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Sri Aurobindo

The Secret of the Veda

with Selected Hymns

Chapter XVII. The Seven-Headed Thought, Swar and the Dashagwas

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The language of the hymns establishes, then, a double aspect for the Angiras Rishis. One belongs to the external garb of the Veda; it weaves together its naturalistic imagery of the Sun, the Flame, the Dawn, the Cow, the Horse, the Wine, the sacrificial Hymn; the other extricates from that imagery the internal sense. The Angirases are sons of the Flame, lustres 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 and as the own home of this Flame of which they are the children. This physical imagery and these psychological indications are closely interwoven and they cannot be separated from each other. Therefore we are obliged by ordinary common sense to conclude that the Flame of which the Right and the Truth is the own home is itself a Flame of that Right and Truth, that the Light which is won by the Truth and by the force of true thought is not merely a physical light, the cows which Sarama finds on the path of the Truth not merely physical herds, the Horses not merely the wealth of the Dravidians conquered by invading Aryan tribes, nor even merely images of the physical Dawn, its light and its swiftly moving rays and the darkness of which the Panis and Vritra are the defenders not merely the darkness of the Indian or the Arctic night. We have even been able to hazard a reasonable hypothesis by which we can disentangle the real sense of this imagery and discover the true godhead of these shining gods and these divine, luminous sages.

The Angiras Rishis are at once divine and human seers. This double character is not in itself an extraordinary feature or peculiar in the Veda to these sages. The Vedic gods also have a double action; divine and pre-existent in themselves, they are human in their working upon the mortal plane when they grow in man to the great ascension. This has been strikingly expressed in the allocution to Usha, the Dawn, “goddess human in mortals”, devi marteṣu mānuṣi. But in the imagery of the Angiras Rishis this double character is farther complicated by the tradition which makes them the human fathers, discoverers of the Light, the Path and the Goal. We must see how this complication affects our theory of the Vedic creed and the Vedic symbolism.

The Angiras Rishis are ordinarily described as seven in number: they are sapta viprāḥ, the seven sages who have come down to us in the Puranic tradition1 and are enthroned by Indian astronomy in the constellation of the Great Bear. But they are also described as Navagwas and Dashagwas, and if in VI.22 we are told of the ancient fathers, the seven seers who were Navagwas, pūrve pitaro navagvāḥ sapta viprāso, yet in III.39.5 we have mention of two different classes, Navagwas, and Dashagwas, the latter ten in number, the former presumably, though it is not expressly stated, nine. Sakhā ha yatra sakhibhir navagvair abhijñv ā satvabhir gā anugman; satyaṃ tad indro daśabhir daśagvaiḥ sūryaṃ viveda tamasi kṣiyantam; “where, a friend with his friends the Navagwas, following the cows Indra with the ten Dashagwas found that truth, even the Sun dwelling in the darkness.” On the other hand we have in IV.51 a collective description of the Angiras seven-faced or seven-mouthed, nine-rayed, ten-rayed, navagve aṅgire daśagve saptāsye. In X.108.8 we have another Rishi Ayasya associated with the Navagwa Angirases. In X.67 this Ayasya is described as our father who found the vast seven-headed Thought that was born out of the Truth and as singing the hymn to Indra. According as the Navagwas are seven or nine, Ayasya will be the eighth or the tenth Rishi.

