Essays on the Gita

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This was the message at the end,….. now it is very well known that Rig Veda is often called karmakanda: in fact all the Vedas are regarded as Karmakanda. Therefore there is no doubt about the fact that the Veda contains a great gospel of Works, of that there is no doubt at all. Secondly, Veda is called `Veda', Veda means the book of Knowledge. The very word "Veda" means knowledge.  Therefore there can be no doubt about the fact that the Veda itself is a book of knowledge. The Veda is also supposed to be a book of upasana. The very first word of the Rig Veda is:

Agnimille Purohitam Yajnyasya Devam Rttijam |
Hotaaram Ratna Dhaataram.
Rig Veda 1.1.1.

The word ile the very first line speaks of agni mile: "I worship". And if you read the whole of the Veda it is nothing but prayers, it is nothing but a book of worship. Now all the three are combined together in a very synthetic manner, so that you may say that Vedas are at once the book of Works, of Knowledge and of Love and much more. The Veda speaks of Perfection; the Veda speaks of amritatvam, of Immortality. So, even the elements of Perfection, the elements of Immortality, are also to be found in the Veda.

But this synthesis has one very peculiar turn. What is that? There is a synthesis of human faculties – if you read the Veda very carefully, you will find there is a great emphasis ……on the development of faculties, various capacities, various powers. The very Gayatri Mantra which is one of the quintessences of the upasana of the Veda….. indicates a discovery of one faculty in man, which is so important that if that faculty is perfected, and if that is concentrated upon the supreme Knowledge, if there is a synthesis between the…… intellect and that Reality, that Light, then a perfection can be achieved.

tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat

This is the Gayatri Mantra. It's a mantra of a synthesis which says, dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat; there is a discovery that there is one faculty named the intellect, dhi. If dhi is used, and we begin to have dhimahi, that is we begin to meditate, we discover the intellect. Then we exercise the intellect; we take it to such a perfection that we are able to meditate – dhimahi. And then dhimahi on what? What is the object of concentration, object of meditation? The Light.

savitur varenyam bhargo devasya

The supreme Light represented by Savitri; the sun is only a symbol of the supreme Light.

So if you can synthesise intellect and the supreme Light, then you will be properly directed in life. This is one synthesis that you find which is in a mantra, which is very famous all over the country. Now this mantra, if you examine, you will find the characteristic way by which the Veda goes about synthesis. Just as here it speaks of dhi, elsewhere it speaks of smriti, speaks of mati, and speaks of various other faculties, of viveka – discrimination, power of discrimination. Then it speaks of higher faculties, – not only these ordinary faculties of which we are aware but of higher faculties. These higher faculties are also described in a symbolic manner. In fact `symbolism' is a very characteristic feature of the Veda. Just as in this Gayatri Mantra, Savitri is the sun, which is a symbol. There is a supreme Light of which the sun is the symbol in the Veda. So whenever the word 'sun' is used, it does not necessarily mean the physical sun. It is actually a symbol or a figure of the supreme Light. Similarly of certain faculties, which have been discovered by the Vedic Rishis, which are to some extent present in us even now, but not developed, neglected, ignored, misunderstood.

In one of my talks, I have spoken of five such faculties which the Veda describes: there is a faculty of Ila, mahati, sarasvati, daksha, and sarama. Now the description of these faculties by the Vedic Rishis is extremely important. I am emphasising this because if you read the Bhagavad Gita, although it is a summary of the Veda, you won't find these things in the Bhagavad Gita because a summary, essence is a quintessence. But if you really want to make a big synthesis then you cannot neglect this great knowledge, which is contained in the Veda, because the new synthesis that we have to build, we have to take into account all the richness of these discoveries, not only a quintessence – all the richness of these discoveries……

Mahati is a faculty by which you become as wide as the universe: it is a faculty of wideness.

Ila is a faculty of revelation in which the moment you exercise it, the objects become automatically revealed, just as when we open our eyes, that which was dark before immediately presents to us varieties of objects….. Similarly, there is a faculty, according to the Veda, which is in us, undeveloped, but it is present, and the moment you utilise it, the object of knowledge is revealed, automatically.

Sarasvati is the faculty of `inspiration'. It is something that corresponds to the faculty of 'hearing', just as `revelation' or Ila corresponds to 'eyes', similarly inspiration or Saraswati corresponds to our faculty of hearing, so that you can say ‘I have heard the truth’. And the speciality of these faculties is that they all relate to Truth, whereas our mind grasps both truth and error together, and most of the statements that we make are laboriously made statements of truth from which we have tried our best to remove errors as much as possible. This is all that our mind can do. But these faculties are such that when they are exercised they automatically give you the perception of the Truth. So Saraswati is a 'Truth hearing' that is why Veda spoke of drishti and shruti; drishti is the vision and shruti is that which you hear. These faculties are very special faculties, which have been described in the Veda again and again.

Sarama is the faculty of 'intuition': it is a spotlight. Wherever it falls in that field like a torch, it does not give the full floodlight, it’s a torchlight. And very often what floodlight cannot do, the torchlight can do. So that is also a faculty which you need to know. So you open the torchlight and you know what is immediately present and very vividly. That is the function of Sarama.

And Daksha is a faculty of `discrimination': to see the whole is one way of looking at things. But to see the parts of the whole and to take into account each part separately, and also in a synthesis, is also a faculty.

These five faculties are particularly described in the Veda again and again. And then there is a statement of the synthesis of these five faculties.

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