The Second Stage: The Solar Quaternary
The first stage of perfection in Vedic Yoga is prepared by Indra, Agni and Maruts filling the mind and heart of the aspirant with light and energy, creating the illumined Mind full of the rays of light, energy and joy. This creates the inner foundation for a still higher ascension and perfection in the Sun-world beyond the Swar or heavens of Indra. This higher stage brings down the Solar-godheads, godheads of the Sun-world. The vedic sages had a clear vision of the great solar godheads, whom they called as Adityas, sons of Aditi. The invocatory verses addressed to them are in the words of Sri. Aurobindo “among the most beautiful, solemn and profound that the imagination of man has conceived.” Here are some verses on the solar godheads.
“The sons of the Infinite, one in their will and work, pure, purified in the streams, free from crookedness, free from defect, unhurt in their being, wide, profound, unconquered, conquering, with many organs of vision, they beheld within the crooked things and the perfect; all is near to the kings, even things that are highest, Son of the Infinite, they dwell in the movement of the world and uphold it, they are guardians of all that becomes the universe; far-thoughted, full of Truth, they guard the Might: (RV, II. 27, 2.4)
“Three earths they hold, three heavens, three workings of in the knowledge within; by the Truth, O, Sons of the Infinite, great is the vastness of yours, O Aryaman, O Mithra, O Varuna, great and beautiful. Three heavenly worlds of light they hold, the gods golden-shining who are pure and purified in the stream; sleepless, unconquerable, they close not their lids, they press the wideness to the mortal who is straight” (RV, II. 27, 3.9)
“Charioted in Light are they, aggressive in knowledge and they clothe themselves in the abundance of heaven” (RV, X. 8.9)
These are the solar godhead who are the guardians of the supreme Light and Truth. And the names of these give an indication of the highest spiritual ideal envisioned by the vedic sages.
Vedic sages mention the name of four solar godheads, divine quaternary: Varuna, Mithra, Aryaman and Bhaga. They represent the four fundamental attributes of the supreme Being. Varuna represents the unity, vastness, purity and omnipresence of the divine Truth; Mithra, the light, love, beauty and harmony of the divine consciousness; Aryaman, the creative force, energy and strength of the Divine Force; Bhaga is the eternal bliss and ecstasy inherent in the being.
The solar godheads descend into the human vessel prepared by Indra and Agni, who make the aspirant “straight” and make it fit to receive the greater “godheads of the Sun who express the wideness to the mortal who is straight”. They bring the wideness and infinity of the supramental Truth to the consciousness of the aspiring soul. In this higher stage also there is a pattern of movement and order in their workings. First comes Varuna with his vastness, purity, peace and freedom of Truth. It is these qualities of Varuna which help the seeker to receive, hold and assimilate the supramental Love, Strength and Delight of Mithra, Aryaman and Bhagya without spilling or breaking down under the pressure of higher forces.
In this vastness and purity of consciousness prepared by Varuna descends the strength, force and energy of Aryaman. We must note hear the strength of Aryaman is not the strength and energy of vitality, the “Horses” which forms a part of the earlier stage of psychological perfection. The strength of Aryaman is the strength of the Spirit which is based not on movement but on Immobility; an absolute immobility supporting the action of an Infinite energy is the nature of the strength which Aryaman brings to the human soul. This capacity for “Inaction in Action” is the basis for all perfection in works.
Then comes Mithra, the Lord of Beauty, Harmony and Love. For where there is not the purity, vastness and strength of Truth, the spiritual Love can not stay. This is a fact which some of the exclusive systems of Bhakthi Yoga tends to ignore. And this has resulted in the degeneration of many of the bhakthi cults in India. As Sri Aurobindo points out “Where there is no knowledge or power, love does not stay. Narrowness and littleness come in. In a narrow and small mind, life and heart, love finds no room.”
But Mithra leads to Love not by exclusive and one-sided paths but through an all-inclusive Harmony. For this all-embracing and integral Harmony is the basis of higher Love. Harmony of the body, psyche and spirit of the individual and their faculties and Harmony of the individual with life, Nature and environment and other individuals must be the principle and basis of the discipline or austerity of love.
And finally comes Bhaga, the Lord of ecstasy and delight as the highest culmination and fulfillment of the vedic sacrifice. But only that human vessel prepared by the other gods can bear the supreme and eternal Delight of Bhaga. Otherwise, warn the vedic sages, the unprepared and unbaked vessel will break under the impact of this fierce, violent and boundless flood of delight of Bhaga. Here also we must distinguish between the two vedic gods of delight, Soma and Bhaga. Bhaga is the delight inherent in the eternal Being, the one original Existence Ekam Tat Sat. Soma is the expression of this supreme Delight in the physical and sensational being. This is not the pleasure of Kama which is a diminished and distorted expression of the delight of being in the lower nature of man. Soma is the expression of the Delight of being in the purified and diminished sensations.
And this whole process of vedic yoga proceeds by the progressive illuminations of Usha, the Goddess of Dawn. She reveals and manifest the Gods to Man. All the gods-except Agni who is awake and works even during night-awake and start working with the dawn of Usha. Usha represents the progressive manifestation of the divine consciousness in Man in the form of increasingly luminous and ever-widening inner dawns of illumination revealing to the seeker the heights and depths of his own being and its hidden powers and potentialities.
Thus when we examine the psychological and spiritual significances of the vedic gods in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s interpretations we find that the vedic spiritual ideal is not just a static repose or freedom in a blank eternity but a progressive and integral spiritual fulfillment of the whole being of man. What the vedic sages sought is an integral spiritual realization in which each part or forces of our being attain its highest fulfillment in the Divine Consciousness.