Understanding of the Vedas

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 13 - 18

BG 15.15, Purport: The living entity forgets as soon as he quits his present body, but he begins his work again, initiated by the Supreme Lord. Although he forgets, the Lord gives him the intelligence to renew his work where he ended his last life. So not only does a living entity enjoy or suffer in this world according to the dictation from the Supreme Lord situated locally in the heart, but he receives the opportunity to understand the Vedas from Him. If one is serious about understanding the Vedic knowledge, then Kṛṣṇa gives the required intelligence.
BG 15.15, Purport: One can attain perfection in three stages. By understanding Vedic literature one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by performing the different processes one can approach Him, and at the end one can attain the supreme goal, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined.


SB Canto 8

SB 8.5.36, Translation: The sun-god marks the path of liberation, which is called arcirādi-vartma. He is the chief source for understanding of the Vedas, he is the abode where the Absolute Truth can be worshiped, He is the gateway to liberation, and he is the source of eternal life as well as the cause of death. The sun-god is the eye of the Lord. May that Supreme Lord, who is supremely opulent, be pleased with us.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

The mantra tat tvam asi indicates only a partial understanding of the Vedas, unlike oṁkāra, which represents the full understanding of the Vedas.
CC Adi 7.128, Purport: The Māyāvādī philosophers consider many Vedic mantras to be the mahā-vākya, or principal Vedic mantra, such as tat tvam asi (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.8.7), idaṁ sarvaṁ yad ayam ātmā and brahmedaṁ sarvam (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 2.5.1), ātmaivedaṁ sarvam (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.25.2) and neha nānāsti kiñcana (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.1.11). That is a great mistake. Only oṁkāra is the mahā-vākya. All these other mantras that the Māyāvādīs accept as the mahā-vākya are only incidental. They cannot be taken as the mahā-vākya, or mahā-mantra. The mantra tat tvam asi indicates only a partial understanding of the Vedas, unlike oṁkāra, which represents the full understanding of the Vedas. Therefore the transcendental sound that includes all Vedic knowledge is oṁkāra (praṇava).

CC Madhya-lila

CC Madhya 16.188, Purport: t is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy that He advises everyone—even caṇḍālas, mlecchas and yavanas—to chant the holy name of the Lord. In other words, one who has taken to chanting the holy names “Kṛṣṇa” and “Hari” has already received Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy. The Lord’s request to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is now extended to everyone in the world through the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Whoever follows Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instructions will certainly be purified, and one who sincerely chants the holy name offenselessly is already more than a brāhmaṇa. Unfortunately there are many fools and rascals in India who do not allow Western Vaiṣṇavas to enter certain temples. Such rascals do not clearly understand the Vedas. As stated previously, yan-nāmadheya-śravaṇānukīrtanād . . . savanāya kalpate. Madhya 16.188

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Krsna Book 80: “With great compassion our gurudeva said, “My dear boys, it is very wonderful that you have suffered so much trouble for me. Everyone likes to take care of his body as the first consideration, but you are so good and faithful to your guru that without caring for bodily comforts you have taken so much trouble for me. I am glad to see that bona fide students like you will undergo any kind of trouble for the satisfaction of the spiritual master. That is the way for a bona fide disciple to become free from his debt to the spiritual master. It is the duty of the disciple to dedicate his life to the service of the spiritual master. My dear best of the twice-born, I am greatly pleased by your acts, and I bless you: May all your desires and ambitions be fulfilled. May the understanding of the Vedas which you have learned from me always continue to remain within your memory, so that at every moment you can remember the teachings of the Vedas and quote their instructions without difficulty. Thus you will never be disappointed in this life or the next.'“

Renunciation Through Wisdom

Renunciation Through Wisdom 4.2: How does Lord Kṛṣṇa describe sholars like Dr. Radhakrishnan, who have an atheistic understanding of the Vedas? In the Bhagavad-gītā (7.15) we find this statement:
na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
prapadyante narādhamāḥ
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.


Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Lecture on BG 2.26 -- Hyderabad, November 30, 1972: To understand the Vedas, you must approach a guru. Otherwise, you cannot understand. Just like it is forbidden that without becoming a brāhmaṇa, nobody should read Vedas. Because he cannot understand. Unless one is qualified brāhmaṇa, unless one has approached another qualified brāhmaṇa who knows, there is no question of understanding Vedas.
Lecture on BG 18.67-69 -- Ahmedabad, December 9, 1972: Unless one has attained the brahminical qualification: truthfulness, cleanliness, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, simplicity, tolerant, full of Vedic knowledge, practical application in life, and full faith in the Vedas... This is, these are the brahminical qualifications. So unless one has attained the brahminical qualification, what he will understand, the Vedas?

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Lecture on SB 7.9.10 -- Montreal, July 10, 1968: Without being initiated by proper spiritual master, nobody can understand. The Vedas is not like that: you purchase a book, the Bhagavad-gītā or Bhāgavata, and study at home, and you learn. Oh, it is not possible just like simply by purchasing some medical books and study at home you cannot become a doctor, medical man. That is not possible. Neither you can become a lawyer. The books are available in the market, but that is not the process. You have to enter yourself in an institution, take lessons from the professors, must attend lecture classes, seventy-five percent at least. Then you are allowed to sit in the examination.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 6.149-50 -- Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971: So without this brahminical qualification one cannot understand the Vedic knowledge. Therefore it is stated sometimes that a śūdra is prohibited from reading Vedas. That does not mean that reading of Vedic culture or Vedic knowledge is monopolized by a certain class of men. Not that. The idea is... Just like in our ordinary educational system, there is some prohibition that unless one is graduate, he cannot be admitted in the law college. That is not a prohibition; that is the necessary qualification to understand. Similarly, to understand the Vedas, the necessary qualification is that one must be a qualified brāhmaṇa.
Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 6.151-154 -- Gorakhpur, February 14, 1971: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is difficult to be approached by simple understanding of the Vedas. One has to become a devotee. Just like Bhagavad-gītā. It is simple. It is the entrance book for spiritual understanding. It is not very, I mean to say, highly theosophical or theological literature. That highly theological literature is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. So in the Bhagavad-gītā we get all information how Kṛṣṇa expands Himself.

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

Room Conversation with Sir Alistair Hardy -- July 21, 1973, London: Prabhupāda: Our Vedas are not meant for the cats and dogs. All śāstras and scriptures and Vedas, they are meant for human being. So if human being remains on cats and dogs, how he can understand? If he voluntarily remains like the cats and dogs, then how he can understand the Vedas or Bible or Koran? He cannot. Nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ [Bg. 7.25]. We have to become pure before understanding what is God. Therefore every civilized society has got a type of religion to become purified so that he can understand God. Without being purified, how it is possible? That is not possible. So at least these things should be accepted as they are in the Bible, "Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not covet." Illicit sex life, intoxication, and killing of animals. These are in the Bible. Why they are not accepted? This is not our impositions. This is already there.
Compiled byVisnu Murti + and Aparna +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryOctober 16, 0008 JL +
Date of last entryMarch 7, 0009 JL +
Total quotes14 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 2 +, SB: 1 +, CC: 2 +, OB: 2 +, Lec: 6 +, Conv: 1 + and Let: 0 +