The word veda means `knowledge’. The book it stands for is naturally, therefore, expected to be essentially a book of knowledge. It is in this sense that the Veda has been taken since its inception and has practically formed the backbone of the Indian culture. Most of the systems of knowledge having roots in India have been taken to have sprouted out of the Veda, be they religious, philosophical, aesthetic or scientific. The Dharma Sastra, the Smrtis, most of the systems of philosophy, works on aesthetics, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata including the Bhagavadgita and the Puranas, all claim to have derived their basic inspiration, central ideas and main proposition from the Vedas.
In almost all spheres of human awareness the Veda has indeed, been treated throughout ages as the basic source of inspiration and the canon of validity. Expect for the heretics bent upon going contrary to the words of the Veda, all thinking people of this subcontinent have always tried to think and act in conformity with this scripture.
In fact, besides perception and inference which obviously are the most basic sources of knowledge, it is the Veda which has been regarded in India as the fundamental source of knowledge. The concept of verbal testimony, in fact, has at its root originally man’s unflinching faith in the absolute knowledgeability of the Veda. The Brahmanas always look towards the Veda for justification of their performances. In course of communicating ideas to his pupil, the Upanisadic sage always takes resort to some or the other Vedic text when, of course, required to convince his pupil of the validity of his statement or the correctness of his approach, particularly in matters defying other sources of knowledge, including perception and inference. So is the case with the philosophical systems excluding only Buddhism, Jainism and the Carvakas. It is in cognisance of this profundity of the Veda particularly in trans-perceptual and trans-inferential spheres of knowledge that Sayana, the greatest commentator on the Veda so far, determines the knowledgeability of this text in terms of its worth in letting us know whatever is inaccessible to both perception and inference as the sources of valid knowledge.
Thus the Vedic knowledge is by no means a substitute of either perceptual or inferential knowledge. It is something besides and in addition to these two main varieties of
 प्रत्यक्षेणानुमित्या वा यस्तूपायो न बुध्यते। एनं विदन्ति वेदेन तस्मादेदस्य वेदता।। Sayana Bhasya on Atharvaveda XIX.72.1
knowledge. This does not mean to suggest that the Vedic knowledge precludes perceptual and inferential knowledge. Entire exclusiveness is not true of these two varieties of knowledge amongst themselves. While inference involves perception as its base, perception is almost meaningless if made shorn of all elements of inference. Similarly the Vedic knowledge is not wholly shorn of either the element of perception or that of inference. Nevertheless it cannot be included either in perception or in inference. It indeed forms a category of its own, though very much permeated by them in parts.
It is, of course, on this particular point that most of the Western scholars and their Indian followers have seriously defaulted in understanding the Veda. They have sought to interpret it as a storehouse of random inferences about nature, life and the universe based on immature, inaccurate and faulty perceptions and observations. While interpreting the Veda, their entire effort is directed to show the immaturity and flaws of perception and the wildness of inference in them.
The Veda is, indeed, neither perceptual knowledge, faulty or otherwise, nor mere inferential knowledge, precise or imprecise, nor even a host of mere imaginary postulates, ideas or propositions, wild or otherwise. Nor is it a mixture of all these elements. It is inclusive of these elements, however, not
by way of forming the core of the Vedic knowledge but as ancillaries to the expression of something else behind the façade of these precepts, inferences and imaginary creations forming the body of the latent content of knowledge.
A cursory reading of the Veda would show that it is mainly a book of prayers addressed to divine beings associated mainly with natural spectacle, be they rising and setting of the sun, shining of the moon, gleaming of the dawn, hovering of the cloud, streaming of the water, blowing of the wind, expanse of the firmament, twinkling of the stars, burning of the fire, sprouting of the seed, so on and so forth. But a closer study of the accounts would bear out that these details form only the outer façade of something much more serious behind them. Indeed, the Vedic accounts take a serious turn when one at intervals finds in them clues pointing to something relating to self-purification, ascension, illumination, search and finding, be it truth, light or immortality. No doubt in the Vedic texts we have accounts of search for such physical objects as lost cows, hidden wealth, concealed light, etc., which are quite easy to comprehend in terms of the scenario of life at that early stage of human development to which the Vedas obviously belong. But such comprehension becomes a suspect as soon as the same gross physical objects tend to merge a little later into
abstract spiritual values such as truth, intuition and immortality. Eventual turning of the deity Agni into the higher intellect of the inquisitive seer, that of Savitr into the stimulator of the creative genius in the inmost being of the seer as well as that of the creation outside, that of Indra, apparent god of rain, into the assumer of diverse forms out of the pre-creational unity, that of Prthivi, the earth into Aditi, the undivided and all-devouring ultimate creatrix of everything, that of the tree into the cosmos, that of the beautiful-feathered bird into the ultimate reality manifesting itself in diverse forms, that of the chariot into the dynamics of creation and sustenance, that of the variegated bull into the Supreme Being sacrificing himself and serving as the primary stuff of the universal creation that of vedi, the sacrificial pit as the centre of creation, that of Soma as semen of the horse of time, so on and so forth, is indicative of the serious of the seer in regard to what he intends to communicate by means of commonplace physical objects around him.
This is also evident from the accounts, internal as well as external, as to how the seer came to see the mantras attributed to him. As against the erroneous view given currency by certain Western idologists that the Vedas are a collection of compositions evoked in the mind of the new comers to India, such as the Aryans were, under the sudden excitement of having seen quite unfamiliar things here at that
primitive stage of human culture, there are graphic accounts in the Veda itself bearing out how the mantras were received by seers in a state of deep meditation and abandonment resulting from practice of penance, tapas.
Dirghatamas, an eminent seer of the Rgveda, for instance, leaves a significant autobiographical note in one of his mantras stating how at the height of his tapas when he was in a state of complete abandonment, he realised the descent of certain primary products of Rta assuming the verbal form of mantras. Rta is the dynamics of the Supreme Being emanating from Him owing to His creative self-contemplation and self-dedication symbolised by tapas. It makes eternally constant dynamic so as to result in the form of the world with all its proneness to constant change. It is the arithmetic of change in the eternal constancy and maintenance of constancy in the unceasing flux of events.
Vedic mantras are, thus, verbal formulations of this arithmetic of flux in the eternal constancy in the midst of the unceasing flux. They recount how the unborn gives birth to innumerable gods, goddesses, objects and individuals and yet retains His self-identity in all its entirety. They exemplify their own formulation of the physical and metaphysical scenario in
 न वि जानामि यदिवेदमस्मि निण्यः सन्नदो मनसा चरामि। षदा मागन्प्रथमजा ऋतस्यादिद् वाचोअश्नुवे भागमस्याः।। Rgveda I.164.37
which the one is a complete entity and that which is derived from it is also complete in itself and how the former having subtracted from it the latter, remains the same complete entity in all its fullness. Here the eternally constant is visualised as giving birth to Rta which gives birth to gods who are the constancy of consciousness in the midst of the flux of the physical and mental.
