Principles of the Vedas

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 13 - 18

Without following the principles of the scriptures, one cannot elevate himself to the perfectional stage. One who actually, therefore, understands the purport of the śāstras is considered fortunate.
BG 16.24, Purport:

As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Kṛṣṇa. If one understands Kṛṣṇa from the Bhagavad-gītā and becomes situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, engaging himself in devotional service, he has reached the highest perfection of knowledge offered by the Vedic literature. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu made this process very easy: He asked people simply to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord and eat the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Deity. One who is directly engaged in all these devotional activities is to be understood as having studied all Vedic literature. He has come to the conclusion perfectly. Of course, for the ordinary persons who are not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness or who are not engaged in devotional service, what is to be done and what is not to be done must be decided by the injunctions of the Vedas. One should act accordingly, without argument. That is called following the principles of śāstra, or scripture. Śāstra is without the four principal defects that are visible in the conditioned soul: imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned. These four principal defects in conditioned life disqualify one from putting forth rules and regulations. Therefore, the rules and regulations as described in the śāstra—being above these defects—are accepted without alteration by all great saints, ācāryas and great souls.

In India there are many parties of spiritual understanding, generally classified as two: the impersonalist and the personalist. Both of them, however, lead their lives according to the principles of the Vedas. Without following the principles of the scriptures, one cannot elevate himself to the perfectional stage. One who actually, therefore, understands the purport of the śāstras is considered fortunate.In human society, aversion to the principles of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of all falldowns. That is the greatest offense of human life. Therefore, māyā, the material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always giving us trouble in the shape of the threefold miseries.

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

Lord Buddha preached the preliminary principles of the Vedas in a manner suitable for the time being to establish the authority of the Vedas.
SB 1.3.24, Purport:

Technically Lord Buddha's philosophy is called atheistic because there is no acceptance of the Supreme Lord and because that system of philosophy denied the authority of the Vedas. But that is an act of camouflage by the Lord. Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Godhead. As such, he is the original propounder of Vedic knowledge. He therefore cannot reject Vedic philosophy. But he rejected it outwardly because the sura-dviṣa, or the demons who are always envious of the devotees of Godhead, try to support cow-killing or animal-killing from the pages of the Vedas, and this is now being done by the modernized sannyāsīs. Lord Buddha had to reject the authority of the Vedas altogether. This is simply technical, and had it not been so he would not have been so accepted as the incarnation of Godhead. Nor would he have been worshiped in the transcendental songs of the poet Jayadeva, who is a Vaiṣṇava ācārya. Lord Buddha preached the preliminary principles of the Vedas in a manner suitable for the time being (and so also did Śaṅkarācārya) to establish the authority of the Vedas. Therefore both Lord Buddha and Ācārya Śaṅkara paved the path of theism, and Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, specifically Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, led the people on the path towards a realization of going back to Godhead.

SB Canto 2

The impious and the nondevotees are against the principles of the Vedas, and so such persons are always hampered from making advances in their nefarious activities.
SB 2.4.13, Purport:

The devotees, who are aware of His transcendental form, render Him service; therefore the Lord also reciprocates by His causeless mercy and thus delivers His devotees from all distresses. The pious men who follow the rulings of the Vedas are also dear to Him, and therefore the pious men of this world are also protected by Him. The impious and the nondevotees are against the principles of the Vedas, and so such persons are always hampered from making advances in their nefarious activities. Some of them, who are specially favored by the Lord, are killed by Him personally, as in the cases of Rāvaṇa, Hiraṇyakaśipu and Kaṁsa, and thus such demons get salvation and are thereby checked from further progress in their demoniac activities. Just like a kind father, either in His favor upon the devotees or His punishment of the demons He is ever kind to everyone because He is the complete existence for all individual existence.

SB Canto 4

The Vedic religion or the principles of the Vedas have been followed by the highly cultured population of India since time immemorial.
SB 4.2.31, Purport:

In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is established, tene brahma hṛdā: the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, instructed Brahmā in the Vedic knowledge through his heart. Therefore the evidence that Vedic knowledge is free from the defects of mistakes, illusions, cheating and imperfection is that it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Janārdana, and has thus been followed from time immemorial, beginning from Brahmā. The Vedic religion or the principles of the Vedas have been followed by the highly cultured population of India since time immemorial; no one can trace out the history of Vedic religion. Therefore it is sanātana, and any blasphemy against the Vedas is calculated to be atheism. The Vedas are described as setu, which means "a bridge." If one wants to attain his spiritual existence, one has to cross an ocean of nescience. The Vedas are the bridge by which to cross such a great ocean.

SB 4.2.32, Translation:

By blaspheming the principles of the Vedas, which are the pure and supreme path of the saintly persons, certainly you followers of Bhūtapati, Lord Śiva, will descend to the standard of atheism without a doubt.

