The Gods and the Brahman: The Parable of the Gods, Part 1

The Vedic Gods represent powers and forces of manifestation in the creation.  Agni, Vayu and Indra represent the Material creation, the Vital creation and the Mental creation, respectively.  Each of them has a characteristic power.  As the creation  evolves, these powers systematically come to the fore and are brought up to a higher level of attainment and perfection.  The ego-consciousness (more generally the principle that separates and individualises forms and powers)  treats the increased power and success that ensues as its own and does not recognize that behind all these manifested powers there is the source, cause and original manifesting consciousness, the Brahman.  The creative impulsion and development of powers in the universe is the source and true power of all development.   The Kena Upanishad, in Part 3, illustrates this issue with a parable of the Gods which is illuminating.

Part 3, Verse 1:  “The Eternal conquered for the gods and in the victory of the Eternal the gods grew to greatness.  This was what they saw, ‘Ours the victory, ours the greatness.’

Sri Aurobindo adds:  “The gods, the powers that affirm the Good, the Light, the Joy and Beauty, the Strength and Mastery have found themselves victorious in their eternal battle with the powers that deny.  It is Brahman that has stood behind the gods and conquered for them; the Master of all who guides all has thrown His deciding will into the balance, put down His darkened children and exalted the children of Light.  In this victory the Master of all the gods are conscious of a mighty development of themselves, a splendid efflorescence of their greatness in man, their joy, their light, their glory, their power and pleasure.  But their vision is as yet sealed to their own deeper truth; they know of themselves, they know not the Eternal; they know the godheads, they do not know God.  Therefore they see the victory as their own, the greatness as their own.  This opulent efflorescence of the gods and uplifting of their greatness and light is the advance of man to his ordinary ideal of a perfectly enlightened mentality, a strong and sane vitality, a well-ordered body and senses, a harmonious, rich, active and happy life, the Hellenic ideal which the modern world holds to be our ultimate potentiality.  When such an efflorescence takes place whether in the individual or the kind, the gods in man grow luminous, strong, happy; they feel they have conquered the world and they proceed to divide it among themselves and enjoy it.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Kena Upanishad and analysis, pp. 104-106, 171-176