Written by Swami Chandrashekarendra
If the cosmos of sound (sabda-prapanca) enfolds all creation and what is
beyond it, it must naturally be immensely vast. However voluminous the
Vedas are, one might wonder whether it would be right to claim that they
embrace all activities of the universe. "Anantah vai Vedah", the Vedas
themselves proclaim so (the Vedas are endless). We cannot claim that all
the Vedas have been revealed to the seers. Only about a thousand sakhas
or recensions belonging to the four Vedas have been revealed to them.
Brahma, the Creator, alone knows the Vedas in their entirety. Before the
present Brahma there was a great deluge and, preceding it, there was
another Brahma. And, similarly, before him too there must have been
another Brahma. But through all these vast vistas of time, through
successive deluges, the vibrations caused by the Paramatman's breath
have existed in space, the vibrations that urged the first Brahma to do
work of creation. These vibrations are indestructible. The Brahma who
appears after each great deluge performs his function of creation with
The sounds we produce are never destroyed. I remember reading that
what Jesus Christ spoke 2, 000 years ago could still be recaptured in
own voice and that efforts are being made for the same. I don't know
how far these efforts have succeeded. But I do know that there does
such a possibility (of receiving a voice or sound from the past). We
that a sound, once it is produced, remains in space without ever being
Brahma created this world with the sound of the Vedas and this sound is
not destroyed even during a great deluge. We build a village or town
stone, earth, timber, iron, etc. All these materials are derived from
will of the Paramatman, from his thought, from the vibrations that are
will or thought. Brahma saw the sounds corresponding to these vibrations
as the Vedas and the chanted them and brought all the world into
We often see reports in the newspapers of trees flowering or fruiting in
abundance in response to the vibrations of certain sounds. Some
vibrations have also the effect of stunting the growth of plants. Here
proof of the fact that sound can create, sustain and destroy.
Brahma could create the universe with the sound of the Vedas because of
his power of concentration. A siddha can cure a sick man if he intones
Pancakasara mantra - the mantra that we mutter every day - and applies
holy ashes to the patient's body. He is able to do it because he has
greater power of concentration than we have. If the mantra is to be
efficacious it has to be chanted without any tonal error whatsoever.
then will it bring the desired result. Brahma had the power of
concentration to the full since he came into being as an "instrument"
Much could be accomplished from the void of space through electricity.
From the spiritual reality called the Nirguna Brahman (the unconditioned
Brahman without attributes) emanates everything. During the deluge,
this spiritual reality goes to sleep. Take the case of a sandow. When he
asleep his strength is not evident. But when we see him wrestling with
opponent we realise how strong he is. Similarly, during the time of
creation, the spiritual reality is revealed to perform manifold
From the Nirguna Brahman comes a flow of energy to perform such
functions. Brahma came into being as a part of this flow. Since he was
tapas all concentration, he could grasp all the Vedas with his
extraordinary power. He created the world with their sound. The Vedas
are infinite and so too creation takes forms that are countless.
The great sage Bharadvaja kept chanting the Vedas over three lifetimes.
Paramesvra appeared before him and said to him: "I will grant you a
fourth life. What will you do during it? “The sage replied: "I will keep
chanting the Vedas again.” It is not possible to learn the Vedas in the
entirety even over many, many lifetimes. Paramesvra took pity on
Bharadvaja for all his efforts to accomplish a task that was impossible
accomplish. Wanting to change his mind, Paramesvara caused three great
mountains to appear, took a handful of earth and said to the sage: "The
Vedas you have learned all these years are like this handful of earth.
What you have yet to learn is vast, like these mountains. “It is
that Vedagiri or Tirukkazhukkunram is the place where the Vedas
appeared in the form of these mountains. When I was circumambulating
the hill there, people accompanying me intoned instead, "Veda, Veda,
The story of Bharadvaja occurs in the Kathaka of the Vedas. We learn
from it that the Vedas are so infinite. The classification into the four
Vedas and the one thousand or so recensions was a later development.
Brahma came into being, his heart was filled with all Vedic sound. The
Vedas showed him the way to perform his function of creation. He
recognized that the sound of the Vedas pervaded everywhere. To him
occur all Vedas. Only some mantras have revealed themselves to the
sages and these constitute the Vedas that are our heritage.
At the time of chanting a mantra we usually mention the rsi associated
with it, its chandas or metre and the name of the deity invoked. In the
Telegu country they mention the three for all mantras. The sages learned
the mantras with the power of concentration acquired through
austerities. They were bestowed with celestial ears, so they could hear
the mantras in space. It is said in the science of yoga that if our
becomes one with the transcendent outward space we will be able
to listen to the sounds in it. Only those who have attained the state of
undifferentiated oneness of all can perceive them. It is in this way
the seers became aware of the mantras and made them known to the
world. It must be remembered that they did not create them. They
brought us immeasurable blessings by making the mantras known too us.
If someone offers us water form the Ganga (Ganga-tirtha, Gangajal) we
receive it, prostrating ourselves before him.
The man did not of course create the Ganga, but all the same reverence
him in recognition of the fact that the must have travelled a thousand
miles to bring us the few drops of the holy water. We cannot adore the
seers sufficiently for their having made us the gift of the mantras
are beyond the grasp of our ears. That is why before canting a mantra we
hold the sacred feet of the rsi concerned with our head.