yavan artha uda-pane
tavan sarvesu vedesu
All purposes served by a small well can at once be served by a great reservoir of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.
The rituals and sacriﬁces mentioned in the karma-kanda division of the Vedic literature are meant to encourage gradual development of self-realization. And the purpose of self-realization is clearly stated in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita (15.15): the purpose of studying the Vedas is to know Lord Krsna, the primeval cause of everything. So, self-realization means understanding Krsna and one’s eternal relationship with Him. The relationship of the living entities with Krsna is also mentioned in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (15.7). The living entities are parts and parcels of Krsna; therefore, revival of Krsna consciousness by the individual living entity is the highest perfectional stage of Vedic knowledge. This is conﬁrmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7) as follows:
aho bata sva-paco ’to gariyan
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
“O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a candala [dog-eater], is situated on the highest platform of self-realization. Such a person must have performed all kinds of penances and sacriﬁces according to Vedic rituals and studied the Vedic literatures many, many times after taking his bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Such a person is considered to be the best of the Aryan family.”
So one must be intelligent enough to understand the purpose of the Vedas, without being attached to the rituals only, and must not desire to be elevated to the heavenly kingdoms for a better quality of sense gratiﬁcation. It is not possible for the common man in this age to follow all the rules and regulations of the Vedic rituals, nor is it possible to study all of the Vedanta and the Upanisads thoroughly. It requires much time, energy, knowledge and resources to execute the purposes of the Vedas. This is hardly possible in this age. The best purpose of Vedic culture is served, however, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, as recommended by Lord Caitanya, the deliverer of all fallen souls. When Lord Caitanya was asked by a great Vedic scholar, Prakasananda Sarasvati, why He, the Lord, was chanting the holy name of the Lord like a sentimentalist instead of studying Vedanta philosophy, the Lord replied that His spiritual master had found Him to be a great fool and thus asked Him to chant the holy name of Lord Krsna. He did so, and became ecstatic like a madman. In this Age of Kali, most of the population is foolish and not adequately educated to understand Vedanta philosophy; the best purpose of Vedanta philosophy is served by inoffensively chanting the holy name of the Lord. Vedanta is the last word in Vedic wisdom, and the author and knower of the Vedanta philosophy is Lord Krsna; and the highest Vedantist is the great soul who takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord. That is the ultimate purpose of all Vedic mysticism.
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