Isha Upanishad - Super school - Auroville - Session 11: The Origin of Ignorance—The Story of Creation

(11 February 2002)

Let us now come to the grips with the question as to how there arose ignorance? It is like studying universal history. There is a verse in the Rig Veda, which describes the history of the universe and that gives a clue to what we are looking for. It says, there was first the power of concentration; consciousness has within it always the power of concentration, and consciousness can be widespread but it can also be concentrated. This is the special quality of consciousness, the inherent power of consciousness to be concentrated. When consciousness concentrates,— concentrates on what, concentrates on itself, if you want to know yourself, you concentrate on yourself. So, when consciousness concentrates on itself, then the contents of consciousness begin to emerge. So first consciousness, its power of largeness, and its power of concentration, and this power of concentration concentrates on itself. When it concentrates on itself and the contents of consciousness begin to unfold.1

It is similar to what happens to our own ordinary consciousness, when you want to know yourself, you concentrate on the contents of your mind of what is happening in you, you review as it were, what is in your mind. As you review, the contents begin to unfold. In that supreme consciousness there are innumerable contents. But this consciousness is not like our ordinary consciousness in which when we concentrate upon ourselves then things began to move in us in a pell-mell manner, there is no order but this consciousness is not a disorderly consciousness. It’s the consciousness which is compact, which concentrates upon its contents and from there as it concentrates; its contents begin to come out in an order.

The Veda says that this concentration brought about the unfoldment of Truth, the first emergence. Then it said that after the Truth emerged then came about a night and then came about Inconscience. This is the verse of the Vedic knowledge, it's a very short verse but very significant. The concentration brought about the unfoldment of Truth then the night and then Inconscient, three steps.2

In Sanskrit it is “ritam ca satyam, ca abhidat, tapasjayata, tato ratri jayate ,tato samudra arnava”By concentration there came about first of all the Truth and the Right, ‘ritam ca satyam’,‘tato ratri jayate’, thereafter the night came about, ‘tatah samudro arnavah’, then came about Inconscient, the ocean of inconscience.

The Mother has in some of her talks spoken of the history of universe in the following way, she said: she was telling us a story, as if we were children and she said that in the beginning four Beings came out of the Supreme, this is unfoldment, in the unfoldment four Beings came out.

The Beings of Truth, Light, Life and Delight, four Beings and then these four beings deviated, deviated because it was one of the possibilities. There are hundreds of possibilities in consciousness, one of the possibilities was to deviate, there was a deviation, alienation from that comprehensive consciousness, which was in that state of concentration. And as a result there was a direct precipitation and these four Beings became their opposites; Truth became Falsehood, Life became Death, Light became obscurity, darkness and Delight became suffering, sorrow,— their opposites.3

You might say there must have been many beings but these four Beings first came out. Just as the Veda says the first thing to come out was Truth. The first things to come out were Truth, Light, Life and Delight and then there was a deviation. This is not the word used in the Veda but it says that then came about darkness and then a greater darkness, first ignorance, night came and then came about inconscience. So here also this story says that there came about the four Beings and then they deviated and as a deviation there came about their opposites and after that they became completely Inconscient.

If you read ‘Savitri’ the great epic written by Sri Aurobindo, the first book is called ‘The Book of Beginnings’ and there Sri Aurobindo starts the first sentence. It is very important, ‘It was the hour before the gods awake’. These four Beings that came out were cosmic beings but when the darkness came out of them and there was nothing but darkness, then as the Mother's story goes further, the Supreme Divine consciousness saw all this happening and She said to the Supreme Lord that this is what has happened, that darkness has come about. The Lord said, ‘the darkness has to be repaired’. The Divine said, now you produce those beings, these four beings deviated and you produce such beings who will not deviate, this also is possible, there are all kinds of possibilities. You produce those beings who will not deviate. Then beings came out, these beings are what we call gods, then gods came out.4

Sri Aurobindo’s poem begins at a point when darkness has been spread all over but gods have not yet come out, that is later. There is a very important verse in the Veda, which also describes the darkness. That there was in the beginning darkness and then it says what was this darkness, how it came about and what was that Being which was still breathing, the Supreme Being was breathing, he was not abolished, darkness does not mean abolition of the Supreme consciousness.5

We have seen already that even when darkness of ignorance arises that which is there is not abolished it is ignored. So there was still a Being who was breathing but then what is the relationship between this Being that was breathing and this darkness, how did this happen? So the Veda says, perhaps the gods know it, how did this happen but then it makes a question mark. Even the gods may not know it because they were not there at that time, so even the gods do not know how this has happened.

In the Veda there is another story in the same line. The gods were told after they were put forth by the Divine Mother, who is called in the Veda, Aditi. (Aditi is a Sanskrit name for the Divine Mother.) Aditi told the gods to repair this darkness, work on this darkness. Then the gods looked at the darkness and the immensity of the darkness and they felt it was not their task; they were not equal to the task. Then they found in the Divine Mother a very special power and said that if that power is asked to do that work, we shall help it. We shall help that power, so bring out that power and put it into this darkness.

