Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 504

Vedic concepts of dhi, agni

Q: Twilight?

Not only twilight, even night. Because there are stars in the night, so night is not a complete darkness.

Q: But in order to be aware of this light you have to know the dark also.

Yes, that is why it says that there is complete darkness and complete darkness comes out of the night which is partly luminous and partly dark because there are stars in the night which are all luminous. So before the complete darkness, was the night. But before the night were the principle of ritamchasatyam --the truth and the right -- and this truth came out of the tapas, and tapas is always a principle of chit -- chit consciousness, chit tapas. Chit consciousness -- from the highest consciousness of the light, from the Sindhu you might say, the tapas manifests and when tapas manifests, the first manifestation is truth and the right, not darkness. Then comes the dark, the night, and then comes complete darkness. So the origin of complete darkness is the light, according to the Vedic knowledge, and because the origin of darkness is the light therefore darkness can be cured. According to Freud the unconscious cannot be cured, it is there. At the most you can sublimate a little in expression but the basic things remain as they are, so according to Freud, the fate of civilisation is doomed. But if this is the knowledge, that behind darkness is the light -- it has come out of the light -- then light can again illuminate it and it can be cured.

So the whole of the Veda is a description as to how you can ascend from the lower levels and go upwards. Now in this ascension one has to be very careful. You should first do a good geographical analysis of the entire domain and make tremendous efforts of finding out where to go, how to go, build paths into this darkness. If you read the Veda properly you find that such was really the effort done by these people. Because it tells you that first do not attend to the darkness, it is there and do not bother about it first.

There is one instrument in every human being on which you should concentrate first and that is dhi or buddhi, you concentrate only on that. That is why we have the famous Gayatri mantra: bhur bhuvaha svah, tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo naha prachodayat, which says that we should concentrate upon Savitri, upon the Supreme light. Varenyam bhargaha; varenyam means the Supreme, bhargaha means the light, Supreme light of Savitri. Tat savitur varenyam bhargaha devasya dhimahi; dhimahi means we are contemplating. We are contemplating on the Supreme light of Savitri, of the Supermind you might say. Why? So that, dhiyo yo naha prachodayat, so that dhi, our intelligence, dhi may be directed, prachodayat, may be directed by Savitri. So this is the simple formula it has given that if human beings are to be rescued from where they are, it is perfectly possible. It is possible to change the human nature. Human nature is not doomed to remain what it is. I mean that is the real message of the Veda and the first instrument to be taken up is dhi, the intellect.

But that is not enough, this is only the first step. When the intellect is somewhat refined then much greater value is to be attached to Agni. There is an element in all of us, the element of Agni, the fire. That fire is what may be called aspiration, all upward aspiration. A speciality of fire is that it always moves upwards. So whatever is upward, whatever moves upward, you attend to that. Kindle in you all upward aspiration, always uplift. That is why in the Veda you find so many mantras addressed to Agni. This Agni, according to the Veda, is both within you and also outside you, so it is helpful from both the ways. To this Agni, is addressed the very first mantra of the Rig Veda: Om agnimire, purohitam yajnasya, devamritvijam, hotaram ratnadbatamam. It says: I worship Agni, Agni ire, ire means I worship Agni, I worship Agni, the fire. Purohitam is the priest, priest is a normal translation but actually etimologically it means puraha ita, puraha means that which is in the front, ita means held, that which is held in the front, the leader. Oh Agni I worship you because you are the leader, you are put in front. Leader of yajnasya or sacrifice. Devamritvijam you are a God and you are ritvijam, ritvija means: you are the knower of the seasons of my being. Every human being has certain seasons of development.

This idea of seasons is very important in the Veda. In recent psychological books also now people have begun to recognise the importance of seasons, seasons of psychological development. There is a beautiful book written by Whitehead called "Ideals of education" and there, his important advice is that every child has seasons of development. He speaks of romantic periods of study. There are periods in the child's life when he falls in love with studies, becomes a passionate lover of studies. Now this is the season which is very important and good parents and good teachers must take advantage of that season. Nurture the child at that time when he is in love with his books, with his studies, with explorations, various imaginations. He begins to develop a new interest in poetry, in art, imagination, literature, science, inventions of various kinds, discoveries of various kinds. He wants to read, he wants to question, he wants to go around in the world, he wants to conquer the world. These are the very important periods and good parents and good teachers must give all the encouragement to the child at this time. At that time to bind the child within the fixed syllabus, fixed time-tables, rigour of what we call outer discipline is quite irrelevant. The child is in love, at that time allow him the freedom and passion of his love and do not bind him into the ordinary discipline of ordinary school work, home work and ordinary kind of work that is being done with children. But you must know when is this season, and once a good teacher actually knows that there are seasons she can even create such seasons. That is another knowledge which is given in the Veda, i.e. how-to create seasons and that is why it is said Agni knows the seasons, ritvijam. You should know the seasons and you can create the seasons, and just as we can have mangoes all the seasons because of certain horticultural practices, similarly you can create seasons all the time in your being, so that all the time you are in fruition, all the time you are flowering. This is the secret also of our being.

Agni is hotaram, he is the one who is capable of calling. Now this also is an important psychological concept in the Veda which says that the secret of development is in calling, simply calling. When we read a mythological story of "open sesame", there is a great truth in it. You just say "open sesame" and the door opens. As Christ said: "ask and you will be given, knock and the door will be opened". And it is quite true, the whole secret of development lies in calling, you just call. The nature is so constituted that corresponding to every call there is an answer, it is only waiting for the call. So if you know the secret of the call, then you can make use of the call. In a certain sense you might say that the whole of the Veda is nothing but formulas of the call.