Process and Methods of the Vedic Yoga
Is it possible to arrive at some precision in regard to the actual processes and methods of yoga, particularly when the Vedic texts are voluminous and also because ritualism of Vedic religion and esoteric knowledge of the psychological principles and methods of yogic realizations are intertwined in the language in which the Vedic texts are composed? Fortunately, Sri Aurobindo has written two great books, 'The Secret of the Veda’ and 'Hymns to the Mystic Fire’, which have developed the psychological theory based on the data available in the Vedic texts themselves, and a study of these works can help us in delineating the yogic system of the Veda. Even then, the subject is vast, and any attempt to present a summary is bound to do injustice to the wideness, depth and loftiness of the system of yoga that can be discerned in the Vedic texts. And yet a brief statement could be useful and may serve the limited purpose that we have in view.
Significance of Agni as the First Step
Among the four Vedas (Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda), Rig Veda is preeminent. In this Veda, the largest number of hymns are addressed and related to Agni, the mystic fire. This fact is significant, and it provides the central key to the treasure of the Vedic system of yoga." Agni, like many other Vedic terms, has many meanings. It means fire; it means aspiration, force of consciousness and
urge, mounting and burning askesis. As we study the psychological theory of this Veda closely, we find that Agni is not only a principle of physical fire, but stands much more constantly and thoroughly for the psychological Will-Force. The Vedic poets make it abundantly clear that they have discovered a secret Will-Force to be constantly vibrant in the whole universe. According to them, physical fire is only one outer manifestation, which can be used as symbol in an attempt to bring the physical mind nearer to a sense and feeling for something that is deeply, profoundly and supra- physically present and dynamic in the universe.
Agni, according to the Vedic knowledge, is also the force of evolution, which pushes always forward, and breaks the tenebrous layers of Inconscience (Tamas) and Matter (Annam) and delivers the pulsating Life-Force. It is that which causes growth, and which increases the power, and which forges and welds relations among vegetations, plants and herbs, and which pushes forward the greater forces of Intelligence, which forms and builds complex organization in which mind can be evolved and lodged and made to vibrate effectively so as to make the material form not only conscious but even self-conscious. The original nature of Agni as a conscious will begins to manifest more and more evidently, and it begins to be experienced by self-conscious processes of yoga as a link between the physical world (Bhur) and the intermediate worlds (Bhuvar) and the higher worlds (Swar), and it is also found that there is a still higher world (Turīyam Svid)¹² which it manifests itself fully, since it is its original home from which it has descended as an evolutionary force into the inconcience. Agni is described also as the messenger, who has a free access to all and communicates the intended message to any destination.
The Vedic seers affirm their discovery of Agni as not only an impersonal force of will or aspiration, but also as a being, a cosmic being, which is an aspect of the Supreme and Transcendental Reality. It is further affirmed that Agni presides over all the psychological activities that relate to will, force, action and energizing. According to the Vedic experience, Agni can be contacted, he can be approached, he can be invited, and he can be made active within us and within the universe. The Veda describes through various hymns not only the nature of Agni, but provides the exact vibratory sounds by which a dynamic contact with Agni can be established. For, according to the Vedic poets, a sound or a certain secret set of vibrations are appropriate to the vibrations of invisible psychological forces and entities. The Veda provides these secret sets of vibrations. The very hymns, their sounds, their specific measures are themselves those secret sets of vibrations. They are the mantras, the inevitable rhythmic expressions bearing the vibratory sounds packed with forces of realizations. These mantras invoke the deity and give knowledge by which one can submit in admiration and devotion and derive from the deity his help, his intervention and his effective manifestation.
