What is Veda

Veda is the repository of all secrets of civilization and humanity.

– Swami Sri Atmananda

Vedas contain the secrets for a life of Truth and collaboration with Mother Nature. Swamiji says that Veda is all-pervading in the creation as the original cosmic vibration, and that by knowing a fraction of the meaning of a mantra, man can enter into Veda and begin to invoke, feel, and merge with this universal vibration. He explains how Veda contains solutions to all mankind’s problems. It is not miraculous, he says, it is super-science: “Veda guides you to be in harmony with nature, the environment, society, family, friends, and with your self. Then your life will be life Divine.”

Vyasdev classified Vedas into 4 segments – Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva. These four Vedas available to us at this time consist of 20,500 mantras.

  • Rig Veda deals with jnana or knowledge (gyana) of creation.
  • Sama Veda is the prayer to the creator or God and seek his blessings. This part deals with the concept and process of devotion (bhakti).
  • Yajur Veda deals with karma or action in the material plane of life.
  • Atharva Veda deals with the integration of karma, gyana and bhakti as a manifesting channel of Brahman.

Vedas are taught by various Shakhas (schools) from time to time by different seers. For the benefit of the seekers of Vedic knowledge, Vedas are documented in 4 different divisions.

  • Samhita – contains original mantras – knowledge part
  • Brahmanas – contains commentary for the mantras – action part
  • Aranyaka – contains practices and procedures for contemplation on the mantras – realization part
  • Upanishads – contains revelations of the essence of Vedic mantras – manifestation part

There are 3 gateways to enter into the Vedas – Rishi, Devatah and Chandah.

Rishi is the seer of a particular mantra; Devatah is the god or divine power (refers to a particular attribute of the supreme power) and the Chandah is the rhythm or meter. Every mantra is dedicated to a god or divine power.

  • To enter into the Vedas through the gateway of the seer, one has to know not only the meaning of the mantra but also have the psychic ability to enter into the Samadhi state to see and hear the unspoken dialogue. Rishi is the Portal to the Veda, the pure contemplative awareness who can only know which god to be invoked or prayed for what purpose.
  • To enter through the gateway of Devatah or god, one needs to have the ability to transcend the mind and subdue the senses to communicate with the gods through prayer. Devatah is the divine force who grants the Purpose of prayer.
  • To enter through the gateway of Chandah, one must learn how to chant the mantra. Chandah deals with the Process through which the prayer has to be invoked.