Rig Veda 1.72 Hymn to Agni by Parashara Shaktya with Extended comments by Ladislav and Vladimir
Author: Ladislav and Vladimir
Last Updated: October 24, 2012
ṛṣi: parāśara śāktya; devatā: agni; chanda: triṣṭup
Analysis of RV 1.72
ní kāviyā vedhásaḥ śáśvatas kar háste dádhāno náriyā purūṇi
agnír bhuvad rayipátī rayīṇāṃ satrā cakrāṇó amŕtāni víśvā 1.072.01
1 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“He has created, within, the seer-knowings of the eternal Disposer of things, holding in his hand many powers (powers of the divine Purushas); Agni creating together all immortalities becomes the master of the (divine) riches.”
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“Of the Eternal Ordainer, vedhásaḥ śáśvatas, He has fashioned and put into the lower regions, ní kar, the rhythms of the Knower, kāviyā, holding and controlling the all-fulfilling powers of the souls, háste dádhāno náriyā purūṇi. Agni becomes thus the Lord of all riches, agnír bhuvad rayipátī rayīṇāṃ, fashioning together all immortalities, satrā cakrāṇó amŕtāni víśvā.”
It is the vision of the relation of the involved and uninvolved Supreme. The rhythms of Consciousness-Power of the Eternal Ordainer are introduced into the lower hemisphere. These rhythms are the all-fulfilling powers of the souls, they are not only introduced and left to act, as it were, but are constantly controlled and held by the involved Supreme: Agni. Thus He becomes the Lord of all riches and thus creates all the immortalities by all these means. These are like the strings pervading all the manifestation which are held by the Lord hidden within.
Our being is divided into a number of planes, each one a representative of the same plane on the universal scale, which is infinite and timeless, of which He is the eternal Disposer of things, He who has created the seer-knowings.
Each of these parts has an inner, vast and infinite reality. The quest is to achieve and realize that this reality can express itself on the surface, in the nature of our life.
For that knowledge is required: a living knowledge like that of a balancing act; a living knowledge, a real, perceptible and functioning force. This living knowledge belongs to Agni, who has created these immortal spaces and holds their knowledge in His hands and is their master.
Even in one plane alone, there is a division and ramification into many parts, which together form its one expression. (The foot, the ankle, the lower leg, the knee, the thigh, the hip, body, arms and head form one movement while walking, but if we want to dance, each part has to find its balance with every other part, besides with something else that wants to dance.)
asmé vatsám pári ṣántaṃ ná vindann icchánto víśve amŕ̥tā ámūrāḥ śramayúvaḥ padavíyo dhiyaṃdhās tasthúḥ padé paramé cāru agnéḥ 1.072.02
2 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“All the immortals, they who are not limited (by ignorance), desiring, found him in us as if the Calf (of the cow Aditi) existing everywhere; labouring, travelling to the Seat, holding the Thought they attained in the supreme seat to the shining (glory) of Agni.”
These parts, mirrors in our being of the universal eternal expression, desire and aim towards the expression of their true universal being. Being conscious of their limitlessness, they find Aditi all over in existence, as if they were their calves. They have to hold up the thought of their labor and travel to find the supreme seat of Agni, the burning light of their being.
To give an example: the touch is not just a necessity of the musician to make his instrument sound; it is a contact by which the spirit enters the space of matter and makes it its own. It is the necessary element by which the inner world enters into contact with the outer spaces, by which the inner spaces find their expression in the outer plane of being, by which are dug out the lights hidden in substance.
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“It is in us that they all, who are immortal, found Him, asmé víśve vindann, as ever-young, vatsám, and present everywhere, pári ṣántaṃ ná; being immortal they desire Him, icchánto amŕ̥tā, being not bound by darkness, ámūrāḥ (or who are not hasty, but still are) concentrated on their Work and their Goal, śramayúvaḥ padavíyo, holding to their higher concentration, dhiyaṃdhā́s, they have come and stood together in the supreme and beautiful place of Agni, tasthúḥ padé paramé cā́ru agnéḥ.”