SB Canto 5

The misguided conditioned soul approaches so-called sādhus and svāmīs who preach against the principles of the Vedas.
SB 5.14.13, Purport:

Sometimes, to mitigate distresses in this forest of the material world, the conditioned soul receives cheap blessings from atheists. He then loses all intelligence in their association. This is exactly like jumping in a shallow river. As a result one simply breaks his head. He is not able to mitigate his sufferings from the heat, and in both ways he suffers. The misguided conditioned soul also approaches so-called sādhus and svāmīs who preach against the principles of the Vedas. He does not receive benefit from them, either in the present or in the future."

SB Canto 7

A new type of religion created by one who is falsely proud and who opposes the principles of the Vedas is called upadharma.
SB 7.15.13, Purport:

Religious principles that obstruct one from following his own religion are called vidharma. Religious principles introduced by others are called para-dharma. A new type of religion created by one who is falsely proud and who opposes the principles of the Vedas is called upadharma. And interpretation by one's jugglery of words is called chala-dharma."

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

"Any impersonal speculative presentation should be understood to be against the principles of the Vedas, or standard scriptures."
CC Adi 6.14-15, Purport:

"A Vedic injunction states, sarve vedā yat padam āmananti (Kaṭha Up. 1.2.15): all Vedic knowledge is searching after the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, another Vedic injunction states, nārāyaṇa-parā vedāḥ: the Vedas are meant for understanding Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Lord. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gītā also confirms, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: (BG 15.15) by all the Vedas, Kṛṣṇa is to be known. Therefore, the main purpose of understanding the Vedas, performing Vedic sacrifices and speculating on the Vedānta-sūtra is to understand Kṛṣṇa. Accepting the impersonalist view of voidness or the nonexistence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead negates all study of the Vedas. Impersonal speculation aims at disproving the conclusion of the Vedas. Therefore any impersonal speculative presentation should be understood to be against the principles of the Vedas, or standard scriptures. Since the speculation of the impersonalists does not follow the principles of the Vedas, their conclusion must be considered to be against the Vedic principles. Anything not supported by the Vedic principles must be considered imaginary and lacking in standard proof. Therefore no impersonalist explanation of any Vedic literature can be accepted."

CC Madhya-lila

According to the strict principles of the Vedas, the highest attainment is to rise to the platform of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam, hearing and chanting about the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
CC Madhya 9.261, Purport:

Everyone is after success in religion, economic development, sense gratification and ultimately merging into the existence of Brahman. These are the general practices of the common man, but according to the strict principles of the Vedas, the highest attainment is to rise to the platform of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam (SB 7.5.23), hearing and chanting about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2):

dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śiva-daṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt

"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Śrī Vyāsadeva, is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart." This verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam rejects as cheating processes all religious activities that aim at achieving materialistic goals, including dharma, artha, kāma and even mokṣa, or liberation.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Light of the Bhagavata

Light of the Bhagavata 20, Translation:

Fierce torrents of rain break over the strands and the partition walls of the paddy field. These disturbances resemble those created by the seasonal opponents of the standard principles of the Vedas, who are influenced by the age of Kali.

Sri Isopanisad

As soon as fruitive activities even slightly deviate from the regulative principles of the Vedas, they are transformed into vikarma, or acts against the interest of the actor.
Sri Isopanisad 18, Purport:

By surrendering to the Lord and praying for His causeless mercy, the devotee can progress on the path of complete self-realization. The Lord is addressed as fire because He can burn anything into ashes, including the sins of the surrendered soul. As described in the previous mantras, the real or ultimate aspect of the Absolute is His feature as the Personality of Godhead, and His impersonal brahmajyoti feature is a dazzling covering over His face. Fruitive activities, or the karma-kāṇḍa path of self-realization, is the lowest stage in this endeavor. As soon as such activities even slightly deviate from the regulative principles of the Vedas, they are transformed into vikarma, or acts against the interest of the actor. Such vikarma is enacted by the illusioned living entity simply for sense gratification, and thus such activities become hindrances on the path of self-realization.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

We must follow strictly the principles of Vedas as it is described in the Bhagavad-gītā to establish Vedic civilization.
Lecture on BG 2.2-6 -- Ahmedabad, December 11, 1972:

Actually if we want to establish Vedic civilization, then we must follow strictly the principles of Vedas as it is described in the Bhagavad-gītā. And if it is practiced, then daiva-varṇāśrama-dharma. That is required. Daiva-varṇāśrama-dharma. There must be the four divisions. Just like we have got four divisions in our body: the head division, the arm division, the belly division, and the leg division. The leg division is the śūdra, the belly division is the vaiśya, and the arm division is the kṣatriya, and the head division is the brāhmaṇa. So these divisions are now lost. Actually, there is no kṣatriya, no brāhmaṇa. Maybe there are some vaiśyas and śūdras. So suppose if your whole body there is only belly and leg, then what is the body? If you have no head and no arm, then how it is? What kind of body it is? So therefore, in the social order of the present day, there is no brāhmaṇa, no kṣatriya. Only there are some few vaiśyas and śūdras. So therefore there is chaos all over the world. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for creating some real brāhmaṇa. At least, there may be head. They are all mad after the influence of the material energy. So there is need of some brāhmaṇa who can give advice to the people how to live, how to become God conscious, how to become happy. There is great need of this movement. Simply so-called classless society will not help us. That is not Vedic civilization.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Atheist means one who does not follow the principles of Veda.
Lecture on SB 1.3.24 -- Los Angeles, September 29, 1972:

