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Introduction

to Interlinear translation of Rigveda

Contents

1. The Language of Rigveda

1. Cipher and Keys

2. Direct Vision and Hearing. Imagery and Poetry of the Language

3. Semantic Features and Richness of Expression

2. The Message of Rigveda

1. Trinity and combinations of principles of Existence

2 Gods and Goddess. Worlds and Principles of Existence

3. Three Gradations – seven Worlds

Schema of World Manifestation in Veda

4. The Five-Dimensional System of Worlds

5. Waters – Involution and Evolution in Manifestation

1. The Language of the Rigveda

The real obstacle to understanding the Rigveda is that its true message, intended exclusively for the initiated, was and remains unavailable to the uninitiated. Still, this message exists, and one day, it may emerge from its secrecy, revealing itself to us. Until then, we do not have even elemental access to it and need to learn how Rishis hid it.

1.1 Cipher and Keys

Firstly, following Sri Aurobindo’s direction, we can note that the available text of the Veda hides its inner message by its very text. There is a form of cryptography, where a masking is added to coding and hides ciphered symbols within letters of book, sounds of music, pixels of some image etc. Without such masking we can recognise that there is something ciphered and can then attempt to decrypt it. But when we look at a photograph, read a book or listen to music, we do not suspect that there is anything else behind what we see or hear – any hidden message. Something like what was described above occurs in the Veda. Its outer text is available to all (although there are also some serious problems), but nothing in this outer text indicates that the Veda contains another, hidden, message, the message that determine its true value and remain impenetrable at all times.

In Vedic times, the keys to this secret meaning were handed down from teacher to disciple during initiation, when the teacher informed the disciple about the true meanings of images in the Veda. However, thousands of years ago, this succession was broken; thus, recovering these long-lost keys to the secret message of the Veda – even partially, even imperfectly and even full of conjectures and errors – may only be done by Grace from above and by ascending to the level of consciousness in which the Veda was created. This can not be done by human toil, even by the most authoritative scientists – although scrupulous and scientific in its methods work is still needed. This inability is caused by the principal limits of the intellect per se, because it cannot pass beyond its own mental consciousness to inaccessible to him heights where the Veda can be seen and heard. Thus, more adequate instrumentation is needed, i.e. those abilities of direct receiving of knowledge that the Rishis themselves used – dṛṣṭi and śruti – which may be obtained via the practice of yoga.

1.2. Direct Vision and Hearing. Imagery and the Poetry of the Language

We can ask ourselves, was this concealment of the secret truths from profane the main intention of the Rishis? Of course not. It was only a minor result of man’s ancient attempts to grasp the fundamental truths of existence, inaccessible to human simple sensory perceptions. And naturally his first method for this was not reasoning but realisation, when by his inner eye and by his consciousness he tried to see and distinguish the Truth – even as by his outer eye and mind he familiarises himself with external environment. And because consciousness has its inherent ability of awareness and knowledge, man needed only to learn how to use this ability and to gain any knowledge just by concentration of the consciousness – the ability inherent in every creature, even if in rudimental form. So when one wants to know, for example, what the consciousness is, he will try to envision it by his inner eye through an image that represent this elusive reality and then to concentrate on it, allowing to the non-mental knowledge (in fact, to direct intuitive perception of the truth of the thing) to come in a natural and spontaneous manner. This cognitive method is so common that everyone uses it to some degree or another; however, the seer honed this into a keen divine instrument of direct vision of the Truth, dṛṣṭi.

And when man penetrated into the Truth due to the dṛṣṭi, he may try to formulate it in thoughts and words, but it is not easy for the human mind to manage such overmental perception and we may toil our entire lives in this pursuit without any satisfactory result. So again, the natural instrument for the formulating is the same consciousness; for it may concentrate and receive into its perceptive silence ready-made words that laconically and precisely express the found Truth. This process is also commonly known and used by humans, but it is the seer who hones this ability to an excellent divine instrument of direct hearing of the Truth, of “words, born in knowledge”, śruti.

Because the ancient lexicon was mainly connected with concrete facts of life, everywhere, in India and in Greece, wise men to convey truths were constantly forced to use allegories, concrete figures that substituted both abstract conceptions and thin images of direct vision. And when arrival of the Truth always brings light, joy and reverence, the true poetry (that is able to use most imaginative, sublime and triumphant language to exactly convey this Truth and ecstasy of the soul ascending into it) was natural, exact and powerful means of expression of ancient seers whereas the direct vision, dṛṣṭi, and direct hearing, śruti, were the main instruments of Rishi in finding and formulating of the Truth. Dṛṣṭi and śruti were all-important in the Vedic work of the Rishis and they took a prominent place in the Veda. They are one of two araṇi-s, two pieces of wood used for kindling Agni by attrition-toil, while the second araṇi is the human mind. They are a pestle, manthā, and a pressing stone, adri, while the mind is a mortar, ulūkhala, and both are needed for pressing out the soma. They are the Vipash River, “Liberating,” and the Shutudri River, “of Hundred Currents,” which flows from the Himalayan Mountains and together they pour into Sarasvati, which flowed into the Great Stream, the Sindhu River (now Indus), about three thousand years ago. They are the breasts of the Heaven-Father and the udder of Cow. They are symbolised by Indra’s two bright horses, hari. In the image, the horse on the right, Dakshina, symbolizes the power of discrimination, of vision; the horse on the left, Savya, represents hearing of the Truth – “having killed Vritra by your horses, O Indra” (1.52.8). Together, they are Indra’s lightning, his bright power, that illuminates the darkness of Earth and splits asunder hard rock of our mentality to release the Waters, Cows, true Sun, and kills the Enemy-Coverer, this lightning is a roar of Heaven, conveying its Truth everywhere. However, dṛṣṭi and śruti were used not so much as a means for creating fine spiritual poetry, offered to the gods as honey wine, intoxicating them with its word of Wisdom, but as an effective means for constant yogic training of consciousness designed to train it to be open to the Truth, to be “sitting of gods, strewed without flaws and gaps”. It is worth mentioning that Sri Aurobindo himself “used Savitri as a means of ascension. I began with it on a certain mental level, each time I could reach a higher level I rewrote from that level”.1 This process is that which the Veda describes as pressing out the soma, i.e. hymn-offering, thrice – at the first time, early in the Morning (i.e. in illuminated mind), then in the middle of the Day (in the Overmind) and, at the third time, in the worlds of the third step of Vishnu (in supramental Svar and Sachchidananda).

