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object:1.05 - Ritam
book class:Vedic and Philological Studies
author class:Sri Aurobindo
subject class:Integral Yoga
collection class:cwsa

[ word ] - Word(s) omitted by the author or lost through damage to themanuscript that are required by grammar or sense, and that could be supplied by the editors.
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Ritam [A]

We find again the expression , increasers of Truth, in the fourteenth hymn of this Mandala, in a noteworthy passage. It is a hymn really to Agni,although in the text assigned to the Visvadevas.Medhatithi Kanwa, addressing the strong god Agni, speaks of the gods who are his vahnayah, those who support or bear him up in his sacrificial activity

  Ghritaprishth manoyujo ye tw vahanti vahnayah
  Tn yajatr n ritvridho agne patnvatas kridhi
  Madhvah sujihva pyaya

Bring for the drinking of the Soma the gods, who, bright of surface, yoked to the mind, as thy bearers, bear thee along; them in their sacrificial place do thou, O Agni, make to increase in truth and join to them their female powers; O sweet-tongued, make them to drink of the sweetness.

Who are these upbearing powers? They are apparently the visvadevas, the gods taken generally & in their collective activity. They are described as ghritaprishth manoyujah, richly bright of surface and yoked to mind, which immediately recalls the dhiyam ghritchm sdhant of the second hymn. In both passages mental activity & a rich luminosity of mind are suggested as the preliminary necessity of the sacrifice; in both we find the progression from this idea to the expression ritvridho. This luminous mental activity perfected, it is to be used for the increase of Truth, of ritam, of the ideal self-revealing knowledge. There is in addition an idea to which we shall have to return, the idea of the male gods & their female powers whose joint godhead is necessary for the effective perfection of the sacrifice. At present we have to observe only the recurrence of the psychological note in the description of the sacrifice, this reiteration of the idea of bright & purified mental activity as its condition & increase of ideal Truth as a large & important part of its method or object.

In the next hymn the word ritam does not occur, but the continual refrain of its strophes is the cognate word ritunpibartun, Medhatithi cries to each of the gods in turn,ritun yajnam shthe .. ritubhir ishyata, pibatam ritun yajnavhas, ritun yajnanr asi. Ritu is supposed to have here & elsewhere its classical & modern significance, a season of the year; the ritwik is the priest who sacrifices in the right season; the gods are invited to drink the soma according to the season! It may be so, but the rendering seems to me to make all the phrases of this hymn strangely awkward & improbable. Medhatithi invites Indra to drink Soma by the season, Mitra & Varuna are to taste the sacrifice, this single sacrifice offered by this son of Kanwa, by the season; in the same single sacrifice the priests or the gods are to be impelled by the seasons, by many seasons on a single sacrificial occasion! the Aswins are to drink the Soma by the sacrifice-supporting season! To Agni it is said, by the season thou art leader of the sacrifice. Are such expressions at all probable or even possible in the mouth of a poet using freely the natural language of his age? Are they not rather the clumsy constructions of the scholar drawn to misinterpret his text by the false clue of a later & inapplicable meaning of the central word ritu? But if we suppose the sacrifice to be symbolic &, as ritam means ideal truth in general, so ritu to mean that truth in its ordered application, the ideal law of thought, feeling or action, then this impossible awkwardness vanishes & gives place to a natural construction & a lucid & profound significance. Indra is to drink the wine of immortality according to or by the force of the ideal law, by that ideal law Varuna &Mitra are to enjoy the offering of Ananda of the human mind & the human activity, the gods are to be impelled in their functioning ritubhih, by the ideal laws of the truth,the plural used, in the ordinary manner of the Veda, to express the particular actions of the law of truth, the singular its general action. It is the ideal law that supports the human offering of our activities to the divine life above us, ritun yajnavhas; by the force of the law of Truth Agni leads the sacrifice to its goal.

In this suggestive & significant hymn packed full of the details of the Vedic sacrificial symbolism we again come across Daksha in close connection with Mitra, Varuna & the Truth.

  Yuvam daksham dhritavrata Mitrvaruna ddabham
  Ritun yajnam shthe.

O Mitra who upholdest rule of action&Varuna, enjoy Daksha in his unconquerable force, enjoy by the ideal law the sacrifice.