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu has explained this Buddha religion. Veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta' nāstika. Because nāstika means, atheist means one who does not follow the principles of Veda. That is the, in every religion there is such restriction. Just like Christian religion. One who does not believe in Christianity, they are called heathens. Similarly, in Muhammadan religion also, one who does not believe in the Muhammadan religion, they are called kafirs. So everyone has got manufactured some word. But so far our religion is concerned, we accept anyone, either he is a kafir or he is a heathen or he is a Hindu or Muslim or..., because Kṛṣṇa is for everyone. But here, Lord Buddha also, he is also for everyone. But he wanted to cheat, sura-dviṣām, sammohāya. Sammohāya, the sura-dviṣām, means those who are envious of the devotees, atheist class of men, just to cheat them. But when Kṛṣṇa or God cheats, that is also for the welfare of the people. So he wanted to stop animal-killing.

Our whole Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is following strictly the principles of Vedas, the principles laid down by great authorities, and if we accept them, then we'll get the required perfection of life.
Lecture on SB 5.5.2 -- Boston, April 28, 1969:

So our whole Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is targeting to that eternal brahma-saukhya, or the unlimited, great happiness. And for that, we have to prepare in this life by following a simple method, a regulative method of austerities. So this lecture I began in Buffalo, and I am continuing that. So my request is that... We have got many centers. This is also center, one of the centers. We are not meant for giving you any bluff, that "You give me some fee," or "I shall give you some mantra, and whatever you like you can do, and if you meditate or do that, then you'll become one with God." These things are not our business. We are following strictly the principles of Vedas, the principles laid down by great authorities, and if we accept them, then we'll get the required perfection of life. And they are not very difficult. They are not very difficult. Just like our process is simply to chant. Simply by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, gradually you'll develop your spiritual life without any pain.

Initiation Lectures

If one does not follow the principles of Vedas but poses himself as devotee of Kṛṣṇa, he is a disturbance to the society.
Brahmana Initiation Lecture with Professor O'Connell -- Boston, May 6, 1968, (Glenville Ave. Temple):

If one poses himself a great devotee, but does not follow the principles of śruti, smṛti, purāṇa, and Nārada-pañcarātra, and the rules and regulation thereof, then his presentation as great devotee is simply disturbance. According to this Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and according to the direction of the Gosvāmīs in the Lord Caitanya's line, if one does not follow the principles of Vedas, principles of the smṛti or corollaries, Vedic literature... Just like Bhagavad-gītā is called smṛtiand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Mahā-purāṇa. So śruti, smṛti, purāṇādi (Brs. 1.2.101), and pāñcarātriki-vidhim, Nārada-pañcarātra. Without following the rules and regulation of these scriptures, if one poses himself as devotee of Kṛṣṇa, aikāntikī harer bhaktiḥ-harer means Lord, bhakti, devotional service—he is a disturbance to the society.

General Lectures

We are simply preaching the authorized principles of the Vedas, and we request you all to accept it, not blindly, but with all your reason and intelligence.
Pandal Lecture -- Bombay, March 31, 1971:

So everywhere the same instruction is there, that "You approach a person who is coming in disciplic succession," evaṁ paramparā-prāptam (BG 4.2), "and try to learn Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Your life will be sublime. Your life will be successful." That is our mission. We have given so many important books. We have got magazines. If you want to understand through intelligence and philosophy, we have got volumes of books we can deliver. You try to understand. If you simply read our book Kṛṣṇa in two parts, I am sure you will become Kṛṣṇa conscious, undoubtedly. Or if you feel that you cannot read or you have no money to purchase book, never mind. Lord Caitanya has given you very simple path: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. If you chant this mantra with faith and devotion, without any offense, but simply by chanting you will realize yourself, you will realize God, Kṛṣṇa, and your life will be successful. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam (CC Antya 20.12). These are the statements of Vedic literature. Simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, one can cleanse his heart of all the dirty things. And as soon as the dirty things are moved, then you become liberated. Bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. Immediately the blazing fire of material existence is extinguished.

These are the processes recommended in the Vedas. We are simply preaching the authorized principles of the Vedas, and we request you all to accept it. Not accept it blindly, but take it with all your reason and intelligence.

Compiled bySharmila +, Jayaram + and Labangalatika +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryDecember 23, 0008 JL +
Date of last entryJuly 28, 0010 JL +
Total quotes16 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 1 +, SB: 6 +, CC: 2 +, OB: 2 +, Lec: 5 +, Conv: 0 + and Let: 0 +