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The dhi(h) of the Rishi

It is for instance suggested by Gonda that the visions of the Vedic Rishis could be the roots of yogic meditation. The Rishi were – according to tradition – the authors of critical parts of the early Vedas. Through their innate capability – their charisma or artistic-spiritual skills – they were able to have a vision (dhi) and express it in lyrical ways. This would become the Vedic hymns. Dhih – as an act -means something like religious thought, prayer, devotion’. It is a spontaneous and intuitive skill of seeing hidden connections, the origins of things and the secrets of divine power. Dhih is the seer’s holy words transporting the gods to the ritual. So dhih seems to be a rhetorical act – a creative and visual outburst of visions achieved by certain means – probably drugs.

The question is, however, whether we would agree that the Rishi – chanting and rambling poetic (but almost incomprehensible) hymns to the gods – was contemplation and/or meditation? If, yes, does that not make any prayer, quiet or ecstatic, found in so many religious traditions, into an early forerunner of meditative yoga? It seems to me that the Rishis put their minds into trance by means of monotonic repetitive numbing techniques or by using drugs, while the still-mind-meditation works with sensory deprivation – two almost opposite approaches.

In summary, if we define meditation with its contemporary meaning as stilling the mind’, then the practice of dhih seems to be rather different. Some of the visionary Rishis appear to be originally marginalised groups who used drugs to enhance their social status and ended up becoming celebrated Vedic visionaries.

Place your hands on the floor beside you. Take a Yoga pants picsfull breath. Elongate and lift up your spine. Firm your leg muscles, and do Yoga pants picsthe following in sequence. Widen the sitting bones and tip them back, which will tip the top of your pelvis forward Inner Spiral. Walk your hands forward on the floor. Curl your tailbone down and lift up through the abdominal area. Roll your knees more open if possible Outer Spiral.

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