Sunday, February 28, 2010

Light of Lights

This is That, the Truth of things: as from one high-kindled fire thousands of different sparks are born and all have the same form of fire, so, O fair son, from the immutable manifold becomings are born and even into that they depart.

The Purusha is divine, the formless, even He is the outward and the inward and He the Unborn; He is beyond life, beyond mind, luminous, Supreme  beyond the immutable. Life and mind and the senses are born from Him; and the sky, and the wind, and light, and the waters and earth upholding all that is. Fire is the head of Him and His eyes are the Sun and Moon, the quarters His organs of hearing and the revealed Vedas are His voice, air is His breath, the universe is His heart, Earth lies at His feet. He is the inner Self in all beings.

From Him is fire, of which the Sun is the fuel, then rain from the Moon, herbs upon the earth, and the male casts his seed into woman: thus are these many peoples born from the Purusha. From Him are the hymns of the Rigveda, the Sama, and the Yajus, initiation, and all sacrifices and works of sacrifice, and dues given, the year and the giver of the sacrifice and the worlds, on which the moon shines and the sun.

And from Him have issued many Gods, and demi-gods and men and beasts and birds, the main breath and downward breath, and rice and barley, and askesis and faith and Truth, and chastity and rule of right practice. The seven breaths are born from Him and the seven lights and kinds of fuel and the seven oblations and these seven worlds in which move the life-breaths set within with the secret heart for their dwelling-place, seven and seven. From Him are the oceans and all these mountains and from Him flow rivers of all forms, and from Him are all plants, and sensible delight which makes the soul to abide with the material elements.

The Purusha is all this universe; He is works and askesis and the Brahman, supreme and immortal. O fair son, he who knows this hidden in the secret heart, scatters even here in this world the knot of the ignorance. Manifested, it is here set close within, moving in the secret heart, this is the mighty foundation and into it is consigned all that moves and breathes and sees. This that is that great foundation here, know, as the Is and Is-not, the supremely desirable, greatest and the Most High, beyond the knowledge of creatures.

That which is the Luminous, that which is smaller than the atoms, that in which are set the worlds and their peoples, That is This - it is Brahman immutable: life is That, it is speech and mind. That is This, the True and Real, it is That which is immortal: it is into That that thou must pierce, O fair son, into That penetrate.

Take up the bow of the Upanishad, that mighty weapon, set to it an arrow sharpened by adoration, draw the bow with a heart wholly devoted to the contemplation of That, and O fair son, penetrate into That as thy target, even into the Immutable. OM is the bow and the soul is the arrow, and That, even the Brahman, is spoken of as the target. That must be pierced with an unfaltering aim; one must be absorbed into That as an arrow is lost in its target.

He in whom are inwoven heaven and earth and the mid-region, and mind with all the life-currents, Him know to be the one Self; other words put away from you: this is the bridge to immortality. Where the nerves are brought close together like the spokes in the nave of a chariot-wheel, this is He that moves within, - there is He manifoldly born. Meditate on the Self as OM and happy be your passage to the other shore beyond the darkness.

The Omniscient, the All-wise, whose is this might and majesty upon the earth, is this Self enthroned in the Divine city of the Brahman, in his ethereal heaven. A mental being, leader of the life and the body, has set a heart in matter, in matter he has taken his firm foundation. By its knowing the wise see everywhere around them That which shines in its effulgence, a shape of Bliss and immortal. The knot of the heart-strings is rent, cut away are all doubts, and a man's works are spent and perish, when is seen That which is at once the being below and the Supreme. 

In a supreme golden sheath the Brahman lies, stainless, without parts. A Splendour is That, It is the Light of Lights, It is That which the self-knowers know. There the sun shines not and the moon has no splendour and the stars are blind; there these lightnings flash not, how then shall burn this earthly fire? All that shines is but the shadow of His shining; all this universe is effulgent with His light.

All this is Brahman immortal, naught else; Brahman is in front of us, Brahman behind us, and to the south of us and to the north of us, and below us and above us; it stretches everywhere. All this is Brahman alone, all this magnificent universe.

Mundaka Upanishad (II:1:1-10; II:2:1-12) of the holy Atharvaveda
Translated by Sri Aurobindo
The Mundaka is a very ancient text that comes to us from the upanishadic era (800-400 BCE). By this time, the Vedic hymn collections were already of hoary antiquity and the esoteric principles hidden therein were being lost. A new generation of sages took it upon themselves to reveal again the esotery of the holy hymns to their disciples and put in written form this ancient knowledge. The body of teaching of these enlightened sages and the traditions which were founded upon these teachings are called Vedanta, the very essence of the holy Veda.

In the above text of the Mundaka we find an elaboration of Purusha Sukta, a key hymn from the Rigveda. Purusha in essence is  a personification of the infinite Divine Being, who is both the Creator and the fabric of creation. Personified He is called Purusha or Ishvara, God; sometimes prefixed by Parama- (supreme). In Shaiva tradition, Ishvara is called Shiva, or more aptly Sadashiva, the benevolent, all-knowing Lord. Fully realized, that Sat, the formless, the immutable Reality is called Brahman in the Vedanta, and Parashiva/Paramashiva in the Shaiva texts.

Once all polemics and argumentative mental states melt away, what is left is pure peace and unity. As the name would suggest, what yokes together the tradition of the Agama-Tantra with that of Vedanta is Yoga.

Aum Namah Shivaya.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post!

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