I think we have come to a point in our search which is still only preliminary and introductory that there is in the Veda not a body of prayers and some kind of processes of rituals but there is a kind of a science which is based upon a great deal of experimentation but this experiment is fundamentally in the field of psychology. There is here we find in the Veda a great effort to uplift our psychological powers and what later on came to be called Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga and Jnana yoga, we find in the Veda all the three systems of Yoga and many others like Mantra yoga and others, very well developed. It may seem to be a surprise for the historians who believed that historical development is a linear process but here is before us a text which gives you profound processes of Karma yoga, Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga and others. It gives accurate processes by which the powers of will, the powers of feeling and the powers of cognition, how these powers can be developed and brought to higher levels, higher levels and the highest level. It speaks of the consummation of the processes of psychological development and evidently words like medha, mati, sankalpa and others are prominently found scattered here and there. So even without any attempt at psychological interpretation of the Veda at least these words are there and when you read further and then as we are now trying to get the key of certain words and how they have psychological meanings then these processes become much more pronounced and known. We do not have the time to go into all the processes of Yoga, which have been described in the Veda. It is to be done by personal study or if there is a long session where we can go into depths of all this. But since this is only a preliminary series let me summarise the entire process of Yoga as we find in the Veda. The process of Yoga is an attempt to realise something that is beyond body, life and mind, in fact this special characteristic of Yoga, any yoga not only Vedic Yoga but yoga actually attempts to go beyond body, life and mind. This is the differentia of yoga. When you use the word spirituality and yoga is the real science of spirituality, what is the differentiating mark, the differentiating mark is that there is an attempt to go beyond body, life and mind. Now actually religion also tries to do that, to go beyond body, life and mind, philosophy also tries to go beyond body, life and mind but the instrument and the degree to which it tries to do it, it is that which has to be seen more closely. In philosophy there is an attempt to go beyond mind, beyond the reason but by the method of reason even when it takes into account spiritual experience as some philosophies do. In fact all the philosophies of India except Charvaka, all these philosophies take into account spiritual experience but they are all being critically examined by reason. This critical examination of the reason of any experience is the hallmark of philosophy; it does not go beyond it, that is the limitation of philosophy. And those who believe that philosophy is the highest and there is no other means at all they declare that if something is not critically analysable and cannot be examined by the reason then all that falls outside and it can never happen. They even declare that spiritual experiences are impossible. There is for example Bradley’s philosophy in the West. I consider Bradley’s philosophy to be the culmination of an attempt of the reason to go to the highest limit and that philosophy does maintain that the reality is other than thought, it is beyond thought. But it says that reason can never reach it and if reason can reach it, reason has to commit suicide and reason cannot commit suicide that is the point. Reason has to commit suicide if it has to come to that other than the thought and therefore it declares that the so called mystic experiences are impossible that is his conclusion.
Now there are some other philosophies which maintain that it is possible to go beyond reason and to experience something beyond reason but they declare therefore that philosophy has to be transcended. Philosophy as philosophy cannot experience. You have to get some other instrument, other than reason to experience that reality. This is the position of almost all Indian philosophical systems that philosophy takes you up to certain point, it points you to something, it raises some problems, some problems cannot be answered or can be answered or can be answered adequately or inadequately but that which is beyond it has to be experienced not by reason, some other means have to be employed. Religion maintains that philosophy is one of the means to reach up to a certain point, sometimes it is even an obstruction and therefore throws away philosophy altogether.
There are many religions which believe that philosophy is a useless exercise and it has no meaning and we should not cultivate so much philosophy. It is an amusement you can discuss over a tea cup and listen to many views which are being advocated by different philosophers. But as far as the object of religion is concerned, philosophy is an obstruction or when philosophy is allowed by a religion, it gives some kind of an anti-chamber to it in the main hall of religious practises and maintains that the object of religion is to be believed in. This is the speciality of religion; the special criterion of religion is that religion is basically a matter of belief. Now that belief may be dogmatic entirely that is to say a belief which you are not allowed to question at all and you are told it is unquestionable, you can never reach it at all, you should not even think of questioning. In some religions even questioning is called a sin even the tendency to question is sinful. So that is why many religions end in a dogmatic assumption of a certain doctrine or it is said that even if you question be satisfied that these questions cannot be answered and what is being proposed has to be accepted as a revelation, something that has come suddenly by God’s grace one day, and it has to be now practised and nothing more can be done about it. Thirdly it emphasises a great deal of rituals and ceremonies and prescriptions, these three things, − rituals, ceremonies and prescriptions. It prescribes certain modes of conduct, it prescribes certain systems of institutions, it prescribes that the decisions of the Church are binding upon all the people. If any problem is taken up and a solution is to be found it goes to the Church and Church has a hierarchy and ultimately the top person, the Pope or whatever it may be, he pronounces a decision and that decision is binding upon all the people, all the adherents and that is the view of the religion....
and this is prescribed. Now onwards it is this that has to be done, that is to say religion very often has got a kind of an establishment, an institution, a framework and in that framework a hierarchy of decision makers and the top man has the final authority and that authority has to be unquestionably accepted. These are the aspects of religion. Religion sometimes allows you a possibility of going beyond all this and tells you that beyond religion there is a possibility of a spiritual experience in which the rituals, ceremonies, beliefs, dogmas do not count at all. But that element is, you might say, a limited element and it is maintained that only a few individuals perhaps can be allowed to do it, mostly people should not be led to that path.
