I think to begin with there are some questions which have come to me, if you like I can start with these questions.
Question: How should one live his life according to the Vedas?
Answer: It’s a very good question because there are many ways of life. And in India particularly where there are number of philosophical systems, number of religions, number of ethical codes, so much of multiplicity that one is bewildered as to what exactly one should be doing and how to guide our own life and then when we speak of the Veda and speak of the Veda as something that is Supreme, we naturally want to know what exactly is this Vedic teaching and how the life should be lived. A proper answer to this question would require a very, very long exposition but I will speak a few words on this subject. In the first place one can look upon Veda as the science of living. I use the word science deliberately because very often we do speak of art of living; there is a great difference between art of living and science of living. Art may be only a manner of living, a style of living, it may be a kind of the rhythm of life but there can be many rhythms. When you use the word science of living it means that you know the basics of living, that is to say you have knowledge and that makes all the difference. One can develop an art of life simply because one feels happy, comfortable about something or because in the environment people live in a particular manner and we also follow the same manner. But when we speak of the science of living it means that there is a specific knowledge of the entire realm of living. The way in which I understand the Veda in the light of Sri Aurobindo I have come to this conclusion that the Vedic Rishis had examined the totality of the life process and just as there is a physics and chemistry in which you study the whole realm of matter, just as in biology you study the realm of life, life of organisms of various kinds or psychology deals with the science of the whole mind and operations of the mind, similarly the whole realm of living itself is a big domain. In fact you may say all comprehensive domains of existence are living and unless you have seen the whole domain you cannot have the science of it. Now the Vedic Rishis were able to rise to such heights of consciousness that from there the entire domain of living could be visible and therefore one can relate one thing with the other very easily. There is first of all the mystery of birth and then there is the mystery of death, these are the two important items of living. Between birth and death our living takes place and during the process of living we are guided by instincts and impulses at the lowest level, at a higher level by desires of various kinds, there are small desires, there are big desires, there are attractions which are temporary and there are long standing attractions which remain for years and years with individuals. Then there are emotions of joy and sorrow and various others and then there is a realm of various kinds of expressions, varied expressions. And then there is a realm of sensations, perceptions, ideations, conceptions and plethora of them, systems of thought, system of ideas, connections of ideas, it’s a huge realm and then there is still beyond right up to the Supermind and beyond Supermind to the Ananda and Chit and Sat. The whole realm of existence and all these are related to our living. So Vedic way of life was conceived as a result of the application of the knowledge that starts from our instinctive life up to the Supramental life and this knowledge is what is given in the contents of the Veda right from instinctive life to the Supramental life. And then the discovery of hierarchy in this entire process of living, this discovery of hierarchy is an extremely important discovery. In fact in every organism even in machines there is a hierarchy, there is a self-key which you wind and the whole ignition starts in the car, the clutches control the speed, the gears control the speed in a certain manner, the brakes suddenly stop entirely the whole movement. You can regulate the speed in many ways which is because of a hierarchy, there is a movement and a speed and there is a controller. Now the Vedic Rishis found that there is a hierarchy in the entire movement from instincts up to Supramental life and if you make use of this hierarchy properly then you can regulate your life through a system of progressive equilibrium and this is very important. In human life one of the big problems is the force of drive, instincts drive us, desires drive us, attractions drive us, even at the higher levels even the impulses of expression they drive us, once a child knows how to speak there is a drive to speak all the time. When a poet begins to write he has a drive to write. Similarly there is a drive of thinking once you start thinking and you read this book and that book, and that book, there is a tremendous drive. So the entire life seems to be a kind of driving. Now the question is this driving creates a kind of a disbalance because of the fact that there are many drivers in our being, instincts are driving, desires are driving, expressions are driving, and mental thoughts are driving and many others. So there are many drivers and all of them are pressing, everyone wants to drive and when there are these pressures of various kinds, they are what we call disequilibrium. That is why most of us live a life of disequilibrium. This is our normal condition. The Veda says that life can be lived with equilibrium. This is one of the important lessons of the Vedic life that if you allow your life to be driven by some kind of an impulsion or by a certain drive you may achieve some result but there will be a backlash, something will remain unfulfilled which will also strive to fulfil itself. So you should know what exactly the drives are and how they can all be balanced. The whole idea of samatvam which has become very prominent in the entire realm of living in India, whether it is Jainism or Buddhism or Hinduism or whatever this idea of samatvam has gained ground because of this original idea of the Veda that life should be lived with some kind of equilibrium. At the lowest level therefore they found out that there are three fundamental drives in human beings. There is a drive of instinct and desire, which simply wants to enjoy. Then there is a necessity in the body and life to live for which you require something from outside. The body requires to devourer something so that the body can sustain. So there is this need, constant drive to take things from outside and to devourer. These two are primary drives in human life and therefore the Veda said that kama and artha these are the two basic drives to enjoy and to devourer, gain something from outside. Artha is actually nothing but gaining something from outside to devourer and you fill yourself then you drive again. This kama and artha are supposed to be the two fundamental drives and Veda says if you allow them to be driven at their own speed there will be a lot of disequilibrium. So you should have a certain method of control. This method of control was conceived
.....in the name of dharma. Dharma is nothing but the commandments to artha and kama by which they can be regulated. Now how to conceive of dharma was a very important discovery. How do you really arrive at this equilibrium of artha and kama? It is said that everything else can be known in the world by examination and by various kinds of investigation. But the one thing which you cannot discover merely by observation and by investigation is dharma. That is why it is said that if you want to read Veda the most important thing in the Veda is the dharma. It tells you what you ought to be doing, what you should do. Therefore in Veda as also in many religions such as in Ten Commandments of Moses, or the Sermon on the Mount, which Christ gave, these are all prescriptions. In Buddhism there is ashtamarga, - Eight-fold Path and there also there are commandments. Now why these commandments and from where have they come? Is there any scientific basis? Now Veda actually is that scientific basis, it’s that knowledge on the basis of which dharma has been conceived. So dharma is not something to be prescribed, simply to be obeyed unquestioning, if you question why this dharma and not that dharma there is an answer in the Veda that because of the relationship that you have between the Supermind and the mind and other parts of the body because there is a real drive to move, every human being is driven basically to move from here ultimately to that, this is also discovered by the Veda that man cannot be satisfied unless one can rest in the Supermind. This is also a revelation, a kind of a discovery of the Veda. People may think that they like to be resting at this place, or this place or this place; there are many resting places in the world, many levels at which you feel satisfied. In fact most of the successful men if you ask them: How do you feel life; Fine! Everything is wonderful, nothing more is wanted. All that life demands you have got everything at your command and yet we do find that human beings as I said last time that Alexander the Great after winning so much of land and conquest of land ultimately finds this is not enough, not right, what have I gained? Therefore Veda having discovered the highest satisfaction of man where exactly you can rest, true resting place, the Veda discovers it is in the Supermind that one can rest because when you reach Supermind you open the doors of felicity and felicity which is unending, that is why it is called immortal. It is something where you continuously have that felicity on and on and on and on.
