Shri Saraswati"Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, is symbolized as performing on the vina, mother of all stringed instruments. Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, is shown in Hindu art with a flute; on it he plays the enrapturing song that recalls to their true home the human souls wandering in maya-delusion." - Paramahansa Yogananda
Shri Saraswati Plays Her Celestial Veena
Kash was once told to ask if Shri Vidhatri Shri Nirmala Devi would grant him the wish to see Shri Saraswati, the great Goddess of Art and Knowledge. Bhupinder, the Sahaja Yogi who raised his Kundalini, wanted to find out if he should take up music (especially learning the tabla, the two-piece Indian drum.)
Although it was a frivolous request, Kash agreed.
He raised his Kundalini and entered into the Realm of the Sahasrara. He slowly floated down into his spiritual body meditating beside the Great Mother. The Divine Radiance shone ever so brilliantly from above the Celestial Throne of the Great Cosmic Mother as She sat in Bliss and Joy. He bowed down to Her, conveyed his greetings, and inquired if he could be taken to see Shri Saraswati. She gave a dazzling smile and agreed.
The Great Primordial Mother then levitated him above the carpet of clouds, and, within seconds, reached Shri Saraswati's place. They slowed down to a standstill and as Shri Mataji withdrew Her extended hands Kash felt himself going a few inches downwards until the feet touched the ground.
Shri Saraswati was wearing a white sari but had no ornaments of any kind — no bangles, tikka, koka, bindi or earrings. She was very plainly dressed, unlike the consorts of the other Spirits of the Holy One. He bowed down in Namaskar to wish Her. She did the same.
Kash saw a veena lying beside Shri Saraswati and asked Shri Mataji about it. She explained that it was a musical instrument. Kash requested that he would like to hear it being played. The Holy Spirit translated his request into Sanskrit for Shri Saraswati, who smiled and picked up the veena. She then began playing.
According to Kash the music was so heavenly that he was instantly overwhelmed by Bliss. It was difficult for him to describe the awesome serenity of the celestial atmosphere as Shri Saraswati plucked the strings of the Primordial Veena. The Divine Cool Breeze of the Holy Ghost swirled around and penetrated every pore of consciousness, raising Joy to new heights. Last, but not the least, the utter silence of that vast empty expanse amplified the sound of music. Such a Spiritual state does not exist in this material world, and neither can be duplicated.
After Shri Saraswati had finished, Kash thanked Her. All of them then meditated. Kash went into blissful thoughtlessness, oblivious to his surroundings. There was no duality as they merged into Cosmic Consciousness. They were part and parcel of the Whole — part and parcel of the Universal Soul. They were One with Shri Saksi-varjita Shri Nirmala Devi. They were neither the mind, intelligence, ego, nor chitta; neither the ears, nor the tongue, nor the senses of smell and sight; neither ether, nor air, neither the prana, nor the five vital breaths; neither the seven elements of the body, nor its five sheaths, nor hands, nor feet, nor tongue, nor other organs of action — They were Eternal Bliss and Awareness.
Then he heard the Great Divine Mother calling him by his name softly. The meditation had ended. He opened his spiritual eyes in the microcosm of his Sahasrara although his physical eyes remained closed in deep meditation on the macrocosmic Earth. He then bowed to Shri Saraswati with folded hands in homage and again thanked Her for showing how the veena was played. She bowed back in anjali mudra.
(Kash, overwhelmed by this incomparable musical experience, completely forgot to ask about Bhupinder's request.)
Shri Sarva-Mohini Shri Nirmala Devi and he then arose and left for the Land of Perpetual Light. He bowed to Shri Brahmi Shri Nirmala Devi and requested permission to leave. As he stood with folded hands he slowly descended from the Mishkat al Anwar (Niche of Light) to this pagan world of hand amputations and clitoral mutilations.
Note: On October 30, 1996, at 11:40 a.m. Kash was asked to describe Shri Saraswati's beauty. He replied that She was very beautiful, not just beautiful. When asked to pick out the most beautiful of the consorts — Shri Radha, Shri Lakshmi or Shri Saraswati — Kash could not make up his mind. According to him they are all ravishing, though all three had different physical and facial features. He added that they are about the same height but he is not sure who was taller as he never paid any attention to these things. Despite a number of attempts to elicit a marginal winner Kash failed to select one. The Divine Consorts are of such immense beauty that there was no way to pick even a marginal winner. They were all Satyam, Shivam, and Sundaram — Truthful, Benevolent and Beautiful! God is Satyam, Shivam, and Sundaram.
Vidhatri (337th): Wife of Brahma i.e., Sri-Saraswati — or the Creator and the Nourisher of the universe.
Saksi-varjita (385th): None to witness her. This is the final stage of realisation beyond turiya state called turiyatita. This is the state of complete oneness without any duality.
Sarva-Mohini (703rd): Confuses all. Through Her Maya-Shakti people are confused and see distinctions between the Absolute and the phenomenal, ‘seer’ and the ‘seen,’ and Herself and Her created forms.
Brahmi (675th): Wife of Brahma, i.e., Saraswati, the Goddess of speech.
Shri Adi Shakti: The Kingdom Of God
1999, p. 194
Saraswati: Goddess of Knowledge & Arts
By Subhamoy Das, About.com Guide
"Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts, represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is the mother of the Vedas, and chants to her, called the 'Saraswati Vandana' often begin and end Vedic lessons.
Saraswati is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. It is believed that goddess Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus – the symbol of true knowledge – in the second.
With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on a string instrument called the veena. She is dressed in white – the symbol of purity – and rides on a white swan – symbolizing Sattwa Guna or purity and discrimination. Saraswati is also a prominent figure in Buddhist iconography - the consort of Manjushri.
