Part 2 - Arthaatmaka Veda Pari Rakshana
(Preservation of the Methodology to understand and interpret Veda)
How can anyone understand the meaning of a Mantra?
What is Sastra? What are Vedangas? Why are they Required?
Traditionally, Veda is compared to Raw Gold Bar and Sastra to the tools to make an ornament. Let us understand what exactly Sastra stands for? Saastra means to dictate. The terms and references in Vedic texts are so vast and general to understand. Hence, to understand the Vedic Sentences in right perspective our Rishis have stipulated that the Vedaangas (affiliated parts of Veda) are essential to know the meaning of Veda.
Let us take the illustration of Ganapati Puja, one of the most common features of Indians. The following four questions point towards the state of pity, in which the system is entangled.
This set of questions is addressed to the devout public, who are interested in customary rituals:
- How many of the Doers (people) know how to perform the primary Puja?
- How many of them, have perfect knowledge of conduct of the Puja?
- How many of them require the assistance of the Purohit? (For clarity, the word – Priest is avoided)
- How many of them are sure of the quality of the assisting Purohit?
Now another set of four questions for Archaka/ Purohit / Pundits?
- What caused them to undertake this profession? (Family Customs/ Financial Necessity/ Self Interest/ Social Respect)
- How many of them are qualified to perform Ganapati Puja? (Got trained under a scholar)
- How many of them can understand the meaning of the Puja and explain the innate philosophy?
- How many of the Pundits can explain the methodology, for its interpretation with authority? Who can amplify the rationale for the approach for the way it is understood and explained?
The answers for the above are obvious. But, it is matter of grave concern that the society is blissfully insensible to the downward trajectory. It is the common conclusion that the number of knowledgeable persons is fast dwindling and the answer to the last question is even more frightening.
In this age of misinterpretation, misrepresentation, malaise and ignorance, the onerous task of preserving the methodology of understanding the Vedic Text, its underlying practices and customs lies with those pious souls, who yearn to secure the cultural and wisdom fabric of India. Study of the Sastra, bestows the mental strength, finesse of interpretation, essence of understanding the terms and word backed by the vigour of logic.
It is to be noted that erudition in Sastra, which is very essential for understanding Vedic literature, almost extinct. It is quite disheartening that the ratio of Sastra Scholars (Higher learning after Vedic Studies) to Veda Scholars (Basic Studies) is 1: 1000. Is it not quite alarming that we have less than 1000 Erudite Sastra Scholars in a population of 1.1 Billion?
In the current alarming scenario, it is the need of hour to encourage brilliant students to undertake the study of Saastras, after the completion of basic Veda Adhyayana (with memorisation skills) to acquire analytical skills with Sastra Adhyayana.
What is the number of Shaastras? What is their individual scope??
.... Wait for the next Post