Vedic Rta

A Brief Description of the Cosmic Laws of Necessity


“Rtam, Satyam, Vijnani” – True knowledge is knowing the Truth that is Rta.

As you sow so shall you reap - cause of rebirth of human beings. - Vedic Rta

The ideal of all religions, all sects is one and the same – The attaining of liberty and cessation of misery. Whenever you find religion, you find this ideal working in one form or another. Of course in lower stages of religion it is not so well expressed; but still, well or ill-expressed, it is the one goal to which every religion approaches. All of us want to get rid of misery; we are struggling to attain liberty - physical, mental, spiritual. This is the whole idea upon which the world is working.

Rtam, Satyam, Dharmmam”- Cosmic Laws (Rta) are eternal truths (Satyam) and following these Laws of Nature is Vedic Dharma

Paths can be many but all Paths should lead to welfare of Mankind. Thus Vedas are the only scriptures that have laid down the cosmic laws for the welfare of entire Mankind. In the Vedas, Dharma is Rta. These are priori principles known to individuals as “real self”. Having created these laws (Rta), Vedas say god follows them sternly. These laws are eternal and any cosmic laws, which changes with time, is not a Vedic Rta. These laws cover comprehensively human conduct, avoidance of all material excesses, enlightened liberalism, selfless action, path of virtue etc. Not following these laws is adharma.

In about 17,000 mantars/riks/hymns four Vedas contain, a very large number of subjects are relating to material (pertaining to perishable), spiritual (relating to withdraw able) and divine (relating to eternal) subjects. These laws are commandments of God for social and moral order, apart from good conduct and harmonious living of human beings. Atharva Veda 4-1-3 tells us that from the bosom of the sacred cosmic word OM, He brought forth the world- on high, below where He abides in His own Laws. Cosmic Laws of Necessity (Rta) contained in the Book of Nature which even blind persons and all animate life on earth, water, firmament can read, is a major subject of Vedas. For the cosmic laws the terms used in the Vedas are Rta, Ritane and Vratani. Yajur Veda 6-4 ordains “O, man study God's works of creation, preservation and dissolution whereby He determines His laws”. These are eternal laws and have passed through barbarism, ruthless tyranny, autocracy, oligarchy, age of reason, science and technology, pure idealism to extreme of materialism, but still remain the same and guide the mankind throughout the world. Thus more appropriate­ly we can describe these laws as the Will of God and it is the sum total of all causes, all divine laws scattered over time and space through the functioning of the Nature.

According to Yajur Veda 26-1, we get true knowledge of these cosmic laws from seven forces of the Nature viz.; the Sun, Moon, firmament, waters, clouds, fire and the earth, which are all beneficial to the mankind and make our paths pleasant and comfortable. Taittrya Upanishad 1-2 says, if religion is dharma (righteousness), it is then Rta. To bring unity in diversity there are concepts like Three bodies in one (tri-ani-pada), Seven means of getting knowledge, 108 beads in Vyjanti mala based on distance between Earth, Moon and Sun in the ratio of 108 (since proved in laboratory) as mentioned in the book Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics. The concept of "Seven" has some sanctity in the Vedas as these Shrutis prescribe "Seven" types of knowledge based on functioning of divine Nature and gross Universe. Vedic seers and sages seemed to have found the concept of seven in many spiritual and divine activities. According to Rig-Veda 1-58-7, the Soul (Atman) has seven means to get outside knowledge of the phenomenal world i.e. five senses, mind and intellect. There are seven rays of the Sun consisting of seven colors (R.V.1-62-4), which the modern Physicists describe through the word VIBGYOR- violent, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. There are seven meters (Chhanda) for each Vedic hymn or rik like Gayatri, Ushnavi, Anusthup etc. There are seven Worlds in the Brahamand- both visible and non visible cosmos (R.V.1-146-1). Seven heavens and seven communities in harmony in the visible and non-visible cosmos. There are seven subtle Pranas (vital breaths) which provide heat energy to all animate life. Vedic seers and sages name these as prana, apana, udana, sytra, atma, koorma and samana. These vital breaths consist of subtle particles (R.V.1-71-7). In the Vedas there is also mention of three more Pranas consisting of gross atoms. Again there is a mention of seven notes of music when in harmony create sweet and melodious sound, seven colors of flame of holy fire (R.V 1-58-7).

From this concept of Seven, Vedas tell us that out of various diversities in the Nature (divine Prakrti) human beings can achieve harmony, cooperation and unity. In fact unity of soul, spirit, body and matter is also an important subject of the Vedas. In all animate and inanimate life spirit and matter go together as due to spirit in shuniya (void) even inanimate things have unsuspected vitality. This concept of "Seven" in the Nature and universe was applied by the then metaphysicists ( Rishis of yore) in the Vedic education system and symbolically assigned this attribute of Prakrti to Saraswati devi (Being of light with no form). She is the over all in- charge of seven streams of knowledge and presides over education. She is also one of the 33 formless devas and devis of Prakrti and also presides over Music with seven notes in harmony. Thus Vedic para jnan - higher harmonized knowledge of divinity, spirit and matter is based on Vedic Rta (cosmic Laws of necessity) relating to Seven. Only when seven streams of knowledge are known, one can understand the Supreme Reality in all its forms and aspects. They named this supreme reality as Brahman and the student who acquires His knowledge was described as Brhamanchari. To acquire complete knowledge of seven streams of Vidya, the education system stretches till the age of 48 years of the student, when the degree of Aditya is awarded. Aditya in the Vedas is akin to deva -the nearest English translation is god.

