Narach Philosophy

THE GODS OF THE VEDAS: SOMA AND RUDRA


We have considered the two aspects of Ether from two points of view in Heaven and Earth and the two Asvins, and may now pass on to an examination of the Mind from which Ether is born. In this connection we have already observed that the problem of the Mind, like that of Buddhi and Ether, may be considered from three points of view, in relation to Buddhi, Mind itself, and Ether of these the first is treated in connection with Agni and Indra, who are Buddhi gods associated with Ether; and Mind, represented by the letter "i" in each, is situated between Buddhi and Ether; the second, as already explained, is impossible and the third may be examined in connection with the twofold character of Ether, Purushic or relating to the senses of knowledge, and Prakrtic or relating to those of action of these, as we shall presently see, the former is personified in Soma, and the latter in Rudra.

Figure of Soma: Regent of the North: It is said in the Vedas that Soma is the regent of the north and, as a region refers to Ether, the idea of Soma may be illustrated by the following figure of the Golden Egg with its point turned to the north:

Significance of the Figure: It will be noticed that Soma is placed to the north of the pointed side of the Egg, or Ether, and so represents the Mind; and that is the only place that can be assigned to him. As Purusha lies either to the north or the Right side of Prakrti, his only other place could be on the Right side of the region of Air, when he himself would represent Ether, one degree higher than the energy facing him; and this, as has already been shown, is impossible further, the current of life is Prakrtic or negative in that direction, and that is incompatible with the conception of a Purushic energy.

Meaning of Soma: From the line of Soma's name we notice that it extends from the region of the Mind (S, No. 13) to that of Purushic Ether (u and m), and implies the association of the two. Further, we have observed that the Mind is akin to the Heart, and this is signified by the letter S, which is assigned to the region of the Mind, and as No. 13 in our diagram, refers also to the Heart. Thus Soma represents Mind energy in association with the senses of knowledge or Purushic Ether; and the Mind is akin to the Heart. The same idea can be derived from a letters analysis of Soma into S, a, u, ma (a and u make o according to the rules of Sanskrt grammar), meaning, a personification (a) of Mind energy (S, akin to the Heart) in association with Purushic Ether (u and m) or Soma may be resolved into Sa, u, ma, meaning, He who (Sa) represents Mind (ma) in relation to Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge (u); and the idea is the same in both cases.

Defect in the Soma Idea: There are two defects in the Soma idea. We see that the line of his name is Purushic; but the central current of life is electric or super-electric, and flows in the direction of the hands of the clock and as Soma is placed to the north of the Golden Egg, we notice from the figure that, even if we allow his energy to be Purushic at the commencement, it is immediately transformed into Prakrtic; and this militates against the idea of a Purushic god; for both on the Right side and the north the energy of the Golden Egg should be Purushic or positive. Secondly, he represents Mind energy in association with Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge, and there is no direct reference to the senses of action, usually represented by the letter r, in his name. The first defect is irremediable, as it relates to a law of Nature and the character and direction of the flow of electric energy; but the second can be removed by associating Purushic with Prakrtic Ether, for the two are inseparable; and this, as we shall see, is done through Soma's purification.

SOMA IN THE VEDAS

Heart Energy: We have observed that Soma represents Mind energy associated with Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge; but the Mind is akin to the Heart, and Purushic Ether cannot be separated from Prakrtic. We should, therefore, expect to get an indication of both these ideas in Soma. Accordingly we are told that he rests in Indra's heart, and generates the Sun, the first manifest form of Heart energy, as already explained.

Mind Energy: Soma or Indu is identified with the Moon, which personifies the Mind; and so he is spoken of as knower and sovran of the Mind, and grasps all things with the mind. As lightning is the energy of the Mind, he flows with lightning's flash, and is Indra's thunderbolt. Again, as Mind presides over Speech, he is said to be the lord and mover of Vak or Speech.

A Divine Juice: Soma is conceived as a divine juice as wine par excellence which the gods are ever anxious to drink; and Agni, Indra, the two Asvins, Vayu, Varuna, and Vishnu, and a host of gods and goddesses, together with Sarasvati, Bharati, and Ida, share in its sacrifice and partake of the draught. As Soma represents Mind energy in association with the senses of knowledge, we can easily understand the character of its juice, spoken of as the nectar of immortality and as the gods themselves represent the energies associated with Soma, they love to partake of the amrita or the divine draught.

