News & Notes 642:House of Mother's Agenda

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642 icon.jpg   News & Notes 642
26 March 2016



House of Mother's Agenda


The Secret of the Veda
“The Ribhus, Artisans of Immortality”
Rig Veda I.20

The Secret of the Veda - Pt.2 Ch.11 The Ribhus, Artisans of Immortality.jpg
PDF (7 pages)


The Ribhus, it has been suggested, are rays of the Sun. And it is true that like Varuna, Mitra, Bhaga and Aryaman they are powers of the solar Light, the Truth. But their special character in the Veda is that they are artisans of Immortality. They are represented as human beings who have attained to the condition of godhead by power of knowledge and perfection in their works. Their function is to aid Indra in raising man towards the same state of divine light and bliss which they themselves have earned as their own divine privilege. The hymns addressed to them in the Veda are few and to the first glance exceedingly enigmatical; for they are full of certain figures and symbols always repeated. But once the principal clues of the Veda are known, they become on the contrary exceedingly clear and simple and present a coherent and interesting idea which sheds a clear light on the Vedic gospel of immortality.

The Ribhus are powers of the Light who have descended into Matter and are there born as human faculties aspiring to become divine and immortal. In this character they are called children of Sudhanwan, a patronymic which is merely a parable of their birth from the full capacities of Matter touched by the luminous energy. But in their real nature they are descended from this luminous Energy and are sometimes so addressed, “Offspring of Indra, grandsons of luminous Force”[1]. For Indra, the divine mind in man, is born out of luminous Force as is Agni out of pure Force, and from Indra the divine Mind spring the human aspirations after Immortality.

The names of the three Ribhus are, in the order of their birth, Ribhu or Ribhukshan, the skilful Knower or the Shaper in knowledge, Vibhwa or Vibhu, the Pervading, the self-diffusing, and Vaja, the Plenitude. Their names indicate their special nature and function, but they are really a trinity, and therefore, although usually termed the Ribhus, they are also called the Vibhus and Vajas. Ribhu, the eldest is the first in man who begins to shape by his thoughts and works the forms of immortality; Vibhwa gives pervasiveness to this working; Vaja, the youngest, supplies the plenitude of the divine light and substance by which the complete work can be done. These works and formations of immortality they effect, it is continually repeated, by the force of Thought, with the mind for field and material; they are done with power; they are attended by a perfection in the creative and effective act, svapasyayā, sukŗtyayā, which is the condition of the working out of Immortality. These formations of the artisans of Immortality are, as they are briefly summarised in the hymn before us, the horses of Indra, the car of the Ashwins, the Cow that gives the sweet milk, the youth of the universal Parents, the multiplication into four of the one drinking-bowl of the gods originally fashioned by Twashtri, the Framer of things.

The hymn opens with an indication of its objective. It is an affirmation of the power of the Ribhus made for the divine Birth, made by men whose minds have attained to illumination and possess that energy of the Light from which the Ribhus were born. It is made by the breath of the mouth, the life-power in the world. Its object is to confirm in the human soul the entire delight of the Beatitude, the thrice seven ecstasies of the divine Life.


Lo, the affirmation made for the divine Birth.jpg

Ayaṁ devāya janmane, stomo viprebhir āsayā;
akāri ratnadhātamaḥ.

Lo, the affirmation made for the divine Birth with the breath of the mouth by illumined minds, that gives perfectly the bliss;


This divine Birth is represented by the Ribhus who, once human, have become immortal. By their accomplishings of the work, — the great work of upward human evolution which is the summit of the world-sacrifice, — they have gained in that sacrifice their divine share and privilege along with the divine powers. They are the sublimated human energies of formation and upward progress who assist the gods in the divinising of man. And of all their accomplishings that which is central is the formation of the two brilliant horses of Indra, the horses yoked by speech to their movements, yoked by the Word and fashioned by the mind. For the free movement of the luminous mind, the divine mind in man, is the condition of all other immortalising works.


Even they who fashioned by the mind.jpg

Ya indrāya vacoyujā, tatakṣur manasā harī;
śamībhir yajñam āśata.

Even they who fashioned by the mind for Indra his two bright steeds that are yoked by Speech, and they enjoy the sacrifice by their accomplishings of the work.


The second work of the Ribhus is to fashion the chariot of the Ashwins, lords of the human journey, — the happy movement of the Ananda in man which pervades with its action all his worlds or planes of being, bringing health, youth, strength, wholeness to the physical man, capacity of enjoyment and action to the vital, glad energy of the light to the mental being, — in a word, the force of the pure delight of being in all his members.


They fashioned for the twin lords of the voyage (a).jpg

Takṣan nāsatyābhyāṁ, parijmānaṁ sukhaṁ ratham.

They fashioned for the twin lords of the voyage their happy car of the all-pervading movement, ...


The third work of the Ribhus is to fashion the cow who gives the sweet milk. It is said elsewhere that this cow has been delivered out of its covering skin, — the veil of Nature's outward movement and action, — by the Ribhus. The fostering cow herself is she of the universal forms and universal impetus of movement, viśvajuvaṁ viśvarūpām, in other words she is the first Radiance, Aditi, the infinite Consciousness of the infinite conscious Being which is the mother of the worlds. That consciousness is brought out by the Ribhus from the veiling movement of nature and a figure of her is fashioned here in us by them. She is, by the action of the powers of the duality, separated from her offspring, the soul in the lower world; the Ribhus restore it to constant companionship with its infinite mother.[2]


They fashioned for the twin lords of the voyage (b).jpg

Takṣan dhenuṁ sabardughām.

... they fashioned the fostering cow that yields the sweet milk.


(To be continued)

Sri Aurobindo
The Secret of the Veda, p.336


The Ponder Corner: “A new consciousness is coming based upon inner silence and quietude. You must wait quietly for that to develop. True knowledge, true perceptions of people and things will come in that new silent consciousness.”

Sri Aurobindo
Letters on Yoga – IV, p.268




  1. Rig Veda IV.37.4
  2. See Rig Veda IV.33.4 and 8, 36.4 etc.