Daksha we have supposed to be the viveka, the intuitive discriminating reason which once active is hard to overcome by the powers of ignorance & error; it is again his activity which here also constitutes the essence or the essential condition of the successful sacrifice; for it is evidently meant that by enjoying or stimulating the activity of Daksha, Daksham ddabham, daksham apasam, Mitra & Varuna are enabled to enjoy the effective activities of men under the law of truth, ritena kratum brihantam, ritun yajnam shthe, activities of right knowledge, right action, right emotion, free from crookedness & ignorance & sin. For it is viveka that helps us to distinguish truth from error, right-doing from wrong-doing, just feeling from false & selfish emotions. Once again it is Mitra & Varuna who preside over & take the enjoyment of Dakshas functioning. The same psychological intention perseveres, the same simple & profound ideas & expressions recur in the same natural association, with the same harmony & fixed relation founded on the eternal truth of human nature & a fine & subtle observation of its psychological faculties & functionings.

The next reference to Ritam meets us in the twenty-third hymn of the Mandala, the last hymn of the series assigned to Medhatithi Kanwa, and once again it occurs in connection with the great twin powers, Mitra & Varuna.

  Mitram vayam havmahe, Varunam somaptaye
  jajnn ptadakshas
  Ritena yv ritvridhau, ritasya jyotishaspat
  t Mitrvarun huve

Mitra we call & Varuna for the Soma-drinkingthey who appear pure in discernment. They who by the Truth grow in truth and are masters of the splendour of the truth, that Mitra & Varuna I call.

We find here both Varuna & Mitra described as ptadakshas; in both the viveka acts pure from all lower & error-haunted functionings and when they manifest themselves in man, jajnn, the intuitive power can work with a faultless justness of discrimination; therefore by truth, by this truth-revealing action of the ideal faculty they increase in us the Truth, raising our thought, action & feeling into a spontaneous conformity with the divine law, devnm vrata. Mitra & Varuna are the lords, possessors & keepers of the ritam jyotih, the true light, and impart it to the man who gives himself to them in the sacrifice. I shall return to this expression, ritam jyotih in connection with the god Surya and his functions; its sense, found in this context, is sufficiently clear for our present purpose.

We do not find the word ritam in the hymns that follow and are ascribed to Sunahshepa Ajigarti and Hiranyastupa Angirasa, but the first two hymns of Sunahshepa are addressed mainly or entirely to the god Varuna and we glean from them certain indications which are of considerable interest & importance in connection with Varuna & the Truth. He is hymned by Sunahshepa as the master of wide vision, uruchakshasam, the god of august, boundless & universal knowledge. He has made a wide path for Surya,the Vedic god of ideal knowledge, as I shall suggest,to follow in his journeyings; he has made places for him to set his feet in the unfooted vasts of the infinite. He is hymned also as the punisher of sin and the deliverer from sinKritam chid enah pra mumugdhi asmat. And loose from us the sin we have done. Kshayann asmabhyam Asura prachet rjann ennsi sisrathah kritni, Dwelling in us, O Mighty One, O King, in conscious knowledge, cleave from us the sins of our doing.

Now in the 18th hymn, a hymn of Medhatithi to Brahmanaspati, I have passed over designedly a verse in which we have a direct reference to that goddess Dakshina whom I suppose to be the female energy of Daksha, the divine master of the viveka

  Twam tam Brahmanaspate Soma Indrascha martyam
  Dakshin ptu anhasah

Do thou, O Brahmanaspati, & may Soma & Indra and Dakshina protect that mortal from evil.

