Vedā: Ādityas


We start from an outlier hymn in Eighth Maṇḍala – 8.47, the seer of which is not spared to us. (Anukramaṇī cluelessly assigns the hymn to Trita Āptya) This hymn presents the Vedic view of Ādityas and Aditi – the concepts that are not limited to the endless sky or the limitless cosmos, but very much relevant in the mental purity and unblemished thoughts. I am posting this post phrased in a more deep language, as a trial. If ever this post gets too troublesome, I will try choosing simpler words and a simpler discussion to let the reader get a prick of what is going on here.

Aditi stands for no limits, no errors. Therefore she represents the space, the expanse of thought, the infinity and 100% efficiency. In a society she represents freedom, in feeling she symbolizes innocence. (not ignorance but) She represents purity and inclusiveness, and she facilitates the lighting of the dark spots to correct them. Therefore inherently Ādityas – the divine concepts born from Aditi, carry the feature of light, guide people, and rule the space, provide for the people to act and expand.

Vedas believe in the shelter that Ādityan psychological forces will stretch over our psyche. That “shelter” is the keyword.

Yet the hymn seems to combine two seemingly unrelated things in the first glance – a glorification of moral purity and shelter offered by Ādityas, and in the second half, a generous loading by us into Trita, our nightmares. This might sound unrelated at first, but anyone who has had a fear of unknown cause in night will relate with this hymn and its every word. Including the word Trita and the threefold arrangement of “shelter” – that refers to “three” – a number that signifies aggregation and alignment. Usually these nightmares are caused due to our faulty perceptions – these fears are a result of our deficiency in regulating the Ṛta aspect of existence, a problem with our cognition (cetas) and learning (√vid). As I have said elsewhere, the Vedic view sees existence as three-fold – in Satya, Ṛta and Dharma perspectives. That model or paradigm is good to be extended even to understand nature (particle, wave, law of existence) (matter, energy, basic force) and Vedas extend that even to the human body (Ātmā, tanu, śarīram). The instance of tanu as what we perceive being wrong is a defect with our attitude and cognition/perception. Ṛta corresponds with space, energy and tanu. As we see, when Ṛta is downplayed, it causes us to create dogmas or fear things, much of which places us into unknown spurts of emotions like anger or fear or negligence. Note how in this hymn each are treated. And the solution lies with Ādityas.

The “dream” sits in the same stage. It is also a matter of cognition and it exhibits the fear and our unwillingness to find a solution to the nightmare we have. When we transform that fear and move forth to get ourselves freed, we free ourselves from the narrow and winding roads. It relieves us from aṃhas. (anxiety) That is possible when we are sure of the unerring and perfectly natural nature. We need to cast off our fantasies.

Coming to Trita Āptya, he symbolizes this “three”, and he adorns himself with the nightmare, corrects them with the light of dawn and rises as the Sun from his “well”. Dvita and Trita are none but the supposed concepts of second and third phase of night – a time when such nightmares occur mostly. Dawn carries the darkness away to Trita, who rises converting everything into light. It is our perception that defines what is good and what is bad – and we are the ones who control it, by succumbing to our Ādityas. Only through crooked paths or treachery can one negate what Ādityas have for him.

In the species, the three-model becomes the go, (the cows, the wealth, the knowledge) aśva (the horse/oxen, work, the passion) and and puruṣa (man, security, plan) and Aśva stands with the Ṛta. A case why Aśvins carry the dawn/Sūryā.

Sanskrit text :

Find the audio for South Indian smārta recitations here. Or if you prefer Nambudiri recitation, you might find it here or here.

mahi vo mahatām avo varuṇa mitra dāśuṣe ǀ
yamādityā abhi-druho rakṣathā nem agham naśad
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

vidā devā aghānāmādityāso apākṛtim ǀ
pakṣā vayo yathopari vy~asme śarma yacchata-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

vy~asme adhi śarma tat pakṣā vayo na yantana ǀ
viśvāni viśvavedaso varūthyā manāmahe’
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

yasmā arāsata kṣayam jīvātum ca pracetasaḥ ǀ
manor viśvasya ghedima ādityā rāya īśate’
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

pari ṇo vṛṇajann aghā durgāṇi rathyo yathā ǀ
syāmed indrasya śarmaṇy ādityānām utāvasy
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

parihvṛtedanā jano yuṣmādattasya vāyati ǀ
devā adabhramāśa vo yam ādityā ahetana-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

na tam tigmam cana tyajo na drāsadabhi tam guru ǀ
yasmā u śarma sapratha ādityāso arādhvam
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

yuṣme devā api ṣmasi yudhyanta iva varmasu ǀ
yūyam maho na enaso yūyam arbhād uruṣyata-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

aditir na uruṣyatu aditiḥ śarma yacchatu ǀ
mātā mitrasya revato’ryamṇo varuṇasya ca-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

yad devāḥ śarma śaraṇam yadbhadram yad anāturam ǀ
tridhātu yad varūthyam tad asmāsu vi yantana-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

