Q. – Do you mean to write an absolutely new commentary or are you going to bring to light only what has been written by the old masters? In the latter case, it would be to grind what has been once through the mill and no one would accept it.
A. ~ I shall bring to light what has been written by the old masters, e.g., the commentaries by the learned men of antiquity, viz., Aitareya and Shatapatha, etc. written by the rishis from Brahma to Yajnavalkya, Vatsyayana and iJaimine; the limbs of the Vedas written by the Maharishis Panini, Patanjali and Yaska, etc.; the six subsidiary limbs written by Jaimini, etc.; the books called the Upavedas and the works names the branches of the Vedas. I shall bring to light the true interpretation by basing it on the authority of all of them. I shall not write anything new according to what pleases me and nothing which has not an authority behind it.
Q. – What shall be the use of your doing so?
A. ~ The commentaries written by Ravana, Uvata, Sayana, Mahidhara, etc., are oppose to the real meaning of the Vedas. Similarly, the partial translations in their own languages made by Englishmen, Germans, etc. following the above and also the translations that have been or are being made by Indians into vernaculars in accordance with them are all full of
,mistakes and wrong interpretations. By my commentary the hearts of good men will be illumined and the wrong commentaries and translations, on their errors and faults being fully exposed, will fall into desuetude and will be rejected and condemned.
On account of want of space I shall expose a few faults and errors of these commentaries by way of specimen according to the maxim of a rice from the dish. For example, Sayana, not knowing the real meaning of the Vedas, has expressed the opinion that all of them deal with the action portion only. This opinion is wrong.
We have already shown that the Vedas contain all the sciences and this in itself proves the falsity of Sayana’s opinion. He has misinterpreted the mantra, ‘Indram Mitram Varunam, etc. ‘In this mantra he has taken the word Indra, etc. as adjectives qualifying Indra.
In reality the words Indra, etc. are adjectives qualifying the word Agni, which again together with its other adjectives signifies the eternal Brahma. it is a rule that the thing qualified is repeated again and again, but not the adjectives qualifying it. For example, where a
thing has a hundred or a thousand qualities the name of that thing is repeated, but not the words used to qualify it. In the same way, in this mantra the word Agni being the word qualified has been spoken twice by God. Sayaacharya did not understand this and hence he fell into error. The author of the Nirukta also has taken the word Agni as a substantive. ‘he learned speak of the Great self, which is only one, by many names such as, Indra, Mitra, Varuna, etc.’ Nirukta VII. 18.
(Agni) is the name of the reality, viz., Brahama. We should, therefore, know that words Agni, etc are the names of God. Again, Sayana says that God all the mantras invoke God just as a royal priest always does what is beneficial to the king’s interests, or, that God is represented by Agni which has been kindled in the Vedi at the time of Yajana. This is self-contradictory.
If all are the names for invoking God, why does he invoke Agni, material fire, which is necessary for performing homa? This opinion of his, therefore, has its root in error. If it
be said that there is no contradiction because although Sayana invokes Indra, etc., still they are simply the various forms of God, we reply that if by them God alone is invoked it is improper to treat them as forms of God.
He is wrong is saying this, because such mantras as Atharva Veda XIX, 2. 11. and Yajur Veda XL. 8.say that God is unborn, has no form and does not assume a body. There are many such errors in the commentary of Sayanacharya. We shall point them out in the body of our commentary on the individual mantras.
In the same manner Mahidhara in his commentary called the Vedadipa in his commentary called the Vedadipa has grossly misinterpreted the Vedas and has greatly calumniated them. Here we expose a few of his faults and errors by way of specimen. Yajurveda XXIII.
In his commentary on this mantra he takes the word Ganapati to mean a horse. He says:
The true meaning of the mantra is as follows:-
We invoke and accept Thee O God who are the Lord and Protector of the numerous orders, species and geniuses of objects, of all that is dear and near to us, i.e. our friends and relations and Moksha, etc., and of all the treasures and precious objects such as knowledge, jewels, etc. Thou pervadest this world and he whole universe lives,, moves and has its being in Thee. May we by Thy favor know Thee who keepest all the words and acts in Thy power a mother holds a child in her womb. Thou holdest the Prakriti and the atoms, etc. in Thy womb. There is no one else than Thou who Thee alone as such. Thou knowest all completely.