Now having known all this and having known the human capacities and incapacities and great sympathy for human beings so that they are least disturbed in their movement, some disturbance is inevitable in human life because it's a upward movement and an upward movement with blind fold, we are all blind and we are moving with a kind of a groping, therefore in this groping movement there is bound to be disturbance. But how to help human beings who are groping, and how to tell them if you do this everything will be alright, there will be disturbances but you will ultimately find equilibrium and you will get a footstool by which you can rise upwards. That is why it is said that dharma, artha and kama, - the law of indulgence and the law of restraint. Human life does require indulgence and yet if you allow indulgence to be all the time licentious then there will be destruction. Therefore if you however restrain it, now how to restrain that is a very difficult art. Dharma is actually that kind of restraint by which you are not too troubled. Troubled to some extent when you say this is the law and to follow that law it is uncomfortable. But by that means your impulses are controlled. A child normally likes to eat chocolate as much as you can give him and as much as he desires and yet good mother says: No, only one chocolate per week, otherwise teeth will get decayed in due course of time, now this is the dharma, not more than one in one week. Children would like to be glued to television all the time. A good mother says: No, no do not do that, your eyes will be spoiled, a lot of other things will be neglected, there is a dharma, you should keep a balance. A society in which this balance is not found will begin to decay in due course of time. There is chaos in that life, this is what happened in ancient Greece, in ancient Rome, is also happening all over the world today. That is why some of the great historians have spoken today as an age of great crisis, an age in which there is a great search as to how to, what is that knowledge by which we can guide our life and the importance of the Veda is that the dharma that is described or prescribed in Veda is based upon knowledge they are not mere commandments. It is based upon the knowledge of the highest levels of consciousness and having found the laws of development and how the highest consciousness can be developed, having known it the prescriptions have been made. Now this is only the theoretical part of the question because I said that the Veda is a science of living. The Vedic way of life is therefore based upon this science.
Now to come to its practical aspect it is not merely dharma, artha and kama, we also have the concept of moksha and it is said that the moksha is also one of the supreme aims of life. Now this moksha is conceived in India in many ways. Actually the word moksha does not occur in the richas of Veda. It speaks of increasing perfection. If you read the Veda there is a constant mention of the commerce between man and the Gods. Gods are cosmic powers and cosmic powers are laid on many levels. Cosmic powers at the physical level, vital level, mental level, supramental level and beyond. So there are all gods, all cosmic powers are gods. We know for example the cosmic power of electricity in the world, it is all over, wherever you can find the means of generating it you can generate it. Now the Veda finds out that these cosmic powers are all presided by conscious beings. The powers are not only powers, impersonal powers, but each power is presided over by a conscious being and that is why the concept of gods. God is not only a cosmic power but a conscious being, who is himself the author or you might say the adhikrit master of the power. Vayu for example is not only cosmic power of breath but he is also the controller of breath, he can control it, he is the master of it, can use it wherever needed and therefore there is a commerce between man who is also a conscious being and gods who are also conscious beings. Therefore there is a commerce between man and gods and it is found that by this commerce, gods are ready to help man, man is in need of the help of the gods and not only that but you might say that gods need the help of man just as man also needs the help of the gods. This is a kind of a mutual exchange and that is why the Bhagavad Gita says that when the world was created the gods and man were put into some kind of contact and yagya is nothing but some kind of exchange between man and gods.
Now this science of contact with the gods, and to take help of the gods and through them to take the help of the Supreme Lord, this is another discovery of the Veda that above all, above the whole universe is the Supreme Lord himself of whom all the cosmic powers are only manifestations or aspects. This is also a discovery of the Veda; therefore unless a human being unites himself or connects himself with that Lord, he will not have real control of all of our functions here. To receive the command from him, to receive His Will and to allow that will to work in the world and that is why what is called Karma Yoga is an essential teaching of the Veda. How to act in such a way, it is in conjunction or in consonance with the Divine Will, how to discover that Divine Will, how to operate it, this is another important element in the Vedic way of life. The Vedic seeker constantly asks this question, what is the will of God, what is the Divine’s Will, not my will, not the will of society, not the will of this master or that master, will of the Supreme. Now this Will of the Supreme is manifested in the Vedic verses and that is if you read the Vedic verses the one message which comes out is that the Divine wants human beings on the earth to grow. This is the important point − the Divine wants human beings to grow harmoniously and more and more perfectly. There is a very interesting dialogue between Indra and Agastya, a colloquy between Indra and Agastya in the Veda, which gives a great clue to this important point of what is the Divine’s Will in man. Only five verses are there and since it is a very important matter let me refer to that colloquy. In fact Sri Aurobindo has written a short commentary on this colloquy which is very illuminating and it explains this aspect. Even the Sanskrit which is there is fairly simple. So it starts with the famous sentence that is to say Agastya and Indra. It's a dialogue between the two and Sri Aurobindo says that this dialogue occurs at a time when Agastya has reached a certain level of his development,.....
