Rig Veda Samhita, Hymns to Varuna and Mitra

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It is difficult to systematically study and appreciate the Rig Veda other than through audio programs, inasmuch as considerable force of the revelation comes through in the poetic force and recitation of these verses, and thus, we have created a series of audio files which include the recitation of the Sanskrit text of the Rig Vedic hymns chosen, and the English translation provided by Sri Aurobindo. All recordings were created in 1973 at Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Commentary and Translation by Sri Aurobindo. Recitation in Sanskrit by Sri Vinayak. English recitation by Santosh Krinsky. Click on the enclosed links to go directly to each of the audio files included here. Page references to the U.S. edition of The Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurobindo, published by Lotus Press are provided for further elucidation and reading on the subject of each hymn.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “My object has been to show in as brief a compass as possible the real functions of the Vedic gods, the sense of the symbols in which their cult is expressed, the nature of the sacrifice and its goal, explaining by actual examples the secret of the Veda. I have purposely selected a few brief and easy hymns, and avoided those which have a more striking depth, subtlety and complexity of thought and image, — alike those which bear the psychological sense plainly and fully on their surface and those which by their very strangeness and profundity reveal their true character of mystic and sacred poems. It is hoped that these examples will be sufficient to show the reader who cares to study them with an open mind the real sense of this, our earliest and greatest poetry. By other translations of a more general character it will be shown that these ideas are not merely the highest thought of a few Rishis, but the pervading sense and teaching of the Rig-veda.”

Sri Aurobindo provides extensive analysis of the role and significance of Mitra and Varuna in Chapter VII Varuna-Mitra and the Truth in The Secret of the Veda (pp. 65-74) and in his analysis of a Hymn to Varuna, (pp. 531-535)

Varuna-Mitra and the Truth Secret of the Veda Chapter VII: Varuna and Mitra are two of the Godheads that invoke psychological powers within the seeker to bring about the transformation of consciousness.  Sri Aurobindo provides an extensive description of these powers, and thereby also shows us the obvious psychological sense of the Rig Veda.

The recordings were made at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1973.  Introductory comments from Sri Aurobindo’s The Secret of the Veda, Chapter VII.  Sanskrit Mandala I, Sukta 2 recited by Sri Vinayak.  English translation by Sri Aurobindo (Mandala I, Sukta 2, Riks 7-9) recited by Santosh Krinsky.  (Secret of the Veda, pp. 65-74).  Sanskrit Mandala V, Sukta 66 recited by Sri Vinayak.  English translation by Sri Aurobindo recited by Santosh Krinsky. (Secret of the Veda, pp. 477-478

Hymn to the Surya and Mitra-Varuna, Mandala VII, Sukta 60 In The Secret of the Veda, Sri Aurobindo showed that there is a deep, esoteric sense to the Vedic hymns that is the real sense of the hymns.  This Hymn to Surya and Mitra-Varuna describes the sun of Truth and the consciousness that supports and develops it.  The English translation was provided by Sri Aurobindo in The Secret of the Veda, pp. 536-537.  The recordings were made at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1973.  Sanskrit recited by Sri Vinayak.  English translation recited by Santosh Krinsky

Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, U.S. edition published by Lotus Press

The Example of Great Souls Facing the Difficulties and Issues of Human Spiritual Development

People tend to assume that great beings such as Buddha or Christ are exempt from the issues that the “rest of us” have to face in the world, and in the practice of spiritual sadhana. They simply assume that these great souls somehow fly above the ground-level obstacles that plague us. In fact, the opposite is quite likely to be true. These great souls, who seek out paths for liberation and human advancement, and evolutionary progress, take on tasks that we many times cannot even imagine, and suffer all the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ as Hamlet phrased it! Careful study of the life of Buddha, Christ and others such as Milarepa, St. Francis, Sri Rama, the Pandavas illustrates the tremendous suffering they had to bear, the obstacles they had to face, to help humanity grow and develop to the next level of the evolutionary cycle.

When any soul enters the earth-life and takes on the effort at spiritual development, he has to face all the factors embedded in the nature of the mind-life-body complex. The primary difference we see in these great souls is that they do not allow themselves to be overwhelmed or defeated by the obstacles. They treat them as part of the transformation they need to achieve and they take on the role of the “son of man” so that their achievement can be available more generally. Some people believe that these ‘special’ beings are far beyond the human level, and thus, their attainments are beyond what can be expected of anyone else. We worship them, but do not try to emulate them in our lives. Their consistent message, however, has been that they represent humanity, and that they are pathfinders or guides or beacons, but that each individual must eventually tread the path and achieve the objectives to bring about the needed changes.

It is helpful to understand that these obstacles, difficulties, pressures are the general conditions of Nature as per the level of development it has currently achieved, and not specifically ‘owned’ by the individual seeker as his own unique failing or weakness. This helps to mitigate the personal and internal suffering caused by the belief that it is the individual himself who is to blame, and thereby also avoids the idea of self-punishment as a solution for these weaknesses!

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Suggestions come to all, even to the greatest sadhaks or to the Avatars — as they came to Buddha or Christ. Obstacles are there — they are part of Nature and they have to be overcome. What has to be attained is not to accept the suggestions, not to admit them as the truth or as one’s own thoughts, to see them for what they are and keep oneself separate. Obstacles have to be looked at as something wrong in the machinery of human nature which has to be changed — they should not be regarded as sins or wrong-doings which make one despair of oneself and of the sadhana.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Detachment from Difficulties, pp. 277-278