The Vedic Version
by Krishna Kirtan
"India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only."
—Mark Twain, American author
Facts are facts, and they ought to speak for themselves. Sincere studies show that one way or another the history of civilization of this planet Earth has its roots centered in India: the political and cultural cradle of civilization since time immemorial.
From a historical and academic understanding we observe that the Chinese culture and other ancient civilizations were also interesting. Yet India was without a doubt, and had been for thousands of years, the political and cultural center of the entire world ancient civilization; like Greece or Rome were in their times considered to be the cultural and political centers of the Western world. There is no attempt to deny the existence of other ancient cultures, but we must observe and give due credit where credit is due. Popularly much is known about Egypt or Greece, but not enough is known about India, the ancient mother and father of all cultures.
1. LANGUAGE: The Sanskrit language is known to scholars and linguists for being the oldest recorded language in the world. In these ancient texts written in Sanskrit, dating from 3000 years before Christ, we find the most incredible body of knowledge, covering every topic imaginable. It is not only one great book, but lots and lots of books, and all of them one way or another corroborating the understanding of each other, even when speaking on different topics. This demonstrates the great academic and knowledge value present in Vedic Culture.
2. CULTURE: Any curious individual who dares to dive into the Vedic Culture will surely never be the same again. It is a vast and incredible culture. So wonderful and intoxicating is the breadth and depth of Vedic Culture and what it has to offer and teach mankind, that we should at least consider the subject. Contained in it one will all encompassing architecture, cuisine, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, moral conduct, philosophy, spirituality, history, laws to govern, and even sex — along with intrinsic explanations of any and all matters of major interest. There is the need and a certain urgency in the world that this knowledge about India and Vedic Culture is fully disclosed in a dignified and authentic way.
3. AUTHENTICITY: Since there is no way of denying the very existence of these magnificent Vedic writings, many modern philosophers and commentators sometimes try to explain them through speculation and guesswork. These so-called scholars have published their reviews and books on such texts, mixing their limited individual interpretations with other less legitimate translations of the original texts, plus adding their own ideas and misunderstandings.
The Gaudiya Vaishnava line however, presents the spiritual knowledge contained in the Vedic literature in the most authentic manner: as it is, literally.
When observing the great spiritual scholarly work of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, now translated into over 50 languages, we notice that he was keen to translate each Sanskrit verse individually, and then publish the book with the original Sanskrit (devanagari), the transliteration of the verse into romanized latin for recitation (with diacritics), the intact translation of the verse, and then his beautiful commentary separate from the translation of the verse. He even gives word-for-word translation of each verse so that any curious student may examine everything as he wishes. From an academic point of view, or simply from a moral standpoint, that is honest, that is authentic.
4. CHRISTIANITY: Recent historical studies show that Jesus Christ lived in India for several years before preaching his Gospel. He tried to teach elevated spiritual matters in simple ways so that the barbarous people of his time could understand — often using parables, yet maintaining the same divine spiritual essence. These pure original teachings of Jesus Christ include reincarnation, something which we understand now was simply taken out of the Bible by ecclesiastic leaders, due to their own lack of understanding and/or because of other selfish political motivations.
So at some point we must be ready to view and carefully analyze the ancient Vedic version of the world and everything associated with it. It is a very interesting study that can help us understand the cultural beauty and the true historical value of the real India.
5. PHILOSOPHY: How much do we really know about Plato and Socrates? We understand they were people of great influence in the area of philosophy in our Western society, but it is interesting to see how even individuals like them were having their concepts based on the far reaching philosophy of the far East, more specifically India. Where else could they begin to understand such deep philosophical and existential matters?
"[...] What is unique about the library of India is that it was recorded in the Sanskrit language, which has not degraded over time to any significant extent. This is unlike other religions and spiritual paths and bodies of knowledge that were written in languages which have often become obsolete or are no longer clearly understood. Thus, the treasure house of knowledge that I am talking about goes back accurately for thousands and thousands of years. The literature contains the precise understandings of the ancients and is still being transmitted by traditional teachers in India to the modern world.
