word and form

hbdave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Wed May 1 05:05:30 CDT 2002

ken knight wrote:

> --- riccardonova <riccardonova at LIBERO.IT> wrote:
> > An intresting point is coming out from this
> > exchange: what is the relation
> > between a word and and it's form in the reality -
> > body and mind (
> > antahkarana ).
> Namaste Riccardo,
> Your question is so important because if we pay
> attention the the sounds emerging from our mouths then
> there is hope for understanding.
> May I first pick up the use of 'reality' in your
> question. I am not certain as to what you are
> referring as being 'the reality.'

< cut >

Hence the need for a spiritual language such a

> Sanskrit being protected and held for future
> generations..sampradaya.
> I look forward to hearing from those more fluent than
> myself,
> Best wishes
> ken Knight

you write so nicely, I am tempted. Definitely not more fluent
than you, but may I add a few things?

A word has three possible methods of conveying an idea
(what we losely call meaning) to a receiver (what is  a receiver?
see below).

i.    by its very sound -- this is the basis of Mantra Shastra,
        almost ignored by grammarians;

ii.    in isolation - generally a traditionally ascribed meaning;
        this has not much significance. For example, if I utter
        "cow" and you hear it, it does not convey much to you.
        Grammarians say that in order to convey some meaning
        there should be some action (kriyaa) in the utterence.
         The  "base level" action is "to be".

iii.    As a component in a sentence. The brain has to analyze
        the syntax and then the meaning is available. Here, the
        meaning can be : direct (vachyartha), indirect (lakshyaartha)
        or purport (taatparyaartha) also called dhvani. Most of the
        Sanskrit scripture seldom use direct meaning.

Sanskrit grammarians and linguistic philosophers like Panini
(Ashtaadhyayii) his commentator  Patanjali (Mahabhasya) and
Bhartrhari (Vakyapadiya) has made very important and interesting
observations about relation between word, sentence and the meaning

Bhartrhari, especially, envisages the generation of a complete sentence
starting from a single entity (thought seed) at Para vaak level,
at Pashyanti (a thought sapling, still a single entity), becomes more
detailed with entity-relationships  at Madhyama level and develops into
a full grammatical sentence in a particular language at Vaikhari level.
compares this to the (assumed) Creation (kalpanaa) of the varigated
by the One consciousness.
In the reverse direction, when one hears a sentence, the sound element
sequences are identified as words (a process called Pratibhaa by him)
which is a kind of unity compared to the multitude of sound elements.
Further, the words are analyzed and understood as a sentence, again
a higher level unity compared to various words which forms it. This is
also Pratibhaa. That is Sphota. Bhartrhari compares this with Laya
(dissolution) of the World into the single Self.

As mentioned by me in one of my earlier posting, Indian Mantra experts
envisage a process called Vashat, in  which a sound element (may  or may

not be a word in Sanskrit) conveys an idea directly to Pashyanti level,
without passing through the (unconscious) analysis at vaikhari and
Madhyama levels. How and why this process works, well, that will be
too long to explain in a mail posting, but it does work. Incidently,
one can have Vashat of other types, apart from sounds, also.

Lastly, who is the receiver?  That is the Vij~naanmaya Kosha, or, with
proper sound input, the Anandamaya Kosha.

May be this helps!

-- Himanshu

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list