October 20, 2006

Agni is the divine spark in man

Symbolic Significance of Vedic Gods The vedic deities are not only forces of nature, but also forces that exist in the physical body and help the individual in his spiritual progress to overcome certain impediments. Symbolic significance of the Vedic deities is discussed in detail by Sri Aurobindo in his book entitled, "The Secret of the Vedas." The views expressed here are based upon his interpretation.
According to Sri Aurobindo, one should not consider the vedic imagery as mere imagery. The gods, goddesses and the demons mentioned in the Vedas represent various cosmic powers. They play a significant role in the drama of creation not only in the external world but in the inner world of a human being. When a person is making spiritual progress it is imperative that he has to ensure the development of these godheads in him also so that the required spiritual perfection is attained at all levels. The gods have to be strengthened and the demons have to be slain in order to attain perfection at all levels- "in the wideness of the earth, our physical being and consciousness"
According to the key provided by Shri Aurobindo, the outer form of a Vedic ritual has an inner corresponding ritual. A ritual is a sacrifice, an attempt to fulfill the purpose of creation, to elevate the status of man to that of a godhead or a cosmic man.In such a ritual at the inner level, Agni is the divine spark in man, the inner soul. The ghee or the clarified butter that is offered to him is the mind. The sacrificial food or annam, consisting of grains, seeds etc, stands for the physical body which is but an altered state of annam or food only.
Once the divine spark (Agni) is invoked, he wakes up the latent energies or divine powers hidden in man, (the various gods and goddesses), to share the fruits of the sacrifice and assist the individual, (the performer of the sacrifice), in his spiritual awakening, transformation, purification and evolution.The symbolic significance of the Vedic gods is further explained from here on. Indra is the awakened mind or the illumined mind, who in the mythology appears as the lord of the heavens and exists in the body as the Lord of the senses, one who has attained control over his senses. Vrata the snake demon, whom he slays in order to release the waters for the people of earth, is the dark mentality, the mass of negative and ignorant consciousness which hides all the cows( the rays of Truth) in the caves of panis or sense-driven life. The Rudras and the Maruts are the positive forces which aid Indra in his fight against evil forces. The Ribhus are the seasons, which stand for the various stages or phases through which a person has to undergo the process of spiritual progress.
Once the senses are controlled and the mind is stabilized through slaying of all the dark powers, comes the awakening, the goddess of Usha, who brings along with her Ashwins into the world of inner consciousness. These Ashwins are the horses, the spiritual energies that enable the individual to make a swift progress towards enlightenment. After Ushas appear Aditi, the Primal Sun, the God of Light, first as Savitr, who represents the Divine grace essential for all spiritual success, and then as Mitra, who as the Divine love is considered as a friend of the illumined mind(Indra) and his associates (the other gods.After the Sun of Truth, appear Ritha (Truth in Action) and Ritachit (Truth consciousness. The various Goddesses also appear at this stage, Ila (Goddess of Truth vision), Saraswathi (Goddess of knowledge and wisdom), Sarama (the intuitive mind) and Dakshina (goddess of discernment and and ability).
The Vedic Yagna is therefore an act of supreme sacrifice, if performed well at the spiritual level would lead to enlightenment and salvation. Posted by KP.Konduru at 11:13 AM Thursday, October 19, 2006

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