Secrets of Vedic Science & Mysticism
By Tina Sadhwani
TINA SADHWANI, INDEPENDENT WRITER AND RESEARCHER ON ANCIENT INDIAN HISTORY, INDIAN PHILOSOPHY, VEDIC MYSTICISM AND SANATAN DHARMA.
rivers lose name and form when they disappear into the sea, the sage
leaves behind all traces when he disappears into the light.
Perceiving the truth, he becomes truth; he passes beyond all
suffering, beyond death and all the knots of his heart are loosened.
one looks at the immense sea of knowledge that has come down to us
from the Vedic civilization one cannot help but feel overwhelmed at
the timeless grandeur and depth of such wisdom. Wisdom that has not
only cast its eternal light upon the earth but wisdom that has laid
the primal foundations for all the world's scientific and spiritual
ethos. The Supreme Vedic Experience had indeed unfolded within the
seers of antiquity the discoveries of the immutable Source,
furnishing cosmological insights into the macrocosm while revealing
the transcendental truths of Adhyatma-Vidya, the inner science.
Vedic seers, the oldest and highest luminaries of sentient
intelligence have been recognized as the primary 'seers' of such
wisdom; the 'seers' of the Veda. It has often been reiterated that
the Veda has been 'revealed' and not composed. That it is
not authored or created by man. One is however bound to question the
basis of such knowledge that has been mysteriously perceived or
'revealed' as opposed to logically arrived at through intellectual
endeavour or scientific investigation. How were the ancient seers, so
early in human history, made privy to information that enabled them
to understand the intrinsic operations of the universe without the
use of scientific technology, the kind that we are so proud of today?
How have the immense structures of civilization, of thought, of
language, of communication and of knowledge of the workings of the
cosmos been grown from and built upon the foundation of faculties
that are often considered the antithesis of reasoning, intellect and
of us often think that our own perception of the world and analysis
of things is the only level of thinking that exists and the only
standard of reality and normality. Furthermore, the modern mind tends
to give more credence to rationalism today and considers any
deviation from that norm as invalid, unacceptable or merely the work
of an inferior mind. The higher truths cognized by the ancient seers
are therefore often dismissed as the primitive compositions of an
ignorant race or sensational glorifications reflecting mere religious
is not commonly known is that the fountainhead of ancient enquiry has
often been governed by non-ordinary modes of information-processing
such as intuition, spiritual cognition and revelation. These have
been considered not just alternate operations of the mind but
superior and extraordinary modes of experience that transcended the
the Vedic mind has always been aware of the multifaceted nature of
reality that escapes even the most ingenious forms of speculation and
intellectualism; consequently, the Vedic truths and insights arrived
at have been the off-spring of such mystical and intuitive
revelations that have occurred primarily through transcendental modes
of consciousness. Nevertheless they have still displayed an integrity
of the highest intellectual vigour. The supramental consciousness
that has been established by the ancient seers in the earth-life, in
the world-order, and the power and knowledge that it has unleashed in
the form of the Veda- the self-expression of Spirit- cannot be
compared to or evaluated today by the crudities of the modern
of the Veda
delving into the immense Vedic literature one can easily observe the
fact that the Vedas are not a set of books or scriptures, for Vedic
knowledge is eternal. More accurately speaking, the Vedas can be
understood as a cosmic matrix of fundamental knowledge, embedded in
the very fabric of existence, echoing the scientific and spiritual
laws of the universe that was first revealed to and cognized by the
ancient seers in their advanced states of consciousness.
an 'advanced state of consciousness' which could serve as a
provisional key term here to comprehend the basis of such
metaphysical insight and knowledge, one could only be considered
looking at the infinite knowledge base of the Veda through merely a
perfect truth of the Veda, where it is now hidden, can only be
recovered by the same means by which it was originally possessed.
