...I seek not science, not religion, not Theosophy, but Veda-the truth about Brahman not only about His essentiality, but about His Manifestation, not a lamp on the way to the forest, but a light and a guide to joy and action in the world, the truth which is action in the world, the truth which is beyond opinion, the knowledge which all thought strives after--yasmin vijnate sarvam vijnatam. I believe that Veda to be the foundation of the Sanatan Dharma; i believe it to be the concealed divinity within Hinduism.-but a veil has to be drawn aside, a curtain has to be lifted. I believe it to be knowable and discoverable. I believe the future of India and the world to depend on its discovery and on its application, not to the renunciation of life, but to life in the world and among men.
-SRI AUROBINDO,Advent. Aug. '73, p.10.
...ancient India was created by the Veda and Upanishads and that the visions of inspired seers made a people. That sublime poetry with its revelation of godhead and the joy and power of life and truth and immortality or its revelation of the secrets of the self and the powers of its manifestation in man and the universe and of man's return to self-knowledge got into the very blood and mind and life of the race and made itself the fountain-head of all that incessant urge to spirituality which has been its distinguishing gift and cultural motive.
- SRI AUROBINDO, 9:245
From the Foreword:
THE SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VEDA
The Veda-the Word-form of Brahman
The Indian or rather the Aryan mind is saturated with the idea that the Veda is Sabdabrahma, i.e., the word-form of Brahman, and therefore as vast and infinite as Brahman itself. This deep-rooted conviction in the Aryan is substantiated by Taittiriyabrahmana, an ancient commentary on Yajurveda. There we find an interesting story of sage Bharadwaja. It is narrated there that he lived a man's full life-span of a hundred years and devoted himself to the study of the Vedas, but could not finish it. So he prayed to Brahma, the creator, to extend his life for another full span of a hundred years for the pursuit and completion of his studies. The boon was granted, but this further extension also proved to be insufficient. So the sage asked for yet another lease of a full span of human life. Brahma, pleased with his sincere devotion, rigorous austerity and diligent pursuit of studies, accorded him the desired boon and the sage engrossed himself once again in studies but the end of the task was nowhere in sight. Thereupon there was a spontaneous utterance from his heart: i.e., :Infinite indeed are the Vedas!" The story suggestively indicates that writers of these Brahmanas, the Vedic commentaries, did not consider the four Vedas as encompassing the entire Vedic lore. According to them, these four Vedas were as if only four handfuls of gems picked up by our creator, Brahma, from the huge mountain-heap of Divine Knowledge, and given to humanity as necessary for the present cycle of creation.
The Veda-the eternal and infinite Knowledge
In other words, the Veda is not confined to the four books or to any number of books for that matter. In fact, the adherents of other religions, for example, Christian, Muslims, Sikhs and Parsees maintain that God gave them the inspired knowledge in the form of either a divine edict or a book. But the Veda, according to the most ancient tradition, is knowledge infinite and eternal. The word Vedas means derivatively knowledge as a direct experience. If the Veda is the word, it is not the written word but spoken, or rather a word heard, sruti, as it is called. That means the language of the Veda itself stems from a non-human or impersonal source. Sri Aurobindo has said, "The language of Veda itself is sruti, a rhythm not composed by the intellect but heard, a divine Word that came vibrating out of the Infinite to the inner audience of the man who had previously made himself fit for the impersonal knowledge." It follows that the Veda as a Divine Gospel is unbounded, unlimited and infinite. Issuing from the ineffable sources it penetrates and permeates the hearts of Rishis. The self-same Truth has been explained in yet another way by Sri Aurobindo. In "The Synthesis of Yoga" he writes: "The supreme Shastra of the integral yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every thinking and living being. The lotus of the eternal knowledge and the eternal perfection is a bud closed and folded up within us. It opens swiftly or gradually, petal by petal..." This statement of Sri Aurobindo's corroborates and buttresses the traditional conviction that the Veda is not a book but an eternal and infinite knowledge, embedded in the heart of each individual.
'Veda' means the Knowledge of Sachchidananda
This conviction is also supported by the etymological derivation of the word 'Veda' which is derived from the root 'vid'. The famous grammarian Panini indicates three senses to this root according to three different conjugations. 'Vid' in the fourth conjugation means 'to be or exist', in the second conjugation it means to know or be conscious or aware of Vid Gyane; in the sixth conjugation it means to gain, to attain. The word Veda derived from vid to be or exist would mean Being or Existence, i.e., the Sat of the Vedantic Saccidananda. If it is derived from vid to be conscious, it would mean the Cit or Consciousness of the Vedantic Saccidananda, and again derived from vid to gain or attain, it would signify the highest gain or attainment, i.e., the bliss or Ananda of the Vedantic Saccidananda, since bliss is the highest gain, the highest thing worth striving for, as it has been rightly said by the wise: Anandan paro Labha;', i.e., there is no gain greater than the bliss. Thus the word Veda combines in itself all the three senses of the three roots and connotes Saccidananda. Therefore, etymologically Veda is that Eternal knowledge which reveals to us the essential self-nature of Saccidananda and the nature of his manifested creation, the evolutionary world-nature and world-action.
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