Glimpses of Vedic Literature - Rigveda (Contd.)

Rigveda (Contd.)


Rigveda (Contd.)

WE are giving below four important verses from the Rigveda, Mandala-I. Sukta 89. These have been chosen with a special purpose. They bring out the emphasis that is laid in the Veda on: (a) universality, (b) goodwill, (c) well-being, (d) selflessness and (e) all-round good health.

ॐ आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतो।
ऽ दब्धासो अपरीतास उद्भिदः।
देवा नो यथा सदमिद् वृधे असन्नप्रायुवो रक्षितारो दिवेदिवे ।।1।।

"May thoughts of goodwill come to us from all directions, without any obstruction or restraint, leading us to higher ideals, so that we may be recipients of divine protection without any hindrance from day to day for our well deserved growth."

स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्वश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः।
स्वस्ति नस्ताक्ष्यों अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु ।।6।।

"May Indra, with the opulent power of the divine hearing,

Rigveda (Contd.)

Rigveda (Contd.)

be propitious to us. May the Omniscient Pushan be propitious to us. May Garuda, with His irresistible weapons, be propitious to us. May Brihaspati be auspicious to us."

भद्रं कर्णभिः शृणुयाम देवा भद्रं पश्येमाक्ष।
स्थिरैरंगैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनुभिव्र्यशेम देवहितं यद

"0 Gods, may we hear with ears what is auspicious; may we see with eyes what is auspicious, 0 gods worthy of worship. May we sing songs of gratitude with all our bodies endowed with firm faculties and live the full span of our life devoted to divine welfare."

शतमिन्नु शरदो अन्ति देवा यत्रा नश्चक्रा जरसं तनूनाम्।
पुत्रासो यत्र पितरो भवन्ति मा नो मध्या रीरिषतायुर्गन्तोः।।9।।

"Hundred autumns are assigned to us by the Divine in this fleeting existence of bodies, subject to old age and decay. Those who are sons today shall be fathers tomorrow; may we have (therefore) no afflictions or infirmities in the midst of our life-span."

A few words of commentary:

ॐ आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतो। (May good thoughts come to us from the entire universe)—These words of the Veda are often quoted to indicate that the Vedic teaching is wide open to the whole universe and is ready to receive thoughts of goodwill from all, irrespective of country, race and religion.

These words also emphasise the earnestness of the Veda for goodwill, for all that is auspicious, pleasant and sweet.

The verse in question is aware of the fact that, realistically, the good is usually met with obstruction, opposition or restriction. Gravitation towards the lower levels of existence is easy and smooth, but climbing upwards, which is effected by thoughts of goodwill, is always difficult. The Rishi, therefore, prays for daily

Rigveda (Contd.)

Rigveda (Contd.)

protection from the Divine so that upward growth is fostered.

The force of this prayer is deeply realised by those who are in the midst of difficulties or are surrounded by enemies and are desperately in need of conquering them in order to experience higher or upward movement of growth.

The next verse is straightforward and expresses the prayer for Grace.

At a deeper level, however, a fundamental law of the universe lies behind this prayer. This law can be explained in the following words of Sri Aurobindo:

"There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a Supreme Grace from the above that answers."

It is also noteworthy that, in the Veda, aspiration or the call from below is represented by Agni, and Grace or the power that descends from above is represented by the Sun who stands for omniscience or all-knowing light. Again, in the framework of Vedic knowledge. Sun or Supreme creative Light acts through three agencies, the agency of light that inspires, the agency of light that reveals and the agency of light that tears the veil of darkness by means of irresistible weapons.

In other words, the power of the Grace is the power of the Sun, which in this verse, is addressed as Pushan (which means the increasing or rising light of the Sun), and the adjective attached to it is Vishwavedah (which means Omniscient). But the first delegate of the Sun is Indra, who stands between our Mind and Solar Supermind and comes to us in the form of increasing inspirations and words that are heard increasingly. That is why we find Indra with the

Rigveda (Contd.)

Rigveda (Contd.)

epithet Vriddhashravah (opulent power of divine hearing).

Indra is always supported by the action of force or weapons which are irresistible (अरिष्टनेमिः) and can tear open the veils of ignorance and darkness. When this is effected, the light of the Sun manifests as truth that can be seen, the word that can be revealed, which is indicated in the verse by reference to Brihaspati who symbolises the Lord of the Word, Revelation or Creation.

In the light of the above, we can see that this verse gives the secret of the law of aspiration and Grace as also the secret of the elements that are involved in the Action of Grace that descends from above.

The third and the fourth verses are also simple, as simple as all truths are. But the profundity of this simplicity will become manifest when we relate the prayers of these two verses with the principal aim that the Veda sets before us for achieving in human life.

As is well known, the principal aim of the Vedic knowledge is the discovery of the Supreme Truth (satyam, ritam) and application of it in every part of our being so as to attain to the state of immortality.

Vedic immortality lies in the realisation of the eternal Reality, not only in its essence, but also in its manifest powers of Light and Force. This realisation has been described variously in the Veda. The following mantra of Parashara, for example, gives us quite a vivid image of the state of immortality:

आ ये विश्वा स्वपत्यानि तस्थुः कृण्वानासोऽमृरतत्वाय गातुम्।
मह्ना महद्भिः पृथिवी वि तस्ये माता पुत्रैरदितिर्धायसे वेः।। (1.72.9)

They who entered into all things that bear right fruit formed a path towards the immortality; earth stood wide for them by the

Rigveda (Contd.)

Rigveda (Contd.)

greatness and by the Great Ones, the mother Aditi with her sons came (or, manifested herself) for the upholding.

Commenting on this, Sri Aurobindo points out:

"That is to say, the physical being visited by the greatness of the infinite planes above and by the power of 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. This is the Vedic immortality."3

Considering that the physical condition able to sustain the power of realisation in the divine state of immortality, the Veda insists that the body should be kept in good condition, with firm organs and faculties capable of singing songs of gratitude.

And the Veda further lays down the condition that this can happen when we hear with our ears and see with our eyes always what is auspicious.
(भद्रं कण्रेभिः शृणुयाम... भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिः)

It is in the context of the larger aim of immortality and of the conditions that have to be fulfilled to achieve that aim that we can appreciate why the Veda advocates longest possible longevity (hundred years and even more). It is not the attachment to the physical frame or physical life that is the underlying motive; it is the basic motive of divine manifestation.

* The Secret of the Veda, Centenary Ed., pp. 191-2.

Rigveda (Contd.)

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