CHENNAI: The Vedas discuss all aspects of life in a holistic manner. Broadly, they are divided into two sections, the Karma Kanda and the Jnana Kanda — where the former deals with sacrifices and rituals that are performed for to sustain life in the world and the latter promises the path to salvation through Self realisation. The Itihasas and the Puranas also reinforce the greatness of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

It is believed that Siva incarnated as Adi Sankara to establish the Vedic principles that had been misinterpreted, misunderstood and even lost in due course of time. Other faiths had started to thrive and the essence and spirit of the Vedas were getting submerged in this onslaught. In a lecture, Sri G. Balasubramanya Ganapadigal drew attention to Adi Sankara’s initiative to bring about a spiritual reawakening through his extensive commentaries on the Brahmasutras of Vyasa, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, along with a number of devotional hymns and prayers. Adi Sankara’s prolific teachings show the relevance of the spiritual tradition and these sacred texts continue to reveal ever new insights to the sincere seeker of truth. The Upanishads have analysed the universe and its activities in greatest detail and establish the truth of the Supreme Brahman.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad expounds these deep truths about higher knowledge through dialogues, discussions and expositions. During the assembly of great sages at the conclusion of the yaga performed by Janaka, the erudite discussions throw light on the nature of the immortal Self and Sage Yajnavalkya’s realised state is established. He further explains these mystic truths. That the value placed on wealth, material prosperity and worldly attractions is a misplaced one is illustrated in the discussion between Sage Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi. When the sage wished to divide his wealth between his wives, Maitreyi and Katyayani, before leaving to the forest for meditation, Maitreyi, who had progressed further in spiritual knowledge, wanted to know if these riches would be able to confer immortality. The sage tells her that riches may make life prosperous but it is only knowledge of the Self that can make one immortal.