Birth of Soma: Soma is said to be the child of Pajra, and Parjanya is the father of the Mighty Bird (Soma). Parjanya is usually understood to mean a cloud or rain, and is personified as a god of rain; it is also identified with Indra, and is the name of Prajapati. We have pointed out that Indra is a Buddhi god, associated with the Heart, Mind and Prakrtic Ether; and as Prajapati represents the same energies, he is identified with Indra. Thus Soma, as Mind energy, is said to be born of the Heart and the Mind (Parjanya), and the idea of Pajra is the same; for the word may be analyzed into Pa, j, ra, meaning, Giving (ra) air or breath (pa) in association with the Heart (j, 8th. consonant). Soma is also spoken of as born of Sindhu, (S, i, n, dh, u) which means, Heart energy (S), and Mind (i and dh), related to Purushic Ether (n and u) Thus we see that Mind energy (Soma) is said to be born of Heart energy or Mind itself, and associated with Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge; and this agrees with the whole idea as already explained.

Soma and the Falcon: Soma is said to have been brought down to the earth by the Falcon, and he is often identified with the bird himself. The words for a falcon used in the text are Syena and Suparna; and of these the former, analyzed into S, ya, i, na (ya and i make ye according to the rules of Sanskrt grammar), means, He who (ya) represents the Mind (i) in association with Purushic Ether (S and na) and the latter, Su, pa, r, na, means, Born of (su) Heart energy (na), related to breath (p) and Prakrtic Ether (r) Thus we see that Soma is Mind energy brought down to Purushic Ether (Syena), and is born of the Heart or the Mind and associated with breath and Prakrtic Ether (Suparna).

Soma Dwells in the Woods: Soma is said to dwell in the woods and the word in the text is Vana, which when analyzed into Va, na, means, Prakrti (Va, water) in relation to Purushic Ether (na). We have seen that Soma is Mind energy associated with Purushic Ether; and it is easy to establish the connection of Mind with Prakrti either through breath, which the letter v signifies, or Prakrtic Ether, also associated with that letter as signifying the name of Rahu.

Soma and the Mountains: Soma is said to haunt the mountains and to have made in them his home. The word in the text for mountain is Gin, which is a variant of Gir, analysed into G, i, r, and meaning, Mind energy (i) related to Purushic (g) and Prakrtic Ether (r); and we shall see that the idea of Soma, when purified, is the same.

Purification of Soma: We have referred to the purification of Soma as signifying his association with Prakrtic Ether and the senses of action, thus removing the defect in the conception of Mind associated with the senses of knowledge only. In this connection we might remember that the idea of sacrifice is similar too, implying the association of the senses of action with those of knowledge, thus transforming what is Prakrtic into Purushic or creative. We shall see how far this is borne out by the context.

Soma is purified by means of hands, stones, or by passing it through a purifying sieve, or the fleece of the sheep. He is pressed in a mortar, and urged to the fleece with stones. Then he who is red, is driven to the waters and becomes tawny-hued, is established by five kindred companies, directed by ten sisters, welcomed by ten dames, and decked forth by ten swift fingers. When purified within the jars, the red and tawny-hued is clothed with a robe of water.

Hands: The idea of the purification of Soma is that the senses of action are associated with those of knowledge and the Mind; and as Hands are the instruments of action, Soma is said to be purified by them.

Stones: The idea of Stone is similar; and the word used in the text is Adri, which when analyzed (A, d, r, i), means, a personification (A) of one who gives (d) Prakrtic Ether (r) in relation to the Mind (i).

Purifying Sieve: Soma is passed through a purifying sieve, called Pavitra. to be cleansed; but the word Pavitra also means Ghee or clarified butter and water and the former, called Ghrita in Sanskrt, with all its component letters Gh, r, ta, assigned to the region of Prakrtic Ether, refers to that aspect of the element and so does water, symbolic of Prakrti, and identified with Prakrtic Ether.

Again, according to our letter-analysis, Pavitra may be resolved into Pa, v, i, t, ra, and would mean, Mind energy (i) in relation to Prakrti (v) conceived as breath (Pa) and associated with Prakrtic Ether (t and r) We have seen that Prakrti in connection with breath refers to Heart energy; and the idea of purification would appear to be that the energy of the Heart or the Mind should be associated with the senses of action; and this agrees with what has already been observed.

Fleece of the Sheep: Soma is passed through the fleece of the sheep to be purified. The word in the text for fleece is Var or Vara, and for sheep Avyaya; and of these the former also means Water, expressive of Prakrti, and the latter, imperishable or undecaying. Hence the expression, Vare avyaye, usually understood to mean "in the fleece of the sheep", really signifies "in the imperishable water", referring obviously to Prakrti or Prakrtic Ether, for the two are often identified. Thus Soma is said to be pressed in a mortar (Camu, Ca, m, u), which signifies the union of Mind energy (C) with Purushic Ether (m and u), and urged to the fleece (imperishable Prakrti) with the stones (Prakrtic Ether); and we see that the idea is perfectly clear and logical.

