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The Secret of the Veda

Thursday July 21 2005 09:48 IST

By Karmayogi

This is the title of Sri Aurobindos book on the Vedas. The most popular of Sri Aurobindos books, not the most important, is Essays on the Gita. Among the Western disciples, the book The Human Cycle has a pride of place. It has captured their imagination as He speaks in it of the successive ages of civilised humanity. There is a Western view that the Vedas are the childish prattle of an early emerging humanity. It is common sense, if not rationality that one should know about a field to pass valid judgements on it. That is why Sri Aurobindo wrote this work to lay bare the inner psychological significance of the earliest uttering of Man whose language is described as massive in its substance and whose tonality penetrates the thick layers of the embodied being to touch the Soul.

The Vedic Rishis sought immortality for the Soul. In their souls they saw God. But they worshipped the gods, seeking their help to reach Sachchidananda. They reached the first great summit of the human spirit, which occupies in the scale of human existence, the highest place, higher than the mind Man now values. The world now rightly values science, rather scientific technology, because of its immense spiritual significance. Its success is practical utility. Spirit today is what is directly immediately useful. Scientific technology is the achievement of MIND, the mind seated in the physical consciousness of Man. Hence in Sri Aurobindos terminology it is called the physical mind. Science as Europe has embraced is of the thinking mind, seated in the mental consciousness. Man enjoys the modern comforts of bus, car, phone and computer. They are vastly useful and make life meaningful. Spirit gives calm, peace, quiet, mental peace, silence and opens the doors to the life in the other world, to eternal enjoyment. It is not so alluring as the needs of today which are well served by technology.

The Vedas were followed by the Upanishads and they were succeeded by The Gita. The Spirit the Vedic Rishis discovered was not a Spirit that detached itself from the other parts of the being - mental, vital, physical - and sought moksha. It was the Spirit that sought the Spirit in Nature and fashioned a life in unison with that Spirit. The Vedic Rishis found harmony of Spirit in life. They were aware of the crookedness of Mind, the inherent evil in life which tries to hurt Man residing in the sanctum sanctorum of his inner existence. They knew that evil, even when it comes to harm him from his wife, will ultimately do him good, but they could only helplessly refer to the incorrigible crookedness of Mind. That Mind rose to further heights in the period of the Upanishads, discovered the five elements, defined the five senses, traced their origin to Sabda Brahman, which is the first extension of the material force into which all forms dissolve. The Secret of the Vedas is the secret of the universe.

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