.....of his growth, he is growing and he has grown in the powers of the thought, − thought powers, he has become highly filled with thought forces. Now thought forces are symbolised by the word marut in the Veda, according to Sri Aurobindo’s psychological interpretation, thought forces are symbolised in the Veda by the word marut. Maruts therefore are the friends of Agastya, he has secured the friendship of maruts therefore he is full of thought forces. In fact all the great philosophers and scientists are driven basically by maruts. They are called shining thoughts of the Divine. They ride on the horses. Their speed is great like thought forces, like thoughts are very fast. Now thought force and Indra have a close connection according to the Veda. This is also a discovery of the Veda that thought marut and Indra have a great connection, there are many connections of Gods but Indra and maruts have a greater connection because Indra is the power of illumined thought. So there are thoughts and then there are illumined thoughts. Illumined thoughts are the thoughts which are illumined by the light coming from above. Supermind is nothing but pure light, unobstructed light and this light when it begins to descend in a plane of mind then it becomes illumined mind. And according to the discovery of the Veda Illumined mind or the Indra presides over that region, not in the Supermind, not in the level of thoughts but in this intermediate stage, which is called the Illumined mind and that is why Indra is also described as the lord of swaha, not of dyau, dyau is also mind, is thought forces but above the dyaus is swaha and beyond swaha is mahah that is Supermind. So this realm of Indra is the realm of the Illumined mind.
Now Illumined Mind and the mind have a great closer connection not as much as with the yayu for example, vayu and Indra are distant from each other but maruts and Indra are close friends. Now Agastya because of the thought forces is already friendly with marut. Now what happens is that these thought forces are driving Agastya to move forward on and on and on. Now what is the end of thought, the highest speed of thought ultimately leads you where, it leads you to the supreme substance. As I told you last time ontological argument the highest thought ends in the concept of God and God as existing. This is the highest, therefore Agastya is now driven by this and having seen, having conceived of God he wants to seize God, he wants to experience God and there he finds that Indra is obstructing him, this is the psychological moment, he wants to seize God, he wants to rush towards God and he finds that Indra, Illumined Mind power is obstructing him so he is complaining to Indra, he says: why do you obstruct me, this is the main substance of the dialogue.
So I will read it to you now. It begins with Indra saying: Look the God that you want to know is the following, this I have also repeated twice before here.
न नूनमस्ति नो श्वः कस्तद्वेद यदद्बुतम् ।
अन्यस्य चित्तमभि संचरेण्यमुताषीतं वि नश्यति ॥१॥
It says: You want to know god, I tell you what god is because I am nearest to him, I know him very well “It is not now, nor is It tomorrow; who knoweth that which is Supreme and Wonderful? It has motion and action in the consciousness of another, but when It is approached by the thought, It vanishes."
You don’t know, you want to reach God by thought but if you reach by thought, you will vanish. I want to tell you this and you are constantly driving by thought. So Agastya complains and says:
Now this is the dialogue and Sri Aurobindo has written an illuminating commentary on it, in which what he wants to show is that Indra is there to help you and the purpose of manifestation is not to ask you to go as soon as possible to the highest. You have to grow, you have to enrich, you have to share, you have to expand and then when you have done this kind of sacrifice by expansion, by giving then you are entitled to become authorised to go upward and then Indra and Agni will both come together to take you upwards. Patience is one of the most important elements in the Vedic lore but the right type of patience, not idle but patience of a very special kind ritutha, − it should be the right order.
Sri Aurobindo says there are four aids in Yoga. First the knowledge of the process of Yoga, second the teacher, third is your enthusiasm and fourth is time. Time is a very important aid in Yoga. People do not know do not have the science of time. The Veda is actually also a science of time, what is the right moment, what is the right rhythm, what is the right kala, muhurat that is why in India muhurat has acquired a very great importance. You should have the right muhurat for doing things, that is why in jyotish for example many people refer to muhurta, when we should start our work, when we should end the work and so on. It is a science of time, science of time is nothing basically but this. Whenever something is to be developed you develop it as quickly as possible but as perfectly as possible, if you combine these two things together, you’ll get the right rhythm, as quickly as possible but as perfectly as possible. This is called patience. When you want to do something very often we just do something as quickly as possible, I want to come into this room quickly, I have got to take out my shoes, I just fling one shoe one way, fling another shoe another way and come into the room because I want to come as soon as possible. As quickly as possible you have done but not as perfectly as possible because you have not put your shoes in the right manner, you have not taken them out in the right manner, not put them rightly therefore you have lost the muhurta. Real muhurat comes when you have done a given thing as perfectly as possible and quickly also as quickly as possible and at the same time as perfectly as possible. When the two things are combined together then it is the right rhythm, ritutha, it is the right order of things and then you come and take your place.
So the question was: What is the Vedic way of life? The Vedic way of life is to consider what are the powers in your being that want to grow. Veda is a process of knowledge, it's not a process of doing mechanically under the order of something. Veda demands that you should do things consciously, with knowledge, not under dogma, not under authority but with knowledge that is the Vedic way of life. Don’t do something because you are told to do something,
....you should always try to know why something is to be done and what is the process by which what is to be done is to be done scientifically. In other words you might say the Vedic way of life is a scientific way of life in which you find out the reason and you know the process by which things have to be done.
Here Agastya wanted to know the Supreme and wanted to rush fast with the help of maruts, thought forces are already in his command and he wanted to conquer God immediately without knowing that with thought forces God always vanishes. God cannot be seized by thought and yet by thought he wanted to seize God. So Indra comes and says: This is the wrong thing that you are doing, I will tell you what is to be done. First of all realise that God cannot be seized by thought, you have to take the help of Indra, you have take the help of Agni and both of us. If we accompany you then we shall be able to reach you to the ultimate goal. So this is one example to show how Veda is a psychological movement of human beings towards perfection. First discover the powers that you have in you, what instincts you have, everybody does not have the same amount of instinctive life, different individuals have different degrees of instinctive life which is not normally understood. Everybody does not have the same kind of desires or the same intensity of desires, discover in you what is the intensity of your desire. Everybody does not have the same kind of thought power or expressive power; discover what you have then having known what powers you have and how many powers you can develop, you allow them to grow and develop them to a certain level of perfection. As Sri Aurobindo says not to return to the earth as soon as possible, this is the teaching of many systems of yoga in India, to reach the Supreme as soon as possible. Whereas the Veda says you should first prepare yourself, grow yourself, artha and kama have also a place, don’t simply kill them but regulate them and then you discover your powers of mind, of your heart, of your life and allow them to grow, become enriched. That is why in India richness has been always, Vedic way of life is to worship richness, perfection, growth of powers, the fullness and then when you ripen, this ripeness is a very important concept in the Veda, you should be ripened, enriched and when you have enriched then you go to the next step and move upwards.
