The Vision that made the Nation – III

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Man and Cosmos (Vedic Cosmology)

All great spiritual traditions had a system of cosmology.  In the Vedic tradition, cosmology is an integral part of the spiritual vision of life.

The central principle of vedic cosmology is that a world, loka, is the objective expression of a subjective state of consciousness.  Each world is a creative poise of the divine consciousness organized around a dominant principle of existence.  Since human consciousness in its essence is one with or a spark of the divine consciousness all worlds are within Man.  Man and cosmos are built on the same principle and mutually inclusive of each other.  Outwardly man is an insignificant part of the cosmos but inwardly he is a miniature representation of the cosmos and in his inmost self a direct expression of the eternal Divine, equal with the gods.

Man is a four-fold being made of body, life-force, mind and spirit.  Similarly, cosmos has a corresponding physical, vital, mental and spiritual dimension.  Just like our physical body is made of or derives its substance and energy from the physical universe of matter, out vital, mental and spiritual being derives its energy and substance from the corresponding worlds of life, mind and spirit of the cosmic being.  Thus cosmos is not confined to the physical universe.  It has an inner landscape, which is a universal extension of the inner landscape of our own individual self.  Not only we live in the cosmos, but cosmos lives in us.

Based on this fundamental intuition, Vedic seers made a seven-fold classification of the cosmos.  First three are the BhurBhuvaSwa – Earth, Mid region and Heaven.  Earth (Bhur), is the world of Matter.  Mid region is the world of life which is the source of our feeling, emotions, affections, passion and vital energy that animates our body and mind.  Heaven (swar or dyau) is the worlds of mind, especially the higher mind of pure thoughts, clear perceptions and lucid intuitions.  In Vedic thought, Swar or heaven is the world of intuitive and illumined mind of which god Indra is the Lord.  Beyond this triple world, Vedic seers perceived a higher heaven (brihaddyau) which they named as SatyamRtmBrhat – the Truth, Right, the Vast. This higher heaven is the world of the Sun, which in the Vedas is the creative light and energy of the Supreme.  According to Sri Aurobindo, the Sun- world or the higher heaven of the Vedas is the supermind which is the creative consciousness of the Divine Reality, that which gives birth to and   governs cosmos, source of cosmic order and harmony (Rtm) and the  home of the deepest and highest truth and law of all that is in the universe.  And finally, in the Vedas it was said that rtm, the world of truth, leads upwards  beyond it to some highest triple words which are probably the worlds of  SatChitAnanda – pure Being, Consciousness and Bliss, of the later religious thought.

Thus in the Vedic cosmology, the cosmic existence of which we are a part is made of seven worlds: the triple lower worlds of Mind, Life and Matter, the triple upper worlds of SatChitAnanda, with the Sun-world, the creative consciousness of Satchidananda, acting as a link between   the upper and lower worlds. All these worlds are within Man. In the terminology of Upanishads, we may say that each world has a corresponding sheath orkosha, with corresponding faculties, in human consciousness.

In most of us, in our present condition of human evolution,   some of the   sheaths and faculties belonging to higher principles or worlds like for example the Sun world or SatChitAnanda  are rudimentary and not yet fully formed,  conscious or active . But they can be developed, made conscious and active by Yoga. One of the objectives of Vedic Yoga is to develop these higher principles and faculties with the help of the gods who are the native citizens and guardians of the higher worlds.  In Vedic Yoga gods descend into the aspiring human consciousness, illumines and energises its existing sheaths and faculties with their higher light and energy and also help the human aspirant in forming, developing and manifesting the higher sheaths and faculties which belong to their own higher consciousness and worlds.  The Vedic seers called this process as “forming the gods in man”.  We are now entering into the realms of Vedic Yoga which we will discuss in our subsequent articles.

 

                The Vision that made the Nation

                           Part I   |   Part II   |   Part III   |   Part IV