If we suppose evil in this rik to connote or include moral evil we find Dakshina to have a share, the active energy of the viveka to take its part in the function of protection from sin which is one of the principal attributes of Varuna. It is part of the ideas of Vedanta that sin is in reality a form of ignorance and is purified out of the system by the illumination of divine knowledge. We begin to find by this sin-effacing attribute of Varuna, prachet, uruchakshas, ptadaksha, ritasya jyotishas pati, by this sin-repelling attribute of Dakshina, the energy of ideal discrimination, the same profound idea already anticipated in the Rigveda. The Veda abounds with confirmatory passages, of which I will quote at present one only from the hymn of Kanwa to Agni, the thirty-sixth of thisMandala. High-uplifted protect us from evil by the perception, burn utterly every devourer, phi anhaso ni ketun a. All evil is a deviation from the right & truth, from the ritam, a deviation from the self-existent truth & right of the divine or immortal nature; the lords of knowledge dwelling in the human consciousness as the prachetasah, informing its acts of consciousness which include in the ancient psychology action & feeling no less than thought & attuning them to follow spontaneously the just rhythm of the divine right & truth, deliver effectually this human & mortal nature from evil & sin. The place of Daksha & Dakshina in that action is evident; it is primary & indispensable; for the mortal nature being full of wrong perceptions, warped impulses, evil & mixed & confused states of feeling, it is the business of the viveka to sort out the confusion & accustom the mind & heart of man to a juster, truer & purer working. The action of the other faculties of the Truth may be said to come after that of Daksha, of the viveka. In these hymns of Sunahshepa the clear physiognomy of Varuna begins to dawn upon us. He is evidently the master of right knowledge, wide, self-luminous & all-containing in the world-consciousness & in human consciousness. His physical connection with the all-containing ether,for Varuna is Uranus, the Greek Akasha, & wideness is constantly associated with him in the Veda,leads us to surmise that he may also be the master in the ideal faculty, ritam brihat, where he dwells, urukshaya, of pure infinite conscious-being out of which knowledge manifests & with which it is, ultimately, one entity

The hymns of Kanwa follow the hymns of Sunahshepa and Hiranyastupa in the order of the first Mandala. In the hymns of Kanwa we find three or four times the mention, more or less extended in sense, of the Ritam. In his first reference to it he connects it not with Varuna, Mitra or Daksha, but with Agni. That Agni whom Kanwa Medhyatithi has kindled from the truth above (or it may equally mean upon the truth as a basis or in the field of the truth) and again Thee, O Agni, the Manu has set as a light for the eternal birth; thou hast shone forth in Kanwa born from the Truth. This passage is of great importance in fixing the character & psychological functions of Agni; for our present purpose it will be sufficient to notice the expression jyotir janya shashwate which may well have an intimate connection with the ritam jyotih of an earlier hymn, & the description in connection with this puissant phrase of Agni as born from the Truth, and again [of the Truth] as a sort of field in which or from which Kanwa has drawn the light of Agni.

Ritam is connected by Kanwa with Mitra, Varuna & Aryama in the forty-first hymn written in praise of these three deities; but this hymn is of so great an importance to our enquiry that I prefer to consider it separately in another chapter and to pass on to Kanwas last mention of the Ritam in the forty-third hymn of the Mandala. We may note, however, already the expression ritam yate, journeying to the Truth, in which the Ritam is regarded as a sort of place, seat or goal, a dhma or pada, in the common Vedic phrase, towards which humanity journeys & in which it seeks to dwell, & we may remember at the same time the description of Varuna, ritasya jyotishas pati, as dwelling in the vast, the uru or brihat, urukshaya, which we have supposed to be the Mahas or home of the Ritam,satyam ritam brihat. In the forty-third hymn we find indeed the actual expression, parasmin dhmann ritasya, the most high seat of the Truth.

The forty-third hymn is addressed to Rudra & Soma,Mitra & Varuna are mentioned casually only in a single verse along with Rudra. It is in the last of the three closing riks devoted to Soma that we come across this great & illuminating expression and it meets us in a passage where the vivid psychological purport is too convincingly clear, too immediately patent for any ritualistic interpretation to interfere with our understanding or obscure the truth from our eyes.

  Ys te praj amritasya, parasmin dhmann ritasya,
  Mrdh nbh Soma venah, bhshanth Soma vedah.

They who are thy children of immortality, in the most high seat of the truth, them, O Soma, head & navel, enjoy, thou, O Soma, know when they grow to thee in their being.

Soma is the lord of the immortalising nectar, he is the god of Ananda, the divine bliss which belongs to the Amrita or divine nature of Sacchidananda and is its foundation. The most high seat of the truth, Mahas, the pure ideal principle which links the kingdom of Immortality to our mortal worlds, is peopled with the children of Immortalitywe recall at once the phrase of the Upanishad, visve amritasya putrh, all ye children of immortality & the lord of Ananda is to take them into his being through knowledge, the head, through enjoyment, the navel. By Ritam, the ideal Truth, the Rishi ascends through the gates [of] Ananda, divine beatitude, out of this death into the kingdom of Immortality, mrityum trtw amritam asnute.

