The Veda and Indian Culture
The aim of life that the people are inspired to pursue determines the fundamental direction of their culture. From this point of view, it is necessary to examine what exactly was the aim of life proposed by the Veda and how it influenced the direction of the Indian culture.
According to one view which has been held largely by the western scholars and their Indian disciples, India has been governed by four important ideas, namely, (a) that this world is a constant flux (samsara), (b) that there is no substantial meaning in it, (c) that this world is, in the final analysis, an illusion, and (d) that the best course for man is to arrive, as soon as possible, at a state of vairagya, a turning away from the world, and to renounce the world and its activities in order to seek a Transcendental Reality or Existence which is in its nature or essence entirely different from the qualities and categories of the world of our ordinary experience.
It has, therefore, been held that Indian culture has been negative and pessimistic.
But as we read the Veda, which has been held as the source of the inspiration of the Indian culture, we find that it presents a dynamic interpretation of the world and assigns to action in the world a profound meaning and significance. It enjoins upon man to act rather than to renounce his activities. It places before man a method of action which has been discovered after a long and intense search by the Vedic seers. This method of action recognizes a secret relationship between the manifest and occult energies and actions that lie behind all that we physically see and experience. This relationship, it is held, is that of an interchange and, which is characteristically described as yajna, sacrifice. The Veda holds that the entire world is, in fact, a massive Energy flowing according to rhythm, which is that of an interchange between force and force, will and will, action and action. The Veda seizes