Tradition asserts the separate existence of two classes of Angiras Rishis, the one Navagwas who sacrificed for nine months, the other Dashagwas whose sessions of sacrifice endured for ten. According to this interpretation we must take Navagwa and Dashagwa as “nine-cowed” and “ten-cowed”, each cow representing collectively the thirty Dawns which constitute one month of the sacrificial year. But there is at least one passage of the Rig Veda which on its surface is in direct conflict with the traditional interpretation. For in the seventh verse of V.45 and again in the eleventh we are told that it was the Navagwas, not the Dashagwas, who sacrificed or chanted the hymn for ten months. This seventh verse runs, anūnod atra hastayato adrir, ārcan yena daśa māso navagvāḥ; ṛtaṃ yatī saramā gā avindad, viśvāni satyāṅgirāś cakāra, “Here cried (or, moved) the stone impelled by the hand, whereby the Navagwas chanted for ten months the hymn; Sarama travelling to the Truth found the cows; all things the Angiras made true.” And in verse 11 we have the assertion repeated; dhiyaṃ vo apsu dadhiṣe svarṣāṃ, yayātaran daśa māso navagvāḥ; ayā dhiyā syāma devagopā, ayā dhiyā tuturyāma ati aṃhaḥ. “I hold for you in the waters (i.e. the seven Rivers) the thought that wins possession of heaven2 (this is once more the seven-headed thought born from the Truth and found by Ayasya), by which the Navagwas passed through the ten months; by this thought may we have the gods for protectors, by this thought may we pass through beyond the evil.” The statement is explicit. Sayana indeed makes a faint-hearted attempt to take daśa māso in v. 7, ten months, as if it were an epithet daśamāso, the ten-month ones i.e. the Dashagwas; but he offers this improbable rendering only as an alternative and abandons it in the eleventh rik.

Must we then suppose that the poet of this hymn had forgotten the tradition and was confusing the Dashagwas and Navagwas? Such a supposition is inadmissible. The difficulty arises because we suppose the Navagwas and Dashagwas to have been in the minds of the Vedic Rishis two different classes of Angiras Rishis; rather these seem to have been two different powers of Angirashood and in that case the Navagwas themselves might well become Dashagwas by extending the period of the sacrifice to ten months instead of nine. The expression in the hymn, daśa māso ataran, indicates that there was some difficulty in getting through the full period of ten months. It is during this period apparently that the sons of darkness had the power to assail the sacrifice; for it is indicated that it is only by the confirming of the thought which conquers Swar, the solar world, that the Rishis are able to get through the ten months, but this thought once found they become assured of the protection of the gods and pass beyond the assault of the evil, the harms of the Panis and Vritras. This Swar-conquering thought is certainly the same as that seven-headed thought which was born from the Truth and discovered by Ayasya the companion of the Navagwas; for by it, we are told, Ayasya becoming universal, embracing the births in all the worlds, brought into being a fourth world or fourfold world, which must be the supramental beyond the three lower sessions, Dyaus, Antariksha and Prithivi, that wide world which, according to Kanwa son of Ghora, men reach or create by crossing beyond the two Rodasi after killing Vritra. This fourth world must be therefore Swar. The seven-headed thought of Ayasya enables him to become viśvajanya, which means probably that he occupies or possesses all the worlds or births of the soul or else that he becomes universal, identifying himself with all beings born,– and to manifest or give being to a certain fourth world (Swar), turīyaṃ svij janayad viśvajanyaḥ (X.67.1); and the thought established in the waters which enables the Navagwa Rishis to pass through the ten months, is also svarṣā, that which brings about the possession of Swar. The waters are clearly the seven rivers and the two thoughts are evidently the same. Must we not then conclude that it is the addition of Ayasya to the Navagwas which raises the nine Navagwas to the number of ten and enables them by his discovery of the seven-headed Swar-conquering thought to prolong their nine-months’ sacrifice through the tenth month? Thus they become the ten Dashagwas. We may note in this connection that the intoxication of the Soma by which Indra manifests or increases the might of Swar or the Swar-Purusha (svarṇara) is described as ten-rayed and illuminating (daśagvaṃ vepayantam).

This conclusion is entirely confirmed by the passage in III.39.5 which we have already cited. For there we find that it is with the help of the Navagwas that Indra pursues the trace of the lost kine, but it is only with the aid of the ten Dashagwas that he is able to bring the pursuit to a successful issue and find that Truth, satyaṃ tat, namely, the Sun that was lying in the darkness. In other words, it is when the nine-months’ sacrifice is prolonged through the tenth, it is when the Navagwas become the ten Dashagwas by the seven-headed thought of Ayasya, the tenth Rishi, that the Sun is found and the luminous world of Swar in which we possess the truth of the one universal Deva, is disclosed and conquered. This conquest of Swar is the aim of the sacrifice and the great work accomplished by the Angiras Rishis.

