25 September 2014

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Riddles in Hinduism How Upanishads Declared war on Vedas

Riddles in Hinduism How Upanishads Declared war on Vedas

Riddles in Hinduism – Riddle No. 8
How The Upanishads Declared war on the Vedas

What is the position of the Upanishads in relation to the Vedas?
Are the two complimentary to each other or are they antagonistic?
Of course, no Hindu would admit that the Vedas and Upanishads are repugnant to each other.
On the contrary, it is the common belief of all Hindus that there is no antagonism between them and that both form part and parcel of the same single system of thought.
Is this belief well-founded?

The principal reason for the rise of such a belief is to be found in the fact that the Upanishads are  also  known  by  another  name  which  is  called  Vedanta.
The word Vedanta has got two meanings.
In one sense, it means the last parts of the Vedas.
In the second sense, it means the essence of the Vedas.
The word Vedanta being another name for the Upanishads,
The Upanishads themselves have come to acquire these meanings.
It  is  these meanings  which are responsible  for  the  common  belief  that  there  is  no  antagonism  between  the  Vedas  and  the Upanishads.

To what extent are these meanings of the word Upanishads justified by facts?
In the first place, it is well to note the meaning of the word Vedanta. What was the original meaning of the word Vedanta?
Does it mean the last book of the Vedas?  As observed by Prof.  Max Muller *:
[Page:  83 the Upanishads (S.B.E.) Vol.  I.  Introduction, p.  I.XXXVI] “Vedanta is a technical term and did not mean originally the last portions of the Veda, or chapters placed, as it were, at the end of a volume of
Vedic  literature,  but  the end  i.e.,  the  object,  the  highest  purpose  of  the  Veda.  There  are,  of  course, passages,  like  the  one  in  the  Taittiriya-aranyaka  (ed-Rajendra  Mitra  p.  820), which have been
Misunderstood both by native and European scholars, and where Vedanta means simply the end of the Veda: yo vedadu svarah
Prokto vedante ka pratishthitah, ' the Om which is pronounced at the beginning of the Veda, and has its place also at the end of the Veda.' Here Vedanta stands simply in opposition to Vedadu, it is impossible to translate it, as Sayana does, by Vedanta or Upanishad. Vedanta, in the sense of philosophy, occurs in the Taittiriya-aranyaka p.  817,  in  a  verse  of  the  Narayania-upanishad repeated in the Mundak-upanishad III 2, 6 and elsewhere vedantavignamuniskitarah, 'those who have  well  understood  the  object  of  the  knowledge  arising  from  the  Vedanta  '  not  from  the  last books of the Veda and Svetasvatara-up VI-22, vedante paramam guthyam, 'the highest mystery in the Vedanta'. Afterwards it is used in the plural also, e.g., Kshurikopanishad, 10 (bibl. Ind. p. 210)
pundariketi Vedanteshu nigadyate, ' it is called pundarika in the Vedantas" i.e., in the Khandogya  and other Upanishads, as the commentator says, but not in the last books of each Veda."'

More direct evidence on the point is that which is contained in the Gautama Dharma Sutras. In Chapter XIX verse 12 Gautama speaks of purification and says: "The  purificatory  (texts  are),  the  Upanishads,  the  Vedantas,  the  Samhita-text  of  all  the  Vedas"
And so on.  From  this  it  is  clear  that  at  the  date  of  Gautama  the  Upanishads  were  distinguished from  Vedantas  and  were  not  acknowledged  as  a  part  of  the  Vedic  literature.
Hardatta  in  his commentaries  says  "those  parts  of  the  Aranyakas  which  are  not.  (Upanishads) are called Vedantas".
This is unimpeachable proof that the Upanishads did not come within the range of the Vedic literature and were outside the canons.

This view is also supported by the use of the Veda in the Bhagwat Gita. The word Veda is used in the Bhagwat Gita at several places. And according to Mr. Bhat [1 Sacred Books of the East Vol. II p. 275.]The word is used in a sense which shows that the author did not include the Upanishads in the term.

