Sri Aurobindo and The Veda

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There is one very important word in the Rig–Veda which says that, if you recite this mantra, you will be free from all sins. And this is the promise given in the Veda. It is called 'Agha marshana mantra'. Agha means "sin", marshana means "wiping out". A mantra which can wipe out all the sins. And that mantra is very simple: Ritam cha satyam chabhiddhat tapaso dhyajayata tato ratryajayata tatah samudro arnavah. It simply says, – why is it called the mantra that can wipe out the sins? Because if you know the origin of all this, what is all this darkness and how darkness can be removed by the power of the Divine Love and by Mystic Fire, if you know this, all sins can be wiped out. So that is why it is called the mantra of wiping out the sins, which simply says: In the beginning there was Tapas. Tapas is nothing else than Power of concentration, power of concentration of the Supreme. There is first the Supreme which I have described already earlier, that which is neither here nor there, that Supreme has a power of concentration. That is Tapas. From the Tapas comes out first Ritam ca Satyam, that which is Truth and the Right. This is the first. In other words, out of the Sat–Chit–Ananda, by the power of Tapas comes out Supermind. Satyam, Ritam, Brihat is the formula of the Supermind. This is what Sri Aurobindo has revealed in The Life Divine. And also in His 'Secret of the Veda'. So Ritam cha Satyam, from the Tapas, power of Tapas, comes out this great Supermind. Then, having brought out the Supermind, suddenly something happens: tato ratryajayata, from there arose the Night, a sudden jump. Supermind is the supreme Light and suddenly there happens a night. Night still has got some light because of stars and moon, then it says: After the night, tato samudro arnavah, then came a complete ocean of darkness. Not only night, complete darkness. This is what Sri Aurobindo calls the Inconscience. From the Supermind there was a descent by the separation from the origin, the night came out and then came out the complete darkness. And then it says, after this, samudradarnavadadhim samvatsaro ajayata, out of this great darkness came samvatsara; samvatsara is the algebraic term for the Mystic Fire. The Agni was put there. And once Agni was put, all the evolution comes out. Then the description of Surya, Chandra, there is sun, moon, everything that came out. It gives a description of the whole world thereafter. Now, this is the fundamental psychic knowledge, the knowledge of the soul which is given. Again I am doing a great injustice to the Veda because I'm speaking as if it is so simple and so brief as that, but it is not so. There are so many hundreds and thousands of verses on this knowledge in the Veda. It is this psychic being which is presided over by hamsa; hamsa is another algebraic term. 'Hamsa' means swan. Over this Mystic Fire is a swan which is tied up, according to the Veda, in hundred nets, and cannot flutter its wings. It is in bondage. But, in this bondage, there is a tremendous battle going on. Now, what is the battle? In fact the world–knowledge and soul–knowledge, when put together in the Veda, is the great story of the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness. The forces of light are called the Gods and forces of Darkness are called Dasyus, Panis, Pishachas, Rakshasas, Asuras. These are the words which are used in the Vedas to describe the forces of darkness, and there is a great battle between the two. If you want to fight the battle – I am now coming to the end of my exposition, you just give me ten minutes more, because I have taken a lot of your time, this battle can be fought, and can be fought systematically, and this is the yoga of the Veda. The mystical discipline, by which the psychic being and the soul, which are caught in this great battle, can be liberated. So the first step is the discovery of the Mystic Fire within you. This is the first step in the mystic discipline of the Veda. Veda, Sri Aurobindo discovered, is a great book of Yoga. It is not any superstition or magic or any kind of barbaric mantras, to get some gains here and there. It is a knowledge of the battle of Life. It is a revelation of the real nature of Life. Suddenly, in harmony, disharmony comes about.

Suddenly, when Rama is to be crowned, Kaikeyi happens to demand certain things overnight, and Rama is thrown out and the great tragedy occurs thereafter, until a battle takes place and only after the battle the victory comes. So, in the human life, there are forces of darkness and forces of light which are described in detail in the Veda – what are the Gods; and the whole knowledge of the Gods, and how they can help. And the Vedic seers found out the existence of the Gods, not as imaginations, or formations, or premonitions, but real, objective, existence of the Gods, and they found out the names of these Gods, – names, meaning, the secret of each God, and the function of each God. It is like you are going to a Ministry, and finding out who is the minister and who is the secretary and who is the clerk and who is the cashier, what is the function of each one and then, unless you know this, you can never succeed in the Ministry. Similarly in the Ministry of the world, you cannot succeed unless you know who are the Gods, and what are their functions. So to say very briefly, once again, and very primitively, I'll give only a few clues, just to bear in mind, that the first, as you rise up and kindle your Mystic Fire, the first one that comes in answer is Indra. Indra is a name of a God who Sri Aurobindo describes algebraically as the God of illumined mind. So you first of all come into contact with the illumined mind. He descends, that is the nature, Agni always ascends, fire always rises up in aspiration. In answer there is a descent of the illumined mind. Only of the illumined mind, first, this is the first God that comes to your help. But he is very powerful and he is able to fight with the demons tremendously. So there is a whole story as to how Indra comes to our help, (into which I do not go now) but then, that is not enough. You gain a lot, but that is not the end of the story, you still have to rise higher and higher than Indra is swaha: this is a very special word in the Veda. In fact all the people who know Sanskrit and Gayatri mantra, we start with
Om bhur bhuvah swah
tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yo nah prachodayat