Religions speak normally of God and gods and angels, and the myths and prayers connected with the divine being constitute substantive parts of religious doctrines. The Vedic texts also abound with materials which are associated with religious beliefs and practices. However, when the language of the Vedic texts is studied, we discover a double aspect. One belongs to the external part of the Veda; it weaves together its naturalistic and religious imagery of the Sun, the Flame, the Dawn, the Cow, the Horse, the Wine, and the sacrificial settings and activities; the other extricates from
that imagery the internal sense. A major theme of the Veda relates to the Angirasa Rishis,13 whose yogic practices and experiences have been described, and the meaning of these descriptions becomes evident when the internal sense is discerned by means of critical and scrupulous study and scrutiny as has been made by Sri Aurobindo in his great works, 'The Secrets of the Veda’ and 'Hymns to the Mystic Fire’ In the religious and external garb of the Veda, the Angirasas are sons of the Flame, lusters of the Dawn, givers and drinkers of the Wine, singers of the Hymn, eternal youths and heroes who wrest for us the Sun, the Cows, the Horses and all treasures from the grasp of the sons of darkness. But they are also seers of the Truth, finders and speakers of the word of the Truth and by the power of the Truth they win for us the wide world of Light and Immortality which is described in the Veda as the Vast, the True, the Right (Brihat, Satyam, Rtam)14 and as the own home of which they are the children. This physical image and this psychological indication are closely interwoven and they cannot be separated from each other. It is only by scrupulous effort of interpretation which derives its veracity and force by internal evidence that one can discern the truths and principles of the Vedic yoga.
Agni is recognizable as the power of aspiration that initiates man's journey. Agni is the all-pervading energy and heat in the earth and in the heaven and it has the secret power of uniting the light of the heaven and the heat of Matter. It is us the secret power of physical transmutation at its highest; Agni is not merely the heat or the energy, not merely the mined will working out evolutionary process in Matter and of the human soul, it is not merely a cosmic being in the of various other cosmic beings, it is an aspect of the Supreme Godhead itself verily, it is one of the sacred
Names of the Supreme Divine Himself,
It is this Agni that is invoked by the Vedic seers at the beginning of the yogic journey, and throughout the journey. This is one of the deep secrets of the Vedic yoga. "Kindle Agni now, day after day and experience burning aspiration for the highest", — this is the starting-point of the Vedic practice of yoga according to the Vedic knowledge, and it is the aspiration that has to burn in the seeker; to that aspiration, the supreme responds; and response leads to fulfillment and perfection.15
Agni and Indra: Next Step
Agni leads man in his search for the truth (Satyam). It is Agni that connects man with the cosmic forces and with all the gods of the three worlds (triloka), of earth (Bhur), middle world (Bhuvar) and heaven (Swar). At a height of the heaven is the functioning of Indra who is described as gomat, one who possesses light and one who presides over the clarity of the mind (Vipaschita). Indra represents a Mind-Power released from the limits and obscurations of the nervous consciousness. It is this enlightened and illumined Intelligence which fashions right or perfect forms of thought or of action,16 not the forms of the nervous impulses hampered by the falsehoods of sense. Indra has therefore been described as the fashioner of perfect forms. The activity of the pure illumined intelligence is sustained and increased by the conscious expression in us of the delight in divine existence and divine activity typified by the intoxicating wine of supreme delight, Soma-wine.17 Indra is connected with sumati, — light in the thoughts and a bright gladness and kindness in the soul and right sensibilities of consciousness. According to the Vedic psychology, Indra is not only the
illuminer, but also the fashioner of right thought-formations. It is Indra who shows man the path that leads him to the higher realms of knowledge and to the Supreme Reality. He cannot be overpassed, says Indra himself, in a colloquy between him and Agastya,18 a Rishi, who is impatient to shoot beyond to the Supreme but without the necessary preparation of illumined intelligence which has to be attained by the help of Indra. Agastya finds Indra obstructing his path. Agastya complains, "Why dost thou seek to smite us, O! Indra?" Indra explains that he was not obstructing his path but he stands on the path to take him to the Supreme. The Supreme, as explained by Indra, cannot be attained merely by the power of thought; beyond the thought is the illumined thought of which he is the guardian and it is through him that the powers of the mind can be transcended and made ready for the realization of the Supreme who is wonderful. Indra, describing the Supreme, says: "It is not now, nor is It tomorrow; who knoweth that which is Supreme and Wonderful? It has motion and action in the consciousness of another, but when it is approached by the thought, It vanishes" (Rig Veda, 1.170.1). Agastya understands; he invites Indra and accepts to be led by him, and he is thus helped to move forward towards the Supreme.
