The Structure of the Veda

The Structure of the VedaImagine you are sitting in your home looking out the window. Further imagine that inside your home is the Transcendent… pure Knowledge… the four Vedas, the Mantras, Brahmanas, Upanishads, Aranikas. This is Shruti… Pure Knowledge… Apureshea, meaning not manmade, meaning not part of relative existence.

Outside the house is the field of relativity. The entire quest in relativity is to find your way back to the Transcendent, back inside the home. The aspects of the Veda outside the house are called Pureshea (manmade, meaning created in relativity).

The Upangas are the path back home as viewed from within the home, as if you are looking outside the window and observing people who are trying to find their way back home. You see the process they are going through—sort of like you are the understanding parent and they are the lost children. The Upangas culminate in Vedanta when the children finally realize they are the Transcendent, everything is the Transcendent, and the idea of the relative is maya, illusion.

Upavedas are the ‘lesser’ Vedas. Each Upaveda (in relativity, outside the home) corresponds to one of the four Vedas (in the Transcendent, inside the home). They include Ayur Veda, Sthapatya Veda, Gandharva Veda, and Dhanur Veda.

The Vedangas are the pursuit of the Transcendent from the perspective of the relative. It is the path home viewed in terms of being outside trying to find home. Vedangas are usually thought of in terms of grammar—the evolution of speech from fundamental sounds like “Ma” to the full mathematically precise articulation of (and mastery of the power and authority inherent in) the Veda. It culminates in Jyotish… finally seeing the Light.

Smriti is the gap between the relative and the Absolute. It is like the window panes of the home, and also the doorway between the inside and outside of the home. Smriti is memory. It is the memory of the Absolute, (i.e., the home) that keeps one connected with the Absolute (after they have gone into the relative, gone outside the home.)

Itihasa is the experience of Divinity as it enters into and experiences the relative. For example, the Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama’s experiences in the relative. Mahabharata is also Itihasa. Itihasa is the story of the wholeness of existence… the Brahmin value. It is the story of Divinity walking out through the gap (Smriti) as Divinity ventures into the relative… goes out the door of the home into what lies outside the home.

Puranas are the experience of going through the door from outside to inside the home.

There is, of course, much more to say about all of this, but this gives an overview to begin with.