Vedas, Vedangas,

Kalpa-sutras and Agamas

 

Vedic injunctions are known as sruti. From the original Veda Samhitas up to the Upanisads are
classified as sruti. The additional supplementary presentations of these principles as given by the
great sages are known as smrti. They are considered as evidence for vedic principles.
Understanding the ultimate goal of life is ascertained in the Vedanta-sutras by legitimate logic and
argument concerning cause and effect.
There are six aspects of knowledge in the Vedas known as Vedangas:
Siksa - phonetic science
Vyakarana - grammar
Nirukti - context (conclusive meaning)
Candas - meter
Jyotis - time science (astronomy & astrology)
Kalpa - rituals
The seers who have realized these aspects of knowledge from the Vedas, have composed sutras
(short but potent phrases which convey a lot of meanings) on each Vedanga. They are called
Kalpa-sutras.
Kalpa-sutras are of four categories:
srouta - collective sacrifices
grhya - family rituals,
dharma - occupational duties and
sulba - building of sacrificial fireplaces, altars etc.
According to the different levels of conditioned consciousness there are instructions in the Vedas
for worship of different controllers, with the aim of reaching different destinations and enjoying
different standards of sense enjoyment. They are known as Agamas.
Agamas (emanated scriptures) are books which are classified into five for this purpose:
energy - Sakti - Sakta Agamas
visible source (Sun) - Surya - Soura Agamas
controller - Ganapati - Ganapatya Agamas
destroyer - Siva - Saiva Agamas
ultimate source - Visnu - Vaikhanasa Agamas
From the point of view of common human activities sense gratification is the basis of material life.
To cater to this aim, there are three paths mentioned in the Vedas:
The karma-kanda path involves fruitier activities to gain promotion to better planets. Using the
methodology from the first five Vedangas, the Kalpa-sutras explain this path.
Upasana-kanda involves worshiping different controllers for promotion to their planets. The
Agamas explain this path.
Jnana-kanda involves realizing the Absolute truth in impersonal feature for the purpose of
becoming one . The Upanisads explain this path.
Though these paths are all from the Vedas, and the Vedas do explain them, one should not think
that that is all the Vedas have. The real purpose of the Vedas is to gradually push one in the path of
self realization to the point of surrender in devotional service to the Supreme Grace.