“In time, great scientists may be able to count all the atoms of the universe, all the stars and planets in the sky, and all the particles of snow, but who among them can count the unlimited transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He descends on the surface of the globe for the benefit of all living entities.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.14.7)
गुणात्मनस् ते ’पि गुणान् विमातुं
हितावतीऋनस्य क ईशिरे ’स्य
कालेन यैर् वा विमिताः सु-कल्पैर्
भू-पांशवः खे मिहिका द्यु-भासः
guṇātmanas te ’pi guṇān vimātuṁ
hitāvatīṛnasya ka īśire ’sya
kālena yair vā vimitāḥ su-kalpair
bhū-pāṁśavaḥ khe mihikā dyu-bhāsaḥ
Friend1: I like the idea that sanatana-dharma is not limited to a single book.
Friend2: Which goes by the term “Hinduism” in common conversation.
Friend1: Yes, but I will not use that. Might as well be accurate when discussing with like-minded individuals.
Friend2: We couldn’t be called “thumpers” of any kind since there are many different books. God is one. The objective is one. The nature of the connection to Him is singular. There is only one original destination. One way towards understanding the Absolute Truth.
Friend1: And yet still variety, almost infinitely so.
Friend2: Unity in diversity. We see diversity everywhere already. Know that every person is actually connected, part of a singular energy. This is described as undivided in the divided, the vision in the mode of goodness.
भावम् अव्ययम् ईक्षते
तज् ज्ञानं विद्धि सात्त्विकम्
bhāvam avyayam īkṣate
taj jñānaṁ viddhi sāttvikam
“That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all existences, undivided in the divided, is knowledge in the mode of goodness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.20)
Friend1: We do tend to emphasize one or two books, at least in our discussions.
Friend2: Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam.
Friend1: The Song of God and the spotless Purana, or set of ancient stories, describing God.
Friend2: Either book is fine. You could hold on to the Ramayana, too, and you would be set.
Friend1: What do you mean by that? “Set” refers to okay, sufficient, and the like?
Friend2: You would be on the right path. The works describe God the person. Not that there is sole reliance on faith. No reason to be blind about it. The works, originally passed on in sound through the Sanskrit language, which is spoken amongst the devas [gods], give ample justification for the devotional path.
Friend2: Learn who God is. Learn about the nature around us. Learn your relationship to Him. Understand how the association can never be broken; only forgotten.
Friend1: As it is now.
Friend2: Which defines the state of conditioned life. Spinning on the wheel of suffering, samsara-chakra. Forgetfulness is the spark to start the engine of karma, which is fruitive activity that is tied directly to reincarnation.
Friend1: Great conversation thus far, but I want to shift gears to a specific aspect of Vedic literature.
Friend1: I hear you sometimes say that not only is there not reliance on a single book, but that Vedic literature continues to expand.
Friend2: Absolutely. The Vedas are identical with God. One aspect to our understanding of Him is knowing that He is infinite. This includes His glories. There is no final chapter on the book that describes Him.
Friend1: Okay, but when we’re talking books, we know of beginning and end.
Friend2: But He is the beginning, middle and end of everything.
सर्गाणाम् आदिर् अन्तश् च
मध्यं चैवाहम् अर्जुन
वादः प्रवदताम् अहम्
sargāṇām ādir antaś ca
madhyaṁ caivāham arjuna
vādaḥ pravadatām aham
“Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.32)
Friend1: You just said there is no end.
Friend2: The final stage, as we understand it. Bhagavan speaks our language. This is to help us understand Him. In truth, we can never get a grasp on infinity. Reverse or forward. Small or large. Short and tall. We can think in terms of relative differences, but infinity in any of these areas is too much.
Friend1: Okay, but if you tell someone that there is no final chapter to the Vedas, they will get confused. They will have a difficult time understanding.
Friend2: Just study Anantadeva.
Friend1: The serpent bed upon whom Lord Vishnu lies in rest? The Divine entity responsible for what we refer to as gravity?
Friend2: Yes. He has an unlimited number of hoods. With each one He is glorifying the Supreme Lord. He has been doing this since before anyone can remember. He will continue well beyond the life of Lord Brahma, who lives for billions of years. This is how we know that Vedic literature can never have a cap on the number of books. The books are nothing more than recorded glorifications, and the eternally existing devotees continue to glorify Him, turning time, kala, into an auspicious, well-wishing friend.
Time not enemy to me,
Since allowing to see.
With each new day,
The holy names to say.
With love and attention so,
For attraction to grow.
Like Anantadeva who very well knows,
Vedas with never a chapter to close.