It is in keeping with this scheme of things that the vision of the Vedic seer explains the oneness of the Ultimate Being diversifying itself in the form of the multiplicity of worldly phenomenon, the consciousness of the one pervading even the physical, the constancy of the One maintaining the regularity of the flux of the world. The offerings to gods made by the humans and to the Eternal Being made by the gods, which form the recurrent theme of the mantras, are illustrative of the interaction perpetually going on between the principles of flux and constancy at all planes of existence.
This is by no means an ordinary achievement in ideation, for, it takes care of the whole of the reality from the fleeting to the permanent or from the physical to the spiritual in one sweep without exclusion of any part of it. Admittance of both the elements in one and the same frame of reference generates the
 ओं पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते।। Brhadaranyaka Up. V.1.1.
opportunity for visualising the real goal of life as well as the means through which the goal can be achieved. The Eternal is determined by the seer as the ultimate goal while the perishable is suggested as the means to it. This is what is revealed to Naciketas by Yama in the Katha Upanisad through the observation:
“I have attained the Eternal by means of ephemeral.”
This is also implicit in the celebrated Upanisadic prayer addressed to the Supreme Being and revealing the eventual desire of the sage to make him move from the unreal to the real from darkness to light, and from mortality to immortality.
Significance of the admittance of both the aspects of reality is evident in Zeno’s refusal to admit movement in a moving arrow and in Buddha’s non-admittance of the existence of a permanent reality though hovering around his idea of Nirvana, redemption. The same failure has resulted in the valuelessness of the modern science. When the fleeting alone is admitted as true, there remains little scope for any permanent value of life for the attainment of which we may feel encouraged to strive.
Vedic mantra is, indeed, the means to accelerate the pace of movement from mortality to immortality. It is significant to note that in the Veda man describes himself as mortal while gods as immortal. This shows the maturity of outlook of the seer. It is only in the state of complete abandonment that one can admit so whole-heartedly one’s being a mortal. Such an abandonment towards one’s own life presupposes cognisance of one’s being in a broader perspective. This perspective is the same as demarcated above. When the seer visualises that the world is a self-manifestation of the Supreme Being who riding on his own tide of change is moving around to come back to Himself, he in all his humility considers himself as a small bubble born of the same surge of the Reality and destined to merge into it eventually.
But, merger with what, the permanent or the fleeting strand of the surge! This depends on the level of consciousness which the individual has attained at the time of merger. One who is conscious of the Supreme Being as the real stuff of the whole surge becomes one with Him, though still forming a part of the surge, while the one who identifies himself with the surge itself, cannot but get merged into it helplessly. The Vedic mantra is the verbal expression of the awareness of forming the essential stuff of the creational surge. Owing to his tapas as the seer is in direct communion with the consciousness in all its immensity, his words have become almost coincident
with that all-comprehending consciousness in cadence as well as essence. In fact, the idea of coincidence of the word with the reality it is used for, as is prevalent in the Indian thought, has its origin in the phenomenon of the mantra as seen by the Vedic seer in the state of deep meditation or tapas. Otherwise words are associated with objects they signify just arbitrarily.
This is made out very clearly in the Veda through postulation of three steps the word has to tread before coming to take the verbal form, as is the case with the speech of the common man. “Four are the steps taken by the word which only the highly contemplative knowers of Brahman do understand; three of them are hidden in the cave without leaving any trace while it is only the fourth one which men are used to utter”, observes the celebrated seer Dirghatamas in one of his mantras. Obviously the three hidden steps of the word are the stages of it prior to its vocalisation. It is quite understandable that each uttered word must have some sort of conceptual formulation in the mind before it gets uttered. But to discern as many as three steps in the unvocalised form of the word is something remarkable on the part of the seer who discerned them. This feat must have been accomplished in a supramental state of consciousness which the seer refers to. What even the modern psychologists can at his best define as conceptual, has behind
 चत्वारि वाक्परिमिता पदानि तानि विदृब्र्राहनणा ये मनीषिणाः।
गुहा त्रीणि निहिता नेङ्गयन्ति तुरीयं वाचो मनुष्या वदन्ति।। RV.I.164.45
it a long range of the intuitive and transcendent, as is evident from their names as para, the higher, pasyanti, the seeing one, madhyama, the intermediate, and vaikhari, the articulate, given to them by grammarians subsequently. The trace behind the vocalised form of the word the intuitive and the transcendent forms of it besides the conceptual is a remarkable spiritual feat the Vedic seer has accomplished which the modern linguists and psychologists have not even dreamt of.
The reason is not far to trace. While the conceptual is a mixture of the empirical and rational, the intuitive and more so the transcendent are supra-conceptual and are open only to one who is capable of suspending his sensory and conceptual functions. As it is obviously beyond the imagination of the modern linguist and psychologist, they find themselves usually at a loss to understand it when confronted with this trans-linguistic and supra-psychological scenario. It is not that this thing was a matter of commonplace understanding even at the time of the Veda. On the contrary, as is evident from the mantra, it was accessible only to those who were highly contemplative and had developed themselves to the extent as to have realised Brahman, no matter be it considered as the reality or the word, for, at that stage both, according to the Veda, are coincident. The idea of coincidence of the Vedic mantra with the reality at the highest supra-
conceptual level has also been straightaway expressed in another mantra of Dirghatamas’ wherein it is stated that the rks or mantras exist in the highest heaven in the company of gods, that he who does not know this, what shall be do with the mantra and that those who know this, dwell therein.
Thus, the Vedic mantras are capable of elevating one to the plane of consciousness to which originally they belong provided one has made oneself spiritually so refined and developed as to be at home with the consciousness they embody. It is for the sake of raising one to that level of consciousness that they are recited, chanted, brooded over and meditated on. The degree of success in this venture depends on the earnestness and devotion one is in a position to commit to the task.
That the mantras are rather supramental in content as well as form and that they were received by the seer in a cognate state of consciousness has not only been admitted by seers themselves but also by those falling in line with them immediately. This is more than evident from a passage quoted by Yaska from the Taittiriya Aranyaka. According to this passage, the seerhood of the seer lies in the fact that while the seers were undergoing penance, the eternal Vedic knowledge
 ऋचो अक्षरे परमे व्योमन् यस्मिन् देवा अधि विश्वे निषेदुः।
यस्तन्न वेद किमृचा करिष्यति य इत् तद्विदुस्त इमे समासते।। RV.I.164.39.
creations having been written by human beings and having to deal with human relationships, no matter tinged with Divine involvement. The Veda is much more than that. Far from being confined to human concerns and worldly affairs, it excels in its concentration on the Divine at every step which seems to have descended down to it. The descent is ins the form of the Divine involving itself in the projection of the world out of itself as also in the form of gods and goddesses coming down to the seer, sage, devotee or the sacrificer by way of revelation, inspiration and protection extended to the seer or reception of the libation for themselves. Here, in any case, the human agent keeps always looking towards the Divine for all his accomplishments and fulfilments. What he otherwise may ordinarily claim to be his or of his making, he ungrudgingly attributes to the Divine claiming nothing for himself. If there is any claim for himself anywhere, that is not for his human self but for the Divine. If Vagambhrni, for instance, claims tomove along with the Rudras, Vasus, Adityas and Visve Devas, bring Soma down to the earth, supply arms to Rudra, to have given birth to the creator, etc., that is done by her obviously on behalf of her Divine self. This total concern for the Divine to the extent of complete self-effacement is a positive testimony to the singular position of the Veda in regard to both, the authorship as well as the content of it. Here everything moves around the Divine to complete exclusion of the human as an active and assertive agent.
