Vedic Philosophy provides answers to all unanswered questions i.e why there is pain and pleasure, rich and poor, healthy and sick; God - His qualities, nature and works. Soul – Its nature and qualities, souls of humans and animals; reincarnation – how does it happens, why one is born as he or she is. What is the purpose of life? What we ought to do?
If you are a thinker, curious, confused about the universe as a whole, if you have a strong desire to your questions answered, then you must continue reading this philosophy. It will open your eyes, you will be able to differentiate from true to untrue, right from wrong, just from unjust, and you will be able to put together the puzzle of the whole universe.
In the 19th century a great saint, seer and philosopher, vedic commentator, thinker, master mind having impressive personality, an ancient ascetic and yogi, appeared on the scene, who is widely known as Swami Dayanand Saraswati. To expel the darkness of ignorance and spread the true knowledge for the benefit of humanity at large, Swami Dayanand Saraswati established Arya Samaj. Vedic teachings are based on Swami Dayanand Saraswati's writings and teachings.
Author: Vidya Sagar Garg
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1. God – Nature, Qualities and Works
There is one and only one God. Different people call Him with different names. The real name of God is Om (Aum).
God is omnipresent. He is present at all places. He is present inside of our body and outside of our body. He is present inside of all living and non-living things and outside of them. He is present in the smallest thing as well as in the biggest thing. He is present in the mind and in the soul. He is present in the whole universe.
God is never born. He never dies. He has no beginning and no end. He is always living. He is free from aging process. He is fearless. He is flawless. He is free from happiness and misery. He is pure. He is kind. He is unique. There is no one like Him nor equal to Him. There is no one greater or bigger than Him. He is the greatest of all. He is the biggest of all. God creates, supports and runs the universe.
God is formless. He is always without a body. Therefore, there is no picture or statue of God. He cannot be sensed with 5 senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue or skin).God can not be even sensed with the help of a microscope.
However, there are occasions when we realize God’s existence and His actions. Occasions, when in utter disappointment, help arrives or an idea flashes into the mind, and the situation begins to improve. Also, thought of doing bad deeds brings feelings of fear, suspicion and shame; and thought of doing good deeds brings feelings of happiness, encouragement, excitement and fearlessness. All these feeling come from God.
God’s existence is also realized from His works. What a wonderful, intelligent, beautiful creation of the universe. The regular, logical and mathematical motions of the planets; meaningful and rightful functioning of the universe; the beautiful creation and growth of the plants and the living beings – all these works prove existence of some super, intelligent, living power – The God.
God is omniscient. He knows the thoughts in the minds of all.
God is the source of all knowledge. In the beginning of the universe, God gives knowledge to the human beings. God appeals directly in to the minds, he does not need hands to write or a mouth to speak.
God is omnipotent. He is all powerful; He performs his works by himself. He does not need anybody’s assistance to run the universe. He manages all His affairs by himself. He is always just and never does injustice. He always follows His just code.
God is equally accessible to all. He is the father and the mother of all living beings. No agent or broker is needed to approach Him. No body can be a God’s agent. God does not favor any one, nor He disfavors any one.
God is always in a state of ecstasy (bliss). Getting close to Him gives comfort, just like a fire gives comfort to the cold (persons).
God has his own work field, and humans have their own different work fields.
2. Worshipping God
All kinds of God worshipping we do, is not for God. It does not affect God any which way. Any action of ours has no effect on God.
God feeds all. Everything is in God, and God is in everything. Therefore, feeding God does not make any sense.
There is no place where god does not exist. He sees and hears all. He also knows our thoughts.
Everything we do is for ourselves. God gives us the good or bad fruit based upon our own deeds. Some deeds get fruit immediately, others get fruit at different times, when and where deserved. This getting fruit at deserving time is called luck or destiny.
Worshipping God means, thinking of qualities of God, and making those qualities part of your life. God is just. He always does justice without any favoritism. He does not accept any approach. He is never unjust. God is always right. He is never wrong. God knows all. God has all the true knowledge. He is never ignorant. God is holy and does not have any weaknesses. God is kind-because of his kindness he has given thousands of things for our use. We too ought to be just, righteous, knowledgeable, holy, kind etc. This is the meaning of God Worship.
With meditation, soul becomes so much powerful, that it is not afraid of even the biggest hardship, and it will be able to tolerate it easily.
How To Meditate:
Find a clean and quiet place; sit down in a right posture and close your eyes.
First stop the senses from wondering then start the Pranayam.
Point and hold the mind on the heart, navel or throat (at one of these places); get lost in God by thinking of soul and God.
By doing this repeatedly, soul and the conscious are purified, and the person becomes interested only in truthfulness.