There are a few interesting things here in the usage of language. The fact that the word ‘all’ is used: ‘they all immortals found him’, viśve amṛtā vindan, says that all who are immortals find Him in us. It is a universal truth, for all immortals. And though they are immortals and bound by nothing they still look for Him, icchantaḥ. Why should immortals that are free desire to find Agni? It seems that there is something more for them to achieve, therefore the verse ends with the phrase: they have stood in his supreme and wonderful place, being totally realised, having the consciousness and the bliss of the Supreme.
tisró yád agne śarádas tuvām íc chúciṃ ghrténa śúcayaḥ saparyān nāmāni cid dadhire yajñíyāni ásūdayanta tanúvaḥ sújātāḥ 1.072.03
3 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“O Agni, when through the three years (three symbolic seasons or period corresponding perhaps to the passage through the three mental heavens), they, pure, had served thee, the pure one, with the ghrita, they held the sacrificial names and set moving (to the supreme heaven) forms well born.”
The forms well born are the truths born and growing in the forms of movements and states. It is by the word that the truths awake, formulas, which set the frames of the truths in the three outer realities (physical, vital and mental minds), around which the parts concerned gather and grow into their well build form of truth. Anything on the physical level has these formulas that lead it to an unlimited becoming. It means that when any truth is realized the wide inner space is created, which has to be offered to that, which is the consciousness, holding all together as one. Offering means holding it back from moving to its own fancy, receding from its self-involvement in movement. Awaiting another will, another light for its movement, it offers its space uncovered, manifestation of truth to that other will that knows all spaces and unites them all.
The work is effective only when the perfect, purified mentality is the leading consciousness; it alone can bring the changes for the perfect form to be realized, which moves in seasons to become the perfect servitor of Agni, the purified purifier. Holding the sacrificial names in front of consciousness means that by the spoken formula of words one becomes the knower, the conscious participant in the sacrificial action, creating space of the sacrificial fire within oneself.
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“For three years, O Agni, (or covering triple heaven of the Mind), tisró yád agne śarádas, they, who are pure, served you, the Pure, with the clarity of a purified mentality, tuvā́m íc chúciṃ ghr̥téna śúcayaḥ saparyā́n. They have held/established the sacrificial Names, nā́māni cid dadhire yajñíyāni, and made the perfectly born bodies (move towards the Goal), ásūdayanta tanúvaḥ sújātāḥ.”
Covering the triple heaven of the Mind (Illumined Mind, Higher Mind and pure reason) with the thoughts of clarified mentality they, who are pure, serve the Pure, who is hidden within the manifestation. This may refer to the process of support by the higher inspirational thoughts of the universal gods who by covering the triple regions of the Mind support the growing Lord within the manifestation. And it is done by establishing the sacrificial Names here in the lower hemisphere, thus clarifying the purpose and redirecting consciousness towards the discovery of the Pure one growing within. So that it may result in a creation of perfectly born bodies moving towards their higher purpose in manifestation.
Ā ródasī brhatī vévidānāḥ prá rudríyā jabhrire yajñíyāsaḥ
vidán márto nemádhitā cikitvān agním padé paramé tasthivā ṃsam 1.072.04
4 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“They had knowledge of the vast heaven and earth and bore them forward, they the sons of Rudra, the lords of the sacrifice; the mortal awoke to vision and found Agni standing in the seat supreme.”
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“Knowing the two great ones (Heaven and Earth), ā ródasī brhatī́vévidānāḥ, the lords of the Sacrifice, the sons of Rudra, bore them forward (in their evolutionary march), prá rudríyā jabhrire yajñíyāsaḥ; (and because of their action) the Mortal, who is seeking, in his individual afford becomes aware of His presence within himself, vidán márto nemádhitā cikitvān, as Agni, who is abiding in the highest heaven, agním padé paramé tasthivā́ṃsam.”
It is the vision of evolution in a proper sense. The powers of transformation, the lords of the Sacrifice, bear and move forward the two luminous firmaments of our physical and mental consciousness.
saṃjānānā́úpa sīdann abhijñú pátnīvanto namasíyaṃ namasyan ririkvā́ṃsas tanúvaḥ krṇvata svāḥ sákhā sákhyur nimíṣi rákṣamāṇāḥ 1.072.05
5 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“Knowing perfectly (or in harmony) they kneeled down to him; they with their wives (the female energies of the gods) bowed down to him who is worthy of obeisance; purifying themselves (or, perhaps, exceeding the limits of heaven and earth) they created their own (their proper or divine) forms, guarded in the gaze, each friend, of the Friend.”