Besides tapas, yajna is put forward as another means to the acquisition of the Vedic mantra. This occurs in a mantra seen by Brhaspati, the god of mantra himself. According to the mantra, people came to the source of the word by way of sacrifice and found it out as it had entered into seers. Having reached the source, the mantra further observes, they brought its content out which is chanted in seven tones. This word is characterised in the very first mantra of the hymn as the most elevated and glorious one amongst all the words whatever and to have been hidden in a cave from which it was discovered by those searching for it by means of love and earnestness. Commenting on this hymn, Saunaka, the author of the Brhaddevata observes that the real subject matter of it is the immortal Light called Brahman and experienced through yoga. Thus, on Saunaka’s testimony, these mantras deal not with the child’s prattle, as Sayana has understood it, but with the discovery of the most primeval, elevated and glorious word which understandably is the pranava and which forms the ultimate source of all words, sacred as well as profane, emanating from it.
This word is said to have been found out from a cave which in the third mantra of the hymn turns out to be the inner being of the seer. The way to its discovery is described as Yajna or sacrifice. The word is characterised by Saunaka as the Supreme Light which when vocalised appears as Om. Under such circumstances the Yajna used for its discovery can by nomeans be an ordinary sacrifice performed by the common man. It must be the same order of sacrifice which was performed by the Supreme Being for projecting the world out of Himself as recounted in the celebrated Hymn to Purusa in the Rgveda. When willing to create the world out of Himself, the Supreme Being, observes the mantra, offered Himself to the sacrificial fire as the sacrificial animal. If this be the process of creation, one inquisitive to unravel the mystery of the world or of the Word as such, would have to undergo some such process involving some sort of self-offering or self-dedication. This would obviously be the highest form of sacrifice on his behalf. This is what is known as jnana-yajna, the sacrifice of knowledge. Thus it would have evidently been through inward self-dedication that the primeval seers would have reached the original creative word holding in it the real mystery of the Veda.
Thus the Veda in its original verbal form is the word Om which manifests itself in the form of mantras compiled in the texts. This is why each mantra here is chanted with the word Om coming at the head of it suggesting thereby that the mantra has evolved out of this word. In course of their revelation the mantras must also have absorbed in them verbal as well as cognitive elements from the linguistic potentialities lying latent in the seer. This assumption explains the presence of the contemporary linguistic and cognitive elements in them. When Dirghatamas, as quoted above, observes that the Rks lie latent in the aksara in highest heaven wherein also sit all the gods, he no doubt refers as well to the word Om as to the Reality forming the source of everything. Just as the Reality denoted by Om assumes the form of all sorts of realities in its creative surge, even so the word Om develops in the form of mantras of all sorts of sounds. The primeval tapas of the Supreme Being resulting in the emergence of Rta and Satya initially and Ratri, Samudra and Samvatsara etc. subsequently is as much verbal as existential. While the existential aspect of what emerged from the tapas is the world in all the grades of its being, the verbal aspect of it is the Veda.
The vision of the seer indeed was twofold, verbal and existential. Just as the Supreme Being had taken to tapas or self-sacrifice for manifesting Himself in the form of the world, even so the Vedic seer had to undergo kindred tapas or self-sacrifice
before he could have the vision of the mantras embodying in them both the ideas and sounds of the working of the Being.
This coordination between the actual and the verbal is evident most vividly in the Hymn to Vak seen by Ambhrni, daughter of the seer Ambhrna. Having realised her complete oneness with Vak, the goddess of word, Ambrhni feels as if she moves with gods like Rudras, Vasus and Adityas, bear in her the pair of gods like Mitra and Varuna, Indra and Agni, Asvins, Soma, Tvastr, Pusan and Bhaga, provide wealth to the sacrificer, to have been placed by gods at different places, serve as the provident of those who see in the nature of things, live in keeping with her dispensations and listen to her words, stimulate the knowledgeable, the seer and the wise, string the bow for Rudra, wage war in the interest of the people, to have pervaded the whole of the cosmos, to have created the heaven, to have herself emerged from the oceanic water, to have created all the worlds and to have spread her glory even beyond the earth and the heaven. 
Obviously in these mantras, having established her identity with Vak, the seer comes to realise as if she is the same as the Almighty Creator himself. This bears out also the immeasurable creativity stimulated in the seer by virtue of her
vision of the Reality in both the forms, the verbal and the actual. She felt the very throb of the Reality as creatively involved in the cosmos. The Vedic mantra is really that throb expressed in words at a higher gradient of being.
That the seer saw all this in a highly concentrated state of being is evident from the Hymn of Creation also. While striving to explain the source and process of creation to the seer, the hymn starts with the proposition how the source can be explained neither in terms of time nor in terms of space. Even then, however, he puts things like this that the Supreme One was breathing all alone at the primeval stage without any air whatever, that only darkness was there in the beginning enshrouding within it that All-pervading Being who manifested Himself eventually through His tapas on account of His desire for becoming many. How the seer with all his limitations and the shortness of the span of life could make out all this out of an otherwise inexplicable scenario is hinted at by him in a hemistich indirectly and impersonally followed by deliberate dilution of the significance of the statement just out of humility. The clue to his understanding of the mystery of this magnitude as given by him here is intense aspiration in the heart and profound application of the higher intellect. It was in this way, he observes, that seers found out the Reality along with what has evolved out of it. The phrase hrda manisa
 सतो बन्धुमसति निरविन्दन हर्दि परतीष्याकवयो मनीषा || Ibid., X.129.4
occurs, of course, in this or slightly altered forms several times in the Veda and the Upanisads to point to the Vedic mode of sadhana and the consequent attainment of illumination and knowledge.
Significance of this mode of knowledge can be understood by contrasting it with the empirical method which in the modern age we have accepted as the sole source of knowledge. Today we take only that item of understanding as true which is verifiable in terms of our perceptions and concepts received and formed through the sense organs and the mind as fed by the former. Senses sense only what is there in the sensory field. Sensing of something is, therefore, regarded as the sufficient proof of the reality of the object sensed. Contrary to it, what is not sensed by us, has no guarantee of its reality. Extreme narrowness of this criterion of reality these days has, however, been done away with to some extent by the invention of various aids to our sensory perception. By means of these aids we are now in a position to sense even distant and subtle objects which otherwise were not within the reach of our sensory organs at all.