ādityā ava hi khyata adhi kūlād iva spaśaḥ ǀ
sutīrtham arvato yathā anu no neṣathā sugam
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

neha bhadram rakṣasvine nāvayai nopayā uta ǀ
gave ca bhadram dhenave vīrāya ca śravasyate’
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

yadā viryad apīcyam devāso asti duṣkṛtam ǀ
trite tad viśvam āptya āre asmad dadhātana-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

yac ca goṣu duḥṣvapnyam yac cāsme duhitardivaḥ ǀ
tritāya tad vibhāvary āptyāya parā vaha-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

niṣkam vā ghā kṛṇavate srajam vā duhitardivaḥ ǀ
trite duḥṣvapnyam sarvam āptye pari dadmasy
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

tad annāya tad apase tam bhāgam upaseduṣe ǀ
tritāya ca dvitāya coṣo duḥṣvapnyam vaha-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

yathā kalām yathā śapham yatha ṛṇam saṃnayāmasi ǀ
evā duḥṣvapnyam sarvam āptye sam nayāmasy
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

ajaiṣmādyāsanāma cābhūmānāgaso vayam ǀ
uṣo yasmādduḥṣvapnyād abhaiṣmāpa tad ucchatu-
anehaso va ūtayaḥ suūtayo va ūtayaḥ ǁ

Translation :

Great the help of yours, O great ones, Varuṇa! Mitra! to him who worships.
Whomever the Ādityas save from path-of-deceit – evil never reaches him.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

You have known, O radiant Ādityas! to keep away the evils.
Stretch out shelter over us, as birds their wings!
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Stretch out that shelter over us, like birds their wings.
We consider you, who know everything, as defence against all.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

That to which you gave dominion and life, you all who discern beyond,
That mankind, its all riches do you Adityas control.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Evil will diverge off us, as charioteers avoid difficult drives,
May we be in Indra’s care, in the guidance of Ādityas,
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Only by crookedness do people become lost of what you have given.
O radiant Ādityas, much has he enjoyed, whom you have guided.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

No anger or serious negligence will subdue him.
Him whom, you Ādityas have granted a broad shelter.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Inside You, o Devas, we abide – as warriors in armours,
You guard us from sin, from the great and small.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Let Aditi safeguard us, let Aditi extend the shelter
She the mother of Mitra, the rich Aryaman, the Varuṇa.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

That shelter, O Devas, that which is refuge, happiness, doesn’t collapse,
That three-fold shelter – do you stretch out over us!
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Adityas! For you observe below, as spies from a height,
You would lead us to easy passages, as runners to the best path.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

There is no happiness for the malignancy here – it won’t descend or approach by.
For happiness is with the milch cow and the man who strives for fame.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Whatever is messed up, whether visible or hidden, O Devas!
We load everything of that in Trita Āptya far from us.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Whatever haunts sleep in cattle, whatever in us, O daughter of Sky,
Carry that forth to Trita Āptya, You who shine over,
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

May he make a neck-chain of it, or a garland, O daughter of Sky,
We hand off that which haunts sleep to Trita Āptya.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

That for food, that for water, thus is the share for him who waits it.
To Trita, and Dvita, O Dawn, convey the nightmare.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

How a minute part, how a smaller part, how thus we combine towards the debt, (as interest)
Thence we aggregate and lead to Āptya our nightmare as a whole.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

We have conquered now, we have won, and we have become free of evil.
O Dawn, shine off that bad dream of which we have been afraid.
Favours by you all, are incomparable, your aids favour well.

Author/Translator: Kiran Krishnon
Mar 21st, 2019

Indra and Vishnu

Viṣṇu is indeed the pervading Deva – but he is not representing “the Godhead” – this is where Aurobindo has his own limitations, as much as he criticizes Europeans or Brahmanist tradition. That Devas are merely qualities of “One God” is a problematic idea. Because Vedic divinity is beyond the limits of any number – we never get worried about their number, their superiority. They are always relevant and real – that is what is important.
What is the reality to which Viṣṇu corresponds then? The Vedic Viṣṇu is the ability to stride, to leap, to pervade. As a king in war, Indra defeats Vṛtra who blocks Ṛta. Once Vṛtra is slain, space is generated – Viṣṇu fills that space. For modern imagery, you could have the “big bang” as Vṛtrahatyā performed by Indra, and the resultant “space-time” is full of Viṣṇu. In the context of divinity, this will be like Indra diminishing off the arrogance of Vṛtra and letting the light of Viṣṇu pass through. (There is even a “dialogue” Indra makes to Viṣṇu, repeated twice in Rigveda – “sakhe Viṣṇo vi taraṃ vi kramasva!” – “O my friend Viṣṇu, just stride it off across!”) This makes room for yajña. In a cosmic context, the whole cosmos expands and pervades by the strides of Viṣṇu – which in the spiritual realm is marked from a leap from the mind to the self. While Indra helps the restoration of Ṛta, the implementation of ṛta in the form of dharmans, institutes, is made possible by subsequent striding of Viṣṇu. He is like the sun, moving to the summit, measuring and striding wide, illuminating and making us define time. Hence Indra is called the finder of sun, or the friend of Viṣṇu, and hence why the “dialogue” from Indra to Viṣṇu metaphorically described in Vedas.
In the context of a process, Indra is the will, Viṣṇu is whatever is acted.