And then, to complete this preliminary foundation of our knowledge of the Ritam, we can go back to a neglected passage of the thirteenth hymn, to a couple of riks in which the secret of the Veda, the true symbolic nature of Vedic ritual & Vedic sacrifice, start out clearly before the eyes.

  Strinta barhir nushag, ghritaprishtham manshinah,
  Yatrmritasya chakshanam
  Vi srayantm ritvridho, dwro devr asaschatah,
  Ady nnam cha yashtave.

Strew the sacrificial seat without flaw or crevice, richly bright of surface, O ye thinkers, where is the tasting of immortality. Let the divine doors swing wide apart for him who increases in the Truth, who is free from attachment, today & now for the sacrifice.

We find once more, so fixed are the terms & associations, so persistently coherent is the language of the Veda, ghritaprishtha in connection with mental activity, ghritaprishtham placed designedly before manshinah, just as we find elsewhere ghritaprishth manoyujah, just as we find in the passage from which we started dhiyam ghritchm sdhant. Have we not, then, a right considering this remarkable persistence & considering the rest of the context to suggest & even to infer that the sacrificial seat anointed with the shining ghee is in symbol the fullness of the mind clarified & purified, continuously bright & just in its activity, without flaw or crevice, richly bright of surface & therefore receiving without distortion the messages of the ideal faculty? It is in this clear, pure & rightly ordered state of his thinking & emotional mind that man gets the first taste of the immortal life to which he aspires, yatr mritasya chakshanam, through the joy of the self-fulfilling activity of Gods Truth in him. The condition of his entry into the kingdom of immortality, the kingdom of heaven is that he shall increase ideal truth in him and the condition again of increasing ideal truth is that he shall be unattached, rit vridho asaschatah. For so long as the mind is attached either by wish or predilection, passion or impulse, pre-judgment or impatience, so long as it clings to anything & limits its pure & all-comprehensive wideness of potential knowledge, the wideness of Varuna in it, it cannot attain to the self-effulgent nature of Truth, it can only grope after & grasp portions of Truth, not Truth in itself & in its nature. And so long as it clings to any one thing in wish & enjoyment, it must by the very act shut out others & cannot then embrace the divine vast & all-comprehending love & bliss of the immortal nature which it is, as I shall suggest, the function of Mitra to establish in the human temperament. But when these conditions are fulfilled, the bright-surfaced purified mind widely extended without flaw or crevice as the seat of the gods in their sacrificial activity, the taste of the wine of immortality, the freedom from attachment, the increasing force of ideal Truth in the human being, then it is impossible for the great divine Powers to fling wide open for us the doors of the higher Heavens, the gates of Ananda, the portals of our immortal life. They start wide open on their hinges to receive before the throne of God the sacrifice & the sacrificer.

Truth & purity the Road, divine bliss the gate, the immortal nature the seat & kingdom, this is the formula of Vedic aspiration. Truth the roadPraskanwa the Knwa makes it clear enough in his hymn to the Aswins, the 46th of the MandalaMade was the road of Truth for our going to that other effectively fulfilling shore, seen was the wide-flowing stream of Heaven. It is the heaven of the pure mind of which he speaks; beyond, on its other shore, are the gates divine, the higher heaven, the realms of immortality.
Ritam [B] - Chapter III

Varuna & Mitra, the two great Vedic Twins, meet us in their united activity in the first crucial passage of the Veda informed with the clear & unmistakable idea of the Ritam which so largely dominates the thinking of the Vedic sages. Varuna & Mitra again, but this time helped by their companion Aryaman, govern a second passage which we shall find of equal importance in forming our conceptions of the Truth towards which our ancestors lifted so strenuous an aspiration of prayer and sacrifice. It occurs in the forty-first hymn of the Mandala, a hymn of the Rishi Kanwa son of Ghora to the three children of Aditi, & covers six out of the nine slokas of the hymn. It is fortunately a sufficiently clear & easy hymn, except precisely in the three closing riks with which we are not now concerned; we have to pause only for a moment [at] the word avakhdah, over which Sayana gives himself very unnecessary trouble,for it means clearly a pitfall or an abrupt descent, and the sense of dhtaye, taken by Sayana in the ritualistic significance, for your eating, and by myself, following my hypothesis, in the psychological sense conceded by Sayana in a number of other passages; dhti means literally holding & usually holding in the mind, thinking; it expresses then the fixed action of dh, the thought faculty. Otherwise the only difficulty is in the word toka which the ritualistic commentators interpret invariably in the sense of son, putra.

