Misconception 5: Vedas can be interpreted by western scholars better because they are more scientific
Fact: To be eligible to interpret Vedas, one has to qualify certain minimum basic requirements
Vedas are for every human being. But to be able to decipher meanings of vedic mantras in scholarly manner, several requirements are must:
a. Understanding of roots of vedic words, grammar and usages
b. A scientific and rational temper of mind
c. And most importantly, being a yogi.
Just as you do not get admitted to IIT or IIM without passing the entrance test, one cannot be eligible to comment on Vedas unless he or she is a yogi.
In other words, one cannot be taken seriously on vedic matters if he or she is say a drunkard, meat-eater, prone to anger, egoist, frustrated, hedonist, etc etc. Simply put he or she has to be a yogi to be a rishi (one who can understand the true meaning of vedas).
Thus Vedas is not a text which every Tom, Dick or Harry can start commenting upon merely by studying some basic conventional sanskrit grammar and reading few sanskrit books. The mantras of vedas are to be unlocked through process of deep meditation and contemplation. More one progresses on yogic path, more clearly is he or she able to understand Vedas. But for a non-yogi with stone mind, only stones can be obtained from Vedas.
Most western scholars, based upon their PhDs from universities based on and equipped for non-vedic studies start assuming that they have a preferential superiority over analysing Vedas. They simply ignore the eligibility conditions for entering into vedic arena.
This is not a blanket statement against all foreigners, but simply on basis of works of most prominent western indologists. This is also not to say that these problems are not infecting those native of India. In fact the problem is much more severe because of their inferiority complex coupled with prejudiced mindsets – likes of Romila Thapar, DN Jha etc are ready examples.
A simple example showing poor translations done by the Westerners:-
Rig Veda says "Krunvanto Vishwam Aryam". ( 9.63.5). I did a simple exercise. I checked translation of this by Griffith and Wilson:
"Performing every noble work, active, augmenting Indra's strength,
Driving away the godless ones." (Griffith's translation)
"Augmenting Indra,urging the waters,making all our acts prsperous,destroying witholders of oblatins" (Wilson)
Now the phrase is not even typical Vedic Sanskrit. It is a very simple phrase to translate.But to Griffith the words "Krunvanto" and "Vishwam" do not exist. To Wilson, all three words do not exist in the verse. The cardinal mimansa rule of interpreation is "Yatha Vachanam Tatha vachanikam" (Read it as it is without adding anything or subtracting anything).Messrs.Wilson and Griffith discard this rule. Probably, the motive is to paint the word "Aryan" as racist. Translating the words as "Ennoble the whole world" would mean they cannot attribute racist connotations to the word.
Thus all those who claim to have superior claim on Vedas because of their so-called scientific studies need to be analysed more in detail. People who turn out to be non-yogis (as per Paatanjal Yoga Sutra) have to rejected outrightly.