“Then, there was neither non-Existence nor Existence; there was neither air nor the sky beyond. By what was it then covered? Where and what was its shelter? Was water there, deep and fathomless? …. Without breathing, alone with self-impulse was That One, other than that, there was nothing else…..”
“Vedas were communicated by the Resplendent Lord Hayagriva to the four-faced Brahma, as the first seer, who later revealed to others like Rudra, Shesha, Daksha, Sanaka and the human beings, narrated by Kapila and assimilated by Badarayana, the Veda Vyasa.”
Veda is derived from the word, vid, “to know.” Literally veda, is a compendium of knowledge but Veda is actually “Wisdom” and not Knowledge. . The four Vedas are considered the foundation for all of Hinduism. The four are the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva vedas.
“That alone is Veda which reveals the Wisdom of Brahman.”
Their aim was illumination, not logical conviction. (Sri Aurobindo)
The Rig Veda (c. 1500 B.C.E.), is the most ancient Indian text, the most important of the four Vedas. Rigveda was not composed in one sitting, or by a meeting of Rishis: the text is the result of many centuries of composition. The Rigveda consists of 10 Mandala or Books, which contain 1028 suktas or hymns, consisting of 10552 mantras or verses. The great majority of them from five to 20 verses long. Very few exceed 50 verses. Mandala 10 is a very late Mandala, and stands out from the other nine Mandalas in many respects. The hymns praise a pantheon of divinities. The composers of the Rigveda were members of ten priestly families. A few of them tell of the creation of the universe and were extremely important in the later development of Hinduism. Greatest number of hymns in the Rig Veda is devoted to INDRA, king of the gods, a deity connected with storms and rain who holds a thunderbolt, and AGNI, the god of fire.
- Brahmanas dealt with the rites and rituals contained in Vedas.
- Aranyakas provided explanation of the mysticism behind the rites and rituals as well performance of sacrifices.
- Upanishads specialized in philosophical speculation regarding the Nature and role of Brahman and how to attain the proximity with that supreme principle.
In vedic scriptures we observe the Sun as the most visible and important symbol of Divine Resplendence and effulgence, which is the source recognized in all the religious traditions.
The Rishi was not the individual composer of the hymn, but the seer (drast¯a) of an eternal truth and an impersonal knowledge. (Sri Aurobindo)
- Some of the Composers belong to the priest family of 1. Kanva, 2. Angiras, 3. Saurya, 4.Aurava, 5. Aristanemi, 6. Visvamitra, 7. Vasistha, 8. Bhrugus.
- The Angirases were the dominant priests of the Vedic Aryans.
- The Bhrgus, were accepted into the Vedic mainstream only towards the end of the Rigvedic period. Once they were accepted they became the most important of all the families of Vedic Rishis.
- The Bharata Dynasty is the predominant dynasty in the Rigveda. Eleven Kings of this dynasty are referred to in the Rigveda.
- The area of the Rigveda extended from western Uttar Pradesh to Afghanistan.
· “Veda the knowledge,—the received name for the highest spiritual truth of which the human mind is capable, has been the reputed source not only of some of the world’s richest and profoundest religions, but of some of its subtlest metaphysical philosophies. In the fixed tradition of thousands of years they have been revered as the origin and standard of all that can be held as authoritative and true in Brahmana and Upanishad, in Tantra and Purana, in the doctrines of great philosophical schools and in the teachings of famous saints and sages. “ – Sri Aurobindo
The People. - A Theory.
Arya in the Rigveda refers to the Vedic Aryans. Indra is declared to be a God who is close to both Aryas and Dasas.
Two main streams are of those belonging to the Solar Race of the Iksvakus, and those belonging to the Lunar Race of the Ailas. The Ailas are further divided into five main branches: the Yadus, TurvaSas, Druhyus, Anus and Purus. Of this the Purus were the Vedic Aryans.
Hymn I - Agni (Fire).
“I Invoke Agni, the one who leads, as the indweller in sacrificial functions, and the one who is resplendent. Agni was invoked by seers in ancient times as well as in present times, let him bring in our sacrifice the divinities. Let us obtain wealth and prosperity that wanes not from day after day, as well as valor and success. O Agni , protect from all directions our sacrifice which is being performed according to the scriptural rituals so that that will assuredly reach the divinities. Agni, verily is the supreme divinity, the omniscient, the Prime Existence foremost among all the luminous divinities, let such Agni be in our sacrifice.”
Hymn V - Indra.
“O come here, sit down: to Indra you sing forth, your song, companions, bringing hymns of praise. To him the richest of the rich, the Lord of treasures excellent, Indra, with Soma juice outpoured. May he stand by us in our need and in abundance for our wealth: May he come nigh us with his strength. Whose pair of tawny horses yoked in battles foemen challenge not: To him, to Indra sing your song. Nigh to the Soma−drinker come, for his enjoyment, these pure drops. The Somas mingled with the curd. Thou, grown at once to perfect strength, was born to drink the Soma juice. Strong Indra, for preeminence. O Indra, lover of the song, may these quick Somas enter thee: May they bring bliss to thee the Sage. Our chants of praise have strengthened thee, O Satakratu, and our lauds So strengthen thee the songs we sing. Indra, whose succour never fails, accept these viands thousand fold, Where in all manly powers abide. O Indra, thou who loves song, let no man hurt our bodies, keep Slaughter far from us, for you can’t.”
