Friday, September 29, 2006

Interpretation of Mahavakyas as per grammar and other vedic rules

4. Interpretation of Mahavakyas as per grammar and other vedic rules.

Any sentence can be interpreted in different ways if it has many words of different meanings. We will be discussing as per Sureshwaracharya’s Naishkarmya Siddhi, Sadananda’s Vedanta saara and Laghu Vaasudeva Mananam.

There are three ways to interpret sentences by giving relationships between various words – these are:

Visheshya visheshana bhaava
lakshana lakshya bhaava

Vedanta saara quotes a sloka to tell about this as:

Samaanaadhikaranyam cha visheshana visheshyathaa
Lakshyalakshana sambandhah padaartha pratyagaatmanaam

The common example for all these is SOYAM DEVADATTA – SAH AYAM DEVADATTA – that is this devadatta. A person had seen devadatta long back and after so many years sees him in the market and therefore says “this is that devadatta”.

We will try to see each one of those with examples:

1) Samaanaadhikaranya --- here the different words used in the sentences give the same meaning or meaning of oneness. Both the words which mention unity or identity in them. Taking the example of “SOYAM DEVADATTAH” – “That is this devadatta”, the words SAH and AYAM refer unity or identity of DEVADATTA.

2) Visheshya visheshana bhaava – here one entity is the qualified and the other is the qualifier. For example “blue lotus”, blue is the qualifier or visheshana and visheshya or qualified is lotus. In TAT TVAM ASI, TAT is qualified by TVAM and TVAM is also qualified by TAT. Both ways there is this relation between both of that of qualified and qualifier. SOYAM DEVADATTA, here sah or THAT is qualified by the current devattata – and the current devadatta is qualified by the previous or old devadattaa.

3. Lakshana lakshya bhaava - This type of relation has three sub-parts for which we need to know two other terms of Vachya artha or mukhya artha and lakshyaartha.

Any word can have two meanings – one is direct meaning which is called vachya artha. The second is called lakshya artha or indirect meaning or intended meaning which is different from the direct meaning. For example the word sarvam brahma mayam, the word BRAHMA denotes Brahman as the direct meaning. There is no indirect meaning indicated in the word. Another rule over here is that only when direct meaning is not possible to be taken or proves to be illogical, the indirect meaning is taken.

Now, having known these two types of meaning of a word, let us see the three types of lakshana lakshya bhaava. Lakshana means the intended meaning and lakshya means that which is indicated.

Jahad lakshana – here the direct meaning is completely rejected as it is invalid and indirect meaning alone is taken. An example for this is “gangaayaam ghoshah” – goshah means hut and gangayaam means on the ganges. Thus if we take the direct meaning for the word gangaayaam, the meaning of the sentence will be “the house on the ganges”. This is illogical and impossible. Hence we have to take the indirect and intended meaning for the word ganga which is “on the bank of ganges”. Thus the sentence means “the house on the bank of ganges”.

Ajahad lakshana – here direct meaning is not completely rejected but another word is introduced to make the meaning logical. The example for this is “Harithah dhaavathi” – “Green runs”. Here meaning is illogical but the direct meaning of “green” cannot be ignored as in the jahad lakshana. Therefore the word “Asvah” is added to make the meaning logical – thus the meaning would be “green horse runs”.

Jahad ajahad lakshana – here the direct meaning is not rejected but indirect meaning is taken – this is done by removing that qualities or attributes of the two words which are contradictory and taking the essence or similar meaning. In SOYAM DEVADATTA, sah and ayam have different meanings of that and this. The contradictory factor here is time (prior and now). Removing the time attribute, what remains behind is the same devadatta.

Vedanta uses jahad ajahad lakshana also called as bhaaga tyaaga lakshana to explain mahavakyas. TAT has the direct meaning of IShwara who is sarvajna and sarvavyaapi. TVAM has the direct meaning of jeeva who is alpajna and alpavyaapi. Thus ASI is impossible for the two as both words are contradictory in direct meaning. Thus we have take the indirect meaning also into consideration. TAT has the indirect meaning of Brahman without any limitation and TVAM has the indirect meaning of Kutastha who also has no limitation. Thus here the contradictory qualities of jnaanam and vyaapya (for ishwara it is all-knowing and all-pervading whereas for jeeva it is limited-knowledge and limited-pervading), there remains only the same entity of TAT and TVAM. Thus ASI is valid in this case. Thus the direct meaning is not ignored but indirect meaning is taken and contradictory qualities are removed to show the identity of both the words of TAT and TVAM.