  Yam rakshanti prachetaso Varuno Mitra Aryam
  N chit sa dabhyate janah.
  Yam bhuteva piprati, pnti martyam rishah
  Arishtah sarva edhate.
  Vi durg vi dwishah puro ghnanti rjna eshm
  Nayanti durit tirah.
  Sugah panth anrikshara, ditysa ritam yate
  Ntrvakhdo asti vah.
  Yam yajnam nayath nara, ditya rijun path
  Pra vah sa dhtaye nashat.
  Sa ratnam martyo vasu, visvam tokam uta tman
  Acch gacchati astritah.

I translate, He whom Varuna, Mitra & Aryaman guard, they who see with the conscious mind, can that man at all be crushed? The mortal whom they like a multitude of arms fill with his desires and protect from his hurter, he unhurt grows to completeness in being (or prospers in all his being). In front of these the Kings smite apart their obstacles & smite apart their haters and lead them beyond all sin. Easy to travel & thornless is your path, O sons of Aditi, for him who travels to the Truth; here there is no pitfall in your way. That sacrifice which you lead, O strong sons of Aditi, (or O Purushas sons of Aditi,) by the straight path, that goes forward to its place in the thought. That mortal moves unoverthrown towards delightful being, yea & to all kind of creation by the self. The rest of the hymn is taken up by certain conditions necessary for the effectivity of the praise of the three great deities whose protection assures this safe & prosperous movement to their worshipper.

We must consider first whether any valid objection can be offered to this translation; and, if not, what are the precise ideas conveyed by the words & expressions which they render. The word prachetas is one of the fixed recurrent terms of the Veda; & we have corresponding to it another term vichetas. Both terms are rendered by the commentators wise or intelligent. Is prachetas then merely an ornamental or otiose word in this verse? Is it only a partially dispensable & superfluous compliment to the gods of the hymn? Our hypothesis is that the Vedic Rishis were masters of a perfectly well managed literary style founded upon a tradition of sound economy in language & coherence in thought; all of every word in Veda is in its place & is justified by its value in the significance. If so, prachetasah gives the reason why the protection of these gods is so perfectly efficacious. I suppose,as my hypothesis entitles me to suppose,that the Vedic ideas of prachetas & vichetas correspond to the Vedantic idea of prajnana & vijnana to which as words they are exactly equivalent in composition & sense. Prajnana is that knowledge which is aware of, knows & works upon the objects placed before it. Vijnana is the knowledge which comprehends & knows thoroughly in itself all objects of knowledge. The one is the highest faculty of mind, the other is in mind the door to and beyond it the nature of the direct supra-intellectual knowledge, the Ritam & Brihat of the Veda. It is because Varuna, Mitra & Aryama protect the human being with the perfect knowledge of that through which he has to pass, his path, his dangers, his foes, that their protg , however fiercely & by whatever powers assailed, cannot be crushed. At once, it begins to become clear that the protection in that case must, in all probability, be a spiritual protection against spiritual dangers & spiritual foes.

The second verse neither confirms as yet nor contradicts this initial suggestion. These three great gods, it says, are to the mortal as a multitude of arms which bring to him his desires & fill him with an abundant fullness and protect him from any who may will to do him hurt, rishah; fed with that fullness he grows until he is sarvah, complete in every part of his being(that is to say, if we admit the sense of a spiritual protection and a spiritual activity, in knowledge, in power, in joy, in mental, vital & bodily fullness)and by the efficacy of that protection he enjoys all this fullness & completeness unhurt. No part of it is maimed by the enemies of man, whose activities do him hurt, the Vritras, Atris, Vrikas, the Coverer on the heights, the devourer in the night, the tearer on the path.We may note in passing how important [it] is to render every Vedic word by its exact value; rish & dwish both mean enemy; but if we render them by one word, we lose the fine shade of meaning to which the poet himself calls our attention by the collocation pnti rishaharishta edhate. We see also the same care of style in the collocation sarva edhate, where, as it seems to me, it is clearly suggested that the completeness is the result of the prosperous growth, we have again the fine care & balance with which the causes pipratipnti are answered by the effects arishtahedhate. There is even a good literary reason of great subtlety & yet perfect force for the order of the words & the exact place of each word in the order. In this simple, easy & yet faultless balance & symmetry a great number of the Vedic hymns represent exactly in poetry the same spirit & style as the Greek temple or the Greek design in architecture & painting. Nor can anyone who neglects to notice it & give full value to it, catch rightly, fully & with precision the sense of the Vedic writings.