It is well known that Greek advancements in knowledge have affected our world for a couple thousand years. Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, was the teacher of Plato. Socrates of course claims to have been enlightened by the teachings of Pythagoras who preceded him by 200 years. It is also historically known and should be remembered that Pythagoras studied in India; he was a vegetarian, virtually unheard of anywhere else, and learned the philosophy of India and taught it in Greece.
So if we are to accept the well-known saying in academia that western philosophy is simply footnotes to Plato, it is then logical to say that the knowledge of India has been leaking into our culture for thousands of years. That this is not understood is a shame because it's both extremely exciting and a huge aspect of our human heritage. The Abrahamic religions, however, especially Islam and Christianity, have been very resistant to this idea because of their own institutional agendas. So knowledge from India that leaked in to other cultures has often remained either hidden or was simply incorporated into western thought without credit to India.
The so-called American 'transcendentalists' – Emerson and Thoreau et cetera — are one tiny example of this. Today — and for the last 100 years and perhaps especially the last 50 years — the influence of ancient India is being revealed in full force and clarity.
The awareness of how we eat and how we live in our bodies is also vital to the Vedic philosophy and Yoga. It is also a viewpoint promoting bio-diversity both personally and sustainably. [...] "
—Jeffrey Armstrong, [interview]
6. HISTORY: Some historical facts are also interesting to observe. Alexander the Great for example, tried to conquer the world, but when he arrived in India he came across a culture so far out and an army so large and ferocious, that Alexander found himself completely perplexed. For instance, it was the first time he had seen elephants being used in combat, as he continued to find so many new and fantastic things about India. He not only found an alive rich culture, but he also had to accept his own insignificance before the exquisite greatness of the Vedic version of things, the elaborate richness of daily affairs, the understanding of life, the world, and even of the universe — all much the opposite of a primitive culture he would probably rather want to believe. Small facts of this kind only begin to demonstrate the true cultural value of India, and makes us think once again about all the preconceived great mix of theories with misleading ideas that are taught about India by the so-called modern-Western educational system.
7. HEALTH: The care for health is essential for any human being and is something naturally universal. Ayurveda is the original science of medicine: complete, pure, and effective. The holistic and natural view of this science is based primarily on principles of prevention and cure, where the balance of the body and the health of the individual as a whole is taken into account. A constant balanced physical state of an individual is of great importance, as well as the mental and psychological state. All of this together is taken under an all inclusive and careful consideration, and special care. In sum, a complete science of pure integrated medicine.
THE 8 DIVISIONS OF AYURVEDA
(from an Ayurveda Encyclopedia)
1. Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa): This branch of Ayurveda is related to the mind and body. The psychosomatic theory recognizes that the mind can create illness in the body and vice-versa.
2. Ears, Nose and Throat (Shalakya Tantra): Sushruta reveals approximately 72 eye diseases, surgical procedures for all eye disorders (e.g. cataracts, diseases of the eyelid), and for diseases of the ears, nose and throat.
3. Toxicology (Vishagara-vairodh Tantra): Topics include air and water pollution, toxins, minerals, vegetables, and epidemics; as well as keys for recognizing these anomalies and their antidotes.
4. Pediatrics (Kaumara bhritya): In this branch of Ayurveda, prenatal and postnatal care of the baby and mother are discussed. Topics include methods of conception; the child's gender, intelligence and constitution; and childhood diseases and obstetrics.
5. Surgery (Shalya Tantra): More than 2,000 years ago, sophisticated methods of surgery were known. This information spread to Egypt, Greece, Rome, and eventually throughout the world.
6. Psychiatry (Bhuta Vidya): A entire branch of Ayurveda that deals specifically with diseases of the mind (including spirit possession). Herbs, diet, yoga therapy (breathing, mantras, etc.) are an integral part of the processes of treatment and cure.