So this story is not completely told in the Veda, but Mother continues the story. I'm connecting several traditions and ideas so that we may have the benefit of a more comprehensive picture. What Mother is saying is a kind of a story, later on we shall make it more sophisticated and we shall speak in the language of philosophy. But philosophy becomes very easy, if we become small children and listen to the stories first and then philosophy becomes much easier. Mother’s story is, when the gods could not accomplish and they replied to the Divine Mother that this is not possible for us. And then a very special power issued out from the Divine mother. There was so much of love in the Divine mother's heart, there was so much of compassion that this darkness must be retrieved from its obscurity and life should manifest and she plunged herself with that love and that love oozed out of her being.6 And it is that the power of love began to work on that darkness and from that time onwards this is a movement of redemption as it were, darkness is being redeemed, a reverse movement from darkness towards light. 7

In the Rig Veda, I told you the first two lines and let me continue the third line to connect that story with this story. According to the Rig Veda there was first Truth and the Right and then came about the night and then came about the Inconscience. Then it says ‘samudra arnava, samvatsara jayata’ then came out from this darkness, Inconscience there came about samvatsara. What is samvatsara, this is the mystic word in the Vedic terminology. This samvatsara is actually that oozing out of the love from the Supreme, which poured itself. In the Rig Veda elsewhere it is identified with Agni, fire, fire of love poured itself on this Inconscience. It is a continuous rain, as it were, even now going on.8

There is another verse in the Rig Veda where it says, at one time gods called upon Agni this fire samvatsara and asked Agni to do some work. So Agni complains and says, I will not do it, once upon a time you asked me to do this work and I've been darkened because this darkness is so great and I'm working on it like a labourer, so this is enough for me and I will not do anything else, I'm doing this work. There is a whole dialogue in the Rig Veda on this subject between Agni and the other gods, where Agni says, this is enough, the work I'm doing is enough. The hard task that was given to Agni, perhaps was not recognised by Agni itself, but it was the will of the Supreme, it obeyed and began to work.9 In Sanskrit samvatsara also means time, even now in common parlance also this word is used. But time has a secondary meaning; its actual meaning is kalagni, kala that is agni, Kala means time, time that is fire. If it only means time it was the later meaning of it but originally, it meant the time that devourers, kalagni is the fire that devourers darkness.10 This fire comes straight from the Divine and it is in a form of sparks, fire and sparks.

These sparks are ourselves; what we call psychic consciousness, psychic entities, they have a very special characteristic. They are individual in character; those four beings which had come out in the beginning were all cosmic. The gods which came out were also cosmic but this fire, the sparks of this fire are individual in character, each one of us is that fire, that spark. It is as if we are now called upon to do that work, we have agreed to do this work and we are now digging in the darkness and our entire lives are nothing but an endeavour to remove the darkness. We are in the reverse process at present, it is becoming less and less dark, millions of years we have been struggling, striving. We are ourselves like architects and an architect knows what's to be done and what is to be fashioned, what is to be formed. The architect takes the help of so many others and he guides. But this guide, when it enters into darkness,− this work cannot be done merely by standing away. He finds that if the darkness has to be removed he has to plunge into darkness. When you plunge into darkness what happens is that you're overwhelmed by the darkness. It's like entering into mud, the moment you enter into it and if you have to take out the mud, you will have to become muddy. All mud comes out of your body. This is what has happened to us and we are all the time taking out the mud.

There has been a lot of advance, even to create this kind of human body is the work of that spark. There was not even this kind of a body available within this darkness, even what we call matter was not formed, there was no life, there was no mind, it was all darkness and this spark. And this spark went on and on, first introducing matter which itself was a great victory to bring out matter from pure Inconscient was a great victory. But in matter there was hardly any individuality possible, then came about by digging further and this samvatsara is supposed to be a messenger. This is in the Veda, Agni is supposed to be the messenger who goes up and down, travels and whenever it calls for all the gods to come; it is promised we shall help him, so wherever we are gods will come to help us. We have access everywhere, we can go round about anywhere, you do all your efforts, gods are available they will help you.11

Ultimately, these were able to bring what is called life-force and implanted life into this matter; it was a miracle how out of matter the plants began to grow. Sri Aurobindo has given a beautiful description of the world of darkness, it says that if you were a witness at that time but uninstructed, we are not told anything at all, we are just witnessing this whole darkness. And if you were told, you are a witness and if somebody whispered into you and said: ‘Look, here in this darkness one day a beautiful garden will be overlooking, birds will be flying all around, beautiful butterflies, and then you'll find beautiful benches coming over it and human beings moving about. If you were told such a possibility, you would have said: ‘impossible, such a thing can never come about’. But what is called impossible, life did come about in this matter, and how many life-forms, not one but millions of life-forms. Even if you just look into the ocean and the life-forms in the ocean, you will be surprised at the multiplicity of the forms, various kinds of fishes, there are many species of fishes and crocodiles and sharks, numerous. Even in plants, there are many kinds of plants, millions of species of plants, what kind of flowers, varieties of flowers. All this is a result of our digging and putting forth, we are all working together, we may fight against each other but we are all working together.

In that process when this kind of human body was formed, you might say a very remarkable breakthrough was attained. You can see the mystery of the human body is so great, it is marvellous work, one doesn't know how this mysterious instrument has been created.

