VEDA AS GLOBAL HERITAGE: SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVES
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
It is indeed my proud privilege to speak and write on a subject that has been dearest to my heart and mind since I crossed portals of the Allahabad University, my alma mater in 1950. Born in an Arya family that had been associated with the Arya Samaj since World War I, I had heard of Vedas and remembered a few mantras by heart since early childhood. As a teenager, I studied the Satyarth Prakash, magnum opus of Swami Dayanand Saraswati and took to understanding and meditating on the Veda mantras as a duck takes to water. On joining the Arya Samaj, Katra in Allahabad, I found a world of opportunities opening to me in the realm of the Veda. I did not look back thereafter.
Allow me to say in Hindi, dealing with the import of the title of this essay given above, thus:
Veda ek shashwat parampara – vaigyanic paripekshya mein
In other words the knowledge gained from the divine revelation, Veda, is a continuous process influencing generation after generation in all nooks and corners of the globe. In my numerous travels abroad, I was pleasantly surprised to find an opening for propagation of Vedic Thought among myriad people immersed in the darkness of false beliefs, superstitions under the cloak of religion. Men and women of all ethnic and racial backgrounds were found immersed in superstitious beliefs despite their holding degrees in education from prestigious universities.
Birmingham, UK has a radio station quite popular among men and women of Indian origin now living in Great Britain. I used to recite Veda mantras and explain its import on the radio every morning around breakfast time. One elderly lady called after the broadcast and wished to see me as soon as possible. I invited her to the library of the Arya Samaj, Birminghan, my abode in UK. When she made an appearance, she was accompanied by a young woman who could pass as a teenager. The elderly lady, her mother, told the distressing tale of her newly married daughter being neglected by her husband who was enamoured of another woman, his colleague in office. I made discreet but incisive enquiry and found that the newly married couple rarely spent time together whereas the other woman had all the time in the office to enchant him.
The elderly mother begged of me to write a Veda mantra on a piece of paper and tie it in the daughter’s chunni so that under the mantra’s influence the bridegroom undergoes a transformation and becomes disenchanted with the office colleague. I advised them not to fall a prey to a superstitious belief but practise a mantra – SAMVAD. The bride and groom must spend more and more time together, have healthy sex and thus get closer to each other. Despite initial problems, the Samvad Mantra worked wonders and they started sleeping under the same roof leading to a happy ending. Moral of the story is that Veda influences one and all globally provided human beings are weaned away from false beliefs.
Veda is for the entire Mankind irrespective of the region, religion, race they come from. Veda makes all men and women beneficiaries of its Gyan and the prayers enshrined therein are universal in character. Just take a look at this prayer:
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah
Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Ma Kashchid Dukh Bhagbhavetu
The above prayer is Universal and is chanted for one and all. There are numerous mantras that refer to universality of the Veda, inclusiveness of the Veda and Wellness mantras encompassing entire humanity. Veda is all pervasive, transcends barriers of Time and Space.
Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj and a great exponent of the Vedic Thought wrote that the Veda was revealed by the Almighty to the Rishis at the beginning of the SHRISHTI for guidance of Mankind sans discrimination of any sort. Thus the beneficiary of the Veda is entire Mankind globally. It is a Parampara or a tradition handed down from generation to generation. Man in general is the inheritor of the Veda.
Is there a gender bias in worship? No certainly not. Is ISHWAR or the Almighty a male or a female? Well, there is no such gender bias. HE is referred to as both Father and Mother. The mantra Is:
Tvam Hi Nah Pita Vaso Tvam Mata shatkrato Babhuvith
HE is both a mother and a father. As a father he provides us with wherewithal to bring us up, as a Mother, He performs myriad chores for upbringing of children – the mankind.
In the Vedic Dharma, when a VIVAH is solemnised, and the last step of the Saptpadi is taken, both the bride and the groom say in unison “We are SAKHA now –friends”. May I draw your attention to the basis of friendship – EQUALITY. Unequal fellows will never be friends.
VEDA BEYOND BHARAT
Veda is Universal. One cannot say that Veda is more popular in Germany than in India. It is a myth to say so. Max Mueller was indeed a student and a teacher of the Veda but could never travel to Bharat to meet Vaidik Vidwan here. When he was young, he had no money to defray expenses of travel and when he had earned enough money, he was too old to travel. Nevertheless Max Mueller had advised the prospective officers of the Indian Civil Service in his talks entitled “ India: What Can It teach Us” to understand and feel the soul of India through Sanskrit and the Veda. Unfortunately, being a German by birth, he could never become Head of the Department of Sanskrit and Vedic Studies in the University of Oxford. The post was reserved for an Englishman only, as some say in our land here “for the janmana Brahmin, not a Karmana one.”
Veda is indeed a global heritage and one may dwell on the scientific perspectives too, but the basic question is why it is not taken on a large scale voluntarily like one takes to Information Technology. The answer lies, perhaps, in the fact that where does a graduate of Vedic Thought get a good job with a lot of money to rake in? The post graduation employment puts a question mark. On the other hand, a graduate in Information Technology has vast openings before him or her. There is no doubt that Veda as Global Heritage has glamour but little source of sustenance. On the other hand a graduate of Information Technology has ample openings to fend for himself or herself. Of course, a serious promoter of Vedic Studies cannot but look into this aspect of our world heritage.
Scientific temper is aplenty in the Veda. To hit the nail on the head, one may say that the Veda does not believe in Miracles, leave aside promoting it. What is a miracle? A happening that breaks all laws of Nature and yet Happens is called a miracle. Veda promotes scientific knowledge and, therefore, promoting a miracle will indeed be a contradiction in thought and action. Veda may be seen in scientific perspective as it stands by Nature and its laws.
In the modern times, the Veda promotes Paryavaran or natural environment as much as it did in days of yore. A firm belief in precept and practice of Vedic Thought means that the Man gels with Nature. Mankind yearns to have the same PEACE or SHANTI that various elements of Nature possess. Let us chant the SHANTI PATH to buttress the belief that Man has a keen desire to gel with Nature.
AUM daiv shanty prithvi shanty,rapah shanty, roshadhayah shanty vanaspatyah shantih vishwedevah shanty brahm shanty sarvam shanty shantirev shanty samah shanty. AUM shantih shantih shantih.