Viṣṇu through spiritual striving and submission in the first hymn of Ṛgveda
Dr. Rahul A Shastri
Viṣṇu, inspite of sparsity of explicit mention or dedication in Ṛgveda, has a central place in spiritual striving, in its very first hymn. Viṣṇu is a wise spiritual purpose or satyaḥ (one of three possible meanings) in Rg: i.1.5. Nightly spiritual vigils of sages, their soul submitted servilely to the guardian of immortality, director of the attentive, upright and non-violent are indicated in Rgs i.1.7-8. This is Viṣṇu, called Vardhamāna here. He is called dīdiviḥ who could also be Bṛahaspati to allow for possible practices sage followers of Indra. ‘Servile submission’ to Viṣṇu seems to mean here - to keep one’s own self, ego, individuality, one’s very soul, as it were, in self control and self-restraint. This is ‘dāsa bhāva’. Thus, spiritual striving (i.e., devotion, meditation, religious contemplation), servile submission to Viṣṇu, a wise purpose for man and god, are all present in the very first hymn of Ṛgveda.