The kind of consciousness that is in the body is also miraculous, how is it that I speak, you can understand, it's a miracle. A great scientist has said the one thing that is incomprehensible is that the world is comprehensible. How does it happen, it's a great mystery, it is as if a magic show is being displayed before us and we are actually doing magic show ourselves, we are magicians of this earth. When the human body was created, you know the gods have been watching all the time and this is one of the story of the Upanishads, when the gods saw that the human body was created they said: ‘Oh! How wonderful, we shall enter into it.’12 Till that time gods were working as if outside, not entering because they couldn't work but in the human body there was so much of response, they are conscious and we are to some extent conscious, some response could take place. The gods said that we should enter into the human body so a new story started. And human beings are capable of directly communicating with the gods and the whole of the Veda there is nothing but the story of knowledge, whereby human consciousness can be communicated with the gods deliberately. It's like engineering, a course. How can you communicate with many gods like Indra, Varuna and Bhaga, millions of gods, how can you communicate with them? So the Veda gives you formular by which you can communicate with them, you can call them for their help and you’re lifted out of our difficulties.13

In this process of development there is a growing consciousness, from the darkness came life and when mind began to develop it was very rudimentary mind, say the mind of a cow, the mind of a lion, they all have memories, they can perceive, they also have the power of cunning, even cats are very cunning, they can wait for the prey to come and just at the right moment, it can catch its prey. So, the rudimentary mind first of all begins to manifest but then comes the stage where awareness and unconsciousness are almost equal. You might say a great deal of unawareness and a good deal of consciousness that stage is called ignorance. There the real state of ignorance is that stage where there is a good deal of awareness and a great deal of unconsciousness that is ignorance. We are not inconscient, we are not unconscious, we are not subconscious, we're partly conscious and partly unconscious, this mixture is ignorance.

What we described as the sevenfold ignorance yesterday is a description of this consciousness. We have sevenfold ignorance, this is where we are and now we have reached a stage where we cannot remain where we are. A lion can remain a lion forever, but a human being cannot remain forever what a human being is, such is the stage at which we have reached. Once the consciousness of man is created, his very nature is to exceed himself. One of the definitions of human being is, human being is a self-exceeding animal, it always wants to go beyond himself. Whatever you are is all right but you want to move forward. But there is also a great inertia, great idleness. Oh! My Lord, who does this labour to exceed oneself! So there is a big conflict to exceed oneself and to remain where you are, or even if you want to progress a little, a little progress,— satisfied; and yet when you try to be satisfied, something in you goes on knocking and it says no,no, this is not enough, go ahead, go further— this is our condition. Now a point comes in our life where we find that this slightly moving in, slightly coming back is itself a very big trouble, you go back again to the same kind of effort, again you rise up, again you repair it and you go back. So a time comes when there arises a big flame in you. A psychic being which has been all the time accompanying us in this journey, it goes on whispering,— “look, your task here is to abolish this darkness altogether, this partial light and partial darkness is not what you here for, you are here for a complete abolition of darkness.” At present the psychic being is exiled as I said yesterday, the exiled King, we don't refer to it. Or When it speaks to us, we close our eyes and our ears, after some time we begin to be very sympathetic to that psychic consciousness and that psychic consciousness goes on because that is the very task given to it by the Supreme Lord, by the supreme Divine Mother that this obscurity has to be completely obliterated. Make it fully luminous, so, inspired by the task, the psychic being goes on knocking more and more, as you come nearer and nearer to the psychic being, you get this call greater and greater. At last the call becomes so great that you say, ‘Now, I shall give my entire life, my thoughts, my everything so that the darkness is completely abolished. That is a tremendous moment, this great call, then you ask yourself what is the way by which this darkness can be abolished.

You cannot change the world unless individuals, first of all, rise to the highest levels of consciousness. but this process itself is intertwined with the development of all. If I want to rise higher, basically my psychic spark and your psychic spark have come from the same origin, therefore, your aim and my aim are not different and whatever I want to do for myself, has a result for you and whatever you do for yourself has a result for me you do for me. We benefit and profit from each other and so the whole world, everyone is benefited, everybody is profited. This is the idea of real cooperation. The real basis for cooperation is this: that without my development, your development will be incomplete and vice versa.14

Question:That's why Auroville was created?

Yes, quite right, so that you all live together and work together, in a real brotherhood because you are truly brothers, we are all brother souls. And we are all working together and the deeper we go, the deeper we know ourselves the greater is the power of harmony. All conflicts can cease in this light, we are all working together and the whole process by which mankind wants to change. Take for example poverty, to be eliminated; why should there be poverty at all in the society, why should there be suffering, we want to heal the suffering of the people. All this is a very noble ideal and we should all work for it, each one according to one's capacity to work for all, to work for all is to work for oneself, not ego, not for my individual selfishness but my true individual. There is a difference between the individual and the ego; ego is the result of ignorance. We shall come to it when we go into this philosophically, ego is the result of ignorance. but As we go into the inward life and discover the psyche being, we discover the true individual. Now that the realisation of the individual is different from the realisation of god; god is a cosmic being, I'm an individual being.

