RigVeda and the Indian Systems of Approach to the One

H.B.Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Mon Aug 7 02:43:21 CDT 2000

Dear List Members,
Here is posting no. 10
Best wishes to all.
-- Himanshu
-------------- next part --------------
RigVeda and Indian Systems of Approach to the One :
(notes from selfstudy - svaadhyaaya)

X : Mantras Having Seeds of Bhaktimarga, Yogamarga, etc.

------------------------------------- Himanshu B. Dave

aham eva svayam ida.m vadaami ju.s.ta.m devebhir uta maanu.sebhi.h |
ya.m kaamaye ta.mtam ugra.m k.r.nomi ta.m brahmaa.na.m tam .r.si.m ta.m
sumedhaam || (5)

[RV X-125-5] [X-10-13-5]

{I myself declare this which is accepted by both gods and men. Whosoever I
like, I make him formidable, [I make] him a creater, [I make] him a Rishi or
[I make] him highly intelligent.}

Vaak says : I am saying myself, i.e., the authority for what I am saying is
me only. Do not search for correctness of what is being said elsewhere, as
I, Vaak, am the authority. This shows what we call self-reference. For a
seeker whose thinking is cleared by meditations (by whatever means), the
answers come from within. Further, this is accepted by both gods, i.e. a
persons higher functions of the brain and men, i.e. the lower functions. A
seeker accepts the answer coming from within at an abstract level and also
at surface level.
Vaak says, a yajamaana whom I like to grace (kaamaye), I make him a
formidable person through his mental abilities, a creative person (like an
artist, musician, author, poet), a visionary Rishi or philosopher, or a
person with brilliant intelligence, who can have contact with the Ultimate
Reality (sumedhaa).

        yaa devi sarva bhute.shu buddhiruupe.na sa.msthitaa
        namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo nama.h ||


In this posting, we shall talk about a few mantras which show a seed of
various paths or approaches to the One supreme being. It may be well known
to the readers of this series that scriptures have shown several approaches
like jnanamarga (path of knowledge), bhaktimarga (path of devotion),
yogamarga (path of meditation), karmamarga (path of actions), etc. All paths
ultimately merge and prepare a person for disolution into the One. There was
some discussion on the Advaita List about whether paths like yoga etc.
really gives a person mok.sa. We shall not enter into the discussion here,
as all paths, till they are paths, are just preparations. The final step has
no path, not even path of knowledge.

Possibly an analogy may illustrate the point. (Remember it is an analogy
only, and an analogy has limitations.) Suppose you have kept some clean
water in a vessel for making ice and left it on kitchen table at night. The
temperature at night falls considerably below zero, so you should have ice
in that vessel in the morning. Do you have it? No. Now, assuming that
morning temperature is still below zero, you give a small tap to the vessel
and lo and behold, in front of your eyes the (super-cooled) water turns into
ice. What has happened? (Not in terms of temperature vs. latent energy
diagram, please) A field was well prepared (super-cooled water), but it does
not grow food (no ice). When a seed or trigger (tap on the vessel) is given
the food grows (we have ice).

>From somewhere the trigger, the seed, has to come for the final step. That
is "sruti, not physical hearing, but "Hearing", heard by the aanandamaya

We are talking here in this posting about the ways of preparation and not
the seed.

???............  [RV I-12-14]  [I-2-1-14] .............

We start with the following mantra from Mandala I, sukta 24, by .r.si
"suna.h"sepa.h :

ava te he"do varu.na namobhir ava yaj~nebhir iimahe havirbhi.h |
k.sayann asmabhyam asura pracetaa raajann enaa.msi "si"sratha.h k.rtaani || (14)
[RV I-24-14]  [I-6-1-14]

{O Varuna! We reduce your anger with namaskars, with yajnas, with oblations
(havi). Remover of misfortune, wise, illustrious, be present amongst us and
dissolve the sins we have committed. (14)}

he"da.h -- anger -- varu.na is raajaa, the King, the controller, ii"svara, who
           gives rewards for the karma done by a man; to a man who commits
           sins, ii"svara seems angry;
namobhi.h -- by namaskaras -- by following the path of devotions; bhakti
ava iimahe -- [we] reduce, neutralize;

yaj~nebhi.h -- by yajnas; by following Karmamarga, the path of actions;
hahirbhi.h  -- by oblations; by following the path of Yoga;

asura.h     -- remover of misfortunes; Sayana explains as ani.s.tak.sepa.na"siila
               derived from the root as = "to throw";
praceta.h   -- wise, intelligent;

k.sayan asmabhyam raajan -- be present amongst us, in our actions, as the
               controller, i.e.,  may all the Karma that we do be in your
               name, for your pleasure, not for myself;
k.taani enaa.msi -- the sins committed;
"si"sratha.h     -- dissolve, reduce;

This mantra clearly shows seeds for Bhakti, Yoga and Karma marga. It also
has seed for bhagavadgiita.

