The Vedas are the oldest written text on our planet today. They date back to the beginning of Indian civilization and are the earliest literary records in the world.They are supposed to have been passed through oral tradition for over 100,000 years. They came to us in written form between 4-6,000 years ago. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (Song of God) states that the Vedas are millions of years old and that knowledge is lost and then again resurfaces the earth once again through the passage of time.

The Vedas are divided into four groups, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Each group has an original text (Mantra) and a commentary portion (Brahmana).

The Brahmana again has two portions, one interpreting ritual and the other the philosophy. The portions interpreting the philosophy of the original texts constitute the Upanishads.

There are also auxiliary texts called Vedangas. Vedic literature refers to the whole of this vast group of literature. The whole of Rgveda and most of Atharvaveda are in the form of poetry, or hymns to the deities and the elements.

Samaveda is in verses that are to be sung and Yajurveda is largely in short prose passages. Both Samaveda and Yajurveda are concerned with rituals rather than philosophy - especially Yajurveda.

The Vedas are said to reside in the rays of the Sun, which hold the Vedic mantras. The Vedas are the manifestation of solar intelligence, or the light of consciousness on Earth. The sacred syllable OM itself is the sound of the Sun and the essence of the Vedas. The Vedic mantras carry light and power both for the body and the mind.

According to the Vedas, the inner Sun is Prana or vital energy or orgone, which manifests through the breath. To increase our personal energy, both for physical health and for mental acuity, the best practice is Pranayama or breath control. Breath carries the subtle essence of speech, which is mantra.The incoming breath carries the sound 'so' and the outgoing breath carries the sound 'ha'. The natural mantra "So' ham" in Sanskrit means, "He am I," referring to the Purusha or consciousness in the Sun. Our very breath is based upon unity with the solar creator and source of life and can be used to connect with its power.

We all want to increase our intelligence, concentration, memory and capacity for information. This is the key to strength and success in the information age "Kali Yuga". The best way to do this is to harness the power of the inner Sun, which is to connect with cosmic intelligence through mantra and meditation.

Each one of us possesses a portion of the light of consciousness, a ray of the solar creator that endows us with understanding. This faculty is called 'dhi' in Vedic thought refers to the meditative aspect of the mind (dhyana manas) and 'buddhi' in later Indian thought, referring to awakened intelligence.

The best mantra for awakening the higher mind is the Gayatri mantra, which is a mantra to the solar light of consciousness to awaken our meditative mind (dhi). It brings us the Divine solar power of consciousness, love and prana—the supreme light of truth. At the same time it has been said that the reward, which a man obtains in the Krita or Satya Yuga by abstract meditation, in the Treta by sacrifice, in the Dwapara by adoration, he receives it in the Kali Yuga by merely reciting the names of God.

Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one great quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of God one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom."
In the Srimad Bhagavatam we even find that the age of Kali is actually considered the best of all ages. Though the age is full of sins and faults, it remains the best of all ages by virtue of the yuga-dharma being so powerful:
kalim sabhajayanty arya guna jnah sara-bhaginah yatra sankirtanenaiva sarva-svartho 'bhilabhyate
"Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana (chanting of the Lord's names)."

According to the Kali-santarana Upanishad, the Hare Krishna mahamantra is the taraka-mantra for this age. It is the great mantra of deliverence for all, and anyone may take to its chanting regardless of birth, caste, religion or qualification.
The Upanishad instructs us as follows:
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ity shodashakam namnam kali-kalmasha-nashanam natah parataropayah sarva-vedeshu drishyate

"The Hare Krishna maha-mantra, composed of 16 names and 32 syllables, is the only means to countract the evil-effects of Kali-yuga. In all the Vedas it is seen that to cross the ocean of nescience there is no alternative to the chanting of the Lord's holy names."

That is why mantras are essential and much needed to vibrate and release our minds from the ill effects of this Yuga called Kali.

Saraswati, Goddess of Knowledge, music, arts and science. .

Subpages (1): Vedas