Vedās: The God of Death
It is worth noting that the Vedas are always realistic, though poetic, and truthful, though poetically exaggerating. As we have seen, they have seen God in different attributes, and different characters. In the Indra, we found every mark of the God, from the helper “who bends down as a nice milch cow to the milkman” (“sudughAm iva goduhe”, scroll down to see that in Rig Veda 1.4), “the Father”, “The Lord” to the “valiant Hero”, “The Ruler”, “the terrible chastiser”, “The soft sweet lovely friend”…..
Again, these characteristics, each one is represented in the Vedas by different names of the God, as “Ashvins”, “Varuna”, “Sarasvati”, “Aditi”, “Agni”, “Vishnu”, “Vayu”, “Maruts/Rudras”, the deadly “Rudra”, the “Yama”, “Matarishvan”, “Mitra”, “Savita”, “Pushan”, “Surya”…… as we have seen in the translations. (Check out the discussions and translations of some Rig Vedic verses we have covered)
In our earlier analyses, we missed an important concept of God – The God as Death. Optimism is the key core concept in Rig Veda; the Rig Vedic poets talk less of death, except in the particular funeral poems of the later 10th Mandala, which are heartbreaking. (we shall see them later)
But still, the concept of Death in God cannot be ignored. It is an inevitable part of reality. There is no Satan or a second parallel to the Reality in Vedas because Reality is always One in Vedas. There is no lie parallel to the truth in Vedas, only there is the untruth which is relative to the truth when viewed from a perspective. (the “anrta” is absence of rta, not a separate force that opposes rta). The concept of death is accepted in Vedas as reality, and real prayers flow out from the poetic heart of the sages.
If one has to put a hymn on God, the Death, how would he do it?
The most poetic of the hymns in Yajur Veda, the “shatarudriya”, as it is called, gives the most incredible answer.
The poems from the hearts of the sages, bow down before God, the Ultimate, who is also the cause of Death. The homage to the Rudra, outbursts in a very poetic but spontaneous manner. The whole part belongs to a very beautiful section of Yajurveda and represents the Vedic philosophy of God in All, and All in God, along with panentheism, as usual, in the most efficient way.
These poems certainly pull the attraction of the enjoying readers, both to the incredible feat of the Vedic poets, and to the emotional, but wise philosophy that echoes through the lines.