The Veda And Indian Culture

The Mystic Fire

Veda is fundamentally a record of experiences of intuition and revelation. These experiences are varied, and they belong to various stages of development and exploration. The Veda records not only the experiences of the poets who have composed the hymns of the Veda, but also the experiences of the ancestors (pitarah, poorvajanah). Veda thus describes the knowledge contained in the pre-Vedic tradition as also the Vedic tradition proper.

Among the four Vedas (Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda), the Rig Veda is pre-eminent. According to one tradition, Atharva Veda was a later addition. The Rig Veda consists of 10 Mandalas (parts) and each Mandala consists of a number of Suktas, and each one of the Suktas consists of a group of verses.

The largest number of hymns are addressed and related to Agni, the mystic fire. This fact is significant, and it provides the central key to the treasure of the Vedic knowledge. Agni, like many other Vedic terms, has many meanings. It means fire, it means aspiration, force of consciousness, an urge, mounting and burning askesis. As we study the Veda deeply, we find that Agni is not only a principle of physical fire, but it stands much more constantly and thoroughly for the psychological principle of Will-Force. The Vedic poets make it abundantly clear that they regard the whole universe vibrant with a secret Will-Force, of which physical fire is only one outer manifestation, which can be used as a symbol in-an attempt to bring the physical mind nearer to a sense and feeling for something that is deeply and profoundly present and dynamic in the universe.

Agni, according to the Vedic knowledge, is also the force of evolution, which pushes always forward, and breaks the tenebrous layers of Inconscience (tamas) and Matter (annam) and delivers the pulsating Life-Force. It is that which causes growth, and which increases the power, and which forges and welds relations among vegetations plants and herbs, and which pushes forward the

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