The Guardians of the Light MITRA by Sri Aurobindo
If the purity, infinity, strong royalty of Varuna are the grand framework and majestic substance of the divine being, Mitra is its beauty and perfection. To be infinite, pure, a king over oneself and a master-soul must be the nature of the divine man because so he shares in the nature of God. But the Vedic ideal is not satisfied simply with a large, unfulfilled plan of the divine image. There must be noble and rich contents in this vast continent; the many-roomed tenement of our being contained in Varuna has to be ordered by Mitra in the right harmony of its utility and its equipment.
For the godhead is a plenitude as well as an infinity; Varuna is an ocean no less than an ethereal heaven. Pure and subtle as the ether, his strong substance is yet no serene void or easy vague of inactive peace, but rather we have seen in it a surging march of thought and action; he has been described to us as a nodus in which all wisdom is upgathered and a hill upon which the original, unfallen workings of the gods are supported. King Varuna is one who sleeps not, but is awake and mighty forever, eternally an effective force and worker for the Truth and the Right. Still he acts as the guardian of the Truth rather than constitutes it, or constitutes rather through the action of other god- heads who avail themselves of his wideness and surging force. He keeps, drives even the shining herds, but does not assemble them in the pastures, an upholder of our powers and remover of obstacles and enemies much more than a builder of our parts.
Who then gathers knowledge into this nodus or links divine action in this sustainer of works ? Mitra is the harmoniser, Mitra the builder, Mitra the constituent Light, Mitra the god who effects the right unity of which Varuna is the substance and the infinitely self-enlarging periphery. These two Kings are complementary to each other in their nature and their divine works. In them we find and by them we gain harmony in largeness: we see in the Godhead and increase in ourselves purity without defect basing love faultless in wisdom. Therefore these two are a great duo of the self-fulfilling godhead and the Vedic word calls them together to a vaster and vaster sacrifice to which they arrive as the inseparable builders of an increasing Truth. Madhuchchhandas gives us the keynote of their united divinity.
"Mitra I call, the pure in judgment, and Varuna, devourer of the foe. By Truth, Mitra and Varuna, Truth-increasers who get to the touch of Truth, you attain to a vast working of the will. Seers, dwellers in the wideness, born with many births they uphold the judgment at its works" (1.2.7-9).
The name Mitra comes from a root which meant originally to contain with compression and so to embrace and has given us the ordinary Sanskrit word for friend, mitra, as well as the archaic Vedic word for bliss, mayas. Upon the current sense of the word mitra, the Friend, the Vedic poets continually rely for their covert key to the psychological function of this apparent sungod. When the other deities and especially the brilliant Agni are spoken of as helpful friends to the human sacrificer, they are said to be Mitra, or to be like Mitra, or to become Mitra, — as we should now say, the divine Will-force, or whatever other power and personality of the godhead, reveals itself eventually as the divine Love. Therefore we must suppose that to these symbolists Mitra was essentially the Lord of Love, a divine friend, a kindly helper of men and immortals. The Veda speaks of him as the most beloved of the gods.
The Vedic seers looked at Love from above, from its source and root and saw it and received it in their humanity as an out- flowing of the divine Delight. The Taittiriya Upanishad ex- pounding this spiritual and cosmic bliss of the godhead, Vedantic Ananda, Vedic Mayas, says of it, "Love is its head." But the word it chooses for Love, priyam, means properly the delightful- ness of the objects of the soul's inner pleasure and satisfaction. The Vedic singers used the same psychology. They couple mayas and prayas, — mayas, the principle of inner felicity independent of all objects, prayas, its outflowing as the delight and pleasure of the soul in objects and beings. The Vedic happiness is this divine felicity which brings with it the boon of a pure possession and sinless pleasure in all things founded upon the unfailing touch of the Truth and Right in the freedom of a large universality.
Mitra is the most beloved of the gods because he brings within our reach this divine enjoyment and leads us to this perfect happiness. Varuna makes directly for strength; we discover a force and a will vast in purity; Aryaman the Aspirer is secured in the amplitude of his might by Varuna's infinity; he does his large works and effects his great movement by the power of Varuna's universality. Mitra makes directly for bliss, — Bhaga the Enjoyer is established in a blameless possession and divine enjoyment by the all-reconciling harmony of Mitra, by his purifying light of right discernment, his firmly-basing law. There- fore it is said of Mitra that all perfected souls adhere or are firmly fixed "to the bliss of this Beloved in whom there is no hurt", for in him there is no sin or wound or falling. All mortal delight has its mortal danger; but the immortal light and law secures the soul of man in a fearless joy. That mortal, says Vishwamitra (III. 59.2), who learns by Mitra's law, the law of this Son of Infinity, is possessed of prayas, the soul's satisfaction in its objects; such a soul cannot be slain, nor overcome, nor can any evil take possession of it from near or from afar. For Mitra fashions in gods and men impulsions whose action spontaneously fulfils all the soul's seekings. Page – 457 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > The Secret Of The Veda Volume-10 > The Guardians Of The Light