Thus thanks to these aids, our sensory horizon has not only expanded to a great extent but has also the promise of further
expansion in future. But this process of expansion, in any case, cannot be unending and exhaustive, since the sense organs howsoever aided, have their limitations particularly in view of the mystery of the world and what lies beyond. Even what they let us know is just the façade of things and not what lies inside them. A distant star may look to be there in space, though it might have collapsed thousands of years ago. A particular sequence of events in time is due to a particular velocity of light in space and not absolute in itself as our senses make us believe. The weight of an object on the earth is due to the gravitational pull exercised on it by the earth having a certain weight of its own determined by its placement in space as well as the volume. So is the case with its shape, size, colour etc.
Thus the sensory perception is extremely limited in its range and has all the probability of being deceptive. Its limitations are further betrayed in its fragmentariness. The sensations of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting are originally so unconnected and unconcerned with one another that it is only with the aid of the sense-mind that we are in a position to correlate them with one another so as to form the impression of some one object serving as the substratum of all of them. Thus sense-perceptions are like stray numerals being totally meaningless if not invested with meaning by the mathematical mind. The sense-mind, indeed, plays the role of the
mathematician in regard to sense-percepts. But, as has already been pointed out, when the percepts themselves are inadequate in true representation of objects, the sense-mind operating on their basis cannot be wholly rid of the flaws involved in its act of coordination and understanding. The greater the degree of attention it brings to bear on its act of processing the percepts, the greater accuracy it generates in its idea of the object concerned. Achievements of science in the modern age illustrate this point very well.
Thus evidently the source of knowledge lies not so much in the functioning of the senses as it lies in the contribution of the sense-mind to the sense-percepts. Whatever coordinating understanding the sense-mind, however, possesses, comes from the core of the inner being and not even a fraction of it from the senses which are there only to furnish it with bits of information just to give a start to the process of actual understanding. If sensibility of the senses were the criterion of the depth of knowledge, animals at least some of them, must have been much more knowledgeable than man by virtue of their being better equipped in the power of senses. They can see well, hear better, smell better, taste better and touch better. If they are provided the modern scientific gadgets and are trained enough to make proper use of them, even then however, they cannot add anything spectacular to their knowledge of the world, much less of themselves.
VI. Rational Knowledge Versus Vedic Intuition
This deficiency in the empirical knowledge creates scope for rationalism in thought. If our senses provide us with extremely elementary, fragmented and incomplete information and that also only of the external world which stands in dire necessity of our sense-mind and reasoning for coordinating the bits of information and adding some or the other sort of meaning to it and thus turning it into knowledge, it is reasoning rather than the senses which ought to be taken as the real source of knowledge. This understanding led to the development of the rationalist school in Western philosophy initiated by Descartes and elaborated upon by Spinoza and Leibnitz. With the inception of this school of thought, idea of supra-sensual entities like God, soul, etc. got some sort of rehabilitation after the disenchantment of the Renaissance period. But soon afterwards this school happened to be superseded by Berkeley and brought to its acme by Hume who annulled the existence of the external world even, not to talk of God, soul etc.
This was done by exposing the limitations of our sensory perception. When our senses are not in direct touch with their respective objects, argued Hume, what proof is possibly there to prove that those objects and indeed the external world as such, exist at all. Thus if rationalism was annulled by
empiricism, the latter was annulled by itself. Denial of total existence of something like the world which is so overwhelmingly there around us, exposes the utter limitation of the tool of knowledge used for its explanation. This is suicidal for the empirical approach. If empiricism in though can annul the world, no matter in ideation, what a havoc its application can do to the world as a matter of fact, is not difficult to imagine. Portents of it are looming large before us in the present era of colossal scientific developments including the nuclear bomb. `What we think, so do we become’, is an age-old saying compressing profound wisdom in it.
VII. Critique of Kant Vis-à-Vis the Veda
If empiricism proves self-destructive on account of its own utter limitations, rationalism loses its ground to empiricism due to its inexperiential nature. Whatever its weakness in its over-expectations, empiricism proves stronger than rationalism by virtue of being experiential as well as its grounding in facts. That is not so with rationalism. It is just like a middleman being rendered jobless when dissociated from the producer on the one hand and the consumer on the other. It tries its best to show its independence of sensory experience on the one hand has not been able as yet to connect itself with anything higher than itself on the other. This dissociation of reasoning from both sides creates the
dilemma as felt by Kant in accounting for the principles of science, particularly mathematics, getting successfully applied to the physical world and seeking to resolve it through his postulation of the forms of Intuition, such as time and space and causality, categories of understanding such as quality, quantity and substance inherent in reasoning as the connecting link between the latter and the physical world. But, what the source of these forms and categories themselves is, Kant could not visualise, since he could not have any knowledge of the Noumenon, the Reality transcendent to the phenomenon. If the phenomenon could be nothing but the sensory on the one hand and the rational on the other, with both of them existing as polarised to each other, the bond connecting the two and thus making the phenomenon operative, could not but come from the Noumenon. But, since Kant could not get to know the Noumenon, he had not alternative but to explain the bond at random in terms of the categories of understanding, the operational validity of which themselves being left totally unaccounted for due to unknowability of the Noumenon in his estimation.
This impasse between the physical and the rational does not arise at all in the case of the Vedic seer since he not only keeps open the option of knowability of what Kant calls Noumenon in the form of Brahman, but has actually experienced it as transcendent of space, time and causality,
beyond the reach of the intellect, reasoning and the senses and yet as the source of the phenomenon including the reasoning involved in its operation and also most positively as Delight, ananda, as is recounted unmistakably in the Upanisad.
The Aksara as propounded by sage Yajnavalkya in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad is indeed the closest anticipation of the Kantian Noumenon not only in its transcendence of time, space and causality but also in its unknowability. He characterises it not only as neither small nor big, neither the consumer of anything nor to be consumed by anyone but also as neither perceptible by senses nor conceivable by the mind. This is why when Gargi insists upon Yajnavalkya to explain the basis of Aksara, he responds simply in the form of a warning to her that if she does not stop in her query at this point, her head will fall down. In this way obviously he intends to drive home to her the fact that the ultimate cause of the world such as the aksara, cannot be understood by sheer reasoning and that, therefore, for the sake of its understanding one has to take recourse to spiritual sadhana which alone can intimate him with that Reality in the form of direct experience. While reasoning even at its best can only circumscribe the Reality as absolutely apart from the world
 अनण्वमदीर्धम... अगन्ध्मचक्षुष्कमश्रौत्रमवागमनो... अनन्तमवाव्द्यम्। न तदश्नाति किञ्चन न तदश्नाति कश्चन।। Brh. Up. III.3.8.8.
आनन्दो ब्रह्नेति व्यजानात्।। Taittiriya Up. III.6
and as entirely dissimilar to anything here, the spiritual experience bears it out as of the nature of delight besides truth, knowledge, consciousness and unboundedness. Over and above the Kantian reasoning and moral notion, this experience lies in the realisation that though looking as absolutely unconnected with the world, Brahman is indeed the source, sustainer and final resort of the world.