Thus Kutastha or limited space (pot space) is nothing but eternal and infinite space alone.

Thus says Vidyaranya in Panchadashi

Soyam ithyaadi vakyeshu virodhaat tadidamtayoh
Tyaagena bhaagayoh eka asrayo lakshyathe yathaa

Maaya vidhye vihaayaivam upaadhi parajeevayoh
Akhandam sachidaanandam param brahmaiva lakshyathe

As in SOYAM DEVADATTA, that “this” and “that” which are contradictory is renounced (tyaaga) and the unity of both parts (bhaagaas) is shown, similarly by removing the adjuncts of Maya and AVidya from Ishwara and jeeva respectively, non-divisible (AKHANDA) sat chit ananda roopa Brahman alone is indicated through the mahavakyaas.

So it is by using jahad ajahad or bhaaga tyaaga lakshana that mahavakyas are interpreted. As to how they are really interpreted, we will see that in the next posting. Hope everyone gets the concepts mentioned in the mail clearly since if this is not clear whatever we will be discussing next will not be clear.

Just for information, different sub-schools of Vedanta might interpret the mahavakyas as per jahad lakshana or jahad ajahad lakshana which is mentioned by Madhusudana saraswathi clearly in Siddhantha bindhu commentary on Sankara’s dasa shloki. We will not deal into such details because it will lead to confusion as it is only for advanced seekers who are going in depth into various advanced works on Vedanta like the Panchapadika vivarana of Prakashatman or Sarvajnatman’s Sanskhepa Shaareraka.

We have already almost discussed the meaning of Mahavakyas as per Jahad Ajahad Lakshana. But we will try to see it once again so that this repetition will make the concept clear and hence we may be able to contemplate on the ultimate reality propounded through mahavakyas.

It may be doubted here that “I have devotion for the Lord, so what is the need to know the mahavakyas and all these complex logics etc” J. I know that most of us will have this doubt because this particular series has been on a technical perspective with lot of terms. First thing we have to remember is that Sankara and other acharyas did not explain all these just for fun or time pass – they would have really found out that it is essential and hence explained it in many works. It is only when knowledge becomes perfect that a person can contemplate on the reality without any doubts & only then realization dawns – not through mere devotion without knowledge. If there is pure devotion, then the seeker will be taken through the Lord himself & “I” have personally experienced this in many cases (in my sister’s case as well as other cases too).

There are three obstacles to knowledge or jnaana becoming vijnaana or intuitive experience:

Samshaya – doubts as to whether the reality is as per what scriptures say or not – this is removed through sravana or listening of the scriptures with the six-fold imports (Shad linga which we will deal in this mail later).

Asambhaavana – I know that Brahman is the reality but still I see things and hence I doubt whether the world is illusory and Brahman alone is real. This is removed by manana or reflection as per logic in the mind on the reality which has been heard through sravana.

Viparyaya – wrong or adverse knowledge – this is in the form that there is no such Brahman which is beyond all duality and illusory world because I don’t experience it. This is removed through nidhidhyaassana or contemplation on the ultimate reality of Brahman.

These three obstacles have to be removed by the three steps of sravana, manana and nidhidhyaasana. Thus these three are inevitable. If it is said that Ramana Maharshi did not follow any of these because the sadhanas are only for baddha jeevas or seemingly baddha jeevas and not avatars who are beyond all normal categorization.

The six-fold lingas or marks to find out the import of a work or sruthi are:
Upakrama-upasamhaara – starting and ending of the work (what is mentioned in both the places)
Abhyaasa – repetition (the import will be repeated again and again)
apurvatha – that which has not been mentioned as such previously
phalam – the fruit is being mentioned as something great
Arthavaada – praising of the reality by either telling the good arising out when it is followed or bad when it is not followed or realized
Upapatthi – examples through various real-life scenarios and logical arguments

It will be kind of deviation if we enter into an analysis of the above six marks but we can take it for granted that the import of all scriptures is Advaita Brahman alone (these marks are clearly shown by Sadananda Yogindra in his Vedanta Sara which is available at R K Mutt).


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