Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Swami Vivekananda's vision of Vedic Age

'Story Time : 

======== Swami Vivekananda's vision of Vedic Age ========

Swami Vivekananda always thought of himself as a descendant of the Rishis. Indeed, sometimes he seemed to be one of the rishis of that far off time come to life again, so living was his teaching of that ancient wisdom.  

During Swami Vivekanand's stay at Porbandar, Pandit Shankar Pandurang was editing Sayanacharya's commentary on the 'Atharva Veda'. Impressed by Vivekananda's scholarship, he often asked his help to explain some of the more abstruse passages which Vivekanandadid with his usual expertise. Both kept at the work constantly, Swamiji becoming more and more engrossed in it as his perception of the greatness of Vedic thought grew still keener. Swamiji also finished reading of Panini's 'Mahabhasya' at Porbandar. Swami Vivekanand told Swami Akhandananda that in the whole of India he had not seen Pandurang's equal in Vedic learning.

Swami Vivekananda had a vision in his parivrajaka days, some two years after the mahasamadhi of Sri Ramakrishna, probably in January of 1888. On that occasion he had the vision of an old man standing on the banks of the Indus and chanting riks or Vedic mantrams, in such a distinctly different form from the accustomed methods of intonation that it could be compared rather to Gregorian chanting. In his own words :

" It was evening in that age when the Aryans had only reached the Indus. I saw an old man seated on the bank of the great river. Wave upon wave of darkness was rolling in upon him, and he was chanting from the Rig Veda. Then I awoke, and went on chanting. They were the tones that we used long ago... "

" Shankaracharya had caught the rhythm of the Vedas, the national cadence. Indeed, I always imagine that he had some vision such as mine when he was young, and recovered the ancient music that way...his whole life’s work is nothing but that, the throbbing of the beauty of the Vedas and the Upanishads."

Being Asked where he had learnt to chant with that marvelous intonation which never failed to thrill the listener, he shyly told of a dream or vision in which he saw himself in the forest of ancient India hearing a voice - his voice - chanting the sacred Sanskrit verses. In the dream or vision... he saw sages gathered in a holy grove asking questions concerning the ultimate Reality. A youth among them answered in a clarion voice: 

युजे वां ब्रह्म पूर्व्यं नमोभिर्विश्लोक एतु पथ्येव सूरेः।
शृण्वन्तु विश्वे अमृतस्य पुत्रा आ ये धामानि दिव्यानि तस्थुः।।

" Hear, ye children of immortal bliss, even ye who dwell in higher spheres, I have found the ancient One, knowing whom alone ye shall be saved from death over again ! " 

His brother-disciple Swami Shivananda mentioned that once Swamiji had a strange vision while travelling in the Himalayas. It was Sunset and he saw a group of Rishis with bright radiant appearance and long white beard, chanting a verse and descending from the mountain. Shivananda Ji says that Swamiji came to revive the ancient religion of the Rishis. Maybe that was the reason why he had these visions. The passage which Swamiji heard was the salutation to Gayatri which begins with :

आयाही वरदे देवी त्रक्षरे ब्रम्मवादिनी I 
गायत्रीछंद्सांग मातर्ब्रम्मयोनि नामोहस्तु ते II

" O come, Thou effulgent One, Thou bestower of blessings, signifier of Brahman in three letters. Salutation be to Thee, O Gayatri, Mother of Vedic mantrams, Thou who hast sprung from Brahman."   

While being absorbed in rapt meditation on the rock of Kanyakumarika in the sea, he saw Indian civilization from its primeval age to next several centuries in future. The Swami believed that through this perception he had recovered the musical cadences of the earliest Aryan ancestors. He also found something remarkably sympathetic to this mode of chanting in the poetry of Shankaracharya. 

" Om Shanti Shanti Shanti "'= Swami Vivekananda's vision of Vedic Age=
Swami Vivekananda always thought of himself as a descendant of the Rishis. Indeed, sometimes he seemed to be one of the rishis of that far off time come to life again, so living was his teaching of that ancient wisdom.
During Swami Vivekanand's stay at Porbandar, Pandit Shankar Pandurang was editing Sayanacharya's commentary on the 'Atharva Veda'. Impressed by Vivekananda's scholarship, he often asked his help to explain some of the more abstruse passages which Vivekanandadid with his usual expertise. Both kept at the work constantly, Swamiji becoming more and more engrossed in it as his perception of the greatness of Vedic thought grew still keener. Swamiji also finished reading of Panini's 'Mahabhasya' at Porbandar. Swami Vivekanand told Swami Akhandananda that in the whole of India he had not seen Pandurang's equal in Vedic learning.
Swami Vivekananda had a vision in his parivrajaka days, some two years after the mahasamadhi of Sri Ramakrishna, probably in January of 1888. On that occasion he had the vision of an old man standing on the banks of the Indus and chanting riks or Vedic mantrams, in such a distinctly different form from the accustomed methods of intonation that it could be compared rather to Gregorian chanting. In his own words :

" It was evening in that age when the Aryans had only reached the Indus. I saw an old man seated on the bank of the great river. Wave upon wave of darkness was rolling in upon him, and he was chanting from the Rig Veda. Then I awoke, and went on chanting. They were the tones that we used long ago... "
" Shankaracharya had caught the rhythm of the Vedas, the national cadence. Indeed, I always imagine that he had some vision such as mine when he was young, and recovered the ancient music that way...his whole life’s work is nothing but that, the throbbing of the beauty of the Vedas and the Upanishads."
Being Asked where he had learnt to chant with that marvelous intonation which never failed to thrill the listener, he shyly told of a dream or vision in which he saw himself in the forest of ancient India hearing a voice - his voice - chanting the sacred Sanskrit verses. In the dream or vision... he saw sages gathered in a holy grove asking questions concerning the ultimate Reality. A youth among them answered in a clarion voice:
युजे वां ब्रह्म पूर्व्यं नमोभिर्विश्लोक एतु पथ्येव सूरेः।
शृण्वन्तु विश्वे अमृतस्य पुत्रा आ ये धामानि दिव्यानि तस्थुः।।
" Hear, ye children of immortal bliss, even ye who dwell in higher spheres, I have found the ancient One, knowing whom alone ye shall be saved from death over again ! "
His brother-disciple Swami Shivananda mentioned that once Swamiji had a strange vision while travelling in the Himalayas. It was Sunset and he saw a group of Rishis with bright radiant appearance and long white beard, chanting a verse and descending from the mountain. Shivananda Ji says that Swamiji came to revive the ancient religion of the Rishis. Maybe that was the reason why he had these visions. The passage which Swamiji heard was the salutation to Gayatri which begins with :
आयाही वरदे देवी त्रक्षरे ब्रम्मवादिनी I
गायत्रीछंद्सांग मातर्ब्रम्मयोनि नामोहस्तु ते II
" O come, Thou effulgent One, Thou bestower of blessings, signifier of Brahman in three letters. Salutation be to Thee, O Gayatri, Mother of Vedic mantrams, Thou who hast sprung from Brahman."
While being absorbed in rapt meditation on the rock of Kanyakumarika in the sea, he saw Indian civilization from its primeval age to next several centuries in future. The Swami believed that through this perception he had recovered the musical cadences of the earliest Aryan ancestors. He also found something remarkably sympathetic to this mode of chanting in the poetry of Shankaracharya.