How do I understand myself, when you understand yourself what happens? Even the gods don't have what you can have; this is a speciality of the individual. The individual, when he realises himself, ‘he who sees’, these are the verses in the Upanishad, ‘he who sees all creatures in the Self and one's self in all the creatures, and sees the self has become all the creatures’, then there's no selfishness at all, it is impossible.15The true individual is at once universal and there is no conflict between the individual and the universal. When you discover the true individual, you really discover the whole universe in the right way. At present the way in which you know the universe is an egoistic way of knowing the universe but when we know your true individual, you know the whole universe in the right way, you are rightly related. Right relationship of the individual with the universe is, it has two terms, mutuality and unity. Sense of mutuality, everyone feels that he cannot remain without dependence on the other, this mutuality in which there is no element of egoism at all. Egoism comes, when we think that I'm independent of all others to some extent even. But when you know that I am totally dependent on all the others, this sense, even the omnipotent Lord believes and knows that he has to depend upon all. Mother said that even the omnipotent Lord, if He is on this earth, he cannot accomplish this task without depending upon all the rest. Therefore, the Lord can never become a tyrant; the Lord knows his dependence upon all is so great because He is all. So, there is no conflict between the two, it is in the sense of true mutuality. Sense of mutuality is a great sense to be understood, when I know, for example, my own progress depends upon my talking to you and if I don't talk to you, my own progress is arrested. I'm so thankful to you that you give me the chance to talk to you; if you don't give me the chance, my own progress will be arrested. So, this is the sense of mutuality.

As Mother says, you look at the purity of the love of the mother and the child, the mother depends entirely upon the child, she has warmth of love, it can be poured only if there is a child and the child depends completely upon the mother at every turn, this is a great example of mutuality. Now This is the sense of mutuality, which should exist amongst all of us. Then the real collectivity… all the attempts made by philanthropy, by going out and helping others, there is a lot of egoism in it. I'm helping, as if without me the world will be finished, it is also egoism. It is a good egoism, a higher kind of egoism, but it is egoism. But When you go deeper and deeper, you find a higher level of mutuality, when you really find, you breathe, how much we depend upon air, we are completely dependent upon air, our bodies, whole existence depends upon air and if there is no air, there will be no respiration. When everybody feels this kind of sense of mutuality of all, a tremendous humility comes. You need everything, even a blade of grass, how much I depend upon it. We depend upon all the spheres of the world; the whole universe is needed to sustain this little thing that I call myself, the whole universe is needed and I'm needed for this whole universe.

If you take a full account of our being, of our life— this is the account, which liberates us from all kinds of narrow egoism and then unity, not only mutuality but unity. In mutuality you depend upon each other but then each other is not enough; there is also mutuality of one on the other and the perception that all are one, the oneness of all— this is the real key to world change. If you want to change the world, if you want to work for the world, this is the real key. Depending upon our present stage of development we can work both upon ourselves and upon the world. Now in an imperfect manner, almost in a bifurcated manner, I have to retire into my room to develop myself and then I come forward and give to others, the time would come when breathing is so universal that every moment you develop yourself and you're immediately contributing to the others. Others are contributing to you. Such a moment comes according to our height of development. When you reach that level then you can say, now I am a true servant of the society, till that time we are an apprentices, we are still learning how to serve the society. Right?

And because many people have done this work earlier before us; we enter into a field called ‘yoga’. So many paths have been laid out, so many things have been discovered, so many masters, so many teachers, so many religions, so many methods and we begin to analyse and look into them. But this is a momentous moment as Sri Aurobindo says, the moment comes when you have to rise up and take a staff in your hand and set out for the journey, once for all. This is what happened to Buddha, he suddenly found it was no more tolerable for him to remain in that condition where he was, he had everything that the world can give in plenty but that was no more acceptable to him, he set out for the journey. That was the moment when Sri Aurobindo in his own lifetime, discovered the light of yoga and set out for the journey, an adventure of consciousness.

We here now are so fortunate that we hear this call all the time all around, fortunately around us so much knowledge is accumulated that the moment you decide that: ‘yes, I want to know’, a great knowledge is already available. If you cannot take up the staff in your hands and set out for the journey, that is where we are, the psychic being is very kind, it never imposes itself, the architect within us does not impose, it demands. The psychic being is like God himself; God also never imposes, He demands, and the collaboration that we give, on that collaboration he builds up and if we agree to this decision to collaborate, then he will lead.

It is said in the Rigveda, the very first verse of the Rig Veda, it says, Agni is the leader. The psychic consciousness in us is the leader, ‘Purohita’, is a Sanskrit word for priest, priest is the leader. He leads all the people behind him in the temple of the Divine, so our psychic being is the real priest. If you can open to that then through that the Divine power, it has come from the Divine, the psychic being has come from the divine. So that light will be thrown through this filter of the psychic being and everything can become illumined. The sevenfold ignorance then can be turned into sevenfold knowledge.

We become aware of what the Upanishad says, “That which moves, that which does not moves”, he perceives, that is to say, we begin to perceive, we realise oneself in all the creatures, we see all the creatures in oneself and we see that oneself has become all the creatures. This is the loftiest realisation that we have and we realise that which is stable behind the cosmos, we realise that our small ego is a speck of dust in the huge cosmos. We realise that this that we know as ourselves is timeless, immortal. Our soul is timeless and immortal, the psychic being, this Agni which is in us, we become aware of that Agni, we are freed from temporal ignorance. We realise in our entire being, what is unconscious in us and what is conscious and what is superconscious and we are cured of psychological ignorance. We become aware as to under whose leadership we can convert ourself from where we are to the highest levels, we are cured of the constitutional ignorance and then whatever we do is always right, spontaneously right and then we become the instruments of all that is good, all that is beautiful, all that is true. So this is the story, you might say, when we meet next, perhaps, if you like, we shall put the same story philosophically. This is the language of a story; we can now put the whole thing in a philosophical way.

