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Thread: Who Can Learn the Veda's

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    Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~~

    Namaste akshitama ( one who is imperishable)

    There is much talk in Indian society on who is acceptable / creditable to acquire this knowledge of Brahman. As I read the Upanishads, this separation of people ( varna) into classes for the sake of learning Brahman does not seem to be arsa-jnana or the wisdom of the rishi's. One good example is from the Chandogya Upanishad ( my favorite) and the experience of Satyakama ( one desiring satyam, lover of Truth). Chandogya Upanishad (4.4.1)

    Satyakama decides it's time to approach a guru for more knowledge and advance his learning. Before doing so he will be asked about his lineage. To this he goes to his mother, Jabala, to find out the particulars of his birth.

    Jabala says Satyakama, I do not know who you father is. As a maid servant (not dasi) I went from house to house. Hence I do not know your gotra (lineage), nor your correct father. Hence when you announce yourself the best you can say is you are Satyakama Jabala.

    So, you can see the pickle Satyakama sees. Yet he remains innocent about it, as did his mother with her straightforward answer to him. With his intention, he approaches the gurukulam and Gautama, the guru of the ashram and says, Sir, I wish to live as brahmacharin under you.

    Obviously, Gautama asks of his lineage. Satykama is straightforward and says he does not know and explains his mother's maid servant conditions. He finishes by saying, Revered Sir, can I , Satyakama Jabala, being such, may I approach you as a sisya (a student)?

    Gautama says, non other then a brahmana can say as you have. You did not deviate from the truth. Bring the samit (or the fuel) for the yajya.

    Gautama accepts him based on his straightforwardness and truthfulness.
    Brahmana's alone, by convention, had the right to learn the Veda's. Yet to the straightforward and truthful, varna should not be a barrier.

    A wonderful story continues as how Satyakama learns various knowledge and lessons from his environment on a trip that his guru sends home on. Caring for 400 cows that are lean and weak. Satyakama said I will not return until there is 1000 cows. Really worth the read.

    This 400 and 1000 has significance and was not picked randomly by the rishi of this Upanishad. More if there is interest.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 29 September 2011 at 07:35 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2

    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Namaste Yajvan,

    Thank you for the story and please do continue. I read about Satyakama some time ago and loved it. "Listening" as you tell it is even better than the reading.

    Hari Om
    There remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.


  3. #3

    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Yes, obviously, anyone can learn and experience the spiritual. Any criteria or hoops to jump through are man-made, not Divine. Very nice illustration of this.
    Those who in penance and faith dwell in the forest, peaceful and wise,living a mendicant's life, free from passion depart through the door ofthe sun to the place of the immortal Person, the imperishable Self.Atharva Veda, Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.11. ve p. 415

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    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Too bad that there was no dna testing back then. If there were his mother could have used the law to find out who the father was and answered him. Plus she may have picked up some long over due child support payments. This story does not cast the plight of women in a very good light, but maybe that was what the story was really about , in the first place?

  5. #5

    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Quote Originally Posted by willie View Post
    Too bad that there was no dna testing back then. If there were his mother could have used the law to find out who the father was and answered him. Plus she may have picked up some long over due child support payments. This story does not cast the plight of women in a very good light, but maybe that was what the story was really about , in the first place?
    Namaste Willie,
    Interesting, I did not see it that way. I always saw the story as putting Jabala in a very good light. Because in spite of her plight and the condition of her life, she was not so egoistic as to lie or make up excuses or hide the facts from her son. We only control in life whether or not we choose to do right or wrong, but the outcome ultimately is out of our hands. Story did not say whether she was at fault for not knowing the father of her child but illuminated the good moral values she possessed, so I just don't see where is the bad light?
    Things in life happen and we often don't know why. Jabala revealed a good character by not hiding it or lying. She instructed him to say the truth. It was because of Jabala's straightforwardness and honesty that Satyakama innocently revealed the condition of his lineage to Gautama, and becayse of this honesty he was welcomed at the ashram. Gautama saw in him the character of a true Brahmana.
    Can you not see these admirable qualities of Jabala?
    There remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.


