What We Think About Our Vedas?

“Original Hindu Vedic Text” – Each word in this phrase adds unnecessary interpretation of Vedas. Brief answer, below. Explanation, follows.

Whatever we find today in Books are “Original Vedic Text” – In case you are wondering, where is that First/Original Palm leaf or text written – Well, Hindus do not believe in “Only ONE”, so, it doesn’t matter. By the way, the text is always original, wherever it is written.

I am pained to see many answers to contain “there is no original text” or “Vedas are never written” etc kind of explanations or interpretations or beliefs. If Vedas are never written, what is the essence/point in “vEdOddharaNam” done by “matsyAvatArA”? I do not want to believe that it is “just a story”. Not sure if it happened in the exact way described in Bhagavatam, but definitely, happened at some point in time. So, Vedas are written down. There is “Original Text”, which is what we find today (This is my belief, anyone can contend it). First phrase of the first sentence in the answer by Massimo Shankar Baba Palazzi is a perfect answer to this question. Really, do not understand why this kind of responses are downvoted.

I got an opportunity in my life to work amidst Manuscripts (palm leaf, paper and many more forms) Digitization for a brief period of two years. I found that maximum number of Manuscripts available are of Vedas. Whenever our team visited a manuscript library, be it, Bhandarkar’s (BORI) at Pune, Deccan College Libray (Pune), Bharath Itihas Samshodak Mandal (Pune), or the French Institute in Pondicherry or some old Libraries in Old City of Hyderabad, we are very sure to come across Vedas as a text. Many places had SINGLE manuscript with all the Vedas written.

Some background on Vedas (as heard from learned people and also as read in Srimadbhagavatam)

  • Veda – as in their original form is ONE, which were passed on from Lord Brahma to all the living beings of the “vishvam”
  • Krishnadvaipaayana Veda Vyasa is the one who has reviewed the content and found to be that the content is of Four Types. Hence He made the “vyasyati”, meaning disperse, divide, separate, arrange. “vEdaaH vyasyati iti vEda vyAsaH” – The one who divided the Vedaas, hence the name – Veda Vyasa. Not sure, if it is “vEdaH vyasyati” or “vEdaaH vyasyati”. Srimadbhagavatam – Prathama Skandam (first Canto) – Chaturtho’dhyAyam (Fourth Chapter) says:
    • cāturhōtraṃ karma śuddhaṃ prajānāṃ vīkṣya vaidikam|
      vyadadhādyajñasantatyai vēdamēkaṃ caturvidham||19||
    • ṛgyajuḥsāmātharvākhyā vēdāścatvāra uddhṛtāḥ|
      itihāsapurāṇaṃ ca pañcamō vēda ucyatē||20||
    • Above verses in Devanagari Script:
    • चातुर्होत्रं कर्म शुद्धं प्रजानां वीक्ष्य वैदिकम्।
      व्यदधाद्यज्ञसन्तत्यै वेदमेकं चतुर्विधम्॥१९॥
    • ऋग्यजुःसामाथर्वाख्या वेदाश्चत्वार उद्धृताः।
      इतिहासपुराणं च पञ्चमो वेद उच्यते॥२०॥

“vEdamEkaM chaturvidhaM” should explain it all – “FOUR kinds of ONE Knowledge”. Fifth (kind of) Knowledge are the Itihasa and Purana. But by the time of Vyasa, I think, it is already perceived by a lot of people that “Veda” is not ONE kind. Hence, I go with the version “vEdaaH vyasyati”.

  • Since then, various people – paila, jaimini, vaishampAyana, angIrasa and rOmaharShaNa – have taken each “kind” into people. When it comes to “Yaju”, it is further divided into two, Shukla and Krishna. I belong to the “Krishna Yajurveda Shakha”.
  • Their lineages – guru-shiShya parampara – has adopted each one to be learnt, memorized and practised.
  • At the end of the day, anything should be preserved in multiple ways to make sure of “NO DATA LOSS”. Hence, many more works come into picture which have preserved the knowledge in many ways.
  • Most important of such works (even today) are called as “saMhita” – meaning
    • composed of
    • placed together
    • force which holds together and supports the Universe
  • Yajurveda can be found in two different Samhitas. Kanva Samhita which has Shukla Yajurveda and Taittiriya Samhita – containing Krishna Yajurveda
  • Dasaradhi Rangacharya – is considered a “Yuga Purusha” for telugu people – He is the one who translated all the Vedas into Telugu.

So, Vedas are written down in multiple languages and also there is some active translation that went into them even in 20th century. Whatever that we see in the current books are “THE ORIGINAL TEXT”. It is preserved as multiple copies. Thank GOD that there is no “ONE ORIGINAL and nothing else is correct” kind of situation when it comes to Vedas.

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