Next time, when we meet, if you like, if you ask me to study this philosophically clearly, we shall do it, it is not necessary. We have explained how ignorance arises and how inconscience arises and how from inconscience, we arise at this present stage with the help of the psychic consciousness and where we are now in the state of ignorance. What kind of ignorance it is, how it can be removed and when it is removed, what happens? We have a good map but this map is a very precious map.

Question:Our goal is to abolish all the darkness we have.—-

—-At least in our consciousness, everything, even up to the physical that is what Mother says; even the physical cells should not be unconscious.

Question: Not audible

Answer: The first thing to be understood is that the key to any development in the world lies in our personal, individual development, not selfish, not egoistic but personal, that which is individual. Sri Aurobindo says individual is the key.

Extra notes

Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, Chapter Seven

असद् वा इदमग्र आसीत् । ततो वै सदजायत । तदात्मानं स्वयमकुरुत । तस्मात् तत्सुकृतमुच्यत इति । यद् वै तत् सुकृतम् । रसो वै सः । रसं ह्येवायं लब्ध्वानन्दी भवति । को ह्येवान्यात् कः प्राण्यात् । यदेष आकाश आनन्दो न स्यात् । एष ह्येवानन्दयाति । यदा ह्येवैष एतस्मिन्नदृश्येऽनात्म्येऽनिरुक्तेऽनिलयनेऽभयं प्रतिष्ठां विन्दते । अथ सोऽभयं गतो भवति । यदा ह्येवैष एतस्मिन्नुदरमन्तरं कुरुते । अथ तस्य भयं भवति । तत्त्वेव भयं विदुषो मन्वानस्य । तदप्येष श्लोको भवति ॥….

In the beginning all this Universe was Non-Existent and Unmanifest, from which this manifest Existence was born. Itself created itself; none other created it. Therefore they say of it the well and beautifully made. Lo, this that is well and beautifully made, verily, it is no other than the delight behind existence. When he has got him this delight, then it is that this creation becomes a thing of bliss; for who could labour to draw in the breath or who could have strength to breathe it out, if there were not that Bliss in the heaven of his heart, the ether within his being? It is He that is the fountain of bliss; for when the Spirit that is within us finds the Invisible, Bodiless, Undefinable and Unhoused Eternal his refuge and firm foundation, then he has passed beyond the reach of Fear. But when the Spirit that is within us makes for himself even a little difference in the Eternal, then he has fear, yea, the Eternal himself becomes a terror to such a knower who thinks not. Whereof this is the Scripture.

  1. RV 10.190.1

    ऋतं च सत्य चाभीद्धात् तपसोऽध्यजायत। ततो रात्र्यजायत ततः समुद्रो अर्णवः।।

    The universal order (ऋत) and the Truth (सत्य) were born of blazing (अभीद्धात्) concentration (तपस).

  2. RV 10.190.1

    ऋतं च सत्य चाभीद्धात् तपसोऽध्यजायत। ततो रात्र्यजायत तत समुद्रो अर्णवः।।

    The universal order (ऋत) and the Truth (सत्य) were born of blazing (अभीद्धात्) concentration (तपस). Then the night (रात्रि) was born. Then the ocean (समुद्रो) (was born)

  3. …सोऽकामयत । बहु स्यां प्रजायेयेति । स तपोऽतप्यत । स तपस्तप्त्वा । इदं सर्वमसृजत । यदिदं किंच । तत् सृष्ट्वा तदेवानुप्राविशत् । तदनुप्रविश्य । सच्च त्यच्चाभवत् । निरुक्तं चानिरुक्तं च । निलयनं चानिलयनं च । विज्ञानं चाविज्ञानं च । सत्यं चानृतं च सत्यमभवत् । यदिदं किंच । तत्सत्यमित्याचक्षते । तदप्येष श्लोको भवति ॥

    The Spirit desired of old, “I would be manifold for the birth of peoples.” Therefore He concentrated all Himself1 in thought, and by the force of His brooding He created all this universe, yea, all whatsoever exists. Now when He had brought it forth, He entered into that He had created, He entering in became the Is here and the May Be there; He became that which is defined and that which has no feature; He became this housed thing and that houseless; He became Knowledge and He became Ignorance; He became Truth and He became falsehood. Yea, He became all truth, even whatsoever here exists. Therefore they say of Him that He is Truth. Whereof this is the Scripture. (The Upanishads, Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, chapter 6)

  4. RV 10.72. (R L Kashyap, Rig veda Samhita, mandala 10)

    देवानां नु वंश जाना प्र वोचाम विपन्यया। उक्थेषु शस्यमानेषु यः पश्यादुत्तरे युगे।। 1 ।।

    With the words of light we shall proclaim the birth of the gods.

    ब्रह्मणस्पतिरेता सं कर्मार इवाधमत्। देवानां पूर्व्ये युगेऽस्तः सदजायत।। 2 ।।

    Like a smith, Brahmanaspati fashioned them into perfect shape, in the primordial age of the devas, the Existence (सत्) sprang from the Non-existent (असत्).

