Note: In the previous post, Upamanyu lost his eyesight after eating Arka leaves in the forest and fell into a pit. When his teacher Ayoda-Dhaumya saw his state, he advised Upamanyu to sing the glories of the Aswin Twins, the physicians of the Gods, to restore his eyesight.
You have existed before creation itself!
O first-born beings, you are glorious in this wondrous universe of five elements!
I desire to obtain you with the help of the knowledge derived from hearing and meditation, for you are infinite!
You are the course of nature itself and the intelligent soul that pervades that course!
You are birds of beauteous feathers perched on the tree (the human body)!
You are free of the three lower attributes! You are incomparable! You pervade the universe through your spirit in every created thing,!
“You are golden Eagles!
You are the essence into which all things disappear!
You are free from error and know no deterioration! You are like beautiful beaks that would not strike unjustly and are victorious in every encounter!
You certainly prevail over time! Having created the sun, you weave the wondrous cloth of the year by means of the white thread of the day and the black thread of the night! And with the cloth so woven, you have established two courses of distinct action for the devas and pitris.
The bird of life seized by time, which represents the strength of the infinite soul, you set the soul free and deliver her into great happiness!
Ignorant people (deluded by their senses) may assign a form to you, but you are free of any attributes of physicality!
If we think of the 365 days of the year as cows, then these cows together produce a calf which we call one year. This calf (time) is the creator and destroyer of everything. Seekers of truth may follow different routes but they draw the milk of true knowledge with the help of this calf (time). You Aswins are the creators of that calf which is time.
A year is like a wheel that has 720 spokes, each representing days and nights. The circumference of this wheel representing the 12 months is without any end. This wheel is full of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatures of all worlds. O Aswins, this wheel of time is set in motion by you!
If the wheel of time represents a year, its nave represents the six seasons. The 12 spokes of the wheel represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. This wheel of time manifests the fruits of the actions of all things. The presiding deities of time abide in this wheel. I am subject to its distressful influence. O Aswins, please liberate me from this wheel of time.
O Aswins, you are this universe of five elements! You are the objects that are enjoyed in this and in the other world! Make me independent of the five elements! And though you are the Supreme Brahma, you move over the Earth in forms enjoying the delights that the senses afford.
In the beginning, you created the ten points of the universe! Then you placed the Sun and the Sky above! The Rishis, perform their sacrifices according to the course of the same Sun. The Gods and humans also perform their rites according to what is appropriate for them and enjoy the fruits of those acts!
Mixing the three colors, you have produced all the objects of sight! The universe in which Gods, humans, and all creatures endued with life are engaged in their respective work springs forth from these objects of sight!
You Aswins, I adore you! I also adore the Sky which you have created! You are the ordainers of the fruits of all acts from which even the gods are not free! However, you yourselves are free from the fruits of your actions!
You are the parents of all! When humans eat their food, it is you who take the food and convert it into life-creating fluid and blood. When a newborn child sucks the milk of its mother, it is you who takes the shape of that infant. O Aswins, grant me my sight to protect my life!
The Aswin twins, thus invoked, appeared before Upamanyu and said:
“We are satisfied. Take this cake and eat it.”
Upamanyu replied, “Your words, O Aswins, have never proved untrue, but I cannot eat this cake without first offering it to my teacher.”
The Aswin twins said to Upamanyu, “In the past, we had given such a cake to your teacher also, however, he ate it without offering it to his teacher. Now it is your turn to do what your teacher did.”
Upamanyu did not relent. He replied to the Aswins, “O Aswins, I seek your pardon, but I cannot eat this cake without offering it to my teacher.”
The Aswins, happy with Upamanyu’s devotion, said, “Upamanyu, we are pleased with your devotion towards your teacher. Your teacher’s teeth are of black iron, yours shall be of gold. Your eyesight will be restored and you will have good fortune.”
Upamanyu recovered his eyesight as the Aswins had promised.
Upamanyu’s teacher, Ayoda-Dhaumya, was also very pleased with Upamanyu and said: “You will obtain prosperity as the Aswin twins have said. Along with prosperity, all the Vedas and the Dharma-Shastras will also shine in you.”
Thus the trial of Upamanyu was over.
Note: At first, it may seem that Upamanyu was pandering to the ego of the deity by singling its glories. However, it’s not that. By glorifying a deity from our hearts, we purify our minds and energy and prepare ourselves to receive the deity’s blessings.
You will also notice that these verses from the Rig Veda contain spiritual and scientific truths encoded within them. That is because, in ancient India, science and the spirit were never considered different. They were both studied equally. The former through outer measurement and the latter through inner meditation.
This incident of losing and regaining one’s eyesight can also be seen as losing and regaining spiritual discernment.
Image Credit: Dhumavati. The image has been shared in the public domain at https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47645999