But what is meant by the figure of the months? for it now becomes clear that it is a figure, a parable; the year is symbolic, the months are symbolic.4 It is in the revolution of the year that the recovery of the lost Sun and the lost cows is effected, for we have the explicit statement in X.62.2, ṛtenābhindan parivatsare valam, “by the truth, in the revolution of the year, they broke Vala,” or, as Sayana interprets it, “by sacrifice lasting for a year.” This passage certainly goes far to support the Arctic theory, for it speaks of a yearly and not a daily return of the Sun. But we are not concerned with the external figure, nor does its validity in any way affect our own theory; for it may very well be that the striking Arctic experience of the long night, the annual sunrise and the continuous dawns was made by the Mystics the figure of the spiritual night and its difficult illumination. But that this idea of Time, of the months and years is used as a symbol seems to be clear from other passages of the Veda, notably from Gritsamada’s hymn to Brihaspati, II.24.

In this hymn Brihaspati is described driving up the cows, breaking Vala by the divine word, brahmaṇā, concealing the darkness and making Swar visible. The first result is the breaking open by force of the well which has the rock for its face and whose streams are of the honey, madhu, the Soma sweetness, aśmāsyam avataṃ madhudhāram. This well of honey covered by the rock must be the Ananda or divine beatitude of the supreme threefold world of bliss, the Satya, Tapas and Jana worlds of the Puranic system based upon the three supreme principles, Sat, Chit-Tapas and Ananda; their base is Swar of the Veda, Mahar of the Upanishads and Puranas, the world of Truth.5 These four together make the fourfold fourth world and are described in the Rig Veda as the four supreme and secret seats, the source of the “four upper rivers”. Sometimes, however, this upper world seems to be divided into two, Swar the base, Mayas or the divine beatitude the summit, so that there are five worlds or births of the ascending soul. The three other rivers are the three lower powers of being and supply the principles of the three lower worlds.

This secret well of honey is drunk by all those who are able to see Swar and they pour out its billowing fountain of sweetness in manifold streams together, tam eva viśve papire svardṛśo bahu sākaṃ sisicur utsam udriṇam. These many streams poured out together are the seven rivers poured down the hill by Indra after slaying Vritra, the rivers or streams of the Truth, ṛtasya dhārāḥ; and they represent, according to our theory, the seven principles of conscious being in their divine fulfilment in the Truth and Bliss. This is why the seven-headed thought,– that is to say, the knowledge of the divine existence with its seven heads or powers, the seven-rayed knowledge of Brihaspati, saptagum, has to be confirmed or held in thought in the waters, the seven rivers, that is to say the seven forms of divine consciousness are to be held in the seven forms or movements of divine being; dhiyaṃ vo apsu dadhiṣe svarṣām, I hold the Swar-conquering thought in the waters.

That the making visible of Swar to the eyes of the Swar-seers, svardṛśaḥ, their drinking of the honeyed well and their outpouring of the divine waters amounts to the revelation to man of new worlds or new states of existence is clearly told us in the next verse, II.24.5, sanā tā kā cid bhuvanā bhavītvā, mādbhiḥ śaradbhir duro varanta vaḥ; ayatantā carato anyad-anyad id, yā cakāra vayunā brahmaṇas patiḥ, “Certain eternal worlds (states of existence) are these which have to come into being, their doors are shut7 to you (or, opened) by the months and the years; without effort one (world) moves in the other, and it is these that Brahmanaspati has made manifest to knowledge”; vayunā means knowledge, and the two forms are divinised earth and heaven which Brahmanaspati created. These are the four eternal worlds hidden in the guhā, the secret, unmanifest or superconscient parts of being which although in themselves eternally present states of existence (sanā bhuvanā) are for us non-existent and in the future; for us they have to be brought into being, bhavītvā, they are yet to be created. Therefore the Veda sometimes speaks of Swar being made visible, as here (vy acakṣayat svaḥ), or discovered and taken possession of, vidat, sanat, sometimes of its being created or made (bhū, kṛ). These secret eternal worlds have been closed to us, says the Rishi, by the movement of Time, by the months and years; therefore naturally they have to be discovered, revealed, conquered, created in us by the movement of Time, yet in a sense against it. This development in an inner or psychological Time is, it seems to me, that which is symbolised by the sacrificial year and by the ten months that have to be spent before the revealing hymn of the soul (brahma) is able to discover the seven-headed, heaven-conquering thought which finally carries us beyond the harms of Vritra and the Panis.