Incidentally Brahman, realised intimately as such in the Upanisads, is not anything new to the Upanisadic sage. In the form of Aksara, as characterised by Yajnavalkya, it was envisioned already in the Rgveda by Dirghatamas, as is evident from his account of the same reality under the same name as absolutely immutable and even then as forming the source of everything including the oceans and all the divisions of space. Mutability if the Immutable and the consequent derivation of everything mutable from it is a fact obviously paradoxical and yet the only solution possible for the dichotomy between the world and the Ultimate Reality, no matter be it called ekam sat, Brahman, Aksara or Noumenon. And this has been admitted by the Vedic seer not out of mundane reasoning but through the supramental vision standing in defiance of the ordinary logic which is incapable of
admitting the mutability of the Immutable. What Dirghatamas accepted on the basis of his solid vision, Kant was incapable of accepting it as he could not rise above the ordinary logic. If space and time could be intuited by him as the supra-empirical framework of understanding of the empirical, why was the same framework left unaccounted for in regard to its source, notwithstanding the admittance of Noumenon as the sole supra-phenomenal reality? Kant failed to interconnect the two on account of his exclusive rationalistic predilections while the Vedic seer broke the impasse through the power of his searching vision. By his intuition of time and space Kant did no doubt create a solid basis for a qualitative jump in science, but on account of his failure to interconnect the same with the Noumenon he eventually proved destructive of metaphysics. As distinct from him, by virtue of his vision of the mutability of the Immutable and thus by his admittance of space and time as the most primary offshoots of that mutability, the Vedic seer led to the growth of such a mighty metaphysical system as the Vedanta.
VIII. Critique of Hegel vis-à-vis the Veda
While the limitations of empiricism in understanding matters philosophical are evident in Hume’s falling in solipsism and those of rationalism in Descarte’s creating the schism between Matter and Spirit, those of a combination of rationalism and
empiricism are obvious in Kant’s ending in the impasse between the Noumenon and the phenomenon. Against these stands out the case of Hegel whose “objective idealistic monism” is regarded as “the most comprehensive scheme of the universe that any philosopher has hitherto devised.” On the basis of this comprehensive scheme of things he is supposed to “explain everything both everything that exists and every mind that knows.” The secret of Hegel’s spectacular achievement in philosophy lies in his “abstract, speculative rationalism” over intuitive experiences of men of religion. In contradistinction to Kant who starts his philosophising by seeking to explain matter of empirical experience rationally through innovation of the intuition of time and space, Hegel starts the same with a view to explaining the nature of the Ultimate Reality through ratiocination over the intuitions of men of religion and not of the common man. The result is that while Kant, despite his signal contribution to promotion of science, left philosophy with the impasse between the Noumenon and the phenomenon, Hegel brought it to the acme by his idea of the Absolute not only as the essence of things but also as the essence of thoughts.
What, however, he presents in abstraction and indirectly, the same is revealed to the Vedic seer in his vision directly and
 C.E.M. Joad, Guide to Philosophy (London,1953) p.429.
with all its tangibility on the one side and abstruse finesse on the other. This is most prominently evident in the Rgvedic Hymn to Purusa as seen by Narayana. Needless to point out that to Hegel the Reality is a “unity which is spirit or person.” It is the Absolute of knowledge manifesting itself by way of self-realisation. The same is the case with the Hymn to Purusa. Attribution of the Hymn as well as the creation of the world to Narayana, the Supreme Himself out of Himself is sufficient to suggest that according to the Veda also the world is a product of the Supreme. While the Hymn or the wisdom embedded in it is His creative self-consciousness, the world is the product of that consciousness. Indeed it is in this sense that even the Veda as a whole has traditionally been regarded as the self-consciousness of the Supreme getting materialised in the form of the world.
In the Hymn referred to above the Ultimate Reality has been envisioned as a Person having a thousand head, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet and as encompassing the whole of the creation and at the same time transcending it by a certain measure. He is all this in its present, past and future possibility. He is also the immortal lying in transcendence of the mortal. The entire creation is just an expression of His greatness while He in Himself is immortal in heaven. It is out of Himself through His self-offering that everything including
 Ibid., p.402.
the Vedas, gods, stars, planets, humans, animals, birds, etc. have been born. He is of the nature of illumination or knowledge removed far away from darkness or ignorance. It is by knowing Him alone that one can transcend mortality. There is no other way out. The world in all its multiplicity lies in Him and yet He enters into the womb of the mother and gets born, though remaining unborn at the same time.
These details are enough to bear out the sameness of the Vedic view with the cardinal points of the philosophy of Hegel. For instance, if the Reality is a “unity which is spirit or Person” according to Hegel, it is the totality of the reality organically and spiritually so integrated as to be conceived as Purusa, person in the Veda offering himself to be manifested in the form of both, the individual and the universe. He is also absolute inasmuch as He remains immortal in spite of being born in numerous ways and yet remaining the same absolute without getting deteriorated, diminished or altered anyway. His being born variously is the cause of the world while His consciousness of the whole of the world existing in Him is an indication of the creation being just His self-consciousness.
These similarities are obviously astonishing in view of the difference in the age of Hegel and the Veda, as also in the cultural milieu of the two. The only meeting ground between
 Vajasaneyi Samhita XXXI, 19.
them is the common use of intuition, with this difference, however, that while Hegel makes use of it as available to him from the man of religion, the Vedic seer reveals it as experienced by himself. It is quite possible that what Hegel calls the intuition of the man of religion is nothing but the Vedic vision itself reaching him through Vedanta or Sufism, for otherwise neither Christianity nor Judaism or Islam does provide for such an outlook of the Supreme Being as involved in the philosophy of Hegel. In all these three religions the individual and the world are simply creations of God and by no means does God Himself assume the form of them by way of self-manifestation or self-realisation.
The difference between Hegel and the Vedic seer, however, is that while the former makes indirect use of the intuitions involved in his philosophy for ratiocination on them, the latter has direct experiential intimation of them in his deep vision. This is obvious in the Vedic seer’s boldly claiming that he knows the Purusa as of the brightness of the sun lying far away from darkness as against Hegel’s distant conceptualisation of it through ratiocination on the same or similar intuition of the man of religion. In any case, apart from his sharp reasoning, it is the profundity of the vision which provides the real stuff to his philosophical system. As
 वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्तमादित्यवर्णां तमसः परस्तात्। तमेव विदित्वाातिमृत्युमेति नान्यः पन्था विद्यतेऽयनाय।। Ibid., XXXI.18
regards the source of Hegel in this respect, no matter whatever medium availed by him, the earliest possible source of it is evidently the Veda itself.