In some religions which have developed in India there is a great room given in these religions whether Jainism or Buddhism or Hinduism all the three religions maintain that you can go beyond all the prescriptions, all the institutional arrangements and you can attain to experience and by experience you can realise the object of Reality. But Yoga right from the beginning maintains that psychological methods by the training of psychological faculties, that is why yoga is called practical psychology, it is a psychology which is applied. So Yoga is specifically that domain where psychological processes are analysed, psychological processes are observed and by the combination of psychological processes it is proposed to develop such faculties and by those faculties Reality can be experienced. So here there is no dogma, no belief only, dogma is transcended, belief is transcended and you are promised that the object which is placed before you can be realised in experience. Therefore you arrive at a point where there is no question of the Truth or veracity of the object of experience.
Now my understanding of the Veda is that Veda is primarily and fundamentally a book of Yoga. It’s a psychological book in which the truths of psychological powers are described after a lot of experimentation. These experiments also sometimes are described as yesterday we saw the colloquy between Agastya and Indra. Where we find that Indra is approached by Agastya with a question: Why do you obstruct me and then Indra explains why he is obstructing. He explains that you want by thought forces to reach the Reality but thought forces are not capable of knowing that Reality, therefore I want you to take the help of Agni and me, we both will help you and take you to the field where experience can be obtained. Now this is also a kind of a process by which experiment was done and this experiment is also described in the Veda. And if you study the Veda in its whole length and breadth you will find many instances of these developments of yogis from one stage to the other. Even the other passage which we read yesterday from Vishwamitra it begins by saying prancham yagyam chakrama vardhtam ghihi, it describes a certain end of a certain experience prancham yagyam chakrama, we have accomplished. So and then he describes what kind of yagya was conducted in which the entire development of Agni from the lowest level of material existence up to its supramental level, all that was pursued and therefore all the knowledge was obtained while doing this yagya, it must have been a long yajya in which yajya need not be so long in terms of months and years but whatever was described ultimately at the end Vishwamitra said prancham yagyam chakrama, it was accomplished according to him, and therefore the great knowledge which was obtained is described by Vishwamitra, it’s a purely psychological process which has been described - how Agni evolves from the lowest level of matter through life processes, mental processes and supramental processes and how at the supramental level what was discovered, the Bull is discovered, the Dhenu is discovered, the immortality is discovered and the Son of Him is discovered − Kumara the individual reality which becomes universal, so some of the highest realisations are obtained.
In fact in the Ishavasya Upanishad we have the description of the highest experience that the Veda has arrived at because Ishavasya Upanishad has a very peculiar position, it is supposed to be the end of Yajur Veda and yet it is one of the oldest Upanishads and in these eighteen verses we get the most important elements of the Vedic Yoga. There are two verses where it is said that he who sees himself in all and sees all in himself and he who sees that One has become All, it is he having seen oneness, kahah moha khah shoka— how can he have any grief. This is one of the highest experiences that we find in the Veda. As Sri Aurobindo points out it is in the supramental experience that Reality is found as one Reality, one in All, All in One and One which has become All. All these experiences put together is a supramental experience and that is the highest achievement that we find, if you put down all the experiences described in the Veda, ultimately all of them would end in this culminating experience, this is the highest yogic experience.
Now this yogic process therefore does not have the necessity of a belief, or dogma, or rituals, or ceremonies and yet you find the entire Veda referring to yajya, to ceremonies and to all the processes which are connected with religion. Sri Aurobindo points out that this is a result of certain historical situations where religion is prominent in the society. And spiritual seekers or yogins have discovered the highest and they want to convey these highest truths for those people who would like to follow not religion but purely yogic processes. How to convey this? Therefore Sri Aurobindo’s answer is that Vedic language is a double edged language. In the external aspect it seems to be ritualistic and connected with that which addresses to the religion and to ceremonies and so on and yet fundamentally whenever the veil is transparent or wherever the symbolism can be understood more clearly, you can clearly see it is a book of knowledge, a book of psychological knowledge and wisdom. This is what Sri Aurobindo states in regard to the language of the Veda, why language of the Veda is what it is and that is why Sri Aurobindo says that internal meaning of the Veda was at one time reserved for the initiates and those who were capable of entering into Yoga to them this meaning was conveyed and because in due course of time this aspect of yoga became weaker and the ritualistic aspect became stronger in due course of time therefore the inner meaning of the Veda became more and more lost. From time to time something of it survived and something of it recovered as in the Upanishads but even then when the Upanishads recovered a good deal even then apart from the oldest Upanishads we do not find a complete recapturing of the inner psychological yoga of the Veda. And there must have been still something still continuing in the cultural history of India so that when we come to the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna says that this is the yoga I gave to Vivaswan and then gradually got lost but now I am repeating to you and giving it to you but even after that exposition of the Gita, if you see the way in which the Gita itself has been interpreted in several different ways it is clear that there is a hesitation and that the synthesis which was there in the Veda, synthesis which is there in the Upanishads like Ishavasaya Upanishad and synthesis which is there in the Bhagavad Gita that synthesis seems to have been lost. It is now as Sri Aurobindo points out so much is being collected together and we have reached a time where a new synthesis is absolutely necessary. In fact there is a very important statement of Sri Aurobindo where he says: “We do not belong to the past dawns but to the noon’s of the future.” and in this time we need to collect backward and forward and derive all that has gone in the past even the study of all the present conflicting systems of philosophy, religions, systems of yoga and take all this into the further crucible of experimentation and come out with a new synthesis. This is the work and therefore in that work Sri Aurobindo says revisiting the Veda is indispensable, if we want to create before mankind a new synthesis which would be necessary for the present mankind. There this knowledge will be inevitable and that is why Sri Aurobindo gives so much of importance to the study of the Veda and to study of the Veda into the inner meaning which was sought to be conveyed by the secret language, which he has now discovered and given the keys about. Now what exactly then is this process of yoga really speaking that you find in the Veda. It begins by saying the first step in this yoga is aspiration.
