By Vijay Phanshikar :
(‘Make no mistake in the pursuit of the
mission of the gods and the forefathers| …’ )
- Taittiriya Upanishad
THIS is not a commandment. This is, at the most, an appeal to good sense of the present generation of humans – Come on, understand the importance of the mission that the gods mandated and the forefathers undertook, and follow it up in your time. Give that task a sense of fulfillment by dint of your loyalty, your hard work, your commitment to the continued cause of excellence …! Make no mistake on that count. For that work has a divine appeal and purpose! There is nothing occult in this. Much to the contrary, this appeal has a practical dimension.
For, if the present generation of humans is not going to adhere to the sublime goals set by the gods and worked by forefathers, then the progress of human race would get stalled, creating a roadblock for future progress. So, please keep faith intact in the mission of the gods and the forefathers. That will help you build a good today and a better tomorrow. Possibly, some of us may make a mistake in suspecting that this appeal … ‘Devapitrukaryabhyaam na pramaditavyam| …’ is designed to keep the current generation of humans entrapped in the past. But the sages who envisioned continuity of right human action through the labyrinth of time wrote those divinely-inspired words in the Upanishads as part of their self-assigned task of interpreting the Vedas and presenting that wisdom to the generations that would follow. This is not getting steeped in the past; this is actually basking in the thought of future, in the sense working on a roadmap that forefathers charted for the succeeding generations.
Of course, change is a given here, almost pre-ordained to ensure progress, properly ingrained in the thought of collective forward trajectory of human race. Yet, when advancement takes place on the right course, its utility to mankind is enhanced. Times change, so do their demands. From that standpoint, certain change in human conduct to suit the changing needs and demands is actually natural and therefore welcome.
But when the sages say, ‘Devapitrukaryabhyaam na pramaditavyam| …’, they expect us to give a complete thought to what they suggest or appeal to us -- ‘Make no mistake in the pursuit of the mission of the gods and the forefathers| …’! By this, they caution us against a possibility of our misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the advice in the Taittiriya Upanishad: No, no, never think that we are enchaining you to the past; in fact we are suggesting that learn from what your forefathers achieved and then move forward. But our appeal is that please do not misinterpret what they had achieved. They were people with sublime goals whose import for us can never be underestimated, or overstressed.
The touch of the divine cannot be missed here. In fact, it is this divine dimension that has made all the difference to human refinement through time. For, it recognises the spiritual core of human being, the essential trait of being human (with vertical spine along which rises ‘Kundalini Shakti’, the unique, exclusive spiritual power only humans are endowed with). It is this capability that has taken mankind to tremendous heights of achievement, depth of comprehension and penetration of intellect into mysteries of existence …! All this has become possible only because the humans have the terrific capability of genetic transfer of knowledge and wisdom from generation to generation.
This process has been culled into one expression – collective human consciousness. The upanishadic advice – ‘Devapitrukaryabhyaam na pramaditavyam| …’ – is a beautiful reminder of the continuity through change as the most essential ingredient of being human! So, ‘Make no mistake in the pursuit of the mission of the gods and the forefathers| …’