In the Aitareya and the Shatapatha, the word Ganapati has been explained as below:- In this mantra reference is to the Lord of the Vedas, Vrihaspati, for it is written that Brahma (Veda) means Vrihaspati A learned
,man and a preacher of truth frees the giver, the Yajamana, from disease by the preaching of the Vedas. The Yajamana loves the healer God is called bothPratha and Sapratha. He is Pratha because He pervades everything and Sapratha because He co-exists with the prakriti, akasha, etc. and His powers which are spread far and wide. Aitareya I. 20.
God the Lord of creatures is called Jamadagni according to the following text. ‘He is so called because the luminous objects the sun, etc. shine through His power alone. Such created objects as the sun, etc. and the laws which they obey proclaim God as their origin and as object of adoration.’ Nirukta VII. 24.
God is Jamadagni i.e. Ashvamedha. An empire is like a horse and the subjects like other inferior animals. As other animals, the
strength, so the subjects are weaker than the sate assembly. The glory and splendor of an empire consists in wealth, gold, etc. and in administration of justice. Shat XIII 2.2. 14, 15, 16 & 17.
In the above extract the relation of the kingly power and the subjects has been described by means of an allegory. The next extract describes the relation between soul and God. That relation is that of the servant and the master.
Man cannot easily know the blissful heaven i.e. God by his own unaided strength. He can know it through the favor of God alone. Shat. XIII2. 3. 1.
God’s name is Ashva also, because, He pervades the whole universe (Ashva comes
from the root ‘Ash’ to pervade). Shat XIII. 3.8.8.
Ashvamedha is the name of the empire. The ruling power of the state makes it shine with splendor and it redounds to the glory of the ruling power. It makes the subjects obey its will. Hence the empire is called by the name Ashvamedha.
Wealth and splendor is the very soul of the empire. It conduces to the power and grandeur of the empire but not to that of the subjects. The subjects become prosperous and progressive only when they enjoy liberty. Where there is an absolute monarchy the subjects are oppressed. The government of the state should, therefore, be vested in the people. Shat. XIII. 2. 11. 15, 16 & 17.
Women also should perform the Yajna of knowledge, viz., the rearing and training of children for the stability and protection of the
empire and if they should neglect this duty, the learned ought to provide remedies. They should also punish those who might instigate women to deviate from the path of duty. Thus they should afford it three-fold protection in every way. They should by daily instruction increase the stock of physical and spiritual strength.
Those men, who know God, who holds all things in His womb, never lack vigor of mind and body and vital force. Men should, therefore, entertain the desire to possess the fullest knowledge of God, the holder of all things in His womb. All things were born of the womb of Divine power. He, who excels in knowledge among the subjects to whom the name of Pashu is given, firmly believes that all subjects live in the all-pervading God. Shat. XIII. 2.2. 4 & 5.
We have thus given in brief the meaning of the above Mantra, viz., Yaju XXIII. 19.
It is clearly conceivable that the interpretation of Mahidhara is altogether opposed to this interpretation.
Yajur Veda. XXIII. 20
The true interpretation
The true interpretation according to the Shatapatha: – “May we the king and the subject obtain the four objects, viz., virtue, wealth, desire and emancipation, in unison with each other in order that there may dwell permanent happiness in the beautiful and enjoyable world for clothing all beings with happiness.
That country is heaven itself i.e. happy, in which men of brutalized nature, who unjustly misappropriate the property of others, are reformed by means of instruction, learning and punishment. Both i.e. the king and the subjects, should, therefore, for the sake of mutual happiness,
help and support men of learning and wisdom, who freely impart knowledge and other good qualities, and acquire from them learning and strength without interruption. This is the meaning of the Mantra. Shat XIII, 2. 8. 5.
The true interpretation
As smaller birds are weak in presence of
the hawk so the subjects are weak in presence of the king. The kings, to be sure, always oppress the subjects for their own pleasure. The subjects are called gabha (to be seized), kingly power called pasa (to be penetrated). The king coming into contact with the subjects torments them in every way. Whenever the kingly power is vested in one individual the subjects are oppressed.
One individual should not, therefore, be acknowledged as king. Only the president of the state of assembly, virtuous, endowed with good attributes and learned, should be acknowledged as king. Mahidhara’s interpretation is altogether erroneous in comparison with this true interpretation. Shata. XIII. 2. 3. 6.
The true interpretation according to Shatapahta
O man! This earth and knowledge are like thy mother, because, the one on account of its gifts of medicine and other innumerable objects, and the other by reason of its causing the birth of wisdom in thee, are deserving of respect.The bright firmament, learned men and God, are like thy father, because, they, being the cause of all thy activities and of the gift of happiness, protect thee.
