How old are the Vedas and who can read them? (an old post ... Aug. 23, 2006)

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How old are the Vedas and who can read them? (an old post ... Aug. 23, 2006)

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:34 am

Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures - Rig, Yajur and Sam) are quite old. The oldest among them, Rig Veda might be 7000 years old (5000 BC or earlier). Note that the ancient Sanskrit meaning of Veda is the accumulated or compiled knowledge, and therefore Vedas also represent the record of early civilization in addition to being Hindu scriptures. Note below in the Appendix, who is a Hindu?

Furthermore, indicated in Section (2) below, everyone has the freedom to read and practice (follow) the Vedas.

(1) The age of Vedas:

There is confusion about the beginning of Vedic era. Sometimes it is indicated to be around 1500 BC, but that seems quite late and illogical according to Vedic references and archaeology.

For example, in several Vedic hymns dedicated to river Sarasvati, she is described to be actually flowing and existent. But in reality river Sarasvati does not exist anymore, because, according to archaeological research, it dried up and disappeared in north Indian sands several thousand years ago, around 5000 BC (or earlier).

In any case, Vedas (and the corresponding Hindu religion) must at least be as old as the last time river Sarasvati actually existed (flowed) in India because that is how it was described in the Vedas - alive and active. Therefore, considering the following hymns on river Sarasvati (which show it still very alive and active -- 5000 BC according to archaeological findings), Vedas and Hinduism may be assumed to exist at least since 5000 BC (7000 years ago).

“He set thee in the earth's most lovely station, in Ila's place, in days of fair bright weather.
On man, on Apaya, Agni! on the rivers Drsadvati, Sarasvati, shine richly.” Rig Veda (Book 3 , Hymn 23.4)

“This stream Sarasvati with fostering current comes forth, our sure defence, our fort of iron.
As on a car, the flood flows on, surpassing in majesty and might all other waters.” Rig Veda (Book 7, Hymn 95.1)

“I SING a lofty song, for she is mightiest, most divine of Streams.
Sarasvati will I exalt with hymns and lauds, and, O Vasistha, Heaven and Earth.” Rig Veda (Book 7, Hymn 96.1)

“When in the fullness of their strength the Purus dwell, Beauteous One, on thy two grassy banks,
Favor us thou who hast the Maruts for thy friends: stir up the bounty of our chiefs.” Rig Veda (Book 7, Hymn 96.2)

(2) The right to read and follow Vedas:

Vedas (including the Rig Veda) have hymns created and contributed by and for the working class people (e.g. musicians, farmers, cow-herders, cowboys, Vaishyas and Shudras etc.) and not just the highly literate (e.g. brahmins). This means Vedas are open to all and can be read (and practiced) on their own by anyone (including the novice and working class person) without incurring sin or worrying about the pronunciation etc. of hymns. Incidentally, sin is absolvable according to the Vedas.

As indicated by the following hymns (as examples), Vedas have a broad appeal and can be read and practiced by anyone, no matter what the caste (profession) or gender (sex). These hymns (related to common people) also indicate that the language used in the Vedas (Sanskrit or its original variant, even perhaps without the present Devanagari script) was in common use long ago (among the working class and not just the educated brahmins) at least in spoken form (for oral communication of the Srutis).

“Sweet be the plants for us. the heavens, the waters, and full of sweets for us be air's mid-region.
May the Field's Lord for us be full of sweetness, and may we follow after him uninjured.” Rig Veda (Book 4, Hymn 57.3)

“Happily work our steers and men, may the plough furrow happily.
Happily be the traces bound; happily may he ply the goad.” Rig Veda (Book 4, Hymn 57.4)

“If we have sinned against the man who loves us, have ever wronged a brother, friend, or comrade,
The neighbor ever with us, or a stranger -- O’ God, remove from us the trespass.” Rig Veda (Book 5, Hymn 85.7)

“If we, as gamesters cheat at play, have cheated, done wrong unwittingly or sinned on purpose,
Cast all these sins away like loosened fetters, and, God let us be thine own beloved.” Rig Veda (Book 5, Hymn 85.Cool

“I am a singer, my dad is a physician, my mother's job is to grind corn with stones.
Striving for wealth, with varied plans (vocations), we follow our desires like a cowherder after his kine. Flow, Indu, flow for Indra's sake.” Rig Veda (Book 9, Hymn 112.3)