4. Three Eternal Entities
God, souls and matter – always exist. They have no beginning and no end.
God – read the topic on ‘God – His Qualities, Nature and Works’.
Souls – There are numerous souls, but fixed in number. The total count of souls does not change ever. Each living being has an individual soul. In the God’s kingdom, one is identified from the soul, not from the body. Because, soul keeps changing bodies one after another. Same soul may become an ant, elephant, man, woman, lion etc.
Soul, when in a human body, is more or less free to do actions; this is not the case when in a body of an animal; animals act on the natural instinct. Therefore, by the God’s justice system, humans face the consequences of their actions. As a result, one suffers or enjoys in his present life, and also may be born as human, animal, bird or insect after the death. When soul and body joins together, it is called birth; its separation is called death (for more detail on soul, read topic on ‘Soul’).
Matter – matter is never destroyed. All we see, smell, taste, touch or hear is matter. Human body and other living beings are made of matter.
Matter changes shape. By burning wood, it changes into carbon, moisture and gases. It just changed its shape. When vegetables grown from seed, basically they are changing shape with the help of soil, water, sun and air. After eaten and digested, they change the shape again.
Every living being – human, animal, bird or insect has a soul. Presence of the soul in a body keeps one alive. Departure of the soul, causes death. Therefore, bodies of people and animals are pure as long as the soul is present, they are impure after the soul leaves.
Soul stays at one place in a body, but it affects the whole body; just like a lit candle, placed at one place, brightens the whole room.
Soul’s place is near the heart in the body.
Soul is so fine in size, that it cannot be seen with the naked eye or with the help of a microscope.
Soul enters the body with food, drinks, air or through the pores of the skin. First, it gets into the male, at the time of mating, it goes into the female.
Soul is not capable of doing anything without a body. It performs actions only with the help of a body.
Knowledge, effort, desire, resentfulness, happiness and sadness are the qualities of a soul. Dead body is without a soul, therefore, lacks these qualities.
A body changes, because of the presence of a soul. Right from the conception, the growth begins, because of the presence of the soul. There is no growth without a soul.
Soul is never born; it never dies; it always exists.
Weapon can not cut a soul, fire cannot burn it, water cannot spoil it, and air cannot dry it.
Soul, by itself, is neither a male, nor a female, nor an unisex. Its sex depends upon the body it gets. Same soul may move from male to female bodies or vice versa, but only after the death of the present one.
Soul’s actions are done through the mind. Soul connects with mind, mind connects with body and body connects with the outer world; which causes knowledge and action.
If the Mind is not with the body, then no action takes place. If the Mind is not with the eyes, we don’t see; if the Mind is not with the ears then we don’t hear.
A dead body does not feel the pain or pleasure, because of the absence of the mind and the soul. The Mind leaves the body along with the soul. The Mind stays along with the soul in the body near the heart.
Mind itself is not a living thing. Therefore, it cannot do anything by itself.
Mind is made of matter. Food is made of matter as well. The kind of food one eats, has a significant effect on one’s mind.
Mind is a storage box of all impressions. All effects of one’s actions, all the knowledge one has acquired, all the experiences one has gained; in this life and in previous lives, stay in the mind.
Three states of mind –
Absence of cruelty, absence of greed, staying balanced in pleasure and pain, cleanliness, practicing truth, being just, being peaceful, acquiring knowledge, having patience, etc.
Wandering nature, impatience, being arrogant, etc.
Not using brain, laziness, lack of desire to work, desiring to sleep more and more, lack of desire to learn, using brain in a wrong direction, etc.
Out of all these, the second is better than the third and the first is the best of all.
Finally, to get rid of a bad habit or action, condemn the bad habit or action, in your mind, again and again. More this is condemned, further away one goes from the vices.
Ref: Upnishad, Manusmriti, Sushrut
7. Reincarnation - Rebirth
Reincarnation simply means rebirth. Soul keeps changing the body one after another. It gets a bodies based on its deeds done in human life.
Soul, when in other than human body – e.g. in an animal, a bird or an insect, does not act independently. It acts either under the direction of a human being or just by natural instinct. It does not and cannot think. All its actions are controlled by others or by natural instinct. Because of that, its actions are neither rewarded nor punished.
When leaving human body, if the good deeds equal bad deeds, one is born as an ordinary human being in the next life. If good deeds exceed bad deeds then one is born as an intellectual human being. If bad deeds exceed good deeds, one is born as an animal, a bird or insect etc. based on the severity of the bad deeds.
Basically, deeds good or bad are done through:
One reaps the fruit good or bad by receiving or paying for the deeds done with similar organs. E.g. harsh talker, liar, back stabber etc gets a life of an animal or of a mute human being.
