In Yajurveda we have 1975 verses, it not only lays down rules for the performance of various duties, yajnas, but also lays utmost stress on right actions. All good actions constitute yajna. It describes all forms of right actions from birth to death and contains the fundamentals of spirituality and vibrant living.
Yajurveda is knowledge of the science of living, being as well as becoming, at the individual and the collective level in relation to Nature, humanity and Divinity. There is nothing unrelated, nothing isolated in the world. The universe is Purusha, a living, breathing, intelligent, self organising, sovereign system, the sole ruler and ordainer of which is the Cosmic Spirit, Brahma Supreme. We all are intelligent cells in the cosmic body, living and participating in the world for the fulfilment of personal as well as Divine purpose.
Life is a gift of Lord Savita, Giver of light and life. We thank the Lord, and the Lord enjoins us to the highest action, yajna, positive, creative and collective activity in a state of good health, freedom and prosperity.
Yajurveda celebrates the glory of active life: the preparation for living, love and marriage for the joy of family life, retirement, community life of Varna-Ashram Dharma, national and international organisation, Rashtra and Swaraj , Parliamentary Democracy, duties of the people and the rulers, this on the social side. Then knowledge of body, mind and soul, birth and rebirth, journey of the soul across birth and death, self-realisation through comprehensive living in organismic relationship with Nature, humanity and the Lord Supreme. In short, life is a four-act play in the eternal drama of existence in which we have countless exits and entrances, without beginning and without end.
The vibrancy of life is capped with the warning of death, which too is a gateway to life again or to the ultimate freedom of Moksha.
Vedas are the Eternal Word of God. He out of His infinite eternal mercy reveals Vedic knowledge in the beginning of creation for the requirements of the soul, its spiritual satisfaction, fulfillment of its thirst for truth and making its journey of life successful.
In the beginning Yajurveda was revealed by God to Rishi Vayu. It forms the- essential basis of human civilization. Yajurveda also spells the famous Gayatri Mantra which is a prayer for illumination of the soul and is recited in all Hindu households with great reverence.
The Yajurveda teaches and explains all aspects and needs of human conduct which may be helpful in making life cultured and sublime.
Yajurveda also contains the essence of the true religion (Dharma), social behaviour, right conduct, good governance, principles, of economy, industry and other related matters.
Dr. Tulsi Ram Sharma M.A. English (Delhi, 1949), Ph.D. (London, 1963) has been a university professor, academic administrator, researcher, and writer of long standing with prestigious assignments.
Besides his professional studies of secular literature in English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Urdu, Dr Tulsi Ram Sharma has devoted his life and time to the study and discipline of Sacred literature specially Vedas, Upanishads, Darshan Philosophy, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata with concentration on the Bhagwad Gita. Greek, Roman, Sumerian and English Epics, Gathas of Zarathustra, Bible, Quran, and the writings of Swami Dayananda, and Swami Vivekananda, in search of the essential values of Sanatan Vedic Dharma with reference to their realisation in life and literature through social attitudes, collective action, customs, traditions, rituals and religious variations across the fluctuations of history.
Dr. Tulsi Ram Sharma M.A. English (Delhi, 1949), Ph.D. (London, 1963) has been a university professor, academic administrator, researcher, and writer of long standing with prestigious assignments:
Lecturer in English, Hans Raj College, Delhi
Reader in the Department of English, Kurukshetra University,
Principal Shivaji College, Delhi
Principal Swami Shraddhanand College, Delhi
Visiting Ford Foundation Scholar, University of Leeds, Leeds
Professor of English, Department of Languages, B.I.T.S. Pilani
Professor Head of the Department of English, Maharshi
Dayanand University, Rohtak (Haryana)
Besides his professional studies o, secular literature in English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Urdu, Dr. Tulsi Ram Sharma has devoted his life and time to the study and discipline of Sacred literature, specially Vedas, Upanishads, Darshan Philosophy, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata with concentration on the Bhagwad Gita, Greek, Roman, Sumerian and English Epics, Gathas of Zarathustra, Bible, Quran, and the writings of Swami Dayananda and Swami Vivekananda, in search of the essential values of Sanatan Vedic Dharma with reference to their realisation in life and literature through social attitudes, collective action, customs, traditions, rituals and religious variations across the fluctuations of history.
