Guiding Light of The Month

I implore that every substance impregnated more and more by Thy sovereign forces may put up an ever diminishing resistance of blind ignorance against Thee, and that triumphing over all darkness Thou mayst transfigure definitively and integrally this universe of strife and anguish into a universe of harmony and peace... So that Thy law may be fulfilled. - The Mother

October - November Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse

October 15th – Rig Veda:

Krishnamoorthy uncle started by highlighting the two main pillars of the Vedic symbolism.

‘The Cow & the Angiras Legend ’ and  ‘The Vritra Mythus ’ are the two principle parables or rather symbolic systems around which all the rest of Vedic symbolism is woven. How we interpret these "pillars" will determine how we interpret the Veda ” - Sri Aurobindo

Throughout the Veda and even otherwise the name Angiras or Angira & Angirasas (plural form), occur in many places. 

·         Angiras is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages) of the First Manvantara. (Swayambu Manu is the name of 1st Manvantara). The sage Bharadwaja is from his lineage.
·         He is also one of the 10 Manasaputras (son born of the mind) of Lord Brahma.
·         He is one of the Progenitors of humankind.
·         He, along with sage Atharvan, composed (heard) most of the Atharvana Veda.
·         His name is applied more than once to God Brihaspati.   According to Rig Veda (6.73.1)
Brihaspati, the teacher of Gods, was the first-born son of Angirasa.
·         Through his tapas, came to be known as Angira meaning, “shining like fire.” It comes from the same root as Agni, for which deity the name is used as an epithet. 
·         In one of the hymns of the Atris, the discovery of Agni, the sacred fire is attributed to the Angiras Rishis. In another hymn, he is attributed to Bhrigus. 
·         Agneya, the daughter of Agni is considered as the mother of Angiras.
·         Indra also is described as becoming an Angiras or as becoming possessed of the Angiras quality.
·         Usha, the dawn also is described as Angirastama and in addition as Indratama.
·         Brihaspati also is closely associated with the Angiras Rishis in the winning of the luminous cattle.
·         In some of the hymns of the 10th Mandala, they are associated as Pitris with Yama.  They also take their seats with the gods on the  barhis, the sacred grass, and have their share in the sacrifice.
·         Some Buddhist texts (Pitikas) refer to the Buddha as Angirasa or Angirasa Kumara because he belonged to the Angirasa tribe.
Below is the legend in brief as told like a story:

      Vala & the Panis, have stolen the Cows and put them in the caves of the remote mountains.  Angiras Rishis are in search for them.
      The sacrifice has to be performed by the Rishis by chanting of the true ‘Word’.  Indra has to be invoked. 
      Indra has to become strong by drinking the Soma- wine and get the powers of all the Gods, into his thunderbolt. 
      Sarama should run forward to find the caves and bring Indra and Angirasas to the site.
      With Angirasa chanting, Indra with his thunderbolt enters and violently breaks open the strong places of the hill, defeats the panis and drives upward the liberated herds. The conquest is thus effected.

Interpreting this legend, Sri Aurobindo begins in the following manner:

“Another question arises. Is there a definite sense in these variations binding them together into a single coherent idea?  Or, is it, at random, that the Rishis invoke one or another deity in the search and war for their lost cattle”?

Next He Analyses:

Two entirely opposite explanations can be given of the double character of these seers, divine and human.
  • They may have been originally human sages deified by their descendants culminating in giving them a divine parentage and a divine function or
  • They may have been originally demigods, powers of the Light and Flame, who became humanised as the fathers of the race and the discoverers of its wisdom.

Both these processes are recognisable in early mythology”

2 interlinked aspects that are central to Sri Aurobindo’s method :

1. To understand the nature of the Vedic language.
§  Language, in the early Vedic period, was at a stage where it was extremely fluid.
§  It had not been cast into a fixed mould where each word referred to a particular thing and that thing alone.
§  There was a creative utilization of word roots and each root could have multiple meanings.
§  The word that a root gave birth to, held first the sense of the root, and then of the object which it named.
§  The word for the Vedic Rishi was still a living thing, a thing of power, creative, formative.

