No subject

H.B.Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Wed Jun 14 06:04:53 CDT 2000

S. V. Subrahmanian wrote:

> Shri Daveji,
> Below is the mail that you wrote in response to my question.  Thank you for
> taking time to explain.  But my questions still remain.  Before I state my
> queries, I hope I am not bothering you.

No, you are not.

>  Refer to your statement "open to
> further discussion, if thought worth it".  I don't know if you mean it is
> not worth it.

No, not that way. The discussion  is worth it from my view point, but the
reader may not agree. I only meant, the freedom to discuss is with the reader.

> I am presuming you are amenable to more questions, but if it
> is too trivial please ignore and I will deduce that myself.

Your question is not trivial, I have already stated that. (From a selfish
viewpoint, it gives me chance to propound my pet ideas  : ) )

> 1.  Usage of "things" instead of "Gods".

I have appreciated your use of the word "things". See, the point I am trying to
make is : the translation of the Sanskrit word "deva" and "devata" as "gods" is
very misleading and incorrect, according to what I have understood from my
studies. When I found someone (you) not using "gods" I was happy.

> My perception has always been that
> these Gods are fractional manifestations of Brahman and hence the word
> "Bhaya" some how does not fit in with my understanding, for I cannot
> understand how a part of Brahman can have "Bhaya" towards its own self (I
> have read the original interpretation of Bhaya as fear by Shri Jaldharji and
> later correction as acceptance of authority by the next person?).  But I can
> sense the elements accepting the authority of the Brahman and hence I used
> the word things.  Also in your statements you have said "Surya represents
> the awarer".

"Surya" is a code-word (a reference to an entity) to denote that aspect of
myself, which we generally know as aanandamaya kosha or chidaabhaasa. It is an
awarere it highest level of awareness. In some places in RigVeda, Surya is also
used to represent Atma, the saakshi.

> Why didn't you say "Surya is the awarer" if you visualized
> them as Gods?

The above may explain. The words like anandamaya kosha, chidaabhaasa, etc. are
later developments in our heritage, vedas used code-words, "Surya" being a
typical example. What is translated as "god" by nineteenth century wetsern
scholars of our scriptures, are not like gods of Greek mythology, something
external to ourselves. Divyati iti deva.h, one who shines with illumination is
deva. What is this illumination? It is the Light of knowledge (of information
in some form, absorbed in the network of existing knowledge). Thus what our
scriptures call "deva" or "devata" are either awarers or controllers. Surya,
for example, represents the final "awarer" in the heirarchy of awarers,
starting with "mitra" (awarer at vaikhari vak level, the usual language as we
understand it, in contact with external stimulii and conscious thoughts),
"agni" awarer at madhyama vak level and "vayu" at pashyanti vak level. (I am
sure you are aware of these "languages of brain", if not, I shall explain in
next mail.)

> (I am asking the above in a very polite manner - I don't know how to
> indicate that through emoticons on the mail)

Oh, that is OK, you are quite polite enough.

> 2.  Even the explanation below though makes sense individually, as a
> collection (of Gods) seems very random.  They don't seem to form a cohesive
> collection of Gods which represents anything.

No, they do form a meaningful collection. Agni, Vayu and Surya are
progressively more abstract levels of awareness for an individual. For example,
when you are reading these lines, your eyes and visual portions of the brain
are detecting individual letters. The "mitra" level of awareness deals with the
language (English) and passes on the abstracted information to "agni", which
does analysis at semantic level (not in a partical human language) and passes
it on to "vayu" whch absorbs the concepts at conceptual level (pashyanti
level). The final "knower" or "awarer" is "surya" which integrates the
information in form of knowledge at para vak level. Similar operations take
place when you hear something. The reverse sequence of operations take place
when you are "outputting", i.e., speaking.
You can see that all our activities in which brain takes part, these levels of
operation are involved. These Vedic gods are nothing but logical regions of our
brain, which make up our individual self.

"indra" represents Ego or ahamkara, which is always present and is the driving
force for a jeeva. The msot fundamental concept  with which  Creation starts is
that of Space and Time. "yama" represents that.

The mantra simply says that all these elements (things) which make up an
individual  thinking man are present and working due to authority of brahman.

> 3.  It is not in this verse, but in other locations too, for eg., "sam no
> mitra. sam varuna. sam no bhavatvaryama, sam na indro brihaspatihi.....".

I have already talked about "mitra". "varuna" is "awarer" during deep sleep or
nirvikalpa samaadhi. "brahaspati" and "aryama" will require some more
discussion, which I shall do in some future mail.

> How did the Rishi choose these Gods as opposed to others here and some other
> set elsewhere.

Basically Rishi has chosen the three awarers corresponding to three major
levels of awareness (corresponding to the three fields bhuu.h bhuva.h and
sva.h), the ahamkara and Time (kaala) which colours all our perceptions (even
the cause/effect relation is based on kaala).

Other sets of "gods" used elsewhere are to be considered  on basis of for what
purpose the set is taken up.


> I agree each God represents (or is) something.  But why
> these not others here or elsewhere ??

Well, that is how I understand it. If you have time and inclination please read
my translation of Kenopanishad,  (PostScript files) available at our web site :
via anonymous FTP, under pub/hbdave/papers

Best wishes
-- Himanshu

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list