The Human Journey
Agni is not only the fire of the sacrifice, the fire of the journey of life, the élan of evolution, but also it is its leader and priest (purohita). Agni leads man in his search of the Truth (satyam). It is he who connects man with the cosmic forces and with all the gods of the three worlds (triloka), of earth (bhur), mid-world (bhuvar) and heaven (swar). At the head of swar is Indra, the god of Illumined Intelligence. It is Indra who shows man the path to the still higher realms and to the Supreme Reality. He cannot be over- passed, says Indra himself, in a colloquy between him and Agastya, a Rishi, who is impatient to shoot beyond to the Supreme, but finds Indra obstructing his path. 'I am your friend', says Indra to Agastya, 'I am not obstructing your path, but I am here on the path to take you to the Supreme. Why do you not invite me to your sacrifice?' Indra complains. Agastya understands, he invites Indra, and accepts to be led by him. In this short colloquy,"' we have a very meaningful description of one of the secret experiences recorded in the Vedas.
But before one can reach the Supreme or the Supreme Light, (Savitri), one has to cross the four Guardians, the four Kings guarding the light of the Truth. These are the four gods, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga. They are to be embraced and to be fulfilled before they lead the seeker to his goal.
Varuna represents vastness, infinite wideness, limitlessness. The Truth that the Veda worships is infinite, it is spaceless and timeless and yet is all Space and Time. This truth cannot be possessed without the widest wideness in our consciousness and in our being. In narrowness and in divisions, truth cannot be caught, and it escapes from all limitations, from all angularities. The seeker of the Vedic knowledge is therefore asked to break all narrowness, all divisions, all oppositions, all conflicts. He has to learn to comprehend and to contain all, all without limits. He has to
*Rig Veda, 1-70.
grow in the wideness of Varuna, worship him and be as wide as he is. Varuna answers the seeker, helps him and liberates him into the wide spaces of infinite being and prepares him to perceive all the infinities of the. Supreme Light. The consciousness of man is broken by the mighty invasion of Varuna, and Varuna is fulfilled in man, who ceases to be mere mental and consents to be supramental.
But this is-not enough. Mitra, the lord of Harmony is also to be fulfilled. The seeker must learn the secret of relations, know the threads that bind each to all and all to each. He must learn to be the friend of all creatures, of all men, of all gods. With the wideness of Varuna, he must combine the harmony of Mitra; wideness and relationships are both to be mastered. The Supramental Light is wideness but not empty of contents or relations. Hence the necessity of the union of Varuna and Mitra. And the seeker must serve these two gods, fulfill them, embody them and grow into their image.
But eyen this is not enough. In all human endeavor, there is the stress and strain of effort. There is a struggle, and it is through struggle), through intense effort, that the narrowness is overpassed, that the conflicts are resolved, wideness is achieved, harmony is established. One must have therefore the capacity for the highest effort, the intensest tapasya, a perfect mastery over all that needs to be done. Aryaman is the god of this mastery. Through him the highest effort is accomplished. He is total endurance. Without this endurance, we are like the unbaked jar, which will be broken at the touch of the Supreme Light. It will not be able to hold the nectar of immortality. The jar, our instrument, our body, our entire being, has to be baked, baked fully by the heat and austerity of Aryaman. He has to be worshipped, he has to be possessed, he has to be fulfilled. He prepares us, along with Varuna and Mitra, for the possession of Supreme Light.
But there is still Bhaga to be fulfilled. The Supreme Light is joy and we must learn not only the intensest effort but also the highest degrees of enjoyment. We know ordinarily the enjoyment of pleasure of the vital and of the physical. Even at the lower level the intense pleasure becomes an excitement and our balance is lost. We are not able to bear the pressure of enjoyment. Not many know the enjoyment of thought and of perception and of intuition, of beauty, of love, of ecstasy. All these enjoyments are to be known, experienced, possessed and fulfilled. But there are higher and
still higher enjoyments. The Supreme Reality itself is a supreme enjoyment. Bhaga represents this supreme enjoyment. He is the god who presides over enjoyments, who is the eternal aspect of the joy of the Divine. He is to be approached, and -in unity with Varuna, Mitra and Aryaman, he has to be embodied.
In his upward journey, the seeker then proceeds to Savitri, the lord of the Supreme Light, the sun in which 'all the gods unyoke their horses', the supreme in which gods cease to be entities and become His aspects.
This marks the victory of the Aryan seeker. He is now in the very home of the gods (swe dame). This is the home of the Truth, the Right and the Vast (satyam, ritam brihat). This is the supramental Truth-Consciousness (Sat-Chit). It is that by which reality expresses itself, and in which expression, even the Idea-Expression, is the concrete body of the Truth itself. It may therefore be described as the Real-Idea.
The Vedic seers seem to speak of primary faculties of the Truth- Conscious' soul: They are Sight and Hearing, the direct operations of an inherent Knowledge describable as Truth-vision and Truth-audition. It is these operations which are reflected from far off in our human mentality by the faculties of revelation and inspiration. This truth-consciousness is comprehensive, knows all, because it is all. It knows all in its universality and also in every detail of particularity. Light is here one with Force, the vibrations of knowledge with the rhythm of the will and both are one, perfectly and without seeking, groping or effort, with the assured result.
It is in this consciousness that is contained the honey, the nectar of delight. It is this honey (madhu) which is packed in the chariot of the Ashwins. The Ashwins, the divine twins, are the physicians of the gods who heal by the pourings of this nectar. It is this honey, soma, that is drunk by the gods and it is this soma drunk by the human seekers that gives to them immortality (amritam).
This, in brief, is the basic human journey of the Aryan described in the Veda. But there is still a further secret of which the Veda speaks, the secret of a further journey which is described through cryptic and ambiguous phrases and through somewhat incomprehensible legends.
To this secret we shall turn next.