The aim that is to be sought in Veda is perfection on the earth not merely to return to the heaven leaving earth pell-mell as it is that is not the Vedic aim of life. Vedic aim of life is to make earthly life perfect but not earthly life as it is but divine life. To make the divine life perfect on the earth, this is the aim of the Veda and this is the Vedic way of life. Therefore not to neglect physical life, not to neglect vital life, not to neglect mental life, of course spiritual life has got to be developed because without that you cannot develop these at all fully. It is by spiritual powers that you can really perfect your body, life and mind and therefore this is the harmony that is given in the Veda. But this is a very short answer to this question because it’s a very difficult subject, how should one live life according to the Veda, the message is live life as quickly as possible, as perfectly as possible, develop your powers, harmonise them, gradually have restraint over your impulses and desires and by the help of the higher forces and powers, by their help rise upward and then bring down the upper to the lower so that the life on the earth becomes divine.
There is another question.
Question: I have read that one should love his enemy also that is to say should have no negative thoughts for one’s enemy. What is your opinion on this matter?
Answer: it’s a very difficult question in fact, first of all who is your enemy and of course the questionnaire said one who is harming you, hurting you, what should be the attitude towards that person, who you know is harming you and hurting you.
In this case which we said just now about Indra and Agastya, Agastya complains to Indra and says to Indra: why are you hurting me and why are you obstructing me, don’t kill us he says, don’t kill me, don’t kill maruts, we are your brothers and Indra is found to your enemy and therefore he says to Indra: please don’t slaughter me. In fact all enemies in the world obstruct you because something is to be done in your being; this is the economy of the world. It does not mean therefore that the enemy comes to make you perfect, he may not have the intention of perfecting you but if he is obstructing you, he can obstruct only because there is some opening to obstruction in your being, therefore there is an obstruction. So we have to understand why somebody is inimical to you, why somebody is opposing you, this is a question which we should ask first of all. When you are being obstructed, when there is a hurt being inflicted on you, you must ask the question why is this opposition, what is in me that requires to be repaired, that requires to be perfected. Normally, when you find that in you, you conquer that element that force will disappear from you, will no more be there in your surroundings. I take a class for example and children are rowdy in my class, shouting, revelling, talking to each other and not listening, why is it happening? I have got something very good to tell them, I have prepared my lesson very well, I want to teach them very well, I want to teach them, I have goodwill for them, children are not listening, this is an obstruction, not that the children are enemies but they are obstructing my work. What is the reason? The Vedic vision is you should discover in you the same elements which are to be found in the surrounding, in your own being somewhere there is this noise, there is this indiscipline and if you look into you and observe where exactly in your own being that element is powerfully working, you work on it, repair it and you will find the obstruction is gone. This is a psychological experiment one can do. Whenever there is an obstruction, discover in you that there is some vibration which is corresponding to that vibration around you and if you work on that then that obstruction will disappear. You’ll be able to master something in you so that what is outside also can be mastered. There is a further point, this is an internal method by which you can conquer your enemy but sometimes these enemies are not conquerable that way, it’s not enough, so there is a farther thing to be done. In fact the Veda can be read as an account of human life, an accurate account of human life which consists of a battle. The Veda is an account of a battle, it’s an account of the rishis who were in search of light, of the highest and they found obstructions in the way. It is said that one story of the Veda, one legend which is in the Veda, which is to be found in all the corners of the Vedic literature - is the legend of Angiras Rishis.
The story is that of Angiras Rishis, they are powers in search of the highest. Now in this search of the highest they are obstructed. Who are the obstructers? There is Vritra, there is Vala, there are Panis. These are the three principle obstructers, Vritra is the one who builds a kind of a dam over your territory on which you want conquest so that you cannot cross it. Panis are negotiators they come to you and say: "yes, we want to help you," they negotiate with you but in negotiating they always play some kind of mischief and they take you in a wrong path and they obstruct your path. Now these are the obstructing forces which have been described in the Veda; it's an accurate description, symbolic description of what happens to every human being in his life. These forces always come in our life and you are required to battle with them. And as I said battle can be done first by discovering within yourself and to perfect yourself as much as you can but it is not enough sometimes. It is enough sometimes but sometimes the battle is even greater.
Then these Angirasa Rishis are required to do a constant work at their own level, whatever they are doing they are supposed to do sacrifices. Symbolism is that sacrifice is to bring truth in action, whatever you do you try to be truthful in your action. Then there is a further symbolism that there is a period over which if you constantly do it then the obstruction can be removed. Vritra can be conquered but the period is, it’s a very symbolic thing which is still a secret to me at least, it speaks of period of nine months therefore, they are called Navaguvas, period of nine months then they have to become Dashaguvas that is to say, if they do nine times a given sacrifice, if they do nine actions in truth they come to the battlefield and they can combat but victory is not attained. It is only when they become dashaguvas that is the period of ten sacrifices, if they can achieve it; normally what happens is they do not allow you to reach that tenth point. It is something like the story of Ramayana where Ravana is doing some kinds of sacrifice, puja and recitation and Lakshman is supposed to reach there in time and he is obstructed to reach there in time. So similarly here a kind of a battle goes on and if you are prepared to do only for nine times and if you get exhausted then you can combat but you do not succeed but if you come to the tenth day, if you are able to sustain and if your duration is long enough in that period then you are able to do it because then what happens is that you get the further help according to this story Ayasaya comes to help you. This is the story, Angirasas fought for nine days, they fought but could not succeed then they continued and then Ayasaya came. Ayasaya is also a very important figure in this battle and Ayasaya however helps them, these nine Rishis and with help they discover the fourth realm - turiyam svid, this is the word which is used in one of the verses connected with Ayasaya. Ayasaya came to know turiyam svid that fourth - body, life and mind are three realms and with these three realms you cannot really reach the highest, the fourth has to be found out and when Ayasaya comes in the tenth period then Ayasaya discovers the fourth one and having discovered it you cross over and you win the game as it were, the battle is fought. Now this may be a legend, it is a story but a story told in the Veda is meaningful in the sense that if you examine human life quite closely, and if your aim in the battle is to reach the highest perfection then be ready for this kind of a battle, battle will come in life that is the nature of this human life, science of living implies that battle of life is the nature of life. Struggle for existence of which Darwin speaks was very well known in the Veda and this struggle for existence has been described. Now in this process of struggle you take first of all the help of Agni. When Agni reaches a certain point of growth then Indra comes to help you. Indra finds out where exactly the goal is to be achieved, where is the distance, what is the place where the light that you are looking for can be achieved? Now in this task there is another figure which comes into the picture called Sarama, it is the hound of heaven. There is a being just as Panis are beings and Vritras are beings; there is another divine not the opposite side but the divine help, the hound of heaven - sister of Saraswati and Ila. So this Sarama is the power of intuition, it is by the power of intuition you discover the secret place where the light is to be found. When this happens and Ayasaya comes then the fourth one is discovered by this combination, the enemy is conquered that is why it is very often said Indra destroyed Vritra, he is the killer of Vritra. So there is also something of the kind of elimination of the enemy but elimination of enemy has to be done not by anger, not by revenge, it is because it is obstructing a path and the path is to be cleared the enemy is to be put aside and if there is a resistance he has to be eliminated. This is the Vedic process of the conquest. Again it’s a very long question and a very long answer is needed but I don’t want to go further.