The subject matter of the Upanishads is not the same as that of the Vedas.
This is also another reason  why  the  Upanishads  are  not  a  part  of  the  Vedas.  What is the origin of the word Upanishad?
The point is somewhat obscure.  Most  European  scholars  are  agreed  in  deriving Upanishad  from  the  root  sad,  to  sit  down,  preceded  by  the  two  prepositions   ni  down  and  upa near, so  that  it  would express  the  idea of session  or  assembly  of  public sitting  down near  their
Teacher to listen to his instructions.
This is because in the Trikandasesha, the word Upanishad is
Explained by Samipasadana as sitting down near a person.

But as Prof. Ma x Muller points out there are two objections to the acceptance of this derivation.
Firstly such a word, it would seem, would have been applicable to any other portion of the Veda as well  as  to  the  chapters  called  Upanishad,  and it  has never  been  explained  how  its meaning came  thus  to be  restricted.
Secondly,  the  word Upanishad, in  the sense  of session  or  assembly has  never  been  met  with.  Whenever  the  word  occurs,  it  has  the  meaning  of  doctrine,  secret doctrine,  or  is  simply  used  as  the  title  of  the  philosophic  treatises  which  contain  the  secret doctrine.

There  is  another  explanation  proposed  by  Sankara  in  his  commentary  on  the  Taittiriya-Upanishad  II,  9,  noted by  Prof.  Max Muller.
According  to  it  the  highest  bliss is  contained  in  the Upanishad  (param  sreyo  'syam nishannam).  That is why it is called Upanishad.  Regarding this,
Prof. Max Muller says:
"The  Aran yakas  abound  in such  etymologies  which  probably  were  never  intended  as  real  as plays on words, helping, to account somehow for their meaning."
Prof.  Ma x  Muller  however  favours  a derivation  of  the  word  '  Upanishad  '  from  the  root  sad  to destroy, and meant knowledge which destroys ignorance, the cause of Samsara, by revealing the
Knowledge of Brahmana as a means of salvation.  Prof.  Max Muller points out that this is the meaning which the native scholars have unanimously given to the word Upanishad.

If  it  be granted  that  the  true  derivation  of  the  word  ' Upanishad  '  is  what  is suggested  by  Prof. Max  Muller, then it would be one piece of evidence to show that the common belief of the Hindus is  wrong  and  that  the  subject  matter  of  the  Vedas  and  the  Upanishads  are  not
Complimentary but antagonistic.  That the system of thought embodied in the Upanishads is repugnant to that of the Vedas is beyond doubt.

A few citations from some of the Upanishads will suffice to show their opposition to the Vedas. The Mundaka Upanishad says:
"  Bramha was  produced  the  first  among  the  gods, maker  of  the universe,  the  preserver  of  the world. He revealed to his eldest son Atharva, the science of Brahma the basis of all knowledge.
Atharvan of old declared to Angis this science, which Brahma had unfolded to him; and Angis, in turn,  explained it  to  Satyavaha,  descendant  of  Bharadvaja, who  delivered  this  traditional lore,  in
Succession, to Angiras. 
“Mahasala Saunaka, approaching Angiras with the proper formalities, inquired, 'What is that, 0 venerable sage, through the knowledge of which all this (universe) becomes known?
“(Angiras) answered, 'Two sciences are to be known— this is what the sages versed in sacred knowledge declare—the superior and the inferior.  The  inferior  (consists  of)  the  Rig  Veda,  the Yajur-Veda,  the  Sama-Veda,  the  Atharva-Veda,  accentuation,  ritual  grammar,  commentary, prosody and astronomy.
The superior science is that by which the imperishable is apprehended."
By which of course he means the Upanishads.

The Chhandogya Upanishad says: "Narada approached Sanatkumara, saying, “Instruct me, venerable sage.
He received for answer ' Approach me with (tell me) that which thou knowest; and I will declare to thee whatever more is to be learnt.'
Narada  replied,  'I  am  instructed,  venerable sage,  in  the  Rig-veda,  the  Sama-veda,  the  Yajur-veda, the Atharvana (which is) the fourth, the Itihasas and Purana (which are) the fifth Veda of the Vedas, the rites of the pitris, arithmetic,, the knowledge of portents and of great periods, the art of reasoning, ethics, the science of the gods, the knowledge of Scripture, demonology, the science of  war,  the  knowledge  of  the  stars,  the  sciences  of  serpents  and  deities:  this  is  what  I  have
Studied.  I, venerable man, know only the hymns (mantras); while I am ignorant of soul. But I have  heard  from  reverend  sages  like  thyself  that  'the  man  who  is  acquainted  with  soul  overpasses
Grief'. Now I, venerable man, am afflicted; but do thou transport me over my grief. Sanatkumara
Answered, ' That which thou hast studied is nothing but name. 

