[Advaita-l] In Rig-veda Agni Deva, the Fire, is Brahman

sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org
Sat Feb 5 04:20:52 CST 2005

In Rig-veda Agni Deva, the Fire, is Brahman

Please carefully read this. This is an attempt to find the roots of
Advaita Vedanta Philosophy in the Rigveda.

I would be extremely glad if Great Scholars from this list, like respected
Vidyashankar Sundareshan ji, could comment on this.

After reading some of the passages from the Rig-veda regarding AgniDeva,
Fire or Light, who has been glorified in the Beginning of the Rigveda and
Samaveda, I have concluded that AgniDeva in the Vedas is nothing else but
a Vedic name from the Supreme, called "Brahman" in the Upanishads. One
thing is for sure, that it is not ONLY the physical fire, but something
more mystical and spiritual is represented by the term "Agni" (usually
translated with "fire" into English). This would become clear if we look
at the following passages from the Rig-veda in the light of the Mantra
"The Truth is one, but the great seers say it in various ways, some call
it Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Suprana, Garutman, and others call it Yama
and Matarishva" (Rig-veda 1-164-46).

These are passages from various Mantras from the AgniSuktas spread around
in the Rig-veda. My research is still limited only to the 1st Mandala and
let me tell you that the Rig-veda has 10 Mandalas. How many more such
passages would be lying around scattered in the holy text, I would only be
able to tell in the near future after I have completed my research. Those
well-versed in the Upanishads would clearly find very clear passages
describing Brahman from the Upanishads that are extremely identical to
these Mantras.

However, the translation of the Mantras is my own. If there is any doubt
regarding the translation, please let me know.

"O! You the immortal one!" (Rig-veda 1-26-9) "He exists in the entire
universe" (1-27-3) "He is the greatest" (1-44-4) "His light travels the
entire cosmos and his rays even touch Dyuloka, the highest Loka" (1-36-3)
"Great Immortal Seers tried to obtain the omnipresent and the most beloved
fire by searching in the external world, they didn't obtain it, but when
they held their intellect they became established into its Supreme Abode"
(1-72-2) "A wise man obtains it, it is existing in its supreme abode"
(1-72-4) "Its greatness exceeds that of the Duloka, (the greatest Loka or
the abode of physical light)" (1-59-5) "The fires visible in this world
are only its branches" (1-59-1) "He is the God of Gods, He is Shiva, the
most auspicious one" (1-31-1) "He obtains the forms of all Devas" (1-69-3)
"He bestows peace" (1-65-3) "He is beyond any limits" (1-27-11) "He is
great than all humans, the earth, the sky, the sees, the mountains and all
other planets" (1-109-6) "He has created this creation, the Dyuloka and
the infinite space by his Light (power)" (1-96-2) "He holds all human like
a beam" (1-59-1) "He holds the entire universe" (1-73-3) "even though he
is omnipresent, who knows him?" (1-95-4) "All this physical creation
merges into it, like the seven reveres into the ocean" (1-71-7) "Enveloped
with the Supreme Truth" (1-70-4) "Self-enlightened" (1-36-7) "Omniscient"
(1-36-3) "No immortal nor any mortal being can exceed its intelligence"
(1-19-2) "Free from taints" (1-31-9) "beloved" (1-13-3) "creator" (1-76-4)
"He is loves all like a father loves his son, a relative his relative and
a friend his friend" (1-26-3) "He establishes a mortal into highest
immortality" (1-31-7) "He has endless eyes" (1-80-12) "He protects us from
sin through knowledge and destroys the one who is eating the entire world,
i.e. ignorance" (1-36-14) "May he bestow wealth that can nourish us and
give happiness to us, so we may live" (1-79-9) "He is the King of all
wealth, wealth that is existing in the mountains, waters, plants and
humans" (1-59-3) "He hides himself in a deep cave (of our intellect,
Hridaya Guga) holding the greatest wealth, but great seers obtain it by
praying to it with hymns constructed in their hearts" (1-67-2) "May He
burn all our enemies, i.e. lust hatred anger etc." (1-12-5) "It its
presence our heart becomes divine" (1-94-1) "O Human! Worship and pray to
him who is the first one" (1-93-3).

Already these passages from the Rig-veda are more than sufficient to
convince anybody that the Agni, which has been glorified and worshiped in
the Rig-veda is not only the physical fire, but indeed it was looked upon
as a symbol to the Supreme Fire, the Supreme Light of the Universe, the
Supreme Truth, the Brahman of the Upanishads. Am I wrong?

One thing more we can see a wonderful bland of Karma Yoga (Yoga of
action), Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of devotion) and Jnana Yoga (Yoga of knowledge)
in these hymns. There is worship, there love (devotion) for him and than
there is its realization/knowledge, indeed the greatest thing. Worship and
Love are only means, its realization seems to be the ultimate goal. Isn't
that the quintessence of the philosophy of Acarya Bhagavatpada Shankara.

More than that, this Agni is the God of Christianity, the Allah of Islam,
the Ahura Mazda of the Persian Cultures and the Yahwah of Judaism. Let me
tell you that he has even been called "yahvah" in Rig-veda 1-36-1.

Doesn't the Great Persian Prophet Zarathushtra clearly proclaim in his
Jarathoshti Gatha "Ahura Mazda is the Lord of Life and Wisdom, Light and
the Truth. Sun, moon and starts give light, but Ahura Mazda is the Light
that lights them to light the world". I bow down to you, o Divine Prophet!
Nobody could have said it in better words! Isn't this the same what the
Upanishads say about the Supreme Brahman! "tameva bhaantam anubhaati
sarvam tasya bhaasaa sarvam idam vibhaati" i.e. all these, the sun, moon,
thunderbolt and fire, enlighten all this after the Supreme, indeed, by the
light of the Supreme all this is enlightened. (Mundaka Upanishad).

In the I would like to conclude with a hymn from the Shukla Yajur Veda
(31-18), "I have realized that Supreme, the most enlightened one, whose
color is like that of the Sun and who transcends all darkness. Only by
realizing him one can transcend death, there is no other path to reach
that goal".

Negative comments are most most welcome. It is very well possible that I'm
missing or overlooking something

Love and Respect,

Siddhartha Krishna


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