March 11, 2008

Devi vac is associated with Uma of the Kena Upanishad (the puranic conception of Uma is entirely different)

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Renou sees the vedic understanding of vac to be a precursor of the later view of Atman Brahman as the ontological fundamental. Indeed, she is the presence that inspires the rishis and that makes a person Brahman (Not Brahmin the caste, but akin to the upanishadic saying; the knower of Brahman becomes Brahman) [RV 10.125]

Kinsley also believes her role vis=a=vis Prajapati is also suggestive of the theory of sabda-brahman(Absolute as sound) and the sphota theory of creation.

A.C Das maintains the goddess vac was the origin of the later vedic uma or the puranic durga, and in general studies of the rise of Saktism as a concept. (This hymn also has a ritual application in the Durgapuja as well in the recitation of the chandi or Sapsati.)

Instead of giving a complete translation; I would stress on the essence of this hymn.
I (devi vac) go about with all the gods; I am the supporter of Indra, Agni, Mitra, Soma, verily all the gods……I am the queen, who strings treasures together, the wise, foremost of those worthy of worship; through me a man eats food; he who sees; who breathes; who hears what is spoken…I pervade heaven and earth; I slay the foe of sacred speech; I blow forth the wind grasping all world ; beyond heaven; beyond this earth in my greatness such I have become.

If this is not a feminine conception of the absolute; I don’t know what it is!

Ramprasad, the mystic Bengali bhakta of Kali in the 19th century; composed some of the most profound visions of the mystic motherhood; which subliminally influences all. In one of his poems [translated by Lex Hixon] we again find a reaffirming of the same values that are associated with the devi sukta.

Sometimes you appear as the peaceful helpmate, seated besides Shiva in quiet harmony
Sometimes you manifest as the radiant cosmos, and in countless living beings
Sometimes you play as the incomparable Radha, courageous lover of Krishna
Other times you manifest as mother Kundalini
The evolutionary potency
But this mad poet refuses to pay, to any theology, to any philosophy
I can only weep, Ma,Ma,Ma
This is your sweetest name, transcending all descriptions

Since, devi vac has been associated with Uma, of the Kena Upanishad [the puranic conception of Uma is entirely different]; I may mention that she as Uma Haimavati revealed to Indra, the nature of Brahman, the supreme spirit, when gods like Agni and Vayu were absolutely baffled in their attempt to fathom their nature. Swami Vivekananda, however, considered Uma Haimavati, not be a feminine deity, but a female rishi, who was the first to discover the unity of consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo informs us “Uma is the supreme Nature from whom the whole cosmic action takes its birth; she is the pure summit and highest power of the One who here shines out in many forms. From this supreme Nature which is also the supreme
Consciousness the gods must learn their own truth; they must proceed by reflecting it in themselves instead of limiting themselves to their own lower movement. For she has the knowledge and consciousness of the One, while the lower nature of mind, life and body can only envisage the many. Although therefore Indra, Vayu and Agni are the greatest of the gods, the first coming to know the existence of the Brahman…..” is Uma.

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