CHENNAI: The Vedas are believed to be the very breath of the Supreme Being who instructed the primal sound Pranava to Brahma. This sound became many syllables and Vedic seers engaged in deep penance, who were able to realise the meanings of these sounds as an experience, expressed this in the form of statements. The Vedas and the Upanishads are thus valuable assets to humanity in search of salvation.

Knowledge of both the material world and of the Self are dealt with in detail in the scriptures. While the tangible world is described with meticulous accuracy, the knowledge of the Self is taught in many subtle ways in keeping with the abstract nature of the subject matter, said Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastri in a discourse on the Chandogya Upanishad. All learning is useless unless one knows the truth about the Self. This knowledge of the Self destroys ignorance and paves the way for enlightenment.

The instructions regarding the nature of Being are featured in the form of a dialogue between preceptor (here the father) and the disciple (Svetaketu). Svetaketu’s return after the twelve year Gurukula term had boosted his pride in the knowledge thus gained and the father, quick to sense this arrogant streak in the son asked him, if he had received instruction about that “by which one knows what cannot be known, hears what cannot be heard and perceives what cannot be perceived.”

Svetaketu admitted ignorance and humbly requested to be enlightened. Humility is an indispensable component of learning as it gives an opportunity to learn and also makes one aware of the infinitude of knowledge.

It is shown that the Supreme Being alone exists and there is none else apart from Him. This Supreme Being (Sat) alone existed in the beginning, and it was from Him that everything else was born. He is the foundation and cause of the universe and is also its only support. All others are from this Supreme Being, live in it and end in it.

The universe is only a manifestation of the Supreme Being just as objects (earthen pots, jewellery, etc.,) made from source materials (clay, gold and iron) are only modifications in name.