We get the connection of the rivers and the worlds very clearly in I.62 where Indra is described as breaking the hill by the aid of the Navagwas and breaking Vala by the aid of the Dashagwas. Hymned by the Angiras Rishis Indra opens up the darkness by the Dawn and the Sun and the Cows, he spreads out the high plateau of the earthly hill into wideness and upholds the higher world of heaven. For the result of the opening up of the higher planes of consciousness is to increase the wideness of the physical, to raise the height of the mental. “This, indeed,” says the Rishi Nodha, “is his mightiest work, the fairest achievement of the achiever,” dasmasya cārutamam asti daṃsaḥ, “that the four upper rivers streaming honey nourish the two worlds of the crookedness,” upahvare yad uparā apinvan madhvarṇaso nadyaś catasraḥ. This is again the honey-streaming well pouring down its many streams together; the four higher rivers of the divine being, divine conscious force, divine delight, divine truth nourishing the two worlds of the mind and body into which they descend with their floods of sweetness. These two, the Rodasi, are normally worlds of crookedness, that is to say of the falsehood,– the ṛtam or Truth being the straight, the anṛtam or Falsehood the crooked,– because they are exposed to the harms of the undivine powers, Vritras and Panis, sons of darkness and division. They now become forms of the truth, the knowledge, vayunā, agreeing with outer action and this is evidently Gritsamada’s carato anyad-anyad and his yā cakāra vayunā brahmaṇas patiḥ. The Rishi then proceeds to define the result of the work of Ayasya, which is to reveal the true eternal and unified form of earth and heaven. “In their twofold (divine and human?) Ayasya uncovered by his hymns the two, eternal and in one nest; perfectly achieving he upheld earth and heaven8 in the highest ether (of the revealed superconscient, paramaṃ guhyam) as the Enjoyer his two wives.” The soul’s enjoyment of its divinised mental and bodily existence upheld in the eternal joy of the spiritual being could not be more clearly and beautifully imaged.

These ideas and many of the expressions are the same as those of the hymn of Gritsamada. Nodha says of the Night and Dawn, the dark physical and the illumined mental consciousness that they new-born (punarbhuvā) about heaven and earth move into each other with their own proper movements, svebhir evaiḥ... carato anyānyā (cf. Gritsamada’s ayatantā carato anyad anyad, ayatantā bearing the same sense as svebhir evaiḥ, i.e. spontaneously), in the eternal friendship that is worked out by the high achievement of their son who thus upholds them, sanemi sakhyaṃ svapasyamānaḥ sūnur dādhāra śavasā sudaṃsāḥ. In Gritsamada’s hymn as in Nodha’s the Angirases attain to Swar,– the Truth from which they originally came, the “own home” of all divine Purushas,– by the attainment of the truth and by the detection of the falsehood. “They who travel towards the goal and attain that treasure of the Panis, the supreme treasure hidden in the secret cave, they, having the knowledge and perceiving the falsehoods, rise up again thither whence they came and enter into that world. Possessed of the truth, beholding the falsehoods they, seers, rise up again into the great path,” mahas pathaḥ, the path of the Truth, or the great and wide realm, Mahas of the Upanishads.