In fact aspiration is underlined in the Veda throughout. It would seem as if aspire first, aspire second, aspire again and again, and aspire fully, and aspiration itself will give a result in the form of realization by certain processes. So this is the importance which is given in the Veda to aspiration. This aspiration is the movement of Agni. So the very first step of this yoga is the development of the powers of Agni and that is why Sri Aurobindo has tried to bring out the epithets of Agni in the Veda and try to see what is this Agni. And surely according to Sri Aurobindo Agni is not the physical fire, it is not the fire which we light in an oven or yajna. Agni is a psychological force working in the whole universe. It is a cosmic reality which is working in the earth. It is that which has been responsible for the evolution of the whole universe. This is the first statement. Agni, you kindle in your heart. This is the message of the of the Veda, kindle Agni in your heart and kindle day and night and always and see that this is kindled in every home, vishay vishay. That is one of the expressions in the Veda that Agni is to be spread from home to home. Let the aspiration rise in every home. Now when Agni is sufficiently developed, then the second step is and this is the answer to aspiration, this yoga consists of aspiration that is of ascension and of descent. These are the two main processes of this yoga: the process of ascent and the process of descent. As you rise by the power of Agni the first experience that you will get is the descent of Indra. So that is the second step in the yoga. Now what is Indra? Sri Aurobindo by analysis of the hymns which are addressed to Indra, he has come to this conclusion.
We don't have time now to go into the exact understanding of various epithets given to Indra but the conclusion is the following that Indra is illumined mind. Wherever the word Indra comes, Indra refers to illumined mind. And Veda makes a distinction between mind and the human mind. It's a psychology of the Veda that what we call dyau is mind. It is also called heaven in the Vedic language. Whenever the word heaven is used in the Veda, it is normally referred to the human mind but whenever Indra is referred to it refers to illumined mind. It's a level higher than the mind. Now this illumined mind is also called the realm of swara. So you go from Prithvi, antariksha and dyau by the help of Agni. Agni is the main helper in moving from your body, life and mind. And when you still overshoot, try to go beyond it as Agastya wanted to go beyond his mind but wanted to go beyond by his thought processes, by Maruts, by the help of Maruts, then the first answer comes from Indra, the illumined mind. The illumined mind itself is a power, is a cosmic reality, a cosmic god, who is intent on helping you. Indra is therefore a very kind, very helpful companion, full of illumination. One of the concepts in india is that Indra has number of eyes, in one of the propositions it is called shatakrato, it has hundred will-forces. We have only a few will forces in our consciousness or mental consciousness but Indra has will-force which is hundredfold and he is also called sahasra-chakshu, he has got thousand eyes. So that is the sign of his illumination. How much can you see with thousand eyes, that much is the consciousness and light of Indra. And Indra is not only light he is also force, shatakratu means the will-force. He is not only sahasra-chakshu and therefore is a great power, a great power by which he is supposed to be the possessor of thunderbolt, a weapon by which many obstructions can be removed, can be shattered, by the use of thunderbolt. Now that means that when you try to cross beyond the mind, then your hurdles, obstructions in your path become manifest. This is true of anybody who wants to do yoga. Anybody who decides to do yoga will find hundreds of obstacles coming in the way. There'll be opposition from your friends, opposition of your relatives, oppositions from society, you'll be mocked at. All these are only simple obstructions but you will find obstructions coming from yourself on the one hand. You want to rise high, on the other hand you find that you do not want to rise, you are still dragged down. It is here that Indra, his help, becomes necessary. So Indra is not only one who illumines you but Indra is somebody who helps, obstructions are shattered by him. So this is the second step in the yoga of the Veda. Aspiration first, the second point is the coming of the Indra and helping you and taking you upwards. That is why the Vedic yoga at a given time is concentrated upon the worship of Indra just as in the beginning worship of Agni is very much emphasized, at the second stage of yoga the worship of Indra is very much emphasized. And all the mantras which are here in the Veda regarding Indra are extremely relevant at that point of sadhana. Now with regard to the battle of Indra with the obstructions, we have a detailed examination of this battle in the Veda. In other words the Veda tells you what kind of obstructions basically you will come across and these are battles with pishachas, rakshasas, asuras, Vritra, or vala, dasyus, panis, these are some of the prominent names which you find in the Vedic literature. It describes very vividly not only the nature of forces which obstruct but even the beings which are present consciously to obstruct. It is a recognition that the process of psychological development of man rising from our lower levels to the higher levels is not a straight path. The discovery of this obstructions itself is a very great discovery. It is a result of a great deal of experiments. You cannot discover all the enemies so easily unless you confronted them again and again and seen them very vividly, confronted them, battle with them and conquered them. That is why in many of the verses of the Veda you find description of the battles and very often therefore those who do not see the psychological meaning of the Veda, they think that the battles described in the Veda are the battles of the Aryans with Dravidians. And this is one of the basis of many people who interpret Veda in a historical sense, as a description of a battle of the invasion of Aryans on India and these Aryans came across inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro who were Dravidians according to them at that time and they fought them and they established their own kingdom and drove away the Dravidians from north to the south and therefore they said that rebellions are now in the South India. And when they speak of the rivers and waters and so on, they think that it's a description of rivers into this Punjab and Gangetic plain where the rivers and all kinds of waters are to be found. But if you understand the psychological meaning which is described there and Sri Aurobindo took the trouble of explaining what are the rivers, seven rivers and seven mares and seven manis, these are not waters of Punjab but they are