The learned and the erudite attach greater importance to the worship of goddess Saraswati. As a practice, only educated people worship her for knowledge and wisdom. They believe that only Saraswati can grant them 'moksha' - the final liberation of the soul.
Saraswati's birthday - Vasant Panchami - is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha. Hindus celebrate this festival with great fervor in temples, homes and educational institutes alike."
Web, August 4, 2012
"Women's faces are a source of corruption for men who are not related to them."
Taleban Attorney-General's office, justifying why Afghan widows should be painted over to prevent unveiled women from being seen outside.
TIME (March 31, 1997)
"Even today Hebrew males are taught to offer daily prayer, “Blessed Art Thou O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” Mohammed stated, “When Eve was created, Satan rejoiced.” As the Hebrew myth of the creation was later adopted into the sacred literature of Christianity, along with all the other writings of the Old Testament, the writers and religious leaders who followed Christ assumed the same prose of contempt for the female, continuing to use religion to lock women further into the role of passive and inferior beings, and thus more easily controlled property of men."
Merlin Stone. When God was a Woman
A Harvard/HBJ Book, 1976, p. 224.
"There are many indications now that women are beginning to get in touch with their own fundamental nature in ways that have been forbidden to them by patriachal traditions, set up as the only acceptable moral system several thousand years ago, which have kept our civilizatin in thrall to a philosophy that derogates the feminine and natural world. The remote, transcendent deity postulated by Western culture has proved enormously violent in all “his” incarnation from the warlike Old Testament Yahweh to the familiar Christian deity of crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, and battlefield invocations the world over. Now there is a fast-spreading tendency among women to reject this deity. Studies of the doleful history of Western religious sexism have made it clear that the God created in man’s image has promoted more male cruelty toward women than any other single cause."
Barbara G. Walker, Feminism and the Future
Barbara G. Walker is widely recognized as one of the founders of the new feminism. She is the author of many books, including The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, The Crone, Women’s Rituals, and The Skeptical Feminist. Source: Georg and Trisha Lamb Feuerstein, Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow, The Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 1993, p. 139.
The Paraclete Shri Mataji "In some countries, of course, they think the chastity is only meant for women and not for men, but is not true. That’s what the Islamic people believe. It’s very wrong. It is meant for both of them. Like a person who is trying to force the other side, like the men’s trying to force the women to be chaste and themselves are not chaste, the women will not be chaste. They may look, appear, they may try to be out of fear, but, if they get a chance, they will take to life which is wrong because they see the other party, the men trying to dominate them. Then they think, 'What’s wrong? If they can do it, why cannot we do it?' "
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
The Source Of Wisdom, Shri Ganesha Puja, Berlin, Germany—July 21, 1993
"But so many parasites are created in the West. Not only parasites, but there are horrible cults and horrible things which have come into that; those countries which are supposed to be full of Light, and in that darkness they exist. Darkness about the Spirit, darkness about their own Knowledge, and darkness about love. These three things have taken over in the places where you are supposed to love Light.
Light does not mean, Light does not mean what you see with your gross eyes. Light means from within — the Light of Love. That one should understand Light of Love. And it is so soothing, it is so sweet, it is so beautiful. It is so enamouring, it is so abounding that unless and until you can feel that Light within you — that Light which is of Pure Love, of purity, pure relationship, pure understanding. If you can develop that kind of a Light within yourself, then the whole thing will be cleansed. "Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." This is what happens to you when you are completely cleansed.
The purest form of Nature is within us. The purest form of Nature is within us. Our Chakras are made out of that purest from of Nature. We are the only people who are spoiling it by our mental thinking. Against the same Saraswati Power. You are going against Saraswati itself. Saraswati cleanses all that is impure in Nature, while with our brain activity we are spoiling all that. All our brain activity goes against pure intelligence. And that is what one has to understand — that this pure intelligence is not to be soiled by our thinking. Our thinking can make us so bumptious, so ego-oriented. so impure that we can really eat the poison and say, "What is wrong in it?" Just the opposite of Saraswati.
If Saraswati is within us, She gives us Subuddhi, wisdom. And that is why to worship Saraswati, to worship Surya, we must have that clear vision as to what we have to be; what we are doing; what filth we are living in; what our mind is getting into. After all we are here for emancipation and not for just for pampering our ego and living with our filth that is with us. So this Light has come within us and we should try to rise above our own mental filth which is being created around us. . . .
Saraswati has a Veena in Her hand and that Veena is the Primordial Instrument which She plays like music, and music penetrates into the heart. You don’t know how it goes into you and how it works out. That is how a person who is Sahaja Yogi should permeate — like music. There are so many qualities as I told you which cannot be described in one lecture. But one of the greatest quality of Her’s is that She ends up into subtler things like the Mother Earth will end up into fragrance."
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Saraswati Puja—January 14, 1983
"Ramanujan Srinivasa. This Indian thinker, who lived at the turn of the 20th century, has two claims to fame. First, Ramanujan is regarded as the most creative mathematical theorists of modern times. Second, he reported that he “received” his breakthroughs in mathematics through a process seemingly akin to CHANNELING.
Ramanujan was born in 1887, in a small, isolated Indian village. He received relatively little formal education. When he was 16, he acquired an old mathematics textbook and became fascinated. After memorizing it, Ramanujan wished to explore the subject further, but had no access to the higher levels of institutional learning.
At this time, Ramanujan stated, he began to sense the presence of two deities — Namagiri, a local goddess, and Saraswati, the well-known Indian deity of logic. He reported that these beings taught him how to discover new mathematical theorems. Working alone, completely unconnected to the academic world of his day, Ramanujan received tutoring from the goddesses and produced a series of ingenious mathematical theorems.
