Narach Philosophy

SUBJECT MATTER OF THE VEDAS


If our interpretation of the meaning of the four Vedas be correct, we should expect to find in them an examination of the fundamental forces and problems of life from one point of view or another. Of the four Vedas the Rik, the most ancient, is the most important; and the remaining three are but an extension and amplification of its system of thought, and embody several hymns and modes of expression of the original Veda. We shall, therefore, confine ourselves, for the most part, to the Rig Veda.

Reference has already been made to some of the hymns of the Vedas as describing the creation of life as well as the character of the Supreme Creator; and before we examine the idea of the gods, it would be an advantage to study some of these hymns.

PURUSHA:
  1. A Thousand heads hath Purusha, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. On every side pervading earth he fills a space ten fingers wide.
  2. This Purusha is all that yet hath been and all that is to be the Lord of Immortality which waxes greater still by food.
  3. So mighty is his greatness; yea, greater than this is Purusha. All creatures are one-fourth of him, three-fourths eternal life in heaven.
  4. With three-fourths Purusha went up: one-fourth of him again was here. Thence he strode out to every side over what eats not and what eats.
  5. From him Viraj was born; again Purusha from Viraj was born. As soon as he was born he spread eastward and westward o'er the earth.
  6. When Gods prepared the sacrifice with Purusha as their offering, its oil was spring, the holy gift was autumn; summer was the wood.
  7. They balmed as victim on the grass Purusha born in earliest time. With him the Deities and all Sadhyas and Rishis sacrificed.
  8. From that great general sacrifice the dripping fat was gathered up. He formed the creatures of the air, and animals both wild and tame.
  9. From that great general sacrifice Richas and Samas hymns were born. There from were spells and charms produced; the Yajus had its birth from it.
  10. From it were horses born, from it all cattle with two rows of teeth: From it were generated kine, from it the goats and sheep were born.
  11. When they divided Purusha how many portions did they make? What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet?
  12. Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya made. His thighs became the Vaisya, from his feet the Sudra was produced.
  13. The Moon was gendered from his mind, and from his eye the Sun had birth; Indra and Agni from his mouth were born, and Vayu from his breath.
  14. Forth from his navel came mid-air; the sky was fashioned from his head; Earth from his feet, and from his ear the regions. Thus they formed the worlds.
  15. Seven fencing-sticks had he, thrice seven layers of fuel were prepared, When the Gods, offering sacrifice, bound, as their victim, Purusha.
  16. Gods, sacrificing, sacrificed the victim: these were the earliest holy ordinances. The Mighty Ones attained the height of Heaven, there where the Sadhyas, Gods of old, are dwelling.
KA:
  1. In the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord all created beings. He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  2. Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the Gods acknowledge. The Lord of death, whose shade is life immortal; what God shall we adore with our oblation?
  3. Who by his grandeur hath become Sole Ruler of all the moving world that breathes and slumbers; He who is Lord of men and Lord of cattle. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  4. His, through his might, are these snow-covered mountains, and men call sea and Rasa his possession: His arms are these, his are these heavenly regions. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  5. By him the heavens are strong and earth is steadfast, by him light's realm and sky-vault are supported. By him the regions in mid-air were measured. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  6. To him, supported by his help, two armies embattled look while trembling in their spirit. When over them the risen Sun is shining. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  7. What time the mighty waters came, containing the universal germ, producing Agni, Thence sprang the Gods' one spirit into being. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  8. He in his might surveyed the floods containing productive force and generating Worship. He is the God of Gods, and none beside him. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  9. Never may he harm us who is earth's Begetter, nor he whose laws are sure, the heaven's Creator. He who brought forth the great and lucid waters. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
  10. Prajapati! Thou only comprehendest all these created things, and none beside thee. Grant us our hearts' desire when we invoke thee: may we have store of riches in possession.
CREATION:
  1. Then was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. What covered in, and where? And what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
  2. Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
  3. Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminate chaos. All that existed then was void and formless: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.
  4. Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit. Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent.
  5. Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then and what below it? There were begetters; there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder.
  6. Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
  7. He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.

Explanation of the Hymns: These hymns contain a great deal of what is vital in Hindu thought, and their ideas may be summarized as follows:

  1. No one can know the origin of the universe.
  2. The principal idea regarding the origin of life can only be negative, neither this, nor that, neither the existent nor the non-existent; for anything positive would convey definite knowledge of the Unknowable, which is illogical.
  3. The Supreme Creator may conveniently be described as Ka, which implies a doubt and raises a question, and at the same time means both Purusha and Prakrti, or the first conceivable energy of creation.
  4. There are three ways of considering the origin of life, as created by (a) Purusha alone or (b) Prakrti alone or (c) Purusha and Prakrti together.
  5. Purusha lies by Prakrti obliquely or transversely, and the two are both together and separate.
  6. Purusha is an active partner with Prakrti in the creation of life. He covers her; all life lies concealed in her, and is brought out by him by means of Meditation (tapas, heat, etc.), or Desire (kama). He creates her and she creates him.
  7. Purusha may also be regarded as a mere spectator of Prakrti, surveying her.
  8. The first manifestation of life, whether created by Purusha, or Prakrti, or the union together of the two, is Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Egg, also called Brahmanda; and it is out of this that the universe evolves.
  9. There are four divisions of life, and it is made manifest only in the fourth.
  10. The place of Purusha is the Ether of the Heart, which may be described as the space of ten fingers.
  11. The chief forms of the creative energy of the universe are: (a) the Sacrifice of the Supreme Purusha himself. (b) Tapas (meditation, Buddhi. Sun-energy, heat, etc.). (c) Kama (Desire, Mind, or electric energy, etc.).

It will be noticed that these ideas are in perfect harmony with the scheme of thought outlined in these pages, and many of them are but a repetition of what has already been observed.