You can read the previous post in this series here: Part 6
Verse 1.2.2 & 1.2.3
tābhyo gāmānayattā abruvanna vai no'yamalamiti ।
tābhyo'śvamānayattā abruvanna vai no'yamalamiti ॥2॥
tābhyaḥ puruṣamānayattā abruvan
sukṛtaṃ bateti puruṣo vāva sukṛtam ।
tā abravīdyathāyatanaṃ praviśateti ॥3॥
For them (demigods), the Divine made a cow. They said, “That’s not enough.”
For them, the Divine made a horse. They said, “That’s not enough.”
For them, the Divine made the humans. They said, “This well-formed one is the Divine itself!”
To them, the Divine said, “Go to your respective abodes.”
Quick Summary of Previous Verses:
- In the first set of verses, the Aiteraya Upanishad described Rig Veda’s creation theory.
- From there, the text moved on to the stage of sustenance. Here, the biggest issue was that our senses fell prey to gratification.
- Some of those gratifications were necessities like food and water. Though, many others were merely for pleasure.
- In trying to gratify our senses, we got stuck in the ocean of Samsara.
The Current Verse:
In his poetic rendition, Sage Aiteraya covers two major topics – contentment and the specialty of human birth.
The Need for Contentment
Earlier, the sage personified our senses as demigods. Those demigods fell prey to gratifications. In seeking pleasure, nothing is ever enough. If we get a cow, we seek a horse, and so on. It’s like the classic tale of an ascetic and a mouse:
An ascetic lived in a hut. A mouse made that hut its home and distracted the ascetic from his austerities. To handle the mouse, the ascetic brought in a cat. Now, the cat needed some milk. So, the ascetic got a cow. To care for the cow, he hired a helper.
Suddenly, the household had grown in size and the helper needed to be managed. To handle that, the ascetic got married and requested his wife to help him. To keep his wife happy, he got himself a job. Together, they bought a lovely house. Eventually, he gave up his austerities and focused on living like a householder. And, it all started in trying to get rid of a mouse!
As absurd as it sounds, that’s how our desires work. We let one in, and another follows it. The chain is endless. Before we know, we’ve run after those pleasures and forgotten our purpose. Then, we remain unfulfilled despite having a lot. Hence, the sages gave a lot of importance to the cultivation of contentment. Nothing promotes peace and happiness like contentment.
There is a second meaning hidden in these verses. That alludes to the we’re all divine idea discussed in the previous verse.
Everything in this universe is Divine. Trees, insects, birds, and all! For that matter, even something as inert as a stone is Divine. To symbolize this idea, even statues of the Divine are created out of stone.
Nevertheless, the scriptures suggest that the human form is extra special. Typically, only humans can pursue their dreams and purposes. More importantly, it also the humans who can realize the Divine that lives within them.
To highlight this, Sage Aiteraya poetically suggests that the demigods (our senses) were happy to find a home in the human form.
You can read the next part in this series here: Part 8