1.3. Semantic Features and Richness of Expression

I. Many Images – One Conception

With this foundational understanding, we are now ready to postulate that many concrete figures in the Veda were taken from the material world but were in fact representations of other realities and conceptions often unconnected with these figures. A basic mistake that many interpreters make is to take the figures in the Veda too literally – for example, Dawn is just morning, the Sun is just the common sun that rises in the morning that we can see throughout our usual day, etc. Again, although the Rishis used many images from their environment – mountains, rivers, cows, the sun, the moon, night and day – all these figures were symbolic or even just conditional representations of other realities. It was for this reason the Rishis were free enough to set in their secret language of initiated poets fixed association between any (in principle) concrete image and any (in principle) abstract or overmental conception. In this way, they could simultaneously use both languages – the common one, and their own secret one that was developed and apprehended only within their small community of the initiated.

However, the freedom in creating associations between images and symbolised realities was not arbitrary. First of all, the introduction of any new association demanded that all the members of this community of seers must become familiarised with it. Second, most of these associations were received by the seers as ready-made – even strangers who were divided by centuries could see the same images in their inner vision and interpret them in identical way. Finally, when images were taken from natural surroundings, everyone perceived the association to be natural and suitable, only when some characteristics of the outer image (concrete for the physical organs of sense or for the mind) matched to some characteristics of the symbolised reality (concrete for the inner senses and for the consciousness of the seer). For example, the man who has not an experience of receiving of the higher consciousness as light penetrating his normal consciousness, will not perceive the usual light of the morning slowly replacing the night as a happy figure of the Vedic Dawn with its double meaning (when image of the morning is used for the outer scene, while in reality it is the descend of spiritual consciousness is implied). For those who had such an experience, this association is not only natural but imperative.

So, the Rishis used hundreds and thousands images from their environment and their own inner experiences for a mosaic façade of the Veda, apprehensible to eye of everyone, but not conveying those secret keys, without which it is impossible to enter into its inner chambers.

Riks are in imperishable supreme ether, in which all gods have sat above. He who did not know That, what shall he do with the Rik? They who verily have knew That they sit together. (1.164.39)

And even when we guess that there is some symbolism in Vedic images, they do not tell us anything about the realities they symbolise. To conduct a reverse reading of the symbolised reality from the image, we need knowledge of the accordance between the image and its reality – sort of a dictionary, a collection of keys for the “secret words” of the Veda. When we have this, then instead of sometimes trivial or unintelligible texts, the secret hierograms are exuded, words of divine, inspired, deep, wise, bright, wonderful, thin, sublime poetry of those ancient seers whom we would be happy to call our closest friends and kindred souls.

When we examine what these images are, we inevitably conclude that whereas there are so many images in the Veda, the number things they symbolise is comparatively small. This is quite natural and can be explained by the need for flexibility and freedom in this secret language, while one image is used to indicate one aspect, characteristic or function of some reality, and another image is used for another aspect, characteristic or function of the same reality.

II. Many Words – One Image

Without unfettered freedom to select different images to represent the same reality, without the full freedom in selecting different words (when the description of the same image includes additional connotations, undertones and nuances of different words) and without the freedom to use such linguistic devices as allusions, implicatures, ellipses, metaphors, etc., the Rishis, the great masters of language, would not have been able to create their immortal masterpieces, where they repeated the same Truths in various ways throughout the Veda.

III. One Word – Many Meanings – One Conception

There are very many words in the Vedic language that may be taken as homonyms. These are words that have different meanings, such as div (heaven and day); ap (water and work) and go (cow and ray). Rishis skilfully played with these meanings, using several meanings of a homonym as an independent word with its own context, whilst indicating through these different meanings of the word the same reality with different connotations. To clarify, a “day” and a “heaven” both indicate heavenly words of Sachchidananda and Svar; “cow” and “ray” both indicate supramental perception of the Truth; “water” and “work” both denominate the current of Existence-Consciousness-Force.

At this point in the explanation, we can outline this transition from word to image and from image to symbolised reality – this part of the “algorithm” for encoding the “secret words of the Wisdom”, nivacanāni:

Word   Meaning   Image   Conception
1. div 1. Day 1. Day

1. Region of
three heavens
(the world of sat-cit-tapas, the world of mayas,
the world of the Sun, svar)

2. Heaven 2. Heaven
2. rocanā 1. Bright realm
3. vyoman 1. Ether

IV. Many Conceptions – One Reality

Ultimately, the Veda is a collection of works from different centuries, and, as we can suppose, it includes the thought and knowledge of the pre-Vedic past. This means that sometimes the Veda has more than one very different conception of the same subject:

They have said about five-footed with twelve forms Father living in supreme realm of Heaven; then these other ones say about all-seeing fixed upon having seven wheels having six spokes. (1.164.12)

After these brief postulations about some of the linguistic features of the Rigveda, we can now begin to acquaint ourselves with some of its basic conceptions and movements, which will help us to understand text of the Rigveda itself.

2. The Message of the Rigveda

2.1. Trinity and Combinations of Principles of Existence

All that is, all manifestation2, is sat, the highest Reality and Truth of the Existence, satya, for only That exists, manifesting Itself differently. On the summit of Manifestation, sat, Existence is inseparable from Its own Consciousness, cit. Together with Its own Bliss, mayas, they are triune Sachchidananda, as Vedanta names It, for where there is one there are other two.