    अदितिर्ह्यजनिष्ट दक्ष या दुहिता तव। तां देवा अन्वजायन्त भद्रा अमृतबन्धवः।। 5 ।।

    Yes, Aditi was born, she is thy daughter O Daksha; from you were born the devas, the blissful (भद्र), the immortal fraternity (अमृतबानदधवः)

    अष्टौ पुत्रासो अदितेर्ये जातास्तन्व स्परि ।। 8 ।।

    Eight were the sons of infinite Aditi, who were born from her body.

  5. RV 10.129.2

    न मृत्युरासीदमृतं न तर्हि न रात्र्या अह्न आसीत् प्रकेत्ः। आनीदवातं स्वधया तदेकं तस्माद्धान्यन्न परः किं चनास।।

    Death was not then nor Immortality; there was no knowledge of day nor of night. That was One and lived without the Breath by its own fixity (E.S. nature); there was nothing else beyond It.

    Sri Aurobindo, Vedic and Philological Studies: Mandala Ten

  6. … तस्माद्वा एतस्माद्विज्ञानमयात् । अन्योऽन्तर आत्माऽऽनन्दमयः । तेनैष पूर्णः । स वा एष पुरुषविध एष । तस्य पुरुषविधताम् । अन्वयं पुरुषविधः । तस्य प्रियमेव शिरः । मोदो दक्षिणः पक्षः । प्रमोद उत्तरः पक्षः । आनन्द आत्मा । ब्रह्म पुच्छं प्रतिष्ठा । तदप्येष श्लोको भवति ॥

    “… Now there is yet a second and inner self which is other than this which is of Knowledge and it is fashioned out of Bliss. And the Self of Bliss fills the Self of Knowledge. Now the Bliss Self is made in the image of a man; according as is the human image of the other, so is it made in the image of the man. Love is the head of him; Joy is his right side; pleasure is his left side; Bliss is his spirit which is the self of him; the Eternal is his lower member wherein he rests abidingly. Whereof this is the Scripture.” (The Upanishads, Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, chapter 5)

    The Vedic seers looked at Love from above, from its source and root and saw it and received it in their humanity as an out flowing of the divine Delight. The Taittiriya Upanishad expounding this spiritual and cosmic bliss of the godhead, Vedantic Ananda, Vedic Mayas, says of it, ‘‘Love is its head.” But the word it chooses for Love, priyam, means properly the delightfulness of the objects of the soul’s inner pleasure and satisfaction. The Vedic singers used the same psychology. They couple mayas and prayas,—mayas, the principle of inner felicity independent of all objects, prayas, its out-flowing as the delight and pleasure of the soul in objects and beings. (The Secret of the Veda, Guardians of the Light, Mitra)

  7. RV 1.72.9

    आ ये विश्वा स्वपत्यानि तस्थुः कृण्वानासो अमृतत्वाय गातुम् । मह्वा महाद्भिः पृथिवी वि तस्थे माता पुत्रैरदितिर्धायसे वेः ।। 9 ।।

    They who entered into all things that bear right fruit formed a path towards the immortality; earth stood wide for them by the greatness and by the Great Ones, the mother Aditi with her sons came (or, manifested herself) for the upholding” (I.72.9). That is to say, the physical being visited by the greatness of the infinite planes above and by the power of the great godheads who reign on those planes breaks its limits, opens out to the Light and is upheld in its new wideness by the infinite Consciousness, mother Aditi, and her sons, the divine Powers of the supreme Deva.

    Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda: The Victory of the Fathers

    अष्टौ पुत्रासो अदितेर्ये जातास्तन्व स्परि। देवाँ उप प्रैत् सप्तभिः परा मार्ताण्डमास्यत्।। 8 ।।

    We are told that there are eight sons of the cosmic Aditi who are born from her body; by seven she moves to the gods, but the eighth son is Martanda, of the mortal creation, whom she casts away from her; with the seven she moves to the supreme life, the original age of the gods, but Martanda is brought back out of the Inconscient into which he had been cast to preside over mortal birth and death.

    This Martanda or eighth Surya is the black or dark, the lost, the hidden sun. The Titans have taken and concealed him in their cavern of darkness and thence he must be released into splendour and freedom by the gods and seers through the power of the sacrifice. In less figurative language the mortal life is governed by an oppressed, a hidden, a disguised Truth; just as Agni the divine seer-will works at first upon earth concealed or obscured by the smoke of human passion and self-will, so Surya the divine Knowledge lies concealed and unattainable in the night and darkness, is enveloped and contained in the ignorance and error of the ordinary human existence. The Seers by the power of truth in their thoughts discover this Sun lying in the darkness, they liberate this knowledge, this power of undivided and all-embracing vision, this eye of the gods concealed in our subconscient being; they release his radiances, they create the divine Dawn. Indra the divine Mind-power, Agni the Seer-Will, Brihaspati the Master of the inspired word, Soma the immortal Delight born in man aid them, to shatter the strong places of the mountain, the artificial obstructions of the Titans are broken and this Sun soars up radiant into our heavens. Arisen he mounts to the supramental Truth. “He goes where the gods have made a path for him cleaving like an eagle to his goal he ascends with his seven shining horses to the utter luminous ocean of the higher existence; he is led over it by the seers as in a ship.