“Wake with one mind, my friends, and kindle Agni, ye who are many and who dwell together.
Agni and Dadhikras and Dawn the Goddess, you, Gods with Indra, I call down to help us.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.1)

“Make pleasant hymns, spin out your songs and praises: build ye a ship equipped with oars for transport.
Prepare the implements, make all things ready, and let the sacrifice, my friends, go forward.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.2)

“Lay on the yokes, and fasten well the traces: formed is the furrow, sow the seed within it.
Through song may we find bearing fraught with plenty: near to the ripened grain approach the sickle.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.3)

“Wise, through desire of bliss from Gods, the skilful bind the traces fast,
And lay the yokes on either side.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.4)

“Arrange the buckets in their place securely fasten on the straps.
We will pour forth the well that hath a copious stream, fair-flowing well that never fails.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.5)

“I pour the water from the well with pails prepared and goodly straps,
Unfailing, full, with plenteous stream.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.6)

“Refresh the horses, win the prize before you: equip a chariot fraught with happy fortune.
Pour forth the well with stone wheel, wooden buckets, the drink of heroes, with the trough for armour.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.7)

“Prepare the cow-stall, for there drink your heroes: stitch ye the coats of armour, wide and many.
Make iron forts, secure from all assailants let not your pitcher leak: stay it securely.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 101.Cool

“Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway.
Riches come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 117.5)

“The foolish man wins food with fruitless labour: that food -I speak the truth- shall be his ruin.
He feeds no trusty friend, no man to love him. All guilt is he who eats with no partaker.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 117.6)

“The ploughshare plowing makes the food that feeds us, and with its feet cuts through the path it follows.
Better the speaking than the silent brahmin: the liberal friend out-values him who gives not.” Rig Veda (Book 10, Hymn 117.7)

"O Agni...each fault done in a village or in forest, in society or mind, each sinful act that we have committed to Shudra or Vaishya or by preventing a religious act, even of that sin, you are the expiation..." Yajur Veda (Kanda 1, Prapathaka 8, Hymn i.8.3.d)

Appendix
who is a Hindu?

(1) A Hindu is a follower of Hinduism which is rooted in the Vedas (Sruti) and Vedic philosophy, and the word Hindu originally might have signified a person partaking and benefiting from Indu (Vedic libation, Soma);

(2) Hinduism admits a three-fold Reality (Satya or Truth) comprising one Brahman (or God, having many names and forms), Atman (soul or souls), and Samsaara (the material world of five elements -- including Sharira or the human body comprising of Pinda or corpse, Manas or mind, Buddhi or intellect, and Ahamkar or ego);

(3) Hinduism considers equality of everyone, irrespective of one’s race (color and language), caste (occupation) or gender (sex);

(4) Hinduism believes in absolution of sins through prayer, and transformations in life according to the karmic law (cause and the corresponding effect) which also upholds that after death the soul transmigrates into a new body according to the accumulated effect of one's actions in previous life; and

(5) The ultimate goal of a Hindu is to achieve Salvation, through good deeds toward mankind and devotion and prayer to God, resulting in no more rebirths after death and the soul resting in peace and harmony with God.

References


(1) “Hindu Caste System & Hinduism” (Subhash C. Sharma, 2001): http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/_caste.html

(2) “Significance of Hindu and Hindu dharma (Hinduism)” (Subhash C. Sharma, 2003): http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/hindu_hinduism.html

(3) The Rig Veda (Ralph T.H. Griffith, Translator, 1896): http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/

(4) The Yajur Veda (Arthur Berriedale Keith, 1914): http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/yv/

(5) “How old is Vedic era?” (Seva, 2005): http://www.hindunet.com/forum/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=58479&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1

(6) Recent Research on the Sarasvati River (“Indian Satellites Find Water Under Desert”): http://www.stephen-knapp.com/recent_research_on_the_sarasvati_river.htm

------------------------------------

by: Dr. Subhash C. Sharma
http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/vedas.html

Seva Lamberdar

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Re: How old are the Vedas and who can read them? (an old post ... Aug. 23, 2006)

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:51 pm

The Rig Veda hymns related to the Hindu religio-philosophy in this blog, including the reincarnation and monotheistic polymorphism etc., are listed in the following essay,

The early Vedic hymns on mathematics, time relations and religio-philosophy(by Subhash C. Sharma:  May 31, 2013)  ….
http://creative.sulekha.com/the-early-vedic-hymns-on-mathematics-time-relations-and-religio-philosophy_603687_blog

Seva Lamberdar

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