We begin now to unravel the knot of this Vedic imagery. Brihaspati is the seven-rayed Thinker, sapta-guḥ, sapta-raśmiḥ, he is the seven-faced or seven-mouthed Angiras, born in many forms, saptāsyas tuvijātaḥ, nine-rayed, ten-rayed. The seven mouths are the seven Angirases who repeat the divine word (brahma) which comes from the seat of the Truth, Swar, and of which he is the lord (brahmaṇas patiḥ). Each also corresponds to one of the seven rays of Brihaspati; therefore they are the seven seers, sapta viprāḥ, sapta ṛṣayaḥ, who severally personify these seven rays of the knowledge. These rays are, again, the seven brilliant horses of the sun, sapta haritaḥ, and their full union constitutes the seven-headed Thought of Ayasya by which the lost sun of Truth is recovered. That thought again is established in the seven rivers, the seven principles of being divine and human, the totality of which founds the perfect spiritual existence. The winning of these seven rivers of our being withheld by Vritra and these seven rays withheld by Vala, the possession of our complete divine consciousness delivered from all falsehood by the free descent of the truth, gives us the secure possession of the world of Swar and the enjoyment of mental and physical being lifted into the godhead above darkness, falsehood and death by the in-streaming of our divine elements. This victory is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth secures the victory. What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten, is a more difficult question which we are not yet in a position to solve; but the light we already have is sufficient to illuminate all the main imagery of the Rig Veda.

The symbolism of the Veda depends upon the image of the life of man as a sacrifice, a journey and a battle. The ancient Mystics took for their theme the spiritual life of man, but, in order both to make it concrete to themselves and to veil its secrets from the unfit, they expressed it in poetical images drawn from the outward life of their age. That life was largely an existence of herdsmen and tillers of the soil for the mass of the people varied by the wars and migrations of the clans under their kings, and in all this activity the worship of the gods by sacrifice had become the most solemn and magnificent element, the knot of all the rest. For by the sacrifice were won the rain which fertilised the soil, the herds of cattle and horses necessary for their existence in peace and war, the wealth of gold, land (kṣetra), retainers, fighting-men which constituted greatness and lordship, the victory in the battle, safety in the journey by land and water which was so difficult and dangerous in those times of poor means of communication and loosely organised inter-tribal existence. All the principal features of that outward life which they saw around them the mystic poets took and turned into significant images of the inner life. The life of man is represented as a sacrifice to the gods, a journey sometimes figured as a crossing of dangerous waters, sometimes as an ascent from level to level of the hill of being, and, thirdly, as a battle against hostile nations. But these three images are not kept separate. The sacrifice is also a journey; indeed the sacrifice itself is described as travelling, as journeying to a divine goal; and the journey and the sacrifice are both continually spoken of as a battle against the dark powers.

The legend of the Angirases takes up and combines all these three essential features of the Vedic imagery. The Angirases are pilgrims of the light. The phrase nakṣantaḥ or abhinakṣantaḥ is constantly used to describe their characteristic action. They are those who travel towards the goal and attain to the highest, abhinakṣanto abhi ye tam ānaśur nidhiṃ ... paramaṃ, “they who travel to and attain that supreme treasure” (II.24.6). Their action is invoked for carrying forward the life of man farther towards its goal, sahasrasāve pra tiranta āyuḥ (III.53.7). But this journey, if principally of the nature of a quest, the quest of the hidden light, becomes also by the opposition of the powers of darkness an expedition and a battle. The Angirases are heroes and fighters of that battle, goṣu yodhāḥ, “fighters for the cows or rays”. Indra marches with them saraṇyubhiḥ, as travellers on the path, sakhibhiḥ, comrades, ṛkvabhiḥ and kavibhiḥ, seers and singers of the sacred chant, but also satvabhiḥ, fighters in the battle. They are frequently spoken of by the appellation nṛ or vīra, as when Indra is said to win the luminous herds asmākebhiḥ nṛbhiḥ, “by our men”. Strengthened by them he conquers in the journey and reaches the goal, nakṣad-dābhaṃ taturim. This journey or march proceeds along the path discovered by Sarama, the hound of heaven, the path of the Truth, ṛtasya panthāḥ, the great path, mahas pathaḥ, which leads to the realms of the Truth. It is also the sacrificial journey; for its stages correspond to the periods of the sacrifice of the Navagwas and it is effected by the force of the Soma-wine and the sacred Word.