Hymn VII. Indra.
“Indra the singers with high praise, Indra reciters with their lauds, Indra the choirs have glorified. Indra has ever close to him his two bay steeds and word−yoked car, Indra the golden, thunder−armed. Indra hath raised the Sun on high in heaven, that he may see afar: He burst the mountain for the kine. Help us, O Indra, in the frays, yea, frays, where thousand spoils are gained, With awful aids, O awful One. In mighty battle we invoke Indra, Indra in lesser fight, The Friend who bends his bolt at fiends. Unclose, our manly Hero, thou for ever bounteous, yonder cloud, For us, thou irresistible. Still higher, at each strain of mine, thunder−armed Indra's praises rise: I find no laud worthy of him. Even as the bull drives on the herds, he drives the people with his might, The Ruler irresistible: Indra who rules with single sway men, riches, and the fivefold race Of those who dwell upon the earth. For your sake from each side we call Indra away from other men: Ours, and none others', may he be.”
There is nothing new in Creation that was not there earlier. There is nothing new in Wisdom except that what was once pure and clear becomes obscure by efflux of time, therefore needing to be clarified and reveled anew as essence within the form.
Metaphor - Sacrifice;
· The four officiating priests – hotri, advaryu, udgatri and brahma are the four horns of the sacrifice.
· The morning, noon and evening oblations are its three feet.
· The sacrificer and his wife are the two heads.
· The gayatri and its fellow meters are the seven hands.
· The triple binding by the three vedas.
· Sacrifice is called bull (vrishabha) because it rains down blessings.
· It is said it roars mightily because of the repetition of the stotra and sastra.
…..”heaven in Veda was a symbol of the mind, that Indra represented the illuminated mentality and his two horses double energies of that mentality”……… ---- Sri Aurobindo.
…..” The cow and horse, go and a´sva, are constantly associated. Usha, the Dawn, is described as gomat¯ı a´svavat¯ı; Dawn gives to the sacrificer horses and cows. As applied to the physical dawn gomat¯ı means accompanied by or bringing the rays of light and is an image of the dawn of illumination in the human mind. Therefore a´svavat¯ı also cannot refermerely to the physical steed; it must have a psychological significance as well. A study of the Vedic horse led me to the conclusion that go and a´sva represent the two companion ideas of Light and Energy, Consciousness and Force, which to the Vedic and Vedantic mind were the double or twin aspect of all the activities of existence. It was apparent, therefore, that the two chief fruits of the Vedic sacrifice, wealth of cows and wealth of horses, were symbolic of richness of mental illumination and abundance of vital energy. It followed that the other fruits continually associated with these two chief results of the Vedic karma must also be capable of a psychological significance. It remained only to fix their exact purport.”…… ---- Sri Aurobindo.
1. The creepers – Sara, Darbha, Kushara, Sairya, Munja or Viramna, all these who reside unobserved, have infected me with poison.”
- ( Rig Veda Hymn CXCI. -Water. Grass.Sun)
Creepers are the attachments which bind one’s self to the body in which it dwells. Whereas self is distinct and independent of the body in which it temporarily dwells in, Mind conjures up that the sensory experiences of the body are the experiences of the self. But such erroneous assumption makes the attachments binding on one’s Mind as shackles. Such web is an illusion, a mirage which Mind has woven for itself, making aggregations of sensory influences on Mind, a samsaara. The self dwells in the bodies, even as bodies were dwelling in different residences during one’s life time. It is one’s ego-sense that makes one attached to each residence as long as one dwells in that residence; making them inalienable part of the self, one’s being without being aware that we have become ensnared and enslaved. Even so as long as the self takes residence in a body it becomes attached to it, considering it as in-alienable part and becomes attached. Such attachments are like the creepers which encircle a huge tree, becoming a part of the tree and even suffocating its life in some cases. But unlike human beings the tree grows, along with and in spite of the creepers, but the human being because of the powerful ego-sense considers the senses as part of his self and suffers without being aware the poison and ills of the sensory attachments. ------ (Nagesh D Sonde)
2. “He becomes known from his actions, when breathing as Breath, when speaking as speech, when seeing the Eye, when hearing the Ear, when thinking the Mind. But the senses organs are merely the names given to the actions. If one meditates on one or the other, then he knows him not, because that is incomplete identification with one or the other. The Self is to be meditated upon the whole, for there he is complete. These are all the foot-prints of his who is this Self, and by it the Self, one knows all this, just as one finds (the cow) by its foot prints.”
The Gayatri Mantra
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः ।
तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥
Bhuh Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat
~ The Rig Veda (10:16:3)
"O thou existence Absolute, Creator of the three dimensions, we contemplate upon thy divine light. May He stimulate our intellect and bestow upon us true knowledge."
1. Rig Veda Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith
2. Handbook to the study of Rig Veda by Peter Peterson.
3. The Secret of the Veda – (Vol.15) The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.
4. Rig Veda (Tamil Trans.) by A.R. Jambunathan.
5. The Rig Veda; A Historical Analysis by Shrikant G Talageri.
6. Encyclopedia of Hinduism by Constance A Jones and James D Ryan.
7. Rig Veda - A study of the forty hymns by Nagesh D. Sonde.