|[Posted May 3, 2006]
Vedic Literatures: Fact or Mythology?
by Hansadutta das
Life Comes from Life
The Age of Modern Reason and Rise of Secularism: Avoidance of the Established Truth
Knowledge - Enlightenment
Vedas - Vedic Authority
It seems that with all the mythology and all the symbolism in the Vedas—
Hansadutta: It is not mythology or symbolism. It is fact.
Guest: The Maha Vishnu is not really lying in a giant ocean of milk!
Hansadutta: Why not? If we have an ocean of salt water and a sea of sweet water, why not an ocean of milk, an ocean of liquor or ocean of honey? We have an ocean of oil underground, and we have an ocean of salt water above ground.
Guest: I really find it hard to swallow that there is actually a huge ocean of milk.
Hansadutta: That's because you think of everything in terms of your own experience. Your experience is limited. You do not know what is happening on the moon, mars or any other planet or outside this universe. You think of everything in terms of your personal capacity, but you should examine your capacity and recognize your limitations. You are born from the womb. A chicken is born from an egg. A child asks, "Where did this shirt come from?" and we answer, "It came from this silk worm." The child then wonders, "How is that possible?" It is fact, but the child cannot comprehend it.
Guest: Most of the people who wrote the Vedas wrote poetically.
Hansadutta: Sanskrit language is so perfect that it comes out poetically. In the spiritual sky, all walking is dance, and all speech is song. The Sanskrit language is so perfect that it is poetic; one cannot express himself in any way other than in the most sublime meter and rhyme. Our language, on the other hand, is very gross, inaccurate, and practically like that of the animals. In English we say, "Far out", and that means one thing to you, another thing to him, and something else to someone else. Everyone has a different idea of its meaning. "Cool", "great" and "gee whiz" are practically meaningless terms, because they are so general. Sanskrit is a different kind of language. The word Sanskrit means purified, or perfect. To express one's self in Sanskrit requires intelligence, learning and training. Animals talk, but their language is very gross. Amongst human beings there are different languages, and the topmost language is Sanskrit, the language of the gods.
Whatever is written in the Vedic literatures is fact, not mythology. As soon as one accepts this point, everything will become clear. As long as one tries to impose a mythological interpretation on the statements of the Vedas, he will come out with mythological conclusions, or conclusions that he cannot believe.
Guest: You're saying that there is actually an ocean of milk?
Hansadutta: If the sun can float in the sky for hundreds and thousands of years, radiating so much energy, why can't there be an ocean of milk?
Guest: I'm an intellectual person. Not to brag, but I just happen to—
Hansadutta: It takes more than intellect to understand. Someone may say he is a physical person, but there is more beyond his muscle. There is a brain, and beyond the brain there is intellect and beyond even the intellect there is spirit. Intellect can take you only to the threshold of spirit.
Guest: There is such a thing as poetry, and poetry uses allegories or images to express certain feelings.
Hansadutta: Poetry is the perfection of speaking. For the most perfect philosophy, one has to have poetry.
Guest: When a poet describes something poetically, he is not expressing the thing itself, saying that it is an ocean of milk—
Hansadutta: Is there an ocean of salt water?
Hansadutta: There is also an ocean of sweet water. There are lakes that are several hundred miles long. Sweet water and salt water are distinctly different things, and there are completely different living creatures living in those waters. Similarly, there is an ocean of oil underground, and there is an ocean of air, in which this planet is floating. The Vedas describe the sky as an ocean of air, and the planets as islands.
We must understand things on principle. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill." Buddha said to practice ahimsa, or nonviolence. The Christians argue that "Thou shalt not kill" only means we should no murder human beings, leaving everyone else open to be killed. However, that is not the principle. The principle is not to kill, or as Buddha said, ahimsa, nonviolence. Do not inflict violence on anything, not even an insect.
There are oceans of different substances. There is even an ocean of radio waves. They are all around us, but we do not see or hear them. If we have a proper instrument, however, we can catch them. This material world is called the ocean of birth and death. We are struggling here, but we are all going to die. Why can't there be an ocean of milk? It is said that a human being eats with his mouth, and a tree eats with its feet. We are so conditioned to thinking in terms of our personal experience. A fish is living in the water, where he eats, sleeps and has sex, but we cannot live in the water. Moles and worms live underground. The Vedic literatures say that some living creatures even exist in fire. Someone may say, "I cannot imagine it—it is impossible." He may think like that, because it is not possible for him in his present condition to live in fire or to live underwater, but there are living creatures who do, because the life force is beyond the influence of matter. "The soul cannot be cut, wet, dried or blown away. Once having been, it never ceases to be." As soon as we allow our mind and intelligence to expand on the basis of philosophy, logic, reason and argument, we shall actually realize these things.