When we study the Vedas we should be aware of two different things: the esoteric interpretations of the Vedas made by illumined spiritual Masters, and the mental conclusions made by scholars and historians. Each esoteric interpretation by a Master is founded upon a direct intuitive vision of the Truth, whereas each mental conclusion of a scholar or historian is founded upon unillumined mental analysis and hesitant, uncertain research.
The seers of the hoary past saw the Truth and revealed the Truth. Seekers of all ages feel the Truth and use the Truth. But most scholars do not care for the realisation of the Truth; they care only for the manifestation of the Truth. They care more for the form than for the spirit of the Vedas.
Most historians put the lesser truths mentioned in the Vedas, those relating to the caste system and magic formulas, in the vanguard of their discussions, and pay little attention to the highest Truth, the Knowledge of Brahman. They have no time to know soulfully and devotedly the life-energising and life-fulfilling messages that the Vedas actually contain. The life-giving and life-revealing messages of the Vedas do not seem to satisfy them. The birth of the Vedas, the outer growth of the Vedas and the decline of the Vedic influence on India are more than enough to satisfy them.
The Vedas are meant for the lovers of eternal Time, not for the lovers of fleeting earthly time. The Vedas are meant for those who love God, the Truth, and not for those who love merely the body of obscure history, which embodies the life of complication and confusion.
Professor Max Müller undoubtedly loved India. He wrote considerably on Indian scriptures. But there was something in him which a true lover of India cannot forgive. Those who feel that Max Müller?s love for India had a secret motive are perfectly correct. In utmost secrecy, in the inner recesses of his heart it seemed that he wanted to convert India, the Indian mind and the Indian heart, to Christianity. For example, he wrote to the Secretary of State for India, the Duke of Argyl, in 1868:
The ancient religion of India is doomed, and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?
And to his wife in 1886, he wrote:
I hope I shall finish the work, and I feel convinced, though I shall not live to see it, that this edition of mine and the translation of the Vedas will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of the religion, and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3,000 years.
When he extolled India to the skies, he was sincere in his praise. It came from the depths of his heart. But his desire to convert India to Christianity was equally sincere. That feeling too, I am sure, came from the depths of his heart. His was a life of complexity.
Had Max Müller not studied the Upanishads, had he not been illumined by the Light of the Upanishads, he would not have been acclaimed by the entire world. His name would have remained unknown in the world?s literature. If it is true that he brought the Upanishads to the world at large, then it is equally true that the touch of the Upanishadic Light brought him fame.
The Vedas and the Vedic hymns are inseparable. Each hymn is an invocation to a particular god or deity. Each hymn is a discovery of a Kavi, Rishi or Vipra: a Vedic poet, a Vedic seer or a Vedic sage. Each Vedic discovery is a boon from God. Each boon is a spark of Light. Each spark of Light is an accomplishment of God in man and an accomplishment of man in God. Man?s ultimate accomplishment is the transformation of human nature. God?s ultimate accomplishment is the perfection of the earth-consciousness.
Life is an idea.
Life is an ideal.
Life has a soul.
Life has a goal.
The Vedic idea of life is the idea of Truth. The Vedic ideal of life is the ideal of Bliss. The Vedic soul is the soul of multiplicity in unity. The Vedic goal is the goal of unifying earth?s wideness and Heaven?s abundance.
India had the Vedic seers of Truth. India has seekers after Truth. The supreme task of the seers was to bring the cosmic gods and deities down into the earth-consciousness. They performed their task. Now it is the task of the seekers to keep the gods and deities here on earth and help them in their cosmic play. The Supreme saw His infinite potentialities and possibilities in the seers. The Supreme sees His manifesting Reality and fulfilling Perfection in the seekers.
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, Penn.
November 29, 1972