Dr. Tulsi Ram Sharma’s research and publications include:
The Neo-Classical Epic: an Ethical Interpretation (Delhi, 1971)
Trading in Language: The Story of English in India 1781-1981
The Original Philosophy of Yoga: Commentary on the Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali (Gurukul Jhajjar, Haryana, 1989) Bharat Main Angrezi: Kya Khoya Kya Paya (Delhi, 1997)
Swami Dayananda’s Vision of Truth (Delhi, 2002)
Translation of Nine Upanishads (Delhi, 1992)
Translation of Swami Dayananda’s Sanskar Vidhi (Delhi, 1995)
Translation of Swami Dayananda’s short writings in Dayananda Granth Mala (paropakarini Sabha, Ajmer, Rajasthan, 1999)
Translation of Swami Satya Pati’s God Realisation through Simple Yoga (Delhi, 2000)
And a number of articles such as:
“Swami Vivekananda’s Vision of Man” (Prabuddha Bharat, 1979)
“G.D. Birla: Gandhi’s child”, in Birla Felicitation Volume (BITS, Pilani, Rajasthan, 1984)
“Search for a Medium of Instruction in India”, in Mitra Felicitation Volume (BITS, Pilani, Rajasthan, 1984)
“Shakespeare as a Creative Yogi” in Shakespeare, the Indian Icon
And now: Voice of the Vedas, in the Arsha tradition of Maharshi Yaska and Swami Dayananda.
Dr. Tulsi Ram Sharma has spent the last ten years on this translation of the four Vedas, all the time saying: “I came for this”. While English has been the language of his professional communication, Sanskrit is the voice of his life and living.
English translation of the Yajurveda
I feel myself fortunate and blest with the Grace of God that I received a few pages of the English translation of the Yajurveda with introduction by Dr. Tulsi Ram Sharma. The comparative views expressed by him about the Vedas are essential for every student of the Veda.
Its conclusion is true: “In short Veda is an eternal articulation of omniscience, the voice of God”. That is why it is a further pointer to scientific research in the field of Vedic interpretation.
Each work of Prasthana Trayi, i.e., Vedanta, Upanishads and Gita is not a take off from the Vedas but a continuation of Vedic studies in its own context of meditation, meditative teaching and a rousing call to action in a situation of karmic crisis.
This English translation is a welcome addition to Vedic studies, opening truly a new path establishing with ease the Vedas in the service of humanity.
This translation of Yajurveda is meant for an average English knowing reader who is keen to know:
What is Veda? What is it all about? Is it old or new?
If it’s old, what is its relevance today? And if it is relevant, is it relevant to me also? Or is it relevant only to some particular community in some particular country at some particular time.
These are relevant questions especially in an age of science, democracy and globalism.
Veda is Knowledge. The very word ‘Veda’ means knowledge. It is derived from the root ‘vid’, which means: ‘to be, n know, to think, and to benefit from’.
So whatever is, is Veda, the very world of existence is Veda. The knowledge of the world of existence is Veda. The extension of knowledge through thought and research further is Veda. And to use that knowledge for the benefit of mankind with the protection and preservation of nature and environment, without hurting any form of life, that is Veda.
Veda is knowledge pure and simple as science is knowledge. Science is knowledge of nature as nature is and as it works according to its own laws. In science, there is no story, no history. Similarly in the Veda, there is no story, no history. And just as science is knowledge in scientific language free from local colour and historical variations of meaning, so Veda too is knowledge in scientific language free from local colour and historical variations. Therefore Vedic language has to be interpreted and understood according to the laws and technique of its own structure as stated by seers such as Yaska, Panini and Patanjali and as explained by Swami Dayananda in his grammatical works and his notes on Vedic words in his commentary on the Vedas.
But there is a difference between scientific knowledge and Vedic knowledge: White science is knowledge of nature to the extent that man has been able to discover it, Veda is the quintessential knowledge of all that is, including Nature, all that happens, all that we are, all that we do, and all that we reap in consequence of our action. It is the Original and Universal knowledge of the Reality of Existence and the Ideality of our aspirations, covering the facts and processes of existence, their interaction and the laws that operate in the interaction. In short, Veda is an eternal articulation of Omniscience, The Voice of God.
Vedic knowledge is classified thematically into three: Stuti, Prarthana and Upasana. Stuti is, praise, solemn reverential remembrance and description and celebration of the attributes, the nature, character and function of divine powers. Prarthana, prayer, is an autosuggestive resolution to realise our limitations and rise above those limitations by calling on Divinity for aid and blessings when we have exhausted our effort and potential. Upasana is meditation, the surrender of our limited identity to participate in the Divine Presence. Stuti implies knowledge (Janana), Prarthana implies humility and action (Karma), and Upasana implies total love and surrender (Bhakti). So formally Vedic knowledge is divided into four:
Rgveda is the Veda of Knowledge, Yajurveda is the Veda of Karma, Samaveda is the Veda of Bhakti, and Atharva-veda is Brahma Veda, an umbrella, celebrating the Divine Presence as in Book 10, hymns 7 and 8.