The Rig-Veda is name: and so are the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharvana, which is the
Fourth, and the Itihasas and Puranas, the fifth Veda of the Vedas, etc., (all the other branches of
Knowledge are here enumerated just as above),—all these are but names: worship name. 

He who worships name (with the persuasion that it is) Brahma, ranges as it were at will over all which  that  name  comprehends:  such  is  the  prerogative  of  him  who  worships  name  (with  the persuasion that it is) Brahma,  ' Is there anything, venerable man' asked Narada, 'which is more than name?'  'There is,' replied, 'something which is more than name'.  'Tell it to me', rejoined Narada."

The Brahadaranyaka Upanishad says:
“In that (condition of profound slumber) a father is no father, a mother is no mother, the worlds are no worlds, the gods are no gods, and the Vedas are no Vedas, sacrifices are no sacrifices.
In that condition a thief is no thief, a murderer of embryos is no murderer of embryos, a Pulkasa no Paulakasa,  a  Chandala  no  Chandala, a  Sramana  no  Sramana,  a  devotee no devotee;  the saint
Has then no relation, either of advantage or disadvantage, to merit or to sin; for he then crosses over all griefs of the heart."

This is what the Katha Upanishad has to say:
"This soul is not to be attained by instruction, nor by understanding, nor by much scripture. He is attainable by him whom he chooses. The soul chooses that man's body as his own abode ".
"Although this soul is difficult to know, still it may easily be known by the use of proper means.
This is what (the author) proceeds to say. This soul is not to be attained, known, by instruction, by the acknowledgement of many Vedas; nor by.  understanding,  by  the  power  of  recollecting  the contents  of  books;  nor  by  much  scripture  alone.  By what, then, is it to be attained?  This he declares".

How  great  was  the  repugnance  to  the  Upanishads  and  the  philosophy  contained  in  them  will  be realized if one takes note of the origin of the words Anuloma and Pratiloma which are usually applied
To the marriage tie among the Hindus.  Speaking of their origin Mr.  Kane, points out that:
[Page:  89 History of Dharma Sastra Vol. II. Part-1. p. 52.  ]
"These two words Anuloma and Pratiloma (as applied to marriage or progeny) hardly ever occur in the Vedic literature. In the Br. Up. (II. 1.5) and Kausitaki Br. Up. IV. 8. the word ' Pratiloma ' is applied  to  the  procedure  adopted  by  a  Brahmana  of going  to  a  Kshatriya  for  knowledge  about  ' Brahman '.
Anuloma means according to the heir that is in the natural order of things, Pratiloma means against the heir that is contrary to the natural order. Reading the observations of Mr. Kane in the light of the definition of the word Pratiloma it is obvious that the Upanishads far from being
Acknowledged as part of the Vedic literature were if not despised, held in low esteem by the Vedic Brahmins.  This  is anadditional  piece  of  evidence which  shows  that  there  was  a  time  when  the relation between the Vedas and the Upanishads was of antagonism.

Another illustration of the attitude of the Vaidik Brahmins towards Brahmins who had studied the Upanishads may be given.  It  is  to  be  found  in  the  texts  of  the Dharma  Sutras  of  Baudhayana.
Baudhayana in his Dharma Sutras (ii. 8.3) says that at a Shradha ceremony a Rahasyavid is to be invited only if other Brahmins are not available. A Rahasyavid of course means a Brahmin versed in the Upanishads.  The  belief  that  the  Vedas  and  the  Upanishads  are  complimentary  came into being is really a riddle.

Reality views by sm –

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tags - Riddles Hinduism Upanishads war Vedas


Destination Infinity September 25, 2014  

I think you should summarize all these Vedas/Upanishad posts into one short post, once you finish this series.

Destination Infinity