Pedagogy of texts like Veda - Audio

My only concern is these are all big commentaries and what is being explained by one is again as he rightly said you should read Mimamsa, Vedanta, Brahmanas give you all that together. According to some Brahmanas is a deterioration. My concern immediately is that I want to speak to the children of India, what are these Vedas.

If I open the Bible, I can tell them the Bible tells me first of all the story of Genesis. There it is a given in text, you read it. All that Jesus said is now to be found here. Actually what he has said is a commentary on it. What I want to tell children is first of all what it says.

First you have to say, look here is a book called Bible to the children. Then you can say what is in the Bible. Then we say to them that the Bible begins with genesis, the first chapter is genesis which tells you the story of how god made the world. Then there is a story of Abraham. Then there are so many stories here. Then it goes up to John the Baptist. Then it goes on from prophet to prophet. In the time of John the Baptist, Christ is born. John the Baptist had predicted that the son of god will come and then the son of god did come, Jesus came and then there are four versions of the life of Jesus. That is called the New Testament, it’s a part of the Bible, last part of the Bible is the New Testament. So we can tell the children that the text of the Bible is this.

Similarly if you say what is the Gita. Answer is much simpler, we are not saying the word Gita means song. I only say that the Gita consists of a story where Arjuna is brought by Sri Krishna before the two armies and Arjuna begins to say, I will not fight. Then a dialogue takes place until Sri Krishna convinces Arjuna that you should fight and then he says I will now fight. This is what is said in the Gita. Now Gita’s teaching is very vast but I have to tell children first of all the story.

Similarly when I show a child a book and say look this is Sama Veda. He will say, what is written in it?

It is addressed to Agni. Hey Agni you come here, so I may get happiness. Good. You can say Sama Veda is a book of prayer. Rig Veda also you can say is a book of prayers. Now then the next question is, if it is a book of prayer, the prayer from whom and prayer to whom and what is being asked in a prayer? If you can explain it this way to children then it is seize-able

What stands out in Sama Veda is dance, music.

I will not tell the children this because you have to prove it. There is no proof. Apart from 75 verses which are Sama Veda’s own, all the rest are repetition of Rig Vedic verses. The question is then why was the need of making a separate book. What I want to give to children you need to explain this. Do you follow? If I say now that musical science is given in the Sama Veda, I have to show it there. We go completely wrong, why should we give children that idea where you will not be able to prove to them anything.

I went off track.

You are exactly on track.

In which of our shastras do we have dance and music sciences?

It is natya shastra of Bharata Muni. You see the point is that they say we have derived all this knowledge from Sama Veda.

We don’t know anything!

That is why I say the ignorance in our country is further doubled by telling them  commentaries. So if you want to explain to children you have to explain in a much simpler manner. You have to tell them if you open the book called Rig Veda, there are 10,000 verses that all contain prayers and descriptions. For example the first word of Rig Veda is īḷe That means I am praying. agnim īḷe is I am praying to Agni. So you say It’s a prayer book.

Then you say, in the same sukta, sukta means verses on same subject, so:

अग्निर् होता कविक्रतुः सत्यश् चित्रश्रवस्तमः |
देवो देवेभिर् आ गमत् ||

agnir hotā kavikratuḥ satyaś citraśravastamaḥ |
devo devebhir ā gamat ||

May Agni, priest of the offering whose will towards action is that of the seer, who is true, most rich in varied inspiration, come, a god with the gods. (SABCL. Vol.10, p. 59)

Rig Veda 1.1.5

It is a description of Agni, it is not prayer. This particular verse is not a prayer. It’s like saying, O god, thou are omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, I bow down to you. Now these words— omnipotent, omnipresence — are the descriptions. Similarly Rig Veda consists of the prayers and also descriptions.

Now descriptions of what? Now let us answer. It is a description of a number of invisible realities. And Vedic Rishis discovered the reality of these invisible realities. That is the greatness of these yogis.

Apurushya tattva.

Now even that, I would not introduce that word. Don’t do that. This is the problem of all the scholars. They spoil the pedagogy. Apurushya means that which is not attributable to a human being. It’s a knowledge derived from the Supreme himself. Now there is controversy about it also. I do not want to bring anything that is controversial. Some people say it’s not true. Even among believers there is no unanimity.

This is shruti!

Let me explain. You are in a dream, is it shruti? Are you really in a dream with Shruti? Is it apurushya? Who speaks to you in a dream. Tell me? As soon as you start this question, there will be controversy. If what you are hearing in a dream is not apurushya but this is apurushya, why? Again you have to go into so much.

I do not want to tell children at a younger age.. First of all I have to prepare their mind. Pedagogy means that you tell children in a systematic manner. Why do we have pedagogy? Don't confuse the children in the beginning. Give knowledge in a lucid manner, present to them little by little.

For example, if you say, here is Rig Veda. He will say, what is in it? tell me? Now when you say, it’s genesis, there is no word genesis anywhere in the Rig Veda. In the Bible at least you have the Genesis chapter. There is no title. So you would not be able to explain to children that it is about the birth of the universe. You should not tell children what you will not be able to explain on the spot.

There is no title. What you are saying is your interpretation. At what stage will you say it? You said you are concerned about telling children about the Vedas, therefore as a teacher I must be careful. They should not say that the Veda is agram-bagram. I should not come to that conclusion which is not there. This is what has happened in India. Why are people afraid of even taking these books in their hands? Because they are told that these books are not what it says.