By R. Narayanaswami

Understanding The Vedas


Writing a book on ‘Understanding the Vedas’ and doing it justice is without a doubt a challenging task due to the complex nature of the Vedas. While conscious of the challenges, I enjoyed writing this book for a few important reasons. The first and foremost reason to write the book was my deeper understanding over the years of the spirituality and wisdom in the Vedas due to my own Veda practice of 50+ years and additionally my research, study and teaching of Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and Bhagavad Gita. Along with my community involvement in our shared efforts to build and consecrate the Malibu Temple and along with Veda Circle members our organizing many sacred yajnas during the 40+ years in the Los Angeles area additionally strengthened my perspectives on the Vedas. Sharing these experiences of deeper understanding of the spirituality and wisdom in the Vedas and the karma aspects of temple worship and organizing and participating in various yajnas with Sanatana Dharma practitioners is the first and main reason to write this book. The second reason to write the book is closely tied to, but separate and distinct from, the first is that the conventional viewpoint of the Vedas as ritualistic and devoid of wisdom needs to be re-examined. The book explains in detail the spirituality and wisdom in the Vedas and positions the Vedas as texts of ‘Karma with spirituality and wisdom’. The third reason to write the book is to provide a historical timeline of the progress of the Vedas from its origin in the days of antiquity of 6,000 BCE or earlier to the present days of 2,020 CE and a detailed discussion of the development of the other scriptural texts like Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras etc. that evolved from the original Veda Samhitas. And the fourth reason was to provide a discussion of the Yajna practices of the present which would provide practical aspects of the Vedas to many dharmic followers. This book on ‘Understanding the Vedas’ addresses all of the aforementioned aspects.

This book is written in 2 parts. Part 1 of the book provides an overview of the Vedas including the definitions of the various terms used in the Vedas and discusses in six chapters the current understanding of the Vedas. Part 2 in 5 chapters explains the spirituality and wisdom in the Vedas propounded by Sri Aurobindo in the early 20th century and popularized by Professor R. L. Kashyap by translating all the Veda Mantras by the early 21st century. It is the author’s hope and expectation that all Sanatana Dharma followers and all those who want to understand the Vedas will benefit by reading this book.

– SAKSHI Trust, Bengaluru, will be publishing the paperback in India with scheduled release around mid-March 2021.
SAKSHI Trust contact details:
Address: #63, 13th Main, 4th Block East, Jaya Nagar, Bengaluru, India 560011. Tel: 080-22456315; Mobile:9008833886; 
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    SAKSHI is currently accepting pre-publication advance purchase orders from now until the book is released around mid-March, 2021. Price: Rs. 500.
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Regular price of book, from March 16 onwards, Rs. 700 + shipping costs (about Rs. 100) and paypal service fee at 5%
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Because Amazon USA has rights for sale of paperback in USA, SAKSHI Trust will only be able to fill orders for shipment to addresses in India only.

R. Narayanaswami

R. Narayanaswami was born and brought up in Tripunithura, Kerala State, India. After his B. Sc.(Engg.) degree from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, and M. Tech. from Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, and Ph. D. from the Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, he was selected for the prestigious National Science Foundation – National Research Council Fellowship to conduct post-Doctoral Research at the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia for 2 years. He spent a further 3-year period as a Research Scientist at NASA. He was founder-Chairman of couple of successful engineering software companies which were later sold to multi-national corporations. He is fully retired from professional work and presently lives in Westlake Village, CA. His interests on the Vedas grew since his Upanayanam ceremonies when he was eleven years old and has been a Veda practitioner since. He has served in different capacities in the education and dissemination of the Vedas in the Southern California area during the past 40+ years. His interests include reading, listening to music, writing of travelogues, lecturing on Vedic and philosophical texts and watching sports games of the NFL and NBA.

What they say


Prof. R. L. Kashyap, Vedanga Vidwan and Recipient of the Padma Shri Award; Hon. Dir., SAKSHI Trust, Bengaluru, India

The book, Understanding the Vedas, brings out the contributions of the Vedas to the developments of almost all scriptural texts of Sanatana Dharma and provides detailed discussions of those texts which will help the readers obtain a good overview of the Vedas. I have great pleasure to recommend this book.


Dr. H. R. Nagendra, Vedanta & Yoga expert and Recipient of the Padma Shri Award; Chancellor, SVYASA University, Bengaluru, India

The book, Understanding the Vedas, is a novel effort by an eminent scientist/engineer of NASA in Narayanaswami to usher in scientific fervor in the study of Vedas. The spiritual and psychological meanings of the Veda mantras for Vedic rituals formulated by Sri Aurobindo are brought out well in the author’s own words in an easy-to understand style in this book. The key point of the book is to establish continuity of Vedic Samhitas with scientific aspects of Sanatana Dharma of Uttara-Mimamsa, the Upanishads. This is an authentic book on Vedas and fulfils a necessity and need of the hour as a text book on the Vedas worth reading by Sanatana Dharma followers. I congratulate Dr. R. Narayanaswami for bringing out this wonderful book.


Sthaneshwar Timalsina, PhD., Professor, Dept. of Religious Studies, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

Understanding the Vedas by R. Narayanaswami offers an excellent introduction to Vedic Hinduism, one that addresses both literature and practice. Written primarily to educate the Dharma community about their Vedic heritage, the text introduces a wide range of topics such as yajna and samskara. Besides addressing the essentials of Vedic esotericism, the text contextualizes the classical literature by engaging contemporary approaches by Aurobindo and Kapali Shastri. This is a welcome volume for educating a broad audience on key Hindu beliefs and practices from an insider’s perspective.

B. N. Narahari Achar, Professor Emeritus, University of Memphis, Memphis TN USA & Author of the book, “Sri Krishna’s Diplomatic Mission and the DATE OF THE MAHABHARATA WAR”, 2017

“Understanding the Vedas” is a unique book in that it presents an integrated picture of the entire Veda vangmaya, combining the historical studies of the Vedas, study of the yajna, ‘journey’ which, for the Vedics formed the basis for success of the material prosperity on the one hand and the spiritual progress on the other to attain an all-round perfection, and the study of the spiritual meaning deeply embedded in the mantras. It links the approach of Sri Madhvacarya and Sri Raghavendra Swami, the approach of Maharshi Aurobindo and Sri Kapali Sastry to the seminal work of Professor Kashyap and explains the relevance of Vedas to modern life. It shows the modern student how to invoke the devas into his own life by chanting the Veda mantras, divinizing it and rising into higher levels of spirituality by aspiring for ‘truth, knowledge and Ananda’, even while pursuing his everyday profession or trade. Expressing the deep appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Narayanaswami for this book highlighting the spirituality and the wisdom of the Vedas


Acharya Prof. Dr. Yajneshwar S. Shastri, Vedic, Vedantic & Sanskrit Scholar and Former Vice Chancellor, Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India

This book, Understanding the Vedas, is really a handbook to understand the entire Vedic tradition because it provides detailed discussions and comprehensive analyses on almost all scriptural texts of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism. It will also be considered as a milestone in interpreting and understanding newer meanings of Vedic mantras. The author’s statement in the book that “the Veda Samhitas are spiritual documents that show a path to the inner life for all human beings to perform their karmas both professional and sacred karmas with increasing levels of perfection and to attain Immortality” is based on his life experience which brings authenticity to the present work. The book is unique and is an outstanding contribution to Vedic literature in modern times. It is certainly a worthwhile addition to the collection of books on the Vedas. I strongly recommend that this book must be read by all followers and lovers of Sanatana Dharma and get inspiration from it.