So swah is constantly used in the Vedic lore. This swah is a light which has condensed itself by a constant rising of the mystic fire and the constant descent of Indra. And it is a very beautiful world of Light. You come across this world of Light, but even that is not the Supreme Light. It is only the medium Light. There is a very famous proposition made in the Veda to distinguish between the darkness, then the intermediate light and the Supreme Light. It is said in the Chhandogya Upanishad that Krishna was given through one word the Supreme Knowledge by his teacher, Ghora. Ghora speaks one word to Krishna and gives him the Supreme Knowledge. And what is that mantra he gives?

Udvayam tamasaspari svah pashanta uttaram devam devatra suryamaganma jyotiruttamam

This is the mantra. That we went beyond the darkness and saw the intermediate Light which is Svaha, but then we did not stop there, we went further, we went to the Gods, and we went to Surya, Suryam, we went to the Supreme Light, Jyotiruttamam, it is Jyoti, which is uttamam, the Supreme Light. The Supreme Light is not SwahSwah is an intermediate Light, – but uttamam is Surya, is the sun. The sun is the symbol of the Supermind in the Veda. Wherever the word sun comes, Sri Aurobindo says: It is the symbol of the Supermind. But before you enter into the Supermind, there are four Gods who stand as sentries. They will not allow you to enter into sun, into the Supreme realm. You have to be qualified. Who are these four Gods? Varuna – Varuna is the God of Vastness. Unless you become very vast, you cannot enter into it. Narrow–minded can never enter into it. That is why Sri Aurobindo constantly says: Widen yourself. And there is a Vedic knowledge: Unless you widen yourself fully, you cannot enter into the Supreme Supermind.
The second is – Varuna is always accompanied by Mitra, Mitra is God of harmony. So as long as you quarrel, you can never enter into that Light. That is certain. There must be harmony, a tapasya of harmony. Vastness and harmony.

Then comes Aryaman. Aryaman is the Lord of austerity. Great tapasya, the fullness of tapasya you must do, greatest effort, you must master the effort itself.

And then Bhaga. Bhaga is the God of enjoyment. Unless you know how to enjoy truly, you cannot enter into the Supermind. But enjoy truly, that is to say, – usually even a small joy makes us dance and flutter and throw away all the energies – when you are able to contain the highest joy in yourself without shaking. In the Veda it is said that when you are unbaked and if the great soma, the great nectar, falls into it, the unbaked jar breaks down. It is only when you are so purified, so purified, so purified thoroughly, that your jar becomes baked, in which, if the joy falls into it, you can hold it. This capacity to hold the joy allows you to enter into Supermind. This is also called the attainment of Immortality. Amritam, the great achievement of the Vedic Rishis, was that the soul which is tied into hundred nets, the swan which wants to fly, cannot fly and has to battle, when it attains to this state, going beyond Indra into Swah, and going beyond Swah to Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga and entering into Surya, then comes Soma. The highest is Soma, the great delight. When that delight can be held in the body, – that is Immortality. This was the greatest achievement of the Vedic Rishis. Sri Aurobindo has written in one chapter called, "The Victory of the Fathers": the Vedic Rishis, what was their victory? Their victory was this.

And one last word. To hold the Supermind in the body was the highest achievement of the Vedic Rishis. Sri Aurobindo found that that is not enough. If there is a distinction between the Veda and his achievement on the one hand and Sri Aurobindo's discovery, the one step farther, – not one step farther. Mother told me that Sri Aurobindo is not a logical continuity of the past, it is not as if you continue what they were doing and then you get Sri Aurobindo's path. No. It is something newly discovered. That is why Mother said: Sri Aurobindo does not belong to the past or to history. He is constantly fabricating the future. It is because of this reason that it was not known that apart from holding the Supreme Light in the body, there is also a possibility of the permeation of Light in the body. Now, this was the new knowledge that Sri Aurobindo gives in his yoga. Permeation, it is penetration, only when there is a permeation of this light that the human species can be turned into the supramental species. But now you can see that if you want to understand Sri Aurobindo's yoga, how much you need to know the Vedic yoga and how much certainty and confirmation you get by reading the Vedic yoga. Because many clues you will get in the Veda, in large amplitude; and if Auroville is to be the cradle of this Superman, in which the light of the Supermind has to permeate and penetrate into the cells of the body, then Vedic knowledge is indispensable. Thank you.

Sri Aurobindo and the Veda writen text by Prof. Kireet Joshi – Download