The drinking of the Soma-wine as the means of strength, victory and attainment is one of the pervading figures of the Veda. Indra and the Ashwins are the great Soma-drinkers, but all the gods have their share of the immortalising draught. The Angirases also conquer in the strength of the Soma. Sarama threatens the Panis with the coming of Ayasya and the Navagwa Angirases in the keen intensity of their Soma rapture, eha gamann ṛṣayaḥ somaśitā ayāsyo aṅgiraso navagvāḥ (X.108.8). It is the great force by which men have the power to follow the path of the Truth. “That rapture of the Soma we desire by which thou, O Indra, didst make to thrive the Might of Swar (or the Swar-soul, svarṇaram), that rapture ten-rayed and making a light of knowledge (or, shaking the whole being with its force, daśagvaṃ vepayantam) by which thou didst foster the ocean; that Soma-intoxication by which thou didst drive forward the great waters (the seven rivers) like chariots to their sea,– that we desire that we may travel on the path of the truth,” panthām ṛtasya yātave tam īmahe (VIII.12.2-3). It is in the power of the Soma that the hill is broken open, the sons of darkness overthrown. This Soma-wine is the sweetness that comes flowing from the streams of the upper hidden world, it is that which flows in the seven waters, it is that with which the ghṛta, the clarified butter of the mystic sacrifice, is instinct; it is the honeyed wave which rises out of the ocean of life. Such images can have only one meaning; it is the divine delight hidden in all existence which, once manifest, supports all life’s crowning activities and is the force that finally immortalises the mortal, the amṛtam, ambrosia of the gods.

But it is especially the Word that the Angirases possess; their seerhood is their most distinguishing characteristic. They are brāhmaṇāsaḥ pitaraḥ somyāsaḥ... ṛtāvṛdhaḥ (VI.75.10), the fathers who are full of the Soma and have the word and are therefore increasers of the Truth. Indra in order to impel them on the path joins himself to the chanted expressions of their thought and gives fullness and force to the words of their soul, aṅgirasām ucathā jujuṣvān brahmā tūtod indro gātum iṣṇan (II.20.5). It is when enriched in light and force of thought by the Angirases that Indra completes his victorious journey and reaches the goal on the mountain; “In him our primal fathers, the seven seers, the Navagwas, increase their plenty, him victorious on his march and breaking through (to the goal), standing on the mountain, inviolate in speech, most luminous-forceful by his thinkings,” nakṣaddābhaṃ taturim parvateṣṭhām, adroghavācaṃ matibhiḥ śaviṣṭham (VI.22.2). It is by singing the Rik, the hymn of illumination, that they find the solar illuminations in the cave of our being, arcanto12 gā avindan (I.62.2). It is by the stubh, the all-supporting rhythm of the hymn of the seven seers, by the vibrating voice of the Navagwas that Indra becomes full of the power of Swar, svareṇa svaryaḥ and by the cry of the Dashagwas that he rends Vala in pieces (I.62.4). For this cry is the voice of the higher heaven, the thunder that cries in the lightning-flash of Indra, and the advance of the Angirases on their path is the forward movement of this cry of the heavens, pra brahmāṇo aṅgiraso nakṣanta, pra krandanur nabhanyasya vetu (VII.42.1); for we are told that the voice of Brihaspati the Angirasa discovering the Sun and the Dawn and the Cow and the light of the Word is the thunder of Heaven, bṛhaspatir uṣasaṃ sūryaṃ gām, arkaṃ viveda stanayann iva dyauḥ (X.67.5). It is by the satya mantra, the true thought expressed in the rhythm of the truth, that the hidden light is found and the Dawn brought to birth, gūḷhaṃ jyotiḥ pitaro anv avindan, satyamantrā ajanayann uṣāsam (VII.76.4). For these are the Angirases who speak aright, itthā vadadbhir aṅgirobhiḥ (VI.18.5), masters of the Rik who place perfectly their thought, svādhībhir ṛkvabhiḥ (VI.32.2); they are the sons of heaven, heroes of the Mighty Lord who speak the truth and think the straightness and therefore they are able to hold the seat of illumined knowledge, to mentalise the supreme abode of the sacrifice, ṛtaṃ śaṃsanta ṛju dīdhyānā, divas putrāso asurasya vīrāḥ; vipraṃ padam aṅgiraso dadhānā, yajñasya dhāma prathamaṃ mananta (X.67.2).

