If bhakti is the conclusion of the Vedas, shouldn;t the Vedas be filled with bhakti?
Transcription: Suresh Gupta
Editing: Sharan Shetty
Question: If bhakti is the conclusion of the Vedas, shouldn’t the Vedas be filled with bhakti?
Answer: There are three different things – Summary, Conclusion and the Essence. Summary is more like a briefly re-telling of what has been told. Certainly, bhakti is not a summary of the Vedas because the Vedas contain a variety of things. Usually, conclusion is thought of as something which is spoken at the end but that may not necessarily be a conclusion. When things are told in a sequence, there might be some concluding points but sometimes concluding points of the class may not be the most striking points. For example, speaker may tell some stories and then conclude the class. Now within the story some striking points may have been told and that might have an emphasis, however, that might not be repeated again in the conclusion. If there is an explicit call for action given at the end, then we can say it is a conclusion otherwise the conclusion does not necessarily come at the end. There is chronological conclusion which comes at the end but what is to be primarily told that may not come at the end, it may come somewhere in the middle also.
Now, essence means that which is the crux which the speaker wanted to speak.
To identify the essence is very difficult. Srila Jiva Gosvami in his sandarbhas takes a traditional tool which is called as taatparya linga where linga means “symbol” and taatparya means “meaning”. Therefore, taatparya linga means “markers of meaning” and he uses it to explain how one can know the meaning of a book. They are:
i. Upakrama – Beginning or commencement
ii. Upasamhara – Conclusion
iii. Abhyasa – That which is repeated, reiteration
iv. Apurvata – Uniqueness or novelty, special example not told anywhere else
v. Phala – Fruit that is promised
Srila Jiva Goswami says that by looking at these markers, we can understand what the essential message of a book is. He does an elaborate analysis in the sandarbhas and first talks of Srimad Bhagavtam as the essence of Vedas. He says Srimad Bhagavatam is sarva pramanam chakravarti (emperor of all evidences). After that he talks about how Srimad Bhagavatam’s conclusion is pure devotion to Krishna. He uses these five tools to explain this point.
Apart from these five tools, the essence is something which requires our thoughts to understand it and guidance to do it correctly. It may even require Lord Krishna’s mercy in terms of revelation. To understand the essence, we see it from the perspective of the author and the originator. The author of Vedas is Srila Vyasadeva. It is known that Vyasadeva put the entire Vedas in written form but at the end he was not satisfied by it (explained in Srimad Bhagavatam). Finally, when he compiled the Srimad Bhagavatam in written form, at that time he became satisfied (yayatma suprasidati). Therefore, from the author’s perspective, we see that the essence is pure devotion or bhakti. Ultimately, as Vedas are coming from God, that same Supreme Lord is speaking the Bhagavad-gita in which he says, sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja (BG 18.66). Apart from Srila Jiva Goswami’s sandarbhas there are many other perspectives pointing towards the same essence.
If we just go by the numerical quantity, we will not find that the Vedas talk so much about bhakti. However, the essence is not always to be understood through numerical count. There are different ways in which the essence can be understood and here the numerical count can be misleading. Vedas are also reflecting what they are fulfilling i.e. human desires which are mostly material. So, naturally Vedas talk about the material things. Thus, we can recognise from the author and the original source, what is the essential message. Although there are talks about karma kanda but one should go beyond as explained in BG 2.45, trai gunya visaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna (the Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes). That is the essence which Lord Krishna speaks. Bhakti and Krishna are essence not in the sense of numerical quantity but as the ultimate purpose.
End of transcription.