Yajurveda is Karma Veda, knowledge of the application of knowledge in practical living in a positive, creative and constructive manner at both the individual and the collective level. This way of living and working is “Yajna” which, in simple words, means a selfless and participative way of life and thereby creating the maximum out of the minimum for all, including nature, humanity, the environment and the whole universe, with complete faith in the living, breathing, self-organising, self-conscious, Sovereign System. Living the yajnic way, we realise that Nature is a tree, Ashwattha, and the entire cosmos including ourselves is a Purusha, and we as human beings are but cells in this Divine Purusha. Without living this way in a state of full awareness, we cannot realise that you and I, Mother Nature and the Supreme Brahma are all together, one in union and communion.
Vedic knowledge then is the Divine knowledge of existence from the dimensionless point and particle unto Infinity. And prayerful living and communion in meditation and yoga means: Self-integration of the particle, Re-integration of the part with the whole, and Re-Union of the finite with the Infinite.
This is the climactic close of Yajurveda: The light and life that shines in and beyond the sun is that Supreme Purusha. That is there, and that is here in me.
Om is the saviour. Om is Brahma. Brahma is Infinite, Sublime!
The message of Yajurveda begins with the rousing divine call to live: “Be vibrant as the winds!” But we must be gratefully vibrant: “O Lord we pray for and thank thee for the gift of food and energy for life, for the health and efficiency of body, mind and soul.” All of us must dedicate ourselves to Savita, giver of life and light, with devotion to the highest, yajnic action, we must not hurt the cosmic ‘Cow’, and we must not allow a thief to boss net us and deprive us of our freedom of thought, word and deed.
As you open the text of Yajurveda, you find the words: Savita Devata, Prajapati Parameshthi Rshi. ‘Devata’ here means the subject which is dealt with in the mantra. ‘Devata’ as a Vedic term means a presence, a power, a force, which is brilliant, illuminative, and generous. The ‘Devata’ of a mantra may be God, the One Sacchidananda Brahma as in the closing mantra quoted above, or Savita, the same One self-refulgent God as in the opening mantra; or it can be a generous divine power of Nature such as the sun, moon, earth; or it can be a noble person of brilliant quality of nature, character and performance as a ruler, leader, commander, teacher, etc. What the ‘Devata’ means in any Particular mantra depends on the total context that emerges from the mantra.
Prajapati Parameshthi is the Rshi of the opening mantra The Rshi in the Arsh tradition is not the author of the mantra. Rshi is the exponent of the meaning of the mantra. As Maharshi Yaska says in the Nirukta, Rishis are the seers of the mantras: they are the sages who went into deep meditation unto the universal frequency of the Cosmic Mind and experienced the voice of Divinity speaking in the mantra; the mantra, a Semantic correspondence of the Divine Voice; the Divine Voice, a sound correspondence of Divine Awareness of the Reality of Existence in the modes of Being and Becoming.
Who then is the poet of the Vedas? The answer is it Yajurveda 40, 8: That Cosmic Spirit which pervades and rules every moving particle in the moving universe is “the poet, thinker. all-comprehending, and self-existent”. That is the Lord who creates the world of existence, ordains the Laws of its dynamics, and reveals the poetry of its beauty and majesty, the Vedas. “From that Lord of universal yajna were born the Rks and Samans. From Him were born the chhandas of Atharva-veda and from Him were born the Yajus” (Yajurveda 31, 7). The Vedic lore comes in Purakalpa, the beginning of the world of humanity (Shvetashvataropanishad, 6, 22) and when its function is over at the end of the kalpa, one cycle of existence, it retires into Brahmaloka (Atharva-veda 19, 71, 1).
The Vedas were revealed by the Lord Omniscient to four primeval Rshis: Rgveda to Agni, Yajurveda to Vayu, Samaveda to Aditya, and Atharva-veda to Angira, directly in their spiritual consciousness. The Sage Brahma received and collected the four from them and passed them on to other sages.
When were the Vedas revealed? What is their age? How old are they? As old as the age of humanity on earth. The Loc who creates humanity leaves them not to nature like animals. He enlightens them with the knowledge of existence and their place in the world, with the vision of their journey, and its culmination.
Swami Dayananda works out the age of the Vedas on the basis of Surya Siddhanta which in the year 2010 A.D. comes to 1,96,08,53,110 years. If someone does not accept it and insists on historical proof, we learn the problem but no possibility of solution scientific and historical grounds from Max Muller, a world renowned Vedic scholar and exegesist of the West: Max Muller once ventured to pronounce a purely arbitrary date based on unproven assumptions that around 1200 B.C. was the date of the Rgveda. Later, he himself warned his students that “Whether the Vedic Hymns were composed in 1000 or 1500 or 2000 B.C., no power on earth could ever fix. Whatever may be the date of the Vedic hymns they have their own unique place and stand by themselves”. The daring presumptions of western scholars about the date of the Vedas are exposed by Graham Hancock in his latest researches, in his book: Underworld: The Myserious Origins of Civilization (2002). If no history, no Science, no human imagination can help, better follow the sages, tradition, Surya Siddhanta, and the daily sankalpa of the dedicated Brahmanas, and lastly follow the internal evidence of the Vedas themselves: Vedas are the Original, Universal, Eternal articulation of Divinity, by Divinity, for humanity at the beginning of human creation.