It is impossible that such expressions should convey nothing more than the recovery of stolen cows from Dravidian cave-dwellers by some Aryan seers led by a god and his dog or else the return of the Dawn after the darkness of the night. The wonders of the Arctic dawn themselves are insufficient to explain the association of images and the persistent stress on the idea of the Word, the Thought, the Truth, the journey and the conquest of the falsehood which meets us always in these hymns. Only the theory we are enouncing, a theory not brought in from outside but arising straight from the language and the suggestions of the hymns themselves, can unite this varied imagery and bring an easy lucidity and coherence into this apparent tangle of incongruities. In fact, once the central idea is grasped and the mentality of the Vedic Rishis and the principle of their symbolism are understood, no incongruity and no disorder remain. There is a fixed system of symbols which, except in some of the later hymns, does not admit of any important variations and in the light of which the inner sense of the Veda everywhere yields itself up readily enough. There is indeed a certain restricted freedom in the combination of the symbols, as in those of any fixed poetical imagery,– for instance, the sacred poems of the Vaishnavas; but the substance of thought behind is constant, coherent and does not vary.


1 Not that the names given them by the Purana need be those which the Vedic tradition would have given.


2 Sayana takes it to mean, “I recite the hymn for water” i.e. in order to get rain; the case however is the locative plural, and dadhiṣe means “I place or hold” or, with the psychological sense, “think” or “hold in thought, meditate”. Dhiṣaṇā like dhī means thought; dhiyaṃ dadhiṣe would thus mean “I think or meditate the thought.”


3 SABCL, volume 10: or. In Arya, vol. 2, No 6, p.368 the phrase “in which we possess the truth of the one universal Deva” is absent.


4 Observe that in the Puranas the Yugas, moments, months, etc. are all symbolic and it is stated that the body of man is the year.


5 In the Upanishads and Puranas there is no distinction between Swar and Dyaus; therefore a fourth name had to be found for the world of Truth, and this is the Mahar discovered according to the Taittiriya Upanishad by the Rishi Mahachamasya as the fourth Vyahriti, the other three being Swar, Bhuvar and Bhur, i.e. Dyaus, Antariksha and Prithivi of the Veda.


6 Arya, vol. 2, No 6; SABCL, volume 10: the


7 Sayana says varanta is here “opened”, which is quite possible, but vṛ means ordinarily to shut, close up, cover, especially when applied to the doors of the hill whence flow the rivers and the cows come forth; Vritra is the closer of the doors. Vi vṛ and apa vṛ mean to open. Nevertheless, if the word means here to open, that only makes our case all the stronger.


8 This and many other passages show clearly, conclusively, as it seems to me, that the anyad anyad, the two are always earth and heaven, the human based on the physical consciousness and the divine based on the supraphysical, heaven.


9 SABCL, volume 10: parame vyoman (1.62.7)

paramaṃ guhyam” in original text in Arya, vol. 2, No 6, p.372.


10 SABCL, volume 10: souls’

“soul’s” in original text in Arya, vol. 2, No 6, p.372.


11 SABCL, volume 10: uplifted. The verb is absetnt in Arya, vol. 2, No 6, p.372.


12 Arcati (ṛc) in the Veda means to shine and to sing the Rik; arka means sun, light and the Vedic hymn.


13 SABCL, volume 10: Cow

“the Cow” in original text in Arya, vol. 2, No 6, p.376.


14 SABCL, volume 10: by

“by the” in original text in Arya, vol. 2, No 6, p.376.