Narach Philosophy

THE GODS OF THE VEDAS: VAYU AND USAS


We have examined the idea of Heart energy as Prakrtic and Purushic in Varuna and Vishnu respectively; and it now remains to show that it is regarded as both Purushic and Prakrtic in the idea of Vayu. This energy has been described as something higher and stronger than Buddhi, signified by the letter i in both Varuna and Vishnu; but we do not know anything more of its character and form. This omission is supplied in the idea of Vayu; and we are told that the energy of the Heart may be identified with Prana or Breath.

Figure of Vayu: According to the system followed in these pages the following figure would represent Vayu:

Significance of the Figure: We notice that the line of Vayu's name extends from V to u, representing, as in the case of Varuna and Vishnu, the relation of Purusha (Ayu) to Prakrti (V). Further, the place of Vayu is in the Heart; for, as we shall see, he is identified with Breath or Prana, dwelling in the Heart.

Vayu and Vata: Vayu is often called Vata in the Vedas and if we draw the line of Vata (V, a, ta), as of Vayu, we shall find that it extends to the letter t, situated in Prakrtic Ether, and the difference between the two is obvious. The line of Vayu, as of Varuna and Vishnu, expresses the relation of Prakrti (V) to Purusha (Aruna, Vishnu, and Ayu), ending with Purushic Ether, indicated by the letter u, in each case; but in Vata. It extends to Prakrtic Ether, represented by the letter t; and as Vayu and Vata are the same, we may conclude that the energy of the Heart expressed by Vayu is both Purushic and Prakrtic Purushic in Vayu and Prakrtic it Vata. We shall see how far this is borne out by the context.

Vayu is Prana: Vayu is said to have been born from the Prana or breath of the Supreme Purusha and as a son is identified with the father in sacred literature, he represents Prana or Heart energy himself.

Description of Vayu: Vayu or Vata is described in some detail in the following hymn of the Rig Veda:

VAYU:
  1. O the Wind's chariot, O its power and glory! Crashing it goes and hath a voice of thunder.
    It makes the regions red and touches heaven, and as it moves the dust of earth is scattered.
  2. Along the traces of the Wind they hurry, they come to him as dames to an assembly.
    Borne on his car with these for his attendants, the God speeds him, the universe's Monarch.
  3. Travelling on the path of air's mid-region, no single day doth he rest or slumber.
    Holy and earliest born, Friend of the Waters, where did he spring and from what regions came he?
  4. Germ of the world, the Deities' vital spirit, this God moves ever as his will inclines him.
    His voice is heard, his shape is ever viewless. Let us adore this Wind with our oblation.

Character of Vayu: From a study of the hymn we find that Vayu, as Prana, has the following characteristics:

Thus we see that the hymn describes Heart energy or Prana as fully as possible. Its origin is unknown, but it is both a Purushic and Prakrtic energy; it may be identified with Atman or Soul; its energy is electric or super-electric; and it is always active; it makes a sound as it moves, but is ever viewless and without shape.

Purushic and Prakrtic Character of Vayu: We have observed that the reference to Heaven and Earth in this hymn signifies that Vayu is both Purushic and Prakrtic in character. The same idea is indicated in connection with horses and cows and red and tawny colour which, as has already been explained, refer to the twofold character of Ether. Vayu, accordingly, illumines Heaven and Earth for him the nectar yielding cow pours all rich treasure forth as milk he has his red and tawny steeds and purified Soma, pressed through water and passed through the weather's fleece is offered to him.

Vayu and Indra: The association of Vayu and Indra has already been described and explained. They both refer to Heart energy, the one directly and the other indirectly; and in the Satapatha Brahmana the two are identified. Accordingly a number of Vedic hymns are addressed jointly to them they are a sovran pair are friendly minded are seated together in one chariot and drink together the divine Soma juice.

Vayu and Soma: Soma, as already explained, is Mind energy, akin to the Heart, associated with the senses of knowledge and purified through the senses of action. As Vayu also refers to the Heart, Mind, and the twofold character of Ether, the two are closely allied; and Vayu is the first to drink the Soma juice and purified Soma, pressed through stones, in water, and passed through the fleece in offered to him.

Vayu and Maruts: As will presently be shown, Maruts refer to the twofold character of Ether or the senses of knowledge and action in relation to the Mind; and as Vayu is associated with the same, they are said to have been engendered by Vayu from the womb of Heaven. It is for the same reason that the Maruts join the host of Indra, and constitute Vishnu's band for both the gods are associated with Ether and the Mind.

