Vedas

ancient sacred scriptures revealed in Sanskrit to Richi sages and on which Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were based

Vedas are scriptures of Hinduism.

The Rig-Veda, the first of the Vedas.

Samaveda

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  • The people sing reverent praise to Thee (Indra) for strength:
    With terrors trouble Thou the foe
    • (1.1.1)

Quotes about Vedas

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  • I find that Shankara had grasped much of Vedantic truth, but that much was dark to him. I am bound to admit what he realised; I am not bound to exclude what he failed to realise. Aptavakyam, authority, is one kind of proof; it is not the only kind: pratyaksa [direct knowledge] is more important. (...) It is irrelevant to me what Max Müller thinks of the Veda or what Sayana thinks of the Veda. I should prefer to know what the Veda has to say for itself and, if there is any light there on the unknown or on the infinite, to follow the ray till I come face to face with that which it illumines. Europe has formed certain views about the Veda and the Vedanta, and succeeded in imposing them on the Indian intellect.... When a hundred world-famous scholars cry out, “This is so”, it is hard indeed for the average mind, and even minds above the average but inexpert in these special subjects not to acquiesce.... Nevertheless a time must come when the Indian mind will shake off the darkness that has fallen upon it, cease to think or hold opinions at second and third hand and reassert its right to judge and enquire in a perfect freedom into the meaning of its own Scriptures. When that day comes we shall, I think, discover that the imposing fabric of Vedic theory is based upon nothing more sound or true than a foundation of loosely massed conjectures. We shall question many established philological myths,—the legend, for instance, of an Aryan invasion of India from the north, the artificial and inimical distinction of Aryan and Dravidian which an erroneous philology has driven like a wedge into the unity of the homogenous Indo-Afghan race; the strange dogma of a “henotheistic” Vedic naturalism; the ingenious and brilliant extravagances of the modern sun and star myth weavers. (...) Verification by experience and experiment is the only standard of truth, not antiquity, not modernity. Some of the ideas of the ancients or even of the savage now scouted by us may be lost truths or statements of valid experience from which we have turned or become oblivious; many of the notions of the modern schoolmen will certainly in the future be scouted as erroneous and superstitious. (...) Western Philology has converted it [the word arya] into a racial term, an unknown ethnological quantity on which different speculations fix different values.... [But] in the Veda the Aryan peoples are those who had accepted a particular type of self-culture, of inward and outward practice, of ideality, of aspiration.... Whoever seeks to climb from level to level up the hill of the divine, fearing nothing, deterred by no retardation or defeat, shrinking from no vastness because it is too vast for his intelligence, no height because it is too high for his spirit, no greatness because it is too great for his force and courage, he is the Aryan, the divine fighter and victor, the noble man.
    • Sri Aurobindo,1910-1914, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]
  • According to Aurobindo (1956): In ancient times the Veda was revered as a sacred book of wisdom, a great mass of inspired poetry, the work of Rishis, seers and sages. . . . Truth . . . not of an ordinary but of a divine inspiration and source. Is this all legend and moonshine, or a groundless and even nonsensical tradition? . . . The European scholars . . . went on to make their own etymological explanation of the words, or build up their own conjectural meanings of the Vedic verses and gave a new presentation often arbitrary and imaginative. What they sought for in the Veda was the early history of India, its society, institutions, customs, a civilisation- picture of the times. They invented the theory based on the difference of languages of an Aryan invasion from the north. . . . The Vedic religion was in this account only a worship of Nature-Gods full of solar myths and consecrated by sacrifices and a sacrificial liturgy primitive enough in its ideas and contents, and it is these barbaric prayers that are the much vaunted, haloed and apotheosized Veda.
    • Aurobindo (1956) quoted from Bryant, E. F. (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture : the Indo-Aryan migration debate. Oxford University Press. chapter 2
  • Modern Philology is an immense advance on anything we have had before the nineteenth century. It has introduced a spirit of order and method in place of mere phantasy; it has given us more correct ideas of the morphology of language and of what is or is not possible in etymology. It has established a few rules which govern the detrition of language and guide us in the identification of the same word or of related words as they appear in the changes of different but kindred tongues. Here, however, its achievements cease. The high hopes which attended its birth have not been fulfilled by its maturity. There is, in fact, no real certainty as yet in the obtained results of Philology. . . . Yesterday we were all convinced that Varuna was identical with Ouranos, the Greek heaven; today this identity is denounced to us as a philological error; tomorrow it may be rehabilitated. . . . We have to recognize in fact that European scholarship in its dealings with the Veda has derived an excessive prestige from its association in the popular mind with the march of European science. The truth is that there is an enormous gulf between the patient, scrupulous and exact physical sciences and these other brilliant, but immature branches of learning upon which Vedic scholarship relies.
    • Aurobindo (1971)(27-28) quoted from Bryant, E. F. (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture : the Indo-Aryan migration debate. Oxford University Press. chapter 2
  • The Vedas haunt me. In them I have found eternal compensation, unfathomable power, unbroken peace.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson. source: The Commemorative Sanskrit Souvenir, 2003, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
  • I can venture to affirm, without meaning to pluck a leaf from the never-fading laurels of our immortal Newton, that the whole of his theology, and part of his philosophy, may be found in the Vedas.
    • Sir William Jones, source: Old Diary Laurels 1883–84: The Only Authentic History of the Theosophical Society, Henry Steel Olcott. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
  • For the Veda is tainted by three faults of untruth, self-contradiction, and tautology; then again the impostors who call themselves Vaidic pundits are mutually destructive, as the authority of the Jnan-Kanda is overthrown by those who maintain the authority of the Karma-Kanda and those who maintain the authority of the Jnan-Kanda reject that of the Karma-Kanda; and lastly, the three Vedas themselves are only the incoherent rhapsodies of knaves and to this effect runs the popular saying: “The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic, three staves, and smearing oneself with ashes,” Brihaspati says, “these are but means of livelihood for those who have no manliness nor sense."
    • Charvaka, Sarva Darshan Sangraha p. 10
  • The whole character of these compositions and the circumstances under which, from internal evidence, they appear to have arisen, are in harmony with the supposition that they were nothing more than the natural expression of the personal hopes and feelings of those ancient bards of whom they were first recited. In these songs the Aryan sages celebrated the praises of their ancestral gods (while at the same time they sought to conciliate their goodwill by a variety of oblations supposed to be acceptable to them), and besought of them all the blessings which men in general desired—health, wealth, long life, cattle, offspring, victory over their enemies, foregiveness of sin, and in some cases also celestial felicity.
    • Muir. Sanskrit Texts. Vol. III
  • Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of the sectarianism. It is of ages, climes, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I am at it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night.
    • Henry David Thoreau, "Explore Hinduism", P. 21. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
  • What extracts from the Vedas I have read fall on me like the light of a higher and purer luminary, which describes a loftier course through a purer stratum. It rises on me like the full moon after the stars have come out, wading through some far stratum in the sky.
  • One sentence of Vedas is worth the State of Massachusetts many times over.
    • The Journal of Henry David Thoreau. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
  • In the Rig-Veda we shall have before us more real antiquity than in all the inscriptions of Egypt or Ninevah....the Veda is the oldest book in existence...
  • If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow — in some parts a very paradise on earth — I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed the choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solution of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant-I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thought of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life-again I should point to India.
    • Max Muller Vedic Humanism: Path to Peace - Page 73
 