2. To understand the psychological phenomena which it represents.
      There is a kind of inner psychological experience that is being expressed through the hymns of the Veda. In fact, this fluidity of language gave the Rishis a suitable medium for conveying their abstract experiences.
      In that original epoch, thought proceeded by other methods than those of our logical reasoning and speech accepted modes of expression which in our modern habits would be inadmissible. The wisest then depended on inner experience and the suggestions of the intuitive mind for all knowledge that ranged beyond mankind’s ordinary perceptions and daily activities.

It is also important not to overlook the following features:
      The inner experience is also the deeper layer of meaning behind the outer ritualistic and naturalistic framework and the Veda itself reveals it in certain passages. In such verses, the veil of symbols temporarily lifts and the spiritual intent is seen without any doubt whatsoever.
      One is required to find and hold on to these clues and correlate them with other occurrences of the same ideas. Eventually, one is able to affix the exact meaning to each symbol, each image, and the seemingly disconnected mass of hymns becomes a unified expression of a single conception.

We also observe certain features that tend to in eternity:
      It is not yet a simple mythological tradition despite giving precise images.
      Usage of certain freedom and fluidity, betrays the significant image behind the sacred tradition.
      Often it is stripped of the mythological aspect and applied to the personal need or aspiration of the seer.
      Although Indra has done it once for all in the type by means of the Angirasas, yet he repeats doing it continually even in the present – He is constantly the seeker of the Cows and restorer of the stolen wealth.

Here are some of the examples of several variations in the way the stolen Cows are recovered – as narrated by various Vedic Rishis
      Sometimes, only Indra is mentioned as instrumental for the recovery, without any mention of Sarama, Angirases or the Panis. Other times, different deities are mentioned – such as:
§  Usha, the divine Dawn as the mother of these herds
§  Agni – who sometimes fights alone and otherwise takes either Indra’s help or Soma’s.
§  The Ashwins are also credited with the same achievement
§  In some cases, the twin Ashwins are unified as Angiras.
§  Brihaspati – shown as coming first into birth from the great Light, seven-mouthed, seven-rayed, multiple born to dispel darkness.
§  The Maruts– though less directly associated – shown as singers of the Rik
§  Pushan – shown as the Increaser – a form of the Sun-God
§  Saraswati – as slayer of the Panis.

The question Sri Aurobindo puts is – ‘ Is there a definite sense in these variations binding into a single coherent idea ? ’.

His answer: ‘If we consent to take the ideas of the Veda as a whole instead of bewildering in the play of separate details, we shall find a simple and sufficient answer.’

§  The matter of the lost herds is only part of a whole system of connected symbols and images.   They are recovered:
§  By the sacrifice - Fiery God Agni is the flame, the power and the priest of the sacrifice too.
§  By the Word – Brihaspati is the father of the Word, the Maruts its singers, and Saraswati its inspiration.
§  By the Wine – Soma is the god of the Wine, and the Ashwins its seekers, finders, givers and drinkers.
§  By the Form – The herds are the herds of the Light – the Light comes from the Dawn and by the Sun of whom Pushan is a form.
§  Finally by Indra – who is the head of all these gods.  He is the Lord of the Light, King of the luminous heaven called Swar.

He is the luminous or Divine Mind – into him all the Gods enter and take part in his unveiling of the hidden light. Hence there is a perfect appropriateness in the attribution of one and the same victory to these different deities – in line with Rishi Madhucchandas’ image of the gods entering into Indra for the stroke against Vala – Nothing is done at random  - Veda is perfect and beautiful in its coherence and unity.  
We also recalled one of the Savitri passages related to Angirasa in Book 3 – The Book of The Divine Mother,

Canto IV – The Vision and The Boon:

I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers
Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life
Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth;
Forerunners of a divine multitude,
Out of the paths of the morning star they came
Into the little room of mortal life.
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,
The great creators with wide brows of calm,
The massive barrier-breakers of the world
And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,
The labourers in the quarries of the gods,
The messengers of the Incommunicable,
The architects of immortality.