In the third verse we come across the first confirmation of the spiritual purport of the hymn. The protected of Varuna, Mitra & Aryamathe plural is now used to generalise the idea more decisivelyare travellers to a moral & spiritual goal, nayanti durit tirah. It follows that the durgni, the obstacles in the path are moral & spiritual obstacles, not material impediments. It follows equally that the dwishah, the haters, are spiritual enemies, not human; for there would be no sense or appropriateness in the scattering of human enemies by Varuna as a condition of the seeker after Truth & Rights reaching a state of sinlessness. It is the spiritual, moral & mental obstacles, the spiritual beings & forces who are opposed to the souls perfection, Brahmadwishah, whom Varuna, Mitra & Aryama remove from the path of their worshippers. They smite them & scatter them utterly, vi durg vi dwishah,the particle twice repeated in order to emphasise the entire clearance of the path; they scatter them in front,not allowing even the least struggle to be engaged before their intervention, but going in front of the worshippers & maintaining a clear way, suga anrikshara, in which they can pass not only without hurt, but without battle. The image of the sins, the durit is that of an army besetting the way which is scattered to all sides by the divine vanguard & is compelled beyond striking distance. The armed pilgrims of the Right pass on & through & not an arrow falls across their road. The three great Kings of heaven & their hosts, rjnah, have passed before & secured the great passage for the favoured mortal.

The sense is completed & the spiritual character of the journey explicitly & unmistakably brought out in the next, the fourth rik of the Sukta. The traveller is one who is journeying towards the Truth, the ritam. We have already hazarded the conception of the Ritam as the principle of Mahas, the spontaneous, self-existent, self-efficient nature of the infinite & divine consciousness, satyam ritam brihat, to which right action, right emotion, right knowledge, right enjoyment belong inalienably & result naturally & without effort or stumble. In its moral aspect, that conception is now entirely justified. The path of Truth, ritasya panth sdhuy, is suga anrikshara; there are no pitfalls or precipices in that road; for it is the road of the Adityas, the children of Light & Infinity, sons of Aditi, the Infinite Nature, brothers of Surya to whom belongs the revealed knowledge & the divine illumination. It is as we shall see in the next line the straight road rijun path. Sugah panth anrikshara ditysa ritam yate. Ntrvakhdo asti vah.

So far the image has been a double image of a journey & a battle,the goal of the ritam, the journey of the sin-afflicted human being towards the Truth of the divine nature; the thorns, the pitfall, the enemy ambushed in the path; the great divine helpers whose divine knowledge, for they are prachetasah, becomes active in the human mind and conducts us unerringly & unfalteringly on that sublime journey. In the next rik the image of the path is preserved, but another image is associated with it, the universal Vedic image of the sacrifice. We get here our first clear & compelling indication of the truth which is the very foundation of our hypothesis that the Vedic sacrifice is only a material symbol of a great psychological or spiritual process. The divine children of Infinity lead1 the sacrifice on the straight path to the goal of the ritam; under their guidance it progresses to their goal & reaches the gods in their home, pravah sa dhtaye nashat.What is sacrifice which is itself a traveller, which has a motion in a straight path, a goal in the highest seat of Truth, parasmin dhmann ritasya? If it is not the activities of the human being in us offered as a sacrifice to the higher & divine being so that human activities may be led up to the divine nature & be established in the divine consciousness, then there is either no meaning in human language or no sense or coherence in the Veda. The Vedic sacrificer is devayu,devakmah,one who desires the god or the godhead, the divine nature; or devayan, one who is in the process of divinising his human life & being; the sacrifice itself is essentially devavtih & devattih, manifestation of the divine & the extension of the divine in man. We see also the force of dhtaye. The havya or offering of human faculty, human having, human action, reaches its goal when it is taken up in the divine thought, the divine consciousness & there enjoyed by the gods.

