Chakra Discussions

Prabhupada And the Vedas

by Visakha dasi

Posted June 29, 2007

Hare Krsna. I want to ask a question: Were Srila Prabhupad's teachings based on the Vedas, or is there a more appropriate answer? Thanks.

Bhaktivedanta Purports Illuminate Vedas
By Ananda das

Visakha dasi asked about Srila Prabhupada's teachings being grounded in the Vedas. Visakha prabhu's question is a good one. Many devotees may have differing perspectives on this, but one way to look at it is that the Vedas are a large branch of knowledge. Traditionally, students would take 12 years to master one of the Vedas, or 48 years to master the Rg-, Yajur-, Sama- and Atharva-vedas.

Many sadhus judged this to be an almost overwhelming project in the Kali-yuga, and Srila Vyasadeva kindly compiled literatures in pursuance of the Vedic version, including the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Bhagavad-gita, the epics, etc., all of which complement and amplify the teachings of the Vedas and which are therefore known, particularly by devotees, as "the fifth Veda."

All bona fide sampradayas are grounded in some way in the Vedas, but it is not easy to understand Vedic devotional literature without the guidance of gurus and exemplary teachers. Srila Prabhupada talked often of the principle of "guru, sadhu and sastra" and of how an enlightened spiritual master can present timeless teachings in a gentle way through consideration of "time, place and circumstance."

Through Srila Prabhupada's purports, the Gaudiya Vaisnava consensus interpretation of the Vedic shastras is made readily understandable by everyone. These purports are an excellent place to begin one's study of the scriptures, preferably in the company of other devotees and eventually under the direct day-to-day guidance of a spiritual master in disciplic succession from Prabhupada, as the student continues to study with him or her to try to internalize a deep personal understanding.