Viswanath R Swamy

Rbhus, The Divine Artisans

Rbhus, The Divine Artisans

The Rig Veda attaches equal importance to all aspects of life; it does not have rigid compartments of worldly life and spiritual life. It does not regard the purohit as superior to the artisan. Rbhus are the Gods, Divine Artisans who fashion the subtle body in us. They make the parents young.

The suktas 1.20, 1.110, 1.111, 1.161, 3.60, 4.33-4.37, 4.78 are some of the suktas describing the powers of Rbhus.

Having attained to divinity by virtue of their action and knowledge, these deities work to help man to attain to divinity. And whatever acts they do they become divine acts only. The actions of Rbhus are mentioned in symbolic language only. It is clear that without resort to the hidden symbolic meaning, it is not possible to explain these hymns which are like riddles.

They are three: Rbhu, Vibhva and Vaja. The plural denotes their collective. And due to their association all are indicated by the word rbhu, the eldest of them. The speciality of each of them is celebrated by the name itself. By means of intellect and activity, Rbhu, the eldest , builds the forms conforming to the qualities of Immortality. Vibhva brings about its extension. Vaja effects the plenitude of the divine Light and Substance. They are called the carpenters, the artisans of immortality of man.

Parents made Young ;

The Rbhus, the truth-thoughted, desirous of the straight path (1), Made young, the Parents by their pervading ( the mind and body) (2).

Yuvana pitara punah satyamantra rjuyavah (1),
rbhavo vishti akrata (2). (R.V. 1.20.04)

Heaven and Earth are the Parents of man, the evolving being. The Earth symbolising his gross physical body and its consciousness and the Heaven standing for his mind and mentality are the two ends of his normal existence. They are time-worn and become old. The Rbhus, Power of illumination, artisans of immortality bring in streams of Truth from above and pervade the mind and body of man with their rejuvenating currents, making them fresh and young again. Bearers of Truth in their workings, they seek the straight course and go wherever it is prepared and ready.

Four out of One:

And this bowl of Tvashtri, new and perfected (1),
You made again in to four (2).

Uta tyam chamasam navam tvashtur devasya nishkrtam (1)
akarta chaturahpunah (2) (R.V. 1.20.06)

Twashtri, the divine Architect, fashions the material body of man which is to be the base of his development, the first means of his journey to the divine goal. Man builds himself on this foundation in the full figure of his soul, develops his various faculties and powers of expression and embodiment. He seeks the aid of the gods, especially the Rbhus -- the fashioning powers of Light -- in this endeavour. And they proceed to build and shape four bodies out of the original one, e.g. physical body, vital body, mental body, ideal or casual body. These are the four bowls that are made from one so that the sacrificer offers the delight of his existence, the Soma, for the Divinity in the full plenitude of its four fold formulation.