psychological powers of higher consciousness flowing down and meeting the obstructions. So in that context pisachas are the forces of the lowest part of our being, rakshasas are the powers, great powers which want the establishment and continuation of lust, long-standing lust, ambitions, greed and forces which keep you in false egoism for years and years and centuries. These are the powers which want to devour you and want to take you so that all kinds of victories can be obtained for you by them so that you remain with them and do not try to move forward. And in our psychological experience of yoga we do come across these forces coming up to you, anyone who has done yoga seriously will find that he meets pishachas, he meets rakshasas, he meets asuras on the way and all of them try to keep the individual down to the realms of these three beings − pishachas, rakshasas, asuras. Asuras are more powerful than rakshasas because asuras not only have great vital force but they also have mental force. When the mind and vital both combine together both of them come together to oppose higher forces they become formidable. They can keep the nations and civilizations under their spell because they have got such tremendous intellectual power to convince you and to give you false ideas and false glimmers and each seeker is obliged to consider any proposition anybody giving, why not this right, why not that right and years and years can be spent in that kind of a search, you knock wrong doors, you are captured one way, captured another way and yogic process becomes completely ruined. It is psychologically therefore, when Vishwamitra went to Dashrath to get the help of Rama and Lakshman to fight the pishachas and rakshasas and asuras who were obstructing the yogic havans, the yagyas, it is actually a kind of a help which was sought by a great Rishi like Vishwamitra so that these Rishis who were working they were being beseeched, not necessarily in the rituals of sacrifices but in their yogic practices and all kinds of rakshasas were invading them and to destroy them the help of Rama and Lakshman was sought. In any case, any yogic process, anybody who does yoga does come across these problems. In fact you might say that at a certain stage of yoga the opposite forces which are in us become more prominent than in ordinary human beings. That is because there is a battle which becomes a raging battle in the yogic process. It is this big yogic process by which you can purify yourself you can conquer these forces the Veda gives a good deal of description of them. But this is the second stage.
Then comes a higher stage of yogic process. At the higher level of the yogic process you have to ascend to what is called beyond illumined mind to the supermind. Now this entry into the supermind and the ascent to supermind is described quite widely in the Veda and there are four important gods, who are described in the Veda at this stage of yogic sadhana. The Veda calls them four kings - Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga these are the four kings that is to say they are the guardians of the supermind and Veda describes each one of these four and tells you what is the nature of each one of these four psychologically and what kind of sadhana is to be done in order to satisfy the demands of these four kings before you can be allowed to enter into the real realm of supermind. If you read the descriptions of these four Varuna, you will find that Varuna is a guardian of vastness. Whenever you want to break the narrow limits of your consciousness, you worship Varuna and Varuna widens the consciousness. In this wideness Varuna is also found to be the keeper of the law, the keeper of rita. He is the one who is capable of ritam. Brihad and ritam they both go together so this vastness is the one in which the law of vastness is described, wherever there is narrowness the vastness breaks it. In fact it is said that Varuna is the punisher, who gives punishment. But this is a very vulgar way of describing. Varuna simply is the one who widens you and therefore wherever there is narrowness, his law of wideness operates and breaks your narrowness. Rita is nothing but the law of wideness, how to arrive at wideness and how to organise the wideness because in wideness there are many, many elements and when you want to put all the different elements into some kind of an order there is a law, there is a law of wideness, law by which all narrowness can be broken. Therefore Varuna is not a punisher of sin, it is simply what is called sin is nothing but a result of narrowness, all limitation produces a wrong action. So whenever there is wrong action and there is a constant operation of rita, whether you like it or not that law is operating all the time. So it immediately enters into the field of narrowness and breaks it. If you consciously know it and consciously pursue it that is all yoga means. Yoga is a psychological process pursued consciously so that you go from level to level and master different planes of consciousness. Then when Varuna is sufficiently established in our consciousness and we become as wide as possible, as synthetic as possible then comes the law of Mitra or at the same time, simultaneously because these four kings are operating almost simultaneously. One may do one predominantly now, and afterwards predominantly another and so on but these four kings have to ultimately be harmonised. Then comes Mitra. Usually you will find in the Veda Varunamitrau that is to say together, Varuna and Mitra together because both of them the wideness and the law and harmony go together. So Mitra is the lord of harmony. So psychologically it is the development of consciousness of harmony that is the precondition before you can reach the supermind. You should be a great disciple of harmony, a great peacemaker, great lover and one who understands and sympathises becomes as vast as possible, universal consciousness, universal love; this is the element which has to be developed. At the same time you cannot develop this unless you develop the powers of Aryaman. What is Aryaman? Aryaman is the lord of tapasya, great austerity; it is the intensity which results in repeated effort. This repeated effort is the essence of tapasya. Usually human beings make an effort, after some time it is given up and then one forgets about it and if one lives a life of that kind, one may have some result but it is not yoga; yoga means repeated effort. Even in spite of all failures you make further effort and further effort. Unless all the obstructions, unless all the gravitational pulls are conquered by repeated effort, it may take years and years and years but one who is not fatigued and this cosmic power which gives you the sustenance of constant effort is Aryaman. And then comes the fourth king which is called Bhaga. Now Bhaga is the cosmic power of joy, it’s quite different from Aryaman, where there is a lot of effort, a lot of tapasya, in Bhaga there is this power of joy.
