Much has been added, at later and later dates, to the Vedic texts. This includes all of the translations, learned opinions, points of view, interpretations, arguments, commentaries, traditions, ritualistic superstitions. All of this accumulated material is now by and large regarded as gospel, and repeated and repeated and repeated. Now we can hear the echoic opinions being treated as knowledge, and, with the introduction of the original material in all of this watered-down form to "the west" we have it being passed on by those whose knowledge is constituted by what they have gathered from their readings of error piled upon error. I took my first dive into these waters in 1949 (a banner year in my life LOL :-) when the blessed consciousness of Paramahansa Yogananda found its way to my brainbox as a gift from my piano teacher. I was hooked. I began Sanskrit studies at the University of Pennsylavania in 1955 under the tutelage of Indologist Professor Norman Brown - from there it was a constant soaking - Ford Foundation Fellow at the Universities of Chicago (Hans van Buitenen was my prof he was then working on his translation of the Mahabharata) and the University of Southern Indiana or Illinois (I have forgotten which) where I lived on High Street next to a house once inhabited by Tagore.
Then I was appointed a New York State Faculty Scholar in Oriental (they used that word in those days) Studies at Columbia University NY in 1964 - and in the next decade I was Senior Fellow at the Center For Advanced Studies in Pune India doing my work for one year on the musical dimensions of ancient Sanskrit texts. Bhimsen Joshi, Aurovindo Mangrulker, Vamanrao Deshpande were my gurus - as well as the spirit of Sri Aurobindo in whose ashram I took up residence for a while. I loved the proximity of the sea both in Bombay and Madras (their designations at that time) :-)
I received initiation into what was then known as Transcendental Mediation in 1974, having attended the public lectures of Maharishi a decade before when he was new to the West. This was one of many turning points, as was my 18 month residence as BhaktaSamaVedaWayne in one of Srila Prabhupada's temples. The daily chanting of the Sri Krishna Mahamantra was yet another epic turn.
I memorized the Sutras of Patanjali and every day recited all of them by heart for a couple of years, meditating on their meaning and its application in daily life.
All the while, the effect of all this absorbtion in my daily practice of Vedanta reached the depths of my music-making.
It has only been quite recently that it dawned on me that to know the Vedas I must do what our ancients did before the advent of the written word, before the dawn of our present mind with its conceptualizing intellect. I must sink into the sound itself, without regard to all that I had hitherto learned, and become simply a vehicle for the sound current carried forth by the mantras born from the Divine Within.
End of story.
Or perhaps, the beginning.
I have written this as your ever well-wisher