Not identical, but inseparable from these three Principles of Existence are their qualities, aspects and abilities. Consciousness is inseparable from Knowledge and Light (and vice versa); Power is inseparable from Will and Work, heat of tapas; Bliss is inseparable from Harmony, Happiness, Beauty and Love.

Sachchidananda, satcitānanda, is the three Principles of Existence and the source of all manifested worlds. These three principles procreate all of the worlds and are present in all of them, for without them any being is impossible. However, in all of the worlds below Sachchidananda, these three principles and their qualities and aspects are manifested with different fullnesses, as if some of them take a step forward while others retreat backward, becoming background and maintenance. Thus, unique combinations of more active and less active Principles of Existence are created, and every such unique combination brings into existence “its” unique world and must to express rightly and fully the “law of works” of this world, its vrata, i.e. its the divine standard and archetype of the true functioning of Consciousness and Existence in this world.

2.2. Gods and Goddess. Worlds and Principles of Existence

Nature is an universal Force of Purusha’s Consciousness and is personified as the wife of god, gnā, goddess, devī. God is universal Person, the Conscious one, whose Consciousness is expressed by His Power, Nature, His wife, the Goddess. In the highest world of Manifestation, He is supreme Purusha, highest Existent and Conscious, All-Creator, and She is Supreme Prakriti, Existence–Consciousness–Power, the Mother of all gods and worlds, Adya Shakti, Aditi. Supreme Purusha and Shakti, Maheshwara and Maheshwari, put forth for Their manifold manifestation and being Their different Aspects, Powers, Personalities – the gods and the goddesses who maintain and objectify Existence, Consciousness and Bliss in their different combinations as different vrata-s, laws and principles of the existence of worlds.

They name Garumat, the divine bird with beautiful wings, as Indra, as Mitra, as Varuna, as Agni; illumined seers name variously the One Being, name as Agni, as Yama, as Matarishvan. (1.164.46)

Every manifestation of the Supreme does not cease to be highest Himself. It is He, named as Agni, who brings all worlds into existence and comes out in all worlds as an omniscient omnipotent ardent Will. It is He, named as Surya, who throws on all worlds below His ardour and light and, named as Indra, carries to them Knowledge, opening them to the Sun, to the Truth. It is He, named as Savitri, who brings all to life. It is He, violent Rudra, who incites all worlds to rise to Him, and it is He, bright Pushan, who urges all by goad of thought, it is He, Aryaman, who makes the man, the Aryan, to go by the path. He beholds all worlds from the infinitude of His Consciousness, Varuna, and keeps the eternal highest Truth of Existence, satya Yama, the god of immortality and of its Law. It is He, named as Bhaga, who enjoys with all Existence, and He is all-harmonizing and all-loving Mitra, the Friend. From Him through all worlds start out energetic Ashvins carrying happiness, curing, making humans inner young, seeing, hearing, going. Usha, Dawn, the daughter of Heaven, the bride of the Ashvins, does the same and she awakes every living soul to rise into the sky and to search its divinity. From Him the Maruts are born, accompanying Indra, shaking all that is stagnant, our inert Earth, sweeping away obstacles in front of man’s mind and flying with it over the Ocean. And because every His manifestation is Him, it carries in itself “like a felloe of wheel – all spokes” all other gods and becomes any of them: “Thou, O Agni, art king Varuna, thou becomest Mitra, thou art Aryaman”.

Still, every manifestation of the One, every god, has his own qualities, his own personality and because of it he has most prominent connection with those worlds that act according to similar law of work, i.e. to similar combination of principles of existence. However, the god is not limited only by these worlds and its vrata-s them and can carry out his activities in any other world (if certain conditions are met and with the fullness and perfection allowed by the laws of work of this world). Often, several gods typifying the same principles emerge in certain combinations. So do Indra and Agni, both expressing Will and Knowledge. Indra, bringing to us bright supramental Consciousness and Knowledge, also has “hundredfold will”, śatakratu, and Agni, the universal divine Will in all worlds, is kavikratu, the Will of All-knowing.

2.3. Three Gradations and Seven Worlds

Manifestation consists of seven worlds grouped into three gradations. These three gradations are the three steps of Vishnu; all the worlds are placed within these three gradations-steps. The first step of Vishnu gives place to Earth; here, there are “three earths”. They are the worlds of man: material, vital and mental planes. The second step of Vishnu gives place to the airspace between Earth and Heaven; this is the Mid-World, the Overmind. The third step gives place to Heaven. There are three Heavens, the lowest – Svar, the world of dynamic action of the Sun-Truth; the middle heaven is world of Mayas (of Bliss, of Ananda) where the Sun unyokes his steeds; the highest Heaven is the world of Sat-Chit-Tapas, of eternal Existence and absolute Consciousness-Power.

The two lowest steps of Vishnu are available to man, whereas the worlds of his third step are not (although they are available to human’s perception): The mortal stirs only in two steps of this all-seeing one, of him seeing Svar; the third his step violences nobody, even soaring birds winged. (1.155.5) The first and the third steps of Vishnu, Earth and Heaven, are two firmaments, rodasī, within and between which all exists. Therefore Heaven and Earth are parents of all that exists, Father and Mother, two places of birth, janitrī, Day and Night of existence, doṣā-vastu, ahanī, divā-naktam, uṣāsānaktā, bright and black halves of being, śvetyā-kṛṣṇā.

Worlds of full Truth, Power, Consciousness, Bliss and Immortality are the upper pole of Manifestation, Heaven. The absolute freedom of Heaven from any barriers, defects and heaviness, its full serenity, permeability and bright infinitude are imaged by the figure of ether. Further down the substance becomes more dense, gross and heavy – this is the airspace, still penetrable by rays but allowing turbulence, conflict and blasts of Wind. Here, the qualities of Heaven still remain, but they lose their totality, absoluteness and unity – they even able to allow conflicting movements of the Mid-World. Still further downward is the lowest pole of Manifestation, Earth, where the original qualities of Heaven are finally fragmented and disfigured into their contrarieties. These worlds are only illuminated on the surface, but they are impenetrable; these worlds are endless indeed, but they exist through endless limitations, restrictions, clashes, crookedness and finality.