Revelation and experience are the doors of the Spirit. It cannot be
attained either by logical reasoning or by scholastic investigation…
‘Not by explanation of texts nor by much learning’, ‘not
by logic is this realisation attainable.’ Logical reasoning and
scholastic research can only be aids useful for confirming to the
intellect what has already been acquired by revelation and spiritual
experience. This limitation, this necessity are the inexorable
results of the very nature of Veda.'
Upanishads (Mandukya) further confirms this fact by explaining the
gross, subtle and causal conditions of manifested consciousness
corresponding to which there are different levels of reality embedded
in the very nature of our experiences. Apparent reality
(hallucination, dreams, etc), empirical reality (experiences of the
conscious, waking state) and higher spiritual reality (experiences of
the superconscious state). Therefore the type of cognition and
experience we have (apparent, empirical or supramental) differs
depending on the state of consciousness we are in and 'true
cognition' is said to be cognition at the 'spiritual level' of direct
experience and revelation.
our consciousness is identified with the physical body (sthula
sharira) then we are said to experience the waking state (jagrat).
When consciousness is identified with the subtle body (sukshma
sharira) then we experience the dream state. When consciousness is
identified with the causal body (karana sharira) then we experience
the deep sleep state. The common aspect shared by these three states
of being is the 'absence of knowledge' of the true nature of reality.
It is emphasized that it is only in the super-conscious state
(turiya) that consciousness breaks free from the limitations of all
the bodies and takes cognizance of the Absolute Reality (Brahman).
the 'way' or mode in which we tend to 'know' things seems to
determine the validity and substantiality of the knowledge thus
gained. According to the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali,
there are different ways in which we arrive at knowledge, understand
it and respond to the environment. These ways of 'knowing' are set in
a hierarchical mode of information processing in which sensory
perception (utilizing the five senses) is considered to be an
inferior form of awareness, followed by the conceptual mode
(rational, linguistic) and finally by the supramental mode which is
intuitive in nature and which reveals to us the true nature of
Age of Intuition
and sensory perception serve as suitable methods of processing
information when it comes to the lower functions of consciousness
such as thinking, emotions, volition, etc. However our senses are
limited in their range of information processing and cannot always
solve all problems, especially those of a metaphysical nature.
Reasoning and logic take place through the agency of the intellect
(buddhi) and hence serve as useful modes when we cannot rely on our
senses to provide us with adequate information. However, the
intellect has been found to have its limitations too.
super-conscious experience on the other hand, moves beyond the
faculty of the senses, the mind and the intellect. It enables one to
have a 'direct' experience of reality without being influenced by the
conditioned filters of the mind. It is found most useful in cognizing
metaphysical phenomena, true nature of reality, nature of self, etc.
The mind and intellect are then meant to serve as useful
intermediaries to organize and communicate such esoteric knowledge.
can clearly see how the age of pure intuition which defined the early
Vedic and Upanishadic thinking was then followed by the age of reason
which organized the Vedic insights into scriptural, metaphysical
philosophies. This period saw the rise of many conflicting schools of
thought, each of which founded itself on the Veda but used its text
as a weapon of reason against the others. Today's age on the other
hand is defined more by pursuits of experimental science.
Vedic thinking has however been more holistic, with a tendency
towards the synthesis and unity of all knowledge. So by establishing
itself in the higher, supramental mode of being the Vedic experience
has very early in history discovered the eternal and spiritual
fundamental reality that lies beneath all the formation and movement
which constitutes the apparent physical reality.
the intuitive knowing and holistic vision of the Vedic mind,
mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace explained it very precisely:
intellect which at a given instant knew all the forces acting in
nature, and the position of all things of which the world consists...