    Of the other sons of Aditi (विश्वेदेवा) are the four great Kings, children of the Infinite — Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, the purity and vastness of the Truth-consciousness, its law of love and light and harmony, its power and aspiration, its pure and happy enjoyment of things… adapted from the Secret of the Veda

  8. RV 10.190.2

    समुद्रादर्णवादधि संवत्सरों अजायत। अहोरात्राणि विदधद्विश्‌वस्य मिषतो वशी।।

    From the inconscient ocean came Time, (an inner psychological time that is taken to recover the eternal Truth.—Adapted from Purani’s vedic glossary)

    RV 1.1.7,8,9

    उप त्वाग्ने दिवे दिवे दोषावस्तर्धिया वयं । नमो भरन्त एमसि ॥7॥

    राजन्तमध्वराणां गोपामृतस्य दीदिविं । वर्धमानं स्वे दमे ॥8॥

    स नः पितेव सूनवे अग्ने सूपायनो भव । सचस्वा नः स्वस्तये ॥9॥

    That thou, O friend, O Agni, wilt surely effect the weal of the giver, that is the nature & truth of thee, O lord of love. To thee, O Agni, day by day, O dweller in the twilight, we with the discerning mind bring our submission when thy strength is at its height, to thee the ruler of all here below, guardian of Immortality, a high splendour increasing in its home. Therefore do thou be easy of approach to us as a father to his son; be thou strong for our felicity.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Translations of the First Hymn of the Rig Veda

  9. RV 10.51, Devas & Agni Sauchika

    महत् तदुल्वं स्थविरं तदासीद्येनाविष्टितः प्रविवेशिथापः । विश्वा अपश्यद्वहुषा ते अग्ने जातवेदस्तन्वो देव एकः ॥1॥

    Deva: Large was the covering and it was dense in which thou wert wrapped when thou didst enter into the waters; one was the god who saw thee but many and manifold were thy bodies which he saw, O Fire, O knower of all things born.

    को मा ददर्श कतमः स देवो यो मे तन्वो बहुधा पर्यपश्यत् । क्वाह मित्रावरुणा क्षियन्त्यग्नेर्विश्वाः समिधो देवयानीः ॥2॥

    Agni: Which of the gods was he who saw everywhere my bodies in many forms? O Mitra and Varuna, where then dwell all the blazings of the Fire which are paths of the gods?

    ऐच्छाम् त्वा बहुधा जातवेदः प्रविष्टमग्ने अप्स्वोषधीषु । तं त्वा यमो अचिकेच्चित्रभानो दशान्तरुष्यादतिरोचमानम् ॥3॥

    Deva: We desire thee, O Fire, O knower of all things born, when thou hast entered manifoldly into the growths of the earth and into the waters; there the lord of the law grew aware of thee, O thou of the many diverse lights, shining luminous beyond the ten inner dwelling-places.

    होत्रावहं वरुण विभ्यदायं नेदेव मा युनजन्नत्र देवाः । तस्य मे तन्वो बहुधा निविष्टा एतमयँ न चिकेताहमग्निः ॥4॥

    Agni: O Varuna, fearing the sacrificants’ office that so the gods might not yoke me to that work; so my bodies entered manifoldly, for I, Fire, was not conscious of this goal of the movement.

    एहि मनुर्देवयुर्यज्ञकामोऽरंकृत्या तमसि क्षेष्यग्ने । सुगान् पथः कृणुहि देवयानान् वह हव्यानि सुमनस्यमानः ॥5॥

    Deva: Come to us; the human being, god-seeking, is desirous of sacrifice, he has made all ready but thou dwellest in the darkness, O Fire. Make the paths of the journeying of the gods easy to travel, let thy mind be at ease, carry the offerings.

    अग्नेः पूर्वे भ्रातरो अर्थमेतं रथीवाध्वानमन्वावरीवुः । तस्माद्भिया वरुण दूरमायं गौरो न क्षेप्नोरविजे ज्यायाः ॥6॥

    Agni: The ancient brothers of the Fire chose this goal to be reached as charioteers follow a path; therefore in fear I came far away, O Varuna. I started back as a gaur from the bowstring of the archer.

    कुर्मस्त आयुरजरं यदग्ने यथा युक्तो जातवेदो न रिष्याः । अथा वहासि सुमनस्यमानो भागं देवेभ्यो हविषः सुजात ॥7॥

    Deva: Since we make thy life imperishable, O Fire, O knower of all things born, so that yoked with it thou shalt not come to harm, then with thy mind at ease thou canst carry their share of the offering to the gods, O high-born Fire.

    प्रयाजान् मे अनुयाजाँश्य केवलानूर्जस्वन्तं हविषो दत्त भागम् । घृतं चापां पुरुषं चौषधीनामग्नेश्च दीर्घमायुरस्तु देवाः ॥8॥

    Agni: Give me the absolutes that precede and follow the sacrifice as my share of the oblation packed with the energy; give me the light from the waters and the soul from the plants and let there be long life for the Fire, O gods.

    तव प्रयाजा अनुयाजाश्च केवल ऊर्जस्वन्तो हविषः सन्तु भागाः । तवाग्ने यज्ञोऽयमस्तु सर्वस्तुभ्यं नमन्तां प्रदिशश्चतस्त्रः ॥9॥

    Thine be the absolute precedents and consequents of the sacrifice, the portions packed with energy of the oblation; thine, O Fire, be all this sacrifice; may the four regions bow down to thee.