Question: Can one attain super consciousness by doing daily chores?
Answer: Vedic way of life is a way of actions. Veda is a synthesis of Yoga. It prescribes upasana, namo bharant emsi - to come every day filled with namaha– with self-surrender. Surrender is one of the important paths of the yoga of the Veda, in all the yogas surrender is not so important, in Jnana yoga for example surrender is not so important, in Bhakti yoga it is the fundamental thing you might say, in Karma yoga not all karmayogis are surrendered they are satisfied with the doing of duty for duty’s sake and that is the highest, no question of surrender. But the Karma yoga of the Veda is identical with the Karma yoga of the Gita because Gita is an exposition of the yoga of the Veda. In fact if one wants to know what exactly is in the Veda through an illustration of what happens in the battlefield where Arjuna is despondent and refuses to fight then the answer that Sri Krishna gives is the Vedic answer that is why if you want to know what is in the Veda in a story form then it is to be found in the teaching of the Gita and in the teaching of the Gita self-surrender to the divine in action, self-surrender to the Divine in all your feelings and self-surrender also in the process of knowledge in all the three processes self-surrender is the fundamental secret of the yoga of the Gita which is also yoga of the Veda. So in all our chores of life, in any activity ordinary life, what is ordinary actually the moment you call divine in your action it becomes divine action it’s no more ordinary. So every moment, the Bhagavad Gita speaks of sarva bhavena, in every manner of being you invite the divine in your life, call him in your life and you grow into the divine and reach the divine, offer yourself and then let the divine come into you and let the divine manifest. That is why the Bhagavad Gita speaks of sadharmya mukti not only of ordinary mukti, which is very often spoken of in our moksha but Bhagavad Gita’s mukti is of a very special kind - sadharmya mukti, even in action your action becomes exactly the divine action. In the Bhagavad Gita there is this concept of divyam janma, divyam karma, not only concept of offering to god your work but you reach a point where the action that you do He himself is doing, divine himself doing it, it’s no more you offering the action but you reach a stage in which your consciousness becomes so transparent and so unobstructed to the divine’s will that Divine Will itself goes on working through you. In fact that is the meaning of nimit matram, you are only the instrument of His action. So it is that which is prescribed in the Veda same as in the Bhagavad Gita and therefore you have all the chores of life in fact the moment you go on doing them by self-surrender in works to the divine, by inviting the divine in your work so that ultimately He Himself acts in the world through you. Sri Aurobindo gives the analogy of becoming a bow. If you become a bow in a battle then you have reached the stage which is highest in Karma yoga. You are no more the arrow, you are the bow. The arrow is manufactured by the divine, one who shoots is the Divine you are only the bow, the bow does not decide who is the target, whom to kill, whom to shoot, it is He who decides. So when we become as plastic as a bow in a battle then you have reached that stage where all action becomes divine actions.
This is one series of questions. Then there is one simple question by Bina Aggerwal. Yesterday I read this translation prancham yagyam chakr ma vardatam ghih, here she comments that it becomes bizarre because the translation ‘word for ghih’ is not appropriate. If some other word was used it would not become bizarre because according to her ghih represents the vak, which is four-fold para, pashayanti, madhayam and vaikharni. So if you simply use the word ‘word’. It is true but actually if you read the printed translation, the word is spelt w. o. r. d but w is put capital, so that word is real ghihi, not that ordinary word, it is the word that is to say ghihi in the Veda of course means what you said vak but this vak not the vaikhari but the highest para it is that which is meant and that is why W is put capital.
Then there is another Aditya Aggerwal.
Question: As a layman how to learn more about Vedas?
Answer: I don’t know how one can learn more about the Veda, if you read the Gita I think all that is in the Gita is the summary of the Vedic teaching. I at least find personally that the best way of knowing what is in the Veda, in our language, is more easy for us to understand. You read the Bhagavad Gita and perhaps I would suggest to you Sri Aurobindo has written a commentary on the Gita, a full commentary it is called, The Essays on the Gita and if you can read that book it would be marvellous. There are of course many other small books on Veda but I find actually Veda to be very difficult work but it is something which has to be restored, it is difficult but has to be studied and the only book I can suggest as a real good friend is the Secret of the Veda written by Sri Aurobindo, it’s a difficult work but the message of the Veda is ‘no more remain a layman’, as you said as a layman I want to know about the Veda. So the first message of the Veda is do not remain any more a layman, our life demands that you should rise, the great word in the Veda is Arya. To be Aryan is to cease to be a layman and to rise high and to climb up, so do not remain a layman and really try to learn the Veda....
... and Veda has to be learnt rightly and fully.
Question: To be more appropriate, what should be the right path and system to follow to realise and understand the real meaning of Veda?
Answer: This I have answered, if you read these two books Essays on the Gita and The Secret of the Veda that will be the best.
Question: May we have some light on soma and Rudra.