Eventually, Ramanujan mailed his work to eminent mathematicians in England, who quickly recognized his brilliance. Concerning the novelty of his formulas, Gedfrey Hardy of Cambridge University commented, “They must be true, because if they were not true nobody could have the imagination to invent them.” Unfortunately, this unique mind was active only briefly — Ramanujan died in 1920, aged 33.
Although many scientific discoveries have been associated with nonlogical processes such as dreaming and reverie, Ramanujan's example is unusual. There may be no other modern case in which a researcher has reported receiving verifiably correct, novel and important information directly from supernatural beings."
Leonard George, Ph.D., Alternative Realities, Facts on File
Inc. 1995 p. 241.
"MUSIC — A DIVINE BLISS
The manifestation of Adi Shakti and OMKAR simultaneously took place at one single momemt of time. When Adi Shakti manifested herself, a particular holy sound was created which can be meaningfully called “OMKAR” — Shri Adi Shakti created the whole universe with the power of OM. Om is the manifestation of three primordial powers which are ‘A’ ‘U’ ‘M’. These powers created the universe.
‘A’ — The powr of Pure Desire — Shri Mahakali
‘U’ — The power of Action — Shri Mahasaraswati
‘M’ — The primordial power of evolution — Shri Mahalaxmi
This ‘OMKAR’ is the beginning of music and for this very reason music has become a universal language. This ‘OMKAR’ is also the Adi Sangeet which Adi Shakti gave to Lord Brahma. The four Vedas are nothing but the continued manifestation of this Adi Sangeet.
Lord Brahma gave this music to Devi Saraswati. The Veena in her hand is the symbol of this music. Devi Saraswati is not Vidya alone but music as well. From Devi Saraswati, music went to Maharsi Narad and it seems to a musical irony that the connecting link between the two is Veena. Guru Narad taugth music to Gandharvas, Apsaras, Kinnaras.
Music was destined to come to Man. Music was still in heaven and those who brought it to earth were great Rishis and Munis who were great scholars of music, great inventors in music and great researchers too. This heavenly Sangeet Ganga has been brought to earth by equally heavenly powerful and knowledgeable ancients. They can be called Bhagiraths. The relentless and continued efforts of talented musicians are solely responsible for this. Gods gave music to Rishis and Munis and in their own turn they handed it down to Man."
Arun Apte, Music And Sahaja Yoga, Ritana Books, 1997, p. 3-4.
"From My childhood I always had one desire that our Indian classical music should be heard by many people because I knew that it was a spiritual music. And I can see that the way you people have enjoyed this music you have proved beyond doubt that it is Spiritual music because you had no training in this; you have never heard this before. Despite that you have thoroughly enjoyed this music — I could feel the Joy opening in your heart."
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
To Achieve Complete Freedom, Cabella, Italy—May 7, 1995
"The Sama Veda contains the world's earliest writings on musical science. In India, music, painting, and the drama are considered divine arts. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the Eternal Trinity, were the first musicians. Shiva, in His aspect of Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, is scripturally represented as having worked out the infinite modes of rhythm in the processes of universal creation, preservation, and destruction, while Brahma clanging the cymbals and Vishnu sounding the holy mridganga or drum.
Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, is symbolized as performing on the vina, mother of all stringed instruments. Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, is shown in Hindu art with a flute; on it he plays the enrapturing song that recalls to their true home the human souls wandering in maya-delusion.
The foundation stones of Hindu music are ragas or fixed melodic scales. The six basic ragas branch out into 126 derivative raganis (wives) and putras (sons.) Each raga has a minimum of five notes: a leading note (vadi or king), a secondary note (samavadi or prime minister), helping notes (anuvadi or prime minister), helping notes (anuvadi, attendants), and a dissonant note (vivadi, the enemy.)
Each of the six basic ragas has a natural correspondence with a certain hour of the day, season of the year, and a presiding deity who bestows a particular potency. Thus, (1) the Hindole Raga is heard only at dawn in the spring to evoke the mood of universal love; (2) Deepaka Raga is played during the evening in summer, to arouse compassion; (3) Megha Raga is a melody for midday in the rainy season, to summon courage; (4) Bhairava Raga is played in the mornings of August, September, October, to achieve tranquility; (5) Sri Raga is reserved for autumn twilight to attain pure love; (6) Malkounsa Raga is heard at midnight in winter, for valour.
The ancient rishis discovered these laws of sound alliance between nature and man. Because nature is an objectification of Aum, the Primal Sound or Vibratory Word, man can obtain control over all natural manifestations through the use of certain mantras or chants . . .
Indian music divides the octave into twenty-two srutis or demi-semitones. The microtonal intervals permit fine shades of musical expression unattainable by the Western chromatic scale of twelve semitones. Each of the seven basic notes of the octave is associated in Hindu mythology with a colour, and the natural cry of bird or beast — Do with green, and peacock; Re with red, and the skylark; Mi with gold, and the goat; Fa with yellowish white, and the heron; Sol with black, and the nightingale; La with yellow and the horse; Si with a combination of all colours, and the elephant.
Indian music outlines seventy-two thalas or scales. A musician has creative scope for endless improvisation around the fixed traditional melody or raga; he concentrates on the sentiment or definitive mood of the structural theme and then embroiders it to the limits of his own originality. The Hindu musician does not read set notes; at each playing he clothes anew the bare skeleton of the raga, often confining himself to a single microtonal and rhythmic variations. Bach, among Western composers, had an understanding of the charm and power of repetitious sound slightly differentiated in a hundred complex ways.
