Essays on the Gita

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So synthesis of our lower faculties like Dhi, Smriti and others of which I spoke, these other faculties and synthesis of these faculties is a further synthesis in the Veda. The relationship of man with the gods, the whole doctrine of the Veda, is specially focused on the relationship of man with the Supreme through gods, it’s a specialty of the Veda. The ultimate goal is of course the realisation of the Supreme Divine which has been discovered by the Vedic Rishis. But the Vedic Rishis have discovered that the Supreme Divine manifests manifold – ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti, (Rig–Veda 1.164.46). This is one of the most famous sentences in the Veda: "The Reality is one but the seers speak of Him in manifold manner". He is described as Matarishwan, described as Varuna, described as Mitra, and so on.

So the Vedic synthesis gives you another dimension:….. synthesis of man with gods and gods synthesised with the Supreme Divine. The secret of this synthesis is to be found in the Veda. Then, when this synthesis takes place, then various aspects of the Divine, become more and more manifest and synthesised. The Divine can be conceived as supreme Peace, and many people think that the Divine is what? – Silence, complete Brahman, in which there is no ripple of any kind of movement, One without the second; there are no sinews of energy, totally inactive, absolutely immobile, Akshara. This is one description of the Divine. Or you may say the Divine is an ocean of Love, a wide movement of pulsation in which there is a joy and beauty and manifestations of all kinds, an ocean of anantaguna. This is also a description of the Divine.’’’’ There is also the description of the Divine, as in chapter eleven of the Bhagavad­ Gita, the `Time vision’ of the Divine.

The Divine as Time, the dreadful figure: the devourer, (XI, 31) so that Arjuna is frightened to see that vision of the Divine and says: "Now please take it away, and let me have your most beautiful…… and your smiling face". So that could also be a vision of the Divine, so Love, Power, Joy, various kinds of aspects of the Divine. The Veda has a speciality: it synthesises all these, the knowledge, the love, the power, the joy, the peace – all the Divine qualities, all combined together, and such is the Supreme Divine that is manifested. So, divine not only in essence but divine in all its aspects. Synthesis of all these in a special kind of language which is symbolic language,…. in which the gods are described in a  language that is also appropriate to the `physical' and it is deliberately done because in the Vedic vision `matter' and `spirit' also are synthesised and there is a correspondence between the 'spiritual' and the 'physical'. As a result of it, one message that comes out is that man when he unites himself with all his faculties, with the gods, with the Supreme  and Supreme in all his aspects, that synthesis also ensures a synthesis of `matter' and 'spirit' – his body, life, mind, supermind and the spirit, altogether: the idea which would ultimately establish you on the possibility of perfectibility of man.

In one of the last verses of the Veda there is a message which says:

manur bhavah janaya devyam janam

manur bhavah: become first man, manu is one who is mental, one who possesses the manas, `mind' – manur bhavah, first, of course you are animal just now, but first at least although you possess mind, you do not develop it, so first you become manur bhavah and then, janaya means produce, manufacture, generate, janaya devyam janam, you become as perfect as God, devyam janam become the 'divine man'. This is the ideal perfectibility of man when he becomes godlike. And this is the state, which is described by the Veda as the state of immortality. When you reach this synthesis, this perfection, then you attain to immortality. This is the idea of Vedic immortality, because the word immortality has been used throughout our cultural tradition, but everywhere this word does not mean the same thing; amritam of the Veda is a 'much larger vision and idea', than amritam as understood later on. This is the large synthesis that you find in the Veda.

Now, I will read again these five lines of  Sri Aurobindo’s description of the Vedic synthesis so that we shall see how all that I have now described is a kind of elucidation of these five, six lines.(Essays on the Gita, the second line of page 7):

"We start with the Vedic synthesis of the psychological being of man in its highest flights and widest rangings of divine knowledge, power, joy, life and glory with the cosmic existence of the gods, pursued behind the symbols of the material universe into those superior planes which are hidden from the physical sense and the material mentality. The crown of this synthesis was in the experience of the Vedic Rishis something divine, transcendent, and blissful into whose unity the increasing soul of man and the eternal divine fullness of the cosmic godheads meet perfectly and fulfil themselves".

So, in one sentence Sri Aurobindo has given a complete summary of the entire bulk of the Vedic Knowledge and Vedic practice, and whole Yoga of the Veda. So, this is the synthesis that we should not forget while reading the Bhagavad Gita we should bear in mind that in the history of India, Gita was preceded by a Knowledge, which was so vast and if Gita is a quintessence of the Veda, if there is a difficulty in understanding the Gita, please go back to that, so that you will get really enlightened from what is given there.

Now the second was the synthesis of the Upanishads. Upanishads, you might say, represent a most unique feature of history of any civilisation. There is no period in the history of any other country or civilisation, which corresponds to the Upanishads……. There is a period in the history of other civilisations which has some semblance to the Vedic period: there is semblance of other civilisations which correspond to intellectual period; something similar to Mahabharata, Ramayana. The kind of mentality that we see in Mahabharata and Ramayana has a correspondence in the history of other civilisations. But the kind of consciousness and the kind of mentality which is represented in the Upanishads, there is no history of the world in which there is a correspondence to that period. This is one of a speciality of the Upanishads and we have therefore to understand it also from that point of view.

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