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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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Different Paths to Experience the Supreme

By M.P.Bhattathiry
Retd. Chief Technical Examiner To The Govt. Of Kerala, Kerala, India

In the Rig Veda, the universal truths propounded explain the universal order of life in three planes:

  1. Internal (to the Soul)
  2. External (to the body in terms of Dharma or worldly life)
  3. Spiritual (in terms of the cosmos)

The universal order of life in these three planes is then linked to the Supreme encompassing the three planes. Thus all terms / names mentioned such as Indra, Agni, Vayu etc. have exoteric and esoteric significance in each of the three planes as understood by the individual Soul depending on the spiritual evolution of the Soul.

The Sama Veda consists of hymns (many of them common with the Rig Veda) which when sung in the appropriate manner will strike a chord in enabling one to understand the universal truths and order of life depending on their stage of spiritual evolution. The source of the musical patterns of the Sama Veda hymns is derived from the vibration / sounds of the cosmos. This reveals that spiritual evolution can be achieved through music (by hearing as well as singing).

The Yajur Veda consists of hymns from the Rig Veda along with other hymns which when recited in the performance of a yajna / havan will enable the Soul or the beneficiaries to understand the universal truths of the Veda in any or all of the three planes of its meanings depending on the individual's stage of spiritual evolution. Though the Yajur Veda is associated with performance of Yajna for worldly gains, it is understood that the individual beneficiaries will ultimately evolve spiritually and subsequently undertake these Yajnas for the spiritual and material benefits of mankind as a whole. The Yajur Veda has two distinct schools of presentation and following as explained below.

This Veda is followed in the Northern parts of India and has mantras in the form of the Veda and Brahmanas (explanatory notes to the mantras) presented in the Satapatha Brahmana. 

The Shukla Yajur Veda is said to have been taught by the "Sun" to sage Yajnavalkya and hence the name "Shukla" or "White" Yajur Veda.

This is followed in the Southern parts of India and has Veda mantras and Brahmanas intermixed - that is, the Brahmanas follow the mantras as explanatory notes in the Veda text itself. Since Shukla Yajur Veda is known as "White", this Yajur Veda has been denoted as "Krishna" or "Black" Yajur Veda. Both the versions are accepted as authentic and both schools are practiced widely.

The Atharva Veda, when understood in the external plane, is generally known to contain hymns common to the Rig Veda including others for the sole purpose of performing "Magic" or to communicate with ghosts and spirits or for curing ailments. However, when viewed in the spiritual plane, the Atharva Veda expounds universal truths of the oneness of the universe, the way to live in communion with the world of evolved souls, to pray for a healthy life and finally to merge with the Supreme.

All the Vedas provide the same knowledge to experience the Supreme through different paths.
bullet The Rig Veda would approach this goal through prayer and intellectual pursuits.
bullet The Sama Veda through musical renderings of the hymns.
bullet The Yajur Veda through Yajna and invocation of Agni to carry the message of the hymns to the Supreme.
bullet The Atharva Veda through tantra or other rituals.

The Vedas propound and accept all forms of religious practice in the pursuit of understanding and merging with the Supreme. Hence it is highly secular and tolerant in its teachings by ultimately preaching.

"May Happiness and Peace come to One and All irrespective of Faith, Creed, Color and Social order of the Society including Beings of other forms of evolution."

See Also:

The Essence of Hindu Scriptures
The author, an eminent scholar of Hindu Vedas (scriptures) captures the essence of Hindu scriptures into 51 principles.

Holy Gita
Bhagavad Gita, is the most important and cream of all scriptural texts for Sanadhana Dharma. According to the Gita, true religion is that which is inherent in the soul. It cannot be changed, and it is universally the same for all living entities. The external faiths are material reflections of the inherent spiritual quality of the soul.

Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony
The creative principle of the universe is called Brahma in Sanskrit. Brahma, who is depicted as emerging from the navel lotus of Narayana, is a metaphor for all of creation. Brahma creates, operates in the form of this universe for trillions of years, then dissolves back into Narayana. Narayana, however, is neither created nor destroyed. Later, another Brahma appears to begin the process again.

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