Soma in the Jars: Soma is said to be purified in the jars and the word for jar in the text is Kalasa (Ka, la, sa), which means the first energy of life (Ka, Heart or Mind) in association with Purushic (sa.) and Prakrtic Ether (la). He is said to be clothed with a robe of milk, and when cleansed, flows in a watery robe. As milk refers to Purushic Ether and water to Prakrti or Prakrtic Ether, the idea of purification is the same as already explained, vis., the association of Purushic with Prakrtic Ether, or the senses of knowledge with the senses of action.

Ten Sisters and Five Kindred Companies: We are told that ten sister maids of slender form seize Soma in the press and hold him firmly that ten swift fingers deck him forth, and five kindred companies establish him, the powerful. In this connection we have already pointed out that the number five refers to Ether, and ten to the senses of knowledge and action; and the idea of five kindred companies, as referring to the twofold character of Ether is significant.

Horses and Cows: Milk and Curd: Red and Tawny Colour: The same idea is expressed in terms of cows and horses; milk and water, milk and curd, or milk and clarified butter or Ghee; and red and tawny colour; and we have already shown that the cow refers to Purushic and the horse to Prakrtic Ether and the same distinction is made between milk and water, milk and curd or milk and clarified butter, and red and bay or tawny colour. Accordingly Soma is said to be a bull, a tawny steer, a tawny courser, and a vigorous steed he stays amid kine wins, and brings weal to both horses and cows and makes a gift of both. Again, he is robed in milk and, when purified, flows in a watery robe, and dives into water he is decked with milk and water, is purified by water and blent with milk, is a winner of the floods, and a swayer of the sea. Then he is blent with curd and purified, and pours out both milk and clarified butter or Ghee.

Another Aspect of Purification: The idea of Soma's purification may be examined also from another point of view. We have observed that the ideas of Science have been generalised by the ancients into great systems of thought; and if Soma represents Mind or electric energy, it should be possible to examine the idea of his purification in terms of electric energy as we understand it today. We have observed that purification means the association of Prakrtic or the negative aspect of Ether with the Purushic or positive, in connection with Mind energy; and in terms of electric energy this means that an electric current is incomplete or unpurified if it is not electro-magnetic or associated with Ether, or without a positive and a negative aspect, or south-seeking and north-seeking magnetic poles.

Further, we notice that this purification is effected, when Soma sports on the ox's hide, and flows through the sheep's wool purified and so the cow's hide and sheep's skin are said to be his ornaments. We have already observed that the cow or ox represents Purushic Ether, and sheep's wool has been shown to refer to Prakrti or Prakrtic Ether. But, if secondary meanings of words are related to their original sense, in terms of electric energy this would imply that when ox's hide and sheep's wool are brought or rubbed together, an electric charge (Soma) passes between them, and the former is positive or Purushic and the latter Prakrtic or negative. The same thing will happen when milk and water are brought together, for that is the significance of Soma wearing robes of milk, and robes of water when purified; and milk and water are analogous to cow's hide and sheep's wool (or imperishable water), as already explained.

From this we see that an electric current cannot be effective unless we have its positive and negative counterparts together; and corresponding to this the Mind cannot function unless it is associated with both the senses of knowledge and action. Further, we find that as the senses of knowledge correspond to the positive and the senses of action to the negative aspect of electricity; and as the energy of human life itself is electric or super-electric, for with each beat of the Heart an electric current is produced, the senses of knowledge and action should, in the human body, actually be positively and negatively charged; and of these the hands, symbolizing action in particular, should be specially Prakrti: or negative; and so they are referred to as purifying Soma.

Again, we are told that the senses .are comprised under breathing, and when breath (Prana) departs, they also depart with it. In this connection we have observed that breathing in is Purushic and breathing-out Prakrtic and, since the current of life in man is electric or super-electric, and the likes repel and unlikes attract, and breathing controls the functions of the senses the senses of knowledge, being Purushic, can function when Prana is Prakrtic, that is, when we breathe out; and similarly the senses of action function only when we breathe in. Further, we have observed that all disease arises out of Prakrti or the five elements and as the latter is negative, the senses of action, being similar, are not easily liable to disease; while the case with the senses of knowledge is the reverse; and of the senses of action, the hands being most negatively charged, are most immune from disease.