Sanskrit literature describes 120 talas or time measures. The traditional founder of Hindu music, Bharata, is said to have isolated thirty-two kinds of tala in the song of a lark. The origin of tala or rhythm is rooted in human movement — the double time of waking, and the triple time of respiration in sleep, when inhalation is twice the length of exhalation.
India has long recognized the human voice as the most perfect instrument of sound. Hindu music therefore largely confines itself to the voice range of three octave. For the same reason, melody (relation of successive notes) is stressed, rather than harmony (relation of simultaneous notes.)
Hindu music is a subjective, Spiritual, and individualistic art, aiming not symphonic brilliance but at personal harmony with the Over -Soul. All the celebrated songs of India have been composed by devotees of the Divine. The Sanskrit word for “musicians” is bhagavathar, “he who sings praises of God.”
The sankirtans or musical gatherings are an effective form of yoga or Spiritual discipline, necessitating intense concentration, absorption in the seed thought and sound. Because man himself is an absorption in the Creative Word, sound exercises on him a potent and immediate effect. Great religious music of East and West bestows joy on man because it causes a temporary vibratory awakening of one of his occult spinal centres. In those blissful moments a dim memory comes to him of his divine origin."
Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi
Self-Realization Fellowship, 1974, p. 155-58.
Just as a mountain is seen both inside the mirror and outside it, this creation is seen both within consciousness and outside it.
Seeing all the members of the royal court, Lila was puzzled: she thought, 'This is strange, for these people seem to exist in two places at the same time—in that region which I saw in my meditation and here in front of me. Just as a mountain is seen both inside the mirror and outside it, this creation is seen both within consciousness and outside it. But, which of these is real and which the reflection? I must find out from Sarasvati'. She adored Sarasvati and saw her seated in front of her.
Be gracious, O Goddess, and tell me this. That on which this world is reflected is extremely pure and undivided, and it is not the object of knowledge. This world exists both within it as its reflection, and outside as solid matter: which is real and which the reflection?
Tell me first: what do you consider real and what unreal?
That I am here and you are in front of me—this I consider real. That region in which my husband is now—that I consider unreal.
How can the unreal be the effect of the real? The effect is the cause, there is no essential difference. Even in the case of a pot which is able to hold water, whereas its cause (clay) cannot, this difference is due to the co-operative causes. What was the material cause of your husband's birth? For, only material effects are produced by material causes. Hence, when you find no immediate cause for an effect, then surely the cause existed in the past—memory. Memory is like space, empty. All creation here is the effect of that emptiness—and hence the creation is empty, too. Even as the birth of your husband is an illusory product of memory, I see all this as the illusory and unreal effect of imagination.
I shall narrate to you a story which illustrates the dream-like nature of this creation. In pure consciousness, in a corner of the mind of the Creator, there was a dilapidated shrine, covered with a blue dome. It had the fourteen worlds for rooms. The three divisions of space were holes in it. The sun was the light. In it, there were little anthills (the cities), little piles of earth (mountains), and little pools of water (the oceans). This is creation, the universe. In a very small corner of it, there lived a holy man with his wife and children. He was healthy, and free from fear. He performed his religious and social duties well.
That holy man was known as Vasistha and his wife was Arundhati (though they were different from the Vasistha and Arundhati of legendary fame). One day he saw a colourful procession with a king riding a stately elephant, followed by an army and other royal paraphernalia. Looking at this a wish arose in his heart: "When will I ride a royal elephant like that and be followed by an army like this?"
Some time after this the holy man grew old and then death overtook him. His wife, who was highly devoted to him, prayed to me and asked for the same boon that you had asked for: that her husband's spirit should not leave her house. I granted her that boon. Though that holy man was an ethereal being, on account of the power of his constant wish during the previous life-span he became a mighty king and ruled over a great empire which resembled heaven on earth. Arundhati had also given up her body and attained reunion with her husband. It is eight days since this happened.
Lila, it is the same holy man who is now your husband, the king; and you are the same Arundhati who was his wife. On account of ignorance and delusion it seems that all takes place in the infinite consciousness, though in reality nothing happens. I do not utter falsehood, but am telling the truth. It sounds incredible but this kingdom appears to be only in the hut of the holy man on account of his desire for a kingdom. The memory of the past is hidden, and you two have risen again. Death is but waking from a dream. Birth, which arises from a wish, is no more real than the wish, like waves in a mirage! Even after the 'creation' of all this in the holy man's house, it remained as it was before. Indeed, in every atom there are worlds within worlds.
O Goddess, you said that it was only eight days ago that the holy man had died; and yet my husband and I have lived for a long time. How can you reconcile this discrepancy?
O Lila, just as space does not have a fixed span, time does not have a fixed span either. Just as the world and its creation are mere appearances, a moment and an epoch are also imaginary, not real. In the twinkling of an eye, the jiva undergoes the illusion of the death-experience, forgets what happened before that, and in the infinite consciousness thinks 'I am this' etc., and 'I am his son, I am so many years old, I ...' etc.
Even as in a dream there is birth, death, and relationship, all in a very short time, and even as a lover feels that a single night without his beloved is an epoch, the jiva thinks of experienced and non-experienced objects in the twinkling of an eye. And, immediately thereafter, he imagines those things (the world) to be real. Even those things which he had not experienced nor seen present themselves before him as in a dream.
This world and this creation is nothing but memory, dream: distance and measures of time (like a moment and an age) are all hallucinations. This is one kind of knowledge - memory. There is another which is not based on memory of past experience. This is the fortuitous meeting of atoms in consciousness which are then able to produce its own effects.
