held at a local Mumbai ashram, Masur ashram that had once been connected to the Aryan
Samaj but in time became more traditionally Hindu. No preaching. No condemnation. No
threats or promises. No swearing to go to a particular church or follow a prescribed path
of action. Just a promise to follow dharma.
organized the event, Avadhuta Shastri, the head of Masur Ashram, performed the puja. His
brother Brahmachari Vishwanath was one of the founders of the VHP. I took the name
Vamadeva from the Vedic rishi Vamadeva Gautama. Shastri came from Avadhuta Shastri.
I first noted the name Vamadeva while studying the Upanishads. The
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad quotes Rishi Vamadeva for the great saying (mahavakya) Aham
Brahmasmi (I am Brahman or I am God). This it relates to Vamadevas saying in the Rig
Veda, "I was Manu and I became the Sun (IV.26.1).
The Aitareya Upanishad mentions Vamadeva, who was said to have learned
the Vedas while still within his mothers womb. It quotes another statement of
Vamadeva from the Rig Veda (IV.27.1), "When I was in my mothers womb I learned
the birth of all the Gods."
Among the first hymns of the Rig Veda whose inner meaning became clear
to me were those of Brihadukta, the son of Vamadeva (RV X. 54 56). Others were
hymns of Vamadeva himself, which comprise most of the fourth book of the Rig Veda,
particularly his hymns to Agni and Indra, such as Sri Aurobindo also specially admired.