World Vedic Heritage: A History of Histories by P.N. Oak
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Home > VEDIC > The Vedas

[Posted 9 September 2006]

The Vedas

Excerpt from chapter entitled "The Vedas"

P.N. Oak

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Western Scholars

We may summarize the attempts made by several scholars to fix the age of the Vedas. Maxmueller, the doyen of the Wester school, whose faulty assumptions are being blindly followed by the West-dominated academic world of today, based all his calculations on the then prevalent blundersome assumption that the world was created in 4004 B.C. His next faulty assumption was that the Vedas are a Brahminical work, and the Brahmans were some arrogant, domineering, exclusive, discriminatory community. Maxmueller's third mistaken notion was that Buddhism was a revolt against Brahmanism. Maxmueller's fourth mistake was to believe that the Buddha lived in the 6th century B.C. In our book titled SOME BLUNDERS OF INDIAN HISTORICAL RESEARCH, we have devoted a special chapter to point out that the Buddha lived in the 19th century B.C. Maxmueller's fifth blunder was to assume that the whole range of Vedic literature was composed by some rustic individuals in the following order one after the other, like a busy publishing house, viz. the Rigved, Yajurved, Samaved, Atharvaved, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads in a continuous long trail from about 1200 B.C. to the 6th century B.C., just in time for the Buddha to be born at the time of the completion of that literary series to revolt against it all in great disgust.

It is a pity that all the above blundersome assumptions form the bedrock of tuition conducted all over the West-dominated academic system throughout the world.

It is as wrong to describe Vedic culture as Brahmanism as it is to describe the modern educational system as professorism because professors exercise authority. Vedic culture was a four-fold system in which all its four components had their duties, functions and standards of behaviour properly demarcated.

It is also wrong to look upon the Buddha as a rebel. Buddha was a devoted follower of Vedic culture. He abandoned his princely status and took to monkhood only because his mind had lost interest in palace luxuries and not because he detested Vedic culture.

Considering the above series of Maxmueller's faulty assumptions, his dating of the Vedas at 1200 B.C. at the earliest deserves to be discarded.

Two other Western scholars, Whitney and Winternitz, have condemned Maxmueller's loose logic and have castigated other scholars who lauded Maxmueller's surmises as scientific deductions. Dr. Winternitz pointed out that the style of language takes as many as a thousand years to change and not just 200 as assumed by Maxmueller. Consequently, Maxmueller's estimate of the antiquity of the Vedas amounted to an undervaluation.

Dr. Howe assumes the various stages of Vedic literature, as fancied by Maxmueller, to be right, but allows a gap of 500 years (instead of 200 a la Maxmueller), and concludes that the entire range of Vedic literature was composed by some individuals around 2400 and 2000 B.C.

Vedic Language Remains Unchanged

But it needs to be pointed out to scholars of the above line of thinking tha the whole basic idea in reciting the Vedas verbatim from generation to generation with meticulous emphasix on the intonation of every syllable and a careful mathematical count of the letters involved is to ensure that the pristine purity of Vedic wording may remain undefiled throughout the ages. Added to this, when one considers that the Rigved, Yajurved, Samved and Atharvaved constitute by one composite work, it is wrong to judge them as having been composed at different periods of time by some individuals. Vedic recitation tradition proves that Vedic wording has remained unchanged and that it continues to retain its purity as it was at the time of creation.

Trying to determine the age of the Vedas from their language is highly unjustified when it is realized that even in physical science date estimates of different scientists are at great variance from oen another. Thus, for instance, according to various geologists, 20,000 to 80,000 years have elapsed since the close of the last glacial epoch. Yet another scientist, Avinash Chandra Das, has presented two different estimates in two editions of the same book. In one edition he asserts that the territory of Rajasthan was under the sea 60,000 years ago, while in another he says it was only 27,000 years ago. Considering such uncertainties even in physical sciences, a philological dating of the Vedas does not deserve any serious consideration. Moreover, it must be realized that Vedic language being neither mundane nor human, measuring its antiquity by human philological conjectures is highly improper.

Estimate of Vedic Antiquity

Summarizing some representative estimates of the date of the Vedas, a Vedic scholar—the late Balasaheb Hardas of Nagpur—pointed out in a public lecture series in the 1950's in Pune that Pundit Patankar of Rajapur believed the Vedas to be 21,000 years ancient on the basis of astronomy.

Another scholar, Mr. Lele, put the figure at 40,000 years.

Pundit Sudhakar Dwivedi estimates the Vedas to be 54,000 years ancient.

Pundit Krishnashastri Godbole added another 18,000 years to that figure.

Another scholar, Pundit Dinanath Chulet, believed the age of the Vedas to be 1,500,000 years.

Yet another scholar, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj organization, basing his calculation on the Yuga computation of the Vedic almanac, concluded that the Vedas were obtained over 1,960 million years ago.

All the spiralling speculations mentioned above seem to confirm the traditional view that the Vedas were conferred on humanity by divinity at the start of the universe. And that was millions and millions of years ago.

Readers who shudder to think in terms of millons of years of antiquity may, perhaps at the very least, concede that the Vedas are of immeasurable antiquity.

All the representative views mentioned above have generally banked on philological, geological or astronomical data to arrive at the date of the Vedas.

P.N. Oak
P. N. Oak (1917 - )

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