viprataa (was Re: Sadhana)

Charles Wikner WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Fri May 8 02:38:59 CDT 1998

On Wed, 6 May 1998  sadananda <sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL> wrote:

> I like to know  etymological origin for the word Viprata - one
> can extract more deeper meaning beyond its direct meaning.

viprataa <-- dhaatu vip (=vep) + ra + ta + aa

dhaatupaa.tha: vep.r kampane (trembling, quivering; act of shaking)

    ra    - k.rtpratyaya (3.2.167) denotes habitual disposition (3.2.134)

    ta(l) - taddhitapratyaya (5.1.119) denoting essential state or condition

(.t)aa(p) - striipratyaya (4.1.4) forming feminine (4.1.3) praatipadika (4.1.1)

vip (MW 972c) to tremble, shake, shiver, vibrate, quiver, be stirred;
       start back through fear.

vipra, stirred or excited (inwardly); inspired, wise; learned; a sage,
        seer, singer, poet, learned theologian; a braahman; a priest ...

    -tama, most wise, wisest

    -taa, the rank or condition of a

I take to mean one who knows brahman  (see B.rhad 3.8.10,
4.4.23, for example), and any relation to the physical body (caste)
being coincidental.  To label a man according to the pregenitors of
the skin-bag -- full of blood, fat, urine, faeces -- does place undue
credence on the reality of the physical world: rather gauge behaviour
of vya.s.ti according to its primary puru.saartha: kaama (pleasure),
artha (wealth), dharma (duty), (liberation).  I see a parallel
between these four and the four (as class labels, not caste):
but then I am also daft enough to further see a parallel with the
four yuga (kaali, dvaapara, tretaa, sat), the saadhanacatu.s.taya
(viveka, vairagya, .sa.tsampatti, mumuk.sutva), and even the aa"srama
(brahmacarya, g.rhasta, vaanaprastha, sa.mnyaasa).

To return to viprataa: what is the connection between vibration and
wisdom?  To draw on the analogy given in the maa.n.duukya upani.sad,
where A U and M are likened to the waking dream and sleep states,
then approaching the fourth quarter AUM where these are transcended,
the are in balance: this is a state of vibrant alertness --
vibrant, get it? -- a state of great potential.  This state is easy
to lose (potential --> perception --> passion --> pathos) and difficult
to acquire.  As GK 4: 82 expresses it:

      sukhamaavriyate nitya.m du.hkha.m vivriyate sadaa |
      yasya kasya ca dharmasya bhagavaanasau ||

      Because of His passion for any object, whatever it be,
      that Lord becomes ever covered up easily, and He is at
      all times uncovered with difficulty.
                              [Gambhiraananda's translation]

Incidentally, the English word "vibrate" comes from the dhaatu vip:
you can see the shift vipra --> vibra.  The linguists would
include the PIE root WEIP (to tremble, shake, vibrate) [see Skeat's
etymological dictionary].

In the context of VC 2, I would read viprataa as purity and strength
of mind, i.e. inner potential conducive to spiritual development,
given the further propitious circumstances listed, such as vedic
dharma etc.

Well, that's my two cents worth.  Now that you have the etymology,
what do you make of it?  If it helps, you will find the word vipra
used in GK 4.86.

Regards, Charles.

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