One of the Sayings and Utterances of Swami Vivekanada says:

  1. Of all the scriptures of the world it is the Vedas alone that declare that even the study of the Vedas is secondary. The real study is "that by which we realisethe Unchangeable". And that is neither reading, for believing, nor reasoning, but superconscious perception, or Samâdhi.

Would some one knowledgeable kindly point me to the Veda and verse that says this?


1 Answer 1


There is one Shloka in Rigveda 1.164.39:

ऋचो अक्षरे परमे व्योमन् यस्मिन्देवा अधि विश्वे निषेदुः ।
यस्तं न वेद किमृचा करिष्यति य इत्तद्विदुस्त इमे समासते ॥

Of what avail are the Vedas to him who does not know that indestructible, highest Ethereal Being, in whom the gods and the Vedas reside? Only those who know That are satisfied.

It says that there is Brahman in which everything resides, all deities, beings and the whole universe or creation dwells in it. Brahman is base of all, source of everything and everything is dependent on Brahman Only. As said in Katha Upanishad 2.2.15, Maundaka Upanishad 2.2.10 & ShvetaSvatara Upanishad 6.14 that

The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor these lightnings, not to speak of this fire. When He shines, everything shines after Him; by His light everything is lighted.

Note that the ultimate purpose of the shastras and all texts is to preach the knowledge of Brahman only and eventually to make one attain Brahman. As said in Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.5:

Know that Self alone that is one without a second, on which are strung heaven, the earth and the inter-space, the mind and the vital forces together with all the other organs; and give up all other talks. This is the bridge leading to immortality.

Now, if one studies all texts and still doesn't try to know Brahman, then such study of Shastras is not fruitful. As said in Vivekachudamani (verse 59):

The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.

So, in the similar context this Rigveda verse is saying that the knowledge of Veda is secondary and the knowledge of Brahman is the primary goal. That's why it is said "Of what avail are the Vedas to him who does not know that indestructible, highest Ethereal Being"

I think Vivekananda wants to say that same thing and that's why I think this Rigveda 1.164.39 is the closet match.

The same verse is also found in AtharvaVeda 9.10.18

Similar saying that Veda's knowledge is secondary and Brahman is primary is found in Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.5:

I-i-5: Of these, the lower comprises the Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, Atharva-Veda, the science of pronunciation etc., the code of rituals, grammar, etymology, metre and astrology. Then there is the higher (knowledge) by which is attained that Imperishable.

  • Thank you very much for the detailed reply. Much appreciated. Commented Apr 13 at 1:18

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