Ṛta: Experiencing a tangible relationship with Truth

Ṛta: Experiencing a tangible relationship with Truth

ऋ॒तं च॑ स॒त्यं चा॒भी॑द्धा॒त्तप॒सोऽध्य॑जायत

ṛtaṃ ca satyaṃ cābhīddhāt tapaso ‘dhy ajāyata

Truth was born and the order of truth from the kindled fire of energy of consciousness.

Rig Veda 10.190.1

I’ve been reflecting on this passage; particularly the Sanskrit word, ṛta or ṛtam.

Ṛta is an important Vedic concept, as we read it shows up in the Rig Veda as many as 390 times and, “has been characterized as the one concept which pervades the whole of Ṛgvedic thought.”

Like satyam, it can be translated as, “truth” but the difference seems to be that satyam is the underlying truth and ṛta is the manifested, natural order of that truth.

When we see the progression of the planets, the seasons, the days, etc, we are witnessing ṛta.

Indeed ṛtu is the (clearly related) Sanskrit word that means, “season” and the word used in Ayurveda when we talk about change of seasons or healthy seasonal routines. (Something happening now both in the Southern and Northern hemispheres).

The English word, “rhythm” is also related to the word ṛta. We can witness a rhythm to the movement of the planets, the seeming movement of the sun from East to West across the sky, the phases of the moon, the seasonal transitions and a multitude of other rhythms.

Maybe this is one of the reasons we respond so deeply to music—an auditory representation of natural rhythms we experience –not only in the world around us, but within us as well, in the inspiration and expiration of breath, the pulsation of cerebrospinal fluid, the pattern of birth, infancy, youth, middle age, old age and death, and the beat of our hearts.

Indeed, the Sanskrit word for heart—hṛdayam—is also related to ṛta; a beautiful example of the need for mandatory natural order and rhythm in our own beings.

Maybe when we are not sure what truth is—when it seems intangible, it can be helpful to quietly reflect on the tangible reflection, rhythm or natural order of that truth—in the seasons, waves, heartbeats, breaths, tides and times of day and night and find in ourselves a more tangible, solid relationship with, trust in and awe of truth.

Ideas coming together like this in a meaningful way is, to me, what Satsangam—confluence of truth– is about. It is ideas like this that we explore in the Vedic Threads membership-based course.

Thank you for being here, in the natural order,

Claudia Welch



New: Women’s Health & Hormones online course taught by Dr. Welch, with an innovative approach to understanding women’s hormones and health conditions. Designed for everybody, regardless of medical background, from MDs to professionals of Ayurveda or TCM, to anyone interested in women’s health.