Vedas are often confused as “religious scriptures” and are compared with that of Torah, Bible and Quran. That’s completely unwise – if you ask me. Vedas have never preached a religion as they’ve never divided people on any lines.
The Vedas have only elements, namely: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Space (nature). It teaches as well as presents ways to honor these elements and live in harmony with it. Vedas seek health, wealth and prosperity not just for those who follow them but to all and every living being.Vedas seek peace and compassion for peaceful coexistence and harmony of not just world but also the Cosmos. Everything they say is about peace, love and compassion.
The modern day religious people may say “be good to all” but whether they actually mean that is a matter of anyone’s guess. When you divide people and tell them you’re the “chosen one” as “you follow a particular faith” there’s nothing “whole” about them and they can seldom be called “holy”. (The word “holy” is derived from the word “Whole”.)
Even the modern day atheists (who, most of the time, are also hedonists and materialists) too do the same. They revere mostly their fellow atheists and condemn the rest branding them as if nincompoops. So what’s the key difference between theists and atheists then? Nothing much – actually. They both divide people, condemn those who don’t agree with them and even justify harsh words and cruel punishments on those who don’t agree to their set of ideas and ideals.
Vedas are in every ways beyond a religious theology or any other materialistic concepts. It is hard to define, with my limited understanding of the world, what Vedas actually are. Nevertheless, the following tale could give you some idea in this regard:
It is said that after a long and persistent insistence from his disciple a Vedic Rishi (sage) finally decided to show him [God of his choice] and said “Okay, let me know what type of God you are prepared to see.”
Perplexed, the student asked “Sir, are there many types of Gods?”
The question was responded with a question “What is your concept and definition of God? I’ll show you exactly according to your conviction and definition. Everyone wants to see God without having any firm conviction to God in their minds and hearts. If you are searching and are not firm and sure regarding the object of your search, what will you find? If I tell you that whatsoever you see is God, you are not going to be satisfied. If I say God is within you, still you won’t be satisfied. Suppose I show you God and you say, ‘No, that’s not God.’ What am I going to do then? So you tell me the way you think of God and I will produce that God for you.”
Profusely confused disciple replied “Wait a minute. Let me think.”
When after much time the disciple wasn’t able to come up with his description, the sage said “God is not within the range of your thinking. Go back to your meditation seat and when you are ready, let me know. Come to see me anytime you want after you have decided what type of God you want to see. I don’t lie – I’ll show you God.”
The student tried his best to imagine what God might be like, but his imagination could not go beyond the human form. His mind ranges over the kingdom of plants, then the kingdom of animals, then the human beings. Eventually he imagines a wise and handsome man, who is very strong and powerful. And he thinks, “God must look like this.” Eventually he realizes that he was making a foolish demand. What could he experience when he didn’t have a clarity of mind?
Finally, he goes to the sage and asks, “Sir show me that God who can free us from miseries, and who can give us happiness.”
The revered Sage replied, “It’s not God what you need to liberate yourself from miseries and dawn happiness in your life – but a state of equilibrium and tranquility which you must cultivate for yourself.”
Without having clarity of mind, it’ virtually impossible to see through the wisdom of the Vedas. Because a great many of Hindu “holy men” are bereft of such minds they only dawn the robe of saffron either to fool a bunch of nincompoops or with a desire to see God, as if groping in the dark.
Vedic literature tells the boundaries of human mind and that it can visualize only according to its limited resources. No human beings be they be “prophets”, “messiahs” or with any other tags have completely failed to explain God or conceive an idea of God mentally. A great many religious scriptures puts a barbwire around the mind of their followers and discourage them from asking all inconvenient (read intelligent) questions. They are rather assured of “heaven” (completely a human concept of a place of plenty) provided they follow specific rules or “commandments”. This is religion – a completely humanized institutional entity to swindle money from emotionally, rationally and mentally weak people in the name of something they’ll never understand – God. These religions can only give loose definitions like “God is truth”, “a fountain of love”, “absolute Reality”, or “the one who manifests this universe”. But these are only abstract ideas which makes no sense as to why does a God of such description want a Church, a Temple or a Synagogue? Or a Pandit, Priest, Rabbi or a Mullah to act as intermediary with God when they themselves know nothing about God? The religions are based on very feeble foundations which experiences severe tremors when even a sharp question is thrown at them – Religious Fundamentalism.
On the contrary atheists are another set of people who are now being increasingly institutionalized in a unique way. Many of modern atheists have come to believe that debunking other’s faith as their only objective and proving non existence of God with aid science as the ultimate path. Alas, even science has a lot many questions to answer before it can ever have that ability to get people out of the rut of religion(s). The fact that many a doctors still believe in faiths born before the advent of modern science show how strong and deeply rooted these faiths are. And because atheists seek confrontational routes they are often in troubles from faiths of various hues and colours.
The Vedas, the way I have come to understand, are neither theist nor atheist in nature. They are beyond the petty ideas that are born of hating, fearing or confused human mind.