~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

— Chapter Seven —

Criticizing the Vedic Scriptures

All glories to Srila Gadadhara Pandit, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Acarya, and to all the devotees of Lord Gauranga.

The Vedas are the only evidence

SRILA HARIDASA THAKURA said, "My Lord! To criticize the Vedic literature and other literatures in pursuance of the Vedic version is a serious offense that denies a person the ecstasy of pure devotion.

"The sruti-sastra (the Vedic literature), which includes the Upanisads, the Puranas and other corollary scriptures, has emanated from the Supreme Lord Krsna's own lips. This literature establishes and proves the spiritual truth. It contains transcendental knowledge that is beyond the range of the material senses, and this knowledge is understood by Lord Krsna's grace alone. The senses are capable of experiencing only material objects; transcendence lies beyond their bounds.

The science of Krsna consciousness is completely spiritual; hence it is transcendental. That knowledge of transcendence has been mercifully given by Lord Krsna in the Vedic literature for the ultimate benediction of humanity. The word veda actually refers to this spiritual knowledge as it is received in the proper authorized disciplic succession, or parampara.

"Human beings are born with four natural faults: they commit errors, they are subject to illusion, they have the propensity to cheat, and they have imperfect senses. Everything they do is tainted by these faults. Vedic literature is free from any mistakes or discrepancies; it is the only means to spiritual salvation. The transcendental Vedic knowledge was revealed by Lord Krsna and was afterward compiled by the sages. The sages received this knowledge in samadhi, or in total spiritual absorption.

Ten principal teachings of the Vedas

"The Vedic literature unequivocally teaches the rejection of both mundane fruitive activities (karma) and empirical speculative knowledge (jnana), and concludes that cultivation of pure devotion offers all perfection. The Lord Himself has repeatedly taught this, and has shown by His own example the way of pure devotion. In the Vedas there are ten principal instructions; the first is that the proof or basis of real knowledge is the Vedas, and the other nine are ascertained from the Vedas as the teachings that destroy nescience and establish true spiritual knowledge.

The first three teachings pertain to Krsna

"The first teaching explains that Hari, Krsna, is the only Supreme Absolute Truth. The second, that He is omnipotent; all energies are self-contained within Him. The third emphasizes that He is Rasamurti, the embodiment of all spiritual mellows. He is the source of bliss for all living entities and He eternally resides in His abode in the spiritual sky. These first three teachings pertain solely to the Supreme Lord, Krsna.

The second three teachings pertain to the jivas

"The fourth principle discusses how the jivas are the Lord's separated parts and parcels. The jivas comprise the innumerable living entities, all infinitesimal spiritual sparks. Jivas are of two types: eternally conditioned and eternally liberated; they populate both the material planets and the spiritual planets. The fifth principle points out how the conditioned soul is enamored by the glitter of maya's illusory potency. He has forgotten Krsna and remains eternally bound in this phenomenal world, enjoying and suffering material existence. The sixth principle is that the eternally liberated jivas or nitya-muktas are eternal associates of Lord Krsna. They reside in the spiritual world and enjoy spiritual loving relationship's. These three, then, are the teachings about the jivas found in the srutis.