The river of life has two streams. The visible, apparent to the five senses, constituting causes understandable by our normal thinking, and the invisible, having causes that are hidden to our senses and thinking. Thus, every event occurring in our lives has visible as well as hidden causes.
Hidden laws work behind the apparent surface of the seen world. These laws can only be studied by observing our thoughts, not by dissecting or analysing events. If we study the powers behind our thoughts, we learn of the laws that govern the chain of events in our lives. The apparent cause of every thought is our ego, but behind the ego are seven hidden causes. These are known as the seven rays of creation.
Sage Vasishta lived in a hermitage on Mount Meru. Vasishta means one who has every desirable object. Nandini, the cow of plenty that roamed the forest nearby, granted all his desires. One day, the eight Vasus or demigods came to the forest with their wives. The wife of Dyu, one of the Vasus, saw Nandini and wanted to possess her. Dyu knew the cow belonged to the sage but his wife persuaded him to steal it with the help of his seven brothers. The sage divined what had happened and cursed the eight Vasus to be born on earth and suffer as mortals. The Vasus begged Vasishta to take back his curse. The sage explained that he could not do so but pardoned the seven brothers, who had only obeyed Dyu’s wishes, saying that they would not have to suffer as mortals for long. Dyu, who was responsible for stealing the cow, would have to suffer in the mortal world for long but he would be a great warrior and will have no children.
When it was known that Goddess Ganga would be the wife of King Shantanu, the Vasus asked her to help fulfil the sage’s curse by giving birth to them and drowning them immediately after being born. Effectively, they would not have to suffer long in the mortal world. The eighth, Dyu, was born as Devavrata, meaning divine will. He took an oath, not one of divine will but of personal will, and was called Bhishma thereafter. Bhishma is the first manifestation of ego.
Let us unlock this fascinating symbology. The Sanskrit word for cow is ‘gau’ meaning the five senses. Mount Meru signifies the top of the back bone called ‘taluka’, where Yoga says thoughts are formed. The eight Vasus are different powers within us. These powers can do many things but cannot control the five senses. Once an impulse comes in through the senses, these powers take over the thought formation process. Our culture gives great importance to thoughts; the resultant effect being the explosion of information. The sages did not give importance to thoughts like we do, but tried to develop the powers working behind thought formation. We will take the Sanskrit name of each Vasu and see what power it indicates. By unravelling this, we can try to develop latent powers within us and by doing so can enter into territory much beyond the understanding of modern psychology.
1.DHARA meaning EARTH: That which holds and supports. The power of holding a thought or a problem. This power can be increased by practising visualisation.
2.ANALA or AGNI: The power that gives thought a form, making it recognisable. The disciple develops this power so that one day he can recognise that he already had that which he was searching for.
3.ANILA or WIND: The wind comes and goes. If it blows when the clothes are wet, they dry easily. This is the power of recalling at the right time. In the midst of battle, Karna could not recall the mantras his guru had taught him. Similarly, when we are hypnotised by anger we cannot recall what to do.
4.AHA or ATMOSPHERE: Each thought and every word we utter or hear comes with its own mood or atmosphere. One filled with hate will have a negative and heavy mood and one filled with love will have the opposite mood. The disciple develops this force by separating from and observing his moods.
5.PRATYUSHA or PRE-DAWN LIGHT: This is the gap between the end of night and the beginning of day. It is the power of holding attention in different gaps, such as between inhalation and exhalation, between two thoughts and as this develops further, finally, between death and birth.
6.DYU or SEEN TWILIGHT Bhishma, or the apparent cause behind every manifestation.
7.SOMA or MOON: The moon reflects the light of the sun and so the mind reflects the light of the soul. Many scientific theories have been proved using this power of reflection or mentation.
8.DHRUVA or THE POLE STAR: In every thought there is one centre around which different energies move. It is a psychological counterpart to the nucleus of a cell. These are the eight Vasus or powers or energies behind every manifestation, whether as a thought within us or as an event outside of us. A disciple learns to control these mighty forces by observing his thinking instrument.