The soul adjusts in the body it gets, whether it is a human, an animal, a bird or an insect. Soul is like water, without a color. Color makes the water colored. Same way, the soul is known as by the body it is in.
Soul continues to move from one body to another. It starts body at the time of conception, and departs at the time of death. Same soul can be a man, woman, elephant, ant or any other living being, and back and forth as well.
As humans discard worn out clothes and wear new ones, similarly soul discards the useless old body and starts a new body.
8. Human Body Compared To A Horse Cart
5 senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and flesh) are means of learning by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. 5 other parts of body (hands, feet, mouth, sexual and waste organs) perform deeds. All these 10 parts of the body are the 10 horses of the human cart. Where Mind is the control, brain is the operator and the soul is the passenger.
The only way, the passenger will get to its destination, if the operator follows instructions from the passenger and has control over the horses. In a situation, when the operator is sleeping or intoxicated, there will not be any control over the horses, they will go anywhere they wish to go, the passenger will never reach to its destination.
So the brain has to be very clear and strong to control the mind and the body, in order to achieve the soul’s goal. Thus, the brain is the most important part of human life.
The goal of the soul is to achieve (long lasting) happiness. To achieve happiness, one has to:
get the right knowledge, do the good deeds, and meditate
There is a process and training of oneself, to achieve this goal.
On the other hand, bad deeds (e.g. untruthfulness, injustice) knowingly and unknowingly, lead to miseries.
The human body is considered to be a rented one. It continuously requires rent in the form of air, water and food.
It is said that the human body is great, but the mind is greater, brain is much greater and the soul is the greatest.
Humanity is considering others pleasure and pain, profit and loss as your own. Not being afraid of unjust person, no matter how powerful he is, and be afraid of just person no matter how powerless he may be. Working with the full force for the protection and promotion of just person, even if one has to suffer heavy losses, even if one loses ones life during the pursuit.
All the living beings other than humans have a common characteristic. i.e. be afraid of the strong and frighten the weak; they even kill others for their selfish motive. Humans with similar characteristics be considered non-human beings. Being kind and helpful to the weak is a human characteristic.
10. Definition Of Non Violence
Never to have enmity of any kind, towards any living being – human, animal, bird or insect, is defined as non-violence.
Hurting, punishing or killing a living being does not by itself make the action violent. It is the cause behind it that matters.
Killing an animal, which kills people or destroys crops, is not an act of violence. Killing an animal or a bird for food or fun is a violent action.
To punish a person for the crime committed is not violence. Rather, not to punish a criminal is a violence. Because, if the criminal is not punished, he would harm many more innocent people, thereby creating much more violence.
The purpose of punishment is to deter the criminal from committing the crime again and to alert the others not to engage in such an act. Only harsh punishment can reduce the crime and save many people from the miseries of the crimes.
If someone attacks you and you respond with force, it is not violence. Anyone trying to harm the society or the nation, should be dealt with firmly and with force. That will save millions from sufferings. Therefore that is non-violence.
Ref: Translation of Yog Darshan by Maharishi Ved Vyas
11. Meat - Not A Human Food
Meat is not a human food. No flesh of any animal, bird, fish or egg etc. is a human food.
Yoga Philosophy talks about five Causes of Sufferings:-
Thinking and treating body and things as they will last for ever.
Treating and thinking soul, God and good qualities i.e. truth, justice, etc., as they are not ever lasting.
Intelligence – Improve intelligence by eating right food, reading good books and keeping good company.
14. Social Practices
Total time of Brahma day is said to be equal to one thousand Chaturyugis.
Past age of human life on earth:
Past six Manvantras = 6*71*4,320,000 = 1,840,320,000 Years
Past 27 Chaturyugis of Seventh Manvantra
= 27*4,320,000 = 116,640,000 Years
28th Chaturyugi - Satyug = 1,728,000 Years
- Tretayug = 1,296,000 Years
- Dwaparyug = 864,000 Years
- Kaliyug = 5,099 Years
Total = 3,893,099 Years
Total of all past years of human life on earth.
= 1,960,853,099 Years
Total remaining years of human life on earth.
= 4,294,080,000 - 1,960,853,099 Years
= 2,333,226,901 Years
16. Creation of the Universe
All the matter was in the form of Parmanu, the smallest particle. Omniscient God combined those Parmanus and created the universe.
Sixty paramanus make one Anuu
Two Anuu Make Air
Rigved-adi-bhashya-bhumika (Introduction to Vedas): This is also written by Swami Dayanand. Various topics found in Vedas are discussed here. This book is full of knowledge and worth reading.