November 12th – Doctrine of the mystics

This was the concluding session of our deep dive into the ‘Doctrine of the Mystics’. After a brief recap, Jared took us through the major Godheads namely Agni, Indra, Surya and Soma. This was followed by the seven Angrasas and the Soul in varied complex forms.
Agni first, for without him the sacrificial flame cannot burn on the altar of the soul. That flame of Agni is the seven-tongued power of the Will, a Force of God instinct with knowledge. This conscious and forceful will is the immortal guest in our mortality, a pure priest and a divine worker, the mediator between earth and heaven. It carries what we offer to the higher Powers and brings back in return their force and light and joy into our humanity.
Indra, the Puissant next, who is the power of pure Existence self-manifested as the Divine Mind. As Agni is one pole of Force instinct with knowledge that sends its current upward from earth to heaven, so Indra is the other pole of Light instinct with force which descends from heaven to earth. He comes down into our world as the Hero with the shining horses and slays darkness and division with his lightnings, pours down the life-giving heavenly waters, finds in the trace of the hound, Intuition, the lost or hidden illuminations, makes the Sun of Truth mount high in the heaven of our mentality.
Surya, the Sun, is the master of that supreme Truth, -- truth of being, truth of knowledge, truth of process and act and movement and functioning. He is therefore the creator or rather the manifester of all things -- for creation is outbringing, expression by the Truth and Will -- and the father, fosterer, enlightener of our souls. The illuminations we seek are the herds of this Sun who comes to us in the track of the divine Dawn and releases and reveals in us night-hidden world after world up to the highest Beatitude.
Of that beatitude Soma is the representative deity. The wine of his ecstasy is concealed in the growths of earth, in the waters of existence; even here in our physical being are his immortalising juices and they have to be pressed out and offered to all the gods; for in that strength these shall increase and conquer.”
“That ascension has already been effected by the Ancients, the human forefathers, and the spirits of these great Ancestors still assist their offspring; for the new dawns repeat the old and lean forward in light to join the dawns of the future. Kanwa, Kutsa, Atri, Kakshiwan, Gotama, Shunahshepa have become types of certain spiritual victories which tend to be constantly repeated in the experience of humanity. The seven sages, the Angirasas, are waiting still and always, ready to chant the word, to rend the cavern, to find the lost herds, to recover the hidden Sun.
Thus the soul is a battlefield full of helpers and hurters, friends and enemies. All this lives, teems, is personal, is conscious, is active. We create for ourselves by the sacrifice and by the word shining seers, heroes to fight for us, children of our works. The Rishis and the Gods find for us our luminous herds; the Ribhus fashion by the mind the chariots of the gods and their horses and their shining weapons. Our life is a horse that neighing and galloping bears us onward and upward; its forces are swift-hooved steeds, the liberated powers of the mind are wide-winging birds; this mental being or this soul is the upsoaring Swan or the Falcon that breaks out from a hundred iron walls and wrests from the jealous guardians of felicity the wine of the Soma.
Every shining godward Thought that arises from the secret abysses of the heart is a priest and a creator and chants a divine hymn of luminous realisation and puissant fulfilment. We seek for the shining gold of the Truth; we lust after a heavenly treasure. The soul of man is a world full of beings, a kingdom in which armies clash to help or hinder a supreme conquest, a house where the gods are our guests and which the demons strive to possess; the fullness of its energies and wideness of its being make a seat of sacrifice spread, arranged and purified for a celestial session.
Such are some of the principal images of the Veda and a very brief and insufficient outline of the teaching of the Forefathers. So understood the Rig Veda ceases to be an obscure, confused and barbarous hymnal; it becomes the high-aspiring Song of Humanity; its chants are episodes of the lyrical epic of the soul in its immortal ascension.
This at least; what more there may be in the Veda of ancient science, lost knowledge, old psycho-physical tradition remains yet to be discovered.”
Our mental ego divides, limits and decides creating contradictions and conflicts. Evolution for Sri Aurobindo is the dissolution of the ego and the self-discovery followed by the growth of the inner psychic flame. Competition represents ego and cooperation the psychic. Love, Beauty and Delight are so near and yet so far. Our Master pleads for
·         Reconciliation of every possible opposites or different aspects; at the peak of this journey the reconciliation of Being and non-Being opens us to the very source of THE INFINITE – THE ABSOLUTE and 
·         The integration of
o   Matter and Spirit
o   Universe and the Individual
o   Mind and Vital
o   One and the Many
- Ramadoss


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