The all-pervading omniscient reality is pure being, beginningless and endless. The most familiar word for this reality is Ishvara. In the Sri Sukta mantras, it is called Jatavedas, “the one who knows everything about those who are born and anything ever created.” Jatavedas is at the core of Sri Sukta. These mantras directly invoke Jatavedas and request this omniscient being to bring the goddess of inner and outer prosperity (Sri, or Lakshmi) to us or carry us to her. To understand Sri Sukta, it is important to understand this omniscient reality that provides protection and nourishment to the entire web of life, the relationship between this reality and the sages, and how the sages received the revelation of Sri Sukta.
Jatavedas: The Omniscient Reality
The power of will, the power of knowledge, and the power of action are intrinsic to Jatavedas. Anything ever born or created is within the range of its awareness. It touches and feels everything that exists, including time itself, yet remains untouched and unaffected. It is where all diversities, complexities, and possibilities converge and rest. All the manifest and unmanifest forces engaged in guiding, protecting, and nourishing the world have their source in this reality. The unimaginably subtle and potent waves of energy and consciousness that give unique shape and character to the phenomenal world, as well as to our mind, originate here. Like vapor from the ocean, the life force emerges from here and, following the law established and executed by this omniscient being, condenses itself in different times and places. That is how life takes form. That is how matter and consciousness are united and how nameless, formless souls come into being. We exist only because our existence is sustained by Jatavedas, the very source of life.
Nothing in the universe is more pervasive and powerful than the omniscient being. That is why scriptures say that, without moving, it reaches everywhere and, without exerting any effort, accomplishes everything. What could be more pervasive than the omniscient Jatavedas, who, having created the universe, penetrates its every nook and cranny while simultaneously enveloping it? What little we know about this world is only due to the power of comprehension we have received from the omniscient being. Even the desire to unravel the mystery of the omniscient being springs from this primordial pool. It is the wonder of all wonders. For untold ages, people from all cultures have been trying to experience it—the source of existence itself.
The sages remind us that the fainter our knowledge of the omniscient being, the poorer our understanding of life. We begin to perceive the world defined by success and failure, gain and loss, praise and criticism as more compelling than life and its creator. As this process gathers momentum, we busy ourselves investing life’s resources in protecting the world defined by these pairs of opposites. We succumb to seemingly unstoppable likes and dislikes. We become employees of our desires. Deficient understanding of the omniscient being and our relationship with it forces our consciousness to shrink. Desires originating from a shrunken consciousness are petty. Not knowing anything better, we run after our petty desires. When we get what we desire, we are delighted and identify ourselves as achievers. But soon the charm of achievement wears off and we pursue another desire, then another, and another, until we have depleted the sap of life. When we fail to get what we desire, we identify ourselves as losers. This is painful, but as soon as the pain of feeling like a loser wears off, we make another attempt to get what we want, then another, until we are depleted.
The Sages and Their Relationship with Jatavedas
The sages found this world of likes and dislikes unfulfilling. They made a concerted effort to discover a way of expanding the scope of their consciousness to encompass a vision of a much bigger world. In the process, they realized that as the nature of our desires is transformed, the vision of our world expands and the quality of our desires improves. The idea of achievement and failure, which once overwhelmed us, loses its luster. We no longer desire petty objects, but aspire instead to achieve something bigger and brighter. Our concept of fulfillment becomes more comprehensive and inclusive.
In the light of this realization, the sages made an attempt to purify their mind, upgrade their desires, expand their consciousness, and reach that immersive state where all conflicts, contradictions, doubts, and fears come to an end. In this state of realization, known as dharma megha samadhi, they were able to see the total range of their mental contents. They were able to see all their positive and negative tendencies. With the help of their highly purified and insightful mind, they detached themselves from all of those tendencies.
This left them with a mind that saw worldly achievements and experiences as neither pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad, desirable or undesirable. With this purified and insightful mind, they saw the objects of the world simply as a means for serving the divine will. They were humbled by the realization that the omniscient being has given them everything they need to fulfill its will. They were thrilled by the realization that life in the mortal world is not bondage. They saw how every experience brought them closer to the divine being, and they also saw how, throughout this journey, the guiding, protecting, and nurturing grace of the divine had always accompanied them. This understanding transported them to the most exalted state of trustful surrender. Effort-driven practice dropped away and they were swept up in an all-inclusive immersive state. They transcended self-identity and became one with the omniscient being.
In this consummate state of oneness with the divine, these exceptional masters are no longer subject to time, space, number, gender, and the law of cause and effect. They are exactly what Jatavedas is. In reference to this state, these masters are immortal. They are beyond birth and death. They see both the manifest and unmanifest aspects of reality through the eyes of Jatavedas. They see creation and annihilation, birth and death, through the eyes of Jatavedas. They experience themselves as the radiance of the radiant being. Their love and compassion for souls still struggling for their fulfillment and freedom are an extension of Jatavedas’s love and compassion for them. Their connection with the world is inseparable from Jatavedas’s connection with the world. Whenever the omniscient being is moved by its inherent compassion, these sages are moved. Thus they return to this world.
The process of descending to this world follows the same pattern as the ascent. When the sages descend from the immersive state to the state of dharma megha samadhi, their highly purified, insightful mind comes with them. Even though the sense of duality has emerged, the state of oneness is not compromised. They are fully connected to their source, the omniscient being, yet are able to see what lies below.
The Birth of Sri Sukta
While in that state, they see a world inhabited by people with restless and confused minds. They see people suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, and old age. They see people trying to find peace and happiness while relying on a mind afflicted with fear, greed, doubt, desire, anger, hatred, ego, and attachment. They see a world deficient in love, compassion, and kindness. They see a world where people in power recklessly abuse their power, where healthy people abuse their senses, where the rich abuse their riches, and almost everyone abuses the natural world. They see everyone crave health, wealth, and prosperity, but by and large their methods of satisfying these cravings are self-defeating.
The sages know the cure for this pervasive suffering. They also know how constricted people’s consciousness has become and thus how reliant they are on their untrained, undisciplined, outwardly running minds. Knowing people have little trust in themselves and even less in divine providence, the sages resorted to divine providence, which they know is the fountain of clarity, strength, and power of discernment people need to acquire true health, wealth, and prosperity.
Standing between duality and non-duality, between the chaotic world below and the perfectly still realm above, the sages reached out to the omniscient radiance. With the tongue of this radiance, the sages made a direct appeal to the omniscient being, Jatavedas, which in the present cycle of creation emerged as the cluster of 16 mantras known as Sri Sukta. The first 15 mantras constitute the main body, while the 16th tells us succinctly how to practice Sri Sukta. The ultimate goal of Sri Sukta practice is to eliminate our inner poverty and empower us to experience the fullness of life.
Source: Sri Sukta: Tantra of Inner Prosperity by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait