1. Veda Parayanam
The Vedas are considered the highest revelation and authority in Hinduism. Orthodox philosophical systems and religious authorities in India acknowledge their absolute truth and validity for all time, and revere them as the ultimate authority in any controversy. No human source can be attributed to them and they are considered to be of Divine origin, revealed to the rishis of ancient times. The Vedas were a strictly oral tradition and among pundits today it is Brahma Rishi Vyasa who is considered to be the 'compiler' of the four extant texts (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva). For thousands of years the four were chanted solely without being written down. The term sruti (meaning 'what is heard') is used to refer to these holy texts which ultimately communicate the nature of Absolute Truth in the metaphysical sphere. Sound emanates as 'the word' (nama) and can be said to precede rupa (form). The beginning of the Gospel of St. John states this truth in a similar manner.
The vibration which is generated by the holy sounds is spiritual in nature and counters the dark forces of inert matter in an effort to uplift creation. The universal mantra AUM, now known throughout the world, is the essential spiritual vibration of the universe. Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, is said to have been revealed and it is claimed that the sounds that form its 50 letters and perfect grammar are unique. Even Western philologists study it as a great revelation in the course of human history.
There is a school of research today which refutes the notion that Sanskrit originated in Central Asia or the Caucasus and was transported to India during the 'Aryan invasion'. This idea was propounded in the late nineteenth century by Western philologists, some of whom had never visited India. It is currently argued that Sanskrit was indigenous and that its texts go back several thousand years. European languages quite possibly developed from Sanskrit and not the reverse.
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by Eduardo Linder Article from Mountain Path 2005 Aradhana "Veda Parayanam"
2. The Vedas
SOUND AND CREATION
What is sound? Modern science defines it as vibration. Atomic science and Einstein's theory have projected the conclusion that, at the level of the atom, all matter is the same — (the Advaita of the Vedanta). But objects appear differently to the eyes because energy produces vibrations of different frequencies at various points.
Vibration creates sound. Conversely stated, if sound is to result, vibrations should be created. Since vibrations of different frequencies occur in the flood-stream of energy, the scientific explanation for the creation of the world and the Vedic pronouncement that creation resulted from the life-breath of the Paramaatma, are mutually in agreement.
What is at the base of the health and feelings in man and beast? Breath and breathing. The passage of breath through the various Naadis (pulses- nerve centres) creates vibrations which are responsible for the health of beings; or lack of it. If through Yogic practices, the passage of breath through these centres is controlled or regulated, wonderful health results. In such a state, even if the blood vessels are severed, blood would not flow out. Yogis are able to stop the heart-beat and pulse beat and remain buried underground in a state of quiescence. The venom of a snake or a scorpion bite leaves them unaffected. All this is possible because they are able to discipline the vibrations caused by normal breathing.
3. Efforts to Preserve Vedas
As we gradually enter the post-Vedic period, the preservation of the ancient scriptural texts and their utility become subjects of very important debates. Some of the problems with the handling of the scriptures are created merely by the historical linguistic changes. The language of the ancient scriptures was increasingly becoming archaic and a large percentage of the vocabulary and grammar of the ancient language did not survive in the newer forms of Sanskrit. Similarly, the time-gap, the migrations, and the cultural and ethnic contacts and mergers changed the pronunciation significantly, so that a number of features, like the accents of ancient language were lost in the later forms of Sanskrit. Under such conditions, the maintenance of the form and the understanding of the ancient texts became increasingly precarious. The beginning of such concerns is already manifest in the late Vedic texts. By the end of the late Vedic period we already see the beginning of some formal efforts to deal with this situation. It is manifested in the creation of multiple forms of recitation.
There was the original undivided text of the scriptures that was handed down by the tradition orally. This text was called Samhita, the joined unbroken form of recitation. A new form of word-by-word (padapatha) recitation was now created and an understanding of word combinations was developed. This subsequently led to the development of the traditions of Sanskrit grammar, etymology and phonetics.
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4. Activities and Knowledge of Vedic Pandits
Evident as it is that the Vedic schools first systematised and cultivated the six sciences which, on account of their close connection with the Veda, are called its Angas or limbs, it is no less apparent that, as the materials for each of these subjects accumulated and the method of their treatment was perfected,the enormous quantity of the matter to be learnt, and the difficulty of its acquisition depressed the Vedic schools from their high position as centres of the intellectual life of the Aryas...
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The recitation of the Vedas, morning and evening, at
Sri Bhagavan's shrine started under very interesting
circumstances.Initially, some Pundits began coming from the town
and reciting the vedas before Sri Bhagavan, thinking,
perhaps, that it was edifying for them to do this in the
august presence of the Maharshi. Although everyone
liked this, it wasn't performed with any consistency,
depending mostly on the whim of the priests. The
Sarvadhikari thought that the Ashram should have
regular daily parayanas.
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