The early Vedic Indians built their cosmology by studying and
observing their surrounding reality and validating it with the
knowledge they found in the Vedas, which the seers (rsis)
obtained for them through their unified vision of the universe
in which they beheld the reality as the numerous aspects (organs)
of one Universal Being (Purusha).
They envisioned in God, the Supreme Self,
a magnified version of the same personality that
resided in their own bodies, by knowing which, they believed, one could
achieve eternity and oneness with the entire existence.
The same Nature, which sustained life outside and served as its
foundation also sustained and upheld the life within. Thus
the vehicle to bridge the vast spaces between this world and
higher worlds was one's own self (body) through which one could
reach gods and the highest Supreme Creator Himself. And as long
as one maintained harmony with the world outside by observing
the divine laws, one remained in the company of gods and secured
a place for oneself in the immortal heaven.
The distance between God and man was therefore so much as the
distance between one's own mind and heart or between the waking
consciousness characterized by duality and divisions of time and
the deep sleep consciousness characterized by unity and
By and large, in their worldview God and man represented the same reality, but in
varying proportions and in different dimensions. The external
world was an extension of the internal world and through one's
own body and mind one could reach out to God, the gods, the
heaven, the sun and the moon.
For them, existence and non-existence were the alternate modes of one
eternal and absolute reality, that was unchangeable and yet
provided room for such modifications as becoming and being through the illusion of
activity and transformation.
These ideas incited the intellectual curiosity of ancient
scholars and led to the emergence of several speculative
philosophies ranging from the most spiritual to the most
materialistic and from the nihilistic to the most
This, in essence, was the basic framework around which the
accommodated a beautiful and appealing assortment of beliefs and
practices that promised peace, prosperity, liberation and
eternal life for anyone who dared to venture into the mysterious
inner world of one's own beingness.
These ideas eventually found their way into the core and
foundational philosophy of Hinduism, imparting to it
philosophical depth and universal appeal for which it is
presently well known. Its makes Hinduism down-to-earth and its
basic tenets verifiable in the crucible of human experience.
The Sun and the moon symbolism
The early Vedic people divided the manifestation around
them into a few primary components, namely the earth (idam), the mid-region
(antariksham) filled with air or breath
inhabited by invisible celestial beings and the heavenly region consisting of
the sky, the heaven, the gods, the stars and the worlds to which people went
after their death.
This three tier universe was the sum total of everything (sarvam)
which they identified as existence (sat) which emerged out of
non-existence (asat) through the divisions and diversification
of a vast primal egg. All this floated in the endless space of
infinite Brahman in which events happened in recurring cycles
and definite patterns until all things were withdrawn and the
Great One retired into a sleeping mode.
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Suggested Further Reading