Beyond Indra: Four Great Kings
But even the possession of the illumined mind is not, according to the Vedic yoga, sufficient to enable the seeker to be united with the supreme. It is not by development of only one faculty but by the development of four great powers by processes of a synthesis of the methods of yogic practices that one can enter into the realms of knowledge and action that lie between Indra and the Supreme. These four powers
are presided over by four godheads, — Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga. These four godheads have been described as Kings (Rajanah). They are also considered to be the guardians of the light of the Sun,19 who presides over the realm of the supermind, the world beyond which is a triple world of the Supreme Conscious Being who is All-Delight (Madhu). The realm of the supermind is the realm of plenary light in which is the power of all-comprehending truth- consciousness (rita chit). It is at the gates of the realm of the supermind that one encounters the powers and beings of Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga, and it is only by an integral mastery of these powers and by their combined help that one can gain entrance into the all-comprehending truth- consciousness.
The Vedic gods are not mere physical Nature-powers, but the psychological conscious forces behind and within all cosmic things, is made clear enough in various Vedic texts. This clarity is also seen by the connection that is described between their cosmic character and their power of delivering the human consciousness from ignorance and from the stumbling blocks created by the powers of blindness and of .evil. For instance, in Rig Veda X.63.8, we have the following prayer:
"Since ye are they who rule over the world by the power of their mind of knowledge, thinkers of all that is stable and mobile, therefore, O Gods, carry us beyond the sin of that which we have done and that which we have not done to the felicity".
Varuna and Mitra
According to the esoteric knowledge attained by the Vedic seers, Varuna is the cosmic power that enables the seeker of
the Supreme to develop wideness and vastness as also to discover and obey the law of relations of cosmic forces by which harmony can constantly be maintained. Vastness and harmony accompany each other, and therefore we find in the Veda, Varuna always associated with Mitra, who is the lord of harmony.
We may take for instance, one of the many hymns in which Mitra and Varuna are addressed together:
1. Guardians of the Truth, you ascend your car and the law of the Truth is yours in the supreme ether or in the infinity of the superconscient being. He whom here you cherish, Masters of the Wideness and the harmony, for him increases full of the honey the rain of heaven.
2.O Samrats (emperors), having perfect kingship over the subjective and objective existence, you rule over this world of our becoming, O Mitra and Varuna, in the getting of knowledge you are seers of the realm of Light; we desire from you the rain, the felicitous wealth, the immortality, and Lo! The Thundereres (Maruts, who symbolize Life-powers and Thought-powers who find out the light of truth for all our activities) range abroad through earth and heaven.
3.O Samrats, O Mitra and Varuna, O strong Bulls of the abundance, Masters of earth and heaven, universal in your working, you approach their cry with your clouds of varied light and you rain down Heaven by the power of the knowledge (the creative knowledge-will, which is termed Maya in Veda), of the Mighty One.
4. This is your Maya (creative knowledge-will) O Mitra and Varuna, that is lodged in heaven; it ranges abroad as your
rich and varied weapon. You hide it in heaven with a cloud and with the raining. O rain, full of the honey start forth thy streamings.
5. The Life-powers yoke their happy car for the bliss, even as might a hero for the battle, O Mitra and Varuna, in their seekings for the herds of Light; thundering they range the varied worlds, and you pour out on us, O imperial rulers, the water of heaven.
