What is the need to know the Vedas, one may ask. The path shown by the Vedas (Veda Marga) tries to fill the lacuna between the perceptible and the unseen. Moreover, the Vedas are the essence of Sanatana Dharma, and show how eternal truths are revealed, pointed out Velukkudi Sri Krishnan in a lecture. The greatness of the Vedas lies in the fact that they are not human compositions and are supposed to have been directly revealed by the Supreme Brahman. They are thus described as “apaurusheya” and are called Sruti. Sruti means what is heard or revealed as distinguished from Smriti — what is remembered or is the work of human origin. The several sages to whom the hymns of the Vedas are ascribed are therefore called seers and not composers. The revelations of the seers and rishis are records of their realisation of the ultimate truth. Acquiring the knowledge of the true nature of things helps one to be freed from the bond of ignorance that is held to be the cause of human sorrow.
Unlike branches of learning that satisfy the human need to know the phenomenon of the temporal world characterised by constant change and infinite variety, a study of the Vedas initiates one into the means of attaining the highest goal of life, liberation. The Vedangas serve as a manual for understanding the Vedic texts, and this understanding is the means for the attainment of truth.
Though tradition makes Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa the compiler of the Vedas in their present form, the Vedas themselves are believed to be eternal, existing even beyond the specific time cycle that governs the four yugas. The term Vyasa is thus a title, and in the course of the yugas, many compilers would have fulfilled the role demanded by this title. To understand this path is not easy. When we accept the authority of the Vedas we are automatically bound by the code of righteousness. This is the code that protects the universe, and the code itself depends on those millions of people who uphold it. The Lord’s commitment to dharma is such that when people fail to uphold dharma and allow adharma to raise its head, He incarnates to establish it. Our religion is a way of life, and it is the path of dharma.