Liberation is the realisation of the total non-existence of the universe as such. This is different from a mere denial of the existence of the ego and the universe! The latter is only half-knowledge. Liberation is to realise that all this is pure consciousness.
Indeed, the prior hallucination of the creation of the holy man and his wife was due to the thought-form of Brahma, the creator. He himself had no hidden thought-forms (memory), for before creation there was dissolution, and at that time the Creator had attained liberation. At the beginning of this epoch, someone assumes the role of creator and thinks "I am the new Creator"—this is pure coincidence, even as one sees a crow lighting on a palm tree and the cocoanut falling, though these two are independent of each other. Of course, do not forget that even though all this seems to happen, there is no creation! The one infinite consciousness alone is thought-form or experience: there is no cause and effect relationship. These ('cause' and 'effect') are only words, not facts. The infinite consciousness is forever in infinite consciousness.
O Goddess, your words are truly enlightening. However, since I have never been exposed to them before, the wisdom is not well grounded. I wish to see the original house of the holy Vasistha.
O Lila, give up this form of yours and attain the pure spiritual insight. For only Brahman can really see or realise Brahman. My body is made of pure light, pure consciousness. Your body is not. With this body of yours you cannot even visit the places of your own imagination. Then how can you enter the field of another's imagination? But if you attain the body of light, you will immediately see the holy man's house. Affirm to yourself, "I shall leave my body here and take a body of light. With that body, like the scent of incense, I shall go to the house of the holy man." Even as water mixes with water, you will become one with the field of consciousness.
By the persistent practice of such meditation, even your body will become one of pure consciousness and subtle. For, I see even my body as consciousness. You do not, for you see the world of matter. Such ignorance arises of its own accord, but is dispelled by wisdom and inquiry. In fact, even such ignorance does not even exist! There is neither unwisdom, nor ignorance; neither bondage, nor liberation. There is but one pure consciousness.
Dear Lila, in dream, the dream-body appears to be real; but when there is an awakening to the fact of dream, the reality of that body vanishes. Even so, the physical body which is sustained by memory and latent tendencies is seen to be unreal when they are seen to be unreal. At the end of the dream, you become aware of the physical body; at the end of these tendencies, you become aware of the ethereal body. When the dream ends, deep sleep ensues; when the seeds of thought perish, you are liberated. In liberation the seeds of thought do not exist; if the liberated sage appears to live and to think, he only appears to do so, like a burnt cloth lying on the floor. This is, however, not like deep sleep nor unconsciousness, in both of which the seeds of thought lie hidden.
By the persistent practice (abhyasa) egotism is quietened. Then you will naturally rest in your consciousness; and the perceived universe heads towards the vanishing point. What is called practice?
Thinking of that alone, speaking of that, conversing of that with one another, utter dedication to that one alone - this is called abhyasa or practice by the wise. When one's intellect is filled with beauty and bliss, when one's vision is broad, when passion for sensual enjoyment is absent in one—that is practice. When one is firmly established in the conviction that this universe has never even been created, and therefore it does not exist as such, and when thoughts like "This is world, this I am" do not arise at all in one—that is abhyasa or practice. It is then that attraction and repulsion do not arise; the overcoming of attraction and repulsion by the use of willforce is austerity, not wisdom.
(At this stage, evening set in: and the court dispersed. Early next morning the court assembled, and Vasistha continued his discourse.)
O Rama, Sarasvati and queen Lila immediately sat in deep meditation, or nirvakalpa samadhi.
They has risen above body-consciousness. Because they had given up all notions of the world, it had completely vanished in their consciousness. They roamed freely in their wisdom-bodies. Though it seemed that they had travelled millions of miles in space, they were still in the same 'room', but on another plane of consciousness. They saw all that was already in the mind of Sarasvati, and which Sarasvati wanted to show to queen Lila.
Having seen the oceans, mountains, the protectors of the universe, the kingdom of the gods, the sky and the very bowels of the earth, Lila saw her own house.
Swami Venkatesananda, The Concise Yoga Vasistha
State University of New York Press (October 1984), pp. 53-7
The Case of the Double Vision
The Case of the Double Talk
The Case of the Double Witnesses
The Case of the Double Time
The Case of the Double Mothers
The Case of the Double Bodies
The Case of the Double Worlds
The Chandogya Upanishad speaks not only of the akasha outside man, but also of the inner akasha (antah-akasha)
"They [sages] believed that man is an epitome of all reality, that he is the whole world and all times in miniature, a veritable microcosm (pinda). To study him is to study the whole macrocosm (brahmanda). The approach makes a deep philosophic sense. As the sages looked within, they saw that the truths of the spirit are also the basis of man's more physical and social welfare, yoga-kshema; that when men follow spiritual and moral excellence, they are also rich in things of life and nature's gifts. Their basket is full, and the earth yields more abundantly and freely, their herbs are more nourishing. . . . The Chandogya Upanishad speaks not only of the akasha outside man, but also of the inner akasha (antah-akasha), and even of akasha within the heart."
(According to Hinduism Today Ram Swarup is the "intellectual architect of Hindu spirituality and culture in India; founder of Voice of India; author: The Word as Revelation, Understanding Islam Through Hadis.)
"Symbolism of divine messengers
Experiences relating to these realities could not at any time have been common or widespread and must have come mainly through consecrated channels: yogis (Hindu meditation practitioners), gurus (Hindu teachers), prophets, mystics, saints, and spiritual masters of the inner life. This channelling through human agents has given rise to a host of divine messengers: a hierarchy of angels, intermediaries, and incarnations, singly or in succession. This manner of approaching or receiving the divine or holy is the justification of avatars (incarnations of God) and the man-God in various religions. "God was made man in order that man might be made God."