These absolute beings, who work in our being to attain the perfect form, every god in his part, kneel down to Agni with their powers and bow down to him, who is worthy of obeisance. I find it enormous to say: exceeding the limits of heaven and earth they created their own forms. Is it not that the earth needs heaven to exceed its limits? And is it not that heaven finds new forms in its work on earth, protecting them in their consciousness by their kneeling down to him, by their bowing down to the Friend?
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“Knowing and agreeing they approach Him and kneel before Him, saṃjānānā́ úpa sīdann abhijñú, with all their active and potential energies they surrender totally to Him, who is worthy of surrender, pátnīvanto namasíyaṃ namasyan. Exceeding themselves (lit. 'who have emptied themselves’), ririkvā ṃsas, they create their own (new) forms, tanúvaḥ krṇvata svāḥ, being guarded by constant attention each friend of the Friend, sákhā sákhyur nimíṣi rákṣamāṇāḥ.”
It is an interesting description of the process of transformation from the old being to the new one. First we have to see and know the purpose and the meaning of the sacrifice and the role of Agni in this transformation, as it were, which is depicted in the first four verses. But once we know Him we must surrender to Him all we are and can be, patnīvantaḥ, and thus exceeding ourselves, or rather emptying or vacating the being for His Action, we can create our own new forms. It could mean the individual forms of the Supreme in manifestation. And in this process we are constantly guarded by His Attention and each individual soul and soul-formation in this universal movement.
tríḥ saptá yád gúhiyāni tuvé ít padā vidan níhitā yajñíyāsaḥ
tébhī rakṣante amŕtaṃ sajóṣāḥ paśūñ ca sthātrñ caráthaṃ ca pāhi 1.072.06
6 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“In thee the gods of the sacrifice found the thrice seven secret seats hidden within; they, being of one heart, protect by them the immortality. Guard thou the herds that stand and that which moves.”
They are the gods of the sacrifice who create the divine forms, exceeding heaven and earth – they found in you, O Agni, your thrice seven secret seats. They are truly perfectly united and the true essence of immortality. (Immortality is the achievement of oneness, of union of all parts, those that are known and unknown to us; these are gazing and living realities, of which we can have the experience.)
Are not the herds that stand in the dwelling spaces of the gods and move with their female forces to be guarded in their submission to Agni?
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“Thrice seven (levels) hidden within are in You, tríḥ saptá yád gúhiyāni tuvé ít ! These states they found hidden within, those who are of Sacrifice, padā́vidan níhitā yajñíyāsaḥ . By them they protect Immortality, agreeing together, tébhī rakṣante amŕ̥taṃ sajóṣāḥ . (So you too) protect the consciousness of all that moves and moves not, paśūñ ca sthātrñ caráthaṃ ca pāhi!”
It is an indication of that the whole existence in its movable and immobile aspects is undergoing the transformation.
And that there are laws which sustain the oneness of the Being here, known as thrice seven states of being. It is by these states that Immortality is protected from the possible destruction and intrusion of mortality. So these 21 laws of being protect and thus stabilise the world in its temporarily status, so that it can be and live, though it is not possible for it to sustain itself totally. The duality of the immortal and mortal state is maintained by these hidden laws. Without them the existence would turn into either non-being or would disappear into undifferentiated and unmanifest state of one spirit.
It seems it was an important issue to protect the consciousness of the creature. The true consciousness of immortality, otherwise it may be lost in the consciousness of mortality. In some other place the rishi says: abhi syāma pṛtsutīr martiyāṇām, ‘may we withstand the pressure of the mortals’, which explains the concern of protecting the real consciousness of immortality in the embodied creature.
vidvām̐ agne vayúnāni kṣitīnāṃ ví ānuṣák churúdho jīváse dhā antarvidvām̐ ádhvano devayānān átandro dūtó abhavo havirvāṭ 1.072.07
7 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“O Agni, having knowledge of all manifestations (or births) in the worlds (or, knowing all the knowledge of the peoples) establish thy forces, continuous, for life. Knowing, within, the paths of the journeying of the gods thou becamest their sleepless messenger and the bearer of the offerings.”
O Agni, you have the knowledge of all manifestations in the worlds as well as in the intimacy of the flame that burns where we see it, sense it and where we guess it. You know what is possible to achieve in humanity; establish your force in life, make it near to us, so that we can grow by this intimate reality. You know the work in the people, the spaces within them, which are the dwelling places of the gods, by their force is achieved the perfect form. This work is continuous, without cessation – the gods never sleep; they move constantly the perfect form to offer it to you. And you are their sleepless messenger, who is seated within their journeying and who constantly connects them to you as reference of their movement, whom they follow, to whom they make their offerings.