6. O Mitra and Varuna, the Rain speaks its language rich and varied and full of the light and the movement; the Life-powers have put on your clouds for raiment. Utterly by the knowledge you rain down Heaven ruddy-shinning and sinless.
7. O Mitra and Varuna, you who are illumined in consciousness, by the Law, by the knowledge of the Mighty One, you guard the workings or divine rhythms of work determined by the divine law of the Truth; by the Truth you govern widely all the world of our becoming; you set the Sun in heaven, a chariot of various splendour20
This hymn brings out, as always the Vedic verses do, when they are studied carefully by uncovering the algebraic and figurative forms in which psychological faculties and their workings have been imaged and expressed, the wideness of Varuna and harmony of Mitra. Universality and harmony work together in their psychological functioning. Varuna is a psychological name given to the cosmic working of consciousness that is infinite, puissant and pure, and Mitra is the psychological name given to the cosmic working of the psychological functioning that discerns distinctions in the complex working of forces and which harmonizes the truths of all the threads of relationships and weaves them in beauty
and perfection. Varuna is etymologically derived from a root which means to surround, cover or pervade. The word Mitra comes from a root which meant originally to contain with compression and so to embrace, and it has thus given us the ordinary Sanskrit word for friend, Mitra, as well as the archaic Vedic word for bliss, Mayas.
The above-mentioned hymn speaks of the union of universality and harmony and it points out that this union is a necessary condition for approaching the divine Truth (Rtam) and its divine Law (Satya Dharma). The goal of the Vedic yoga is to arrive at the divine truth by possessing it in consciousness and knowledge and to act faultlessly and harmoniously in accordance with the divine Law. The knowledge of the Truth and the Will which is guided by the truth and inspired by harmony and love manifests constantly, and when in the yogic process, one arrives in proximity to that knowledge and that will, universality and harmony are to be blended. And there is then the experience of the flow of that knowledge and that Will; that flow is imaged as the rain of heaven. And since in the state of universality and harmony, conflict and clash do not enter, there is in the experience of that rain, experiences of love and joy which are imaged as honey (madhu). In that state of yogic experience, the body, vital forces and the mind undergo a refreshing bath of purity and wideness and joy of fulfillment. The life-powers range with the voice of truth"-seeking thought in physical consciousness and mental consciousness; Mitra and Varuna, the two emperors or samrats, come to their cry with the brilliant clouds full of the creative waters. There is then the manifestation of the divine truth-knowledge, Maya, and they "bring down on the seeker the heavenly rain of joy and love and harmony. The divine knowledge is described as the Sun
and Light. It is imaged as the weapon of Mitra and Varuna ranging abroad to destroy the ignorance. Destruction of Ignorance and attainment of Knowledge is one of the highest aims of yoga, and the process by which this aim can be realized is difficult.
The Veda images three oceans, —the ocean of the light of knowledge, the ocean of darkness as the infinite potential zero, in contrast to the ocean of knowledge as the infinite plenary; between these two oceans is a third ocean of human consciousness,21 and this third ocean is imaged as a sort of boundless wave that surges up to climb and to flow up beyond the mental consciousness to the supreme ocean of knowledge.
Human life is thus visualized- as this wave, and it is described as a perilous wave which we have to navigate. In one of the significant parables of the Veda, we have the story of Bhujyu, the seeker of enjoyment, son of King Tugra, the Forceful, hastening, who was navigating the perilous ocean in search of joy and bliss. He was. cast into peril by his companions, and he was about to sink. But the perilous journey of human life is aided by helpful functioning of consciousness, which works not only subjectively but also objectively in the form of cosmic powers of Gods. A deep call and a forceful choice of the human traveler to seek the help of the gods constitutes summons for- help. According to the parable, Ashwins, the psychological powers that have command over life-force in the Veda, (Ashwins are imaged as the horse riders, where horse is the image of life-force) are moved to hasten to the succour of Bhujyu. Ashwins rescue Bhujyu, as Ashwins came in their chariot-ship.
