Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The very fact that we are asking Veda PramANa overlooking the smrtis of the great Rishis shows our lack of respect for their sagacious wisdom and trying to use our very limited knowledge to understand and interpret the Vedas. According to Manu, one who disrespects the smrtis is a nAstika.

Both Sruti and smrutis constitute valid pramANas. We have to keep in view that smrutis have only Sruti as the base. Though there were many SAkhAs (recensions) of the Vedas in the days of  yonder, only a few are available now due to various reasons.
anantA vai vedAh !
---- TaittirIya KAthaka

The Vedas are infinite. Thus while a particular aspect (for example, mandatory performance of trikAla sandhyA including  mAdhyAnikam) specifically covered in the smrutis could have been  based on a Vedic statement which was existing  in a particular Vedic recension at that point of time but not now, it may not be correct for us to conclude that the particular aspect is not backed by Vedas. Hence it would be very difficult to overlook what is stated in the smrutis as being something which is not mentioned in the Vedas and hence need not be followed.

One cannot properly understand the intended and intrinsic meaning of Vedas. As Vedas are complex and innumerable, the Rishis through their great tapas composed the Smrutis which define what is dharma for a particular Yuga.

In order to understand the Sruti in the proper perspective, one requires the guidance of smruti. Interpreting the original Vedic Mantras on our own accord is dangerous in the modern environment.

For each Mantra, there is a Rishi, a Chandas and the devatA. One cannot overlook the Rishi and chant any Mantra including GAyatrI MahA Mantra. As Rishis are the Seers of Vedic Mantras and the authors of smrutis, we hold them in high esteem. Rishi TarpaNam is offered to them. KAnda Rishi TarpaNam is also there. All the Srauta, grihya and smArta PrayogAs are done even today based on the statements of great Rishis like Apastamba, BodhAyana, ASvalAya, Jaimini, LAtyAyana, KAtyAyana and so on. In addition, we have sanakAdi Rishis, Sapta Rishis , NArada, BharadvAja, Veda VyAsa and so many others.
Each BrAhmaNa (however materially he may be rich) is born only as a debtor with triple debts. He is indebted to the Rishis, DevAs and Pitrus. The Rishi debt is discharged through brahmacarya, Deva debt through performance of yajnas and Pitru debt through progeny.
JAyamAno ha vai brAhmaNah tribhir rNavA jAyate !
brahmacaryena rishibhyah !
yajnena devebhyah!
prajayA pitrubhyah!
The Rishis including Rishi Patnis are to be respectfully worshipped. Without them, the Vedas would have disappeared. The smrutis, which are Rishi Proktam are therefore equally valid like Sruti.

Whatever one feels like doing according to his mental make-up does not constitute dharma. That is why in Bhagavad GItA , BhagavAn advises all to follow dharma as ordained in the Scriptures :
tasmacchAstram pramAnam te karYAkArya vyavasthitau!
jnAtvA SAstra vidhinoktam karma kartum ihArhasi !!
-----Bhagavad gItA ! 16.24
One who does not follow SAstras gains not Sukham or Siddhi or parama gati.
yah Sastra vidhim utsrijya vartate KAma kAratah !
na sa siddhim avApnoti na sukham na parAm gatim !!
---Bhagavad gItA 16.23
Learned sees through the eye of SAstras
" ----kavibhih SAstra cakshushA ---"
---- SrImad BhAgavatam x-84-36
Sruti smruti mamaivAjnA yad tad ullanghya vartate !
AjnAcchedhe mama drOhi mat bhaktOpi na vaishNava !!
--- VishNu
vedamUlAh smrutayah !
---- Sankha
durbodhA vaidikASSabdAh prakIrNatvacca ye khilAh !
tatraita eva drushtArthAh smruti tantrai pratishthitAh !!
---- MarIci
Srutim paSyanti munayah smaranti ca tathA smrutim !
tasmAt pramANamubhayam pramANaih pramitam bhuvi !!
---- Manu
According to Angiras, those who are learned in pramANas should duly take care of them. Otherwise, authentic pramANas would get destroyed by baseless pramANas.
pramANAni pramANajnaih paripAlyAni yatnatah !
sIdanti pramANAni pramANairavyavasthitaih !!

Coming to the subject, there are two modes of samskAram in terms of Pitru medham and Brahma medham. For both, there are Veda Mantras available as per grhya prayoga and are currently in use. This varies based on the sUtra to which one belongs to. Now for each and every karmanushthAna if somebody asks for specific pramANa in the Vedas (of which only a portion is available now), it is not in line with the path of the wise. We need to understand that the Veda Mantras used in the context as recommended by the Rishis constitute the PramANas. It is to be noted that in the entire two volumes of SrAddha kAnda of VaidyanAtha dIkshitIyam, only pramAnas from dharma SAstras are given. In the Vedas we have ample references about Pitru Yajna, svadha , Pitru, PitAmaha, PrapitAmaha and so on. But for each karma and the detailed procedure, if some body demands specific Veda pramAna, it is too much and tantamounts to overlooking the sagacious wisdom of the  Rishis.
According to MarIcI, one is born as a candAla in crores of birth if one gives up performance of Abdika SrAddha.
PanditA jnAnino mUrkhAh striyo'tha brahmacAriNah !
mrtAham samatikramya candAlah kotijanmasu !!
--- MarIcI
According to LokAkshi, one shall do anna SrAddham only and not HiraNyam or Ama SrAddham.
Pushapvatsvapi dAreshu videSastho 'pyanagnikah !
annenaivAbdikam kuryaddhemnA va'mena na kvacit !!
--- LokAkshi
According to Jamadagni, Sumantu and USanas, one without wife is not entitled to perform pArvaNa SrAddham and he has to do Ama SrAddham.
 na bhavatyasya sAmagrI dArA vA gruhameva ca !
AmaSrAddham prakurvIta vrddho bAlaSca yo bhavet !!
- Jamadagni
One who thinks that there are no Pitrus and gives up performance of SrAddha earns the curse of his own Pitrus.
na santi pitaraSceti krtvA manasi yo narah !
SrAddham na kurute tatra tasya raktam pibanti te !!
--- Aditya PurANa
Where SrAddha is not done, there no Putras are born, no relief from dieseses, no long life and no goodness.
na tatra vIrA jAyante nArogA na SatAyushah !
na ca Sreyodhigacchati yatra SrAddham vivarjitam !!
--- HArIta

It is to be noted that even in the dharma SAstras different ways have been suggested for a particular situation by different Rishis. It is difficult to comprehend and interpret the proper course of action many a times. Our own interpretations of the Vedas in the context of performance of various Karmas would be grossly misleading. We have  to necessarily go by what the great Rishis have said and follow it as far as possible in one’s own prevailing circumstances.Hence if any one  who raises such questions  genuinely believes in Vedic Scriptures, he can personally approach a Srotriya well-versed in dharma SAstra, get his doubts clarified and act accordingly.
नमः परमऋषिभ्यो  नमः परमऋषिभ्यः।
जय जय श्रीराधे।