There are many other gods also, Vedic Rishis found out so much, as for instance the hierarchy of gods. That is, Vishnu is higher than Indra. There is a hierarchy. You don't stop merely at Indra, you go beyond Indra also. And the real victory comes when you have Vishnu with you. There is Rudra also; Rudra is a counterpart of Vishnu. Vishnu is the light, supreme light, comprehensive light, and Rudra is the will–force of this light which is so powerful that with one mere glance, what is to be done is done. "I came, I saw, I conquered". That is the famous formula of Julius Caesar. "I came, I saw, I conquered." Really speaking, he conquered only a little, but if you really want to conquer, really conquer, and with one mere glance, it is Rudra. I came, I saw, I conquered. That is the power of Rudra.
There is so much of knowledge. I cannot even say briefly. The whole of the Veda is "Veda" because it abounds with knowledge. Every word of Veda conveys significant meaning, significant knowledge. It gives a secret knowledge, it gives the means of getting that knowledge, it tells you how to apply that knowledge, how to cultivate yourself to gain that knowledge, how to reach the perfection of that knowledge.
Let me take only the first verse of the Rig Veda, just for a taste. As when you have done lot of cooking, and you want to see what it is like, you just taste a little. Similarly Veda is a big cooked food as it were, huge, and you want to taste a little. So let us take the very first verse of the Rig Veda. In Sanskrit it only says, Agnimile purohitam yajnasya devamritvijam hotaram ratnadhatamam. It is a very famous, very well–known verse, because it is the very first verse of the Rig Veda. And if you slightly enter into the Veda, naturally you enter into the first verse of the Veda. So I am giving the first verse.
It starts with Agni. Agnimile: I worship Agni. So it says, first you enter into Agni. This is the message of Rig Veda. If you want to enter into the Vedic knowledge, then the first key of that knowledge is Agni. What is Agni? This is also an algebraic term, symbolic term. Agni normally means fire. I worship Fire. That is all that it means. Therefore some people who don't understand the Veda, they don't know the algebra of Veda, they say, Oh! These primitive people they might have just discovered fire. Ordinary fire, by which they can cook food, they can frighten the beasts, and so on. Therefore they worship fire, because fire became so useful to them. But if you go further: I worship Fire, who is the fire? I worship the fire which is purohita, –– Purohitam yajnasya devam. He is a god, who is always put in front. Now this is intriguing. If it is only ordinary fire, what is the meaning? It is always put in the front. What does it mean? Purohitam, means that which is put in the front. This is a very symbolic language. I worship the fire which is always put in the front. There is a meaning in it. If you want to achieve the highest knowledge, then one who leads you to the highest knowledge is Agni. It is fire. It is not ordinary fire. There is fire, the first indication is: It is always put in front. It is that kind of fire which is always put in front, but front of what? Yajnasya. Now this is a very important word. Yajna means sacrifice. Whenever you want to make a sacrifice, Agni is put in the front. Now what is sacrifice? Sacrifice is also an algebraic term. You can see how all the Veda is written in algebraic language that is why it is so difficult to understand. Unless you know the meaning of purohita, unless you know the meaning of fire, unless you know the meaning of yajna, sacrifice, you can't make head or tail out of it. That is why Sri Aurobindo said, there is a secret of the Veda you have to find out the secret. What is yajna, what is sacrifice? Now let us deal with it a little.
What is sacrifice? To understand the meaning of sacrifice, we have to go back to the process of austerities which the Vedic Rishis made in their search, in their quest. There is a very important legend, a story written in the Veda. There were nine Rishis who were in search of the highest knowledge. What is the highest? They discovered that knowledge cannot be gained merely by walking about, merely by digging. Knowledge can be gained only on one condition, if you offer, if you burn all that is important in you. If you have brain power, burn all your brain power. Then only you can discover what the brain power can do at the highest. This burning — burning is the means by which you can find the answers. You know, when you have mathematical problems to solve, you take your notebook, you put down the sum, go on and on and on, you exercise your mind and if the problem is very difficult, what do you do? You burn the midnight oil; you burn your brain on it. And when you do it, when you are absolutely filled with the data of your sum, when your brain is very, very much exercised, you might even feel a fever in your brain, it burns, and then suddenly you will find the answer. Very often you might have had this experience if you have done mathematics. You have done mathematics, no? Every student of mathematics has this experience. So the Vedic Rishis found out that you don’t find knowledge unless you burn whatever faculties you have, whatever you are, whatever you have, you just burn them. So the first thing that you need to put forward is Agni.