7. Aphrodisiacs (Vajikarana): This branch deals with two aspects: infertility (for those who wish to become pregnant), and the appropriate use of sexual energy.
8. Rejuvenation (Rasayana): Disease prevention and longevity are discussed in this branch of Ayurveda. The goal is to always be healthy and live a virtuous ethical life.
...and much more!
The Age of Kali
Kali Yuga is the age we live in today, which began 5,000 years ago. Humans from other eras had no need to read or write books because their biological superiority was such that nothing was forgotten once heard. That is the reason why the ancient culture is known as a culture of Oral Tradition, because all knowledge was transmitted orally only.
In other eras people would also speak almost in singing tones and in continuous prose, something that even a good 'poet' today has trouble doing. So the human biological ability of the ancients was much higher than it is today, and this is just a basic example of the deterioration in Kali-yuga. So much so that it is conceded that no one today would have the mental capacity to write anything similar to the Vedas, which is so vast in size and scope, fully charged with pure knowledge.
What we see today as technological progress in this age of Kali is only a necessary adaptation due to our present biological and mental incapacities, while we live in an era where most people put their values and interests in trivial things and give little regard for true moral and spiritual values. Knowing this, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the sage Vyasa compiled the Vedic literature so that the human civilization living in this decadent age could have some access to this precious knowledge.
kalau nasta-drsam esa
"This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana."
—Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.3.43
5,000 YEARS AGO
"This is a conversation between Maharaja Pariksit and Sukadeva Gosvami. Maharaja Pariksit, five thousand years ago he was the emperor of the whole world. Formerly, up to five thousand years ago, the whole world was being controlled and ruled over by kings whose capital was Hastinapura, New Delhi. There was only one flag, only one ruler, one scripture, Vedic scripture, and the Aryans, Arya, they were the civilized persons. You Europeans, Americans, you are also Aryans. Indo-European stock. Maharaja Tejasi, grandson of Maharaja Pariksit, he gave to his two sons the portion of eastern Europe, Greek and Roman. That is the history, Mahabharata. Mahabharata means great India. So there was no different religion. One religion, Vedic religion."
—Srila Prabhupada, Class, Srimad Bhagavatam, 19 May 1975 [video]
"The present city of Delhi was formerly known as Hastinapura because it was first established by King Hasti."
—Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.4.6, Purport
Succession of kings: [...] Bharata, Bharadwaja, Hasti, Ajmeedh, Kuru, Jahnu, Shantanu, Vichitravirya, Chitrangada, Pandu, Yudhisthira (3067 B.C. Kali-yuga starts), Pariksit, Janamejaya,Tejasi, [...]
THE CURRENT SITUATION
tatas canu-dinam dharmah
satyam saucam ksama daya
kalena balina rajan
nanksyaty ayur balam smrtih
"Sukadeva Gosvami said: Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the Age of Kali."
vittam eva kalau nrnam
karannam balam eva hi
"In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behavior and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power."
dampatye 'bhirucir hetur
stritve pumstve ca hi ratir
vipratve sutram eva hi
"Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread."
panditye capalam vacahh
"A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar."
sadhutve dambha eva tu
svikara eva codvahe
snanam eva prasadhanam
"A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath."
dure vary-ayanam tirtham
satyatve dharstyam eva hi
yaso 'rthe dharma-sevanam
"A sacred place will be taken to consist of no more than a reservoir of water located at a distance, and beauty will be thought to depend on one’s hairstyle. Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be accepted as truthful. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation."
evam prajabhir dustabhir
yo bali bhavita nrpah
"As the earth thus becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any of the social classes shows himself to be the strongest will gain political power."
praja hi lubdhai rajanyair
"Losing their wives and properties to such avaricious and merciless rulers, who will behave no better than ordinary thieves, the citizens will flee to the mountains and forests."
—Sukadeva Gosvami, 3000 B.C., Srimad-Bhagavatam, 12.2.1-9