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Chapter - 2 Vedas are They Relevant Today?
Vedas: The only Source of Perfect Knowledge
In the previous chapter, we discussed the basic definition of God - how He is the supreme enjoyer, proprietor, and controller. But how can we acquire further knowledge about Him7 I here are three ways of acquiring knowledge: pratyakshapramana (direct sense perception), anumana pramana (mental speculation) and shabcla pramana (hearing from Vedic authority) (These are discussed elaborately in the first level course book 'Discover Yourself in this 'Spirituality for the Modern Youth' series. We present only a brief summary here.) All living beings suffer from four inherent shortcomings: imperfect senses, tendency to be illusioned, tendency to commit mistakes and propensity to cheat. Since man cannot overcome these drawbacks, no matter what he does, pratyaksha pramana (direct sense perception) and anumana pramana (mental speculation) cannot provide him with perfect knowledge. All knowledge acquired through modern science falls in these two categories only and so is bound to be imperfect.
Shabda pramana is based on hearing from the Vedic authority. The knowledge of the Vedas is coming down the ages since j the dawn of creation. The knowledge taught in the Vedas is perfect, being given by God Himself (who is free from the above mentioned four defects). This knowledge has come clown in a disciplic succession from Krishna to Brahma to Narada to Vyasa to Madhvacarya to.... Chaitanya Mahaprabhu..... to........Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati to A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of ISKCON. Thus through the unbroken disciplic succession, the original Vedic knowledge is available to us even today. That material knowledge is imperfect is self-evident from the fact that it undergoes amendments every now and then. Even in the field of science, scientists keep changing their opinions. For example, Dalton said that the atom cannot be split, Rutherford said that it can be split and Bohr gave a new model. Thus material knowledge is relative; it is constantly being revised, modified and updated. On the other hand, the Vedic knowledge is absolute; it never changes. The Vedas have stood the test of time since time immemorial.