The most distinguishing feature of the intuitive knowledge of the Vedic seer is the immediacy of experience based on the subjects’ self- identification with the object of knowledge. As a matter of fact, intuitive knowledge is that which is neither empirical nor rational. While the empirical is based primarily on the sensory, the rational is intellection or ratiocination on the intuitive. Thus, as a matter of fact, the intuitive is as fundamental as the sensory. Apparently even the sensory is taken to lie in perceiving things in a homogenous way. But really that is not the case. Even one and the same object can be perceived in a variety of ways depending on the distance of the perceiver from the object of perception, the angle and time of perceiving, the capability of the sensory organ and the interest of perceiver in the act of perceiving. Depending on the distance, for instance, an object may not be seen even though very much existing, or, on the contrary, it may be seen as existing at an astronomical distance, even though it might have ceased to exist aeons ago. These extreme cases apart, even in commonplace perceptions, the percept changes its size, shape, shade of colour etc. depending on the distance it
is placed from the perceiver as well as the age of the perceiver himself.
Now if the same be the case with intuition, there is nothing surprising, with this difference, however, that while shading in perception is caused mainly by intervention of time and space, that in intuition is based mainly on the level of consciousness of the aspirant getting the intuition. Even an ordinary man may have intuition of such extraordinary beings and entities as gods, goddesses, heaven and the Supreme Being. This is what we see illustrated in the life of the most primitive people living in complete isolation from others and event hen having the notion of such beings and entities so vividly as if to have intuited them at the first hand instead of having derived them secondarily from some other race. James George Frazers’ `Golden Bough’ is replete with such instances. Obviously such entities can neither be perceived nor reasoned out, leaving thus the only possibility of either borrowal or intuition. In all these cases, what indeed is intuited appears to be entirely independent of and different from one intuiting them. It is mostly fearsome, frowning and compelling. This is evident in religions which place the Deity in the heaven far far away from the earthly. All this type of attitude towards the Deity is evident in Rudolf Otto’s characterisation of the Holy in his well known book `Idea of the Holy’ as mysterium tremendum.
If there is any marked departure from this universally cherished attitude towards the Divine, that to be sure is to be found in the Veda and its offshoots. Here the Divine is experienced as lying closest to man. He, if in the plural, dwells in the heaven while in the singular has His dwelling place beyond the heaven, and yet in either form comes to men, moves amongst them, sits along with them beside the sacrificial fire, befriends the seer, helps the needy, no matter be the latter a human being, an animal or even a bird.
This singular feature of the Vedic religion has been looked down as pantheistic or polytheistic as against the prevalent Semitic ones regards as monotheistic. In fact, the real difference between Semitic and the Vedic does not lie so much in one being monotheistic and the other polytheistic. This is on account of the fact that the Veda also has no less preponderance of monotheism in it. If the Puruşa referred to above is the best possible example of the monotheistic concept of God prevailing anywhere, ekam sat and akşara, as propounded in the Veda, take the same to pure monism much above monotheism. If monotheism is an improvement over polytheism, monism is the same over monotheism. This higher movement in ideation and belief was accomplished in the Veda very much earlier than any movement in this direction from the Semitic side. The real difference between the two streams lies in the degree of preparedness in the intuitive
consciousness involved in the visions. The otherness, the fearfulness and the trans-astronomical distance of the Deity from the devotee on the Semitic side obviously betray the unpreparedness of the intuitive consciousness reflecting the vision or communication from the supreme height of the psyche, the sole source of intuitions of the highest variety.
The case of the Vedic seer is different. Prior to the vision he prepares himself for unusually long time through the performance of sacrifice and practice of tapas. The concentration and the withdrawal gained in course of tapas result in self-purification and psychic development so as to enable one to receive the intuition in all its originality and integrality. Due to elimination of the ego through tapas, the seer experiences the intuition as flowing from the inmost being of himself and pervading everything in the world in one sweeping movement.
In the Veda there are numerous instances of the gushing out of intuition both in the form of supramental wisdom and beings as a culmination of a certain sacrificial performance or practice of tapas by seers. For instance, in one of the Ŗgvedic mantras Viśvāmitra in course of offering his prayer to Agni describes the latter as a reservoir of wisdom which is highly beneficial. He prays to the deity to make that wisdom flow towards him as well as the world as a whole like a mighty
stream of water emerging from the mountain, gushing towards the plains and making all of them get their dryness totally removed. Characterisation of the wisdom as extremely sharp, beneficial and universalistic is suggestive of its extraordinariness. Flow of it from the mountain, bears out its loftiness and perennity as well as spontaneity and stupendous forcefulness. Such was the intuitive vision of the Vedic seer and it descended upon him in association with Agni which is intimately connected with both, tapas and sacrifice. By virtue of performing the sacrifice and practising the tapas the seer gets so clear in his mind as to see the possibility of the descent of the powerful intuition from the height of his psyche and potent enough to inundate the world with sharp intellection and noble ideas. Obviously this wisdom is a supramental, intuition emanating from the height of the seer’s own psychic being which is akin to the peak of the mountain in contrast to the ordinary level of consciousness. Agni or sacrifice and tapas are the means to bring this mighty intuition down to the reach of the common man. It is remarkable to note that here the seer does no way monopolise this wonderful intuition to himself. On the contrary, he prays for the intuition on behalf of all sagacious persons whosoever, as is evident from his use of the plural for himself, and is eager to see it inundate the mind of all the in the world irrespective of caste, creed, race and
 या ते अग्ने पर्वतस्येव धारासश्चन्ती पीपयद देव चित्रा | तामस्मभ्यं परमतिं जातवेदो वसो रास्व सुमतिं विश्वजन्याम || RV. III.57.6.
nationality, as is obvious from the adjective viśvajanyām, pervasive of all.
Similarly in another mantra, Nābhānedişţha, the seer having undergone an arduous course of sacrifice and tapas comes eventually to realise that the sacrificial pit before him is a projection of his inmost being while the gods sitting around it are intimately related to him and that he himself is all in all sitting with all indwelling him and lastly that those who are really enlightened, are the first products of Ŗta and are fed on the milk of the cow of creativity. This is a clear case of turning to oneself, reaching the centre of one’s being, realising the gods as indwelling him and experiencing the all-encompassingness of oneself. In this realisation, the gods, the sacrificial pit and the fire all became just projections of one’s inmost being. While in an incidental unfoldment of intuition the intuited entities appear to be external to oneself, in the enlightened intuition, they are visualised as emerging from one’s own being and as capable of being retained as such due to enlargement of the horizon of the self so as to coincide with the universal self.
In the Veda, thanks to the rigorous efforts of seers, intuition was developed methodically as a higher psychology by
 इयं मे नाभिरिह मे सधस्थमिमे मे देवा अयमस्मिसर्वः | दविजा अह परथमजा रतस्येदं धेनुरदुहज्जायमाना || Ibid., X.61.19.
following certain guidelines with the use of which one could rise up to the highest possible intuitive state where he could see his divinity not just anywhere but immediately in one’s own psyche, as has subsequently been stated by Patañjali summarily as: “By meditating deeply on one’s psyche, one can come into contact with one’s deity.” In the Veda we find this higher psychology of intuition and self-realisation and conversely that of recovery of projected intuitions back to the psyche in its developmental stages. To take the case of Agni, the direct medium of sacrifice and tapas, for instance, we find in the Veda this divinity getting associated with the seer on different planes of relationship. Usually we find Agni described as a burning outside there in the sacrificial pit and being offered oblations for carrying them to other gods including the Supreme Being. But there is also the aspiration expressed by seer Virūpa Ańgiras that either he may become Agni or the latter may become the seer himself. In course of his deep immersion in the sacrificial performance or rather sādhanā symbolised by sacrifice, the seer eventually wishes to become one with the deity or alternatively to get the deity restored to his own higher self. Meditation on the deity begins with the desire on the part of the seer to draw as near to the former as possible until there arises the possibility of his merging with
the deity, which, however, culminates in the restoration of the deity to the psyche of the seer himself.
