(The following article authored by U.Ve. Sriman Srirangam N.C,Raghunathacharya swamy appeared in Bhakthi nivedana magazine. I translated and reproduced here for the benefit of my friends -)
The Vedas are considered to be innumerable as said by the Sri sUkthi anantha vai VedAh. However, another Sri SUkthi says chathvAro vedAh which the Vedas are of four varieties. Do they not appear to be contradicting statements? The answer for this doubt is given by our elders. It is said that sage VyAsa BhagavAn had categorize the innumerable Vedas according to the similarity of the meanings and thus he made four categories.
Thus as the Vedas are innumerable, the Upanishads which are the end portions of the Vedas also are said to be innumerable. These Upanishads are also known as Vedanthas. The various scholars who have delved into these Vedanthas have also said that out of them 108 are major Upanishads. In these 108 Upanishads there appears the DraviDa Brahmopanishad. The contents of this DraviDa Brahmopanishad include the DraviDa Prabandhams and the names of the AzhwArs the authors of these Prabandhams.
How is it that the AzhwArs who belong to the recent period of Kali Yuga are mentioned in the Upanishad? As a counter question there can be another question as to how the names of sages VyAsa, ParAsara etc. belonging to the Mahabharata period do appear in the Vedas e.g. sahovAcha vyAsah pArAsaryah? The answer for these questions as given by the Vaidikas is that the times are immemorial and are being told as anAdi. That alone is the answer. Further the Vedic sentence DhAthA yathhA pUrvam akalpayath the creator created as it was earlier, strengthens this Vaidikas answer.
The present topic is about the proper period of the adhyayanam of the Vedas. When questioned as to when a study of the Vedas in Sanskrit should be started and when to stop, it is said in Vedas itself as follows
Similar to this about the timing for the study of the Dravida Vedas, it has been mentioned in the DraviDa Brahmopanishad as follows
thaishyAm means the month of pausha. sUryarkshe means on the day of the star hastham. This clearly says that one should start the study or rendering of the DraviDa Veda or DraviDa Prabandhams. This is what we do on KuraththAzhwans thirunakshathram day we start again the Prabandha adhyayanam after the thirukkarthikai. The next line Urja means the month of Karthigai. Ajarksham means the day of the star kriththikai. Thus it is stated that one should stop from the day of kriththikai in the month of kArthikam. According to the above instruction of the DraviDa Brahmopanishad, we have to stop rendering the DraviDa Prabandhams on the day of krithikai in the month of Karthigai and restart on the day of hastham in the month of pausha Thai.