The mystical experience is a renovation of life at its root; that is, of the forgotten language of symbols and symbolism. The mystic participates in two worlds at once, the profane and the sacred. Rituals and ceremonies become the means of integration with a higher reality and consciousness. But symbols cannot be deliberately manufactured, nor do they make an arbitrary system. "Being for ever communicating its essence" is the source of their abundance, potency, and unity. Even a nontheistic mysticism, such as Buddhism, has deployed symbols freely, of which perhaps the most well-known is the formula om mani padme hum ("the jewel in the lotus").
Symbols point beyond themselves, participate in that to which they point, open up levels of reality that are otherwise closed to man, unlock dimensions and elements of the soul that correspond to reality and cannot be produced intentionally or invented. Symbols may be inner or outer. To some, nature symbolism comes easily."
Britannica Online (1994-1998 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)
"We find ourselves, I believe, in the midst of the most massive shift of perspective that humankind has ever known. We are living in a time — and I see this all over the world — in which our very nature is in transition. The scope of change is calling for patterns and potentials in the human brain that, as far as I know, were never needed before. Knowings that were relegated to the unconscious are becoming conscious, and experiences that belonged to extraordinary reality are becoming ordinary.
Our potentials are no longer limited by place and culture. In this developing hybrid world, capacities and perspectives that were once nurtured in separate socieites are now available to the entire human family. To me this is a stupendous happening as important as the discovery of new continents during the time of the great sea journeys. For the first time in human history, because of communication, the genius of the human race is available for everyone to harvest.
I think the holistic movement has become more global in its concerns. And I think the threshold of the millennium has, if anything, accelerated and intensified the need to recognize that we are stewards in this biological and evolutionary process and, by God, we'd better be up to the task."
Codirector of the Foundation for Mind Research in Pomona
New York, New Age November/December 1999.
Since modern scientific data now confirm that the Sarasvati began to dry up around 1900 BCE, the hymns extolling her glory have to date from before then
European scholars of the 19th and early 20th centuries hypothesized that Indo-European tribes from the north migrated to the Indian subcontinent and founded the Indian civilization around 1500 BCE. With the discovery early in the 20th century that a great urban civilization already existed in the Indus Valley a thousand years before the supposed arrival of the Indo-European Aryas, the theory was revised to present the Aryas as invaders who conquered the Harappan people. There is no archeological evidence to support such a conquest, and the idea arose from a misreading of the Vedic texts.
On closer scrutiny, the textual evidence actually suggests a much earlier Aryan presence in the Indus Valley than 1500 BCE. The Samhita of the Rgveda, consisting of more than a thousand hymns composed over hundreds of years, is India’s oldest scared text. It is thought by Western scholars to have reached its present form between 1500 and 1200 BCE, although Hindus have always claimed it is much older. There is compelling evidence for that claim in the Vedic hymns themselves: they describe a landscape that vanished hundreds of years before the hymns supposedly were composed. Those hymns describe the Indus-Sarasvati region as the Land of Seven Rivers. Part of that region is known today as the Punjab (from Sanskrit panca ap, “five waters”).
Of the seven rivers, the deified Sarasvati was celebrated as surpassing all others in majesty and might (RV 7.95.2). Since modern scientific data now confirm that the Sarasvati began to dry up around 1900 BCE, the hymns extolling her glory have to date from before then, when the holy river still flowed abundantly and civilization flourished along her banks. If the Aryas arrived on the scene only around 1500 BCE, they would have no knowledge of the Sarasvati`s former magnificence, nor would they have chosen to deify a dying or already vanished river.
A gigantic environmental catastrophe, not an invasion, brought the Harappan civilization to collapse. How the Aryan, or Vedic, people fit into the picture, if at all, is a problem archeologists and historians have yet to solve. The evidence of the Vedic texts, to which we shall return, chronicles the gradual disappearance of the Sarasvati beneath the desert sands and at least hints at interaction between the Vedic and non-Vedic people and their religions…
On the evidence of the Vedic texts, the division between the early and late Vedic periods coincides with the drying up of the Sarasvati River. To the early period before 1900 BCE belong the hymn portions or Samhitas of the Rgveda and Samaveda; to the later period belong the Samhitas of the Yajurveda and Antharvaveda, along with the later Vedic texts known as the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Atharvaveda. Sweeping religious change rarely takes place in a vacuum, and the altered circumstances after the collapse of the Indus-Sarasvati cities initiated the gradual and complex transformation of the old Vedic religion into modern Hinduism. Historically, the rise of the Brahmanical religion seems to coincide with the Harappan economic collapse and the disappearance of the Indus Valley script around 1700 BCE. The theological treatises known as Brahmanas address the practical concerns of a priestly class and the proper performance of sacrificial rites in the post-urban setting.
Additionally, the Brahmanas document the gradual drying up of the Sarasvati River between 1900 and 1300 BCE. Once mightier than the Indua and believed to originate in heaven, the Sarasvati was known to flow on earth from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. Rgvedic hymns and the Brahmanas alike allude to sacrifices performed along her banks, and the discovery of typically Indo-European fire altars at the town of Kalibangan are persuasive evidence for a Vedic presence along the Sarasvati River in the third millennium BCE. Long before the Ganga took preeminence as India`s holiest river, the Sarasvati, whose name means “the flowing one,” claimed that honor. Understandably, fertility and purification must have been among her earliest attributes, but even the Rgveda extols her not only as the great flood but also as the bright goddess of intelligence, who illumines every righteous thought (RV 1.3.10-12). With the onset of desiccation, the Sarasvati appears in the Brahmanas less often as a holy river and increasingly as a personified goddess. By the fifth century BCE, Yaska noted in the Nirukta, the oldest surviving commentary on the Vedas, that the Sarasvati`s flow to the sea could be taken figuratively as the flow of thought into the great, shining sea of consciousness.