Upper Heaven is a world of Existence-Consciousness-Power, sat-cit-tapas, of highest Truth of being, satyam, where Yama, the Guardian of that Truth and the Lord of Immortality, resides. In middle Heaven, world of Bliss, Sun-Savitri unyokes his steeds and reposes in his eternal happiness, absolute harmony, beauty and bright beatitude. Lowest Heaven, Svar, is a world of the dynamic action of Sun-Surya, of yoking steeds; it is a supramental world of absolute omniscient Will and of absolute omnipotent Knowledge.

The Mid-World between Heaven and Earth, the vast airspace, is where the daughter of Heaven, Dawn, enters. It is here through which the Aswins travel from Heaven toward Earth. It is a field of Vata, of Vayu and of all gods of Overmind.

Below the Mid-World there are the worlds of the Earth. Here some principles of existence may step so fully backward that the phenomenal Existence without Consciousness, without Bliss, without freedom from any limitation becomes possible, that the phenomenal Consciousness without its Knowledge, without its Truth, without its Light, without its Power, without its Immortality is normal; here they are unconsciousness, ignorance, suffering, enmity, death and thus the divine laws of workings, vrata-s, are broken.

In the upper Earth, the world of the mental mind, Consciousness loses its aspect of Knowledge. It searches for it but never finds it – it never feels certain about its findings, and it is the beginning of the worlds of Ignorance. In the middle Earth, the vital world, Bliss is deformed into Pleasure; it is limited and leads to Suffering. Will reduced to Wish, it can eliminate harmony and love and lead to hate and hostility. The lowest Earth, the material world, the “desert”, is the lowest pole of Manifestation. It is the impersonal Existence without someone conscient, without some evident consciousness, it exercises only aspect of Power of Consciousness, where Bliss can show its Beauty and only hidden rapture of existence – the world of the total Night of Consciousness, illuminated only by rays of material sun.

1. 1. The scheme of Manifestation According to Vedanta

Principles of Existence

 

Objective Worlds of Existence

 I. Supreme triune Sachchidananda, the upper half of existence

1. Absolute Existence, sat

 

World of highest Truth of being, satyaloka

2. Absolute Consciousness, cit

 

World of Will and conscious Force, tapoloka

3. Absolute Bliss, ānanda

 

World of Bliss of existence, janaloka

II. Intermediary world of the Truth, the supramental world

4. Knowledge or Truth, vijñāna

 

World of Wideness, maharloka

III. The Lower half of Existence

5. Mind, manas

 

World of Light, svar*

6. Life, prāṇa

 

World of becoming, bhuvar

7. Matter, anna

 

Material world, bhūr

* In his earlier works, Sri Aurobindo identifies Svar with the mental level according to the Puranic usage of the term. Later, he refuses such interpretation and uses the term according to its Vedic meaning as the world of the Sun, of the Truth, i.e. as the supramental world.

2. The Vedic Scheme of Manifestation in the “Doctrine of Mystics

In his essay Doctrine of Mystics (1915) Sri Aurobindo, following a Vedantic scheme, suggested this Vedic scheme of the Manifestation:

Principles of Existence

 

Objective Worlds of Existence

I. The Upper half of Existence

1-3. Sat — Chid — Ananda

 

Tripple divine worlds

II. Link-world

4. Supermind

 

Truth, satyam, Right, ṛtam, Vast, bṛhat; manifested in svar with its triple luminous heavens

III. The tripple lower world

5. Pure Mind

 

Heaven (Dyaus, the three heavens)

6. Life-force

 

The Mid-Region (Antariksha)

7. Matter

 

Earth (the three earths)

While translation the Veda for the first volume of this publication, we used this schema. However, the results were often contradictory, doubtful or obscure; they created a feeling of dissonance with many of the Veda’s sayings. So before publication of the second volume, we revised this schema using the following reasoning.

First, there are three declarations of the Veda itself:

1. All worlds are placed within three steps of Vishnu (1.154.2).

2. One step of these three ones is the three-leveled Earth, one step is Heaven (1.154.4).

3. The first step is the Earth worlds, the second step is the Mid-worlds, the third step is the highest world (1.154.1).

We can thus conclude the following:

1. The first step, as declared, is three Earths (3);

2. The second step, as declared, is Mid-World, Antariksha (3);

3. The third step is Heaven because

(a) Heaven is one of the three steps of Vishnu (2).

(b) The first step is the Earth worlds, the second step is the Mid-world (1.154.1).

4. Heaven is the region of the highest worlds, as the third step is the highest world (3).

5. When Earth, the Mid-World and Heaven contain all the manifested worlds, Earth is the lowest region, Heaven is the highest region and the Mid-World is between them.

Our conclusions demanded that we alter the schema of the Doctrine of Mystics:

1. When Heaven is the region of the highest worlds, we must remove it from the position of mental consciousness (No. 5 in the schema) and place it at the top of the schema as the region for the three Heavens (to occupy No. I).

2. When the lowest step is the region of the three Earths (not of the Heavens, Antariksha and the three Earths), we must remove Antariksha from its position (No. 6) and place it in a proper position of the Mid-World between the Heavens and the Earths, the region “measured” by the second step of Vishnu (position No. 4).

3. When Antariksha takes the place of Svar (No. 4), and Svar, being one of the three worlds of the Sun (the three heavens are of Savitri, 1.35.6) is above Antariksha, Svar is inevitably moves from position No. 4 upward to the place of one of the three worlds of Heaven.

