Sunday, April 16, 2006
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 95 12:01:16 MNLFrom: "s. kalyanaraman" <[log in to unmask]>Subject: Re: Prof. Kalyanaraman's postings on the Vedas
I entirely agree with Debashish Banerjee's comments. I hold the vedantic scholarship of Aurobindo and others with the utmost respect and revere their scholarship with the highest regard. A variety of interpretations of the rks are possible. I have just focused on only one process elucidated: soma. There are many rks whose padapaaTha, can be interpreted beyond their mere bhashaa or 'semantic' levels. In all such myriad, possible, interpretations, one common strand is apparent: that is, the 'metaphorical'.
S. Kalyanaraman__ Reply __Subject: Prof. Kalyanaraman's postings on the VedasAuthor: [log in to unmask] at INTERNETDate: 27/02/1995 10:59 AM
Over the last few weeks, Prof. Kalyanaraman has been very active on this list, and it has been, for me, an invariable pleasure to read his postings. As a result, I regret that he has to leave us now, and wish him the very best for the future. I hope he can get Internet access from Madras, and continue to enrich our discussions on the Indology list. I think that the monumental work he has done with the etymology of Indian word-roots will leave a legacy as indispensable to Indian Studies as the work of a Monier-Williams, and for this and for the unsparing energy and intelligenceof his responses, I thank him on behalf of this list. However, regarding his postings on the meaning of Soma and other Vedic deities, while I read them with great interest, and concede their plausibility, I hope he does not expect us to believe that this is the only interpretation possible for these entities.
It is, for me, absurd to imagine that that body of sruti that has been acknowledged by all subsequent Hindu thinking as the source and fountainhead of its lofty cognizings, is a mere treatise on Alchemy. Spiritual interpretations of the Vedas in more recenttimes, such as the work of Dayananda Saraswati or of Sri Aurobindo, do not overlook the fact that much scientificknowledge is hidden in the Vedas. Sri Aurobindo goes, in fact, one stepfurther than Dayananda in saying that the sruti contains much scientific knowledge that has yet to be discovered by modern man. In a talk with a French scientist in 1926, Sri Aurobindo pointed out that the 3 forms of Agni enumerated in ancient yogic literature (jada agni, vaidyuta agni and sauryaagni) stood respectively for what we call fire, electricity, and atomicenergy.The third had not been discovered at the time of this talk. Sri Aurobindo says in the talk, "Science has only entered upon the first andsecond of these fires.
The fact that the atom is like the solar system couldlead it to the knowledge of the third." But of course, behind these threeforms of fire there is chidagni, the fourth, conscious fire, spiritual Agni which is everywhere. "The child of the waters, the child ofthe forests, the child of things stable and the child of things that move. Even in the stone he is there", says the Rig Veda (I.70.2)A coherent spiritual cosmology, teleology, and method of yoga can be derivedfrom the Vedas, and if such a derivation is possible, it must be the primarysense of this body of Knowledge, if we are to admit its eminence in the history of spiritual thought in India. Sri Aurobindo gives us such an interpretaion in his book "The Secret of the Veda". In this view, Soma stands for the principle of Delight or Ananda. In the being of the yajamana, sacrificer, the Soma-wine symbolizes the replacing ofour ordinary sense-enjoyment by the divine Ananda. Therefore, a soma-wineoffering is symbolic of the surrender of sense-enjoyment. The entire processof the soma sacrifice may be viewed in these psycho-spiritual terms. The stones, gravan or adri, which are used for the pressing of the stalks (amshu), are symbolic of thetravails on the path of yoga, loosening or cracking the pashas of samskaras, and yielding the rasa, freed from personal attachment, for theoffering to the gods.
The pouring of the rasa through the purifying sieve, pavitra, represents the refinement of the senses, the higher emotional and mental offering, kept ready in the subjective consciousness of the adhara (chamasa or kalasha) for the delectation ofIndra, Lord of the Divine Mind, who rejoices in the gift. Strengthened and delighted by this nectar, Indra pours the strength of Enlightenment into the yajamana and himself descends into the person of the latter, prepares him to transcend his humanity and eventually admits him into his native celestial abode or station of consciousness. As mentioned earlier, this is not to dismiss the possibility of analchemical meaning also being hidden in this description. For thoseinterested in more information on the book, "The Secret of the Veda", or on obtaining it, please write me privately.