Soma and Heaven and Earth: The union of Mind energy with the twofold character of Ether is further illustrated in the association of Soma with Heaven and Earth or Dyu and Prthvi. It is generally held that Heaven and Earth are referred to in the Vedas as the parents of Soma but as Soma represents Mind energy which gives birth to the twofold character of Ether, represented by Dyu and Prthvi, it would be more correct to regard the latter as the children of Soma; and we find that this is so. We have already explained that the two Mothers of Soma, which are incorrectly understood to refer to Heaven and Earth, are really the creative energies of the Heart and Mind and so is Soma called the father of Heaven and Earth, for Ether with its twofold character is created out of the Mind. But as unpurified Soma is associated only with the Purushic aspect of Ether, he at first keeps Heaven and Earth divided and apart but when he is purified, he links them together, brings the wealth of Heaven and Earth in his streams, and rejoices in his place between them. He flows round them, measures them, brings them to light, and on his decrees they depend.

Soma and Indra: Thus Soma, Mind energy, akin to the Heart, made manifest in the senses of knowledge but purified through action, has a great deal in common with Indra; and so is said to be Indra's friend, and Indra's self reaches down to Indra purified strengthens and assists him in his work is an active worker himself and the best slayer of Vrtra.

Soma and Surya: Reference has already been made to the wedding of Surya, and it has been explained why she, who was at first plighted to Soma, chose the two Asvins for her lords. The idea of Soma is at first incomplete or unpurified; and it was for this reason that Surya changed her mind, and preferred the two Asvins, who represent the two aspects of Ether through the senses of knowledge and action as inseparable, and can show how, through sacrifice, action, which is regarded as Prakrtic, can be transformed into Purushic and made creative and complete.

Soma in Post-Vedic Literature: The Post-Vedic idea of Soma is the same as the Vedic one. He is Mind-energy, personified as the Moon is the deity of the northern region identified with Prana and associated with both the heart and the mind. He was Vrtra when unpurified; but when cleansed, is sacrifice itself. He is the Kshatriya caste dwells in the mountains became a falcon and is pressed with stones. He is the lord of trees a leader of Maruts and is associated with Rudra. He is the nectar of immortality is collected by the cows is the seed of the vigorous steed and all the gods and waters delight to partake of the divine juice. He is brought by Agni to the sacrifice and with his aid Indra and the gods succeed in slaying Vrtra.

RUDRA: Soma, as we have explained, represents the energy of the Mind in association with Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge; and it is only when he is purified that he comprehends Prakrtic Ether or the senses of action. This defect in the original idea of Soma is remedied in Rudra (R, u, d, ra), meaning, He who gives (d) Mind energy (r) in association with Purushic (u) and Prakrtic Ether (ra).

Figure of Rudra: There is no reference in the Vedas to Rudra as presiding over any particular region; but as Vedic thought is carried forward and explained in post-Vedic literature, we are told in the Satapatha Brahmana. That, like Soma, he is the lord of the northern region. The following figure would accordingly represent Rudra.

Significance of the Figure: We see from the figure that the position of Rudra in relation to the Golden Egg is identical to that of Soma; and as Soma represents Mind energy, situated above Ether, so does Rudra; but whereas the line of Soma's name extends from the region of the Mind (s) to that of Purushic Ether (u and m), that of Rudra, commencing and ending with the letter r, includes the whole of the Golden Egg.

This would imply that Rudra presides over the whole universe, and that the universe consists of Ether and the elements, for it is the elements alone over which the Mind (Rudra) can preside. Thus by linking together the two aspects of Ether, the Rudra-idea removes one defect; but it introduces another and a more serious one, viz., that the universe consists of Ether and the elements.

Name Rudra: But inasmuch as Rudra refers to Mind in association with the twofold character of Ether, and a number of gods do the same, they are called by the same name. Thus Agni, who represents Buddhi (a) and Mind (i) in association with Purushic Ether (g and n) is called Rudra the two Asvins are called Rudras too, and so are Mitra-Varuna and Maruts.

Rudra and Soma: We have shown that with all the difference between Rudra and Soma, there is a great deal in common between them, and so they are associated together in some Vedic hymns. They are both connected with horses and cows; are lords of sacrifice and balmy medicines and armed with thunder and Rudra is the father and Soma the leader of the Marut hosts.

Rudra in Post-Vedic Literature: The idea of Rudra in post-Vedic literature is the same as in the Vedas. He is the lord of the northern region gives birth to Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Egg and is a creator of the world. He is the lord of beasts a dweller in the mountains and the sovereign of Tamas and the terrestrial world. He is identified with breath or Prana is Kshatra or the ruling caste, and was originally Manyu. There are eleven Rudras, explained as the ten senses and the Mind and he is a divine physician, worshipped in company with Soma, and associated with Agni. Siva is his more auspicious name, the lord who creates the elements, and has the Bull for his vehicle or sign.