December 20, 2006

Masters of the material, vital, and mental realms

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Wed 20 Dec 2006 03:06 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
We have been talking about pure Sanjnana and several other faculties of perception and cognition. How they eventually become our sense organs, such as eye and ear, is another subject which perhaps belongs to the domain of Sankhya, Sankhya that must be coupled with the Vedic significance of the various Gods. But, presently, let us see here the three important Gods connected with this triple world of Matter-Life-Mind, Agni-Vayu-Indra. While explaining the symbolism of the Vedic Gods, Sri Aurobindo says that these Gods are not mere personifications of the forces of Nature, but are the Masters of the material, vital, and the mental realms.
Vladimir connects, and rightly so, Earth with Agni, and the space between Earth and Heaven, Antariksha, with Vayu. Beyond them is Indra, the Lord of Heaven, Dyauh, having a divine Mind by which things here can somewhat be known. Indra has the faulty of opening himself to higher knowledge. In our understanding of the sense functioning, including our physical senses, we could to some extent perceive and intuitivise their modes of operation; we could perhaps even make them a part of our faculties, our instruments opening to them. The ascent of intellect could then be a positive movement towards post-human destinies.
In the Kena Upanishad we have a parable concerned with these Gods. Let us first read its relevant part. Once Indra and Agni and Vayu became proud of their prowess and thought theirs was the victory which was actually won for them by the Eternal. The Eternal knew their thoughts and appeared before them. Agni the knower all things born, Agni Jatavedas, rushed towards the Eternal, claiming who It was. But when a blade of grass was set before him, he could not burn it. Then Vayu, who expands in the Mother of all things, Matarishwana, went towards it with all his speed and he could not take it. It was now the turn of Indra, Master of plentitudes. He rushed upon That, and That vanished from before him. But in the same place came the Woman who shines out in many forms, Uma. Indra requested her to tell who that mighty Daemon, the Yaksha, the Spirit, the unknown Power, was. She disclosed to him that it was the Eternal, the Brahman himself. Sri Aurobindo reveals the meaning of this parable as follows...
Agni is the heat and flame of the conscious force in Matter which has built up the universe; it is he who has made life and mind possible and developed them in the material universe where he is the greatest deity. Especially he is the primary impeller of speech of which Vayu is the medium and Indra the lord. This heat of conscious force in Matter is Agni Jatavedas, the knower of all births: of all things born, of every cosmic phenomenon he knows the law, the process, the limit, the relation…

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