BG 2:42 : Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

Is this verse saying that we should reject vedas?

  • 2
    A ladder has 100 steps. If you are satisfied staying on 99th step, and you don't want to climb 100th step, you will not reach final destination. If someone advice you "Do not stay on 99th step" - does it mean they are rejecting the ladder ? No. It means they are advising you to reach higher. You have to pass college to get job. "Those who are attracted to college life, playing, drinking, sight-seeing, sense gratification and opulent-life will say there is nothing more than this. They will stay in college for 20 years instead of 4. They will refuse to go for employment".
    – ram
    May 1, 2021 at 21:14
  • @mar okay thanks for this. May 1, 2021 at 21:18
  • @mar what kind of knowledge be superior to the knowledge of God. May 1, 2021 at 21:19
  • 1
    There are 2 parts to Vedas - Karma & Jnana. Sri Krishna is referring to Karma bhag as tri-guna-vishaya (satva,rajas,tamas), and this is what he is asking you to 'reject'. You can only reject something after attaining it. You cannot climb to 100th step without climbing to 99th first. Jnana bhag is 100th step, the knowledge of Bhagavan that you are referring to. He wants you to graduate from rituals, which lead to heaven, and inevitably lead to falling back to earth after your punya credit is over. Moksha is the final destination, not Svarga.
    – ram
    May 1, 2021 at 21:22

3 Answers 3


Absolutely not.

But for understanding this verse's clear meaning we have to also know the other two verses before it. Here they are:

Chapter 2

यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः । वेदवादपराः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीतिवादिनः ॥ ४३ ॥

  1. The undiscerning, delighting in the study of the Veda, O Pārthа, speak flowery words declaring that there is nothing else.

कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलेप्सवः । क्रियाविशेषबहुला भोगैश्वर्यगतीः प्रति ॥ ४४॥

  1. They are filled with desires and have heaven as their highest goal; during their lifetime they strive to attain the fruit of actions and prescribe many special rites for the attainment of enjoyment and power.

Now, let's check verse 45 and its relation with it.

भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम्। व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते ॥ ४५ ॥

  1. A discerning state of intellect does not arise in the meditation of those who are attached to enjoyment and power, and whose minds are carried away by those flow- ery words.

So, you see here it is said so about someone who thinks vedas just as poem of flowery words, and about those who wants materialistic pleasure and want to go to heaven. Now, as Bhagavad Gita is spiritual scripture, it is more about going beyond karma. And here it is said about karma kanda imo.

Let's check commentary of Shree Abhinavgupta, great acharya of Kashmir Shaivism about these three verses above:

"Those who are overwhelmed by desire for the fruits of action perceive Vedic texts as "flowery words" (puspităm vācam). In other words, they perceive the Vedas as being permeated by the fruits of sacrifice, such as the heaven that might be attained in the future. These people accept action as the only purpose in life. This way of thinking shows that they were not properly educated. They have been misled by their wrong interpretation of the Vedas, which is the result of their own imagination. Therefore, even if they possess a decisive intellect they are not entitled to samādhi. This is because they practice samādhi in order to attain some limited result. This is in brief the purport of these three verses."

Even, Lord Shiva in Kularnava tantra mentions other shastras as 'Pashu' shastras. Why? Not to show that they are inferior to Kaula tantra shastras but because when you read any shastra, you interpret it in your way. You don't see Vedas as Vedas but interpret it yourself. That's the reason Shree Krishna also tells about this.

It is not to reject Vedas, but to make us beware to not interpret it in wrong way and also about going beyond chakra of Karma.

Namah Shivaay

  • Thanks for the answer May 2, 2021 at 8:14

The Gita is criticizing the Vedic fundamentalists who follow the Purvamimamsa school of thought. It is not a condemnation of the Vedas.

The criticism offered here is intended to draw the distinction between the outlook of the new Gospel of Bhagavata Dharma which Krishna preached and the outlook of the Vedic fundamentalists who followed the philosophy of Vedic ritualism which is known as the Purvamimamsa system of thought. These ritualistic philosophers held that the purpose of the Veda is to induce man to perform rituals and fire sacrifices, which will gain him heavenly felicity. After death the Jiva will go to those heavenly regions where they will have the enjoyments of the fruits of the sacrifices they have performed. After the fruit-bearing effects of karma are exhausted, the Jiva comes back to the earth to do more karma enabling him to enjoy the heavenly facilities again. Thus according to them, there is no salvation for the soul or getting out of Samsara. The soul goes from embodiment to embodiment on earth and other spheres enjoying the fruits of his actions. Their outlook therefore multiplies man's desires and ambitions, and they justify this by quoting the Vedas as authority. ...........

In continuation of the thought of the previous verse the limitations of the philosophy of Vedic fundamentalists is again stated in the expression traigunya visayah - connected with the three Gunas of Prakriti or Root-matter. Sattve, Rajas and Tamas constitute Prakriti. So the Veda as understood by the fundamentalists, deals only with matters material, i.e. the life of the body, on earth and in heaven, as explained already. Arjuna is asked to accept the spiritual outlook nistraigunya, which sees matter or Prakrti, only the shadow of the Spirit. The implication of accepting the primacy of the Spirit is given in the second line of the verse (2.45).

It must be understood that these and similar verses are not a condemnation of the Veda but as a criticism of it as understood and interpreted by the fundamentalists. Really the Bhagavata Dharma which Krishna teaches is included in the Vedanta, or the Upanishads, which teach the nature of Jiva and Brahman and the way for realizing the Brahman and attaining release from Samsara, which is identical with the teachings of Krishna. But the fundamentalists reject the Upanishads or interpret them as subsidiary to the ritualistic philosophy. So Krishna's criticism is directed against that way of thought, and his Bhagavata Dharma is the correct re-statement of the Upanishadic thought with an emphasis on the practice of devotion and dedicated work as the royal road to God's grace and salvation.

Commentary on Srimad Bhagavata Gita 2.42-45 by Swami Tapasyananda


Here shri krishna is not criticizing vedas but he is criticizing Sakaam karma(doing karma with desire)! You yourself say will shri krishna criticize himself, as he says i am saamveda among vedas(gita chp 10 shloka19-24)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .