The Contents of this small book were first published serially in The Mountain Path, a quarterly issued by Sri Ramanasramam from 1968 to 1972. They were brought out in book form for easy reference in 1973. Devotees find this book very useful and hence we are pleased to bring out its second edition.
T.N. Venkataraman president, Board of Trustees.
Sri Ramanasramam April 17, 1985 (Bhagavan's 35th Aradhana Day)
In Sri Bhagavan's lifetime Vedic chanting or Veda Parayana was held twice a day, morning and evening, lasting about forty minutes on each occasion, and this is still continued. This with the puja which follows it is the only ritual which was or is generally attended at the Ashram. Even for this there was and is no compulsion, although Bhagavan obviously approved of people attending it. It was an hour of tremendous silence when He sat immobile as though carved in rock. He never allowed anything to interrupt it. When asked whether people should learn the meaning, so as to follow it, he said no: it was sufficient that the chanting served as a support for meditation.
Despite this, it is also true, however, that the portions used for chanting were carefully chosen and approved by Sri Bhagavan Himself. Technically the Vedas are a well-defined group of scriptures, but not all the passages chanted before Sri Bhagavan are technically Vedas. All of them have the sanctity infused by Sri Bhagavan's presence. All of them are recited in Sanskrit. Nothing has been deleted from them since Sri Bhagavan's lifetime and only one item added. That is Dakshinamurti Stotra which, mainly on the request of the late Major Chadwick (Sadhu Arunachala) is now used as the opening hymn before the evening chant.
Technically, even listening to the chanting of the Vedas is supposed to be made available only to Brahmins, but this prohibition was abrogated by Sri Bhagavan. It is recognised that the word of the Jivan Mukta is more than the scriptures and Bhagavan's word was accepted. Bhagavan's word was the living Veda, He was the source of the Vedas. He retained only such elements of orthodoxy as He saw to be appropriate. In His presence Brahmins and non-Brahmins, Hindus and Westerners, sat shoulder to shoulder at the chanting. A North Indian visitor once had the temerity to challenge this and Bhagavan answered curtly: "Sit down and attend to your own sadhana," (which might be rendered: "mind your own business")!
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