ken knight hilken_98 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Aug 8 17:11:30 CDT 2002

--- kuntimaddi sadananda <kuntimaddisada at YAHOO.COM>
> I was going to post on LakshaNa-s in terms of jaha
> ajah and jaha
> ajahalakshhaNa-s.  There is beautiful description of
> these by Swami
> Sadananda in Vedanta Saara- taking the example of
> soyam devadattaH.
> There is also reference to this in the first chapter
> of Pancadasi by
> Vidyaranya swami.


Here they are coming up but you will have to await the
completion as my wife and I had a day by the sea
We are more than half way though the book though so I
hope to complete it by the end of the weekend.

Best wishes to you all

Mahavakyas (continued)

But this type of coordinate relation cannot be adopted
in interpreting the mahAvAkyas, for jAti-vyakti
relation is applicable only to insentient objects.
Both jAti and vyakti are insentient. But IShvara and
jIva are sentient. Hence the mahAvAkyas cannot be
interpreted by this type of coordinate relation.
Further, Atman has been described as ‘agotram’,
‘avarNam’ meaning thereby that it cannot be classified
under any jAti. If one interprets the mahAvAkyas in
terms of jAti-vyakti- sAmAnAidhikaraNya, then a
question arises as to which of these two words refers
to jAti (universal) and which to vyakti (particular).
We do not have any valid reason to treat either
Brahman or Atman as jAti or vyakti; hence it is not
proper to interpret the mahAvAkyas in terms of
jAti-vyakti- sAmAnAdhikaraNya.

(8)     kriyA-kriyAvat-sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate
relation that exists between the act and the doer):
The coordinate relation that exists between the words
in statements like ‘Devadatta is standing’ (tishThan
devadattaH) is called kriyA-kriyAvat-sAmAnAdhikaraNya
But such a sAmAnAdhikaraNya cannot exist between the
words in the mahAvAkyas,. KriyA is action and kriyAvat
is that which has the action, or that which acts. In
the mahAvAkyas,, of the two terms, jIva and IShvara,
is Jiva the kriyA of IShvara, or IShvara the kriyA of
jIva? Both cannot be, because both are sentient
beings. Further, since Brahman and Atman are described
as nishkriya (actionless), akriya (without actions)
and vikriya (beyond actions) in the Upanishads, we
cannot resort to this type of coordinate relation in
interpreting the mahAvAkyas.

(9)     guNa-guNin- sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate relation
in terms of substance and attribute): The well known
example for this type of coordinate relation is ‘the
blue lily’ (nIlam utpalam). This expression denotes
one and the same thing which, while being a lily
(substance) has also the attribute ‘blue colour.’
Adjectives are useful for the purpose of
differentiating objects belonging to the same class.
In the above example, in the class ‘lily,’ there are
many individuals which are red, white, blue, etc. So,
when we predicate a quality ‘blue,’ of a particular
individual of this class, this adjective serves not
only to distinguish it from others of different
colours, but also to negate the application of other
adjectives. Though the two words, ‘blue’ and ‘lily,’
have different connotations, they have the same
denotation. But this type of relation involving the
substantive-attribute relation cannot be applied to
the mahAvAkya. The oft-repeated form of the question
will arise here: 01 the two words referring to Brahman
and Atman, which is the substance and which is the
attribute? Neither Atman nor Brahman can be considered
as guNa or attribute, for only insentient things are
attributes of something else. Further, since Brahman
is unique, there is no ‘use of applying adjectives to
it. Adjectives applied to Brahman will be meaningful
only if it is a known entity (prasiddha) and since it
is not such an entity, any number of adjectives to it
is meaningless. Though there is the element of
identity in substance-attribute relation, the identity
that is referred to is a relational identity. But in
the mahAvAkyas, the identity that is referred to is a
non-relational identity. The identity is akhaNDArtha
non-relational, unitary identity. Hence guNa-guNin-
sAmAnAidhikaraNya cannot be applied to the mahAvAkyas.