The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East. ~ Voltaire
  • The Rig-Veda, the first of the Vedas, is probably the earliest book that humanity possesses. In it we find the first outpourings of the human mind, the glow of poetry, the rapture at nature's loveliness and mystery.
    • Jawaharlal Nehru, "None But India (Bharat) the Cradle of Aryans, Sanskrit, Vedas, & Swastika", p. 30.
  • Whatever may be the date of the Vedic hymns, whether 1500 B.C.E. or 15,000 B.C.E., they have their own unique place and stand by themselves in the literature of the world. They tell us something of the early growth of the human mind of which we find no trace anywhere else.
    • Max Muller, "The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy".
  • “With God, nothing is impossible”, the Christian thinks. But the Indian says: With piety and knowledge of the Veda, nothing is impossible: the gods are submissive and obedient to them. Where is the god who can resist the pious earnestness and prayer of a renouncing ascetic in the forest?
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, quoted from Elst, Koenraad. Manu as a weapon against egalitarianism: Nietzsche and Hindu political philosophy in : Siemens & Vasti Roodt, eds.: Nietzsche, Power and Politics (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2008).
  • There is a no monument of Greece or Rome more previous than the Rig Veda.
    • Mons Leon Delbios.[3]
  • Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.
  • The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.
    • Francois Voltaire, "A Critical Study of the Contribution of the Arya Samaj to Indian Education", p. 68.

See also

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