Answer: I think I'll answer this question later on towards the end of my series. I will speak on these two subjects because they are very important, what is soma and what is Rudra, what is Vishnu and what is Brahmanspati? Ultimately in due course of time Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, they became the prominent gods in the Indian system and how are they connected with the Veda it is a very interesting to see and therefore I will come to that a little later.
I will now come back to what we were doing yesterday. I think you have got the text with you I suppose. (Secret of the Veda pg 113-116)
This is we had said a hymn by Vishwamitra and Vishwamitra addresses Agni and in doing so he describes what Agni is and as I pointed out last time the description that is given here is the process of the accent of Agni from earth to the supermind. Therefore all the planes of existence as described in the Veda become manifest and I also pointed out the theory of evolution of which we speak now can be seen in these verses quite clearly because Agni is first of all supposed to work on the plane of the matter, then life and the mind and then upward in the supermind. Last time we came to that point where he had reached the abode of the father. Verse number nine:
“He discovered at his birth the source of the abundance of the Father and he loosed forth wide His streams and wide His rivers. By his helpful comrades and by the Mighty Ones of Heaven he found Him moving in the secret places of existence, yet himself was not lost in their secrecy.(9)
So having gone beyond the mind and entering into the supermind that is the real source of the abundance of the Fathers, all the richness of the Supreme Reality were now in the supramental world and it is there by the powers of the mighty ones he discovers where the Divine is hidden, all over the existence. According to the Veda the Divine Reality is not only high up but Divine Reality is omnipresent and omnipresent even in the darkness. In fact there is a very important aspect of the teaching of the Veda in regard to the unconscious or the inconscient. The inconscient is only apparently inconscient, it is simply a covering of light by covering, covering, covering, covering the light to the extreme but that light is not abolished, is not destroyed, light cannot be destroyed it can only be covered. What is the process of covering is a separate science by itself, which you can find in Veda in some ways but it is one of the important questions which has not been sufficiently answered in the entire history of Indian philosophy where we always look for this particular mystery, by what process this light is covered? But what you find in the Veda more clearly is that in the darkness the Divine is secretly present. So in every aspect, in fact I spoke to you just now about the Angirasa Rishis and the legend of the Angirasa Rishis, the word that is very much used is the lost cows and the lost sun. Cow is the significant word of light; go means light not only cows but also the light, lost cows and the lost sun. The sunlight is the original Supermind, it is lost. The Supramental light is lost, is covered and it is present behind the dark cover, keval or the cave and that is why the great effort of the Vedic Rishis was to discover not only the supermind above by rising up but also to dig down into the inconscient and to uncover the light and the sun from below also.
In fact this is one of the secret aspects of the teaching of the Veda. Everything in the world is filled with the Divine presence. In fact Sri Aurobindo while describing the inconscient he says: inconscience has a blind sure sight, blind, sure sight. Inconscient whenever it acts, it acts exactly on the target, it is blind itself, he does not say that is the target, it is entirely unconscious but if you allow inconscience to work it straight puts on its target it is sure and this happens because there is a secret light behind it. The science of inconscience is also a very big and very interesting science and for the performance of action on the earth it is necessary to understand what is inconscient and what is the connection of the inconscient with the conscient and with the superconscient and therefore we can deal with world in a much more effective manner. But that is a separate matter here only he says that he saw the Supreme Divine in all secret places although he himself now no more remained secret, he was not lost in secrecy.
Then comes a very important statement.
10) _Pituś ca garbhaṁ janituś ca babhre,
pūrvīr eko adhayat pīpyānāḥ;
Vṛṣṇe sapatnī śucaye sabandhū,
ubhe asmai manuṣye ni pāhi._
“He bore the child of the Father and of him that begot him; one, he fed upon his many mothers in their increasing. In this pure Male both these powers in man (Earth and Heaven) have their common lord and lover; do thou guard them both.(10)
“He bore the child of the Father - it’s a very important concept in the Veda, − the child of the Father. All of us who are individuals are children of the Father, gods also are the children of the Father but they are cosmic, we are all individuals. This is the main distinction between us and the gods, gods are cosmic in character and their power. We are also children of God but we are individuals and there is a very important relationship between the universal and the individual. This relationship is not sufficiently grasped and therefore in the entire history of Indian philosophy on this subject there is a good deal of confusion and obscurity. What are we in the world? According to some philosophies we are actually speaking illusions, we as individuals are illusions and if that illusion is destroyed there remains only one Supreme Reality or transcendental Reality, one without the second. In Jainism there is a clear perception that each individual is an individual and we live as individuals and liberate ourselves also as individuals. Our individuality is not lost but in Jainism there is no concept of individual and the Father. We as individuals and our relationship with a Reality of which we are the children that concept is not present in Jainism. In Buddhism also we the individuals are only compositions or vibrations but they can be all exploded and when they are exploded nothing remains, it’s a disintegration of all the agglomeration. And the Ultimate Reality, if at all you can call it the Ultimate Reality it is nothing, it is zero, its Nihil. In the Sankhya philosophy the individual Purusha is an individual but how the individuality is characterised is not clear in the Sankhya. It only says that Purusha must be individual because when one Purusha is liberated, others are not liberated therefore it follows that one individual must be distinct from the other therefore that is the true individuality of the individual. There also there is no concept of he and the Father, the son and the Father that concept is not present. In Vishishtadvaita there is this conception: the Jiva, the individual and the Father. In Vishishtadvaita and some other forms of Vedanta also the individual reality is recognised as a reality and the relationship with the individual and the higher Reality is also described to some extent. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a more ample admission, acknowledgement and recognition of the reality of the individual and in the Bhagavad Gita there are two descriptions of the Jiva. One is para prakriti jiva bhuta that is one sentence and another is mam eva amsha sanatana that is to say it is Para Prakriti from where the Jiva has come into being and the second statement is where the Supreme Purusha says that individual is my own eternal portion. Now this He, individual which is the eternal portion of the Father, it is that which is described to my mind here. He says: He bore that is to say Agni bore the child of the Father, it’s a recognition of the child of the Father and of him that begot him; one, he fed upon his many mothers in their increasing. It is here that Agni discovers the truth of the individuals and helps the individual and feeds the individual with all the powers that are there - cosmic powers that is to say when the Agni reaches the supramental plenitude, in that plenitude He replenishes the individual with his companion, we are all his yagmanas, we are all sacrificers or individual souls, we are climbing with the Agni. When we reach there, Agni replenishes us with all the energies which are to be found in the supermind. Therefore by the help of Agni the individual also becomes supramentalised, not only Agni reaches the supermind but we who are accompanying Agni, we also become completely supramentalised by the power of Agni.
