The word “VEDA” means divine language. Its origin is also divine. The Vedas have resisted the ravages of time, and in the present day context have given rise to philosophical thoughts. The Vedas come down to us through oral tradition, basically because to prevent any distortion. Of course, today, all the Vedas are available in print. Vedas talk about ethical values. God created the universe and made his creation purposeful. He created man, the highest evolved being in His creation. Ethical values are not necessarily a result of social values. They emanate with all their purposefulness from divine nature of the self and in the case of man this has reached a sort of complex. Truth is supposed to be the highest virtue. There are eight virtues quoted by Vedas which sustain the world. They are truth, vastness, right attitude, formidability, consecration, austerity of penance, aptitude of learning and dedication and lastly service or sacrifice. Various verses in Vedas talk about this eight virtues. Vedas talks about a number of concepts.
1) Existence of the Supreme.
2) Supreme is the creator.
3) Acceptance of God as a concept.
4) God is the source of knowledge.
5) God himself is the highest source of ethical values.
6) God knows about his creation and awards them, the fruits of their actions, depending on the merits and demerits of the acts.
The Vedas have inherent authority in as much as being the word of God, who is omniscient and omnipresent. The Vedas do not loose their authority even if they are opposed to other books because they are self-authoritative, and other books depend for their authority on them. The mantra or the samhita portion of the four Vedas is self authoritative. The brahmanas being only the commentaries on the Vedas are authoritative only in so far as they are in agreement with them. Upanishads also follow what the Vedas preach. Generally Vedas are divided into four parts. They are Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka, and Upanishads. This is based on the subject matter and medium of expression. Samhita and brahmana are also called karma kanda and Aranyaka and Upanishads are called jnana kanda. Particularly brahmana focus on on external rituals. Vedas are not the creations of temporal minds. They are mystical composition of ancient seers. They got the wordings from God by the power of their sheer meditation. Modern pandits argue that Vedas are hidden gems of wisdom. They point out that external rituals are only symbolic and what matters is internal. The rituals, when performed internally lead to self realisation. The Rig Veda mantras propound all the speech or all the ideas and thoughts leading to all-sided perfection. The Yajur Veda develops the mind which is the source of all actions. The Sama Veda makes us fully develop of life energies or prana for completely developing our potential. The Atharva Veda gives the methods of perfection of our body and senses like eyes or hearing. For the followers of Vedanta, Upanishads are authorities. For Upanishads only Vedas are the authority. Upanishads concentrate more on Vedanta and not on the rituals. But the teachings of Upanishads strictly follow what the Vedas preach. We do not accept anything which is said in contrary to Vedas. Further discussion on Vedas will be continued in subsequent postings.