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Two False claims about the Vedas:OM and Shiva.

By Yogi Baba Prem



At the beginning of my journey into yoga, I anticipated challenges and obstacles. I realized it would require some skill sets. I did not expect the necessary skill sets would include the ability to discern between fact and fiction relative to claims about the teachings. Nor did I realize that what I had viewed as trusted sources such as academia would require a great deal of discernment. It was in the academic arena that some of these greatest falsities and, in my opinion, questionable research was supported by experts and information sources one would have expected to be reliable. For this article, I would like to examine two examples:

1. OM is not found within the Vedas.

2. The famed mantra "OM Namah Shivaya" is not found in the Vedas.

One of the most famous and common arguments used against Hindus and yoga is that the word OM does not appear in the Vedas. Some 'experts' assert that the Upanishads are the earliest appearance of the Pranava sound-OM. This is NOT true. A careful examination will reveal that antagonists of Hinduism will often qualify their claim and cite the Rg Veda as proof that the OM does not exist in the Vedas. This statement is misleading. While the Rg Veda is considered the oldest, antagonist possibly hopes that one will ignore that there are three other Vedas. OM, as a word, is found and used in the Shukla Yajur Vedas. 'OM' appears several times in the last few lines of the Shukla Yajur Vedas, disproving the claim that OM, the word, does not appear in the Vedas. Note: the legitimacy of a term or reference being Vedic is not solely limited to the Rg Veda, its presence within the Sama, Yajur or Atharva Veda validates the claim of being present within the Vedas.

Claim #2. The famed mantra to Shiva is "OM Namah Shivaya."
It is likely one of the most well-known mantras in the world.
While most would recognize this mantra from the writings of Adishankaracharya especially its reference in the panchkshara stotram, but does it have a Vedic connection. Hindu/yoga antagonists will say it does not have a link. But one must remember that Adi Shankaracharya was reestablishing the Vedic teachings in India. There is no doubt he was an expert teacher on the Vedas and would have aligned critical teachings with the Vedas.

A simple read of the Rg Veda reveals the appearance of the word Shiva on several occasions. But what of the mantra "Namah Shivaya." This important mantra appears in the Krishna Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita. Here we see the appearance of 'Namah Shivaya' as an epithet to Rudra/Shiva. The line begins, "Namah Shivaya cha..." Salutations to the auspicious one. (Shiva/Rudra Krishnan Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita 4.5.8.11). It is likely that this is the origin of the famed mantra and the source of its famed variation known as the panchAkshari mantra (The 5-syllabled mantra) taught by Adi Shankaracharya in his stotram.

These two examples demonstrate that some academics have been incorrect in their claims. It also illustrates the need for students to study with a teacher that genuinely knows the texts and teachings. As once a falsity becomes established in book form or through rumor, it becomes challenging to erase despite being repeatedly proven to be false.

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Yogi Baba Prem

  • Yogi Baba Prem has two books published in India, and has written numerous other books published by Universal Yoga. 

 

  • His articles have appeared in several traditional magazines and a variety of e-magazines.