“Great in the unobstructed Vast he increased; yea, many Waters victoriously increased Agni. In the source of the Truth he lay down, there he made his home, Agni in the working of the undivided Sisters.(11)
You will see in number seven the two Mothers of the accomplishing god became vast and harmonised.(7) whereas her now they become undivided sisters, the Mothers are the seven powers, seven mares, seven Vanis, or the seven energies which have been accompanying, it is here in the supermind you find that these energies are actually undivided, they are united, they are one.
At the lower levels they become manifested as specialised powers but in the Supreme they all become one.
“As the mover in things and as their sustainer he in the meeting of the Great Ones, seeking vision, straight in his lustres for the presser-out of the Soma-wine, he who was the father of the Radiances, gave them now their higher birth,—the child of the Waters, the mighty and most strong Agni.(12)
Whenever there is the word ‘birth’ in the Veda, it is actually manifestation. Agni is manifested now fully in the Supreme Reality where he makes his own home, it’s an original home of him from where planted in the earth and then grows again upwards and reaches back into the highest plane of consciousness.
Now the important point here is the reference to the growths of the earth. The Vedic yoga does not aim giving up the earth, all that is grown on the earth is replenished constantly by the higher powers and gradually the Divine light begins manifestation on the earth itself so that the earthly life becomes Divine life.
“Those vast shinings clove to Agni straight in his lustre and were like bright lightnings; from him increasing in the secret places of existence in his own seat within the shoreless Vast they milked out Immortality.”(14)
This is the final achievement of the whole journey of Yoga, to attain to immortality - milked out Immortality, attained immortality that is to say the mortal becomes immortal, our mortality is shed off and we become immortal. What is the meaning of immortal, what is the role of soma, all this is a important thing and we shall see in due course of time. But let me now read to you this very illuminating commentary of Sri Aurobindo on these very difficult verses. We shall read very quietly and very slowly.
Whatever may be the meaning of this passage,—and it is absolutely clear that it has a mystic significance and is no mere sacrificial hymn of ritualistic barbarians,—the seven rivers, the waters, the seven sisters cannot here be the seven rivers of the Punjab. The waters in which the gods discovered the visible Agni cannot be terrestrial and material streams; this Agni who increases by knowledge and makes his home and rest in the source of the Truth, of whom Heaven and Earth are the wives and lovers, who is increased by the divine waters in the unobstructed Vast, his own seat, and dwelling in that shoreless infinity yields to the illumined gods the supreme Immortality, cannot be the god of physical Fire. In this passage, as in so many others, the mystical, the spiritual, the psychological character of the burden of the Veda reveals itself not under the surface, not behind a veil of mere ritualism, but openly, insistently,—in a disguise indeed, but a disguise that is transparent, so that the secret truth of the Veda appears here, like the rivers of Vishwamitra’s hymn, “neither veiled nor naked”.
We see that these Waters are the same as those of Vamadeva’s hymn, of Vasishtha’s, closely connected with the clarity and the honey,—ghṛtasya yonau sravathe madhūnām, ścotanti dhārā madhuno ghṛtasya; they lead to the Truth, they are themselves the source of the Truth, they flow in the unobstructed and shoreless Vast as well as here upon the earth. They are figured as fostering cows (dhenavaḥ), mares (aśvāḥ), they are called sapta vāṇīḥ, the seven Words of the creative goddess Vak,—Speech, the expressive power of Aditi, of the supreme Prakriti who is spoken of as the Cow just as the Deva or Purusha is described in the Veda as Vrishabha or Vrishan, the Bull. They are therefore the seven strands of all being, the seven streams or currents or forms of movement of the one conscious existence.
We shall find that in the light of the ideas which we have discovered from the very opening of the Veda in Madhuchchhandas’ hymns and in the light of the symbolic interpretations which are now becoming clear to us, this passage apparently so figured, mysterious, enigmatical becomes perfectly straightforward and coherent, as indeed do all the passages of the Veda which seem now almost unintelligible, when once their right clue is found. We have only to fix the psychological function of Agni, the priest, the fighter, the worker, the truth-finder, the winner of beatitude for man; and that has already been fixed for us in the first hymn of the Rig Veda by Madhuchchhandas’ description of him,—“the Will in works of the Seer true and most rich in varied inspiration.” Agni is the Deva, the All-Seer, manifested as conscious-force or, as it would be called in modern language, Divine or Cosmic Will, first hidden and building up the eternal worlds, then manifest, “born”, building up in man the Truth and the Immortality.
Gods and men, says Vishwamitra in effect, kindle this divine force by lighting the fires of the inner sacrifice; they enable it to work by their adoration and submission to it; they express in heaven, that is to say, in the pure mentality which is symbolised by Dyaus, the knowings of the Seers, in other words the illuminations of the Truth-Consciousness which exceeds Mind; and they do this in order to make a passage for this divine force which in its strength seeking always to find the word of right self-expression aspires beyond mind. This divine will carrying in all its workings the secret of the divine knowledge, kavikratuḥ, befriends or builds up the mental and physical consciousness in man, divaḥ pṛthivyāḥ, perfects the intellect, purifies the discernment so that they grow to be capable of the “knowings of the seers” and by the superconscient Truth thus made conscient in us establishes firmly the Beatitude (vs. 2-3).
The rest of the passage describes the ascent of this divine conscious-force, Agni, this Immortal in mortals who in the sacrifice takes the place of the ordinary will and knowledge of man, from the mortal and physical consciousness to the immortality of the Truth and the Beatitude. The Vedic Rishis speak of five births for man, five worlds of creatures where works are done, pañca janāḥ, pañca kṛṣṭīḥ or kṣitīḥ. Dyaus and Prịthivī represent the pure mental and the physical consciousness; between them is the Antarikṣa, the intermediate or connecting level of the vital or, nervous consciousness. Dyauh and pṛthivī are rodasī our two firmaments; but these have to be overpassed, for then we find admission to another heaven than that of the pure mind—to the wide, the Vast which is the basis, the foundation (budhna) of the infinite consciousness, Aditi. This Vast is the Truth which supports the supreme triple world, those highest steps or seats (padāni, sadāṁsi) of Agni, of Vishnu, those supreme Names of the Mother, the Cow, Aditi. The Vast or Truth is declared to be the own or proper seat or home of Agni, svaṁ damam, svaṁ sadaḥ. Agni is described in this hymn ascending from earth to his own seat.