Additionaly, the Brahmanas repeatedly identify Sarasvati with Vak, the creative Word personified as the Rgvedic goddess who proclaims her own universal power and transcendence in the Devisukta. As such, Sarasvati-Vak represents the intelligent power of creation, and her vast network of subsequent associations, including her later and current role as Brahma’s consort or power (sakti), perpetuates her reputation today as the beneficent goddess of knowledge and the arts.
Devadatta Kali, In Praise of the Goddess
Red Wheel (Nov 26 2003), pp. 6-9
The Rediscovery of the Sarasvati River
The retreat of the Aryan invasion theory has been accompanied by the rediscovery of the Sarasvati river of Vedic fame, though many scholars are still unaware of the connection of the river with the Vedas. Recent excavation has shown that the great majority of Harappan settlements were east, not west of Indus. The largest concentration of sites appears in an area of Punjab and Rajasthan along the dry banks of the Sarasvati (now called the Ghaggar) in the Thar desert. Hundreds of sites dot this river, which appears to have been the breadbasket of the culture. Mohenjodaro and Harappa, the first large Indus sites found, appear to be peripheral cities, mere gateways to the central Sarasvati region. The main sites are found in a region of northwestern India, which owing to the lack of water was never again a region of significant habitation. Hence it appears quite clearly that the sites were left owing to a shifting of the rivers and a drying out of the region which is a cause quite different than any invasion. The hand of Mother Nature is shown behind the population shift, not hostile invaders.
What is most interesting in this regard is that Vedic culture is traditionally said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of the Sarasvati and Drishadvati rivers.(*10) The Sarasvati is lauded as the main river in the Rig Veda and is the most frequently mentioned river in the text. It is said to be a great flood and to be wide, even endless in size, the greatest and most central river of the region of the seven rivers.(*11) Sarasvati is said to be "pure in her course from the mountains to the sea."(*12) The Vedic people were well acquainted with this river along its entire course and regarded it as their immemorial homeland.
The Sarasvati, as modern land studies now reveals, was indeed one of the largest rivers in India in ancient times (before 1900 BC) and was perhaps the largest river in India (before 3000 BC). In early ancient and pre-historic times, it drained the Sutlej and Yamuna, whose courses were much different than they are today.(*13) However, the Sarasvati river went dry by the end of the Harappan culture and well before the so-called Aryan invasion or before 1500 BC.
How could the Vedic Aryans know of this river and establish their culture on its banks if it dried up some centuries before they arrived? Indeed the Sarasvati as described in the Rig Veda as a green and fertile region appears to more accurately show the river as it was prior to the Harappan culture as in the Harappan era it was already in decline. In the Brahmanas and Mahabharata the Sarasvati is said to flow in a desert and in the latter does not even reach the sea. The Sarasvati as a river is later replaced by the Ganges and is almost forgotten in Puranic literature. The stages of the drying up of the river can be traced in Vedic literature showing the Vedic people did not merely come at the last phase of the river's life.
The existence of the Sarasvati as a great river was unknown until recent land studies. The very fact that the Vedic Sarasvati was traditionally only identified with a minor desert stream was previously regarded as proof of the invasion theory under the surmise that as the Vedic original river had no real counterpart in India, its real location must have been in another country like Afghanistan. Now that the great Indian Sarasvati has been found that evidence has been countered. If rivers in Afghanistan have Vedic names it is more likely an overflow of populations out of India, not the other way around, as no Afghani river has the size, location, or reaches the sea as did the Vedic Sarasvati. We have already noted Harappan sites in Afghanistan that would explain the naming of rivers there from larger Indian counterparts.
Therefore I am also proposing, along with many other scholars today both in India and the West, that the Harappan or Indus Valley civilization, should be renamed the "Sarasvati civilization," or at least "Indus-Sarasvati civilization." This would put an end to the misunderstanding of it, as the Sarasvati is the main river of the Vedas. The Indus and Sarasvati regions to the sea, which were the center of Harappan culture, are also the same geographical region of Vedic culture, which proves their identity.
Web October 29, 2012
Sarasvati: Tracing the death of a river
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Did this interview with Michel Danino, for the paper today. Danino in his latest book The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati,traces the death of the river Sarasvati.
Pasting the complete interview after this.
The common belief that the invisible river Sarasvati meets the Ganga and the Yamuna at the Prayag in Allahabad is just that: a belief. "After the collapse of the Harappan civilization some of the Late Harappans moved eastward, crossing Ganga, and it is likely that they did not want to forget the sacred river. So they restored it in the new location, but as an "invisible" river," says Michel Danino, a Frenchman, who has lived in India for more than 25 years and has most recently authored The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati (Penguin Books India, 2010). In this interview he speaks to Vivek Kaul.
A large number people believe that the search for the lost river Sarasvati is a very recent phenomenon. Is that true?
It is the recent study of the Sarasvati basin through satellite imagery that gives this wrong impression. But explorations of the region by British topographers, surveyors and geologists began in the 1820s, as I documented in my book. They soon noted a wide but dry riverbed running more or less parallel to the Indus through a mostly arid region. It was called "Ghaggar" and "Hakra" further downstream. They recorded numerous ruined mounds along its banks, local traditions of a "lost river of the Great Indian Desert" - a loss that explained the desolation of the region - and finally the presence of freshwater wells along that bed. Other explorations followed, building up a considerable body of evidence by the end of the nineteenth century.
