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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Asya Vamasya Sukta - 6

Mantra 10: The hymn refers to the ONE who is supporting three fathers and three mothers without getting tired. The next line says that “they” deliberate on that divine one and discuss with Vac (goddess of speech) who “knows the cosmos” about the unknown.

“The One is standing without getting tires holding up 3 fathers and 3 mothers. Standing on the edge of Heaven they recite Speech (vacam mantrayante) about Cosmos which reaches beyond cosmos.”

Who are they? Probably the rishis. Who is the One holding up three fathers and three mothers? This One is the same as the one referred to in hymn 6, it probably refers to the Primordial One (known later as  Brahman or Prajapati) supporting the three corresponding aspects of the physical and mental world in the context of the universe.

Could this be Aditya, or the divine aspect of the earthly sun? I think this is possible because the next hymn refers to the sun and the reference to a beautiful bird also seem to imply the sun. In those days, even now, we know how critical the sun is for life on this planet.

More likely, the One is Brahman. Actually, one of the deities mentioned in Rg Veda is Aja who was later known as Aja-ekapada, an aspect of Shiva. I have seen a sculpture of a Deity with one leg and two deities coming out of the one leg.

Mantra 11: This is clearly addressed to the Sun. The text says they address agni, who is also the sun in the middle world (antariksha). “The wheel with 12 spokes revolves around in this cosmic order. O Agni, on this wheel are established 720 sons of yours joined in pairs.”

This is probably one of the earliest astronomical documentation of the sun’s yearly cycle of 360 days and 360 nights. And the spokes must refer to the months.

Mantra 12: “They call him who is the father with 5 feet and 12 faces and who is rich in water (purishinam)  in the upper half called heaven. Others call him, of deep vision, on seven wheeled, six-spoked car.”

 It is very difficult to fathom the mind of Dirghatamas. Is he referring to the cycle of time and seasons as related to the movement of the sun? Some books say that there were only 5 seasons identified in those days and twelve faces refer to the months of the year. (In the Indian calendars six seasons are recognized as opposed to the 4 seasons in the west. The six are: shishir, vasantha, grishma, Varsha, sharad and hemantha . Sometimes, according to the Aitreya Brahmana, hemantha and shishir are counted as one)

The seven wheels of the car refer to the seven days. What does six mean then? May be the same seasons with six count?

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