Vayu in Post-Vedic Literature: It will be found on examination that the Vedic idea of Vayu is continued in post-Vedic literature. We have observed that the idea of Prana, Breath, or Heart energy may be considered from the following points of view:

From this we see that Vayu, as Prana or Heart energy, is both Purushic and Prakrtic in character: it is the unmanifest energy of the Heart, or Atman, or self- conscious Praia. As well as the physical element Air; and it is associated with Buddhi and Mind, the senses of knowledge and action, and food. As we shall see, all these ideas are differently expressed from different points of view in the later sacred works of the Hindus. Thus, Vayu is one of the eight Vasus is identified with Prana seated in the Heart, and with the element Air, and spoken of as its lord but lest there should be a confusion of thought between the two, we are told that Vayu as Air, and Prana as Atman or energy of the Heart, are not to be identified. Again, as Atman or Heart energy, he is the Self of the gods is invoked as Brahman and is the thread by which the world and all creatures are strung together. He dwells in the sky and the world he is the child of the Quarters he is Visvakarman or universal Actor and he purifies the sacrifice. He lays hold of food he is worshipped as Ocean and he is heard but not seen. Again, Vayu as Praia is centred in the head he is the cause of the Mind and the latter is merged in him at death.

Vayu in the Mahabharata: In the story of the Mahabharata Vayu is spoken of as the father of the Pandava hero Bhima who, as will be explained in the following pages, represents Mind energy.

We have seen that Vayu, as breath, is said to be the cause of the Mind; and as Heart energy, it is akin to the Mind; and as father and son are often identified in sacred literature, Vayu, as the father of Bhima, is regarded as Mind energy in the Mahabharata.

USAS OR DAWN:

We have examined the principal gods of the Vedas in the light of the four great energies of life Ether, Mind, Buddhi, and Heart, and it would be interesting to see how far our system of interpretation may be extended to other gods as well. In this connection we have shown that the three great goddesses, Bharati, Ida and Sarasvati represent three different ways of looking at Prakrti with reference to Ether, Mind, and the Heart and of the minor deities the most important are Usas and Maruts.

The Dawn is the meeting time of morning and night, or light and darkness; and, as we have pointed out, the former refers to Purusha and the latter to Prakrti. Again, we have seen that there are four great creative energies of life, Heart, Buddhi, Mind, and Ether; and of these Buddhi alone is devoid of duality and the rest, being respectively super-electric, electric, and magnetic, are characterised by a positive and negative aspect, and north and south seeking magnetic poles; and these may be regarded as the meeting places of Purusha and Prakrti. If this be correct, Usas or Dawn should refer to these three energies, Heart, Mind, and Ether; and we shall see how far this is so.

Meaning of Usas: According to our letter analysis Usas may be resolved into U, sa, s; and of these the first represents Purushic Ether, the second Mind, and the third the energy of the Heart. Thus we see that the idea of the three goddesses, Bharati, lda, and Sarasvati, symbolic of the three aspects of Prakrti, is included in Usas or Dawn; and what was conceived as separate in the three is expressed as one in the goddess of the union of darkness and light.

Description of Usas: Usas or Dawn, expressing the creative energy of Purusha and Prakrti united together in one, is described in the Vedas as the Lady of Light and the maker of light; light, amid all light the fairest born refulgent white out of darkness the light that lies in darkness, uncovering the mighty gloom passing self-luminous through the waters and at night time with her argent lustre showing herself through the shades of darkness and in her night and light clash not.

Usas: Heart Energy: As Usas refers to the Heart, she is the sister of Varuna, the spouse of Surya, and the mother of the gods she is most like India, and has brought forth Agni and the Sun. In her is each living creature's breath and life her steeds are yoked far beyond the rising sun and she fills the regions of Antariksa or mid-air.

Usas and Mind: There is no special reference to the Mind in connection with Usas in the Vedas; and that would probably be due to the fact that the Mind is akin to the Heart, which she represents.

Usas and Ether: As Usas or Dawn is associated with Purushic Ether, expressed by the letter u, she is the daughter of the sky; her parents are Heaven and Earth she has red steeds and red cows she is the friend of the Asvins, and mother of the kine she is Aditi's form of glory and the origin and ensign of sacrifice and she visits the land where the Five Tribes are settled.