FROM THE VEDAS
Advice to graduates to carry Vedic values into their new life in the world is given in the Taittiriya Upanishad. It elicits rousing commentary from the great Swami Chinmayananda.
It is clear that the present world's tribute to the glory that was of India is not the compelling glory of some rare beings, mighty in their own perfections and glorious in their worlds, but it is the loving reverence that an age feels towards a past generation that knew how to live the right values of life and bring the entire generation to enjoy a greater quota of intellectual poise, mental stability, physical health, social happiness, communal growth and national well-being. In order to create such a consummate scheme of things around and about us, among a people, it must be the duty of the educationists to see that they impart to the growing generation not merely some factual knowledge or some wondrous theories, but they also must instill into the growing generation ideals of pure living and train the children to live those in their individual life.
This section gives twelve immortal ideas of living and rules of conduct and insists an equal number of times that the student should continue his study of the scriptures and propagation of the immortal ideas of his glorious culture among the people all through his life. To believe that the Hindus are not missionary in their zeal for the propagation of their ideas in the world is not to understand at all the spirit of Hinduism. Our present idea that the spread of our culture and free discussions on the scripture is the special right of a few and that it should be addressed to only a few specially selected individuals is an absurd notion which has not the sanction of the Rishis, especially in our age. Here we find that the brilliant students are repeatedly commissioned, with twelve repetitions in just one small verse, to continue their study (swadhyaya) and to be preachers (pravachanam) throughout their lifetime.
For this missionary work the Hindu Rishis saw no necessity for organizing a special class of teachers. It was made every householder's duty! The householder was not asked to sacrifice his duties. Instead, while emphasizing the need for pursuing his duties, he is asked to keep continuously in touch with the scriptures and to preach that same truth to others.
The great qualities insisted on are: the practice of what is right and proper as indicated in the scripture (ritham); living up to the ideals that have been intellectually comprehended (satyam); spirit of self-sacrifice and self-denial (tapas); control of the senses (dama); tranquillity of the mind (sama); maintenance of a charitable and ready kitchen at home in the Seva of all deserving hungry fellow beings (guests-athiti, agni); practice of concentration and ritualism through fire worship (agnihotra), one's duty towards humanity, children, grandchildren and society (manusham, prajaha, prajanaha, prajati).
In the close of the section, three great masters have been quoted who had in the past declared the most important of the above. The section reads as though it is a manifesto upon the Hindu way of living in which every Hindu, striving to live up to his or her sacred culture, is charged to live true to his or her own intellectual convictions (satyam), in a spirit of self-denial (tapas), the study of his sacred bible (swadhyaya) and the spread of his culture among the peoples of the world (pravachanam).
The practice of what is right and proper, along with studying the texts oneself and propagating the truths therein; 'Truth', regular studies and preaching; penance, study and preaching; control of the senses, study and preaching; tranquillity, study and preaching; the 'maintenance of fire,' study and preaching; offering to fires in fire sacrifice, study and preaching of the Vedas; serving the guests, study and preaching; the performance of duties towards man, study and preaching; duties towards children, study and teaching of Vedas; procreation, study and preaching; propagation of the race, study and preaching--all these are to be practised sincerely. ¦Satyavachas, son of Rathitara, declares truth alone. Thapanitya, son of Paurusishti, declares penance alone. Naka, son of Mudgala, holds to study and preaching alone. That is penance, indeed, that is penance.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Taittiriya Upanishad 1.9
Swami Chinmayananda (1917-1993), Vedantist writer, lecturer, translator, dynamic spiritual leader and Hindu renaissance founder of Chinmaya Mission International
The Vedas are the divinely revealed and most revered scriptures, sruti, of Hinduism, likened to the Torah (1,200 bce), Bible New Testament (100 ce), Koran (630 ce) or Zend Avesta (600 bce). Four in number, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva, the Vedas include over 100,000 verses. Oldest portions may date back as far as 6,000 bce.