances were assigned to earth, the light substances composed of the atoms of air, etc. were placed in the intermediary space and the bright objects the sun, the organs of knowledge, Jiva, etc. were given habitation in the bright firmament or in fire.
God made the world threefold. That portion of it which is without consciousness and knowledge he has placed in the intermediary space in the form of atoms. All the globes are stationed in the intermediary space. This act of God is praiseworthy for which we should render Him thanks. Yaju V. 15
Yaskacharya explains this verse a under: The whole world that exists has been created
by the all-pervading Vishnu. He appointed three regions for the creation of the three-fold world. The station of Vishnu called Moksha can be reached by means of Gaya the pranas – because the best part of the material body of beings and the material abode of the pranas is head. Similarly, the power of God transcends the beings and the pranas.
This pervaded universe exists in the pervading God. The world which is still in the atomic state exists in the intermediary space. It is not visible to the human eye. When the atoms of different substances unite together the become visible and continue to exist in God. Nirukta XII. 18.
The false pandits not knowing this meaning have given the currency to false stories.
The Tirthas are those which, keeping the jivas away from all sufferings, make all kinds of happiness accessible to them. The tirthas, which were observed by the Aryas according to the injunctions laid down in the Vedas, were quite different from the modern tirthas. The so called tirthas, consisting of places and rivers, etc., described in the books composed by misguided men, find no sanction in the Vedas. To bathe after completing the vow called the Atiratra which is a part of the Prayaniya Yajna is a tirtha. By bathing in this tirtha men become pure.
Similarly, the bath at the end of the all-beneficial yajna named Udayaniya is also a tirtha. It is to be taken as a tirtha because it helps one to cross the sea of troubles. It is laid down that a man should so conduct himself that he might not give pain to and entertain inimical thoughts towards any living being. But in matters which are opposed to the teachings of the Shastras, the Vedas and others, the giving of pain becomes a duty. One should give pain only where it
permitted, e.g. the punishment of the offenders. Those who are hypocrites and enemies of the observance of the injunctions of the Vedas and true religion, such as thieves, etc., ought to be punished according to their guilt.
In such places the name tirtha is given to the true Shastras, the Vedas, etc., because by reading and teaching them, performing the acts and duties laid down therein and assimilating the knowledge imparted by them man crosses the sea of troubles, and by bathing properly in them he becomes pure.
When two Brahmacharis study the same Shastra under one and the same preceptor the word tirtha denotes the preceptor as well as the Shastra. Again, men cross the sea of troubles by rendering proper service to their fathers, mothers and uninvited learned men and by obtaining good education, learning and culture.
Men should purify themselves by bathing in a tirtha. he who regularly prosecutes his studies to their completion and bathes in the tirtha of learning, even though he might not finish the vow of Brahmacharya, becomes pure. He is called a Vidyasnataka, (i.e., ‘bathed in learning’.) The second is called theVratasnataka
(i.e. he who has completed the vow of Brahmacharya according to the rules, but, returns to the household without completing his education). The third is called the Vidyavratasnataka (i.e. he who has properly observed the rules of Brahmacharya and acquired a knowledge of the Vedas and Shastras, etc. before becoming a householder.) Such a man, having bathed properly in this excellent tirtha becomes pure in mind had thought, acts according to truth and law, acquires vast learning and devotes himself to the good of all.
“Obeisance to God! Who can be realized by means of the tirthas – the Pranas, and the knowledge of the Vedas described above. The learned who observed the above-mentioned Tirthas – the study of the Vedas, the speaking of truth, and the above-named observers of the vow of Brahmacharya, acquire great power.
They have knowledge and philosophy in their hands. They have the doubt-cutting sword of true instruction and are true instructors. They tell us of the Purusha, the way of whose realization and are true instructors. They tell us of the Purusha, the way of whose realization is described in the Upanishats. God is the greatest tirtha, because He is, as it were, the
very self of all the devices for carrying men across the sea of troubles and because He at once comes to the rescue of His virtuous devotees. Thus have the tirthas been explained.
Q. – Why are not the tracts of land and water tirthas when men cross themover?
A. ~ The tracts of land and water do not help men to cross over. They do not possess this power. The things which are the subject of the act of crossing over cannot be the means of crossing over. Men go across the tracts of land and water by means of boats, etc. or by means of conveyances or hands and feet. They are the subject of the act and the boats, etc. are the instruments.
If men do not walk with their feet or use their hands or mount in boats, etc. it is certain they would be drowned and come to great grief. For this reason, Kashi, Prayaga, Pushhkara, the Ganges, the Jumna and other rivers, the oceans and seas cannot claim to the name of tirtha in the opinion of the Aryas who follow the teaching of the Vedas. They have been called and proclaimed as tirthas in the books written for their livelihood
by persons devoid of the knowledge of the Vedas, pamperers of their bodies, sectarians, caring for their living alone, the opponents of the way of the Vedas, and ignoramuses.
