Since I want to take you straight from the Veda to Sri Aurobindo, I will not burden you now with the many developments that took place with regard to Vedic knowledge during the intermediate period. I will simply take up the discoveries made by the Veda and compare them with the discoveries of Sri Aurobindo, both with regard to those discoveries and to discoveries that were not even contemplated in the Veda.
Let us first of all state them one by one, very briefly. The first discovery I told you about was that life is a battle. I spoke to you of the sentence “The eater eating is eaten” — that is the formula of the struggle that is there in this battle — and told you that this battle is not only among visible creatures. Behind it there is a battle of invisible forces, which are even greater. Sri Aurobindo confirms this position, first of all. He has declared that this world is a world of battle, and that this battle is not only between living creatures but is fought also among invisible forces, consisting of the gods and the adverse forces such as Asuras, Rakshasas, Pishachas, Vritra, Dasus and Panis. Even this classification of adverse forces is confirmed by Sri Aurobindo. He has written on this question of the battle of life in such a large way that we do not find its equal even in the Veda. Taking advantage of what is given in the Bhagavad–Gita, where there is the great scenario of Kurukshetra, he has spoken of the whole world as a Kurukshetra, he has spoken of the battle of life.
Sri Aurobindo confirms the Vedic perception that this battle is not the end of human life. The ultimate end is harmony. We are passing through a battle in order to arrive at harmony, and the ultimate message of the Veda is to establish harmony. Sri Aurobindo confirms that we are moving towards greater and greater harmony, and he has dealt with this question of harmony in an even greater way than all that has been done in the whole history of the world. This is a new element, the concept of harmony.
There has been in the past a concept that harmony is almost like a promise, like a dream. But very often in history the overwhelming tendency is to consider harmony as something not attainable in physical life. Although the Veda speaks of harmony here, the question whether it can be established on the earth on a permanent basis is not answered. If you look through the pages of the Veda, there is an incomplete statement. Whereas in Sri Aurobindo there is a new element: that in the physical world, harmony can and will and must be established. This is a very positive statement that Sri Aurobindo makes.
We shall come back to this again. This is just a brief statement as to what is new in Sri Aurobindo, and this is a very important element but let us come to the second discovery of the Veda… I want to warn you about one thing: It is not as if the Vedic Rishis say, “We have made five discoveries.” This is my statement. For my expounding of the Veda (for the sake of brevity, for the sake of bringing to you the message of the Veda in a brief, intelligible manner), I have spoken of five discoveries. But there are many–many discoveries. It is in that context that I have spoken to you about the second discovery of the Veda: the discovery of the power of sacrifice, the need to offer oneself in order to make progress, in order to attain the Truth, to attain Immortality.
This concept of sacrifice has been confirmed by Sri Aurobindo. He has written at length on this subject. In his book The Secret of the Veda, in his Essays on the Gita, in his book on the Upanishads, in his great book The Synthesis of Yoga, in The Life Divine and elsewhere, he has spoken of this principle of sacrifice, he has explained what sacrifice is. But very often the word “sacrifice” gives in India the image of lighting a physical fire and offering the rice and wooden sticks and clarified butter, and reciting mantras, and so on, this is the idea of “sacrifice” that is prevalent in India. In the Veda itself this concept is transcended. The Veda does not speak only of the sacrifice of the physical fire. I told you the word “fire” is an algebraic term in the Veda: Agni is a power of illumined will, and when it is said that you light the fire it means that you give illumination to your inner will. You offer yourself to this Will, make that Will the leader. In the writings of Sri Aurobindo you will find that it is the inner meaning of sacrifice already present in the Veda, in the Gita, etc., which is brought out fully. Whenever Sri Aurobindo speaks of sacrifice he speaks of the inner sacrifice, and he explains this very clearly and very vastly. In the entire literature of India, in the entire literature of Indian Yoga, we do not get the kind of formulation of the idea of sacrifice that you find in Sri Aurobindo. It’s a new element.
Sri Aurobindo has spoken of a triple sacrifice: sacrifice by the power of Knowledge, sacrifice by the power of Love, sacrifice by the power of Works. Sacrifice is therefore something that pertains to all three paths of Yoga. Very often in the past the idea of sacrifice was largely confined to the path of Works; in Sri Aurobindo we find a full formulation of the path of sacrifice being itself a triple path, a synthesis of Knowledge, Works and Devotion.
The third discovery of the Veda was the Supermind. We spoke of turiyam swid, the discovery of “that fourth one”. Beyond the body, life and mind, they discovered the Supermind. There is a very curious description in the Veda of the Reality having four horns and three feet. Chatuhshringa trayopadasya, “it has got three feet and four horns”. The four horns consist of, first, the Reality that exists, the principle of existence; the second horn is that of Consciousness; the third horn is Delight; the fourth is the horn of the Supermind. These are the four horns in the Veda, as Sri Aurobindo himself has explained. The three feet are the body, life and mind. So if you look at the entire Reality you get seven principles. And to confirm the entire discovery of the Veda, as it were, Sri Aurobindo has spoken of “the sevenfold cord of Being”. The Reality is sevenfold; he has confirmed this discovery of the Veda. Wherever you move, whether in the manifest or the un–manifest, there is a sevenfold Reality. Just as the ray of light has a spectrum of seven colors, and whether they are manifested or not they are always present, similarly there are seven principles of Being whether they are manifested or not. Sri Aurobindo has described these seven principles of Being in a most elaborate manner. This is not only confirmation of what was in the Veda. What is new in this is a detailed explanation of the whole Universe such as has never been done in the history of the world. The explanation of the Universe that we find in Sri Aurobindo, in its totality, in all its amplitude, with its fullness of data, is completely new. And Sri Aurobindo describes the Supermind in a most ample manner which is not to be found anywhere in the history of the world.
The question is: Was the Supermind known to the Vedic Rishis as fully, in such amplitude as we find in Sri Aurobindo? I cannot dare to make a statement myself, but shall take a statement from the Mother. This is from The Mother’s Agenda. The disciple asks a question; he starts by saying:
You don’t have time now or I would bring up a problem. It can wait for another occasion.
About the discovery of the Supermind in the Veda and by Sri Aurobindo, there is something I don’t quite grasp.
Because in the Veda it is incomplete.
This is the statement of the Mother: “Because it is incomplete”. Then She continues:
“No. They had a hint, like a vision of the thing, but there is no proof that they realized it. What is more, had they realized it seems to me that we would certainly have found some traces, but no traces remain.”
That’s a very important statement. It is a claim that whenever you proceed to do Yoga, and you do it thoroughly and sincerely, in all its depth, the Yoga gives you all that has been realized in the past, so that you find the traces. If somebody has trodden a path then it becomes easier for you to tread it. You don’t have to make a great effort to hew a new path.
I’m omitting something from the text to make it briefer for you:
“According to what Sri Aurobindo saw, and what I saw as well, the Rishis had the contact, the experience… How to put it? A kind of lived knowledge of the thing, coming like a promise, saying, ‘THAT is what will be.’ But it's not permanent. There is a big difference between their experience and the descent — what Sri Aurobindo calls "the descent of the Supermind": something that comes and establishes itself.” (Agenda 7 November 61)
And then Mother goes on further, you can read it in your own time. But this is an important statement, that Sri Aurobindo made a kind of discovery which you don’t find in the Veda. It’s a new discovery.