• Overview,  Religion

    The Meaning of Yajña

    In practically all Vedic texts a concept called yajña is employed, which is loosely translated as a “sacrifice” and the performance of the yajña is said to be the means to advance spiritually. For most people, yajña is understood as a fire lit in a pot into which food grains are offered with a mantra. While this is by no means an aberration, it is not the only sense in which the term yajña is used. For example, the Bhagavad-Gita (BG) describes how the processes of Aśtanga-Yoga and Jnana-Yoga are also yajña. Then we have terms such as Sankīrtana-yajña which seem to have nothing in common with a fire sacrifice,…

  • Psychology,  Religion

    The Freudian vs. the Vedic Unconscious

    The initial thesis of Freudian psychoanalysis and that of Vedic philosophy are similar—namely, that our surface behaviors are the result of a deeper “unconscious” reality. The person in both cases is described hierarchically—e.g. as an iceberg, with only the tip visible, while most of its reality is invisible. Nevertheless, there are numerous differences in the process of how the unconscious is created—the process is repression in Freudian theory and it is expression in Vedic philosophy. But the biggest difference lies in their description of fear and desire. In Freudian theory, desire is internal and fear is external. In Vedic philosophy, fear is even deeper than desire, and causes that desire. In other…

  • Education

    Vedic Knowledge and Modern Education

    Vedic knowledge was previously imparted in a systematic manner, covering spirituality, social roles and responsibilities, as well as vocational education on a person’s role in society. For example, Mahabharata describes how the Pāndava and the Kaurava were sent for education to Dronacharya where they were taught spiritual topics, their duties as kings, and the science of warfare and weaponry. This principle—i.e. spirituality, duties, and vocation—still holds good. However, much by way of duties and vocations has now changed. This post argues that the traditional Gurukula system—with its rigorous emphasis on the chanting of Vedic mantra, the performance of yajña, and the rigorous mastering of Sanskrit to interpret the Sanskrit texts—is…