Prof. Kalyanaraman's postings on the Vedas

s. kalyanaraman s._kalyanaraman at
Mon Feb 27 12:01:16 UTC 1995

     I entirely agree with Debashish Banerjee's comments. I hole the 
     vedantic scholarship of Aurobindo and others with the utmost respect 
     and revere their scholarship with the highest regard. A variety of 
     interpretations of the rks are possible. 
     I have just focused on only one process elucidated: soma. 
     There are many rks whose padapaaTha, can be interpreted beyond their 
     mere bhashaa or 'semantic' levels. 
     In all such myriad, possible, interpretations, one common strand is 
     apparent: that is, the 'metaphorical'. 
     S. Kalyanaraman 

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Prof. Kalyanaraman's postings on the Vedas
Author:  indology at at INTERNET
Date:    27/02/1995 10:59 AM

Over the last few weeks, Prof. Kalyanaraman has been very active on this 
list, and it has been, for me, an invariable pleasure to read his postings. 
As a result, I regret that he has to leave us now, and wish him the very 
best for the future. I hope he can get Internet access from Madras, and 
continue to enrich our discussions on the Indology list. I think that the 
monumental work he has done with the etymology of Indian word-roots will 
leave a legacy as indispensable to Indian Studies as the work of a 
Monier-Williams, and for this and for the unsparing energy and intelligence 
of his responses, I thank him on behalf of this list.

However, regarding his postings on the meaning of Soma and other Vedic
deities, while I read them with great interest, and concede their 
plausibility, I hope he does not expect us to believe that this is the only 
interpretation possible for these entities. It is, for me, absurd to imagine 
that that body of sruti that has been acknowledged by all subsequent Hindu 
thinking as the source and fountainhead of its lofty cognizings, is a mere 
treatise on Alchemy. Spiritual interpretations of the Vedas in more recent 
times, such as the work of Dayananda
Saraswati or of Sri Aurobindo, do not overlook the fact that much scientific 
knowledge is hidden in the Vedas. Sri Aurobindo goes, in fact, one step 
further than Dayananda in saying that the sruti contains much scientific 
knowledge that has yet to be discovered by modern man. In a talk with a 
French scientist in 1926, Sri Aurobindo pointed out that the 3 forms of Agni 
enumerated in ancient yogic literature (jada agni, vaidyuta agni and saurya 
agni) stood respectively for what we call fire, electricity, and atomic 
energy.The third had not been discovered at the time of this talk. Sri 
Aurobindo says in the talk, "Science has only entered upon the first and 
second of these fires. The fact that the atom is like the solar system could 
lead it to the knowledge of the third." But of course, behind these three 
forms of fire there is chidagni, the fourth, conscious fire,
spiritual Agni which is everywhere. "The child of the waters, the child of 
the forests, the child of things stable and the child of things that move. 
Even in the stone he is there", says the Rig Veda (I.70.2)

A coherent spiritual cosmology, teleology, and method of yoga can be derived 
from the Vedas, and if such a derivation is possible, it must be the primary 
sense of this body of Knowledge, if we are to admit its 
eminence in the history of spiritual thought in India. Sri Aurobindo gives 
us such an interpretaion in his book "The Secret of the Veda".
In this view, Soma stands for the principle of Delight or Ananda. In the 
being of the yajamana, sacrificer, the Soma-wine symbolizes the replacing of 
our ordinary sense-enjoyment by the divine Ananda. Therefore, a soma-wine 
offering is symbolic of the surrender of sense-enjoyment. The entire process 
of the soma sacrifice may be viewed in these psycho-spiritual terms.  The 
stones, gravan or adri,
which are used for the pressing of the stalks (amshu), are symbolic of the 
travails on the path of yoga, loosening or cracking the pashas of 
samskaras, and yielding the rasa, freed from personal attachment, for the 
offering to the gods. The pouring of the rasa through the purifying sieve, 
pavitra, represents the refinement of the senses,
the higher emotional and mental offering, kept ready in the subjective
consciousness of the adhara (chamasa or kalasha) for the delectation of 
Indra, Lord of the Divine Mind, who rejoices in the gift.  Strengthened and 
delighted by this nectar, Indra pours the strength of
Enlightenment into the yajamana and himself descends into the person of the 
latter, prepares him to transcend his humanity and eventually admits him 
into his native celestial abode or station of conscious- ness.

As mentioned earlier, this is not to dismiss the possibility of an 
alchemical meaning also being hidden in this description. For those 
interested in more information on the book, "The Secret of the Veda",
or on obtaining it, please write me privately.

Debashish Banerji.



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