This post is in continuation of the earlier one,
wherein it was noted that
the 3-some faculties taken by the departed person
(namely agni, water and earth, containing speech, mind and prana respectively)
become identical with the 3 root forms, vasu, rudra and adhithya.
These three devas or Gods named Vasu, Rudra and Adithya
exist in Nature as basal units.
Who are they? Why are they known as gods?
To answer this we must know who gods are or how gods exist.
For this, we must start from the very beginning of creation.
There was One and Only One in the beginning.
Logically and scientifically speaking, this universe and its beings can not have been formed from nothing.
Nothing can be created anew and nothing can be
destroyed to become null.
So there was ‘something’ in the beginning
or as a beginning.
This something is known by scriptures as Brahman.
It is given the name ‘Brahman’,
because it is ‘brh’ – big
and because it grows – and continues to grow big.
‘It’ only exists. So It is known as “Sat”
Vipra bahUtha vadanthi.
The knowledgeable ones call it in many names.
Thus That which is known as Sat or Brahman
came to be known by many names.
The naming is done in accordance with the form and works that are
associated with that name. (1)
This can be explained by taking up the human body as an example.
The body is a living one.
There is life in the body which we say is due to the presence of an indweller, the soul.
Where does the soul reside in the body?
Can we say it resides in the head?
In the heart?
or in the hands?
We cant say that hand is the soul,
or face is the soul.
We can’t say that the soul resides in a particular part of the body.
We can only say that it resides everywhere in the body.
The appropriate way of saying this
is that the soul ‘pervades’ the entire body.
Same with the That Brahman, that One Entity
which is there as the causal unit,
and ‘Pervades’ everything of it.
Thus there is nothing in this universe
that can not have that ‘Brahman’
-in other words,
there is nothing that can not have God pervading it.
This Brahman is comparable to the soul of the body.
When we do a work with the hand, we don’t say
“my hand does this”
we say, “I do this”.
When we see something, we don’t say,
“my eyes see this”
we only say,
” I see this”.
Thus everything that is of the body and associated with the body
is not known by that particular part of the body.
But it is identified with the entire body,
The ‘I’ or ‘me’
This is about the name part of ‘name, form and works’ principle.
Whatever be the name, everything is that of Brahman,
that One Entity which exists for ever.
So that One God, that has pervaded many forms,
though known by many names associated with those forms,
is in effect the controlling Supreme God of all gods.
Thus hierarchy of gods come into existence.
We call them as many gods, because they are like the different limbs
or organ systems of the body-
each with a specific and defined function.
Each god coming down the hierarchy of Brahman thus gets a specific name
and is responsible for a specific function.
The hierarchy begins with or from Creation of the manifest from the unmanifest form.
The first created is the four-faced Brahma deva, assigned with the job of further creation.
(This brahma is different from the Supreme Brahman.
This creator god is known as Brahma because he grows to create.
He is known as four-faced brahma, as he grows on all four 4 sides or 4 directions.)
Since nothing can continue as such for ever,
an element of destruction of the presently growing form must be induced.
This is done by another form of Brahman as a god of destruction.
In that form, Brahman is known as Shiva.
In this way every function is identified with a faculty that is responsible for that function
and that faculty is known by a name or God.
Thus many gods find their place in the hierarchy of gods,
giving rise to multiplicity of gods.
The Significance of Indra.
For a quick explanation , let me take up the case of Rig vedic god, Indra.
Indra means one who is the controller of Indriyas , the sensory functions.
Indra is represented by Thunder cloud in the hymns
which make people interpret that
he is responsible for rains.
It is to be inferred from this (name-form and function principle)
that whenever and wherever sharp electric or energy impulses give rise to
some transformation from one level of existence to another level,
then it means that Lord Indra has played a part in that.
Since he represents electric impulses, he is responsible for rains,
as concentrated energy impulses that cause the thunder bolt.
At another level, since the sensory perception too exists as electric impulses,
Indra becomes the Lord of senses.
(having a duration of 30,84,48,000 solar years with a specific set of human beings
who have a specific set of sensory perceptions, as per Surya Siddhantha)
has a specific Indra as Lord.
This goes to show that each manvnathra will have a well defined
but a different set of sensory perception
which comes to be represented by specific faculty of electric or energy impulses.
This also goes to show that evolution of man keeps continuing
from manvanthra to manvanthra (changes once in every 30 crore years)
and the set of humans of this manvanthra is not the same as the ones in previous
or in the future manvanthras.
So the change in Indra occurs from manvanthra from manvanthra.
This also explains why the Indra of a particular manvanthra resists
any attempt to form a new Indra.