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    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by mirabai View Post
    Namaste Yajvan,

    Thank you for the story and please do continue. I read about Satyakama some time ago and loved it. "Listening" as you tell it is even better than the reading. Hari Om
    Namaste,

    Continuing Satyakama's tour…
    We need to set the stage a bit to continue the story. From the last post Sayakama was given 400 cows, and will not return until there is 1,000. What is the significance of this?

    This notion of 4 100's , or 400 and 10 100's, or 1,000 come to play as a lesson here in Chandogya Upanishad and the experiences of Satyakama.

    The 'wisdom' is in the notion of 4 and 10. The notion of the teaching to look to things as an instrument that will serve to teach and adore Brahman. That is, this Brahman has particular aspects one may adore/admire and universal aspects.

    So in the valli prior to Satyakama's meeting with his Guru, Guatama, this notion of catuspada (some write chatupada) is setup…that is, Brahman is concieved of as four footed, or a having 1/4ths. What are these 4 ? It is prana, this life force, the eyes form another, the ears, and vak, that of speech. We are in the 'particular' with this example.

    Now think of the cows for a momment… how may 4 footed ones are there ? There a 4 hundred. The message of Brahman found in the particulars is illustrated. A beautiful sanketa (symbol) of the wise… Recall the Upanishads is a discussion of Brahman, of Vedanta, so the symbols are there to help one understand how the particular is also the universal, the Fullness or Bhuma.

    This 4 pada approach is also explained in the Mandukya Upanishad as AUM having 4 quarters. Yet people count 3... A - U - M… where is the 4th? The 4th is that of perfect slience, amatra, without measure, turiya, the 4th. Such is the wisdom of the rishi's that live in Brahman. Back to the story!

    And what of this 1,000 what is the significance here? That of this number 10. This 10 is 1+ 0. One (1) is the fullness of the relative fiiled of life. If I were talking to a Samkayan this would be called Prakriti. And the 0 is that fullness of the Absolute. for the Sankayan this is Purusha. for the Vedantin it may be seen aksara, the Imprerishable.

    If one was following Krsna, He would be the manifestion of this Fullness. He would be viewed as akshitam + achyutam + pranasamshitam or Imperishable + Unchangagble + sublter then Prana. Now why would I bring up Krsna here? Because of the greatness of this Chandogya Upanishad. It is one of the earliest Upanishads that mentions the son of Devaki, Krsna called out in Section 3.17.6. It begins to disuss the fullness of His personality.

    So this fullness is represented by 10. And sometimes we even hear the wise call out stretching beyond 10 fingers. That the Greatness or Fullness of Brahman is even beyond this Infinity of 10. Where do we hear of this?
    Rig Veda mantra (10.90.1)
    A thousand heads hath Purusa, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet,
    On every side , pervading earth he fills a space ten fingers wide.

    We intuitively know sahasrasirsha - a thousand heads, means the Purusa is everywhere, all pervading , ubiquitous. This is supported by saying sarvatah pani-padam - His hands and feet (too) are everywhere.

    Now when we come to 'He fill the space 10 fingers wide' , this is just as profound as all pervading too. How so? We know Purusha is from He who resides in the city ( puri). We ,our bodies, are considered the city or puri. [Recall from the conversation above on 1/4ths ? It is here in puri, the particular, too!]

    He resides there (puri) as this SELF. But 'He fills 10 fingers wide (dasangulam) ' what of that? Lets put a few things together. This puri , this city of ours is said to have 9 gates. And He is known as the SELF, the atman. If we take the 9 gates of our body, + the Atman = 10. This is another dimension ,10, that is described in this sukta and points to Him as the number 10, as Purusa. Dasamas tvam asi.

    The way the risi's magnify this greatness is by multiples of this 10. That is, 100, or 1,000 or 10,000 all point to the fullness of this Being based upon 1 + 0 , reviewed above.

    Therefore, what Satyakama is saying to his guru , I will retrun to you , after living in the world of 4's and learning in the 4's, how it relates to the fullness of 10 ... the integration of 4's to 10's to the Fullness of Brahman, a holistic One.