  10. RV 10.79.1

    अपश्यमस्य महतो महित्वममर्त्यस्य मर्त्यासु विक्षु । नाना हनू विभृते सं भरेते असिन्वती बप्सती भूर्यत्तः ॥1॥

    1) I have seen the greatness of this great one (Agni), the Immortal in the mortal peoples. The jaws of this abundant eater, separate and held apart, are brought close together, devouring, insatiable.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Agni Sauchika or Vaishwanara or Sapti Vajambhara

  11. RV 1.12

    अग्निं दूतं वृणीमहे होतारं विश्ववेदसम् । अस्य यज्ञस्य सुकतुम् ॥1॥

    We choose Agni, the summoner, the all-knowing, the messenger, the will effective of this sacrifice.

    अग्ने देवाँ इहा वह जज्ञानो वृक्तबर्हिषे । असि होता न ईड्यः ॥3॥

    O Fire, thou being born hither bear the Gods for the sacrificer who spreads the holy seat, thou art our desirable summoning priest.

    ताँ उशतो वि बोधय यदग्ने यासि दूत्यम् । देवैरा सत्सि बर्हिषि ॥4॥

    4) O Fire, when thou goest as our envoy, awaken them up who desire our offerings. Take thy seat with the Gods on the holy grass.

  12. ता एता देवताः सृष्टा अस्मिन्महत्यर्णवे प्रापतंस्तमशनापिपासाभ्यामन्ववार्जत् । ता एनमब्रुवन्नायतनं नः प्रजानीहि, यस्मिन् प्रतिष्ठिता अन्नमदामेति ॥१॥

    These were the Gods that He created; they fell into this great Ocean, and Hunger and Thirst leaped upon them. Then they said to Him, “Command unto us an habitation that we may dwell secure and eat of food.”

    ताभ्यो गामानयत्ता अब्रुवन्न वै नोऽयमलमिति ताभ्योऽश्वमानयत्ता अब्रुवन्न वै नोऽयमलमिति ॥२॥

    He brought unto them the cow, but they said, “Verily, it is not sufficient for us.” He brought unto them the horse, but they said, “Verily, it is not enough for us.”

    ताभ्यः पुरुषमानयत्ता अब्रुवन् सुकृतं बतेति; पुरुषो वाव सुकृतम् । ता अब्रवीद्यथायतनं प्रविशतेति ॥३॥

    He brought unto them Man, and they (Gods) said, “O well fashioned truly! Man indeed is well and beautifully made.” Then the Spirit said unto them, “Enter ye in each according to his habitation.” (The Upanishads, Aitareya Upanishad, Chapter One: Section II)

    Aitereya Upanishad, Chapter One: Section II

  13. एता नो अग्ने सौभगा दिदीह्यपि कतुं सुचेतसं वतेम । विश्वा स्तोतृभ्यो गृणते च सन्तु यूयं पात स्वस्तिभिः सदा नः ॥7।3।10॥

    10) O Fire, light up for us these happinesses; let us wake to an understanding of thy perfectly conscious will; let all be there for those who laud thee, for him who utters thee; may you protect us always with all kinds of weal.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Vasishtha Maitravaruni

    इन्द्राग्नी नवर्ति पुरो दासपत्नीरधूनुतम् । साकमेकेन कर्मणा ॥3।12।6॥

    Indra and Fire shook down the ninety cities possessed by the destroyers, together by one deed.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Vishwamitra Gathina

    विश्वेषामदितिर्यज्ञियानां विश्वेषामतिथिर्मानुषाणाम् । अग्निर्देवानामव आवृणानः सुमृळीको भवतु जातवेदाः ॥4।1।20॥

    20) The indivisibility of all the gods, the guest of all human beings, may the Fire draw to us the protection of the gods and be blissful to us, the knower of all things born.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Vamadeva Gautama

    नृचक्षा रक्षः परि पश्य विक्षु तस्य त्रीणि प्रति शृणीह्यग्रा । तस्याग्ने पृष्टीर्हरसा शृणीहि त्रेधा मूलं यातुधानस्य वृश्च ॥10।87।10॥

    Divine of vision, see everywhere the Rakshasa in the peoples, cleave the three peaks of him; his flanks, O Fire, cleave with thy wrath, rend asunder the triple root of the demon-sorcerer.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Payu Bharadwaja

  14. सं गच्छष्वं सं वदष्वं सं वो मनांसि जानताम् । देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे संजानाना उपासते ॥10।191।2॥

    2) Join together, speak one word, let your minds arrive at one knowledge even as the ancient gods arriving at one knowledge partake each of his own portion.


    समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तमेषाम् । समानं मन्त्रमभि मन्त्रये वः समानेन वो हविषा जुहोमि ॥10।191।3॥

    3) Common Mantra have all these, a common gathering to union, one mind common to all, they are together in one knowledge; I pronounce for you a common Mantra, I do sacrifice for you with a common offering.


    समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः । समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति ॥10।191।4॥

    4) One and common be your aspiration, united your hearts, common to you be your mind,—so that close companionship may be yours.

    Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Samvanana Angirasa

  15. यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मन्येवानुपश्यति । सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते ॥6॥

    But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught.

    ईशोपनिषद् 6

    यस्मिन् सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मैवाभूद् विजानतः । तत्र को मोहः कः शोक एकत्वमनुपश्यतः ॥7॥

    He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, for he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness?

    ईशोपनिषद् 7