[Advaita-l] the meaning trapped into the word
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Aug 8 00:56:58 CDT 2008
On Sun, 3 Aug 2008, Lakshminarayana wrote:
> Dear Jaldhar,
>> Speech cannot reach brahman
> I am not able to figure out if you are talking about "speech reaching
> brahman" or "speech being useful in describing brahman". These two are
> different. Am I right?
What would reaching mean if not describing?
> So I ask this question -
> For the man who has not yet reached brahman, can speech reach brahman?
Yes. In fact Brahman can be described in one letter: omityekakSharaM
brahma as both Gita and Mundakopanishad say. But the brahman known via
speech (and concommitant action as I noted previously) is a provisional
superimposition. Nevertheless provisional truth is enough to dispel
provisional ignorance. When ignorance is dispelled then the
complete truth of brahman is known. Then there is no need for speech
based on subject-object for brahman is svatasiddha -- self-illuminating it
is not a subject or an object. It is here at the end of the journey one
can say speech does not reach brahman and not before.
Other vakyas which are often claimed to demonstrate agnostic views towards
speech also in fact say the same thing. For example the celebrated neti
neti (brhadaranyakopanishad 2.3.6) is immediately followed by atha
nAmadheyam satyasya satyamiti "Now its name: the truth of truth" Just
because brahman is "not this" doesn't mean we can't describe it in a
positive way. But the seemingly odd-sounding formulation "the truth of
truth" reminds us that vyavaharic satya is not the same as paramarthic
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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