In this verse, two words are significant—veda-vāda and tattva-vāda. According to Bhagavad-gītā, those who are simply attached to the Vedas and who do not understand the purpose of the Vedas or the Vedānta-sūtra are called veda-vāda-ratāḥ.
- yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ
- pravadanty avipaścitaḥ
- veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha
- nānyad astīti vādinaḥ
- kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā
- bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati
"Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say there is nothing more than this." (BG 2.42-43)
The veda-vāda followers of the Vedas are generally inclined to karma-kāṇḍa, the performance of sacrifice according to the Vedic injunctions. They are thereby promoted to higher planetary systems. They generally practice the Cāturmāsya system. Akṣayyaṁ ha vai cāturmāsya-yājinaḥ sukṛtaṁ bhavati: one who performs the cāturmāsya-yajña becomes pious. By becoming pious, one may be promoted to the higher planetary systems (ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ (BG 14.18)). Some of the followers of the Vedas are attached to karma-kāṇḍa, the fruitive activities of the Vedas, in order to be promoted to a higher standard of life. Others argue that this is not the purpose of the Vedas. Tad yathaiveha karma jitaḥ lokaḥ kṣīyate evam evam utra puṇya jitaḥ lokaḥ kṣīyate. In this world someone may become very highly elevated by taking birth in an aristocratic family, by being well educated, beautiful or very rich. These are the gifts for pious activities enacted in the past life. However, these will be finished when the stock of pious activity is finished. If we become attached to pious activities, we may get these various worldly facilities in the next life and may take birth in the heavenly planets. But all this will eventually be finished. Kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti (BG 9.21): when the stock of pious activity is finished, one again has to come to this martya-loka. According to the Vedic injunctions, the performance of pious activity is not really the objective of the Vedas. The objective of the Vedas is explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: (BG 15.15) the objective of the Vedas is to understand Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are veda-vādīs are not actually advanced in knowledge, and those who are followers of jñāna-kāṇḍa (Brahman understanding) are also not perfect. However, when one comes to the platform of upāsanā and accepts the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he becomes perfect (ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param). In the Vedas the worship of different demigods and the performance of sacrifice are certainly, mentioned, but such worship is inferior because the worshipers do not know that the ultimate goal is Viṣṇu (na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31)). When one comes to the platform of viṣṇor ārādhanam, or bhakti-yoga, one has attained the perfection of life. Otherwise, as indicated in Bhagavad-gītā, one is not a tattva-vādī but a veda-vādī, a blind follower of the Vedic injunctions. A veda-vādī cannot be purified from material contamination unless he becomes a tattva-vādī, that is, one who knows tattva, the Absolute Truth. Tattva is also experienced in three features-brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). Even after coming to the platform of understanding tattva, one must worship Bhagavān, Viṣṇu and His expansions, or one is not yet perfect. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) after many births, one who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa. The conclusion is that unintelligent men with a poor fund of knowledge cannot understand Bhagavān, Brahman or Paramātmā, but after studying the Vedas and attaining the understanding of the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is supposed to be on the platform of perfect knowledge.