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Revisiting the Vedas

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I’ve been reading the Vedas again recently for the first time in a very long time. The Vedas are not actually religious texts–they have a more humane perspective. There is no dogmatism. They are about the miracle of consciousness and the wonder of the phenomenal world, and the writers had a very refined and sophisticated perspective on their environment.

The Vedic peoples understood the complexity of their environment and the limitations of their senses. They grasped that a unifying element underlies all experience, and that everything is part of one pure being, a presence that pervaded them as well as the natural world. They appreciated that there are forms of life that are more subtle than our senses can perceive.

The Vedas mention a number of gods and goddesses. These gods and goddesses are not anything at all like our conception of God. They are a physical reality connected to daily experiences. They are all interconnected in the dynamic system that is the whole of reality. They arise and subside as an expression of pure being, which is the most refined expression of that dynamic system. The Vedic gods were not intended to be objects of worship in the way that we are used to worshipping. Instead, they were seen as beings with greater longevity and more power than we have.
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The people of the Vedas had a sensibility about the whole of reality and a humility in the face of its immensity. Unlike us, they did not attempt to quantify their experience. They didn’t consider it appropriate, because the universe was understood to be permeated with mystery that was indescribable and unfathomable. In their experience, the entire environment of the earth was alive.

The people in the time of the Vedas appreciated the vibrancy and the vitality and the vastness of the the abundance that is the essence of life. Having the experience of that abundance is something we should strive for, and you’ll read more about it in the next post.


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