4. These newly released places of No. 5 (mental principle) and No. 6 (vital principle) are filled accordingly by upper Earth (mountains) and by middle Earth. Lowest Earth (desert) takes up position No. 7 (material principle).

5. When Antariksha (a) is above the mental world of the highest Earth and below the supramental Svar and (b) is a place of the gods (1.48.12, 3.54.9), it cannot be anything else but a plan of the Overmind.

6. While Supramental is directly above Overmind, its sole position is a lowest Heaven (No. 3); this is the world of the dynamic activity of the Sun-Truth.

7. When the worlds of Sachchidananda (a) are directly above the supramental consciousness and (b) are highest of all the manifested worlds, they are placed in both the remaining positions of Heaven (position No. 1, of highest Heaven, and No. 2, of middle Heaven).

8. Because Mayas is in the Veda standalone world (although it adjoins, upasthā, 1.35.6, the upper world of sat-cit-tapas), it is a middle Heaven above Svar and is placed in position No 2.

9. Thus, the highest position No. 1 belongs to the world of sat-cit-tapas – to the world of immortality, of eternal and endless Existence, sat, and of its highest Truth of being, satya, guarded by Yama, to the world of Consciousness-Force, cit-tapas, the home of heroic energy, virāṣāṭ, 1.35.6.

This alternations result in the schema below:

3. Schema of World Manifestation in Veda

Principles of Existence

 

Objective Worlds of Existence

I. Heaven. The three Worlds of the Sun

1. Existence–Consciousness–Power, sat-cit, cit-tapas

 

The world of Yama, the deathless being, conscious power, satya

2. Bliss, mayas

 

The world of bliss, repose, “unyoking”

3. Supramental, world of the Truth in its realisation, ṛtam,

 

The world of activity of the Sun, svar

II. The Airspace between Earth and Heaven

4. Overmind

 

The Mid-World, antarikṣa

III. The Earth, the three Earths (the worlds of man)

5. Mind

 

Upper Earth, paramā pṛthiviḥ = mountains

6. Life

 

Middle world, madhyā pṛthiviḥ

7. Matter

 

Lower Earth, avamā pṛthiviḥ

It is interesting that the worlds of the upper and lower poles of Existence, of Heaven and of Earth, have some sort of symmetric repetition: at the extreme ends, we have worlds featuring domination of the Existence principle; in the middle – we have worlds with the determinative Bliss-principle; finally, nearest to the Mid-World are the worlds with especial role of Knowledge.

When we apply this schema, many previous defects and discordances vanish, many things stand in their places, and there is natural and harmonious accordance with Vedic imagery, there is logic in all contexts without any dissonance. From these results, we conclude the schema is adequate, and we will adhere it.

4. The Five-Dimensional System of Worlds

The Five-Dimensional system, that is associated with this word, supplements the concept of seven worlds placed within three regions (steps of Vishnu).

Some spoke of a five-legged Father with twelve forms living in the supreme region of the Heaven; whereas others talk about the All-seeing, placed on a seven-wheeled with six spokes. (1.164.12).

The main difference between these two concepts is that whereas in the scheme of the seven-dimensional Manifestation, the levels of consciousness and the corresponding worlds of existence are located “vertically”3, in the five dimensional scheme, these five regions are placed “horizontally” as five parts (“directions”) of the same world of existence or as five types of consciousness, five types of creatures living in this world. The possibility of five types of consciousness in each world is exists due to the fact that all seven rivers flow through each world of existence, bearing seven laws of work, vrata-s, the modes of action of consciousness. Moreover, since the two main rivers (bearing sat-cit-tapas and mayas, i.e. consciousness-existence and bliss, the principles of Sachchidananda) are present in all five types of creatures, they are not included in the series of those five rivers, where each river determines the existence of one of these five types. Therefore, the two higher rivers appear in the figure of the Father of a given world, giving existence to this world itself and to everything that is in it, while the five legs of this Father are the other five rivers that determine the five types of creatures of this world.

In addition, since the supreme world, Sat-Chit-Tapas, does not imply the presence of different types of beings in it, being the world of the One, this world is not included in a number of worlds which contains five peoples:

– harnessed six times five (3.55.18)

where the six are six separate worlds under Sat Chit Tapas, and five are five out of seven rivers flowing in a given world, five types of creatures:

– Indra supported six separate spaces, vi-stiraḥ, and five that are visible together , sam-dṛśaḥ (2.13.10).

– In that five-spoke wheel, everywhere moving, all the worlds stood up; its axis does not split, heavily loaded, truly, never breaks, having the same bushing (1.164.13).

In several riks we can see quite clear that the five peoples are not inhabitants of the five worlds located one above the other (since the mentioned qualities cannot take place at all five levels, especially at the lower ones), but are the neighbors living in the same world.

– Indra brings the force and power that is in neighboring peoples, the light of the five abodes (6.46.7).

– Indra reigns over the riches of the seeing five peoples (1.7.9);

– in the hands of Indra is the wealth of all five adobes (1.176.3); those your Indrian forces, which are in the five peoples (3.37.9);

– above, our unbreakable light in five peoples, like Svar, shines in the heights (2.2.10);

– those five bulls stand in the middle of the great sky (1.105.10).

Seven RiversIt is interesting to analyse the reflection of this concept in the later Indian idea of the Five Rivers, pañcanada, five rivers flowing in the material world – the lowest world of the Earth, – through the Punjab, pañjāb, “the country of five rivers”; and emerging from the Himalayan mountains. Let us enumerate these five rivers of the pañcanada and try to find what laws of work, vrata, their symbolic streams can carry within them.

(1) asiknī, “the Black one,” the color or varna of any lower consciousness, here, as we can assume, of the lower Earth, i.e. of the physical consciousness.

(2) vitastā, “the Stormy one,” “Throwing in all directions,” is an image that can be attributed primarily to the vital consciousness, to the middle Earth.

