Sri Aurobindo and The Veda

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What is God? What is ultimate reality? It is not the kind of god sitting in the seventh heaven with a long beard. In one of the first statements in the first chapter of the Rig Veda, I will only recite one couplet of this particular mantra which is very very curious: Na nunamasti no shvah kastadveda yadadbhutam anyasya chittamabhi samcharenyam utadhitam vinashyati. This is the Sanskrit couplet, which says: The ultimate reality is neither today nor tomorrow. Who knows that reality, which is wonderful? Why is it wonderful? It has motion, it is alone, there is no other, but it has motion in another. Therefore it is adbhutam, wonderful. It has motion in another, and when you try to approach it through your intellectual thought, where you always distinguish between one and another, and divide the two, and don't understand the mystery of one itself being another, if you apply that intellect on it, it vanishes. In other words, if you try to understand it intellectually, you will never grasp it, because it is wonderful. It does not follow the logic of the finite; it follows the logic of the infinite. The one that is many. As Sri Aurobindo says in The Synthesis of Yoga, ultimate reality is simple–complex. It is simple–complex, at the same time. It is one that is many; it is static that is dynamic. It is the same thing which is said in the Upanishad. In the Isha Upanishad the same idea is expressed. Etad ejati, etad na ejati, tadejati tannaijati, ─ It moves, it moves not. It is far, it is near. It is wonderful. Now this is the first starting point of the Vedic knowledge of reality, of God. And there are so many other verses to which I do not make reference here for the sake of brevity. Then comes the world–knowledge. What is the world–knowledge of the Veda? They say the physical world that we see is only the outer fringe of the whole world. But even this world consists of three earths. There are three earths, not one earth. Even the earth that we see is not one earth. Then there is intermediate between earth and heaven. Heaven is a word used in the algebraic language of the Veda as mind. Wherever the word heaven comes in the Veda you have to say, it is mind. Wherever the word prithiwi, earth, comes, you have to understand it to be the physical. Wherever the word antariksha comes, it is algebraic term for the intermediate world. So there are three worlds, first of all: the world of the physical, the world of the vital and the world of the mental. These are the first three, to which we have a normal access. But then it says: The Vedic seers took a long time in their search to find out turiyam svid, this is another word which is very important in Sanskrit, turiyam svid, that fourth one. Turiyam svid is again an algebraic terms, That fourth one. There is a short story in the Rig Veda given of a Rishi call Ayasya. Ayasya is a name of a Rishi. The story is that there were nine Angirasa Rishis. Angirasa is a name of the clan. Nine Rishis were in search of the highest that is possible. There were searching, and searching, and searching in their quest. At last they came across a great man called Ayasya and they got his help in this search, and, with his help, these nine Angirasa seers, when they became ten with Ayasya, then they found turiyam svid, they found the fourth one, ─ the fourth reality. The three are: earth, the intermediate, and heaven: body, life and mind. But the fourth one, they discovered; with what, ─ Saptadhi. There is another word in the Veda, again another algebraic term, saptadhi, seven–headed thought. A thought which has seven heads. With seven heads of thought, that is mind has to be so wide as to become seven–headed. With the help of the seven–headed thought, Ayasya broke open the fourth world and with the opening of the fourth world he became universal, ─ Vishvam ajanayat. He manifested the whole universality. This fourth is regarded as the most important discovery of the Vedic seers. And Sri Aurobindo afterwards tells us that this fourth is the Supermind. Turiyam svid is the Supermind. So the Vedic seers had discovered the Supermind. And beyond the Supermind, they discovered the triple reality which, in later times, came to be recognised as Sat–Chit–Ananda: the Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. These are also the name of three gardens of Matrimandir that Mother has given, ─ Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. So, if you now see that the world, as we saw in the Vedic times, consisted of these planes, three highest, ─ Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. Then comes the Supermind, and then come mind, life and matter. This is their world–knowledge. I must tell you that I am making a great injustice to the Veda by summarising so primitively and so very briefly, so naively, but this is the basic formula, you might say, of the world–knowledge of the Rig Veda, of the Veda.

What is the soul–knowledge? According to the Rig Veda, this is one of the most secret knowledge. Now let us give a little time to this most secret knowledge of the Veda. This has very much to do with our own yoga. Therefore I am taking little more time on this. This soul is given an algebraic term in the Veda, called Agni. Agni is the mystic fire. Fire is that which you see outside very easily but, inside, it is our inner self, inner soul, what we call in Sri Aurobindo's psychology, "psychic being". This psychic being is our real inner inmost soul. And this was discovered after a long, long search. If you read the Vedic verses you will find what a tremendous search they were making and there is so much of knowledge of Agni given, and so important that Sri Aurobindo himself   has written one full book. I don’t know if you are aware of that book. This is volume number 11 of the Centenary Edition. All the hymns addressed to Fire, Mystic Fire, in the Rig–Veda, Sri Aurobindo has collected and translated each one of them. And this is the most precious knowledge that we have now, because Agni is the most profound secret of the Vedic knowledge, according to Veda. In fact, the very first verse of the Veda starts with Agni. Without Agni, you cannot have, ─ without fire, without the knowledge of mystic fire, you cannot enter into the portals of Vedic knowledge. You must know yourself very deeply, profoundly, to understand the world, and it is by rising from plane to plane that you rise to the Supreme and discover that wonderful reality that has motion in another. Now this mystic fire has been described variously in the Veda. As I told you, such a huge book, ─ It is only of the Rig–Veda, then there are many Agni mantras in many other Vedas also, but this knowledge which is available about Fire, mystic Fire, it is to that that Sri Aurobindo makes a reference when he describes in The Life Divine about the psychic being. And he says: It is the flame that burns in the heart, which is inextinguishable; it is the conscience deeper than the conscience of the moralist. It is the Daemon of Socrates, it is that which turns always towards the truth and beauty and goodness, which detects the truth from falsehood, unmistakably. That is our true soul which is within ourselves and the Veda makes out that without illumining this Fire, you cannot enter into the deeper knowledge that is in the Veda. That is why the importance of Mystic Fire. What you are internally is this Fire. And this Fire itself has an origin. And Sri Aurobindo speaks of the origin of the psychic being also. But in the Veda there is a very tremendous story which Mother has sometimes told, she said: I talk about it very childishly, and says that a time came in the history of the world when the four emanations which had originated from the ultimate reality separated from the origin and there came about a complete darkness. And when that darkness came, then the supreme Divine Mother went back to the Supreme Lord and said: An accident has occurred and there has come about a complete darkness. And what is to be done? And then the Lord said: You create some other beings who will not separate themselves from the origin. And that was the origin of Gods. Gods were created, but even the gods when they saw darkness and they were asked to go down into the darkness so that then the light can come out of it, they refused, they said: It is so dark, we shall not enter into it. It was then that the Gods saw in the Divine Mother, in the Aditi, ─ Aditi is the Sanskrit name for Divine Mother, ─ they saw in Aditi a special Light, something special, and they said: That, if it can be brought down, then it can bring back light into this darkness. That Light is Mystic Fire. That who is called Agni that is the origin of Agni, is in the Supreme Divine Mother. And it was put forth – in one of the talks Mother has said that the Supreme Divine Mother, when she saw the darkness, a tremendous Love oozed out of Her and that Love crystallized and fell upon the darkness, this is the psychic element which entered into the darkness. And all the psychic beings are nothing but evolutionary developments of this original psychic element which is nothing but Love of the Divine Mother. And that is why the psychic being automatically turns to the Divine Mother in an experience of Love. That is why in our own yoga, that is the importance given to it. But this is the Vedic truth told in a very algebraic term.

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