HISTORY OF THE VEDAS
The word “Veda” means complete knowledge. Vedas are the perfect words of God on both spiritual and material knowledge of past, present, and future. When scientists create a complex machine, they provide an instruction manual to facilitate proper use and prevent dangerous misuse.
Similarly, when God or Lord Krishna, created our universe, He provided a vast and complete set of instructions known as the Veda, Vedas are the oldest literatures known to man. They cover practically every aspect of knowledge imaginable, as well as many sciences which are unknown even today. To those who understand the teachings of the Vedas, truths of life and ultimately God Himself are scientifically revealed.
COMPILATIONS OF THE VEDAS
According to the Vedas, our universe was created 157 trillion, 692 billion, 960 million years ago. At that time Lord Krishna spoke the Veda to Lord Brahma, the first demigod and mortal living being in our universe. Brahma was born directly from Lord Krishna. As the chief minister in God’s universal government, Brahma was empowered by Lord Krishna to create everything in our universe and so the universe was populated. Brahma instructed this knowledge to Narada-muni who in turn instructed it to Vyasadeva.
Around 5,000 Years ago, the increasing influence of the Iron Age began reducing everyone’s memory and intellect and a written version of the Veda was urgently needed. The great sage Vyasadeva therefore extracted the four Vedas from the original unwritten Veda. The language used by the sage was a timeless and classic one —spoken in the heavenly planets— known as Sanskrit.
ESSENCE OF THE VEDAS
Having completed that task, Vyasadeva, the sage, saw that he needed to make the Vedas easier to understand. The size and complexity of the Vedas were better suited to the advanced intellectuals of the bygone ages. Vyasadeva, therefore, compiled eighteen Puranas, the very old historical accounts of earth and other planets, totaling 382,000 verses. Then he compiled The Mahabharata, the ancient history of India composed in 200,000 verses, which includes the famous Bhagavad-gita spoken directly by Lord Krishna Himself 5,000 years ago. Vyasadeva also compiled the 108 Upanishads.
He finally summarized all that literature in a work entitled Vedanta-sutra. But he still felt that something was missing. He discussed his dissatisfaction with his spiritual teacher, Narada- muni. Narada-muni concluded that Vyasadeva should compile the best of all Vedic knowledge, the unique part of the sublime knowledge that Lord Krishna had imparted to Brahma at the time of the creation. Thus with great satisfaction Vyasdeva compiled in 18,000 verses the essence of all the Vedas – the renowned Srimad- Bhagavatam. This Srimad-Bhagavatam was spoken by Sukadeva Goswami to King Pariksit, the Emperor of the whole world. Simply by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam in the last seven days of his life, King Pariksit perfected his life and went back to Godhead.
PRESENTATION OF THE VEDAS
This very knowledge is being made available to us by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the form of The Vedic Encyclopedia – 108 volumes. Srila Prabhupada is the greatest proponent of Vedic knowledge in the modern times, and the thirty-second acharya in an unbroken chain of disciplic succession (parampara) of self-realized spiritual masters beginning with the Supreme Spiritual Master Lord Krishna Himself.
Thus the Vedic encyclopedia is the most authentic, authorized, internationally acclaimed, and popular Vedic reference guide on the art of living and is translated into more than thirty-one languages around the world.