Varuna is the psychological cosmic power that pervades all the three oceans, — ocean of darkness, ocean of human
ignorance and ocean of divine knowledge, and he has the knowledge of the law that lifts the ignorant human consciousness from darkness and ignorance into the vast Right and Truth (Ritam and Satyam). The Veda, therefore, refers to Varuna as the teacher of vast Right and Truth.
This path from darkness and ignorance to knowledge is also described in the parable of Shunahshepa, which is also related to Varuna. Shunahshepa is a representative human voyager tied up by three ropes. For ignorance has the appearance of a triple cord of limited mind, inefficient life, obscure physical mentality, and these are the three ropes with which the Rishi Shunahshepa in the parable was bound as a victim to the sacrificial post. It is a bondage to these three cords that results in a struggle. There is then mortal undelight and the insufficiency of a being that collapses at every moment towards death. In that state of insufficiency and poverty, Shunahshepa seeks the help of Varuna. In one of his prayers, Shunahshepa cries: "Perfect in will, let the Son of Infinity make us by the good path and carry our life forward. Varuna puts on his golden robe of light and his scouts are all around."22 Varuna is a path maker, and when Varuna the Mighty comes, he sunders the three-fold cord. The upper cord of the mind flies upward releasing the wings of the Soul into superconscient heights; the middle cord of the vital being parts both ways and all ways, and the constrained life breaks out into a happy breadth of existence; the lower cord of the Physical being collapses downward taking with it the alloy of our bodily consciousness and being to disappear and De dissolved in the stuff below the human ocean of consciousness in the Inconcient. Freedom from these three cords is liberation from human bondage, and this liberation is Elected by a psychological consciousness and power that
is symbolized by Varuna in the Veda.
Varuna is conceived in the Veda as one who sleeps not but is awake and mighty forever, and he works fear the Truth and the Right. Varuna is the substance and the infinitely self-enlarging periphery; and Mitra is the constituent Light of the substance that Varuna represents, and Mitra effects the right unity. These two gods are described as samrats, emperors, and they are complementary to each other in their nature and their divine works. By their combined action, we become at once large and harmonious and gain harmony in largeness. .These two are a great duo of the self-fulfilling Go head, and they are called together to build the path that leads to the rain of divine knowledge, to the sweetness of the streaming and outpourings of immortalizing light and bliss that the sun, the symbol of the supra-mental light, can bestow. As a result of this intervention and aid of Varuna and Mitra, Thought- Powers range abroad seeking in all the world of the being, for the brilliant rays of the concealed knowledge to be gathered as a shining wealth. The rain to which reference is made is no ordinary rain; this rain has the voice that is full of the flashings of the Light and movement of the divine Waters s its clouds become robes for the Life-Powers by the formative knowledge of the mighty master of Truth, and they lead them to the sun. The sun is then revealed as a chariot of the richly varied splendour of the knowledge, and the journey leads inevitably to the highest heavens of Light and Bliss.
Aryaman, the cosmic being who represents; the great power of upward endeavour and tapasya, has also to be fulfilled. The word aryaman is etymologically related to the words arya and ari which stand for the heroic traveller,
insistent aspiration and a warrior in the battle for the conquest of light. In the Vedic culture, the word arya signified the traveller on the Path and the aspirant to immortality by divine sacrifice, one of the shining children of Light, a worshipper of the Masters of the Truth, a fighter in battle against the powers of darkness who obstruct the human journey. Aryaman is the cosmic being or godhead in whose divine power this aryahood is rooted; he is the Force of sacrifice, aspiration, battle, journey towards perfection and light and celestial bliss by which the path is created, travelled, pursued, beyond all resistance and obstruction to its luminous and happy goal. Aryaman is complete in the will, in the works of sacrifice. The seeker or the yogin who aspires to attain to the workings of Mitra and Varuna is guarded in his progress by Aryaman. He has been described in Rig Veda, as the one "of the unbroken path, of the many chariots, who dwells as the sevenfold offerer of sacrifice in births of diverse forms."23 Each movement of the evolution of the yogin is a chariot of Aryaman, and these chariots are seven because the human being conducts his journey by the energy that is sevenfold corresponding to the sevenfold principle of integral existence, Bhur, Bhuvar, Dyauh, (with swar on its summit), Mahar, Janah, Tapas, and Satyam. It is Aryaman's aid to the yogin to the sevenfold energy of human aspiration that leads to the fulfillment in integral perfection.