Now according to the Vedic psychology, if you want to reach the supermind which leads you ultimately to ananda, the sweetness, the madhu, it is not easy to reach the real madhu, real honey unless you practice the ability of enjoyment. Now this is a very important element in the Vedic yoga, this is something different from many yogas where this element is not present. But the Vedic yoga maintains that our consciousness should be able to bear the joy. As you rise higher there are many kinds of joys that come in your life. In fact joy is at many levels - physical joy, vital joy, mental joy, illumined joy and still higher joys. With every achievement there is joy. Joy is an automatic result of any expansion of consciousness.
Now often when you have joy you cannot bear it. In fact the whole yoga which is connected with soma in the Veda is connected with this aspect of joy. What is soma in the Veda? Soma is the cosmic power of delight and this cosmic power of delight even at lower levels is experienced through Ashwins. Ashwins are the twin gods described in the Veda who are riders of the horse, who in their chariots carry the packets of honey and wherever they come they distribute that honey so that health is restored. That is why Ashwins are also called physicians of gods and they cure by the power of joy, by the power of honey, harmony.
There is a very important statement addressed to soma and there is a description of an unbaked jar. The idea is that in the yogic process our body is like a jar and in this body the higher powers are constantly flowing but our doors of the body are closed so that these higher powers are not able to penetrate into this jar. If you want therefore that the powers can come down into you, you have to make sadhana of the body, of life, of mind, all these yogic methods.
The entire Vedic yoga is in a sense process by which the doors of the body are broken but broken in a very systematic method, if it breaks suddenly and the light comes down the body will be broken, the body cannot bear it, therefore it is to be done very gradually and by gradual development of powers and capacities and by a great deal of tapasya. But ultimately our body should be capable of receiving the higher light and joy. So that is why this figure that we get with regard to soma is in our normal condition. Our jar is unbaked, it’s not baked enough so heat it by tapasya by Aryaman and so on. Only when Aryaman has done sufficient work that the soma is first of all strained by the sieve, it’s an image in the Veda in the sutras of soma that there is a sieve in our consciousness and pavitrum as it is called, this sieve through which the higher joy descends to the body and it’s very much sieved by the pavitrum then only they can come down but if the body is not baked by tapasya the body will break. And therefore it is said it is only when the body is sufficiently baked then this Bhaga, the lord of Bhaga allows the soma, which is beyond even the supermind allows it to come down. Therefore Bhaga is the lord whose operations are to be understood, to be mastered, to be received in our consciousness so that we are able to bear the joy.
