In the Vedic belief, there is no indication of the extraordinary or the supernatural. The Rishi who utilized these abilities had obtained them by an advanced self-culture. Wisdom itself was roaming and achieving, or discovery and gaining; the vision came only at the final stage, the light was the gift of an ultimate victory.
There is repeatedly in the Veda this impression of the path, the soul’s march on the route of Truth. On that route, as it progresses, it also rises; new sights of energy and light accessible to its aspiration; it gains a victory by noble actions, its enlarged spiritual possessions.
From the ancient point of view, the Rig Veda may be assumed as a record of the incredible growth made by humanity by different means at a specific period of its combined development.
In its esoteric, as well as its exoteric importance, it is the Book of Works, of the internal and the external sacrifice; it is the soul’s hymn of war and fame as it discovers and rises to planes of belief and knowledge unavailable to the natural or animal man, man’s gratitude of the divine Light, Power and Grace at work in the mortal. It is distant, therefore, from being an endeavor to set down the outcomes of educated or creative assumption, nor does it comprise of the principles of primitive faith.
Only, out of the similarity of knowledge and out of the impersonality of the knowledge obtained, there emerge a fixed body of understandings often recited and a limited symbolic language which, possibly, in that early human speech, was the impending form of these beliefs because alone capable by its mixed concreteness and power of mystic recommendation of conveying that which for the common mind of the race was ineffable.
We have, at any rate, the same ideas recited from hymn to hymn with the exact constant terms and symbols and often in the same phrases with an entire indifference to any search for poetical identity or any need for the originality of idea and freshness of language.
No pursuit of aesthetic mercy, richness, or elegance induces these mystic poets to differ the religious aspect which had become for them a kind of spiritual algebra conveying the infinite formulae of the Knowledge to the continual progression of the initiates.
The hymns possess undoubtedly a complete rhythmic form, a lasting subtlety and mastery in their skill, great deviations of technique and poetical character; they are not the work of rude, vicious and simple craftsmen, but the living breath of a supreme and knowledgeable Art shaping its creations in the puissant but well-governed action of a self-detecting enthusiasm. Still, all these big gifts have gradually been practiced within one unvarying framework and often with the exact materials.
For the art of manifestation was to the Rishis only a means, not a goal; their primary focus was strenuously logical, almost utilitarian, in the biggest sense of utility. The hymn was to the Rishi who wrote it as a means of spiritual and religious progress for himself and others. It arose out of his spirit, it became an energy of his mind, it was the vehicle of his self-expression in some crucial or even significant period of his life’s inner history. It assisted him to reflect the god in him, to eliminate the devourer, the expresser of evil; it served as a weapon in the hands of the Aryan striver after perfection, it glared forward like Indra’s lightning against the Coverer on the hills, the Wolf on the route, the Robber by the rivers.
The Brahmanas and the Upanishads are the documents of a strong revival that took the spiritual text and tradition as a starting point for a new testimony of sacred thought and understanding. This action had two interrelated perspectives, one, the preservation of the forms, another the acknowledgment of the soul of Veda, — the first portrayed by the Brahmanas, the second by the Upanishads.
In order to withstand the popularity of the new religion or faith, it was crucial to put forward instead of esteemed but unintelligible texts Scriptures composed in a simple form of a more modern Sanskrit. For the quantity of the nation, the Puranas pushed aside the Veda and the forms of new religious policies took the position of the ancient rituals. As the Veda had passed from the sage to the priest, so now it started to pass from the hands of the priest into the hands of the scholar. And in that maintenance, it underwent the last mutilation of its significance and the last diminution of its true prestige and sanctity.