What is “Vedic”? Is Krsna/Vishnu in the Veda?

Guru Six Goswamis - ISKCON desire tree 07
Self-Realized Guides - Six Goswamis

It is a fact that Vishnu (whom many Hindus and spiritualists claim is “The Supreme Personality of Godhead”) is of minor mention in the “Vedic” texts – if we consider “Vedic” to refer only to the literal words in the four books literally titled “Veda,” The Rg, Sama, Yajur, Atharva Veda.

There are also several other important facts. Ignorance of these important facts spells complete inability to truly grasp what “Vedic” really refers to, and what the conclusion of the “Vedic” knowledge is regarding divinity. Here are those facts:

a)      The Veda is never to be studied except under the guidance of a self-realized Guru. Otherwise the meaning is not clear. In previous aeons this was purposely done to prevent wicked people from gaining access to powerful knowledge. Thus Sanskrit texts contain millions of time more information than what is literally encoded into their syllables and lines. The “older” Sankrit texts, the four “Veda” named above, are especially impossible to correctly understand without a realized guide because they were written before the original authors fully realized the scarcity of intellect that would develop in the coming millennia of the Kali Aeon.

b)      Foreseeing the scarcity of self-realized guides in the coming aeon, ancient gurus tried to benefit modern seekers by recording their guidance in the form of commentary on the four Veda. These commentary are collected and named “Upanishada.” To claim that the Upanishada are not “Vedic” is fallacious; a part and parcel of the effort to understand the divinity without divine guidance. The Upanishads, in fact, are *more* Vedic than the four Veda because the Upanishada are the four Veda being explained to us by self-realized guides.

c)       The Upanishada, merciful as they are compared to the Veda, are still densely codified and terse in philosophical content. They require outstandingly serious discipline and self-purification to comprehend.  Foreseeing that the citizens of our modern age would have little interest or ability to be disciplined and pure, the primary author of the Veda decided to *illustrate* the most essential and important underlying teachings of the Upanishads (and thus the four Veda) by recording select historical tales. We have these tales preserved under the heading of “Purana” and “Itihasa.” If it is foolish to declare that the Upanishada are not Vedic, it is twice as foolish to say the same of the Purana and Itihasa. Nothing could deliver true Vedic wisdom to our modern hearts and minds more directly and appropriately than these exciting selected histories of self-realized souls, explained to us by self-realized souls, as illustrations of the true meanings and principles hidden from unguided eyes in the four Veda.

d)      Vyasa, the main Vedic author, was still unsatisfied with his efforts to preserve spiritual knowledge for humanity. He felt everything had become too voluminous and thus inconclusive. He therefore composed the Vedānta – which literally means “the End of the Veda” to succinctly summarize everything within the Veda, Upanishad and Purana into a single conclusive book.

e)      Having completed this task, Vyasa expected to feel happy and satisfied, but he was not. His own guru informed him of the reason: the Vedanta had again slanted towards the Upanishada in that it became too philosophically dense for the targeted audience of the modern world, it therefore lacked a delightfulness about it, which would attract the delight-starved souls of the material world to the all-delightful focal point of Vedanta: Ananda-moya Brahman, Svayam Bhagavan (The Supreme Personality of Godhead – the source of all delight). Therefore Vyasa composed his final work as an illumination on the inner purport of Vedanta. We have this effort preserved under the title Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Following the line of reasoning that the Upanishads are more “Vedic” than the Four Veda, because they are the Veda explained by self realized souls; we come to know that by the same token the Purana are even more “Vedic” than the Upanishada, because they explain the Vedic conclusion in a manner that we can most readily grasp. Still more “Vedic” than the Purana is the Vedānta Sūtra, but again more Vedic still – due to being the  direct and revealing illumination of the Vedānta – is the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The undeniable focal point of this work is Vishnu in his most hidden, secret, unknown, protected, intimate personal form as the reciprocater of reality’s most important feature: Love. The name of this core of all core forms of Vishnu is: “The All-Attractor” (Kṛṣṇa)

Of course not everyone will agree with this. After all, we all agree primarily only with our own bias. Who will not agree, then? Those whose bias is not in favor of the actual real existence of a personal Godhead who is more wonderously attractive and delightful than they could ever be. It is old news. According the cream of the Upanishads, Bhagavada-Gita, such persons adopt paths of empiric philosophy which take them up to the point of heavenly planets (the same planets so loudly lauded in the four Veda). It is not until these speculators of philosophy reach the total extinction of their own identity and ego (as is so loudly lauded in the Upanishada) that they will know any peace at all. After some time in an existence out of time, these dissolved entities will once again admit the kernel of their self-existence and thus fall once again into samsara. However, this time around there is the good opportunity for them to encounter the intimate lovers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Svayam Bhagavan Śrī Kṛṣṇa (who is so loudly lauded in the Srimad Bhagavatam). Thus they will turn their existence towards bliss and delight (rasa). As the Upanishada actually says, “Raso Vai Sah” – “The Personality of Godhead is Rasa/Delight, and delight is not truly known until one embraces the Personality of Godhead.”

Such persons fortify themselves with castle walls of “reasoning” that excludes the reasonable conclusion that they are individually and collectively unqualified to mine any true meaning from the four Veda without divine guidance; and that this guidance is by and large easily available to them in the form of the extensions of the four Veda: the Upanishad, Purana, Vedanta, and most of all the Srimad Bhagavatam. Their castle of ignorance is elaborately fortified and researched, but it is like a child playing King Arthur, ignoring that they are not really qualified to be a king in a castle in the first place.

Gopis searching for Krishna, Bhagavata Purana,...
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The Vedic literature is by no means limited to the four Veda. In fact, the Vedic literature is by no means limited in any fashion whatsoever. That being true, the body of literature continues to grow even today. Although the progress of the Age of Kali has made scarce any valid contributions to the Vedic corpus authored by truly realized souls, this particular cycle of Kali has a uniquely important avatara of Kṛṣṇa followed by an avatar of Rādhārāṇī as Śrī Caitanya. In the immediate wake of these two avataras, an “Indian Summer” of self-realization blossoms and great contributions have been made to the recorded body of Vedic knowledge. In particular, the immediate followers of Śrī Caitanya (Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana, Raghunātha dās, Raghunātha bhatta, Gopāl, and Jīva Goswāmīs) elaborated extensively and beautifully upon the Srimad Bhagavatam. Their followers have also made significant contributions. Those whose hearts have the incalculable fortune of being open to appreciating the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a real person who is fabulously delightful, important, and all-encompassing, such souls will avail themselves of these Vedic literature and attain a spiritual goal that the four original Vedas actually makes all efforts to *conceal* due to its precious rarity.


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