Q. – But, the Vedas recognize the rivers – the Ganges, the Jumna, etc. in the verse. Rigveda VIII. 3. 6. Why don’t you believe in them?
A. ~ I do believe in them. I believe that they i.e. the Ganges, etc. are rivers. I recognized them in so far as they are useful in virtue of the purifying qualities of their waters, etc. But I do not believe that they possess the property of destroying sins and carrying us across our sufferings.
The tracts of land and water cannot have this power. This power can be found in the above-mentioned tirthas only. Besides this, Ganga, Yamuna, etc. are the names of the veins Ida, Pingala, Sushumna, and Kurma, etc. Mind can be concentrated on God in the state of Yoga Samadhi by their help. The meditation of God destroys suffering and enables one to reach the station of Moksha. The Ida, etc. are necessary for
concentrating and fixing the mind in meditation. In this Mantra reference is to God, because He is the subject of the foregoing verses. Similarly, we haveSitasite yatra sangathe, etc. This occurs in the Parishishtha (supplementary portion). Some take Sitasite (white and black) in the sense of the Ganges, and the Jamuna and by the expression sangathe (join) understand Prayaga, the place of the confluence of the Ganges, and the Jumna.
It is not correct, because men by bathing therein do not go to the self-effulgent God or soar into the region of the sun, but return to their respective homes. The word sita (white) denotes here Ida and asita (black) Pingala. These veins meet with Sushumua.
The great yogis by bathing at the place where they meet with Sushumna go to the bright region of Moksha and God and acquire true knowledge. Hence by Ganga and Yamuna in this verse are meant Ida, Pingala and not the Ganges and the Jumna. In this we are supported by the authority of the Nirukta IX. 2
Sita means white and asita its opposite. The yogis by bathing at the place where the bright and the opaque objects, such as the sun and the earth, etc., meet in God’s power acquire true knowledge and reach the above – mentioned bright region.
Similarly, the injunctions about idol-worship and the muttering of names etc, laid down in the books, called the Tantras and the Puranas, etc., are false, because there is no sanction for these in the true books, the Vedas and others; on the contrary, there is a clear prohibition about them.
For example we read in Yaju XXXII. 3.
“God is all-perfect, unborn and without form. The repetition of His name is to do His will which is productive of the greatest renown, to do the right and speak the truth. He is the truth. He is the birthplace of the luminaries, the sun, etc. All men pray to Him ‘Mayest Thou
never punish us’. He is not born from any cause and He never assumes a physical body. He has not Pratima i.e. a representative, proxy, picture, measure, weight, size or image, because He is without an example, a figure, measure or form and is all-pervading.” The following text also prohibits the worship of idols.
“God is omniscient, the witness of all, presides over all, and has no beginning. He being the indwelling ruler of all, gives to His eternal subjects what is their due and imparts to them the exact knowledge of objects through the Vedas. He is all-pervading, the most powerful, free from physical form and taking birth. He cannot be divided or cut up into parts. He cannot be bound by means of arteries and veins. He is free from defects and shortcomings. He is sinless. He alone ought to be worshipped by all.” Yaju XL. 8.
This verse also describes God as free from
birth and death. God can never be worshipped by means of idols and images.
Q. – Does the word Pratima (image) occur in the Vedas or not?
A. ~ It does occur.
Q. – Why do you the prohibit idol-worshipping?
A. ~ The word Pratima does not mean an idol. It means measure, etc.
We are supported by the following authorities which prohibit idolatry, etc.
“May we adopt the same measure of the year as is adopted by the learned. There are 360 nights in a year. They are called the measure, Pratima, of the year, because they measure it. All men should so act that the nights may bring them longlived children, strong in health and wealth. Atharva III. 10. 3.
By the word Pratima are also to be understood 10800 Muhurtas (a muhurta =two Ghatikas, i.e. 48 minutes) of a year. Shat X.3.4. 20.
“O man! Know that Brahma is not the subject of unpolished speech but he knows the speech. This visible world is not Brahma. Thou shouldst worship as God Him alone who the learned worship and no other. He is endowed with such qualities as described below. He is formless, all-pervading, unborn, the ruler of all, all-existence, all-consciousness and all-bliss.” Talvakar I. 4.
Q. – But, in the Manusmriti we have the following expressions: ‘the breaker of idols’ (pratima), one ought to go to the devas,’ ‘the worship of the devas’ ‘ the reviling of the devas,’ ‘ the abodes of the devas,’ ‘ the prohibition against crossing the shadow of the devas,’ “one ought to go round the devas keeping them to one’s
right’, ‘near the devas and the Brahmanas‘ and ‘the breaker of the house of the devas.’ What shall become of these expressions?
A. ~ The word pratima is some of these expressions should be taken in the sense of ‘weight or measure’ such as a ratti, a masha, a seer, etc., pratimanam is used in the sense of weight. According to the opinion of Manu the words pratima and pratiman are synonymous with and mean weights for weighing.
Hence it is said that one who keeps false weights, i.e., either lighter or heavier than the fixed standard, should be punished.
