Scholars as well as students disagree over the origin of the Vedas. I find this controversy foolish. The Vedas are as old as the conscious aspiration of the universe. But the universe is consciously or unconsciously evolving into Perfection, whereas the Vedas contain the beginning of inspiring Perfection and the end of illumining Realisation.
When we say that the Vedas are eternal, we do not mean that the four scriptures have no beginning and no end. What we mean is that the real meaning of the Vedas, which is the Knowledge of God, has neither beginning nor end. The Vedas are the direct experiences and revelations of the Rishis of the hoary past. These experiences may be had by any sincere seeker of the Truth, at any time and in any place.
Unlike other scriptures, the Vedas have the sincere and brave heart to say that they are not indispensable; nay, not even important. They say that what is really important and supremely indispensable is the realisation of Brahman, the One without a second. Nevertheless, if we want to study the Vedas, we have to study with the help of an illumined teacher. The Vedas themselves instruct the seeker to approach a teacher. They also say that the teacher has to be approached with a heart of humility and a life of dedicated service.
Karma, which means work or service, and Jnana, or knowledge, are the principal teachings of the Vedas. Through Jnana we realise the absolute Truth, and through Karma we manifest our realisation.
According to the Vedas there are four important stages in life: student-life, marriage-life, retirement-life and renunciation-life. Student-life is self-discipline. Marriage-life is self-control and self-regulation. Retirement-life is peace and tranquillity. Renunciation-life is the offering of what one has and what one is to the absolute Supreme.
Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti
Truth-existence is one. Sages call it by various names.
This Truth-existence is experienced and realised in different ways by each seeker of the infinite Truth according to his own inner development. Just because of this lofty message from the Vedas, India’s religious heart is large and cosmopolitan. India’s spiritual heart knows how to accept other religions, how to appreciate other religions and how to admire other religions. India’s spiritual heart has realised that for each new religion there is a new approach to the Goal. Each path is right and indispensable for its own followers.
In order to realise the highest Truth we need three things: Inspiration, aspiration and intuition. Inspiration asks us to run towards the Goal. Aspiration asks us to fly towards the Goal. Intuition asks us to see and feel the Truth directly, and to grow into the very essence of Truth.
The word sarama symbolises intuition. Sarama is the hound of Heaven who enters into the world of inconscience and discovers its concealed treasures: Light and Delight. Sarama is the dawn of Truth in a dedicated body, dynamic vital and aspiring heart. Sarama and the straight path go together. Sarama follows the straight and sunlit path and arrives at the Truth. The path of fear and doubt, error and terror, sarama never follows. Sarama secretly and cautiously enters into the heart of illumination, and openly and bravely walks in the life of revelation, so that the hostile forces cannot thwart or destroy her progress. So that the Truth-consciousness can be realised as a whole by all seekers, sarama travels between earth’s cry and Heaven’s smile. Sarama is the seeker who seeks Truth-consciousness. Sarama is the lover who loves earth’s conscious ascent and Heaven’s illumining descent. Sarama is the player who plays with the seer’s vision in the inner world and plays hide-and-seek with the beginner’s inspiration in the outer world.
The Vedas are at once the Sky of Light and the Sea of Delight. The Light-Sky is the vastness of Truth. The Delight-Sea is the immensity of Truth. Light and Delight are perpetual runners. Sometimes Light precedes Delight. Sometimes Delight precedes Light. When Light touches the earth-consciousness, earth is divinely transformed. When Delight touches the earth-consciousness, earth is supremely fulfilled.
Light is the birth of God.
Delight is the life of God.
Light is the smile of universal Oneness.
Delight is the smile of transcendental Perfection.
Light is what God has.
Delight is what God is.
VI 6. Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 28 November 1972↩