Discoveries of The Vedic Rishis

Track Running Discoveries of The Vedic Rishis 301

I had said last time that the Rishis had made five main discoveries. So we shall go straight into this subject now, and then compare each discovery of the Vedic Rishis with what Sri Aurobindo has said about these discoveries, and what is something new in Sri Aurobindo in regard to these very five discoveries. So we shall have a comparative view of the old knowledge and the new knowledge.

The main subject of the discovery pertains to the question: what is life and what is the aim of life. This you might say is the basic question in regard to which all the discoveries of the Vedic Rishis refer. And the simple answer to this question, for the sake of brevity and clarity I shall tell you in a few words: What is life? The answer of the Vedic Rishis was that human life is a battle, this is their discovery. You might say this is not a very big discovery, but it is a big discovery when you ask the question of the entirety of life, not portions of life. You should be able to answer the question which pertains to the entirety of life. Just as Darwin said that human life or all evolution is evolution through the process of struggle for existence. Here too you might say it is not a very big discovery, but it is a very big discovery. At least all the scientists agree that to say that the world is an evolution which is taking place through a process of struggle for existence, is a big discovery.

Now Vedic Rishis declared that the human life, all life on earth, is a battle. And the aim of human life, they put down in a few words towards the end of the Rig Veda. They are very important words, so I will repeat those words first in Sanskrit and then in English. The aim of human life is: Manur bhava janaya daivyam janam. First, be mental being. Manur bhava. Manas is the mind. Manu is the possessor of the mind. So first be the mental being. This is the first step, but not the last step. The aim of human life is first to be a mental being. And then you go forward. Janaya daivyam janam. Generate, produce, and create, daivyam janam, the divine being. First be the human being, the mental being, and then you become the divine being. This is the answer of the Vedic Rishis. Towards the end of the Rig Veda you get this answer. It is a very significant discovery. This is as far as the individual is concerned. Then it speaks about the collectivity. Collectivity of people what should they aim at? Sam gachchadhwam, sam vadatwam. Walk together, speak together. It is a long sentence. I am not going to say the whole sentence, but the main point is: You arrive at a harmony, collective harmony, so that you can all walk together, move together, sharing with each other, carrying the same conviction, the same urge for realisation. This is the goal. This is the basic answer of the Veda. First be the human being with mind properly trained, and then move forward to become the divine being. And collectively, walk together, move together, think together, have the same aspiration and realise together. This is the answer.

But to arrive at this answer, there are many details of the discoveries. And these are the five discoveries. The first discovery was that the battle of human life is not an isolated battle taking place among human beings or among the creatures of the earth. It is a very important statement. In Darwin's theory, all struggle is a struggle of the creatures and the environment of the earth, of the physical world. But in the Vedic view — this is their discovery. It is not a speculation, this is the body of knowledge — the battle which is going on in human life is a larger field of battle in which there are invisible forces; there are visible forces of the physical world, which are easy to detect, but there are invisible forces which are not physically perceptible.

These invisible forces are basically of two kinds. There are benign forces on one side, and then on the other side there are malevolent forces, evil forces, adverse forces, hostile forces. This was a great discovery, which they called the discovery of the gods on the one hand, and the discovery of a number of adverse forces, and again they made distinctions among them. It was such a detailed analysis. There is a force of Vritra: that is one adverse force who obstructs, whose fundamental function is obstruction. Vritra, this is a Sanskrit word, and I don't want to translate into English because there is no easy translation of this word. So there is first Vritra who obstructs. Any time you want to make progress in this world, one of the forces, which is Vritra, will come to obstruct. It simply wants to obstruct you. This is one of the forces of the battle. You want to move forward? There is an obstruction. Then there are forces which are called Panis. They want to negotiate with you, they don't merely obstruct. They are like merchants. They want to negotiate. You give us this, then we shall allow you this. And they will give you great rewards if you decide not to progress. Great rewards, because they are in possession of so much of riches. If you tell them: we don't want to make a progress, then they will give you great rewards. They are Panis, they want to attract you, tempt you to remain in the lower world so that you don't make a progress. These are Panis. Then there are Asuras, they are forces of the mind which can calculate very easily and very powerfully and give you lots of reasons why you should not progress. They are very powerful. They want to keep you down and they are capable of giving you lots of reasonings why you should not make an effort. They are mental forces, they are capable of thinking. Then there are Rakshasas. They are different from Asuras. Rakshasas are those who are very powerful and they simply want to destroy you, or enjoy you, whatever you are. They simply want to enjoy you as you are. They have large ambitions, they want to engulf the whole world if it is possible, engulf the whole humanity, push it down, not only obstruct, ready to destroy you, they want to eat you, enjoy you and become bigger and bigger by your consuming. These are Rakshasas. And then there are Pishachas, they are of a different kind. Pishachas don't have great ambitions, they have small desires, but plenty of desires, plenty of small desires, small aims, little gains but plenty of them. So they are innumerable, you just go into their world and you will find small gains to be obtained and they can keep you for ages and ages in their field, because of the smallness and the innumerable numbers of them. So they are Pishachas. And then there are purely dark forces, forces of inconscience, resistance — not only obstruction — resistance, lethargy. They want to keep you down absolutely to sleep, pull you down to sleep, so that you can make no progress, there is not even a proposal of progress. There are forces of inconscience.

This classification which the Rishis made, and with definiteness, requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience of life. It is not easy to make so many distinctions among the hostile forces, adverse forces. Vedic Rishis knew which adverse force is at work, is it Rakshasa, is it Asura, is it Pishacha, is it inconscience, is it Vritra, is it Panis. And you have remedies of dealing with them, and these Rishis found out the remedies, as to how to deal with them. That is a great discovery. How to deal with Vritra? Supposing Vritra obstructs you, what is the remedy? And they came to the conclusion that mere human power is not enough against any one of them. If you just want to conquer them by your human powers, forget about it. This was the conclusion of these great Rishis. Merely by human force you cannot control them. So if any human being says: With my own powers I will be able to conquer the adverse forces, Vedic Rishis told you, after lot of research, that merely with human forces it is not possible. How will you then conquer these forces? How will you make progress? If you want to be a true human being, a true mental being, and then if you want to generate the divine being, if this is your goal, if you want to work together, move together, think together, harmonize together, these forces are bound to come in your battle.

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