There can be in existence only one Indra in a manvanthra.
All the puraniuc stories and allegories on Indra’s fight depicted in Rig Vedas
must be understood in the light of this.
Every story or reference about Indra can be interpreted in this way.
For instance, according to a story in Vishnu purana (1-21),
Indra entered the womb of sage Kashyapa’s wife, Dithi
with the intention of killing the foetus,
which Kashyapa had blessed as having the power of Indra
and capable of unseating the present Indra.
The Indra of the present order can not be usurped.
His entry into Dithi’s womb and killing the foetus into 7 parts
and later each of the 7 into further 7 parts (thus totally 49)
is allegoric of the electric impulses of an order that caused the break-up
of the heavenly bodies, that emerged as a result of the supernova explosion
of which the Sun alone survived to become conducive to support life.
The 49 pieces of heavenly bodies which are described by texts
as having born premature and failed to become the Suns
goes to show the kind of impulses that guide the current formation of Solar system.
The Indra of this system can not and would not support any other type of impulses.
So every fight involving Indra can be seen to have the over-whelming
presence of this particular type of impulse which is identifiable
as being present in the clouds
as also in our brains controlling the sensory impulses.
The 49 pieces, are known as Maruts (root words of Marut is ma-rodhi –
It means don’t cry – they cried because they could not become the Sun)
and are supposed to exist in our galaxy.
It was Indra who was responsible for the birth of Maruts.
Thus every god mentioned in Rig veda and other texts
can be explained in this way.
Symbolism of Cosmic gods with Gods in human body.
The works and functions associated with specific deities can be understood by
the organs of the body.
our hands do work.
There is a specific network for the faculty
which is responsible for making the hand work
We may call this faculty as the ‘deity’ responsible for this faculty.
Like wise we have deities for legs, for eyes, for ears and so on.
Internally too, we have specific activities controlled by specific organs.
For instance, the excretory system acts as a separate unit by itself
and takes care of excretory functions.
The digestive system does its function.
Similarly all the functions of the body are being controlled by a specific set
which we may call as deities of that system.
Thus there is a portfolio allotment of duties of the body
and the entire body functions with coherence and as a single unit.
This is exactly what is happening at macro level too.
That One Brahman when It exists as many does not do all the jobs by itself.
But it Exists in everything as a pervader.
The portfolio allotment happens at every successive level.
The system or faculty or That Cause which is responsible for the working of that particular system is known as a God.
That is how we have many Gods.
But there is one intricate information hidden in this.
In the case of our body, though each system seems to function independently,
in effect they are not.
They all get their message from the brain.
They all have been formed with the message (through genes)
with which they are born.
And though they seem to function independently, they are under monitor by the brain.
For instance, even if the urinary system does it function fully,
the final outcome of that system, namely expelling the urine, is controlled by the brain.
That is, the message must come from the cranial nerve handling this system
that the bladder can expel the urine.
Similarly with all functions of the body.
The hand lifts up a book. We don’t say my hand lifted up the book
We only say that I lifted up the book.
That 'I' stands for the Ultimate God, the Brahman
in the system of gods.
The signal for the final outcome rests with the all-controlling brain.
In the system of gods, it rests with that Brahman.
This Brahman is identified as Narayana by many texts such as Upanishads.
According to Sanskrit grammar, Narayana (nara-ayana)
has a two-fold meaning.
(1) One who is the resting place for all.
(2) One who rests in all.
That is, Narayana is one in whom everything rests
and who rests in everything!
The purpose of bringing in this talk on many gods finds its relevance here.
Because the three forms of pithrus,
known by names vasu, rudra, adhitya
are none but the much simplified gods of the hierarchy assigned with specific faculties namely,
agni, water and earth respectively.
By the explanation given above, these are simplified forms of Brahman or Narayana
at the basal level of Sa-pinda!
In the event of normal death, like death due to old age and disease,
the successive simplification into these constituent levels of 3
happens with sharddha ceremony.
In the case of unnatural death or sudden death, this progressive simplification to elemental forms of sapinda can not take place.
Because the systematic merger of other senses into speech,
and the systematic merger of speech into mind
and mind into prana and prana into the soul
does not happen in a sudden and unnatural death.
The soul leaves the body abruptly and all in a sudden in such deaths.
Therefore the conversion into sa-pinda particles can not happen in the way
it happens in normal deaths.
In such cases, Scriptures recommend a specific ritual of shraddha
called ‘Narayana bali’
that can be done anytime from 11 th day after the death to the 6th month after death.
