Sri Aurobindo on the Veda

The VEDA consists of four texts: The Rig Veda, The Yajur Veda, The Sama Veda, and The Artharva Veda. The Rig Veda is the source of the other three and of all the subsequent Sanskrit texts, such as the Upanishads, The Mahabharata containing the Bhagavad Gita, the Puranas, etc.

In the introduction to a translation of the Yajur Veda, the sage Aurobindo (1872-1950) sums up in a few astutely brilliant sentences what in sincere humility and perseverance, I have concluded from my reading of countless books. Therefore I offer you Aurobindo’s insightful intelligent views.



Aurobindo states the choice:

“Either the Veda is what Sayana (scholar-ritualist / died 1387) says it is, and then we have to leave it behind forever as a document of mythology and ritual, which have no longer any living truth or force for thinking minds.

“Or the Veda is what the European scholars say it is, and then we have to put it away among the relics of the past as an antique record of semi-barbarous worship.

“Or else it is indeed Veda [sacred knowledge] a book of divine knowledge, and then it becomes of supreme importance to us to know and hear its message.”



Aurobindo on Sayana’s traditional interpretation:

“If ever there was a monument of arbitrarily erudite ingenuity, of great learning divorced – as great learning too often is from sound judgement and sure taste and a faithful critical and comparative observation, from direct seeing and often from the plainest common sense or of a constant fitting-to-the-text into the Procrustean bed of preconceived theory – it is surely this [Sayana’s] commentary, otherwise so imposing, so useful as first crude material, so erudite and laborious, left to us by the Acharya Sayana.



Aurobindo on the labours of western scholarship:

“If ever there was a tor [a pile of rocks on the top of a hill] of interpretation in which the loosest vein has been given to an ingenious speculation, in which doubtful indications have been snatched at, as certain proofs, in which the boldest conclusions have been insisted upon with the scantiest justification, the most enormous difficulties ignored and preconceived prejudice maintained in the face of clear and often admitted suggestions of the text, it is surely this…European [western] Vedic scholarship.”




Aurobindo also states his conviction that "Veda contains the other truths of science the modern world does not at all possess." Even though I am not a scholar and would never consider myself as such, from my own studies and research I have drawn the same conclusion.


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The YAJURVEDA, Sanskrit text with English translation by Devi Chand M.A.; Munshiram Manoharal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2000.

“According to Devi Chand his translation of the Yajurveda (1959) is mainly based on the commentary of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati (one of the foremost social reformers/1824-83) whose ideas about the Vedas and their interpretation were different from those of traditional and modern writers on the subject.”









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