Aryaman works constantly with Mitra and Varuna. In the Vedic conception, the object of knowledge is the One, the One Existent, Ekam Sat, whose existence is all-embracing, infinite and pure; in that one but complex reality, Varuna brings to us the infinite oceanic space and ethereal and elemental purity. The Divine is boundless consciousness, Perfect in knowledge, pure and therefore luminously right in
its discernment of things, perfectly harmonious and happy in its concordance of the law and nature; it is Mitra who brings us this light, harmony, right distinction and relation and friendly concord. The Divine is in its own being pure and perfect power and in us the eternal upward tendency in things to their source and truth; Aryaman brings to us this mighty strength and perfectly-guided happy inner upsurging. The divine is the pure, the faultless, the all-embracing, the untroubled ecstasy that enjoys its own infinite being and enjoys equally all that it creates within itself; Bhaga gives us sovereignly that ecstasy of the liberated soul, its free and unfallen possession of itself and the world.
The synthesis of yoga that is discerned in the Veda is presented in the image of many paths of the upward journey, which lead to the goal of the supramental Truth, Right and Vast and to the indescribable Joy, Delight and Ecstasy. The cosmic beings, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga, are addressed in the Veda as solar powers (Adityas) and as Sons of Aditi, the infinite and undivided Power and Will of the supreme Reality. "O Sons of Infinite, effect for us the fearless peace, make us good paths of an easy going to the felicity."24 "Easy of going to your path, O Aryaman, O Mitra, it is thornless, O Varuna, and perfect."25 "By the Truth, O Sons of the infinite, great is the Vastness of yours, O Aryaman, O Mitra, O Varuna, great and beautiful. Three heavenly worlds of light they hold (the worlds of Sat, Chit and Ananda), the gods golden-shining who are pure and purified in the streams; sleepless, unconquerable they close not their lids, they express the wideness to the mortal who is straight."26 "Charioted in light are they, aggressive in knowledge, sinless and they clothe themselves in the rain and abundance of heaven for the felicity."27
Bhaga is a consummating fourth cosmic being, and Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga can be seen to be dominating the thought of the rishis in their aspiration that reaches in its culmination to apex of the perfect truth and infinity. The joy and delight that is attainable by the fulfillment of the nature of Bhaga is unattainable except by intense aspiration, tapasya and purity that are demanded by Aryaman. The divine delight is the delight of immortality, and Soma, the divine drink or elixir, which has been the subject matter of the ninth Mandala of the Rig Veda, describes the lord of the divine drink as attainable only when the human body, the human life-force and the human mind are thoroughly purified. In one of the hymns of the Rig Veda,28 the human system is imaged as the jar, and the strainer of purifying instrument is imaged in terms of the mind which is enlightened by knowledge. Soma, the wine of delight, can be safely invited to be poured in the human system only when the mind and heart have been enlightened and formed into a purified instrument. When the mind and heart are freed from all narrowness and duality, the consciousness becomes extended widely to receive the full flow of the sense-life and mind-life and turn it into pure delight of the true existence, the divine, the immortal Ananda. So received, sifted, strained, the Soma-wine of life turned into Ananda comes pouring into all the members of the human system as into a wine-jar and flows through all of them in their every part. It is not easy for every human system that can hold, sustain and enjoy the potent and often violent ecstasy of that divine delight: Atapta tanur na tad āmo asnute, he who is raw in his body, not heated, does not taste or enjoy that, śrtāsa id vahantas tat samāśata, only those
