Vedic Literature Reading Curriculum

Abstract: In this dissertation a model curriculum of reading the Vedic Literature is presented for the six Vedanga, a group of texts encompassing the Vedic sciences of phonetics, Yajña, grammar, etymology, prosody, and Vedic astrology. Included in this model curriculum are samples of each text, description of the content and structure of each text, and presentation of the correlates in human physiology, based on the research of Dr. Tony Nader.

Chapter 1: Introduction: The program of reading Vedic Literature has its theoretical foundation in the discovery by His Majesty Raja Nader Ram that every aspect of Veda and Vedic Literature has a counterpart, a corresponding structure in human physiology. Reading the Vedic Literature in sequence—combined with the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, the other key technology of Vedic Education—is a systematic program to enliven total brain physiology, in order to culture perfection in life.

Chapter 2: The Vedic Alphabet: The eight Svara, as Maharishi has identified them, range from the completely open throat sound of “A,” to the completely closed sound of “Am.” Maharishi counts the eight Svara to be A, I, U, Ri, Lri, E, O, and Am. From the 8 svaras arise 21 vowels and 33 consonants. The consonants are comprised of three groups, Sparsha, Antahstha and Ushman, full contact, half-contact, and sybillants and fricatives. The Sanskrit alphabet is a perfect system of quantification of totality.

Chapter 3: Vedic Phonetics: In service of correct pronunciation of the texts of the four principal Veda, there is a diverse collection of ancillary texts that serve to elucidate the salient points in the Vedic texts that the student must know in order to pronounce the texts properly. These texts, of which Shiksha is perhaps the most salient part, are broadly called Veda Lakshana. They represent a class of compositions that serve to elucidate both simple and complex issues of pronunciation. Vedic phonetics is an elaborately detailed science, comprehensively exploring the theory and practice of all kinds of Vedic recitation.

Chapter 4: Kalpa: Kalpa presents a comprehensive technology for transforming anything into anything else, or transforming empty space, vacuum, into any desired object. The procedures that are presented in Kalpa are predominantly Yagya, which are procedures for making use of Vedic sounds to accomplish specific desired results. Starting with a Sankalpa, a resolution of what is desired, the Yagya carries the attention through different phases of transformation by means of specific recitations of the four Veda, so that the organizing power is generated that will bring about the fulfillment of the desire. It is essentially an advanced technology of materialization of the impulses of speech.

Chapter 5: Vedic Grammar: The Ashtadhyayi, written by the sage Panini, is made up of about 4000 extremely pithy Sutra. In these Sutra, Panini describes how the expressed words of spoken language are built up from simple verbal roots. In the process of expanding a root, the root undergoes a series of operations which expand its qualities. The original root undergoes transformation as a series of prefixes and suffixes are added and rules of euphonic combination are applied until finally the root appears as a verb or noun in audible speech.

Chapter 6: Nirukta: Nirukta is a dictionary, a textbook to systematically unfold the meanings of words. The self-referral direction is shown in the text of Nirukta by reversing the direction of expansion found in Vyakarana. Whereas Vyakarana started with the root, and systematically expanded it until it was fully articulated as a verb or noun, in Nirukta, Yaska starts with the expressed word, and points out the root from which the word was derived.

Chapter 7: Vedic Metre: Chhandas measures the number of syllables in the Richa or verse of the Veda. The main textbook of Chhandas, Vedic metre, is Pingalachhandasutra. The text has eight chapters with a total of 315 Sutra.

Chapter 8: Vedic Astronomy and Astrology: The complete knowledge of Natural Law and its evolution and expression in creation is known through the relationships between various components: These components can be investigated outside, in terms of the nine planets, the 12 zodiac signs, the 12 astrological houses, and the 27 Nakshatras, and also inside, in terms of specific physiological structures that are counterparts in structure and function to the manifest components of the cosmos viewed outside. Thus, there are two simultaneous parallel processes: Building up the human being from the specific qualities of planets and signs and houses, and Nakshatras, put together in one integrated wholeness in the life experience of the individual; and building up the human being from the specific qualities and properties and behaviors of anatomical structures in the physiology. The close correspondence leads to the conclusion that the individual is built up of the impulses of cosmic life; the individual is made of Natural Law, the individual human body is truly cosmic.

Chapter 9: Presenting a New Paradigm in Education: The speciality of the Transcendental Meditation technique is that it directly gives rise to the experience of total brain functioning in the state of Transcendental Consciousness. Transcendental Consciousness is consciousness awake in itself without any object of experience; it is a state of complete abstraction, often described as restful alertness. This experience cultures the brain to function as a whole: There is no other way to culture total brain functioning other than through the experience of Transcendental Consciousness, easily gained through the Transcendental Meditation technique. A perfect complement to the Transcendental Meditation technique is the reading of the Vedic Literature in Sanskrit, which has its own unique EEG signature, indicating increasing stabilization of the total brain functioning experienced through the Transcendental Meditation technique, but with eyes open. The strategy of Maharishi Consciousness-Based education is to implement both these technologies on a daily basis, to profoundly culture the human brain physiology, systematically awakening the inner genius of the student.


Appendix I: Completing the Reading Curriculum: Darshanas, Upaveda, Ayurveda, Brahmanas and Pratishakhyas: Structure of each text, and beginning and ending verses.

Appendix II: A Complete Vedic Library in Sanskrit and English