(3) śutudrī, “of One Hundred Currents,” (see hymn 3.33), may probably refer to mental consciousness (cf. with the image of a tree with its hundred branches, symbolising the thought rising to the Heaven).

(4) paruṣa, “spotted,” that means, that it combines the light of Heaven and the darkness of the Earth and is most likely the image of airspace, the consciousness of the Overmind.

(5) vipāś, “Free” or “Releasing,” nothing prevents us from assuming that it symbolises the remaining fifth law of the works, i.e. the supramental consciousness.

Two other rivers (that are part not of the pañcanada, but of another Indian concept of Seven Rivers), are

(6) the Saraswati River, “standing in three (regions), seven (worlds), increasing five peoples” (6.61.12). About 3,000 years ago, the five mentioned above rivers flowed into the Saraswati River (now they flow into Satlej River), which, in turn, flowed into the Sindhu River (now called the Indus River), the great Stream, mahaḥ arṇaḥ, “which Saraswati makes us to aware through intuitive perception” (1.3.12), (of course, the physical Sindhu River does not need an intuitive perception in order to see it, so that is again physical images for the supra-physical realities).

(7) Sindhu, a great stream, symbolizes the supreme Ocean of sat-chit.

5. Waters – Involution and Evolution in Manifestation

The Waters is an impersonal figure for Prakriti which objectifies through all the Manifestation the principles of Existence-Consciousness and the pair of Consciousness-Force (still Waters = Consciousness, flowing Waters = Force, action). The figure of the Waters is closely connected with the figures of the Rivers and of the Ocean. The figure of the Rivers symbolises movement, flowing, and therefore a mode of action of consciousness-force according to vrata-s, the Laws, in all seven worlds: physical, vital, mental, overmental, supramental, mayas and of sat-cit-tapas. All seven Rivers flow through every region of existence (thus, we have 7x3 = 21 rivers). These rivers inflow into the Ocean of the region (there are lowest, middle and upper Oceans). Several times the Veda, it is seems, implies seven Oceans – one Ocean in each world. The figure of the Ocean does not symbolises movement of Waters, i.e. mode of action of Consciousness-Force, but the Consciousness in its endlessness, when its shores are only above and below on the borders between regions or worlds.

The word ap has two meanings, “water” and “work”; thus, Vedic waters are active, sleepless constantly moving (1.24.6), flowing by the law of their nature (1.33.11). The great Stream of the mothers-waters (1.158.5) begins their great involutional movement that creates all the worlds below Sachchidananda: the Waters flow downward “from their common nest”, begetting all worlds and maintaining their existence. Forever the rivers from one abode, not dried up, deathless keep the laws of workings by forces. Many thousand mothers-sisters, like wives, serve the non-timid (1.62.10). The seven rivers-sisters carry seven combinations of principles of existence and of their qualities for each of the seven worlds. Flowing through the regions of the three steps of Vishnu, the rivers, like the worlds, are also gradated into “trice seven” currents (10.75.1). In the worlds of Heaven, the third step of Vishnu, the worlds of deathless eternal existence, the Waters carry immortality and curing (1.23.19, 1.23.20). In Svar, they carry supramental Knowledge: from these divine Waters our cows (supramental perceptions) drink (1.23.18); the Waters that give hearing of the Truth (3.1.11). Still, in the lowest step of Vishnu, in the worlds of Earth, the four upper rivers of the honey Ocean (1.62.6) are locked within the rock and must be released by the supramental power of God.

Waters – Cows (Milk) – Soma

We find in the Veda constant connection between the Waters, soma and Cows (milk). These “mixtures” are perceived by many interpreters as receipts of the drinks popular in the ancient times. Because of this persistent misunderstanding of the matter and its importance, we must clarify the meaning of these combinations. We begin with short definitions of the terms.

Cow, go, is the supramental perception of the Truth that has penetrated mental consciousness or is on its own heavenly level: we desire those your dwelling-places, where many-horned (i.e. existing in all heavenly worlds) travelling cows go, from where, surely, that supreme great step of wide-striding Bull shines out (1.154.6). Let us go, O seekers of the cows, to Indra – he increases well our thought. Invincible, he then would pour on us his riches – supreme intuition, cows-rays (1.33.1). Our fathers the Angirases broke open by words, by cry firm strong place, the mountain, made the path for us from wide Heaven, have found the Day, Svar, intuition, luminous herds (1.71.2). Like river running forward, that advanced down, cows moved in visible Svar (1.66.10). Milch-cows are invincible on sacred grass, when they illuminate their heavenly home (1.173.1).

This cow is our fosterer, dhenu, because it nurses the Truth in us; it raises us by its sweet white milk of knowledge; it is well milking, sudugha, dohana. For milch-cows of the Truth, enjoying in heaven, bellowing, full-uddered, fed us (1.73.6). So for us, O Agni, thought was fed in wide Heavens – milk cow for man, giving by itself to doer of work its hundredfold riches (2.2.9). He, who now yokes to chariot (i.e. uses in his hymn) the cows of the Truth, the mighty ones, shining, furious, having arrows in their mouths thrown in hearts, carrying bliss, he, who of them nourishing ones, is growing, let him live (1.84.16). Cherishing milch-cows fed up fond of wisdom-word Mamateya by that udder. Let the knowing one desire that drink of knowledges, let Aditi protect the one who illuminates by mouth (1.152.6).

During their descent from Svar to Earth (to its upper planes of the illuminated mind) to the bright mind, full of milch-cows (1.120.9), these supramental by their nature and origin perceptions may take the form of mental movements, and as such, they may be named as thoughts, but they are not the thought, they surpass it: thoughts led by cows (1.90.5).