In our ordinary experiences also you’ll find that somebody becomes mad with joy. Even a small joy can make human beings quite mad. That is because our psychological condition is not ripe enough and we cannot bear the joy of a success. When people win a cricket game then they have champagne and all kinds of joy is manifested. From the eyes of god what is a victory in a cricket game and yet people cannot bear that joy so they want to express it very freely and licentiously and therefore they enjoy. As long as we belong to that level of consciousness we have not mastered Aryaman, we have not mastered Bhaga, even the highest joy should not be able to disbalance you. You should be able to enjoy and yet not be disturbed, no disequilibrium of consciousness. It is a gradual development of Aryaman, Mitra, Varuna all of them combined together then the mastery of Bhaga can be available. This is the truth which is behind the Ishavasya Upanishad ‘ten tyaktena bhunjitha’, ten tyaktena first is Aryaman have tapasya and then ten tyaktena then bhunjitha, you should be able to enjoy because God is joy, he is Ananda. Asceticism is necessary and a good aspect but if asceticism is the only thing to be done it does not reflect the Ultimate Reality. According to the Vedic idea ultimate Reality is not merely peace and calm as in some yogas Ultimate Reality is considered as peace and calm but according to the Vedic yoga the Reality is Satchidananda, if you want the full realisation Ananda also is there, is to be enjoyed. Therefore Vedic yoga is not an ascetic yoga, it is a yoga in which there is an equilibrium of Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga, there is asceticism also, when we speak of Parvati’s Tapasya for example which Kalidasa has described in Kumara sambhavam, it’s a tremendous kind of tapasya that tapasya is also a part of Vedic yoga. Asceticism as Sri Aurobindo says as an element in the total process is indispensable, those who cannot bear asceticism are not fit for yoga ‘ten tyaktena’ that is very necessary, one who cannot renounce and cannot bear the renunciation they cannot do Yoga and they are not fit candidates for ananda either because this ananda is not a sensuous ananda it is multi-million development of ananda as described in Taittiriya Upanishad. If you read the description of ananda in the Taittiriya Upanishad, if you have time we will read out what is ananda described, you will see what multi-million type of ananda which is available here multiplied by millions and millions that is the ananda which is described in the Taittiriya Upanishad. If that ananda is to be enjoyed and that is one of the important goals of yoga then you have to have a combination of these four great powers, - powers of wideness and therefore the law of ritam. Powers of Mitra of harmony, powers of Aryaman of tapasya and the powers of Bhaga of enjoyment all the four powers. It is tremendous yoga, if you see this now the culmination in point how so many powers combine together, this is the synthesis.
Vedic yoga is a great synthesis, it wants you to be wide, it wants you to be harmonious, it wants you to be tapasvi, it wants you to be great enjoyer and all the powers so in such a equilibrium, when this is achieved then you rise to the higher point and that is called the achievement of the Sun - Surya Savitri. Surya Savitri is a symbol in psychological terms of the Supermind. Sri Aurobindo says that wherever there is the idea of Surya there you have the symbolism of Supermind, this is mahah not swahah but mahah. After attaining these four, these are the four guardians, guardians of light you might say and they will not allow you the entry into Supermind unless you have satisfied these four guardians. They are the chowkidars as it were; they are kings they stand before you. The gates are not opened of the Supermind unless you satisfy these four important kings. Then you enter into Supermind and all the verses which are to be found in the Veda regarding sun are descriptive of surya. And now you will see the Gayatri Mantra that we have normally this is a great discovery of Vishwamitra that if you really want to attain to the highest there is one power of your consciousness which is most important element and that is the power of your intelligence, your mind, your ordinary mind, not the body, not the life but the mind therefore the entire Gayatri Mantra is actually a psychological means of uniting your mind with the Supermind. It says tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasaya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat, it says this dhi should be driven by the highest light of the Savitri of the supermind, it's connecting point of the mind with the supermind. Of course all the intermediary stages are not described in the Gayatri Mantra, it is only one mantra but it is very significant that it gives you a key, if your mind can be constantly fixed on Surya-Savitri and it is a good thing in India, Gayatri Mantra has been wide-spread because without knowing what is supermind and what is mind, what is connection between the two and all these yogic processes there is a constant feeling that this mantra is a great mantra and the only mantra, you might say and if you do it you become very holy, very sacred, very purified and so on. But this is the real meaning of that intelligence, our ordinary mind is put into contact with the supermind and then if you do that then one day you will also get the revelation of the entire yogic process.
Gradually this entire process becomes revealed, if one really becomes even of Gayatri Mantra he will find that all the problems of yoga will begin to arise in his life. Gayatri Mantra is very often a mantra in which you call forth a battle and all the forces pishchas, rakshas, asuras, dasyus all of them come in your way. If you are brave enough you go through it and ultimately you rise higher and higher. But if you know the entirety of the Vedic yoga and if you know exactly what is to be done at the right time what kind of power you need, whether you need the power of Agni, or Indra, or Varuna, or Mitra this is a whole science that if you need at a given time, if you want to be wide go to Varuna, if you want to establish harmony go to Mitra, if you want to do lot of tapasya go to Aryaman, if you want to have the power of enjoyment go to Varuna and to Bhaga; these are all described in the Veda because lot of experiments have been done these are the results that is why Sri Aurobindo says that this Veda cannot be a result of a only a few centuries there must have been a long preparation of a number of experimenters who have done a lot of work.