Now readers will be able to understand the relevance of Narayana bali.
Since everything in this creation is of Narayana
and since in everything, Narayana rests,
the transformation into pithru form of 3-some constitution
is directly facilitated by Narayana by means of the rituals Narayana bali.
Whenever and wherever, Narayana is mentioned in scriptures
it must be understood in the meaning of Narayana,
that He is in everything and everything is in Him.
The concluding verse of any ritual “kaayenavaacha…”
is based on this rationale.
The start of any ritual with a commitment –
irrespective of the Gods to be invoked in that ritual-
that it is being done
‘in service of’ (kainkarya praapthyartham)
or ‘in the pleasure of’ (preethyartham) Narayana
is because of this two –some pervading nature of Narayana.
Likewise whenever and wherever Brahman is mentioned,
this Narayana- quality is to be identified with that.
Because Brahman is That which lies in everything
and in which everything lies.
So whenever and wherever Brahman is mentioned
or equated with something,
it can be seen that this quality of Brahman is present in that.
Such a God mentioned by scriptures at the earthy level is Vaayu (Air)
The upansihadic prayer in those days in schools,
(before English education usurped it)
sham no bhavad Aryama.
Mithra, Varuna and Aryama are the 3-some gods at the basal level.
Mithra, the friend, Varuna the god of waters
And Aryama - The PITHRU god!
Krishna identifies himself as Aryama among pithrus (BG 10-29)
Aryama represents all the 3, vasu, rudra and adhitya,
who are identifiable with the sapinda of the first level (parents),
the second level (grand parents)
and the third level (great grand parents).
The first generation (parents ) are in Vasu rupam, the Agni tattwa –identified with red colour (2)
The second generation (grand parents) are in Rudra rupam. (water tattwa –identified with white.
The third generation (great grand parents) are in Aditya rupam. (Earth tattwa- identified with black.
This means, we draw our physical nature (of coarsest variety as told by Upanishads quoted before) from our parents. The resemblance to parents is because of this.
We draw our medium elements, the elements of the fluids in our body from our grand parents. Medically too it has been seen that even if a person is not afflicted with heart disease and high blood pressure and if his father has had it, there is a strong likelihood that his son will get afflicted with this problem to the vital level (Water element). Thus the strength or weakness or whatever of the fluid level is inherited from the grand parents.
We draw the subtlest elements of Earth (Food or prana) from Great grand parents. This can be characterized as the mental faculties. In my quarter century experience in combined palm reading and horoscope reading, I have come across un-assailable evidence for mental disorders traced to mistakes or rather crimes committed by great grand parents!
Whatever we think or do, not only affects us, it affects our progeny as well. The one knowing astrology and seeing living examples will vouchsafe this!
If one wishes to safe guard oneself from afflictions to the three levels, physical, vital and mental, the one and only medicine is to do pithru karma in all earnest.
In the present context of discussion on Pithru as God,
it is to be known that Aryama represents the Pithrus
and he having the 3-some Vasu, rudra and adhitya,
always travels along with Mithra and Varuna in the heavens but within the earth’s bound.
The continuation of the prayer mentioned above is that after Aryama, Indra is glorified (sham na Indro Brihapathi)
Then the all pervading nature of Vishnu is recognized (Sam no vishnu rurukramah)
Then comes the prayer on Brahman which is nothing but ‘Vaayu” or air.
In this earthly plane, air is equated to Brahman, for,
it is in air that living beings rest
and it is air that rests in beings making them alive.
So the hierarchy of Gods for humans from the stage just above the human beings is this.
(3) Aryama within him first Vasu, then Rudra and then Adhitya
It must be noted that when hanuman made a final search in Lanka for Sita,
he prays to all gods in the hierarchy
starting from Vasus, the departed parents.
After having prayed the 3-some pithru levels,
he prayed to the gods in this order (3)
Here Rama signifies the Seshi (the Brahman)
Lakshmana signifies Sesha (all that is other than Brahman)
and Sita signifies Lakshmi (the one who indicates the Aim or lakshyam – the aim is to attain God or Brahmanhood)
Thus it can be seen that the hierarchy of gods comes down from Brahman to Vasus – the departed parents.
(1) On name –form and works of Gods
(Chandogya - Part 6 )
Chapter II - Brahman: the Cause of the Universe
"In the beginning, my dear, this universe was Being (Sat) alone, one only without a second. Some say that in the beginning this was non—being (asat) alone, one only without a second; and from that non—being, being was born."
Aruni said: "But how, indeed, could it be thus, my dear? How could Being be born from non—being? No, my dear, it was Being alone that existed in the beginning, one only without a second.
