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.
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.
The Author and the Vedas
Absolutely delighted to hear that Dr. Narayanaswami has published a kindle book titled, “Understanding the Vedas”. There may be many people who embark on the study of Vedas, but very few who have the God gifted ability to grasp, in depth, the Wisdom therein. Even amongst these few, are a rare breed of blessed souls who have the clarity and the ability to go beyond learning and have the additional ability to articulate and teach. Dr. Narayanaswami is amongst these rare people and I consider myself and all prospective readers of this book lucky to be able to get his thoughts and learnings that would otherwise perhaps be out of my reach and perhaps out of the reach of many readers. I thank him for this effort and truly look forward to reading this book.