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“Knowing all the paths in all the worlds, vidvām̐ agne vayúnāni kṣitīnāṃ, establish your forces for the support of universal life, accordingly, ví ānuṣák churúdho jīváse dhāḥ. Knowing all the inner movements of the gods, antarvidvām̐ ádhvano devayānān , you have become the constant messenger of the gods and the carrier of the offering, átandro dūtó abhavo havirvāṭ.”
The protection of the original consciousness and the maintenance of the world’s consciousness is provided by the triple seven laws. The same laws provide the exchange of energy and communication between the two hemispheres. And it is done by Agni, who knows all the paths and thus can introduce the transcendental forces of consciousness (the gods) into manifestation and carry the offering from here to the transcendental realms.
suādhíyo divá ā saptá yahvīrāyó dúro vírtajñā ajānan
vidád gávyaṃ sarámā drḷhám ūrváṃ yénā nú kam mānuṣī bhójatevíṭ 1.072.08
8 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“The seven mighty ones of heaven (the rivers) placing aright the thought, knowing the Truth, discerned the doors of the felicity; Sarama found the fastness, the wideness of the cows whereby now the human creature enjoys (the supreme riches).”
The seven mighty ones are the perfect thoughts, eternal, universal, all embracing thoughts that know the Truth, as rivers they stream through our minds and place right the thought on the levels of life, tuning them to the all embracing knowledge; they are the ones who see and find the openings in the gaze on reality. They are the seven seats of the thought, which hold the Truth on all levels connected, in perfect accord, and by that discern the doors to felicity; they are those we know in life and those that uphold them as those by which life was built and arranged and who are the hidden sources of all being and movement. They extract bliss from the darkness of limitations, awaken the dormant, move the inert, break the resisting and unite the divided.
Sarama, the Intuition found in these rivers of the Truth the paths of free and luminous spaces within the being, the gold within the human that brings joy and harmony and the perfect form.
“Thus perfectly placing the higher Thought, the seven mighty streams of Heaven, suādhíyo divá āsaptá yahvī, who realise the dynamic Truth in all its aspects, have discerned the doors of the treasures, rāyó dúro vírtajñā ajānan. The Intuition has discovered the vast and firm rock full of illuminations,vidád gávyaṃ sarámā drḷhám ūrváṃ, which now the human creature totally enjoys, yénānú kam mānuṣī bhójate víṭ.”
So once these thrice seven laws are used the mighty streams of Consciousness-Power, which constitute the triple seven laws, shall place the Thought aright here. And once that is done the Intuition can discover the hidden and firm place full of illuminations, which thus become a possession of human beings. This is the way to a true liberation.
Āyé víśvā svapatiyāni tasthúḥ krṇvānā so amrtatvā ya gātúm
mahnā mahádbhiḥ prthivī ví tasthe mātā putraír áditir dhāyase véḥ 1.072.09
9 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“They who entered upon all things that bear right issue, made the path to Immortality; by the great ones and by the greatness earth stood wide; the mother Aditi with her sons came for the upholding.”
Those who find this key to the doors make way to the voices without time. By these vast realities and by the limitlessness by which existence came into being, the earth and life is ready for those who give themselves to the realization of this Truth, supported by the Mother Aditi and all those that grow by her presence.
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“Those men who have gotten all things that have their own truth in themselves, āyé víśvā svapatiyāni tasthúḥ , create the Path to Immortality, krṇvānāso amrtatvāya gātúm , for by the Greatness and the Great ones the Earth has become great, mahnā mahádbhiḥ prthivī ví tasthe , and the Mother Aditi with her sons comes for the upholding, mātā putraír áditir dhāyase véḥ.”
The beings who got all things right, as it were, having the truth in themselves, or the things with their own lordship, svapatiyāni, they create the Path to Immortality. It is quite clear that it is a different kind of immortality than it is presented in the Advaita, for the truth in things is a condition to this fulfilment.