This divine Power is found by the gods visible in the Waters, in the working of the Sisters. These are the sevenfold Waters of the Truth, the divine Waters brought down from the heights of our being by Indra. First it is secret in the earth’s growths, oṣadhīḥ, the things that hold her heats, and has to be brought out by a sort of force, by a pressure of the two araṇis, earth and heaven. Therefore it is called the child of the earth’s growths and the child of the earth and heaven; this immortal Force is produced by man with pain and difficulty from the workings of the pure mind upon the physical being. But in the divine Waters Agni is found visible and easily born in all his strength and in all his knowledge and in all his enjoyment, entirely white and pure, growing ruddy with his action as he increases (v 3). From his very birth the Gods give him force and splendour and body; the seven mighty Rivers increase him in his joy; they move about this great new-born child and labour over him as the Mares, aśvāḥ̣ (v. 4).
The rivers, usually named dhenavaḥ, fostering cows, are here described as aśvāḥ. Mares, because while the Cow is the symbol of consciousness in the form of knowledge, the Horse is the symbol of consciousness in the form of force. Ashwa, the Horse, is the dynamic force of Life, and the rivers labouring over Agni on the earth become the waters of Life, of the vital dynamis or kinesis, the Prana, which moves and acts and desires and enjoys. Agni himself begins as material heat and power, manifests secondarily as the Horse and then only becomes the heavenly fire. His first work is to give as the child of the Waters its full form and extension and purity to the middle world, the vital or dynamic plane, raja ātatanvān. He purifies the nervous life in man pervading it with his own pure bright limbs, lifting upward its impulsions and desires, its purified will in works (kratum) by the pure powers of the superconscient Truth and Wisdom, kavibhiḥ pavitraiḥ. So he wears his vast glories, no longer the broken and limited activity of desires and instincts, all about the life of the Waters (vs. 4-5).
The sevenfold Waters thus rise upward and become the pure mental activity, the Mighty Ones of Heaven. They there reveal themselves as the first eternal ever-young energies, separate streams but of one origin—for they have all flowed from the one womb of the superconscient Truth—the seven Words or fundamental creative expressions of the divine Mind, sapta vāṇīḥ. This life of the pure mind is not like that of the nervous life which devours its objects in order to sustain its mortal existence; its waters devour not but they do not fail; they are the eternal truth robed in a transparent veil of mental forms; therefore, it is said, they are neither clothed nor naked (v. 6).
But this is not the last stage. The Force rises into the womb or birthplace of this mental clarity (ghṛtasya) where the waters flow as streams of the divine sweetness (sravathe madhūnām); there the forms it assumes are universal forms, masses of the vast and infinite consciousness. As a result, the fostering rivers in the lower world are nourished by this descending higher sweetness and the mental and physical consciousness, the two first mothers of the all-effecting Will, become in their entire largeness perfectly equal and harmonised by this light of the Truth, through this nourishing by the infinite Bliss. They bear the full force of Agni, the blaze of his lightnings, the glory and rapture of his universal forms. For where the Lord, the Male, the Bull of the abundance is increased by the wisdom of the superconscient Truth, there always flow the streams of the clarity and the streams of the bliss (vs. 7-8).
The Father of all things is the Lord and Male; he is hidden in the secret source of things, in the superconscient; Agni, with his companion gods and with the sevenfold Waters, enters into the superconscient without therefore disappearing from our conscient existence, finds the source of the honeyed plenty of the Father of things and pours them out on our life. He bears and himself becomes the Son, the pure Kumara, the pure Male, the One, the soul in man revealed in its universality; the mental and physical consciousness in the human being accept him as their lord and lover; but, though one, he still enjoys the manifold movement of the rivers, the multiple cosmic energies (vs. 9-10)
Then we are told expressly that this infinite into which he has entered and in which he grows, in which the many Waters victoriously reaching their goal (yaśasaḥ) increase him, is the unobstructed Vast where the Truth is born, the shoreless infinite, his own natural seat in which he now takes up his home. There the seven rivers, the sisters, work no longer separated though of one origin as on the earth and in the mortal life, but rather as indivisible companions (jāmīnām apasi svasṝṇām). In that entire meeting of these great ones Agni moves in all things and upbears all things; the rays of his vision are perfectly straight, no longer affected by the lower crookedness; he from whom the radiances of knowledge, the brilliant herds, were born, now gives them this high and supreme birth; he turns them into the divine knowledge, the immortal consciousness (vs. 11-12).
This also is his own new and last birth. He who was born as the Son of Force from the growths of earth, he who was born as the child of the Waters, is now born in many forms to the goddess of bliss, she who has the entire felicity, that is to say to the divine conscious beatitude, in the shoreless infinite. The gods or divine powers in man using the mind as an instrument reach him there, unite around him, set him to the great work of the world in this new, mighty and effective birth. They, the outshinings of the vast consciousness, cleave to this divine Force as its bright lightnings and from him in the superconscient, the shoreless vast, his own home, they draw for man the Immortality.
Such then, profound, coherent, luminous behind the veil of figures is the sense of the Vedic symbol of the seven rivers, of the Waters, of the five worlds, of the birth and ascent of Agni which is also the upward journey of man and the gods whose image man forms in himself from level to level of the great hill of being (sānoḥ sānum). Once we apply it and seize the true sense of the symbol of the Cow and the symbol of the Soma with a just conception of the psychological functions of the gods, all the apparent incoherences and obscurities and far-fetched chaotic confusion of these ancient hymns disappears in a moment. Simply, easily, without straining there disengages itself the profound and luminous doctrine of the ancient Mystics, the secret of the Veda.
I think this is a commentary by itself, so we don't need to comment on it further and we shall end here today.