    From here now we can continue Satyakama's journey. Once a few read this part, and perhaps poked around a bit with ideas, comments , questions and the like, we will continue Satyakama's yatra.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 25 July 2007 at 10:06 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Namaste Yajvan,

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    There is much talk in Indian society on who is acceptable / creditable to acquire this knowledge of Brahman. As I read the Upanishads, this separation of people (varna) into classes for the sake of learning Brahman does not seem to be arsa-jnana or the wisdom of the rishi's.
    Yes, I agree with you here. Vedic education, initiation and spirituality should be available to all members of the human race. There is no Dharma in denying people Brahmajnana. The above story you shared here with us illustrates that most beautifully. Thank you.

    OM Shanti,
    A.



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    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Quote Originally Posted by willie View Post
    This story does not cast the plight of women in a very good light, but maybe that was what the story was really about , in the first place?
    No willie, it wasn't. Pls reread...
    satay

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    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~~

    Namaste,


    We continue the journey with Satyakama.

    Satyakama's attention is to tending to the 400 cows in the forest. One day a bull from the herd calls to him and said dear boy we have increased to 1,000 heads, and you may take us home ( to the teacher/guru/masters house or acharya-kulam).

    The Bull says to Satyakama, shall I teach you of 1/4th of Brahman? Satyakama says with respect, please do teach me revered sir. So begins the teaching of 4's from Nature. You will see in each lesson and offering to Satyakama it is Nature that is offering this to him.

    The Bull begins and gives 4 kala's or divisions.
    The East is one kala and direction (dik) , the West another, the South another and the West one more. Having these 4, thus you have 1/4th of Brahman, known as prakasavan or the radiant. The Bull instructs Satyakama that one who adores this 1/4th of Brahman as prakasavan or the radiant, knowing its 4 parts, becomes prakasavan themselves.

    The Bull is part of Satyakama's day-to-day life and he is teaching him of Brahman. Like that, we can find Brahman within our daily life. He teaches of the 4 directions, Yet what is the meaning? That of extensiveness, of akasha, as all directions are infinite in space and a quality of Brahman, Infinite. The particular ( as we mentioned in post 1 of this story) also turns out to be the universal. A direction 1/4th, is infinite in magnitude as akasha goes on for ever, as Brahman. And within this space all the galaxies, solar systems and worlds, from the sub-atomic to the universal are held. All held , all expressions of Brahman.

    The Bull then says, Agni (fire tattva) will now instruct you. On the next evening, out side of his guru's kulam, Satyakama kindled a fire and sat facing the east.
    Agni called to him and said shall I teach you 1/4th of Brahman? and to that , yes revered sir, said Satyakama. Agni said, the earth (prthivi) is one kala (or division) the mid-region or antariksam ( of space), is another; heaven is the 3rd and the ocean is the 4th. Having these 4 kala's of Brahman is known as anantavan, or the Endless, or Infinite.

    Agni continues and say he who adores this 1/4th of Brahman as Endless, Infinite, knowing it having these 4 kala's becomes Endless him/her-self. Brahman as it manifests, becomes all these worlds found on the material (prthivi), the mid region, heaven and ocean ( as apa or water tattva has multiple meanings, yet is considered the cornerstone of life). Brahman's manifestations are Endless, anantavan, as It manifests, creates again and again.

    We see this manifest in our own creativity, ideas, other's ideas, and in society. We see this in deep space as the universe continues to expand , so says astrophysics. We also see this play-out at the atomic particle level of quantum theory where new particles come and go. [ I am no scientist, yet see this information on television, the internet, NASA, etc.]

    There are two more from nature that are introduced to Satyakama - the swan (hamsa) who will inform him of jyotisman ( the luminous) and the water-diving bird (madguste). The diver-bird will give Satyakama the 4th's of ayatanavan ( a person's field of operation, our base, our constitution).

    Lets leave those two for a new post, so we do not get too lengthly in one reading.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 24 July 2007 at 08:59 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Who Can Learn the Veda's

    The story goes that she worked as a maid servant and went from house to house, so she had no idea who the boy's father was.

    This implies the she must have went through a lot of men, either to keep some type employment, liked the company of men , or perhaps picked up some extra money in that way. But because she could not remember the boy's fathers name that there must have been a number of men envolved. Now because not mention of a report of a forced act was made , that could emply that such things were common place to the point of being no big deal , at that time. Maybe the is why the guru was not too concerned about it.

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