Saturday, 29 September 2012


THE Veda speaks constantly of the waters or the rivers, especially of the divine waters, apo devh or apo divyah, and occasionally of the waters which carry in them the light of the luminous solar world or the light of the Sun, svarvatr apah. The passage of the waters effected by the gods or by man with the aid of the gods is a constant symbol. The three great conquests to which the human being aspires, which the gods are in constant battle with the Vritras and Panis to give to man are the herds, the waters and the Sun or the solar world, ga apah svah. The question is whether these references are to the rains of heaven, the rivers of Northern India possessed or assailed by the Dravidians -- the Vritras being sometimes the Dravidians and sometimes their gods, the herds possessed or robbed from the Aryan settlers by the indigenous "robbers", -- the Panis who hold or steal the herds being again sometimes the Dravidians and sometimes their gods; or is there a deeper, a spiritual meaning?

 Is it not rather a system of symbolic meanings in which the herds, indicated by the word gah in the sense both of cows and rays of light, are the illuminations from the higher consciousness which have their origin in the Sun of Light, the Sun of Truth? Is not Swar itself the world or plane of immortality governed by that Light or Truth of the all-illumining Sun called in Veda the vast Truth, rtam brhat, and the true Light? and are not the divine waters, apo devh, divyah, or svarvath, the floods of this higher consciousness pouring on the mortal mind from that plane of immortality?

rig veda: 7:49:1-4 says:

समुद्रज्येष्ठाः सलिलस्य मध्यात पुनाना यन्त्यनिविशमानाः | 
इन्द्रो या वज्री वर्षभो रराद ता आपो देवीरिहमामवन्तु || 
या आपो दिव्या उत वा सरवन्ति खनित्रिमा उत वा याः सवयंजाः | 
समुद्रार्था याः शुचयः पावकास्ता आपो .. . || 
यासां राजा वरुणो याति मध्ये सत्यान्र्ते अवपश्यञ जनानाम | 
मधुश्चुतः शुचयो याः पावकास्ता आपो ... || 
यासु राजा वरुणो यासु सोमो विश्वे देवा यासूर्जं मदन्ति | 
वैश्वानरो यास्वग्निः परविष्टस्ता आपो ... || 

"May those divine waters foster me, the eldest (or greatest) of the ocean from the midst of the moving flood that go purifying, not settling down, which Indra of the thunderbolt, the Bull, clove out. The divine waters that flow whether in channels dug or self-born, whose movement is towards the Ocean, -- may those divine waters foster me. In the midst of whom King Varuna moves looking down on the truth and the falsehood of creatures, they that stream honey and are pure and purifying, -- may those divine waters foster me. In whom Varuna the king, in whom Soma, in whom all the Gods have the intoxication of the energy, into whom Agni Vaishwanara has entered, may those divine waters foster me." (VII.49.1-4)

It is evident that Vasishtha is speaking here of the same waters, the same streams that Vamadeva hymns, the waters that rise from the ocean and flow into the ocean, the honeyed wave that rises upward from t he sea, from the flood that is the heart of things, streams of the clarity, ghrtasya dharah. They are the floods of the supreme and universal conscious existence in which Varuna moves looking down on the truth and the falsehood of mortals, -- a phrase that can apply neither to the descending rains nor to the physical ocean. Varuna in the Veda is not an Indian Neptune, neither is he precisely, as the European scholars at first imagined, the Greek Ouranos, the sky. He is the master of an ethereal wideness, an upper ocean, of the vastness of being, of its purity; in that vastness, it is elsewhere said, he has made paths in the pathless infinite along which Surya, the Sun, the Lord of Truth and the Light can move. Thence he looks down on the mingled truths and falsehoods of the mortal consciousness.... And we have farther to note that these divine waters are those which Indra has cloven out and made to flow upon the earth, -- a description which throughout the Veda is applied to the seven rivers.

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