Sri Sri Ravishankar gave me an assignment a few months back to translate certain works of Agasthiyar and Bhogar both of who belong to the Siddhar tradition. Until then I did not realize the importance of ancient Tamil texts as a treasure house of integrated Indic knowledge. Siddhars and Munis had continued spiritual quest in the mountains of South India for several millennia and had brought out practical wisdom in the form of Siddha medicine. There is a lot more to Siddhar texts than herbology. They for example elucidate building blocks which are common among different traditions in ancient India. Agasthiyar compares all extant philosophies of the Indian subcontinent using a handful of verses in his work Tattuvam-300. He achieves this by referring to the methodology of Tattvas. I had thought the Tattva methodology to be unique to Sanskrit texts called Darshanas. The Indian subcontinent has nurtured parallel systems of thought for eons. Scholars must have used a standard way
The Sanskrit word for planet is Graha. The english equivalent of the word Graha is however inadequate. European translators who wanted to understand Indian astronomical texts, two centuries ago, made the hurried assumption that the word Graha means Planet. They did not understand the nuances of the word Graha. The widespread use of the word planet in place of Graha by educated Indians today in the context of astronomy creates confusion. The best example of this is a reference to Chhaya Graha (Shadow planet). How can a shadow be a planet or how can a planet be shadowy? An overview of a few Sanskrit words Agraha, Parigraha, Nigraha, Anugraha and Vigraha gives us a clue that the word Graha refers to the principle of holding something in place. According to Sri Sri Ravishankar, an expert on the terminology in Vedic texts, the whole universe is moving fast and whatever is holding this universe is called Graha (QNA Nov 2015). Planets
Agastya addresses Pulastya, one of his students, in this verse. He calls Pulastya as Parthibha, a word which commonly denotes a king. The know from the final line of this verse that Agastya is describing the path to gain the wealth of Ashtanga. Ashtanga here may refer to the eight Tantrik Siddhis. Agastya’s path towards these Siddhis however differs from the path of a Tantrik. Agastya says that Siddhis manifest effortlessly for one who has attained Kailasa Nidhi, the supreme bliss. The ultimate goal, therefore, according to this verse is uniting with supreme consciousness which is Shiva consciousness. Kailasa is the abode of Shiva consciousness. The word Kailasa itself means only (Kai) joy (Lasa). Agastya strangely takes the search for Kailasa through Patala, the nether worlds. Different domains are not elsewhere but right here. Agastya says that Patala appears inside this Earth to the one who is clairvoyant. Clairvoyance here is a perception of the subtle aspects of this creation.
Tamil traditions recognize Sage Agastya as an important Siddha. Both stories and astronomical clues attest to Agastya’s antiquity. Agastya’s tamil works have been better preserved than his works in Sanskrit. They may contains many gems which maybe the missing links in the presently available Vedic literature. Agastya Paripooranam is one of Agastya’s tamil works. He elaborates in it the need for a Guru and the benefit of having a Sadguru. This was not much difference between the attitude to one’s Guru between the Dravidian and the Vedic traditions at the time of Sage Agastya. Reducing mental chatter and cultivating the skill to quieten the mind are goals of a Yogi. In the second verse below, Agastya tells us that this ability comes only with the grace of the Guru. With that ability all other talents start maturing. Silence as an important link is implicit in Vedic literature. Agastya makes it explicit. ======================================================================“Maturity is needed to consult volumes of scriptures. Life
It is necessary to search across mantras to understand scientific ideas in the Vedas. The Hiranya Garbha Suktam, for example, adds details to an important idea in the Nasadiya Suktam. The Nasadiya Suktam tells us that the Devas did not appear till the diversity phase in creation. The Suktam leaves us with a question regarding cosmic mind. The Hiranyagarbha Suktam picks up this thread. Nasadiya Suktam does not provide a name for the consciousness which saw the birth of the universe. We find its name in the Hiranyagarbha Suktam. The video presents the sequence of events per Inflation cosmology in context of the birth of Devas. Matter as we know appeared when CMB filled the universe. The universe remained in total darkness for 300-500 million years. Nasadiya Suktam also talks about the creation of matter. It uses theterm Mahimana or the root element of creation. Radiation accompanied the creation Mahimana as per Nasadiya Suktam also. Nothing much happened for 300
While researching for my book “Beyond Space and Beyond Matter”, I came across the approach of understanding words from constituent letters. Each letter in Sanskrit has a meaning. I hadn’t paid much attention to this fact until Sri Sri Ravishankar, my Guru, mentioned it to me. Each letter from the Devanagari letter “ka” is a representation of the 33 devas of the Vedic tradition. The letter “ka” is prajapati, the creator. Similarly Sankhya texts map each consonant to a principle in creation. Tantra texts map every letter of the Sanskrit letter to 51 aspects of the mother divine. Many such approaches were well known in the distant past. Aryabhata, for example, borrowed his method of representing numbers in his astronomical treatise from an ancient Tantra text. Here is a video explaining how we can interpret a Yajur mantra to be referring to photosynthesis based on the above theme.
