The Vedic bird of illumination

Wellesley College; Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA 14 November 1972

Dear sisters and brothers, I shall be giving seven talks on the Vedas at the Seven Sister colleges. Interestingly, the Rig Veda itself deals with seven special sisters. It tells us that there is a divine chariot with only one wheel, and that this chariot is drawn by one horse with seven names. Seven sisters sing spiritual songs while standing before the chariot. While singing, the seven sisters reveal the concealed message of life’s Liberation and humanity’s Perfection.

Seven is an occult number. In the spiritual world, the number seven has a most special significance. In the hoary past there were seven great Indian Sages who saw the Truth, lived the Truth and became the Truth. There are seven important rivers in India. A river signifies movement; water signifies consciousness. The movement of consciousness is a continuous progress towards the farthest Beyond.

There are seven notes in the musical scale. Each note has a special value of its own. Music is the mother tongue of humanity. God is the Supreme Musician. It is through music that we can enter into the universal harmony. It is through music that God’s Beauty is being manifested in His all-loving Creation.

There are seven colours in the rainbow. These colours indicate the stages of our spiritual journey towards the ultimate Goal. We all know that a rainbow is the sign of good luck and future progress. In the spiritual world, each colour of the rainbow is the harbinger of a new dawn.

There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. An aspiring human being enters into one of the seven higher worlds and makes progress in the inner life. Like a bird, his aspiring consciousness flies from one world to another, until finally he finds himself in the seventh world, Saccidananda, the world of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. There he becomes consciously and inseparably one with the Supreme Pilot. But when a human being deliberately and knowingly does wrong things, heinous things, he is compelled to enter into one of the seven lower worlds, which are the worlds of darkness, bondage and ignorance.

Mother India is an aspiring tree. This aspiring tree has the Vedas as its only root. The root is Truth, the tree is Truth, the experience of the tree is Truth, the realisation of the tree is Truth, the revelation of the tree is Truth, the manifestation of the tree is Truth.

The Vedic Seers saw the Truth with their souls, in their Heavenly visions and in their earthly actions.

Satyam eva jayate nanrtam

Truth alone triumphs, not falsehood.

This Truth teaches us how to be true brothers of mankind, conscious and devoted lovers of God and perfect masters of nature.

The Vedic teachings are universal. In the Yajur Veda we clearly observe that the teachings of the Vedas are for all — the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, the Shudras, even the Chandalas, who are the degraded and the abandoned. Men and women alike can study the Vedas. God is for all. The Vedas are for all. In the Vedic church no one is superior, no one is inferior; all are equal, all are children of God. These children of God can live in the heart of Truth and become the veritable pride of God.

Each Vedic Seer is a poet and a prophet. In the case of an ordinary poet, his poems are quite often based upon imagination. Imagination gives birth to his poetry. In the case of the Vedic poets, it was intuition that gave birth to their poems. This intuition is the direct knowledge of Truth. As regards prophets, very often we see that an ordinary prophet’s prophecy is based on a kind of unknown mystery. But in the case of the Vedic prophets, it was not so. Their prophecies were based on their full and conscious awareness of direct and immediate Truth. They just brought to the fore this dynamic Truth to operate in the cosmic manifestation.

The present-day world believes that the mind can offer the highest possible experience of Reality. The Vedic Seers gave due importance to the mind, but they never considered the mind to be the source of the highest possible experience of Reality.

The Vedas have the eternal wisdom. It is for us. The Vedas are more than willing to illumine us if we dare to hearken to their message.

"Srnvantu visve amrtasya putrah
  Hearken, ye sons of Immortality.
  This is their generous invitation."

When we live in the mind and do not want to go outside the boundaries of the mind, we remain bound in the trammels of the body. We remain in bondage. It is only the light from within and the guidance from Above that can liberate us from the teeming ignorance which has enveloped us. When we live in the mind, we live in the fabric of form. When we live in the soul, we enter into the formless and eventually go beyond both form and formlessness. We become, at that time, the individual soul universalised and the Universal Soul individualised.

The outer world is synonymous with the mind. The inner world is synonymous with the heart. The world of the Eternal Beyond is synonymous with the soul. The outer world has the past, present and future. The inner world has the glowing and fulfilling future. The world of the Beyond has only the Eternal Now. When we live in the outer world, the ignorant ‘I’ destroys us. When we live in the inner world, the illumined ‘I’ satisfies us. When we live in the world of the Beyond, the Infinite ‘I’ fondly embodies us, reveals us and fulfils us. When we live in the mind, we cannot go beyond the judgement of destiny. Our human will is at the feet of destiny. When we live in the soul, we have free will. This free will is the Will of the Supreme. It is the will of the soul, which constantly identifies itself with the Will of the infinite Beyond.

Whether others believe it or not, the lovers of the Vedas know perfectly well that the Vedas are a significant contribution to the world of literature. These sublime literary scriptures are not just of national interest, for they offer international inspiration and universal aspiration. Just because they are international and universal, they fascinate and illumine sincere seekers in different countries at all times.

The Vedic mantras, or incantations, help us to develop will-power in boundless measure. Even if we do not take the trouble of learning and repeating the mantras, we cultivate some will-power just by studying the Vedas devotedly. The paramount question is how we are going to use this will-power: to dominate the world or to serve God in the universe? If we live in the body for the pleasures of the body, we shall want to dominate the world. But if we live in the soul for the transformation and illumination of the body, then we shall serve God, love man and fulfil both God and man.

To say that the Vedas are badly infected with asceticism and otherworldliness is to betray one’s own ignorance. The Vedas are divinely practical and their message is of constant, practical value. Needless to say, a great many Vedic Seers were householders and most of their pupils, at the end of their instruction, went home and became family men. The teachers in the Seers taught their students the secret of eternal life and not the secret of unending death, which we learn from some of the destruction-loving teachers of science.

The Vedas do not embody depression, repression, self-mortification, sin-awareness or hell-consciousness. The Vedas embody the divine duty of the earthly life and the ever-increasing beauty of the Heavenly life. The Vedic Seers accepted the heart of life to found the ultimate Reality upon earth. The Vedic Seers accepted the body of death to carry it into the land of Immortality. Inspiration of the clear mind they liked. Aspiration of the pure heart they loved. Realisation of the sure soul they became.