(10)    UpakaraNa-upakaraNin- sAmAnAdhikaraNya
(coordinate relation in terms of instrument and
possessor): To cite the best example of this type of
coordinate relation there is the statement, “The man
with a stick is Devadatta” (daNDI devadattaH). Here
the coordinate relation is in terms of the
‘instrument-possessor’ relation. It is obvious that
this type of coordinate relation cannot be made use of
in the explanation of the mahAvAkyas, since we cannot
interpret either the word that stands for Brahman as
the instrument of Atman or the word that stands for
Atman as an instrument of Brahman. Further, as Brahman
is niravayava (partless) this sort of coordinate
relation is inapplicable to the mahAvAkyas.
(12), (13) and (16): Now let us take up karya-karana
(coordinate relation in terms of cause-effect),
prakR^iti-vikR^iti and aMShAMShin varieties of
sAmAnAdhikaraNya together for discussion.
 ‘This book is Upanishad’ (granthaH upanishad) and
‘Ghee is life’ (AyurghR^itam) are cited as examples
for kArya-kAraNa- sAmAnAdhikaraNya. In these examples,
the coordinate relation is in terms of ‘cause-effect’
relation. The book, by itself, is not changed into the
Upanishad; only the knowledge that comes from it is
called Upanishad. In the same way, the ghee, by
itself, is not life. The book is kAraNa which contains
the kriyA  i.e., the Upanishadic teaching. Similarly
ghee is the cause which enables one to have long life
(which is the effect).

‘The clay pot’ is the example given for
prakR^iti-vikR^iti- sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate
relation in terms of matter and form). Here, unlike
the previous examples given for kArya-kAraNa-
sAmAnAdhikaraNya, the clay itself becomes the pot.

‘Sparks of fire’ is the example given for aMShAMShin-
sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate relation in terms of part
and the whole). The coordinate relation between spark
and fire is aMShAMShin. It is also called
avayava-avayavin coordinate relation. The sparks are
not the bits of fire; they are bits of firewood only
on which we have the fire. Fire is one and the sparks
are the parts of the one fire. The relation between
‘sparks’ and ‘fire’ in the said expression is termed
as ‘part-whole’ relation.

Now we have to show that all the above mentioned three
types of coordinate relation are not applicable to the
mahAvAkyas,. If we try to interpret them in terms of
kArya-kAraNa, we have to say that either jIva is the
cause and IShvara is IShvara the effect or that
IShvara is the cause and jIva is the effect. The
Upanishad do not lend Support to the view that jIva is
the cause, and IShvara the effect. Further, on this
view if we have to treat IShvara as effect, then
IShvara cannot be eternal. So IShvara cannot be the
effect of jIva.

On the other hand, if we hold the view that vara is
the cause and jIva the effect, then that which is the
cause cannot be eternal. Cause-effect relation can
hold only between non-eternal entities. Since IShvara
and jIva are eternal entities cause-effect
relation cannot hold between them. Similarly the
coordinate relation that exists between IShvara and
jIva is not that of prakR^iti-vikR^iti-
sAmAnAdhikaraNya. In this type of coordinate relation
one becomes the other. But according to the Upanishad
neither jIva becomes IShvara, nor IShvara becomes jIva
The mahAvAkyas, are statements which have come to
establish the identity between jIva and IShvara
(Brahman). They do not say that many jIvas have come
out of IShvara.

In the same way we cannot resort to aMShAMShin-
sAmAnAdhikaraNya to explain the coordinate relation
that exists between jIva and IShvara, because neither
jIva is a part of IShvara nor IShvara a part of jIva.

(14) and (15) Stuti-sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate
relation in terms of eulogy) and
upacAra-sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate relation in terms
of courtesy): When we call a man (who is not Indra
himself) “You are Indra” the coordinate relation
(between the word ‘you’ and the word ‘Indra’) is in
terms of eulogy. Knowing fully well that the man is
not Indra, we still call him Indra. We use the term
‘Indra’ as a term of eulogy.
In upacAra-sAmAnAdhikaraNya we call a man who is very
close to the king as a king, or the P.A. to the
principal as principal, since he does the important
work of the king or the principal even though he is
not the king or the principal as such. Here the
coordinate relation is in terms of upacAra (courtesy).
In both the cases we are calling a thing by what it is

