For Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism, Vedas are most important texts, all out texts say Vedas are most Important.But when we see translation of Vedas many if us do not like them.
Why even prominent scholars of sanskrit fail to understand Vedas? Why Vedas need so much explanation? Let’s see.
First, vedas are written in Vedic sanskrit using Yaugica which is different from normal or Laukik Sanskrit. How is it different?
The main difference is lack of Nouns, yes Vedic sanskrit do not have Nouns, each and every term has a meaning. For example, “Shiva” we take it as a Noun but it means “One who benefits all”
Ancient text of Nirukta and most prominent explanation of Vedas by Yaska clearly says all terms are Yaugika in 4th section of chapter 1.
Let me explain using a simple example of Yaugika term
Word “Bhaskar” is translated as “Sun” It actually means “One That emit light” So technically anything that emit light can be called Bhaskar.
But if I say I have Bhaskar Inside my house. If you take meaning as Sun you will call me an idiot. Technically Bulb inside my house can also be called Bhaskar.
This is the reason why translations by Western scholars have been so wrong, let’s see and example of Max Muller –
Max Muller “discovered” story of “Shuneh Shep” in Rig veda, If he had read Nirukta he would not have made that mistake, Shuneh means Knowledge, Shhepa means contact, so Shuneh shepa means one who is touched by knowledge.
There is no Story of Shuneh Shepa here as mentioned by Max Muller.
So how to understand Vedas? First Ashtadhyayi of Panini and its explanation in Mahabhashya of Patanjali is most important, meaning of word is derived through grammatically understanding the terms.
Sanskrit has around 2000 roots with which can be used to generate more than a million words. Roots with a prefix and suffix make a word.
Then Nighantu and Nirukta tells what meaning is to be taken of a word in Vedas, this is important and many scholars fail to study these before translating Vedas causing errors in translations.
Even Max Muller accepted that names in Vedas are fluid and not rigid. So all stories of people derived from Vedas or geographical terms found in Vedas are results of wrong translations.
Vedas have two type of mantras one are technical in nature and others are simple, western scholars like Max muller divided Vedas on basis of these 2 types and declared technical part was added later.
Which is wrong and it simply shows their lack of understanding of Vedas, even today many so called scholars peddle same lies.
So now it’s clear that Vedas have Yaugika terms and their meanings are derived from Grammar and Nirukta. Further meaning is clarified by Brahmana and Aryanaka texts and Upnishads.
Let me show it with a few examples.
We have read about Ashvamedha in Vedas translated as “Horse sacrifice” but Shatpath Brahman says “राष्ट्रं वा अश्वमेध” meaning Expansion of nation is called Ashvamedha, there is no sacrifice of horse.
But Later some people began translating Ashvamedha as Horse sacrifice and even added stories related to it in some other texts.
Another example- there is a mantra in Atharva Veda which says “Prithvi Asthat” it is translated as Earth is still, but it actually means Earth is stable. Simply ignoring the true meaning by translators.
Some people ask about names of people and places in Vedas, the answer is simple, the names were given after Vedas. For example my name is Atharva, can I claim Atharva Veda is about me?
Ganga, Yamuna etc names in Vedas are not of rivers but names of those rivers were kept after Vedic terms. Ganga means one that flows with speed, In Vedas it is used for Arteries in Body,
ancient Rishis named the river Ganga after the term from Vedas. A few more examples – Ahilya means Night and not name of a person. Vishnu means Omnipresent Gautama means one who praises Vashishtha means one who establishes
Vishwamitra means friend of world. Agni means one that propels Indra means Powerful/ wealthy Pita – One who protects and sustains Mata – who want benefit of Putra
From these examples it is clear how terms of Vedas work, great sages took these beautiful words from Vedas and named people, places and things.
Now let’s see another important thing about Vedas, it has metaphors or “Alankaras”. I will further elaborate on types if Alankaras-
Upma Alankara – “He is Brave like a Tiger”
Rupaka Alankara- “Sunlight Pierced the sky”
Shlesha Alankara- when one word have many meanings. “Navkambal” it can mean new blanket or 9 blankets.
Another thing is Devta each and every mantra has a devta which is “Topic” of mantra as mentioned in Nirukta, western scholars translated it as God to which mantra is dedicated promptly ignoring what Nirukta ans other texts say about it.
Next every Mantra has a Chhanda, It helps to derive the meaning of the mantra, then there are 3 Swaras in mantras Swaras also give meaning to these mantras.
So same mantra can have different meanings if Devta and swara on some terms of mantra is different from another. Samveda has many mantra same as Rigveda but with different meanings.
Combination of these Alankaras with Yaugika terms, devta and swaras give such depths to Vedic knowledge that people can spend their whole lives exploring these depths but still can’t find the end of it.
So in conclusion to really understand Vedas one must know sanskrit grammar fully and must understand vedic sanskrit, know how to derive meaning of Yaugika terms and what explanations has been done by Rishis.
I urge the readers to read Vedas with these things in mind and do not believe in any random translations they find on Internet, even many scholars in normal sanskrit fail to understand Vedic Sanskrit.