RigVeda and the Indian Systems of Approach to the One

H.B.Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Thu Jul 20 06:53:30 CDT 2000

Ravisankar Mayavaram wrote:

> namaste

... ... ...

> Some of your understanding seems to stem from your current
> understanding of the human physiology. Which may not be true. Often
> different parts of brain (information processors) are related to
> devata-s. But this ignores the participation of other parts of human
> body in thinking. For instance, new studies seem to indicate that it is
> the heart (what we think as a pumping device) does a major control of
> thinking. I also read that majority of the heart cells are neural cells
> and how it controls/understands the brain.

Yes, the retina in the eyes is also a powerful, special purpose computer.
is the inner ear. You will notice in my earlier postings that I have used
the word
"logical brain" and carefully avoided reference to any physiological
within the brain or CNS, except possibly at one or two places, where I
know a definite
pattern of operations.

By logical brain I mean the functional aspect and not regions
like Cerrebellum, Cerebrum, pons, Cortex, hypothalamus, etc. In later
postings, thinking
that the Reader has by now got used to the idea of a logical brain, I have
used the word
"brain" just to reduce my typing!

> I was told this site http://www.heartmath.com/ has many research papers
> in this context (I have not read them).
> http://www.heartmath.com/product/media/HMS032799.html

I have now read these articles and not very much surprised by what they
say, though not much details are given. (I answered this mail a bit late
so that I read that.)

> Science changes a lot. New understanding often dismantles the old. To
> base religion on science, however tempting it may be, it futile.

I am definitly not basing religion on science, rather use science as a
stone to religious philosophy. Science is limited to study of what we call

vyavaharika satta. It is only recently that it has started coming to
gripes with
what we call praatibhaasika satta. If an advaitin talks with say a
physicist, he will find considerable meeting ground.

I like to give here analogy of Newton's Laws of Motion and Einstein's
Theory of Relativity. In light of STR, Newton is not wrong, but limited.
the science as it exists today in West is limited.

It is precisely my claim that our Rishis were the ancient (if not the
first) scientists
of brain, mind, cognition and consciousness. It was the realization by
them of the extreme importance of the new science of consciousness that
they had developed that prompted them to take extreme pains, unparalleled
anywhere else, to preserve that knowledge, in form of walking books
(Vedapathi brahmins). The whole effort seemed to be towards answering the
question :
"Can we, and if yes, how to, use the limited human brain to access the
Unknown, the One?"
Deatils of the methods, even approach, are different between science and
religion, but the thirst
for knowledge is common.

> I read in kAnchi paramaacharya's work that every devata has three forms
> of representation (gross, subtle and causal). It is OK to think them as
> internal. But this does not rule out the external manifestation.

Yes, I would generally agree to that, but we have to be careful here.
Suppose a Sherpa considers a mountain as a holy mountain, a god. I accept
his shraddha and worship totally, without reservation. But, please
consider where exactly this god is residing. Is it the physical mountain?
Or, shall we say that the god actually resides in his mind, but manifested
as the physical mountain? What about muurtipujaa and pratikopaasanaa?

> Also, always the subtle or reading the inner meaning is not necessary.
> Like, bhagavad giita is thought a allegory to what happens inside. But
> one does not require this interpretation to make sense of bhagavad
> giita. Similarly, vedic verses may have a valid external explicit
> meaning.

Yes, it may be there, I agree. In fact in my initial posting I have shown
that there may be several levels of meanings, which are not necessarily
invalidating one another. The question is : which is the meaning intended
by the Rishi? Shall we Hindus agree that the ancient Rishis composed a
text like RigVeda and so very carefully arranged for its preservation, for
telling us that some cows of a Rishi were stolen by thieves? or such
simple stories? Or that there are 6 seasons and twelve months in a year?
The total tree of the Vedic literature -- Vedas (and their
inter-relationships), Vedangas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads --
what does it tell us? Remember RigVeda is called the "basis", the starting
point of the investigation. If the final result is so profound as
Upanishads, can the basis be trivial?

> Always my feeling is we tend to look at things based on our current
> knowledge. Which may not be always correct.

Agreed, but we have to strive.

> IMO, religion proceeds in
> the direction faith, practice, and experience. The understanding we
> seek is intuitive and not the logical one.

I agree. There are some people, though, who would like to investigate, not
arrogantly, but with humility. They will use logic upto certain stage of
their investigations, but the final steps are to be based, as you very
rightly said, on experience. This experience should be acceptable because
the mind which is having this experience is purified by various means.

tat savitur vare.nyam bhargo devasya dhiimahi | dhiyo yo na.h pracodayaat
| |

The third pada says :
May Savita direct our intelligence to that stage where we can clearly
"see" Him.

> This my opinion. Please correct me if I am in error.

Please do not mind my discussions. Normally I do not argue, but here I
want to convey something.


With best wishes,
-- Himanshu

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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