The traditional interpretation of the Vedas is that every word of it is eternal, they are the "blueprint" of creation remembered by Ishvara at the beginning of creation, and sound vibrations revealed to sages at the beginning of creation.

This is what Ramanujacharya has to say about it in his Sri Bhashyam in verses 1.3.27 to 1.3.29, you can read it here, but I will paraphrase each sutra's commentary:

1.3.27: The gods (devatas) are positions of universal administration and not just limited to individuals with those names. So at the beginning of creation, Brahman remembers the Vedas, speaks those names, and those positions are created. When let's say one Indra dies, Brahman creates another one. Creation is based on the Veda.

1.3.28: In addition to gods, this eternity also applies to Rishis like Vishvamitra, etc. The rishis aren't the authors of the verses, but just the revealers who heard it from Ishvara.

1.3.29: Every cycle (kalpa) of creation is similar, being based on the words of the vedas.

From these verses, it appears that the Vedas are a "blue print" for creation, that creation is based on the Vedas, the words of the Vedas are eternal (meaning the blue print is eternal), and that the death of the gods or creation does not mean the lack of eternity of the Vedas, since they are always known by Brahman and created again during the next cycle.

If this is so, then how can the Vedas have political and historical events? From those above sutras, it makes sense for devas and rishis, but how can this be applied to political events like the Battle of 10 kings described in the Rig Veda, which gives the names of kingdoms and the names of the kings themselves? Based on the sutras above, does this also mean there will be an India every creation with those same kingdoms and kingly names?

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    Yes, what Ramanujacharya says about Devas and Rishis applies equally well to kings, kingdoms, rivers, etc. Those kings are born in every creation, those geographic locations are recreated, etc. Sep 26, 2017 at 0:01
  • Oh ok nice, so can you add that as an answer with more explanation?
    – Ikshvaku
    Sep 26, 2017 at 0:16
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    Yeah, I may post an answer. By the way, this is how the Vedanta school views the presence of names in the Vedas. But the Purva Mimamsa school explained things differently; see my question here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/9382/36 Sep 26, 2017 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


Swami Vivekananda has said in his various discussion of the Vedas that the spiritual laws mentioned in the Vedas are eternal.

There was a time when the Vedas themselves were considered eternal in the sense in which the divine truths contained therein were changeless and permanent and were only revealed to man. At a subsequent time, it appears that the utterances of the Vedic hymns with the knowledge of its meaning was important; and it was held that the hymns themselves must have had a divine origin. At a still later period, the meaning of the hymns showed that many of them could not be of divine origin, because they inculcated upon mankind performance of various unholy acts, such as torturing animals; and we can find many ridiculous stories in the Vedas. The correct meaning of the statement "The Vedas are beginningless and eternal" is that the law or truth revealed by them to man is permanent and changeless. Logic, geometry, chemistry, etc., reveal also a law or truth which is permanent and changeless and in that sense they are also beginningless and eternal. But no truth or law is absent from the Vedas, and I ask any one of you to point out to me any truth which is not treated of in them.

(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol.5: With the Swami Vivekananda at Madura, pp.205-206)

The Hindus have received their religion through revelation, the Vedas. They hold that the Vedas are without beginning and without end. It may sound ludicrous to this audience [in the West] how a book can be without beginning or end. But by the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual world. The moral, ethical, and spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits were there before their discovery, and would remain even if we forget them.

(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol.1 Paper on Hinduism, pp.6-7.)

[Vedic] principles have existed throughout time; and they will exist. They are non-created - uncreated by any laws which science teaches us today. They remain covered and become discovered, but are existing through all eternity in nature. If Newton had not been born the law of gravitation would have remained all the same and would have worked all the same. It was Newton's genius which formulated it, discovered it, brought it into consciousness, made it a conscious thing to the human race. So are these religious laws, the grand truths of spirituality. They are working all the time. If all the Vedas and Bibles and Korans did not exist at all, if seers and prophets had never been born, yet these laws would exist. They are only held in abeyance, and slowly but surely will work to raise the human race, to raise human nature. But they are the prophets who see them, discover them; and such prophets are discoverers in the field of spirituality. As Newton and Galileo were prophets of physical science, so are they prophets of spirituality. They can claim no exclusive right to any one of these laws; they are the common property of all nature.

The Vedas, as the Hindus say, are eternal. We now understand what they mean by their being eternal, i.e. that the laws have neither beginning nor end. Earth after earth, system after system, will evolve, run for a certain time, and then dissolve back into chaos; but the universe remains the same. Millions and millions of systems are being born, while millions are being destroyed. The universe remains the same. The beginning and end of time can be told as regards a certain planet; but, as regards the universe, time has no meaning at all. So are the laws of nature, the physical laws, the mental laws, the spiritual laws, without beginning or end; and it is within a few years, comparatively speaking - a few thousand years at best - that man has tried to reveal them. The infinite mass remains before us. Therefore the one great lesson that we learn from the Vedas, at the start, is that religion has just begun. The infinite ocean of spiritual truth lies before us to be worked on, to be discovered, to be brought into our lives. The world has seen thousands of prophets, and the world has yet to see millions.

(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol.6: The Methods and Purpose of Religion, pp.8-9.)

The Vedas are anadi, eternal. The meaning of the statement is not, as is erroneously supposed by some, that the words of the Vedas are anadi, but that the spiritual laws inculcated by the Vedas are such. These laws, which are immutable and eternal, have been discovered at various times by great men or rishis, though some of them have been forgotten now, while others are preserved.

(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol.6: Notes Taken Down in Madras, 1892-93, p.103)

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