Soma. There are many places in the Veda where we can easily see that the offering of soma pressings is the offering by the Rishi of ecstatic wisdoms-words (brahman-s) and bright hymns (here are some examples of such riks just from the first Mandala: 1.2.2, 1.5.7, 1.8.10, 1.9.3, 1.10.3, 1.14.1, 1.16.5, 1.16.7, 1.18.1, 1.21.1, 1.26.10, 1.40.4, 1.45.10, 1.46.13, 1.47.2, 1.51.13, 1.75.1, 1.84.5, 1.86.4, 1.91.1, 1.91.7, 1.91.10, 1.91.11, 1.101.9, 1.105.7, 1.108.2, 1.109.2, 1.132.1, 1.167.6, 1.177.4) while several riks declare it explicitly:

This is the sacrifice going to the gods, this is the offering, these are the wisdom-words, this is, O Indra, soma. (1.177.4)

Offerin of Soma to you, O Indra and Agni, this new hymn I bring in the birth. (1.109.2)

In utterances, O Indra, in hymns, for thee these brilliant somas, by which thee art intoxicated, are flowing forth. (2.11.3)

This is that thy soma, increasing manly force of thy embodiment, might and power, always established in both of thy hands, to thee pressed out, O Lord of plenitudes, for thee composed, do thou – for the sake of wisdom-word – drink it with contentment. (2.36.5)

This is word of Wisdom of the Lord of the Word, Brahmanaspati, that is received and repeated by the Rishi: his bright hymn is the result of penetration of higher consciousness into Rishi’s, of hearing by him of the Truth (Shruti), of perceiving, of viewing by him of the Truth (Drishti). The higher is the source of this perception, the lighter is the hymn, the more potent is the wine of ecstasy. Thus, “the first time”, the poet presses out the soma in the early morning, at Dawn, when the first rays of higher consciousness just begin to penetrate into the darkness of our Night, therefore the first pressing is in the illuminated mind, in the upper level of Earth. “The second time”, the poet presses the soma in the middle of the day – in the bright mid-world of the Overmind. But the most potent wine, the highest hymn the poet achieves from pressing out the soma “the third time” – in the consciousness that receives the Light from the highest worlds of the third step of Vishnu, from the worlds of the absolute Bliss, Truth and Knowledge. It is such a hymn that was “pressed out in the third time” is that which most attracts and gladdens the gods by its light, power, truth and ecstasy. The attracted gods sit down on their seats covered by sacred grass (i.e. into aspiring and preparing consciousness of man) and establish in the Rishi their Presence (“are born”), grow to their natural greatness and power even in our littleness and narrowness and become capable of their mighty divine activity even in him who is filled with high air suitable for their breathing. Of course, the gods do not need to leave their worlds of infinity, Bliss, Light and Truth to enjoy offerings of the mortal. They come in the prepared consciousness of man to replace his narrowness, ignorance, suffering and death with the wideness, knowledge, bliss and immortality of Heaven and to bring Earth to its divine fulfilment.

Knowing that cows are figure of supramental perceptions, their milk is the “drink of knowledge” and soma is an offering to the gods “of words born in Knowledge” (1.64.1), we can understand such phrases, like “pressed out soma, swelling with milk” (2.13.1) “utterances in cows” (1.70.9) and “mixture of soma with milk” (passim) or “with curd” (which is assimilated “cow” “milk” as structured mental knowledge).

Because of this connection of the Waters of Svar, that contains omniscience, with Cows, supramental perceptions of the Truth, these Cows and Waters not only mentioned in the same context, but they are often even identified with each other: like lowing milch-cows running, Waters have quickly reached the Ocean (1.32.2); rivers, milch-cows (1.125.4); the ruddy ones (cows) of Dawn that flow downward like released rivers (1.72.10); Indra released rivers like pent cows, to give the hearing of the Truth (1.61.10); rivers, like milch-cows yielding all things for a man (1.130.5); like a river running forward, cows moved in visible Svar (1.66.10). When the seer joins himself at home (i.e. in Svar) with the cows and with the Waters, then the upper form becomes blazing and the Foundation is brightened wholly, that assembling thought has come into being by the formation of the gods (1.95.8). Waters and understanding accomplished one another (1.96.1). The Maruts, good givers, who are born in knowledges, feed the Waters, a lightful drink. Like a horse, they lead for the raining the fullness of plenitude, milk a thundering inexhaustible spring (1.64.6). Knowing the meaning of soma (the offering of words-wisdoms) of the Waters (currents and oceans of Existence-Consciousness-Knowledge) that flow through Svar, bringing it together with cows to Earth, to human being (1.10.8), we understand words of Veda, that these somas are pressed out in the Waters by priests (1.135.6), that Brahma, Master of the Word, becomes charioteer of the Waters going to their goal (1.158.6), etc.

Release and Ascension of the Waters

Deeds of the gods and the seers releasing the Waters that were latent, “imprisoned” within the Earth are a theme running throughout the entire Veda. We even find this theme in the Greek myth in which Pegasus “smote the rock with his hoof and the waters of inspiration gushed out where the mountain had been thus smitten.” (CWSA.– Vol. 15.– 1998, p. 92). These deeds occupy a large place in the Veda, being key event for our forefathers and for consciousness of all earth both then and now. This heroic achievement is repeated in the Veda again and again, often described in similar words and details.