A learned man enables the jiva to reach heaven, the world of bliss, by these means. Glory, i.e. learning and wealth consisting of good qualities, jewels, etc. take the jiva to glory and the greatest happiness and they are the best and the foremost ingredients of an empire.
The subjects are called gabha because they are the producers of all kinds of wealth and grandeur. The act of government is called Mushti (fist), because, as a man takes hold of money in his
fist so a single absolute monarch unjustly lays his hand on the best and the costliest possessions of his subjects for his own pleasure. The king is called the oppressor of the subjects because he pierces them with darts of oppression. The interpretation of Mahidhara is altogether opposed to this interpretation. It should not, therefore, be believed by anyone Shat. XIII. 2. 3. 7.
Yajur Veda XXII. 26
O man! Raise the glory of the empire to a high pitch by serving it to the best of thy ability. The empire is the Ashvamedha Yajna. When a kingdom is governed by the state assembly it rises in glory and all the highest qualities as a man does, who carries and places a heavy object on the summit of a mountain.
Glory is the burden of the empire. The subjects should make the empire prosperous by bringing it glory by means of the parliamentary government. In this way the subjects keep the glorious empire raised aloft. Glory is the middle portion (i.e. stomach) of the empire. By good parliamentary government the empire becomes great and is filled with edible commodities and objects of comfort and enjoyment. Protection of the empire is called Shita. a good state assembly should protect the empire. Mahidhara’s interpretation is opposed to this true interpretation also.
Yajur Veda XXIII. 28
When a king, who is himself free from guilt and defects, personally attends to and keeps an eye over all the acts, small and great, of his subjects, the thieves and the officials and other selfish men, who injure the property of the subjects like rats, remain as restless as two fish writhing in a water-filled hole made
in the ground by the foot of a cow*.
Yajur Veda XXIII 9
as the learned having realized and assimilated true knowledge are permanently filled with the pleasure of knowledge, which brings all kinds of happiness and various good qualities
The author does no translate this mantra. We have, therefore, translated it from his commentary on the Yajur Veda to show what its true interpretation would be according to the author.
in its train, so the subjects also, by their advice and company are filled with all kinds of happiness and as a woman covers her lower parts with garments so the learned cover the subjects with happiness.
Yajur Veda XXIII. 30
The subjects are like barley and an absolute monarch like a deer. He is the snatcher of good things. As a deer having eaten corn growing in a field feels happy so an absolute monarch always seeks his own pleasure. consequently
he always makes the subjects cater for his own pleasure i.e., he regards them as his meal. As a meat eater seeing a well-fed animal desires to eat its flesh and never entertains a thought about its welfare or life so an absolute monarch is always distressed with the fear of any of his subjects becoming stronger than he and for this reason he does not protect them.
As a Shudra woman commits adultery with a Vaishaya her husband does not feel strong and happy so the subjects also do not become strong and happy when they are ruled over by an absolute monarch.
For this reason the son of a Vaishya woman who is of a cowardly nature and the son of a Shudra woman who is an ignorant fellow are never fit to be installed as kings. The interpretation of Mahidhara is altogether opposed to this interpretation given by the Shatapatha Brahmana. Shat. XIII. 2. 3. 8.
Yajur Veda XXIII. 31
The true interpretation.
O Learned President of the Assembly! Thou art the fulfiller of all desires. Do thou shed the light of knowledge, happiness and justice over these subjects. Make him hang his head down who through avarice or lust destroys the property or chastity of others and throw him into prison. Similarly, award condign punishment to her who among women may be an adulteress. An adulterer is called Jivobhojana of women because he destroys their life force. Punish such a miscreant.
All men will consider this much criticism enough to demolish the whole of the Veda Dipa written by Mahidhara. When I shall write
the commentary I shall expose other errors also of Mahidhara’s commentary. If this be the miserable condition and false position of the commentaries ofSayana, Mahidhara, etc. what would be the state of the erroneous position of Europeans who following them have made the translations of the Vedas in their own languages.
Good readers will consider what value should be attached to our own countrymen who following the Europeans have written commentaries in the Vernaculars and English.
The Aryas should not place the least reliance on such commentaries, for, by doing so, the true interpretation and error would prosper. No one should, therefore, regard such commentaries as true.
That the Vedas are full of all the sciences and that there is nothing in them which is false will become known to all men when the complete commentary of the four Vedas will be printed and placed before the wise and be read by them.
All men will then know that there is no knowledge equal to the divine knowledge contained in the Vedas.