THE Supreme Reality is, according to the Veda, "That One" spoken of variously by the wise. This Reality came to be described in the Upanishads as Sat-Chit-Ananda (Sachchidananda), the pure conscious and blissful Existent. In the Veda we find that it is described often as Sat. It is also described as blissful. It is again described as conscious, and as Force of concentrated consciousness, Tapas. The Veda also speaks of It as tridhatu, the threefold Substance.
In an intriguing description of the totality of Reality and its manifestation,the Veda speaks of it as one having four horns and three feet (catvari sringa trayo asya padah). Evidently, the four horns symbolise the upper domain of Reality; and three feet symbolise the lower domain of Reality. It is also clear that the three feet would mean the three lower principles of manifestation with which we, living in the lower world, are quite familiar, namely. Matter, Life and Mind. We can also see that of the four horns, three
horns are those of Sat, Chit and Ananda. But what is the fourth horn, which is in the upper domain?
We seem to be getting a reply to this question m the following hymn of the Rigveda, composed by Rishi Aghamarshana. The first line of the first verse of this hymn runs thus:
"From the Tapas (Force of concentrated consciousness) arose the Truth and the Right."
As we saw earlier, the Veda often describes the Supreme Reality as Sat, but also sometimes as Tapas. This Sat or Tapas is the threefold substance, Sat-Chit-Ananda, the three horns of the Upper domain of the Reality. We are now told that out of this Tapas arose the Truth and the Right, which are also described elsewhere as the Great or Mahas. This is the fourth horn of the upper domain of the Reality.
The totality of the Reality is thus sevenfold. The four upper domains are:
|Mahas||The Truth and the Right|
|And the three feet, that is, the three lower principles arc:|
These are the seven principles that we find present everywhere. That is why, the Veda also describes the Reality elsewhere as saptahastaso asya, seven-handed. But the Veda tells us something more about the order in which the Reality
has manifested the universe; and this is quite important for AC Vedic science. Let us turn to this account, which is given in the second and subsequent lines of the hymn of the seer Aahamarshana. The second line runs as follows:
ततो॒ रात्र्य॑जायत॒ तत॑: समु॒द्रो अ॑र्ण॒वः (RV.X.190.1)
"Then arose the night, and from it arose the watery ocean."
We may halt a little at this point to ask a question with some bewilderment. The question arises because of the following position: We may recall that in the first line, we were told that from the Reality, which is Tapas, the Truth and the Right arose. Here the emergence of Truth from Tapas or Sat seems quite natural and logical. But in the second line we are told that from the Truth, satyam, what arose was the darkness of the night. And this seems quite surprising or even shocking and illogical. How can darkness arise from the Truth?
We find a hint or even an explicit indication of the answer to this question in the last chapter of the Yajurveda. (This chapter is also well known as the Isha Upanishad).
The relevant mantra is the 15th verse of the Isha Upanishad. The verse reads as follows:
हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम् ।
तत्त्वं पूषन्नपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ॥ १५ ॥
"The face of the Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid; that do thou remove, 0 Fosterer, for the law of the Truth, for sight."
This means that the Truth as the first emergent of Tapas can get covered by a brilliant golden lid. This lid is so effective that if the face of the Truth is sought to be seen, that lid needs to be lifted.
But what is that lid? By what means does it get formed?
Surely, the means can be Tapas itself, since there is nothing else than. That, Sat, which is in the process of Tapas. Tapas, by its very nature, is concentration of the Consciousness-Force; and this concentration can be of various kinds; it can be integral; it can be exclusive. In its action of exclusive concentration, it can create the lid by its intensity and persistence.
This is what we can see in our own ordinary psychological functioning, where by means of concentration on one point, we can relegate our awareness of all the rest in the background. But once this operation becomes effective, that concentration can serve as a barrier, as a lid. In the beginning, that lid may be transparent, even brilliant. But there arises also a further possibility of turning that lid thicker, even opaque. And once this opaqueness is achieved, the radiation of light becomes more and more difficult. (Analogically, this is what happens when the radiating light is drawn back from the internal pull of gravitation to such a great extent that the object radiates no light at all, and we get the phenomenon of the black hole.) The last stage of the operation of the exclusive concentration of consciousness Would be that of an abysmal sleep. It is this which is described by the Veda as the night of darkness.
In other words, the Veda states that after the emergence of the Truth and the Right from the Tapas, there emerged the night; and this is further described as watery ocean, samudro arnavah, which is a symbol of darkness.
The next steps of emergence are rapidly described. In the hush of the night, there begins the process of ascent from below and descent from above in accordance with a specific preconceived purpose. As a result, there come about alterations of light and darkness; ascent from darkness towards light of the Truth, and the descent of light of the
Truth towards the darkness to transform it. Days of light are followed by the nights of darkness, which are again followed by days of light, and so on, ahoratrani. As a result of this movement a stair is built up between the luminous Truth, the Sun of knowledge, and the dense unconscious Matter. The Sun is always associated with delight, symbolised by Soma or Moon, Chandramas. Below the realm of Knowledge and Delight is formed the realm of the Heaven of the Mind, divam; and below it lies the realm of Matter, prithvi,—with the realm of Life, antariksha, as a link between Mind and Matter. And, finally, there is the luminous World of svar, a passage for ascent from Matter, Life and Mind and for descent from the world of Truth and Delight. Let us go back to the text of the hymn and hear directly from the seer Aghamarshana:
समुद्रादर्णवादधि संवत्सरो अजायत।
अहोरात्रणि विदधद् विश्वस्य मिषतो वशी।। X.190.2
सूर्याचन्द्रमसौ धाता यथा पूर्वमकल्पयत्।
दिवं च पृथिवीं चान्तरिक्षमथो स्वः।। X.190.3
"From the Watery Ocean 'there emerged the movement of descent and ascent (Samvatsara); consequently, the alteration of light and darkness (ahoratrani) ordained by the ruler of Time (or moment-to-moment movement)." X. 190.2
"As pre-planned by the Creator, there arose the sun and the moon; the heaven and the earth with the intermediate world, and then the world of svar, the heaven of descending light." X. 190.3