According to the Bhagavad-gītā (2.42, 7.15), mistaken mundane educators are known as veda-vāda-rata and māyayāpahṛta-jñāna. They may also be atheistic demons, the lowest of men. Those who are veda-vāda-rata pose themselves as very learned in the Vedic literature, but unfortunately they are completely diverted from the purpose of the Vedas. In the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) it is said that the purpose of the Vedas is to know the Personality of Godhead, but these veda-vāda-rata men are not at all interested in the Personality of Godhead. On the contrary, they are fascinated by such fruitive results as the attainment of heaven.
As stated in Mantra One, we should know that the Personality of Godhead is the proprietor of everything and that we must be satisfied with our allotted portions of the necessities of life. The purpose of all Vedic literature is to awaken this God consciousness in the forgetful living being, and this same purpose is presented in various ways in the different scriptures of the world for the understanding of a foolish mankind. Thus the ultimate purpose of all religions is to bring one back to Godhead.
But the veda-vāda-rata people, instead of realizing that the purpose of the Vedas is to revive the forgetful soul's lost relationship with the Personality of Godhead, take it for granted that such side issues as the attainment of heavenly pleasure for sense gratification—the lust for which causes their material bondage in the first place-are the ultimate end of the Vedas. Such people misguide others by misinterpreting the Vedic literature. Sometimes they even condemn the Purāṇas, which are authentic Vedic explanations for laymen. The veda-vāda-ratas give their own explanations of the Vedas, neglecting the authority of great teachers (ācāryas). They also tend to raise some unscrupulous person from among themselves and present him as the leading exponent of Vedic knowledge. Such veda-vāda-ratas are especially condemned in this mantra by the very appropriate Sanskrit words vidyāyāṁ ratāḥ. Vidyāyām refers to the study of the Vedas because the Vedas are the origin of all knowledge (vidyā), and ratāḥ means "those engaged." Vidyāyāṁ ratāḥ thus means "those engaged in the study of the Vedas." The so-called students of the Vedas are condemned herein because they are ignorant of the actual purpose of the Vedas on account of their disobeying the ācāryas. Such veda-vāda-ratas search out meanings in every word of the Vedas to suit their own purposes. They do not know that the Vedic literature is a collection of extraordinary books that can be understood only through the chain of disciplic succession.