Ádhi śríyaṃ ní dadhuścā rum asmin divó yád akṣī amŕtā ákrṇvanádha kṣaranti síndhavo ná srṣṭāḥ pránīcīr agne áruṣīr ajānan 1.072.10
10 Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
“The Immortals planted in him the shining glory, when they made the two eyes of heaven (identical probably with the two vision-powers of the Sun, the two horses of Indra); rivers, as it were, flow down released; the shining ones (the cows) who were here below knew, O Agni.”
The Immortals, the Divine Builders of the universe put their seed of their light into existence. The two eyes of heaven, one not subject to time and one in the very essence of time-bound existence, are rivers of consciousness. They are pure and perfect and infinite flowing consciousness; self-conscious they flow down free. The shining ones, the light within all existence knows the light of timelessness, O Agni.
Interpretation by Vladimir:
“They put within it beautiful wealth of glory, ádhi śríyaṃ ní dadhuś cārum asmin, when the immortals made two eyes of Heaven, divó yád akṣīamŕtā ákrṇvan; as if the rivers flowing down released, ádha kṣaranti síndhavo násṣṭāḥ, clear below the luminous ones could see it, prá nīcīr agne áruṣīr ajānan.”
Interesting indication here is that the luminous ones, the cows in the subconscious cave, could know what was going one subjectively in the spiritual terms on the surface of consciousness or even see it objectively, pra ajānan. Most probably the very faculty of supramental prajñāna, of objective knowing or seeing, depends on this very device, of the cows being hidden in the subconscious cave of a lower being. It is as if they provide the agents of the Spirit in the midst of inconscient to make a match of the meaning from above and from below, otherwise they would not match.
The light from above cannot match with the darkness from below. It needs the light to match its meaning with. So the involved light from below is to be matched with the light from above, and thus introduce the outer being, made out of darkness, as it were, into the composition of meaning, being placed in-between light from above and light from below. Therefore there is never a full match of the inner and outer being, for it will be always approximate and still total in the inner sense of its meaning. So we operate by inner meanings and move and create our outer world but we never totally match the outer and inner being.
In this sense Hume’s argument of validity of knowledge is quite interesting, where the total match of meaning is meaningless (1=1 is meaningless for the outer or embodied consciousness), it is only when the meaning is matched with the sense experience, that is to say with the surface consciousness (with the elements which are in-between light and light, as it were) that some substantial or additional meaning can be gathered. But in this case we can have only a probability of knowledge. In linguistic terms if one says: ‘I am I’ it is meaningless in terms of information; but if one says: ‘I am a student’, then there some meaning can be gathered in the outer mind, some useful information, but it is not total, for ‘I’ cannot be totally and exclusively only ‘a student’, one can also be many other things: ‘a teacher, a brother, a father, a son, a worker, a fighter’, etc. etc., therefore this statement is not total but partial. Total identity of the subject and object, where 1=1, as if cancels the knowledge by unity, where the identification of the subject and object is temporal and therefore meaningful to our surface consciousness. And still without this 1=1 there cannot be any movement of temporal knowledge of unity.
Certainty is the ultimate criterion of knowledge, which is based on the knowledge by identity. Probability is the only way of knowing; but it partially matches with what is identical and by that reveals what is mismatched (the otherness of self; cp. Derrida’s concept of ‘differance’ ). So it is in the light of this mismatch that we can see things as they are and where they belong in the outer consciousness. This mismatch is possible only on the ground of the identity of the upper and the lower Oneness, for they are identical (1=1), but in-between there is the whole world which is partially identical and presented in terms of time, space and causality, and it is this partiality that is most attractive for the consciousness to discover, for it fulfills the consciousness of unity.
It is most probably this knowledge that made ancient Rishis see Heaven and Earth as rodasī, the two luminous firmaments, the eternal pair, equal and one. The Emerald Tablet of Hermetism also begins with: “What is above is similar to that what is below”; and the Shanti Patha of the Vajasaneyi Samhita states: pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idam, ‘that is complete and this is complete’, pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate, ‘from the completeness completeness arises’, pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya ‘having taken the completeness from completeness’, pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate, ‘completeness indeed remains’.
Therefore all what is here on the surface of consciousness is not totally true, it is a semi-truth; it is only a symbolic representative of the truth, the a-vidya, ‘the misplaced vidya’, or rather placing in time and space of the timeless and spaceless truth. Therefore Sri Aurobindo says that all here is a symbol of some other reality. And still as such it is true in the totality of what it represents.
RV 1.72 purnam.pdf