From the evidence that is available, where exactly did the Ghaggar-Hakra river start and through which parts of India did it flow?
The Ghaggar-Hakra starts its course in the Shivalik Hills, flows through today's Haryana (it still does so during good monsoons), continues (its dry course, rather) through Punjab, northern Rajasthan, then into Cholistan (the Pakistani extension of the Thar Desert), and finally all the way to the Rann of Kachchh. This course was clearly marked, for instance, in a map of 1893 drawn by C.F. Oldham, who was a surgeon-major in the Indian Army, but also an Indologist.
So the Ghaggar-Hakra river system that flows through Rajasthan into Pakistan is the Sarasvati?
If in the nineteenth century most scholars identified the Ghaggar-Hakra's course with the Vedic Sarasvati, it is basically for three reasons. The Rig-Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, mentions various rivers but praises the Sarasvati above all others: it was a "mighty river" flowing "from the mountain to the sea", and one hymn listed it between the Yamuna and the Sutlej - precisely the location of the Ghaggar-Hakra. Secondly, the local traditions regarding the "lost river" of the Indian desert matched those in the post-Vedic literature (including the Mahabharata), which recorded the gradual disappearance of the Sarasvati. Thirdly, scholars noticed a minor tributary of the Ghaggar called "Sarsuti", an obvious corruption of "Sarasvati": it rises in the Sirmur hills that are part of the Shivaliks and was marked on British maps as early as in 1788. Putting these three lines of evidence together, they concluded that the lost Sarasvati could only have flowed in the Ghaggar's bed. In fact it was a French geographer, Vivien de Saint-Martin, who reached this conclusion for the first time - in 1855! Since then, most archaeologists have accepted this identity between the Ghaggar-Hakra and the Sarasvati.
You suggest in the book that Sarasvati was an important part of the Harappan civilization. How did you come to that conclusion?
In 1917 Marc Aurel Stein, a famous explorer and archaeologist, who was also a fine Sanskritist, wrote a paper on "river names in the Rig-Veda" in which he endorsed the consensus on the Sarasvati's location. A few years later, the Harappan civilization was discovered, limited at first to the Indus valley. However, Aurel Stein had an intuition that it might extend eastward into the Sarasvati valley. He had to wait till 1940, when he was 78, before he could undertake an expedition in the then Bikaner and Bahawalpur states. For the first time, he found among the ruined mounds of the Cholistan desert (today in Pakistan) evidence of Harappan culture: pottery (some of it inscribed with the characteristic Harappan script), flint blades, shell ornaments etc
After Independence and Partition, Indian archaeologists followed suit, identifying dozens of Harappan sites further upstream. Today, we know that the Sarasvati basin was home to some 360 Harappan sites (of the "Mature" or urban phase), making it one of the major heartlands of this first urban civilization on Indian soil.
How did the Sarasvati river dry up and disappear?
The explanation offered by most scholars, geologists in particular, is that the Sarasvati was partly fed by waters from the Sutlej (in the west) and the Yamuna (in the east). Indeed many palaeo-channels connecting those three rivers systems have been traced. Now, the watershed between the Yamuna and the Sutlej is a very flat and seismically active region; it has been proposed that it underwent a slight upliftment, which drove away the Sutlej and the Yamuna, leaving the Sarasvati with only a few seasonal tributaries originating in the Shivaliks.
Was the decline of the Harappan civilization due to the drying up or disappearance of Sarasvati?
It does seem to have been a major contributory factor, but probably not the only one. It is certain that the urban Harappan sites in the Sarasvati basin, such as Kalibangan, Banawali or Rakhigarhi, had to be abandoned. In the Indus basin, on the contrary, floods and consequent shifts in the Indus appear to have occurred. All this must have greatly impacted agricultural resources and possibly the urban administration. The Harappan state was geographically quite overstretched, from the Yamuna almost to Iran, and from northern Afghanistan to the Narmada; it apparently could not survive these upheavals, and the Harappans had to revert to a rural stage.
How did Indians start to believe that Sarasvati is the invisible river that merges with Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag?
I think this is a transfer of name intended to remember the river, nothing more. Some of the Late Harappans moved eastward, crossing Ganga, and it is likely that they did not want to forget the sacred river. So they restored it in the new location, but as an "invisible" river. Such name transfers have been fairly common in India, showing that remembrance and continuity of worship mattered more to the people than geographical or historical accuracy.
Currently, as I gather, from your book, there are five rivers named after the Sarasvati in the Yamuna-Sutlej divide. Where exactly are these rivers, and what are their exact names?
Yes, five at least: the Sarsuti I mentioned above; a small Sirsa river that runs from Kalka to meet the Sutlej above Rupar ("Sirsa", like "Sarsuti", derives from "Sarasvati"); then, starting near Pushkar, the upper course of the Luni River is locally known as "Sarasvati"; finally, we find two Sarasvatis in Gujarat, one flowing from the Aravalli Hills to the Little Rann of Kachchh, and another joining two other rivers at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra. All these rivers are in, or near, the basin of the original Sarasvati, and it seems plain enough that they testify to the sacredness of the original river and to a desire to preserve its memory.
You write "the twenty-first century may well see the end of the 3,000 year old Ganges civilization." Why do you say that?
Because the Ganges and its tributaries are now endangered rivers. Global warming threatens not only Himalayan glaciers, which are their sources, but the very existence of monsoons. Rapid but blind industrialization compounds these threats with intense pollution and wasteful use of water. The Ganges plains were the cradle of India's classical civilization; I hope they won't be its grave too.
Web October 29, 2012