These seven streams of knowledge cover complete jnan, vijnan and ajnan. Jnan is divine knowledge, Vijnan is scientific spiritual knowledge and Ajnan is only material knowledge of inert matter. Material knowledge bereft of Jnan and Vijnan is avidya or ignorance but when in harmony with these it is Vidya (perfect knowledge). These seven streams of knowledge cover ten sciences, military science, social sciences and 16 kinds of arts, philosophy and metaphysics. Based on the functioning of Nature, concepts of seven and Rta, Vedic education aims at creating unity in diversity while harmonizing spirit and matter, body and soul, a-priori and a-posteriori knowledge.

 With a view to emphasize the divinity in the concept of seven, Vedic seers and sages provided Mother hymn Gayatri mantra, seven times in Vedas. In this mother hymn there is a prayer to God that during our three stages of being awake, asleep and even in our dreams, also referred as gross, subtle and causal states, we should be blessed with complete knowledge of the Supreme Reality. We spread the same in society and shine like Savitar deva-the Sun.

The religious mythology refers to seven streams of water emerging from the hair locks of lord Shiva and then converging into one big stream named as Ganga- the river Ganges . In the Vedas word Ganga also appears but with no mythology. The seven streams of knowledge when merge and constitute Vedic Vidya, para Jnan or higher knowledge that stage is referred as Ganga- the river of perfect knowledge. Rig Veda 1-174-2 says," after acquiring the knowledge of seven streams, even seven fortifications of the wicked persons following non-divine activities and professions, get destroyed and enemies become friends." Thus Adityas who are akin to devas and gods, when they spread knowledge as preceptors (gurus), even wicked persons start becoming virtuous and friendly.

Athrava Veda mentions there were many religions at that time in harmony with each other. If God wanted He could have made us part of one religion, one community but He desired differently. God desired that all religions should compete with each other based on Rta eternal Laws of Nature for the welfare of mankind and other animate/inanimate life/things. This holy injunction is clearly meant to create unity in diversity by providing divine sanctity to the noble concept.

The great importance given to Rta in the Vedas can be appreciated from the description of these laws in Rig Veda 1-75- 5 where it says, " ritam. satyam vijnani ", which would literally mean "absolute truth which is Rta, is the only true knowledge." Rig Veda 1-24-15 clearly says that by following these laws, you remain away from misery and get bliss. There is also a prayer in Rig Veda 1-25-1," O, merciful God, be kind to us as we violate your laws, knowingly and unknowingly day after day." Obviously this simple prayer is a reminder to the men and women to start knowing, understanding and following these laws for their own interest as well as for the interest of the entire mankind and other animate life. By following these laws one can understand the Purpose of Human Birth which Vedas tell us is “to assist the Viswakarma (Supreme Architect) in the maintenance of His Grand wondrous Design. These holy laws are inviolable, immutable and eternal (R.V.1-12-7 and 1-24-10). If at any stage the concept of righteousness deviates even slightly from the divine laws conveyed to us through the divine Nature Prakrti as Rta, that is no longer Dharma.

Rig-Veda 1- 22-8 decrees that all things in this world, middle region and heaven follow eternal laws ordained by Him. Yajur Veda 24-42 further tells us that all pathways HE guides with Rta which are also moral laws. Aittrya Upanishad 4-1 and Taittrya Upanishad 1-2 reiterate this divine truth.

Each Vedic Rta is complete in itself and no further evolution in these laws is possible. These are for once and ever. If any Rta is different for different periods of history, area or country, it is not Rta. These laws of God and for some as laws of Nature are applicable universally and for all periods to come in the future as well. Tampering and transgressing these laws is misery and death (Y.V. 25-13 and A.V 3-30-4). Those opposed to Rta and Satya produce for themselves deep abyss of sufferings (R.V.1-5-20, 4-5-5, 5-51-2). By ignoring the two Vedic concepts i.e. Rta and Iddm Nan Mmam (Vedic enlightened liberalism) the individuals can precipitate cosmic and social disorder.

The moral law of moderation or golden mean also is derived from the flow of river i.e. containing one self within limits by avoidance of all kinds of excesses- both affluence and deficiency by following middle path within certain tolerance limits. The river is useful so long as it remains within two banks and also continues to flow. Moha i.e. attachment/infatuation to children is cause of trouble. The children have their own souls, karma and thoughts. Vedas refer to children as God's children. Their parents are only the custodians and trustees of the children on behalf of God. It is parent’s duty to impart them good education, Vedic Vidya which should cover divine, spiritual and material knowledge. Sankracharya describes Vedic education as para and apara jnan- both higher and lower.

Prem Sabhlok