This Angirasa legend for example must be some very ancient Rishis of Angiras, even before the Vedas because Vedas are nothing but a great chant of the victories achieved by the Angiras Rishis and they are renewal of that experience. That is why Sri Aurobindo says it’s a epic poem, it’s a big struggle done by so many yogis together and they have arrived at so many conclusions and given prescriptions of the yoga and methods of yoga and if you follow this method this will be the result, if you follow this method this will be the result and the whole process is given in such a way that the dangers of yoga are eliminated and this is an important point I want to make. Yoga is a perilous journey and anyone who wants to do yoga should realise it. Yoga is the most difficult endeavour in human life, you can become a scientist, you can become a philosopher, you can be anything in the world, they are also difficult, any achievement is difficult but yoga is the most difficult endeavour and this is to be underlined and yet important point is yet human beings at a given time of their life, not every time at a given point of time yoga becomes indispensable this is the truth of yoga. Yoga is not a pastime, yoga is not an activity of luxury, yoga is an activity of necessity at a given stage of your development. Since it is difficult as I said the most difficult endeavour and since it is to be practised by individuals at a given time out of necessity, they can’t help it therefore this Shastra has to given, as a gift given to mankind so that people may know about it practise it properly with minimum of perils in the journey. All those who have pursued yoga seriously have found how many pitfalls are there in the process. This is not to depress anybody but only to encourage that this is the process and it is indispensable at a given time. Those who hear the message of yoga and they feel aspired for that process of yoga they have to realise it is not a process which you take up blindly, it is not something which you can give to people by exaltation, you can’t say: look! Now do yoga, be enthused about yoga, yoga is to be given very seriously, sincerely, in a very sincere effort to explain to the individuals − are you sure you want to do yoga? In our Indian system there was therefore even a long series of tests which were given, unless you reach a certain stage, unless your sincerity is tested sufficiently well, you were not initiated. Even now that practise goes on many people wanting diksha but many gurus say: no, I won’t give you diksha as yet it will take time.
There is a very interesting story which Mother has told once to us. It’s an old story. It's a story to be told to children because it is also a good lesson for children. There was one young man, Yusuf was his name and he was living in Gujarat, the young boy. He had heard of a master, Jhunjhun was the name of the master and many people used to flock to him and Yusuf also felt that why not I go also to him and request him for initiation. So he went to the master and the master looked at him and didn't say anything at all. But he expressed his wish to stay in his ashram, so the master was kind and he arranged some small hut to be given to him and he stayed there. Every day he used to stand up, whenever the master used to pass by and sometimes had a chance where the master would look at him and he used to feel satisfied that the master at least looked at him, months passed and even years passed but master said nothing at all to him. So one day he was asked “have you been able to be received by the master?'' He felt greatly disturbed and depressed that so many years have passed, master has not even asked him anything as yet. He was staying there; the master was looking at him from time to time but nothing more. So one day he told the master: I have come for initiation. “I know, I know” and that is all. No answer at all, again sometime went away. One day the master sent for him, Yusuf was told the master was calling him. He was very happy that the master had called me now, so he went to the master. Master said: “Look I have a friend of mine and he lives very far from here, is it possible for you to do little service for me?” he was so happy, service to the master, he said: yes, of course, of course. “Only a little service, you know I have a small box to give him, just a small box, just give him, that’s all, of course you have to walk a lot, maybe the whole day you’ll have to walk, carry some food also with you because in the afternoon you may need to eat something. So he was very happy that some service was asked for by the master and he took the box with him. In the afternoon it was very hot, river Neella was not very far now but still three four hours more journey was involved. So he became hungry, took out his food and began to eat a little and said let me relax. It was very hot, he was tired so he went to relax, stretch himself. When he stretched himself he began to ask, ‘what is in that box’, question rose in his mind and he said why should I ask myself about the box, what is in it, master did not tell me anything, I have only one duty to perform, to take the box and give it to the friend of my master and he remained quiet. After some time: can I see just a little into this box what it is and again gave up the idea, why to look into it. But then again after sometime he said again look if the master did not want to see what was in the box he would have locked it, has he locked it, no, master has not locked it therefore I don’t think there is any harm in opening and seeing what is in it but he hesitated, he was about to open he hesitated, no, no I shouldn’t do it the master didn’t tell me that I should see in it, I will just give it to the friend of my master, that’s all, he repeated again and again: I must not open, I must not open, no, no it is out of the question I should not do it but he should not afterwards restrain so much, he just opened it a little. What happened? A small mouse ran away out of it. A small little rat which the master had kept in the box and it was such a thing cannot recover it now. He saw something jumping out of it and leaving on the ground, such a little thing. That rat ran away with the greatest speed and where it went nobody could recover it at all, impossible. Poor Yusuf, he went here, he went there, where is that small rat, I can recover it and put it back into the box, impossible! So he ultimately closed the box, despondent and depressed, defeated, he went to the masters friend after three, four hours and gave it to him with head down, full of shame and gave it to him and that friend opened the box and said: Yusuf, you have lost an opportunity, this was a test for you, how much control you have over your mind, if you can’t keep one little rat fixed in a box, you are seeking the vast knowledge and you want to keep that vast knowledge in your mind, in a box of your mind, if one little rat you cannot keep, how can you store such a vast knowledge that you are looking for in your mind, go back to your master, be patient, don’t be depressed. He went back to his master, told him the whole story. Master said: be patient. Again after years master initiated him. According to the traditional story he became a great mystic in due course of time. This is the way in which the initiation was so difficult and the real good teachers do not allow you to yoga unless you are sufficiently prepared. It is because yoga is a difficult process and one should not be kept under illusions. Oh! Yoga means that you’ll get God and you’ll realise God. Of course yoga certainly leads you to the realisation of God and the highest, no doubt about it but if you are impatient and if you do not have all the qualities, as you can see Indra, Varuna, Agni, Aryaman, Mitra and Bhaga; all of them are not mastered in your consciousness how will you reach that point?