I declare now the primal heroic deeds of Indra, which the thunderer has achieved: has killed the Serpent, released the Waters, split cavities of mountains. (1.32.1)

Our fathers the Angirases broke open by words, by cry even firm strong place, the mountain, made the path for us from wide Heaven, have found the Day, Svar, intuition, luminous herds. (1.71.2)

When over supporting fixed Mid-World, thou steadily stoodest in planes of Heaven, when in pouring on us of Svar, O Indra, in intoxication rejoicing thou killedst Vritra, current of waters releasedst. (1.56.5)

He, mighty Indra, killer of the Serpent, this stream of Waters impelled to Ocean, brought into birth the Sun, found cows, by light established knowledges of the Days. (2.19.3)

Having killed Vritra by horses (N.B.), O thee, in whom is all knowledge, O Indra, desiring to release waters for man thou heldest in both hands thunderbolt made of iron, broughtest into the Heaven the Sun for vision. (1.52.8)

Thou didst cast out those who cannot think by those who think, Dasyu – by wisdom-words, O Indra. (1.33.9)

The darkness stood, the crooked receptacle of waters, the mountain (mental consciousness) was within belly of Vritra. Indra hast hurledst all one by one the rivers on slopes that were withheld by cover. (1.54.10)

Brihaspati, the Lord of Wisdom-Word, together with his ally Indra for hearing of the Truth splits asunder mountain and releases stream of waters, enclosed by darkness. (2.23.18)

Even the Waters everywhere existing, to one goal going, Indra released forward, all-rapturous, honeyed, purified by seers-strainers (N.B.), who in Days and in Nights set them running in movement. (3.31.16)

Possessed by Dasu, guarded by the Serpent, restrained waters stood out, like cows held by Pani, when – being slayer of Vritra – Indra has opened that closed hole of the Waters. (1.32.11)

That is the most adorable work of this achiever of works, the most beloved deed of the Wonderful, when he fed in crookedness four upper rivers of the honey Ocean. (1.62.6)

This last wonderful rik gives us the key vision of the Veda, which coincides with the vision in the supramental yoga of Sri Aurobindo: (1) all psychological principles of existence are contained in every world, including the worlds of Earth; (2) four upper rivers with four upper principles peculiar to Sachchidananda, Supermind and Overmind are also here, latent in the three Earths; (3) the Divine supramental Power (Indra in this case) can even in this crookedness of our world increase (i.e. to rise from their latency) these four principles, and thus repair here the broken divine laws of works, the vrata-s. It is because the Earth already has in itself the upper principles of existence, including supramental consciousness, knowledge and power, that they may be opened in it when in due time of its evolution, it will respond to supramental action from above and produce the divine transformation of Earth. Without this, supramental yoga would be impossible, and salvation, the retreat from the physical existence, mokṣa, mukti, into some upper world or into Nirvana would be our sole hope and way.

What follows are some more excerpts from the Veda on this culminant moment of transformation of the Earth and rising of the Waters, when after removing of an obstacle and killing of Coverer, of the Enemy, the god and the seers split the rock of our mentality, open pens, release cows and waters, find that true Sun, that dwelled in darkness (3.39.5). For milch-cows of the Truth, enjoying in heaven, bellowing, full-uddered, fed us; the rivers desiring right thinking of the Beyond flowed wide altogether over Mountain (1.73.6). Your greaten Earth enjoys the Waters (1.180.5). It is when now, O Indra, the Earth became tenfold, at the Day peoples altogether extended, then, verily, thy, O Lord of plenitudes, widely heard force became fixedly the Heaven by bright might (1.52.11). And that man (whose stone has released the waters), he, purified, invincible, lives on together with the Waters, increasing in his might, full of heroic force, becomes leaded by Adityas, the sons of Aditi, he is never killed, not from afar nor from anear (2.27.13). Above, in the high level of Heaven, he stands, having risen who satisfies, he, verily, goes in gods; for him, the waters, the rivers, clarity flow, for him, always this Dakshina-discrimination grows (1.125.5). From the well in stone, which the Lord of Wisdom-Word (Brahmanaspati) opened by force, from that honeyed stream all have drank, seeing Svar, many have released the well, full of the Waters (2.24.4). The great, abundant, active, limitless Earth, O Indra, thou hast set into the seating, establishedst Heaven, mid-world; hereinto rivers flowed, urged by thee (3.30.9). Illuminated seer in the right thinking of rivers takes share (3.33.12). Now these released “self-risen rivers” (1.140.13), began their reverse movement upward, back toward the supreme Ocean, to the Truth (1.105.12). They, swollen by milk, return to the womb that creates the gods, they cannot be stopped (3.33.4). Impelled by Indra, who by the light establishes in us knowledge of the Days, they flow to the Ocean (2.19.3). They, like mothers to child, bellowing cows with milk to thee, O Ocean, verily, flow (10.75.4).

Such is this bidirectional movement in the Veda – the descent of the supramental almighty Power and Omniscience, urging and realising the almighty and omniscience hidden in the Earth; the ascent of man through his self-opening and by the growth of the gods within him. This joint work must change the current Law of works of the Earth by the Law of Life Divine, which executes the divine destination of the Earth as a world for immortal life even here of the Omniscient, Almighty and All-Enjoying.

The truth above shall wake a nether truth,

Even the dumb earth become a sentient force.

The Spirit’s tops and Nature’s base shall draw

Near to the secret of their separate truth

And know each other as one deity.

The Spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze

And Matter shall reveal the Spirit’s face.

Sri Aurobindo. Savitri

 

Michael Dmitriev, 2020

 

1 From the letter to Nirodbaran, 29 March 1936.

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2 Vedanta says that above Manifestation there is parātpara, Highest beyond Highest, Unmanifest, Supreme beyond any perception and manifestation.

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3 The vertical order means, that there is the vital plane above the physical one, the mental above the vital, etc. (although, perhaps, the image of the spheres inputted one into another is better, when within the sphere of supreme ether,– sat-chit-tapas, Svar,– is the Airspace of the Overmind and within this Airspace inserted the upper level of the Earth, mental consciousness, etc). Sri Aurobindo extrapolated this “vertical” arrangement of the sevenfold system to the five-dimensional system, when he proposed its scheme in 1913 (CWSA.– Vol.14.–2016, p. 131), according to which the five dwellings are (1) Earth (physical consciousness), (2) the middle world (which Sri Aurobindo correlated with vital consciousness), (3) Heaven (taken as mental consciousness), (4) Mahas (supramental consciousness) and (5) Mayas (equated to Sachchidananda). Above we already discussed contradictions in the use of terms and in the correlation of levels of consciousness with worlds.

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