who have been baked in the fire bear and entirely enjoy that. In other words, the raw earthen vessel not baked to consistency in the fire of the kiln cannot hold the Soma-wine; it breaks and spills the precious liquid. If the physical system of the yogin who drinks this strong wine of Ananda has not been prepared by enduring all the torturing heats of life, it will not be able to hold the secret and fiery heats of the Soma; without a long tapasya, Soma, if received or administered, will break down the yogin mentally and physically under its touch. Soma is not the ordinary wine; it is a river of the ocean flowing from the infinite consciousness, which is entirely .pure and unbounded. Bhaga, the cosmic power and being conceived as the supreme enjoyer of the infinite reality and its creative power (savitra) opens the gate for the yogin to the supra-mental truth and divine bliss. Bhaga stands between the Infinite and the created worlds within us and without. According to the Vedic knowledge, all creation originates from delight, and all that flows directly from Bhaga is suvitam, it is a manifestation of felicity. In the ignorant consciousness, this Ananda is concealed, and there the human journey stumbles into error and things and relations are misapplied and wrongly arranged. Human action is therefore duritam, marked by error or stumbling or sin and perversion. That is why, the yogin prays to Bhaga: "O divine producer, dismiss all evils; what is good, that send forth on us. (Viśvāni deva savitar duritāni parā suva, yad bhadram tanna āsuva)”. When Bhaga puts everything in its right place in the divine rhythm by the knowledge that listens to or receives true word as it descends, he looses it forth into the movement of things, aśrāvayati ślokena pra ca suvāti; then each movement becomes a creation of the active Ananda, the prajavat saubhagam, comes thus out of the
unmanifest, it is received and heard rightly in the faultless rhythm of things. In that state of attainment all creations are creations of Bhaga Savitri, and all the births of that creation, all our offsprings, prajā apatyān, are things of the delight, viśva vāmāni.29 This is the accomplishment of Bhaga in man, his full portion of the world-sacrifice.
When, by a long process of purification, — when intelligence is purified and illumined, when emotions are sieved through the strainer, the threads of which are wide spread, and when the body is well baked by various processes of endurance, when the powers of Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and Bhaga (powers of wideness, harmony, upward aspiration and enjoyment) are synthesized, one attains to constant dwelling in the supramental consciousness and will, in rita-chitta, and one is stabilized in immortality.
Example of the Yoga of Angirasa Rishis30
But in order to present a more adequate description of the Vedic system of yoga, it would seem necessary to refer to the yogic tapasya of Angirasa rishis who are frequently referred to as the human and divine Fathers and who built up the path of yoga by a long process of yajna, the sacrifice by which all activities of life are offered to the cosmic gods and the One Deva of whom the cosmic gods are manifestations or aspects, so that these activities of will, thought and feeling get filled by increasing growth by Truth and in Truth.
The Angirasas are pilgrims of light. They have been Ascribed as travellers towards the goal of attainment of the highest, of the supreme treasure, abhinaksanto abhi ye tam ānaśur nidhim paramam.31 But this journey is a journey of quest of the hidden light but also a battle by the opposition of
the powers of' darkness. These travelers are heroes and fighters, lightens for the cows or rays of light. Journey is inspired by Agni, the fire of will and the fire that fights on account of its light and knowledge. With the increasing aspiration of Agni, Indra, the cosmic being of illumined mind comes down arid marches with the travellers on the path as their comrade (sakhibhih). This journey or march is aided by Sarama, who in the esoteric interpretation, represents the psychological power of intuition. It is Sarama who discovers the path of the " Truth, rtasya panthāh, the great path, mahas panthāh, which leads to the realms of the Truth. The journey is sacrificial in character, and its stages correspond to the periods of the sacrifice, and it is effected by the force of the soma-wine, the purified nectar of delight, and the sacred word, the word that expresses intensity of aspiration and increasing discovery of knowledge by the instrumentality of Saraswati, the river of flow of energy that expresses the higher faculty of inspiration.