Since Vedas are the oldest recorded knowledge of the world, no one can guess how much time, even ages, might have passed between the Vedas and the next work in Sanskrit. If so, there is no other work in Sanskrit comparable to the Vedas. Consequently the language of any other work would not provide any clue for the interpretation of Veda mantras. Vedic language then has to be interpreted on its own, and the only key available for such independent interpretation is the Nirukta and Nighantu of Maharshi Yaska, the grammatical works of Pinini and Patanjali, and Swami Dayananda’s notes in his commentary on Vedic verses explaining the structure and meaning of words. Without reference to these bases of Vedic interpretation, certain words have been given a very twisted meaning in other translations, by Max Muller, Griffith, Whitney, and even Sayana. The torch light for proper translation today is the Arsh tradition followed by Swami Dayananda.
The Arsh way is the only right way, the key, to discover the truth of the Vedas. According to Shri Aurobindo, Swami Dayananda alone, in modem times, possessed this key to the secret of the Vedas. Interpreted this way the Vedas shine in their essential scientific refulgence. As science is pure knowledge, no story, no history, no mythology, so are the Vedas, pure knowledge: knowledge of nature, mind, spirit, human society, Dharma, the dynamics of existence and the right way of living as individuals and as members of organised society upto the international level. Even Max Muller, though he was once committed to uprooting the religion of India by his arbitrary translation of Rigveda, had to admit in his Biographical Essays that: “To Swami Dayanand, everything contained in the Vedas was not only perfect truth, but he went one step further and, by their interpretation, succeeded in persuading others that everything worth knowing, even the most recent inventions of modem science, were alluded to in the Vedas. Steam Engines, Electricity, Telegraphy and Wireless Marconogram were shown to have been at least in the germ known to the poets of the Vedas”. In fact Shri Aurobindo in his essay on “Dayananda and the Veda” goes even further: “There is nothing fantastic in Dayananda’s idea that Veda contains truth of science as well as truth of religion (i.e., Dharma). I will even add my own conviction that Veda contains other truths of a Science the modern world does not at all possess, and in that case, Dayananda has rather understated than overstated the depth and range of the Vedic wisdom”. (see Bankim, Tilak, Dayananda, p. 57).
The basic requirement of scriptural interpretation for us is faith and intellingential solemnity, not doubt and cynicism. This way, if we want to confirm our faith in the scientific vision of the Veda, refer to Rgveda 1, 34, 7 and 9 for three-stage rocket chariot of the Ashwins, to 1,36, 18 for Agni missile, to 1,37,3 for winds and communication, to 1, 46, 10 for concentration of light, to 1, 52, 1 and 1, 36, I for the science of missile defence and spacecraft, to 6, 46, 11 for missiles and war heads, and so on. Position of the solar system with planets and satellites, earth’s and sun’s gravitation, solar healing, parliamentary democracy, organisational structure of the nation and the international world, azer and electric energy, and so many other subjects are hinted r in Vedic verses. We need serious research to work out the rails. Had even Einstein read the Purusha Sukta of the Vedas and Brahma Sutras and Sankhya Vaisheshika philosophy, probably he would have found clues to his Unified Field theory of the universe.
Beyond faith and intelligential solemnity we need vision, potential Darshan of the Vedic Rshis. Once you have had the son of truth, doubts disappear and questions recede into silence because then, nothing shines but the Truth, and Divinity Itself reveals It’s Reality with showers of Grace. In this mood and in this spirit, I suggest, you start your search for Vedic Truth and Mystery of Existence.
Lastly, if the Vedic lore is as old as humanity itself, what is its relevance today in the modern world? Ask yourself other questions: What is the relevance of Galileo or Newton or the Theory of Relativity, two plus two makes four, Swaraj, the Vedic word for freedom and self-discipline? Truth is truth, when the statement was made is irrelevant. Vedic truth, if you find it convincing and acceptable, is relevant not only for today but also it all time, to every person, everywhere.
Yajurveda itself says (26, 2):
“Yathemam vacham kalyanim avadani janebhyah”:
Just as I speak (reveal) this auspicious holy Word of the ala for all people (without any discrimination of high or low), so should you too communicate it to all people of the world whoever, whatever, wherever they be.
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