Dacher Kelter, psychology professor at the University of California Berkeley has a new book called the Power Paradox. In this book he outlines parallels between behaviors he has seen in research labs and modern world corporate America. The book is is an eye opener to those who believe in gaining power through force. Dacher shows that our power is granted to us by others. People gain power by improving the lives of others. Our power goes simply as far as what others are willing to let us have over them.What is more interesting are the following observations which he makes. People forget the fact that power which one gets by improving the lives of others is what brought them money and status. Unfortunately, many get stuck to money and status. This is the dark side of power. We can see the dark side in play in society, politics and stardom. Dacher has received kudos for original research on the topic of power. What
Aruna Prashna mantras list four forms of hell Concept of Hell in religions around the world today is graphic. It is interesting to contract this fact with the definition of hell as described during ancient times, in the Vedas. There are four hells according to the Vedas (in the Aruna Prasna Mantras). They are assigned each to Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Northwest directions. They relate to the mental turmoil one goes through in life. Southeast is the direction of Visarpi Naraka, or the hell of agitated movement. Sometimes a pain or a strong sensation makes one to move aimlessly, looking for some relief. A state involving such sensations is the Visarpi Naraka. At other times one may feel completely frozen, being overwhelmed with the intensity of these sensations. This second state of turmoil is considered to be the Avisarpi Naraka which is attributed to the Southwest direction. Self loath creates intense mental turmoil in anyone. This is called the Vishadi
A delicate balance between forces of affinity (Mitra) and of freedom to expand (Varuna) keeps everything in balance. Mitra-Varuna device as described in Aghastya Samhita is known popularly as the “Baghdad Battery”. This device is illustrates the complementary natures of Mitra and Varuna. Rishis cognized the play of the Devatas, universal impulses, in every field of existence as they knewn to them then. Astronomy was an important science in the Vedic tradition. Rishis therefore assigned different regions of the sky to different Devatas based on the unique phenomenon that came to their attention in their meditative state of consciousness. They used 27 such divisions for the purpose of tracing and predicting the movement of luminaries in the sky. They assigned the region close to the galactic center, in the tightly packed galactic bulge, to Mitra Devata where stars have to move delicately while avoiding the gravitational pull from other stars in such close vicinity. The Vedic name of the region,
A few megalithic sites of South India are enigmatic as they do not fall into the widely accepted idea that they were inhabited by small groups of primitive people living close to a town settlement. They suggest that these primitive people were more than curious about the skies and that they were able to construct observation structures to study the movement of the stars. They used the most rudimentary tools available to them and created view lines to the horizon with the help of stones and menhirs on carefully selected natural slopes. It is as if they understood the importance of sloped celestial viewing angles atmospheric extinctions due to fog and other common obstructions. The careful placement of the taller/larger menhirs at the top of the slope and the smaller ones at the bottom is common place in most of these sites. Archaeologists can not explain the reason for the multiple sight lines to the same astronomical event at some