In geeta 2.43 it cautions people not to get attracted to flowery words of vedas.

What are these flowery words which are talked upon ?

When vedas.themselves prescribe rituals then what is the point in cautioning people?

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    who said it is 'bad' to follow them ? all they say is don't get attracted to them and waste your energy there because there is something higher.
    – ram
    Dec 20, 2017 at 4:37
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    The purpose of all Vedic knowledge is to get released of all karma and to stop samsara so that our material existence comes to an end. Anything stated in the Vedas that doesn't serve that purpose can be considered as "flowery words" which brings about a continuation of our material existence and samsara. That's why Lord Krishna discouraged Arjuna to be attracted to those flowery words. So "flowery words" refer to the verses in the Vedic Samhitas which encourage fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, sense gratification, opulent life and so forth. ... Dec 21, 2017 at 2:58
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    ... All that brings about a continuation of our material existence and samsara. Therefore it's discouraged by Lord Krishna. Dec 21, 2017 at 2:59
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    Well, for some people ascending to material heaven and sense gratification is the only goal of life. Those people are missing the ultimate goal of life, which is to get to the Lord Krishna per the Bhagavad gita. Those people Lord Krishna called avipaścitaḥ "men of small knowledge" in verse 2.42. Dec 28, 2017 at 6:02
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    Gita teaches how to transcend, ie how to go beyond temporary material existence, namely how to get moksha. That level of existence, moksha, is beyond the influence of the three gunas of material nature. On the other hand Samhitas rarely teach about moksha, hence they mainly teach how to rise to material heaven and thus they are not beyond the influence of the material gunas. The material heaven is influenced by the material gunas just like anything material is, but moksha is not! Dec 28, 2017 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


The exact verse in Sankara's commentary on the Gita says (Swami Gambhirananda translator):

...those undiscerning people who utter this flowery talk--which promises birth as a result of rites and duties, and is full of various special rites meant for the attainment of enjoyment and affluence--, they remain engrossed in the utterance of the Vedas and declare that nothing else exists, their minds full of desires and they have heaven as a goal.

and Sankara's commentary:

...yam puspitam vacam, flowery talk, which is beautiful like a tree in bloom, pleasant to hear, and appears to be (meaningful) sentences;...

So why do the Vedas, meaning the karma-kanda portion, teach these rituals? It is not that these rituals are inherently bad or good, the Vedas teach men those things which will bring them to the four goals or ideals of life – dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Swami Nikhilananda writes in his Introduction to his book Self-Knowledge (a translation of Shankaracharya’s Atmabodha), pp 21-2:

…Dharma is righteousness; it is the law of inner growth and the basis of man’s actions. It is in harmony with man’s spiritual evolution. Therefore by following dharma one attains success in all action. By negating dharma one brings confusion into one’s life and retards the clock of progress. Dharma is not a sort of duty imposed from outside, but a sense of righteousness, integrity, and honour with which one is born as a result of one’s past actions. So every man has his own dharma, in consequence of which he reacts in his own unique way to the outside world. His education and environment give to this basic life-form only an outer shape. By fulfilling his dharma a man marches along the path of progress until he attains the supreme dharma of all beings, namely, the realization of Truth.

Artha, or wealth, is a legitimate goal of pursuit at a certain stage of man’s life. It is, with most people, an effective mode of self-expression and an important means of establishing fellowship with others. But wealth must be acquired by according to dharma, righteousness; otherwise, instead of serving a spiritual purpose, it will aggravate greed and lust for power and ultimately be a cause of misery.

Kama is the fulfillment of sensuous and esthetic desire. Craving for sense pleasure is present in many sensitive persons to whom enjoyment of wealth appears gross and therefore inadequate. But Kama, too, must be guided by dharma; otherwise it degenerates into voluptuousness.

The satisfaction derived from the pursuit of dharma, artha, and kama is neither deep nor abiding. There remains a hunger of the soul that can be fulfilled only by the attainment of moksha, or Freedom. The first three ideals belong to the material world, and the happiness derived from them is therefore ephemeral and illusory. But the ideal of Freedom can be realized only in the realm of Spirit, and the Bliss that follows is everlasting. Therefore the realization of moksha, Freedom, is the coping-stone of human life; and the pursuit of righteousness, wealth, and esthetic satisfaction only support it.

The karma-kanda is meant to teach man those things necessary for the attainment of dharma, artha, and kama; the jnana-kanda, the Upanishads, are meant to teach man those things necessary to attain moksha. To follow ONLY those portions of the Vedas to attain only artha and kama are bad to one’s eventual karma; the following of all the Vedas and through them attain all four ideals, is the real purport of the Vedas and are meant to guide man through all the stages of life.

In his translation of the Mahanarayana Upanishad, Swami Vimalananda writes in his commentary to verse I.53 (p 72):

The Vedas are meant to generate in those who follow them certain potencies which help in all situations and conditions. The highest ideal held forth by the Vedas to those who have completed the discipline prescribed in them is realization of the Infinite Self dwelling in all creatures as the reality behind their finite existences [Gita 7.30, 6.30]. Those who attained to the goal have no friends or foes. They see equally God in all [Gita 5.18-19]. They are extremely rare. Therefore the Vedas have only a luminously precious fraction describing them. The largest part of the Vedas is meant for the common man who is tossed by likes and dislikes. Failure to recognize the fears and hopes of the natural man make a scripture unrealistic. Ideals unconnected with the practical needs of human nature cannot enter into the daily life of the ordinary man. To suppose that the Vedas always deal with high philosophy and ethics only will be a delusion. Mystical formulas like the present one [this verse] are found on many passages of the Vedas. They are given to propitiate friendly agencies and to suppress the enemies. Without peace and prosperity, santi and pusti, higher religious aspiration is impossible. That is why we find in the Vedas prayers like this one [verse] which deal with the lower purusarthas.

And in verse I.6 it says:

Sages declare: That alone is right and That alone is true. That alone is the venerable Brahman contemplated by the wise. Acts of worship and social utility also are that Reality. That alone being the navel of the universe, sustains manifoldly the universe which arose in the past and which springs to existence at present. [see also Gita 10.41-42]

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    When you can selectively select moksha portion then its not wrong and when someone selectively adopts kama or artha or dharma he becomes bad ? Why should mutt people decide.it? Let vedas say that doing only yajnas.is bad . its kind of veda ninda only to attract masses towards.mutts and vedanta Dec 20, 2017 at 9:49
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    @RakeshJoshi, again, nobody said it's 'bad'. If you attract people towards gold, they will lose interest in silver. That's all there is to it. It is not veda-ninda. Many times, the opposite of one truth is a higher truth. If you want to attract people towards silver, feel free.
    – ram
    Dec 20, 2017 at 17:25
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    The Mundakopanishad (part of the vedas) does say that those ignorant people who follow the yagnas only do not get Moksha. Now it is up to you to choose whether Moksha is needed or not. And also you could say that the Upanishads (part of Vedas) do Veda-ninda, since they call those who do only yaagas as ignorant, and more than one upanishad expresses this thought. Dec 21, 2017 at 3:42
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    @user1952500 upanishad is not part of vedas technically Dec 21, 2017 at 9:22
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    @brahmajijnasa madhwa thinks that both mbh and Ramayana are.interpolated. so bg is part of mbh right ? KM Ganguli says santi parva is also an interpolation Dec 31, 2017 at 19:07

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