The Vedas are actually the written words of God. They are not just some books that some man wrote. They are God’s message to us.
Up to 5000 years ago none of this was written down. Because it didn’t need to be; people were much more advanced in their mental facility, they could remember things. So it didn’t need to be written down, they would hear it and they had it. They heard the message and they had it.
But 5000 years ago this age of forgetfulness began. It’s called Kali-yuga. This is the age of little memory, among many other things. The age of quarrel, chaos, confusion, struggle and weakness and so on, many things. But right now we are talking about memory. So when Kali-yuga began, the memory became less and less. So of course the Supreme Lord, knowing everything, knew now this oral transmission of truth will no longer suffice. It must be written down.
That’s when he incarnated as Srila Vyasadev and wrote down this knowledge. And His writings and those who have come after Him are known as the Vedic scriptures. Therefore we have access to this Vedic vision, if you will. We can learn what the true vision of life is and not this distorted vision based on ignorance.
So in this process of bhakti yoga we study, we study this knowledge. So we can also have that understanding, that vision. See, it is not good to be ignorant. And in general everybody in the world knows that that’s why every country has schools, learning institutions.
I just saw a thing about… I think it was China; it showed the journey that these kids had to make every day to go to school, and there were different scenarios. It was actually in the world, it wasn’t just China, it was in the world. “The ten most difficult journeys to school,” something like this. Somebody’s kids had to walk three hours one way across rivers and over mountains, through snowstorms; three hours there and three hours back. Or crossing some little rope bridge across this very, very deep canyon and hope it won’t fall off. And on and on it went. The point is they knew, “I need to go and learn this knowledge.” So they were willing to do it.
But unfortunately, all of this endeavor only provides them with material knowledge. So they have material knowledge, but they have no spiritual knowledge. So it is basically the same thing, they are still in ignorance of spiritual life, of who they are or how to see the world, etc. So you can see that it is valuable information.
We all have to live our life, there is no choice. “I don’t like my life! I want it to end!” You can’t, sorry. There is no end, we don’t have a choice, we have to live our life. You can’t kill yourself. You can kill your body, but you still got you, which is your life. So there is no option there.
But there is an option on what I will pursue in life. Will I pursue real knowledge, real truth or will I be like the world in general and just be without that, making one mistake after the other, this lifetime and next lifetime, and next lifetime… forever lifetimes, until I start to learn the truth? So it’s an individual choice. We are always promoting the value of this knowledge and encouraging people, “Take it up!”
I remember one time I was driving through the state of Tennessee in America, down one of the interstate highways. And there were big signs every 20 miles or something which said ‘No education equals no future.’ Of course I understood what their message was, “Ok, kids, don’t drop out of school. Go to school, get a good education because if you don’t, you are not going to have a good future, you are not going to get a good job, you won’t have any skills, you won’t have anything to do.” I understood the message they were trying to transmit.
The Vedic view would be basically the same, but a little different. One thing in this sign was wrong. ‘No education equals no future’ – that’s not true. We all have an eternal future. There will be a future. What kind it will be? That is not known. The Vedic view is ‘No spiritual education equals no real, valuable future; any future of value.’
So everybody’s got the same concept, it’s just they have a different understanding of what education we should have.