I promised in a discussion on a private closed facebook page of a friend to give my independent interpretation of a couple of Vedic hymns. I’ll do it here publicly, as others may be interested.

Hymns: RigVeda 1.10.1-2, Rishi: Vishwamitra, Devata: Indra

गायन्ति त्वा गायत्रिणः = Gayatris are singing of you, O Gayatri. [Note: Gayatri = sing-worthy, target of all singing]

अर्चन्ति अर्कं अर्किणः = Suns are worshipping Sun

ब्रह्माणः त्वा शतक्रतो उद्वंशमिव येमिरे = Supreme Lords, O supreme Lord, form you in a hierarchical structure

यत् सानोः सानुं आरुहत् = as climbing higher from one summit to another

भूरि अस्पष्ट कर्त्वं = makes things (down below) highly unclear

तत् इन्द्रः अर्थं चेतति = so Indra inspires meaning

युथेन वृष्णिः एजति = while Vrishni stirs multitudes

First verse establishes that there are multitudes of beings and hierarchies, though all are Self. Lord is arranged in a structure that contains Lords; Sun is worshipped, by Suns; and, Gayatri is sung of, by Gayatris!

Second verse speaks of how consciousness is aware of one level in this hierarchy and unaware of levels below.

A simple example can drive the point home: When I open my eyes and some light falls on them, cells in the eye, cells in optical nerves and cells in brain work together to produce the notion that I am seeing so and so object. I am aware of the object, but not of various sensations in various cells.

Vrish means to rain or storm. Vrishni is the deity who storms consciousness by stirring multitudes of its parts into action. But we are not aware of it. At the summit of those actions by those cells is Indra, who inspires an “understanding” (अर्थं चेतति) based on those multitudes of sensations. We are aware only of that understanding (“I am seeing so and so object”) and not of all the sensations that brought it, just as one on a high summit does not see what is below clearly.

However, as the first verse says, Vrishni and multitudes of aspects of consciousness stirred into action by him, are all Self! The operational hierarchy does not imply superiority and inferiority.

All are Self, but they do play different roles in a hierarchy. It is more nuanced than saying “all is Self and any division/duality is a delusion”.

Different aspect of Self play different roles in various hierarchical structures. When we are aware of one level in the hierarchy, the lower levels may be obscure or quite unclear. By extension, there may be higher summits supported by various realities/experiences we have now, on reaching which these realities/experiences may just fade away into obscurity!

The simple act of thinking of this sentence and typing it involves billions of cells working together nicely! All those cells and consciousness operating through them are Self too, though I am not explicitly aware of them.