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Discussions on the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Please place practical questions under the Miscellaneous forum and set this aside for the more theoretical side of it.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism And Four Vedas - How are they related?

betal_nut - Thu, 20 May 2004 19:58:43 +0530
Does Gaudiya Vaishnavism have anything to do with the four vedas?
braja - Thu, 20 May 2004 20:17:45 +0530
Vaisnavas consider the Vedas to be a joke, following the spirit of their humorous god and his claim to be veda vitsi. Some go a step further and postulate that the Vedas were created to lighten the mood soon after the primeval "Um," muttered by god once he realized he was in over his head. Since that time, many have voted for a female god, but she wisely declined to take responsibility for the mess.
Madhava - Thu, 20 May 2004 20:32:29 +0530
user posted image

betal_nut - Thu, 20 May 2004 21:35:17 +0530
"Vedic" in the Terminology
of Prabhupada and His Followers

Rahul Peter Das

Part One

In this article Rahul Peter Das offers food for thought to devotees by his astute examination of their usage of the term "Vedic". Interestingly he follows his initial analysis of Prabhupada's usage by a comparative study of how Prabhupada's followers use the term. His analysis is also a useful gauge of the 'South Asian Studies' perspective on the use of the term "Vedic" in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition in general. While showing that Prabhupada, previous acaryas and contemporary Vaishnava scholars show a diverse usage of the term. Das concludes his paper with interesting observations on our lineage based on our perception of Vedic authority.

Rest to be found here;
braja - Thu, 20 May 2004 21:56:00 +0530
I just wish someone would let me in on the secret of the Sama Veda bhakta vrnda ki jaya thing. Although I said my allotted "ki jaya" in response--and on a good day I'd even draw out the "ki" part really long--I never once learnt a thing about the Sama Veda.

It's time someone asked the tough questions--Is there a secret society within ISKCON that studies the Sama Veda? Is it too rasik for the ordinary devotees? Are devotees visiting South India to find live connections? And is it time for an inane comments thread at GD?

(Sorry Betal, you get to spice up so many threads and I got jealous. I banish myself.)
Jagat - Thu, 20 May 2004 22:16:32 +0530
Sama Veda is one of those mispronunciations that had me thrown off for ages. It should be summuveta (samaveta), "assembled."
Elpis - Fri, 21 May 2004 01:20:22 +0530
QUOTE(betal_nut @ May 20 2004, 10:28 AM)
Does Gaudiya Vaishnavism have anything to do with the four vedas?

Most Hindu groups pay lip service to the vedas without ever reading them. JIva GosvAmin accepts the authority of the vedas, but then goes on to explain that they are inadequate in this day and age, ultimately directing his followers to the BhAgavata-purANa. Aside from a few verses cited here and there as well as the obligatory lip service, I would say that the vedas are quite irrelevant to the gauDIya tradition. Deity worship, for example, is not found in the vedas. The practice of invoking the presence of a god into a material form was performed in ancient times in Mesopotamia and Egypt (and it was also practiced by the Sabians later in time), and the Hindu practice of deity worship is probably derived from there (this is something that I would like to research more carefully at one point).

I spent some time studying Vedic Sanskrit and reading hymns from the Rg-veda. It is not easy at all. The language is archaic and many of the allusions in the hymns are difficult to understand, most of their original context being lost. Whereas classical Sanskrit generally shy away from using too many verbs, Vedic Sanskrit, like ancient Greek, loves verbs, and there are more verbal forms than in classical Sanskrit (and they can be quite complicated).

By the way, there exists a work entitled the Mantra-bhAgavata, a stringing together of verses from the Rg-veda that tells the story of the BhAgavata-purANa. As far as I know it has not been published, but a similar work, the Mantra-rAmAyaNa, has (I have seen the book).

Jagat - Fri, 21 May 2004 02:48:50 +0530
Sounds like quite the tour-de-force. We'll have to get that on the GGM sometime!
Jagat - Fri, 21 May 2004 02:57:02 +0530
Rahul Peter Das's article is a rather delicate criticism of Iskcon's use of the word "Vedic." ACBSP's loose usage as a substitute for "Hindu" is not confined to him, but is found in many Hindu circles. My personal opinion is that it is tied in with a generalized reluctance to identify as "Hindu," which predates the recrudescence of Hindu pride (which I personally would also want to dissociate myself from).

I believe that my article on Prabhupada's use of the word "Hindu" can be found on the same ICJ website. My conclusion was also understated, but it was that Prabhupada was pragmatic: Iskcon was Hindu if that was useful, not Hindu if it wasn't.

If Hindu meant a material designation, it was of course a philosophical error--but there are instances where getting recognition that Iskcon's foreign devotees were Hindus and eligible to enter "Hindu" temples like Jagannath, or where it meant political or financial support from Hindu organizations, then yeah, we're Hindus.

In the West, of course, we weren't Hindus. Why? Because we did not want to associate with all the anti-Hindu propaganda that had stuck--from suicidal Juggernauts, to suttee, to child widows, to caste ugliness, to India's famous poverty and disease. Who wants to be a Hindu? Not us! So, we are "Vedic," or "Sanatan Dharma."

This whole process started with the Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj.

It's a complicated issue, because there is a reasonable question about what the heck a Hindu is anyway. In Gaudiya Vaishnava texts like Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata, the word Hindu is used primarily by Muslim characters to describe what the Vaishnavas are up to.
Elpis - Fri, 21 May 2004 09:09:30 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ May 20 2004, 05:18 PM)
Sounds like quite the tour-de-force. We'll have to get that on the GGM sometime!

It would be a nice text to have available, yes. Another worthwhile text to incorporate is the RAma-kRSNa-viloma-kAvya. It was composed by SUrya, the son of JJAnarAja, an author that I am working with. When read the normal way, the story of RAma unfolds. But when read in the opposite direction (i.e. starting from the end of the text reading backwards), we get the story of KRSNa. Quite an amazing accomplishment!