So this idea when you read the Veda, you find the process is a very long process. Those who say that yoga is instantaneous are all false ideas, yoga is not instantaneous. It is true that once you are ripened and real experience comes it is instantaneous; once you are ripened and when the experience comes it is on the spot. It is sudden, it is flashing as it were but the process by which you reach there is a long, long process. One has not to be depressed at all. This depression is a great enemy of the true spirit of yoga; even if you fall so what, that is why Arjuna asks the question of Sri Krishna that even if you fall from yoga what will happen? So Sri Krishna says: that any effort that you have made adds to your further progression, so do not worry, go on and on. But you should know, and you should have patience with this yogic method and the yoga of the Veda which is a precious knowledge, precious because of all this, it gives you a path which you should follow but follow when you are really ready.
Sri Aurobindo says: be sure of the call. It is a beautiful essay of Sri Aurobindo entitled The Way and there he has said be sure of the call, if the call is not strong and if you accept only for the sake of pleasure or luxury of life, it’s a perilous journey. Therefore it is better to worship first of all the process of yoga even if you don’t follow the process of yoga, to enjoy the study of the process, appreciate it first of all. The important point however is that at a given time of your life yoga is a necessity and why Veda is so relevant today is because according to Sri Aurobindo, yoga has become a necessity not only for one individual or the other, yoga has become a necessity today to mankind on a large scale. This is Sri Aurobindo’s reading of the time. Why has he so read is a different question and one would like to discuss it further but it is a different matter. Why Sri Aurobindo thinks mankind has reached today a point where yoga has become a necessity for the whole mankind and that is why the relevance of Veda. If it was not a necessity and if Veda was not a great book of yoga, if it was only a book of rituals then the necessity of revisiting the Veda would not be necessary. If we want to restore Veda it is because of this reason. On the one hand mankind today has reached the point where yoga has become a necessity for the mankind and on the other hand this great book of Veda has been neglected and has been not truly understood and yet it contains so much of wisdom and so much of knowledge, if that knowledge is not made available to mankind where it is necessary it will be a great pity, such a knowledge exists and therefore the necessity of restoring Veda to the present day.
As a result of this you reach the Supermind and when you reach the Supermind there is still a further step to be taken this is where we find the mantras relating to Vishnu in the Veda. Vishnu is not addressed in many verses in the Veda and therefore many people think that Vishnu was a lesser God in the Veda, it is afterwards that Vishnu became much more important. But as Sri Aurobindo points out, the number of verses addressed to a god does not determine his greatness or smallness. You have to see what description you get of Vishnu. Vishnu is described as all pervading godhead, his vision, whereas Indra has only thousand eyes, Vishnu is the eye spread over the whole sky that is the description given of Vishnu. Vishnu is the eye spread over the whole sky − it is all pervading consciousness and there are three steps of Vishnu which have been described in the Rig-Veda. And the highest step is the step of the Supreme Reality. So that Supramental consciousness, Vishnu consciousness, Vishnu is the comprehending consciousness of the supermind. And it is by Vishnu that you rise step by step you rise to the highest step, to the Supreme Reality there is the soma, the real Ananda. You open the gates of the Ultimate Reality and that gate is the gate of ananda and that gate takes you to what is called the triple seat of the highest. Satchidananda is not a word used in the Veda it came to be known later on but Ananda is described and many other epithets are given which is of course light and consciousness and being and all that. So it is the Reality which is anandamaya and I shall end now with the description of anandamaya as given in Taittiriya Upanishad so that we know what is that experience which the Veda ultimately promises. This is chapter number ten of the Taittiriya Upanishad where Ananda is described. It is chapter number eight. It says:
Through the fear of Him the Wind bloweth; through the fear of Him the Sun riseth; through the fear of Him Indra and Agni and Death hasten in their courses. Behold this exposition of the Bliss to which ye shall hearken. Let there be a young man, excellent & lovely in his youth, a great student; let him have fair manners and a most firm heart and great strength of body, and let all this wide earth be full of wealth for his enjoying. That is the measure of bliss of one human being. Now a hundred and a hundredfold of the human measure of bliss, is one bliss of men that have become angels in heaven. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of angelic bliss is one bliss of Gods that are angels in heaven. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of divine angelic bliss is one bliss of the Fathers whose world of heaven is their world for ever. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of bliss of the Fathers whose worlds are for ever, is one bliss of the Gods who are born as Gods in heaven. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of bliss of the firstborn in heaven, is one bliss of the Gods of work who are Gods, for by the strength of their deeds they depart and are Gods in heaven. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of bliss of the Gods of work, is one bliss of the great Gods who are Gods for ever. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of divine bliss, is one bliss of Indra, the King in Heaven. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of Indra’s bliss is one bliss of Brihaspati, who taught the Gods in heaven. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of Brihaspati’s bliss, is one bliss of Prajapati, the Almighty Father. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth. A hundred and a hundredfold of this measure of Prajapati’s bliss, is one bliss of the Eternal Spirit. And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth.
The Spirit who is here in a man and the Spirit who is there in the Sun, it is one Spirit and there is no other. He who knoweth this, when he hath gone away from this world, passeth to this Self which is of food; he passeth to this Self which is of Prana; he passeth to this Self which is of Mind; he passeth to this Self which is of Knowledge; he passeth to this Self which is of Bliss. Whereof this is the Scripture.