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Veda Vyasa - Part I

The goal of life as declared by the discoverers of Truth was handed down from Guru to disciple in the distant days of known human history, and along the avenue of time the teaching descended from generation to generation. The torch bearers of knowledge maintained the relay efficiently up to the time of Veda Vyasa, the poet-seer. Then, Vyasa's acute intelligence detected a growing danger; a possible threat to the continuation of that sacred relay race.

Hinduism was then facing the danger of total annihilation. The scriptures were fast fading away even among those who were supposed to be the custodians of the sacred lore. The Mantras of the Vedas were being slowly forgotten by the people; in that general forgetfulness of the generation the entire subjective science of the Vedas would have been lost - had it not been for the great revolutionary reformer, the poet philosopher known as Vyasa.

Vyasa found that the members of his generation had come to live in an age of increased competition. In their preoccupation with life, learning dwindled, because they suffered - as we do today - the consequences of their intemperate living and the natural sorrows of an age of growing population pressure on the land. These conclusions are all conjectures, since we have no data to substantiate any positive view. Vedic India is to us a land of no historical reports; it refuses to talk to us.

The Vedas

Whatever the reason - and certainly there must have been sufficient reason - Vyasa, who was at once a far-sighted visionary and close observer of the cultural trends of his time, found the heroism to blast the then existing tradition and for the first time gather the Vedic Mantras and record them in written language. Until this time, every new edition of the Vedas had been composed in the mouth of the Guru and printed directly on the memory slabs of his pupils' hearts.

As Vyasa moved around the country, he soon realized that various versions of the same Vedas, such as the Benaras version and the Deccan version, had slowly infiltrated the original texts. He therefore collected all the Vedic passages and for the first time edited them into written volumes which constitute the four great Vedas as they are known today.

In compiling the Vedic Mantras, Vyasa edited them into four books, the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda. However, the systematic thinker in Vyasa was not satisfied with merely classifying the entire wealth of Vedic knowledge into four volumes; in each volume he also brought about a harmonious rhythm, both in the arrangement and in the classification of the contents.

Vyasa divided each book roughly into four sections: Mantras (chants or hymns), Brahmanas (rituals and rules of conduct), Aranyakas (methods of subjective worship), and Upanishads (philosophic revelations). The Upanishads are thus found in the last section of each Veda, and therefore the philosophy of the Upanishads has come to be called Vedanta. "the end of the Veda".

About the author

Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda the great master's lectures were an outpour of wisdom. He introduced the Geetha Gnana Yagna. He wrote a lot of books on spirituality, commentaries to Vedantic texts, children books etc. He then started spreading His teachings globally.....

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