These two types of sAmAnAdhikaraNya exhibit a
coordinate relation between a thing and what it is
not, and not between a thing and what it is. It is
obvious that these two types of coordinate relation
cannot be resorted to in interpreting the
mahAvAkyas,since they are statements of truth and not
statements of eulogy or courtesy. When jIva is called
Brahman, we are not praising jIva; we say that in
essence jIva is Brahman. If we try to resort to either
of these coordinate relations, we will be landing
ourselves in absurdities. We cannot praise IShvara as
jI va.
This is obviously absurd. Nor can we praise jIva as
IShvara, since jIva is not really different from

If it be said that Shruti is praising jIva as IShvara,
it may be pointed out that Shruti is not deriving any
gain by praising jIva; further, ShrutivAkyas are
disinterested statements. The praise is intended for
the purpose of conveying the sense of identity between
jIva and IShvara vara. Therefore the mahAvAkyas are
neither ShrutivAkyas nor upacAravAk.yas.

So far we have shown that the different types of
coordinate relation, other than aikya, are inadequate
to bring out the true meaning of the mahAvAkyas. Now
we have to show that the mahAvAkyas, can be
interpreted only in terms of aikya- or abheda

(11)    Aikya-sAmAnAdhikaraNya (coordinate relation in
terms of identity): Let us explain this by taking the
well-known example, so’yaM devadattaH, “This is that
Devadatta”. This judgment refers to the identity
(aikya) of the individual (Devadatta) in spite of the
differences in respect of time, place and
circumstance. An individual who was seen a few days
ago at a certain place is seen today at a different
place under other circumstances. When we say that he
is the same man, we overlook the unessential
differences and emphasize the essential identity of
the person.

This is an identity judgment. But the words ‘this’ and
‘that’ represent a pair of incompatible determinants.
“...‘this’ means here ‘as determined by the present
time and space’, as seen here and now; and ‘that’
means ‘as determined by some other time and space’, as
seen at some other time and space .... Still there is
not the least doubt about the fact that we do mean
something, and mean nothing short of an identity.”  So
we have to bring out the import of the term ‘this’ and
‘that’ contained in the sentence ‘This is that
Devadatta’ in order to justify that they refer to the
same thing.
The clarification is done in two stages. The first
stage of interpretation is called aikya-
sAmAnAdhikaraNya. Though the two terms stand to denote
two incompatible determinants, since they are in
grammatical apposition5 we conclude that, in some
manner, the two terms must denote the same thing. That
is, here we show the coordination between the two
words. But if we take the literal meanings of the two
terms we cannot say that they stand for the same
thing. So we have to sublate the incongruous elements
in the words ‘this’ and ‘that’. This is the second
stage called lakshaNA. That is, we have to go beyond
the primary meanings of these words to their implied

Besides primary meanings, words and sentences have
implied meanings. Primary meaning  is something
directly meant by a word. An implied meaning  is its
secondary meaning. In case the primary meanings of
words of a sentence prove inadequate for the
apprehension of their logical connection and their
import, then the implied meanings are sought for. In
other words, where the primary meanings lead to a
contradiction, we resort to lakshaNA or secondary
signification in order to get at the purport of the

lakshaNA or secondary signification is of three kinds:

(1) jahllakshaNA  (exclusive secondary implication),

(2) ajahallakshaNA  (non-exclusive secondary
implication), and

(3) jahadajahallakshaNA  (exclusive non-exclusive
secondary implication).

(1) When the primary meaning is altogether given up
and a new meaning is acquired it is jahallakshaNA.
‘The village in the Ganges’ is a classic example of
the primary meaning being rejected. The reason for
treating it as an example of jahallakshaNA  is that
the village and the river Ganges stand to each other
as the supported Adheya) and the support AdhAzra).
When it is interpreted literally the primary meaning
does not hold good. A village cannot be in the Ganges
immersed in it. All that it means is that it refers to
a particular village on the bank of the river Ganges.
In the primary sense, the word ‘Ganges’ refers to the
river not the bank.  So we are leaving the primary
meaning river (Ganges) but take, instead, the ‘bank’ (
which is  associated) with the river Ganges, as the
secondary meaning. Now there is no contradiction in
understanding the meaning of this expression.

To be continued

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