What is as yet a possibility in the mantra quoted above, gets fully actualised in another mantra see by Viśvāmitra. In this mantra the seer claims himself to be Agni, the knower of all things from his very birth, having inherited the Agni’s brilliance in his eyes, and immortality in his mouth. He also claims in the same continuation to be the threefold ray, measurer of mid-region as also the immortal illumination and event he offering itself.
This, however, does not mean that the seer Virūpa Ańgiras is anyway a novice just starting to move on the path of intuitive sādhanā with the aspiration to become one with Agni and that Viśvāmitra is the first to have hit at the highest point in that direction. On the contrary, the fact is that from the Vedic viewpoint one cannot be a seer until and unless one realises one’s oneness with the deity concerned. While seerhood, as stated above, lies in seeing the mantra, it also entails seeing of the Devatā concerned, since Mantra and Devatā are mutually collateral.
Moreover, the Vedic seeing is always intuitive and is based on one’s realisation of identity with the Devatā concerned. The
 अग्निरस्मि जन्मना जातवेदा घर्तं मे चक्षुरम्र्तं म आसन | अर्कस्त्रिधातू रजसो विमानो.अजस्रो घर्मो हविरस्मि नाम || Ibid., III.26.7.
difference is that while in the case of certain seers such as Viśvāmitra, Vāmdeva and Vāgāmbhŗņī and that also in some mantras the point of identity has happened to be clearly articulated, in the case of other mantras of them even it has remained totally unstated. To take the case of the very first mantra of the Ŗgveda, for instance, here prayer has been offered to him by addressing him together as purohita, ŗtvik and hotŗ as well as the god of sacrifice and the most liberal giver of gems. In this mantra, while the `god of sacrifice’ and `giver of gems’ represent Agni as the Devatā, purohita, ŗtvik and hotŗ are proper only to the seer and yet they have been used to address the Devatā himself. This coincidence of the human and divine attributes presupposes the seer’s experience of identity with the divinity concerned. For, otherwise, two such discrete entities as the seer and the divinity cannot get coincided with each other. In the context of worship, while the seer forms the subject, the divinity represents the object the object and the subject are obviously two poles of understanding entirely disparate from each other, unless they get interrelated with the bond of knowledge. As the bond draws the subject close to the object, the latter becomes known more and more clearly. Perfection in knowledge comes with the subject getting coincided with its object. This principle of understanding finds clearest exposition in the
 अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवं रत्वीजम | होतारं रत्नधातमम || Ibid., I.1.1.
Upanişads in the realisation of essential identity of the Ātman with Brahman, resulting ultimately in such a profound experience as `I am Brahman’. Understood as an entity disparate from the Ātman, Brahman looks as distant and dreadful but when the aspirant comes to realise his identity with It, he not only gets his fears regarding It removed but also experiences It as entirely blissful. This is what Upanişads tell us variously.
Vedic seers understandably had not developed any such tools so as to see with itself help across the whole of the universe both in time and space. Nor had they developed any mechanism to study anything in the universe to the extent as to be able to find out the basic elements involved in its formation as well as the time taken by it to come to this end. All they had to depend on was their mind along with the sense organs. Even then, however, what they achieved in their exploration on such serious problems as the duration, extension, nature, ultimate cause, stuff and process of emergence of the universe is really astounding, particularly as it is found comparing well with the findings of modern science
 अहं ब्रह्मास्मि .Br. Up. I.4.10.
 भीषाऽ स्मादूतः पवते भीषा उदेति सूर्यः। भीषाऽ समादग्निश्चेन्द्रश्च मृत्यु र्धावति पञ्चमः।। Tait. Up. II.8.
यदा ह्येवैष एतस्मिन्न दृश्ये ऽ नात्म्ये ऽ निरुक्तेऽ निन्तयने ऽ भयं प्रतिष्ठां विन्दतेऽ सोऽभयं गतो भवति। यदा ह्येवैष एतस्मिन्नुदरमन्तरं कुरुतेऽथ तस्य भयं भवति । तत्त्वेव भयं विदुषोऽमन्वानस्य।।Ibid.II.7.
in this regard. Moreover, where even the modern science is uncertain and seems to be groping in the dark, notwithstanding all its paraphernalia of sophisticated tools of exploration, precise reasoning and developed mathematics, the Vedic views are being gradually found as having a sense of finality with them. Naturally then the question arises: How could the Vedic seers rise in their understanding of not only theological and philosophical matters but also those covered today by science to such a height as not only to be at part with the latter but also in several matters quite above it?
As has already been pointed out, the only tool of knowledge understandably they had at their disposal was their mind with nothing external to aid it significantly. Even then if they could else to such amazing heights, the secret of it must obviously lie in the making of their mind itself. The question of external aid arises in our mind on account of our getting too much used to them now taking ourselves as something entirely different from what we are seeking to explore in Nature as also on account of the thinking that our sense organs, aided or unaided, are the only medium of communication between the seeker of knowledge and the object of knowledge. As a matter of fact, it the self rather than the sense organ is the real agent of experience and knowledge, it can have experiential knowledge at its best only when it comes into contact with the object of knowledge directly without intermediation of the
senses and the sense-mind stuffed with all the extraneous material lingering in it. In that idea state of knowledge where the senses and the sense-mind remain suspended while the inmost centre of consciousness shines in its untrammelled brilliance, the whole world comes in a position of intimate communion with the inmost being. Just as the tiny atom when explored by the scientist in its inmost nucleus reveals the secret not only of itself but also of the Matter around it, even so when the inmost being of the individual gets redeemed of the intervening factors of the sense-mind and the senses, it automatically enters into direct experiential knowledge of not only itself but also of the whole of the world in all its ramifications.
The above is not a mere analogy waiting to be acted upon in the light of what has been achieved by the nuclear scientist in the recent past in regard to atom. It has already been acted upon long ago in the Vedic period as is recounted in the Chāndogya Upanişad. Through deep meditation sage Āruņi has been able to find out the real self as atomic in size and yet as having compressed in it not only the whole of the cosmos in essence but also the Highest Truth. This subatomic illumination in the inmost being of the explorer of spirituality is individual, universal and transcendent all in one. By knowing it in essence, therefore, one can know all in essential
 स य एषोऽणिमैतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वं तत्सत्यं स आत्मा तत्त्व़मसि श्वेतकेतो।। Chh. Up. VI.8.7.
unity as well as diversity created by the process of manifestation. It is microcosmic as well as macrocosmic and lies hidden in the inmost being of the individual. It comes to the vision of him alone who has cultivated his inmost being to the extent as to have become transparent enough to reflect it: this is what another Upanişad maintains.
