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Friday, March 6, 2020

Asya Vamasya Sukta - 8

Mantra 16: This is an intriguing and mystical hymn. It reads as follows: “They tell me that this is male although it is female. He who has eyes can see it. The blind ones do not understand (discern). The son who is a sage understands that he is the father of the father.”

The first sentence may indicate the rishi’s innocent question: How did the male and the female come from each other? May be this sentence is the root of later development of the idea of ardhanareeswara? Also, does the rishi suggest that having eyes to see is not adequate. You have to understand. Is that way he says: “He who has eyes can see it. The blind ones do not understand (discern).”

Does the second sentence mean that one’s progeny is the continuation of oneself and one’s progenitor? (Death of an individual is real. So is continuation of life in general ?)

Mantra 17:  Direct translation reads as follows: “Beneath the upper realm and above the lower realm, the cow has appeared with a calf tied to her foot. What is her destination? Towards which half is she going? Where did she deliver the calf? Not amidst this herd? “

Does the upper and lower realm indicate the immortal heavens and the mortal world of ours? What does the cow stand for and the calf? Does cow indicate the Primordial Principle and the calf indicate life? Is the poet asking how life and the multiplicity of life came about?

One interpreter suggests that the cow and the calf stand for the body and the mind and that cow stands for knowledge and the calves stand for thoughts. I am not so sure considering that the emphasis on consciousness was more developed in the Upanishadic period.

Mantra 17 also seems to be connected to the next hymn in these thoughts.

Mantra 18: This hymn asks: “Who knows the father of this calf between the upper realm and the lower realm?” and in the second line asks: “ which sage was able to declare the origin of this god-like mind by putting his thoughts into verse?”

Amazing thoughts again. My guess is that the rishi is asking about life, life in general, visualizing it to be a calf, because he is asking who the parents of this calf are. In other words: “How did this life (and lives) come about? How did the mind come about?”

This is supported by the second sentence where he is asking about the origin of the god-like mind. Given my bias, there can be no “mind” if there is no life. It is also interesting to note that in Atharva Veda, mind is said to be something and ALSO “not something”.

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