"It (Being, or Brahman) thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created fire. That fire thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created water. That is why, whenever a person is hot and perspires, water is produced from fire (heat) alone.
"That water thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created food (i.e. earth). That is why, whenever it rains anywhere, abundant food is produced. From water alone is edible food produced.
Chapter III — The Threefold Development
"Of all these living beings, there are only three origins: those born from an egg, those born from a living being and those born from a sprout.
"That Deity thought: ‘Let Me now enter into those three deities by means of this living self and let Me then develop names and forms.’
"That Deity, having thought: ‘Let Me make each of these three tripartite,’ entered into these three deities by means of the living self and developed names and forms.
"It made each of these tripartite; and how these three deities became, each of them, tripartite, that learn from me now, my dear.
Chapter IV — The Threefold Development further explained
"The red colour of gross fire is the colour of the original fire; the white colour of gross fire is the colour of the original water; the black colour of gross fire is the colour of the original earth. Thus vanishes from fire what is commonly called fire, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours (forms) alone are true.
"The red colour of the sun is the colour of fire, the white the colour of water, the black the colour of earth. Thus vanishes from the sun what is commonly called the sun, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours alone are true.
"The red colour of the moon is the colour of fire, the white the colour of water, the black the colour of earth. Thus vanishes from the moon what is commonly called the moon, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours alone are true.
"The red colour of lightning is the colour of fire, the white the colour of water, the black the colour of earth. Thus vanishes from lightning what is commonly called lighting, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the three colours alone are true.
"It was just through this knowledge that the great householders and great Vedic scholars of olden times declared: ‘No one can now mention to us anything which we have not heard, thought of, or known.’ They knew all from these three forms.
"Whatever, appeared red they knew to be the colour of fire; whatever appeared white they knew to be the colour of water; whatever appeared black they knew to be the colour of earth.
"Whatever appeared to be unknown they knew to be the combination of these three deities (i.e. colours). Now learn from me, my dear, how these three deities, when they reach man, become each of them tripartite.
On the colors of Vasu, Rudra and Adhitya
Chandogya Chapter VI — Meditation on the Vasus
On the first of these nectars the Vasus live, with Agni (fire) at their head. Truly, the gods do not eat or drink. They are satisfied by merely looking at the nectar.
They retire into that red colour and rise up from that colour.
He who thus knows this nectar becomes one of the Vasus, with Agni (fire) at their head; he is satisfied by merely looking at the nectar. He retires into that red colour and again rises up from that colour.
As long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so long does he, like the Vasus, enjoy rulership and sovereignty.
Chapter VII — Meditation on the Rudras
On the second of these nectars the Rudras live, with Indra at their head. Truly, the gods do not eat or drink. They are satisfied by merely looking at the nectar.
They retire into that white colour and rise up from that colour.
He who thus knows this nectar becomes one of the Rudras, with Indra at their head; he is satisfied by merely looking at the nectar. He retires into that white colour and again rises up from that colour.
As long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, twice as long does it rise in the south and set in the north and just so long does he, like the Rudras, enjoy rulership and sovereignty
Chapter VIII — Meditation on the Adityas
On the third of these nectars the Adityas live, with Varuna at their head. Truly, the gods do not eat or drink. They are satisfied by merely looking at the nectar.
They retire into that dark colour and rise up from that colour.
He who thus knows this nectar becomes one of the Adityas, with Varuna at their head; he is satisfied by merely looking at the nectar. He returns into that dark colour and again rises up from that colour.
As long as the sun rises in the south and sets in the north, twice as long does it rise in the west and set in the east and just so long does he, like the Adityas, enjoy rulership and sovereignty.
(3) On the hierarchy of Gods from earthy level.
Valmiki Ramayana, Sundhara khanda 13-59.
This verse is said to contain the explanation for ‘Rama’ mantra
as the basic mantra.
“namo astu raamaaya salakSmaNaaya |
devyai ca tasyai janaka aatmajaayai |
namo astu rudra indra yama anilebhyo |
namo astu candra arka marud gaNebhyaH || “ 5-13-59
namaH astu= let there be salutations;
raamaaya= to Sri Rama;
sa lakshmaNaaya= together with Lakshmana;
tasyai janakaatmajaayai cha= also to that; daughter of Janaka;
devyai= who is divine
namaH astu= let there be salutations;
rudrendra yamaanilebhyaH= to Rudra, Indra, Yama and Vaayu;
namaH astu= let there be salutations;
chandrarkamarudgaNebhyaH= to Chandra, Sun and Marut ganas.