“No human being or demigod can enact laws like those of the Vedic literature because the Vedic regulations are prescribed by the Supreme Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.15.8 Purport)
An intelligentsia in a society looks to solve problems, going beyond the basic criticisms from this political faction or that. They delve deeper into the issues, studying the visible effects and then creating ideas for redress. The inner circles then debate these plans, perhaps making counterproposals based on compromise to fix the problems. The issue, of course, is that this is all done after the fact. There were plans proposed previously, and they obviously didn’t work very well. The Vedas use foresight from the person who can see past, present and future for every single living entity. Therefore the laws of the Vedas are unlike any other.
There are so many examples to see how man’s laws are flawed, temporary, and constantly revised. If the laws were fixed, the entire world would be living under the same system of governance since time immemorial. There wouldn’t have been a need for a Constitutional Convention, a French Revolution, a Magna Carta, or a Bill of Rights.
The wise may have the noblest of intentions, but without proper foresight their proposals are full of holes. From recent times, we have the example of the Alternative Minimum Tax. It was originally proposed as a way to catch a few citizens who had managed to skirt the system of income taxation. Indeed, what these citizens were doing was entirely legal. What one person derides as a loophole is actually an existing law passed by a legislative body. The effect may have not been as intended, but the law is still the law.
So, in order to catch the few people who managed to use the existing laws to their advantage, the Congress passed the Alternative Minimum Tax, commonly known as the AMT. Now today so many are affected by this tax, and they are not nearly as wealthy as the people originally targeted. Lobbying groups exist to abolish the tax altogether. The same has been done with many laws passed by governments from all different nations.
The founding documents of the United States of America were crafted by men who were very intelligent in the material sense. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were great philosophers; their works still have value today, for they present guiding principles that resonate with all political factions to some degree. And yet those founding documents didn’t account for so many things. The gaps were later on addressed in amendments to the Constitution, but still there are problems that many citizens see. And so going forward even more revisions are made, with some seeking to abolish previous revisions.
Rather than analyze the aftereffects and then develop solutions, the Vedas see everything properly from the start. Only God has this vision, and so it shouldn’t surprise us that the Vedas come from God. Any person can say anything, so I could go up to you and present you with something I typed up on my computer and tell you that it is from God. You can choose to believe or not believe; so in this way authority is up for debate.
We can look to some of the wisdom of the Vedas to test for the validity of the claim of foresight. The Vedas say that man should inquire into the Absolute Truth. And who isn’t after truth? The godless man has been searching after reality since time immemorial. He wants something beyond carnal enjoyment, something to make meaning of the short time spent on earth in the manifest form of a human being.
The Vedas say that all rules and regulations are meant to help one find this truth and stay with it. Thus institutions like school, marriage, and organized religious life have a uniform purpose. School exists to teach one to see the unity in spirit between all life forms. Marriage allows for the continuation of the population, while at the same time controlling sex desire. Marriage is described as a very precarious situation; nowhere do the Vedas pretend that marriage is the most enjoyable aspect to life. All the problems of dealing with the opposite sex, of raising children and compromising interests, of dealing with the different natures of men and women, are accounted for in the recommendations for married life found in the Vedas.
The foresight into the meaning of life is also there. In the Bhagavad-gita, which perfectly summarizes Vedic teachings and is spoken by the origin of the Vedas Himself, we get questions and answers about the cycle of birth and death, the eternality of spirit, the duty of each man, and the role attachment and aversion should play in meeting the ultimate objective.
“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.7)
Specifics for this community or that aren’t provided as much. Governing principles and the qualities necessary for leadership are given. Guidelines for taxation, protection, diplomacy, working, enjoying, and even thinking are given. These guidelines are without flaw, as they apply to every individual. The foundational principle is God consciousness, which every spirit soul has a birthright to. God consciousness is the original consciousness, so all guiding principles should aim to make the return to this consciousness the ultimate goal.
“If the Vedas are so perfect, why isn’t man following them today? Why does man think he can come up with his own rules and regulations instead?”
When a group of philosophers comes up with the idea that taxes should be lawful and fair, they are essentially agreeing with the Vedas. When a major magazine says on its cover that men and women are different, they confirm the Vedic conclusion. When one promotes temperance and regulation in enjoyment, they are agreeing with the Vedas. The issue, of course, is that they spent so much time reaching a conclusion that was already presented millions of years ago.
The tendency for man to ignore what is best for him is also accounted for in the Vedas, as is the gradual decline in religious practice with the further passage of time. Man comes to the material world when he desires to separate from God. Naturally, in such a land even when presented with wholesome truths man will reject them, thinking that he can make his own religion which has a core principle of godlessness. As everything originates in God, man cannot succeed in this venture, and any of his created truths which have effectiveness must bear some similarity to the Vedas as well. Take yoga for example. Meditational yoga is a Vedic method specifically targeted for the first age of creation, when life conditions are much purer. As an ancillary benefit to this yoga, one gets improved physical health. Fast forward to today, and the spiritual component is completely removed, where the practitioners only seek out the physical reward. The practice still belongs to the Vedas, but the godlessness makes its implementation less fruitful.
The principles are still there to be implemented. In the present age of Kali, which is the most degraded of the four ages, following religious guidelines from the beginning of life to the end is very difficult. Therefore the same potency is now invested in the name of God itself. The best names are included in the maha-mantra, which is to be chanted for perfection in life: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
With revisions coming here and there,
Confronting unexpected not so well to fare.
Get right knowledge from the start,
So from plan’s course not to depart.
Men and women not the same,
Marriage hard work, not a game.
To Vedas easily could have went,
Saving research and time poorly spent.