The process of learning involves exposure to information based on which one forms ideas, views and assessments. Knowledge pertaining to the universe is tangible to the human mind, but spiritual knowledge is elusive to rational enquiry. The Vedas are a comprehensive source of knowledge spanning both the physical and metaphysical worlds. It is held that they are the very breath of the Supreme Brahman, and have been handed over to mankind as revelations to the Vedic seers or the rishis.

The term ‘Brahma Jignasa’ implies the desire to know the Brahman. When one is prompted to enquire about Brahman, it is up to the individual to assess the validity of the means of gaining knowledge, and to evaluate its relevance, purpose, and correctness, Sri K. Srinivasan said in a lecture. So a constant exposure to this knowledge, through listening (sravana) and contemplation (manana) is required in this enquiry into Brahman, and there is no shortcut.

In the Vedas, there is information about how to lead a purposeful life and accomplish one’s goals. These goals are collectively known as Purusharthas and are broadly classified into four — dharma (righteous living), artha (material possessions), kama (sense pleasures for enjoyment and happiness) and moksha (liberation). The first three pertain to life on earth, while the fourth leads to the path of salvation.

The Karmakanda section of the Vedas deals with the means of attaining the first three goals. Based on their guidance, one may persevere to achieve the results aimed for. The Vedas also point out that these three goals have their limitations. Attaining these goals needs much effort; and maintaining what is gained is a still greater challenge since these are not permanent and can be lost at any point of time. This loss will also cause pain and sorrow. The sense of happiness projected in these goals is only a false sense of euphoria.

So the Vedas also show the way to permanent bliss which is the ultimate goal in the section known as Jnanakanda. Herein is shown the path to the superior knowledge about the Self. It is the knowledge of one’s own true nature; and understanding this itself can lead to moksha.

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