Vedic Vision of Consciousness & Yoga Sunday, October 7, 2007
Sri Aurobindo takes up Goddess Sarasvatī for his decoding. Sarasvatī occurs in the Veda as a river as well as a goddess. Recently the actual bed of the river has also been discovered through aerial photography. In the Ŗgveda, Sarasvatī as a river is said to emerge from the high Himalayas and merge in the sea. This has now been corroborated by recent researches. Now the question is what this Sarasvatī, as a matter of fact, was. Was she originally a goddess or merely a river? Sri Aurobindo does not deny the possibility of Sarasvatī having been an actual river also. But as the goddess of learning, as described in the Veda, she must not be a mere personification of any river whatsoever. Even then, however, how could the goddess of learning come to be associated with the stream of water? After raising this question, Sri Aurobindo refers to a point in the Greek mythology where Muses, the goddesses of learning, has been associated with an earthly stream of water known as Hippocrene. This river is said to have sprung from the hoof of the divine horse Pegasus. The horse smote the rock with his hoof and the waters of inspiration gushed out forming the river Hippocrene. Sri Aurobindo very rightly identifies Pegasus with the Sanskrit pājas meaning force, movement or footing. “The stroke of the Horse’s hoof on the rock releasing the waters of inspiration”, he observes, “would thus become a very obvious psychological image.” (On the Veda, p. 106). Thus, he shows the obvious possibility of representation of the string of inspiration by the stream of water.
Identification of Sarasvatī with inspiration gives a definite clue to the solution of the problem of sapta sindhava, the land of seven rivers whose identification with Punjab along with the Western part of Uttar Pradesh is being held even until now as a certainty. If Sarasvatī can represent the string of inspiration coming down from Ŗta, the truth-consciousness of the Eternal, will other river-goddesses associated so closely with her remain mere rivers, asks Sri Aurobindo. Via a discussion on the significance of the number seven used for these rivers in the Veda he eventually reaches the conclusion that they represent the seven planes of being which may be determined as the physical, vital, mental, supramental and the planes of delight, consciousness and existence. Sri Aurobindo states: “…the seven rivers are conscious currents corresponding to the sevenfold substance of the ocean of being which appears to us formulated in the seven worlds enumerated in the Purāņas.” (On the Veda, p.113)
Next to river and water, Sri Aurobindo takes up the problem of light, darkness, dawn, etc., as involved in the understanding of the Veda. The relevant accounts are explained by Sāyaņa in terms of breaking of day which was so essential for the performance of sacrifices. The Western Indologists, on the other hand, take it as a reflection of the state of mind of the newcomers of India who must naturally have been afraid of night and darkness in the alien land and therefore would have craved for the coming of the dawn and rising of the sun. Arguing on their behalf, Sri Aurobindo observes that even if we take the cow, so closely associated with the dawn, in the symbolic sense, it is quite possible to regard her as simply the symbol of the physical light... Posted by MukeshVeda at Sunday, October 07, 2007 Labels: Vedic Symbolism -- Professor S.P.Singh (Brief)