The journey involves battles; and the power of intuition of the Rishis plays an important role. Sarama represents the power of intuition. Sarama encounters the panis, who are the enemies of light-seekers (cow-seekers) and who have stolen and concealed the light in the cave of the hill. Sarama threatens the panis with the coming of the Rishi Ayasya and the Navagwa Amgirasas.32 Indra plays a decisive role. In Rig Veda,33 we find a prayer which prays to Indra: "That rapture of the Soma we desire by which thou, O Indra, didst make to thrive the Might of Swar, that rapture ten-rayed and making a light of knowledge or shaking the whole being with its force by which thou didst foster the ocean; that Soma- intoxication by which thou didst drive forward the great waters like chariots to that sea, — that we desire that we may
travel on the path of the truth," panthām rtasya yātave tam īmahe. It is by the power of the Soma that the hill in which herds of treasures of light are concealed is broken open, and sons of darkness, Vala and Dasyus, are overthrown. But along with the Soma wine, it is the Word that the Angirasas possess. The Angirasa rishis are brāhmanāsa pitrarah somyāsah,34 the fathers who are full of the Soma and have the word and are therefore increasers of the truth. Indra provides fullness and force to the words of the Angirasas, angirasām ucathā jujusvān brahma tūtod gātum isnan.35 It is by singing the rk, hymn of illumination, that the Angirasa rishis find the solar illuminations in the cave of our being.36
In the process of the battle and the conquest, the Angirasa rishis receive the aid of Ayasya, who has the seven-headed thought, and the world of the light of the supramental truth, swar, is attained. The seven-headed thought is the knowledge of the divine existence with its seven heads or powers, since the divine existence is seven fold. The seven headed thought of Ayasya enables him to become viswajanya, and thus he becomes universal, as a result of which he is able to discover a certain fourth world (swar — the world other than the worlds of the Matter, Life, Mind), turīyam svij janayad viśwajanyah.37
The Veda speaks of five births for man, five worlds of creations where works are done, pancajanah, panca krstih. The mind and the body, Dyauh and prithvi, rodasi, our two firmaments; the third is antariksha, the intermediate or connecting level of the vital or nervous consciousness. These three worlds are to be overpassed, for then we find admission to another heaven than that of the pure mind — to the wide, the Vast, the supramental (satyam, rtam, brhat) which is the basis, the foundation (budhna) of the infinite consciousness,
Aditi. This Vast is the Truth which supports the fifth world, the supreme triple world, which in the later development yoga came to be regarded as a triple world of Sachchidananda those highest steps or seats, which are also described as the seats of Agni (sadāmsi), or three highest steps, padāni, of Vishnu, or those supreme Names of the Mother, the Cow, Aditi.
Turiyam svid, that fourth world, which was discovered by Ayasya by means of universalisation of consciousness by the knowledge of the seven-headed thought, may be regarded as the vast world of swar, which links the lower triple world of Matter, Life and Mind with the highest triple world, the world of delight or sweetness, madhu, of conscious force, urj, and self-existent substance (vasu).38 The Vedic discovery is thus the discovery of the lower triple world, the highest triple world and of the intermediate linking world of swar, The Angirasa rishis have been described in the Veda as the first discoverers, and they are known in the Veda as sons of the Flame, luster of the Dawn, —givers and drinkers of the Wine, singers of the Hymn, eternal youths and heroes who wrest for us the Sun, the Cows, the Horses and all treasures from the grasp of the sons of darkness. But this is a symbolic description, and when these symbols are read in their inner meanings, Angirasas are seers of the word of the Truth, finders and speakers of the word of the Truth, and by the power of the Truth, they win for us the wide world of Light and Immortality which is described as the Vast, the True, the Right and as the own home of the Flame or Agni of which they are the children.