Kaṇva Ghaura,
Chandas: Gāyatrī

Audio : Rig Veda. Mandala 1. Sukta 41 (South Indian)

yám rákṣanti prácetaso váruṇo mitró aryamā́ ǀ
nū́ citsá dabhyate jánaḥ ǁ

yám bāhúteva píprati pā́nti mártyam riṣáḥ ǀ
áriṣṭaḥ sárva edhate ǁ

ví durgā́ ví dvíṣaḥ puró ghnánti rā́jāna eṣām ǀ
náyanti duritā́ tiráḥ ǁ

sugáḥ pánthā anṛkṣará ā́dityāsa ṛtám yaté ǀ
nā́trāvakhādó asti vaḥ ǁ

yám yajñám náyathā nara ā́dityā ṛjúnā pathā́ ǀ
prá vaḥ sá dhītáye naśat ǁ

sá rátnam mártyo vásu víśvam tokámutá tmánā ǀ
ácchā gacchatyástṛtaḥ ǁ

kathā́ rādhāma sakhāyaḥ stómam mitrásyāryamṇáḥ ǀ
máhi psáro váruṇasya ǁ

mā́ vo ghnántam mā́ śápantam práti voce devayántam ǀ
sumnáir íd va ā́ vivāse ǁ

catúraś cid dádamānād bibhīyā́d ā́ nídhātoḥ ǀ
ná duruktā́ya spṛhayet ǁ


Him whom the wise perceivers Varuṇa, Mitra, Aryaman guard
– His person is never deceived.

The mortal whom they bear across, as if in the arm, and protect from harm –
Unharmed, is whole, is boosted.

The Kings loosen apart the hatred, the hard passages in front of them,
They lead to beyond the difficulties.

O Ādityas! The passage is easy, never demotivating, for the one looking forth to Ṛta,
No devourer of yours (powers) exists here.

That yajña, as you lead, O active Ādityas, along the straight path,
Would attain forth, for your insight.

The mortal approaches towards delight, all the best things,
To a good legacy with his life, never shattered.

Friends, how do we present the hymn a great feast
For Mitra, Aryaman and Varuṇa?

May I not speak against to him who curses you all, him who belittles you all, or him who strives for devas,
Just through good thoughts shall I live for you.

Let him be alarmed of the one as giving fours, until the placing down.
Let him not have a love for evil utterance.

Ādityas, as we know now, are connected with the limitless inner consciousness and conscience, innocence, and wisdom. They govern the boundless spirit of ours that is contained in our bodies. Through this life, we just move through what we are, we explore what we are. Many a time, we find our passage difficult. We find nature to be cruel to us. We feel cheated. We feel we lose motivation and hope.

Life is where we are gamblers, says the imagery in the last verse in italics. We are to be alarmed about the uncertainty that life could beat us by winning the bet with its “fours”. Until the “placing down” or the final settlement of this game, we should be planned to occupy ourselves to deal with it the best way we can. And do it with utmost positivity in you. Just hold the good thoughts, aim for Ṛta, and let the Ādityas protect you. Let them guard you through this gambling of life you are exposed to. Have the actions in your control under your control.

Regarding three, three is the number of balance and “containing the alignment”. Ādityas act threefold, help us contain what we experience. That is one reason why the sage has used Gāyatrī here (which has three pādas), with nine verses arranged in Tṛcas (groups of three). The relevance of fours in the last verse, in this context of “three”, “four” refers to “overwhelming” and “beyond our individual capability”. Everything in this outside world is not in our control. But inside our mind, where we “are” and where we “live”, they can be brought into the threefold beauty of Ādityas.

So, play your cards right. As much scary as it sounds, yes, you have to be alarmed of each step the life reveals for you. But never lose the goodness, the commitment to Ṛta, or fall into wasting yourself cursing yourself or others for your personal life tragedies.

Imbibe the Ādityas. Be positive.

Syāmed indrasya śarmaṇi, Ādityānām utāvasi.

Author/Translator: Kiran Krishnon
Feb 11th, 2020