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Is reading the Veda allowed?

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2/8/2019 5:49:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Swami replied:

The priests quote the above verse out of the fear that someone might read the Vedic hymns from a printed book and easily take away the money-offerings from the public that would have otherwise come to them. If that were to happen, All their hard work of memorization and the blind recitation of the Veda would go waste. Regarding the necessity of studying the meaning of the Veda, I have already quoted a number of authorities. On the other hand, You have quoted only the authority of this one verse discouraging the reading of the Veda from a printed book.

You will be surprised to know that the same priests who quote this verse, Also quote another verse which says the reverse. The other verse says that the priest shall recite the Veda only by reading from a printed book while doing the rituals after death, The annual ceremonies of departed souls etc. , Which are called aparam (Apare granthapāM89;hakaM17;). You see this practice even today among the priests.

Another point in the verse mentioned by you is that one should not sing the Veda (gītī). But this point fails since the Sāma Veda is always to be sung. It means that such instructions are not very strict and are subject to alteration. As you have correctly said, This point of not reading the Veda from written scripts (likhita pāM89;hakāM17;) applies to ancient times when printing technology was absent and writing on palm leaves was the only technology that existed. Hence, The word likhita means the writing by hand on palm leaves. Such hand-written scripts used to be extremely few in number due to the difficulties in writing on palm leaves. The technology to preserve these palm leaf scripts was also absent. So, The preservation of the Veda through blind recitation and passing it from one generation to the other was inevitable. But the sages did not stop with mere recitation. They proceeded to study the Vedas.

Today, Human longevity and health have diminished. Memorizing and learning to recite the Veda is time-consuming and it takes more than ten years. By this time, The person is already exhausted and he cannot spend another ten years-time to study the meaning of the Veda. Moreover, Now, The recitation is not even necessary since the Veda is well-printed and well-preserved. In view of the present situation, The more important point of studying the meaning of the Veda should be given priority compared to the point of blind recitation of the Veda. This is being said especially since the preservation of the Veda by recitation is serving no purpose when the Veda is already well-preserved by printing. Of course, There is some merit in memorization in that one can quote from the Veda without having to refer to a book. It makes a good impression on the public. But it is a very negligible advantage compared to being able to give a proper explanation of the meaning of the Veda.

Please follow the below link to listen the full podcast on the above topic.

https://youtu. Be/YApvN2SIjvU

posted by: surya (disciple of Swamiji)
YouTube Channel: Shri Datta Swami

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