Vedic Ascension Symbolism

In Vedic cosmology, the central axis of the world is the pathway to liberation. The central pole leads upwards to the Gateway of Escape, the Sun Door that opens out of the cosmos. For Hindus and Buddhists alike the spiritual way is an ascension of the axis of the world. This "difficult ascent" is symbolically enacted in the Brahmanic ritual of "vajapeya," in which the "sacrificer" climbs a sacrificial post called a "yupa."

The yupa pole is equated to the Cosmic Pillar, the thunderbolt and the Cosmic Tree. The Sun Door is equated with the "Harmika" or land of the sky gods (planets & stars).

The sacrificer ascends to heaven by climbing the sacrificial post. Placing a ladder against it, he addresses his wife: "'Come, wife, ascend we to the sky!' She answers: 'Ascend we.'" These ritual words are exchanged three times and the sacrificer climbs the ladder.

Reaching the top he touches the Sun Door or "wheaten wheel" and spreading out his arms like wings cries, "We have come to heaven, to the gods; we have become immortal." "Verily the celebrant of the rite makes it a ladder and a bridge to attain the world of heaven."