The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge (April 2022)
We become what we do. We do what we think. We think about what is in our mind. It is the qualities of information in our mind that determines our fate. If we fill our mind with pure knowledge, there is no stopping us from becoming better, aware, and conscious human beings. With the Vedas being the eternal source of pure knowledge, Swami Dayanand Saraswati included the reading of Vedas as one of the foremost duties of Aryas. He further implored Aryas to not keep these benefits to themselves but expected them (i.e., us) to also share that pure knowledge and the benefits with everyone. The topic for this month’s assignment is the third principle of Arya Samaj.
The principle reads:
वेद सब सत्यविद्याओं का पुस्तक है। वेद का पढना–पढाना और सुनना–सुनाना सब आर्यों का परम धर्म है।
The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the paramount duty of all Aryas to read them, teach them, recite them and to hear them being read.
Human beings continuously evolve. From the day we are born, we continuously observe and acquire knowledge. Based upon that knowledge, we start to behave. But then why is it that only a very few people become evolved and enlightened human beings who enjoy peace themselves and spread harmony around them, whereas many spend their lives in stress, frustration, unhappiness and make others miserable too? The answer is the quality of knowledge one possesses. It is our beliefs and notions that determine our quality of life we lead or who we become.
If a kid is told from childhood that one’s happiness depends solely upon the amount of money one acquires irrespective of the ways it is acquired, do not be surprised if that kid grows up to become a rich yet miserable person. He may acquire all the objects of convenience but still suffer because of the emptiness and fakeness of his character. Most of the distress in life stems from the impure knowledge one bases one’s life upon. So, it is extremely important that we pay utmost attention to the quality of knowledge we gather and place in our mind and intellect. The more accurate one’s knowledge, the better is one’s life.
Therefore, we must strive [if not for the sake of others but for ourselves only] to acquire the best knowledge possible. A knowledge that is accurate and pure. A knowledge that is sound, scientific, logical, insightful, coherent, and liberating. A knowledge that is free of ignorance, superstitions, and hypocrisy. There is no better source of accurate knowledge than the Vedas.
The Vedas are the source of the most ancient yet pure knowledge. At the start of the universe, God imparted true knowledge to human beings. But why did God have to do this? It was done because except for human beings all living creatures take birth preprogrammed with the most of the knowledge they need to survive; whereas human beings need continuous learning. God gave a blueprint of an ideal life to human beings in the form of the Vedas. He inspired and shared His knowledge with four evolved Rishis. Those Rishis (named Agni, Aditya, Vayu, and Angira) then produced the four Vedas (Rig, Sam, Yajur, and Atharva), which became manuals for human kind ever since.
The knowledge in the Vedas is wholesome; it covers the details of what, why, and how parts. It tells us what we should aspire for or ignore; what we should acquire or reject; and, how we should act or react. Knowing the righteous goals and path (ज्ञान) and acting using virtuous means (कर्म), we are able to achieve closeness to God (उपासना) and achieve the ultimate objective of peace and happiness. A blessed life is when one acquires sound health, true fame, and pure wealth while living a spiritual lifestyle. A blessed life rests on the three pillars of gyan, karm, and upasana. The Vedas capture all kinds of material and spiritual knowledge required for one to lead a blessed life.
Not only all of our other scriptures came later, they also attribute their origin to the Vedas. When talking about Shri’s Ram’s education, a Ramayana verse captures that King Dashrath’s sons came back home after acquiring the knowledge of Vedas. Later, when Hanuman ji introduced himself to Shri Ram and Lakshaman, his educational background became obvious. Shri Ram Chandra ji told Lashman that Hanuman ji was not only educated but also a person of high character because only a person who has studied the four Vedas can talk like that. Today, it is not just Indian but learned people all over the world recognize the Vedas as the oldest books of knowledge and wisdom.
The principle then talks about our duty to propagate the knowledge of the Vedas. While anyone living a life according to the teachings of the Vedas knows the benefits of spreading knowledge and happiness to others, this principle implores all Aryas to study the Vedas themselves as well as encourage others to read the Vedas. If others are not able to read on their own, one must make sufficient efforts to teach the vedic knowledge to others. One must continuously listen to and meditate upon the teachings of the Vedas. Then one must encourage others to do the same. The purpose of this principle is rooted in the core belief that the Vedas are for the upliftment of the whole humankind, and we must make efforts to raise the collective awareness and consciousness of the humankind. We ascend when others (our family, friends, society, and humanity) also ascend with us.
I hope this month’s article helps you build a better understanding of the Vedas, the importance of the pure knowledge contained in them, and our duty to read and listen to the Vedas as well as help others in doing so.
In this month’s article, kids will…
- Read the third principle in hindi and english. (better if they can memorize it)
- Provide the detailed description of the two parts of this principle in their own language.
- Explain the difference between true/pure and fake/impure knowledge using some examples (kids can talk about superstitions or illogical practices)
- Reflect on their lifestyles in order to assess if they are living a life according to the core belief of the Vedic philosophy of helping others. What steps can they take now (not when they grow old) to start on their journey of becoming better persons – by helping others become better?
As always, I am looking forward to hearing beautiful and insightful interpretations of the principle.