November 07, 2007

Griffith translates gaurī as buffalo, which is entirely wrong and misleading

As a matter of fact, Gaurī of this mantra is neither a buffalo nor do streams of water in any physical sense flow from her. She is positively the cow in the symbolic sense representing the ultimate Creatrix of the world.
This gets confirmed by one of Visvāmitra’s mantras in which while elaborating on the mighty vision of absolute oneness of the ultimate reality it has been observed at the outset of the hymn that when the most primeval dawns came to shine, the great Akşara came to evolve itself in the original abode of the cow and that it is only as a consequence of this event that began the role of the gods in the cosmic creation and that all this bears out the ultimate oneness of the divinity of gods (Rigveda, III. 55.1).
It is from the Akşara of this order that the oceans and the directions are said in Dirghatamas’ mantra to be born. Interestingly enough this momentous trans-cosmic event is associated according to both the seers, Viśvāmitra and Dirghatamas, with the abode or being of the cow. As such, the cow in question, therefore, has to be taken as symbolic of the ultimate Creatrix, which is responsible for making the Supreme Imperishable Being undergo the antithetical process of perishability.
Association of akşara with cow, as is vindicated by Viśvāmitra’s mantra quoted above also, cannot be explained without taking this cow as symbolical of Vāk by virtue of her prolonged lowing of the monosyllabic Om.
Needless to point out that akşara is the irreducible most fundamental constituent of language. Just as atoms are the ultimate building blocks of the universe according to the Vaiśeşikas, even so akşara is the ultimate building block of language, which is the co-ordinate of the reality.
As per the philosophy of the Vedic seers, what is realised as ultimate on the microcosmic scale must prove ultimate on the macrocosmic scale as well. In fact, the entire approach of these seers to knowledge is based on this understanding. This is why akşara of the syllabic variety has been considered as identical to Akşara denoting the supra-cosmic reality. Indeed, it is this vision of the Vedic seer, which subsequently develops into the philosophy of Śabda -Brahman.
Thus Gaurī of Dīrghatamas is, indeed, the Śabda-Brahman itself given the feminine form of cow so as to bring out its role of creativity both on the side of Vāk as well as the reality.If on the side of the reality she gives rise to oceans and directions out of herself and thus creates the basis of universal existence, she on the side of Vāk assumes the fourfold form of linguistic expression dilated upon by Dīrghatamas himself almost in the same continuation through the account of four steps of Vāk known only to those who understand things in their ultimate essence, three of which lying hidden in mystery while the fourth one being used by humans (Rigveda, I.164.45).
It is significant to note that dealing with the same situation of the imperishable reality giving rise to the perishable world, while Viśvāmitra refers to the footstep of cow, Dīrghatamas makes use of the expression of footsteps of Vāk. It automatically proves the essential equivalence of the meaning denoted by these so dissimilar expressions and therefore the symbolic nature of cow as also the particular idea symbolised by her. 16. Vedic Symbolism - Cow - IV from Vedic Vision of Consciousness & Yoga by MukeshVeda

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