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Durable Link to this BlogTuesday, March 27, 2007

Unity and Universality in the Vedas

The four Vedas -- Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharva Veda of the Hindus form the oldest surviving literature in the world.

More than five thousand years old, the Vedic hymns are being recited in the same way today in India as they used to be in earliest times.

A strong oral tradition has kept them alive. Fortunately a band of Indo-British and German scholars have compiled and interpreted the riks or Vedic hymns, which contain valuable message to the entire humanity.

The riks are in archaic Sanskrit. At times they are very brief and give way to different interpretations. But the overall message is always clear. The Vedic society though pastoral had several visionaries (called Mantra drashtars) who saw the universe as one, humanity as single and unity as the driving force among all adventures. They composed prayers. The famous prayer "Let noble thoughts come to us from all corners of universe" (Rig 1:89.1) hardly needs explanation.

Another prayer says: "Oh God! give us reason to go together, to speak together, and act with one mind. Let us share the produce equally. Let our efforts together in achievements be fruitful" (Rigveda.10. hymn191-2)

Indra–Sukta in Rigveda says-- "God ! bestow on us progeny which will be prosperous, strong to wield arms to protect our land and lead the subjects to pious and happy living" (Rig 10.47.2)

The hymn, "serve the mother land" Upasarpa mataram bhumim (Rig 10:18:10) is simple and effective.

Another prayer says, let us lead our country towards alertness (vayam rashtre jagriyama purohitah yaj-9:23)

"This land is my mother and I am her son" (mata bhumih putro aham prittvyah -Atharva 12:1:12) Another hymn from the same veda pleads Mother Earth for health and longevity to serve her better. (Atharva 12.1.62)

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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