This inmost being is referred to in the Upanişads as hŗt which is not entirely the same as the heart of the scientist. According to the Vedic seer, it is a cavity of the size of the thumb. It is closely connected with the brain, as the Aitareya Upanişad observes, since it is from brain to heart that Indra moves in the individual. Entry into the hŗt is said to be possible only by stopping all mental activities. This bears out its remoteness from the functioning of the sense-mind. In the cakra-sādhanā, it is only after complete purification of the inner being that the sādhaka is allowed to move to the sahasrāra cakra lying at the top of the brain. Thus it is obvious that the hŗt cakra forms the centre of the sādhanā at the intermediate level for purification of the inmost being. This is perhaps why the cakra above the hŗt is called viśuddha seems to be the point of transition from the hŗt to the sahasrāra after being permitted by the ājña cakra.
The centres of sādhanā which find particular mention in the Vedic scheme of things are hŗt and manas. Manas is related with the brain while hŗt is associated with the back of the heart. Manas in its exterior is the centre of the sense-mind, conceptualisation and reasoning. In its interior, it is receptive of higher experiences from supramental planes. It is here that Indra, the Divine, enters into the human body and keeps moving up to the hŗt seeking to transform the mortal into the immortal. This is why the Vedic seer refers to his sādhanā specially through such terms as hŗdāmanīşa, hŗdāmanasā and hŗdā manasā manīşa.
Meditation is the way to withdrawal from the senses and the sense-mind, purification of the heart, ascension to the state of manīşā and attainment of the illumination of higher consciousness. The sacred gāyatrī mantra is a summary statement of this process. “Let us meditate on that most adorable light of Savitŗ so that He may stimulate sparks of wisdom from within us”: this is what the mantra literally means. As the mantra begins with the word tat, `that’ off hand without being provided with the necessary background, the latter being is added to it subsequently in the form of the vyāhŗtis. They serve as the ladder by means of which the
aspirant disentangles himself from the grip of the worldly and places himself in the position to come face to face with the transcendental light referred to by the word tat, that. What this tat refers to is essentially the same as the tat used in the Upanişadic mahāvākya, tat tvam asi, `that thou art’.
Savitŗ of the gāyatrī mantra is the all-pervading brilliant light which, according to the Aghamarşaņa hymn, is the ultimate source of creation manifesting itself as satya, ŗta, time, space and their products such as the heaven, the mid-sphere and the earth. In the gāyatrī mantra the same process of creation is traversed from below upwards meditatively so as to reach the most adorable origin of all via the earth, the mid-sphere, the heaven and the rest of the footsteps which are denoted by the complete list of the vyāhŗtis, i.e. bhūh, bhuvah, svah, mahah, janah, tapah and satyam. Out of these the initial three have been incorporated in the gāyatrī mantra symbolically to represent all the seven steps. Besides bhūh, bhuvah, and svah which are common to both, the hymn and the list, mahah, janah, tapah and satyam of the vyāhŗtis are meant understandably for representing what rather figuratively have been used in the hymn as samudra, rātri, tapah and satyam almost respectively.
 Ibid., X.90.
Thus it is obvious that what have been pointed out in the Aghamarşaņa hymn as different stages in the process of emanation of the world in descending order, the same have been considered in the list of the vyāhŗtis as different components of the totality of the reality in ascending order. The same have been incorporated in the gāyatrī mantras as successive of the seeker through his sādhanā.
In this way it is obvious that in the Vedic scheme of understanding, there is no dichotomy between thoughts and things, as both of them emanate from the same reality which though essentially of the nature of consciousness, is potent enough to take the form of things also by itself. As pure consciousness, it is transcendent while as Ŗta it is thought as well as the thing. Ŗta, as the original rhythm of creation, is both, the principle of order in the creation and the agent responsible for the creation of the stuff to be put to order. By virtue of its unitary position, Ŗta serves as the catalyst of diversification of the creative stuff so as to result in thought on the one hand and thing on the other culminating eventually in total dichotomy between the two as Spirit and Matter. Reaching this stage of dichotomy, the original channel of communication between them gets replaced by the sense organs which can operate only by dividing the total vista into the subject and the object and thus by placing the two at a distance from each other. Due to the division and the distance
created between the two, things cannot be known intimately at this stage. This is what happens in the empirical approach to things which has developed at last in the scientific way of knowledge.
The source of Vedic knowledge, on the other hand, lies just at the juncture of division between thoughts and things. This is the plane of intuition where thoughts and things are still coalesced so as to form an integral whole. Here thoughts have the possibility of turning into things and things into thoughts. This we find illustrated in the Veda in things standing concretely for thoughts and thoughts getting concretised into things. In such intuitions things are viewed not in sensory abstraction but in close and integral intimation. Here thoughts and things are not formations out of sensory abstractions but are emanations out of the essential truth itself. Mere sensory knowledge cannot generate ideas bearing fundamental truths. At the most, sensory perception can stimulate such truths to trickle down to our sense-mind in an attenuated form, since our divisive mind cannot hold it undiluted. It is in higher visions of sages, saints and great creative geniuses that it has been held in its full vitality and has found proper expression in their religious teachings, philosophical constructions, scientific formulations and literary creations.
As distinct from all these, in the Veda direct access has been made to these intuitions in all their freshness and force through the path of sādhanā called hŗdā manīşa. Here the seer, by rising above the operation of the senses and the sense-mind as also by deploying the capabilities of the heart and the higher mind through the power of concentration makes even the nervous system and the spinal cord get stirred and send upward the entire psycho-physical energy lying pent up in them.
With the withdrawal of the neural energy in the spinal cord and by making it pass through the back of the heart along with the psychic force lying in it, on the one hand, and the withdrawal of the senses from the external world and redirection of the force of the sense-mind towards the higher mind and summation of both the energy and the force in the higher mind, the entire personality including the physical, mental and psychic gets concentrated at one point in the higher brain called brahmarandhra, saggital suture, and a direct breakthrough to the world of intuition is systematically achieved which forms the source of all knowledge whatever, though getting diluted in varying degrees as it moves outward from this focal point in the brain.
It is by having access to this focal point that the Vedic seer has been able to have the vision of gods and goddesses along with the mantras and intuitions of truth determining and guiding the course of life as also the fundamental laws of nature now being crystallised into scientific laws.
This is why all varieties of knowledge, including religious, philosophical and scientific, flow from the Veda in their basics. The details of these varieties of knowledge, however, need to be worked out at lower levels of understanding including intellection, conceptualisation, coordination and sense perception.
As such, the utility of the Veda today lies mainly in serving as a corrective of the ways of understanding in which man has engaged himself in detailed analysis of everything possible in this world at the cost of his grip over the integrality of things and thoughts, since nothing comparable to the Veda in the integrality of outlook, comprehensiveness of vision, immediacy of understanding and applicability to universal weal ahs been made available to mankind anywhere so far.