In return for his offering the gods give to the sacrificer the results of the divine nature. The mortal favoured by them moves forward unstumbling & unoverthrown, accha gacchati astrita,towards or to what? Ratnam vasu visvam tokam uta tman. This is his goal; but we have seen too that the goal is the ritam. Therefore the expressions ratnam vasu, visvam tokam tman must describe either the nature of the ritam or the results of successful reaching & habitation in the ritam. Toka means son, says the ritualist. I fail to see how the birth of a son can be the supreme result of a mans perfecting his nature & reaching the divine Truth; I fail to see also what is meant by a man marching unoverthrown beyond sin & falsehood towards pleasant wealth & a son. In a great number of passages in the Veda, the sense of son for toka or of either son or grandson for tanaya is wholly inadmissible except by doing gross violence to sense, context & coherence & convicting the Vedic Rishis of an advanced stage of incoherent dementia. Toka, from the root tuch, to cut, form, create (cf tach & twach, in takta, tashta, twashta, Gr. tikto, etekon, tokos, a child) may mean anything produced or created. We shall see, hereafter, that praj, apatyam, even putra are used in the Veda as symbolic expressions for action & its results as children of the soul. This is undoubtedly the sense here. There are two results of life in the ritam, in the vijnana, in the principle of divine consciousness & its basis of divine truth; first ratnam vasu, a state of being the nature of which is delight, for vijnana or ritam is the basis of divine ananda; secondly, visvam tokam uta tman,this state of Ananda is not the actionless Brahmananda of the Sannyasin, but the free creative joy of the Divine Nature, universal creative action by the force of the self. The action of the liberated humanity is not to be like that of the mortal bound, struggling & stumbling through ignorance & sin towards purity & light, originating & bound by his action, but the activity spontaneously starting out of self-existence & creating its results without evil reactions or bondage.

To complete our idea of the hymn & its significance, I shall give my rendering of its last three slokas,the justification of that rendering or comment on it would lead me far from the confines of my present subject. How, O friends, cries Kanwa to his fellow-worshippers, may we perfect (or enrich) the establishment in ourselves (by the mantra of praise) of Mitra & Aryaman or how the wide form of Varuna? May I not resist with speech him of you who smites & rebukes me while he yet leads me to the godhead; through the things of peace alone may I establish you in all my being. Let a man fear the god even when he is giving him all the four states of being (Mahas, Swar, Bhuvah, Bhuh), until the perfect settling in the Truth: let him not yearn towards evil expression. In other words, perfect adoration & submission to the gods who are leading us in the path, those who are yajnanh, leaders of the sacrifice, is the condition of the full wideness of Varunas being in us & the full indwelling ofMitra & Aryaman in the principles of the Ananda & the Ritam.

In this simple, noble & striking hymn we arrive at a number of certainties about the ideas of the Vedic Rishis & usual images of their poetry which are of the last importance to our inquiry. First we see that the ascension or the journey of the human soul to a state of divine Truth is among the chief objects of the prayers & sacrifices of the Veda. Secondly, we see that this Truth is not merely the simple primitive conception of truth-speaking, but a condition of consciousness consisting in delight & resulting in a perfect spontaneous & free activity in which there is no falsehood or error; it is a state of divine nature, the Vedantic amritam. Thirdly, we see that this activity of self-perfection, the sadhana of modern Yoga, is represented in the Veda under the image of a journey or of a battle or both in one image. It is a struggle to advance beset by pitfalls & difficult passages, assailed & beset by hostile spiritual forces, the enemies, hurters or destroyers. Whenever therefore we have the image of a battle or a journey, we have henceforth the right to enquire whether it is not in every case the symbol of this great spiritual & psychological process. Fourthly we see that the Vedic sacrifice is in some hymns & may be in all a symbol of the same purport. It is an activity offered to the gods, led by them in this path, directed towards the attainment of the divine Truth-Consciousness & Truth-Life &, presumably, assailed by the same spiritual enemies. Fifthly, we find that words like vasu & tokam, representing the result of the sacrifice, & usually understood as material wealth & children, are used here, must presumably be used in passages & may, possibly, be used in all in a symbolic sense to express by a concrete figure psychological conceptions like Christs treasure laid up in heaven or the common image of the children of ones brain or of ones works. We have in fact, provided always our conclusions are confirmed by the evidence of other hymns, the decisive clue to the Secret of the Veda.

  Sri Aurobindo wrote the following note at the top of a later page of the manuscript.It would seem to have been intended for insertion here: (nayath nara dity I shall take up the discussion of the proper sense of nara in another context, to avoid useless repetition I omit it here).


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1.05 - Ritam
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