Let us consider next the following mantra from Mandala X, sukta 71, by .r.si
b.rhaspati.h, addressed to j~naanam (Knowledge, with capital K):

ime ye naarvaa"n na para"s caranti na braahma.naaso na sutekaraasa.h |
ta ete vaacam abhipadya paapayaa siriis tantra.m tanvate aprajaj~naya.h ||(9)
[RV X-71-9] [X-6-3-9]

{Those who are not Brahmana (i.e. composer of Stotras), those who do not go
there (higher levels) or go here (lower levels), those who are not
effusing Soma and who are not with experience, they,
even after obtaining Vaak, due to their foolishness and lowness spread the
unending sequence of [births]. (9)}

sutekaraasa.h -- sute + kurvanti = those who effuse [Soma], i.e. Yogis, who
                 achieve bliss via meditation; followers of Yogamarga;

braahma.naasa.h -- those who compose brahmana, i.e. visionary stotras,
                 philosophers, followers of Jnanamarga;

na arvaak na para.h caranti -- those who do not follow the path of this
                 (i.e. this world) Karmamarga, or the path of that
                 (Sanyaasa, ascetic);
aprajaj~naya.h -- prajaj~naya.h = one who has repeated experience of aatmaa,
                 aparok.sa anubhava, including a Bhakta; "a" prefix denotes
                 negation, i.e., not such a person;
te ete         -- those men;
vaaca.m abhipadya -- even after having speech, i.e., thinking ability,
paapayaa          -- [with intelligence] leading to sins; due to wrong
                     method or approach;
sirii.h           -- siira.h = plough; becoming users of plough; here it
                     means one who propagates the race through procreation;
tantra.m          -- a thread; a loom; posterity; an uninterrupted series of
                     something; a scientific work; etc. here it means an
                     unending cycle of births and deaths;
tanvate           -- spreads; extends;

9. A total of five paths are given in this mantra : Yogamarga, Jnanamarga or
   Vicharamarga,  Karmamarga, Sanyasa and Bhakti. Those who do not follow
   any of these paths, having not experienced Atma, living just for eating
   drinking and procreating, extend the series of births and deaths to an
   unending sequence. This happen even if he is learned (vaacam abhipadya)
   but not experienced (aprajaj~naya.h).

Next we consider the following mantra from Mandala VII, sukta 86, by .r.si
vasi.s.tha.h :

p.rche tad eno varu.na did.rk.suupo emi cikitu.so vip.rcham |
samaanam in me kavaya"s cid aahur aya.m ha tubhya.m varu.no h.r.niite || (3)
[RV VII-86-3] [VII-5-16-3]

{O Varuna! I ask a visionary person, about my faults. I go around to
learned persons, to ask about this. But even poets have been
telling me this only one thing that Varuna is angry with you. (3)}

did.rk.su -- one who desires to see clearly; a thinker, visionary; here the
             form to be taken is dvitiiyaa (Acc.) of neuter.
cikitu.sa.h -- [to] a learned person; one who observes and enquires;
kavaya.h    -- poets, who are able to express abstarct ideas using ordinary

3. I have approached three types of thinkers -- those who are visionaries
   (mystics, Yogis); those who are learned (philosophers) and those who are
   able to express their knowledge (poets). All of them have told me the
   same thing that "you have not achieved the Experience".

   "visionary" represent Yogamarga; "learned" represent Jnanamarga; and
   "poets" represent Karmamarga and Bhaktimarga.

In fact all the mantras in RigVeda which use the words derived from the root
nam (to offer namaskaar) can be said to denote Bhaktimarga. Also, there are
many mantras expressing love and friendship and comparision with a father,
friend, parents, etc. in relation to some god. All these also can be
considered to be denoting Bhaktimarga. Vaishnavas especially point out
mantras from suktas like [RV I-154].

On the other hand, from our past discussions, it is clear that those
following Yogamarga also find considerable support from RigVeda.

The path of Knowledge is hidden in RigVeda, but with correct interpretation,
it is evident.

Path of Karma requires little comment, as whole of Brahmana literature is
full of the procedures.

With that we close this posting.

.o bhadra.m no apivaataya mana.h |

-- Himanshu

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list