would embrace in the same formula the motions of the greatest bodies
in the universe and those of the slightest atoms; nothing would be
uncertain for it, and the future, like the past, would be present to
Doors of Spirit
the timeless nature and depth of Vedic insights, it would be safe to
assume that the ancient seers were host to such transpersonal and
supramental modes of experience that made them privy to information
that is normally out of the range of common awareness. Generally,
each and every mode of consciousness gives us access to a different
view of some aspect of reality, but the supramental mode offers a
more complete and god-like view of existence as one's consciousness
expands to become a super-conductor of information that cannot be
otherwise known to us by mere observation or speculation. Hence one
seems to then be able to access the universal database or global
mainframe because in this state there is a 'transcendence' of time,
space, personal self and culture. Information processing becomes
'impersonal' as there is no longer just a separated, individualized
'self' that is having experiences because consciousness expands to
include the world and universe at large. In other words, one's
consciousness literally steps out of the conditioned system of the
three dimensional reality and moves from being 'ego-centric' to
kind of experience tends to surpass ordinary sensing, perceiving,
conceptualizing, reasoning or understanding and is unlike anything
remembered or imagined. It is, the Hindu mystics say,
intuition, pure consciousness, 'sat-chit-ananda' if you may. Yet,
even this description of the Supreme Experience is simply akin to the
finger pointing to the moon, which is not the moon. It can never be
conceptualized or described as it is beyond all thought and
imagination. It is nothing within the mind or outside it, nothing in
the past, present or future for all these are merely conceptions in
time and space.
the context of the Vedas, 'sravas' literally means 'hearing'. From
this is derived 'sravana, sruti, sruta', meaning "revealed"
or knowledge that comes through the opening of the mind's channels.
Drsti- direct perception of the truth and Sruti- direct hearing of
the truth are hence the two chief powers and faculties of that
advanced consciousness, which corresponds to the old Vedic idea of
the Truth, the Ritam. Whoever is thus at this advanced level of
consciousness, possesses and becomes invariably open to the faculties
of drsti and sruti and is then considered the Rishi or the Kavi, sage
or seer of Truth.
the secret of the Veda, Aurobindo
Rishi was not the individual composer of the hymn, but the seer
of an eternal truth and an impersonal knowledge. The language of Veda
itself is S’ruti,
a rhythm not composed by the intellect but heard, a divine Word that
came vibrating out of the Infinite to the inner audience of the man
who had previously made himself fit for the impersonal knowledge.'
according to psychologist and philosopher James, an important quality
of these non-ordinary states of consciousness is that they are noetic
are basically states of insight into the depths of truth, unhindered
by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations and revelations
about the universe at large, full of significance and importance...
they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.'
Supreme Vedic Experience
has been the power and authority of the Supreme Vedic Experience that
has left us the treasure of universal, eternal truths and insights.
Such insights can only be decoded by the same process that led to its
revelation. And it is for this same reason why everyone cannot be
considered qualified to interpret the Vedas, unless their
consciousness has expanded enough to transcend its own cultural
conditionings to the level where it achieves unity of vision and
unity of being.
the symbols and terms used in Vedic verses when properly recognized
and understood possess great value: they are 'evocative' and induce
direct intuitive understanding. Hence they are meant to be meditated
upon and not merely rationalized or intellectualized. He who takes
the Vedic verses literally will not be able to move past them towards
the higher realities that they point to. That is essentially why one
requires the ability to synthesize all visions and perspectives
expressed in the Vedas and comprehend it holistically, as an organic
this is also the reason why in India, in the ancient era, 'Brahmins'
were primarily entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and
disseminating the Vedic knowledge, not because of some misconceived
racial superiority but because they were considered the most advanced
in their consciousness through intense yogic disciplines of
meditation and tapasya.
ancient Vedic seers have also been aware that no individual could
claim to be the exclusive custodian of a direct link to the Divine
which is why they never set up any hierarchy, dogma or religion to
access or experience the Absolute Reality. With fullness of being,
fullness of life and fullness of consciousness they have manifested
on earth the sublime voice of Spirit and endowed with such
Brahman-Vidya or Supreme Illumination they have ingeniously preserved
and delivered to us these universal and sentient truths through the
many changing cycles of time.
is That, divine, its form unthinkable; it shines out subtler than the
subtle: very far and farther than farness, it is here close to us,
for those who have the vision it is here even in this world; it is
here, hidden in the secret heart.