The word deva is the same as devata. Their abodes are their temples, the daivatas and devayatanas. The learned alone deserve respect. None should ever traduce them, cross their shadow or destroy their dwelling place; all should seek their company and take instructions from them; all should seat the devas to their right and should themselves sit to their left. In other places also where the words, Pratima, deva, devatayatanam, etc., occur they should be taken in the senses given above. We cannot give all the
senses of these words here for fear of increasing the bulk of the book. It will suffice to show that idolatry, the wearing of kanthi and the painting of tilak, etc., are prohibited.
Men of childish understanding employ the verse Yaju XXX. 43, etc., which has already been explained in the chapter on Attraction and Gravitation, Yaju IX, 40 which has been explained in the chapter on Kingly duties, for alleviating the suffering caused by the heavenly goodies, he sun, etc. This is their mistake because these verses do not convey that meaning.
“God or terrestrial fire is the protector of both the luminous and the opaque orbs, and on account of ubiquity is the projector of all things in all directions.
[In Kakutpatih the real word is Kakubha but its final letter bha is changed into ta according to the rule. ‘There is anomalous use of words in the Vedas].
The Lord of the universe as well as the terrestrial fire imparts vigor to the waters and the pranas. The fire in the shape of electricity and the sun protects and strengthens the above
mentioned objects.” Yaju III. 12.
“O God! Shine forth in our heart and keeping all jivas away from the darkness of ignorance and sleep awaken them in the light of the sun of knowledge. O Lord! May the jiva, embodied as man, acquire the things and means necessary for virtue, riches, fulfillment of desire and emancipation. Do Thou bless him with all the happiness he desires. May he be able to fulfill his heart’s desire through Thy help and his own exertion.
May the learned and the yajamana, who serves them, continue to exist, through Thy favor, in the present as well as in the other world and birth, so that all sciences may shine among us forever.”
[Here according to the rule, ‘There is anomalous use of words in the Vedas’, the second person is used for the third.]
Yaju XV. 54
“O Lord and protector of the Vedas! O Lord of the universe proclaimed in the Vedic lore! Give unto us, through Thy grace, that wealth which supplies the means of true dealings, and is the worthy subject of gift, and the giver of strength. It is wonderful and endowed with it and with knowledge the king or the merchant shines among the virtuous performers of yajnas or in the various worlds.” The mantra lays down the prayer one should address to God. Yaju XXVI. 3.
When the officers of the king or a Kshatriya (the President of the Assembly), whose mind is stored with knowledge, through the favor of God, the glorious and the all-pervading ruler, drinks with the learned the nectar-like juice of the medicines soma, etc., the giver of such good qualities as intellect, joy, valor, prowess, fortitude, strength, and high emprise, obtains worldly happiness and the happiness of the
other world and becomes able to perform rightly his kingly duties by means of the exact knowledge of the Vedas. His mind becomes calm and is filled with pure knowledge and he is able to do the various duties connected with his kingly office, and the performance of those kingly office, and performance of those duties brings him prompt happiness. He then desires pure grain, is filled with the knowledge of the essence of all things, is endowed with sweet, true and right conduct and acquires the means of attaining Moksha
God commands that a Kshatriya, entrusted with the charge of governing the subjects should govern them in the way laid down above and he should eat the nectar-like juice with his food. A Kshatriya, entrusted with the charge of governing the subjects should govern them in way laid down above and he should eat the nectar-like juice with his food. A Kshatriya should act that the greatest happiness may be ensured to the subjects.” Yaju XIX. 75
[The word apa come from the root aplri ‘to pervade’. It is always used in the plural number and feminine gender. The word
Devi come from the root Divu ‘ to sport, etc.]
May the all-pervading, all-illumining Lord, the dispenser of happiness to all, bring us joy and well-being so that we may be able to obtain the joys of our heart and complete happiness to our hearts’ content. May the Lord be gracious unto us, and may the self-effulgent Ruler shower happiness upon us from all sides.” Yaju XXXVI. 12.
The following Mantra of the Vedas is an authority for taking the word Apah in the sense of God.
“The learned know that Apah is the name of Brahma in whom. They know that all the worlds and treasures, the perishable effect (viz. the universe) and its eternal cause have their abode. O learned man! Tell us who is that sustainer of the universe among all these objects? you may know that as the Lord of the universe who resides within all substances, the
Jiva, etc. as their indewelling ruler.” Atharva Veda X. 4. 22. 10.
“May the Supreme Lord, possessed of wonderful power and bliss, the augmenter of happiness, be our friend by making Himself manifest to us through worship and through by the performance of good acts in the highest degree and by good qualities, and are adorned with most excellent characteristics. May the Lord of the universe, through His grace, protect us by always succoring us and may we also serve Him with true love and devotion.” Yaju XXVII. 39.
O men God proclaims Himself by creating knowledge among you and by creating the happiness-producing riches of a worldwide empire, by destroying ignorance and poverty through your contact with the leaned who
always desire Him and obey His will. Yaju XXIX. 37.