[Advaita-l] Fw: RE: Query [continued]

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 11 18:11:04 CST 2009

Dear Sri Shakthi Prashanth,


Firstly, at some point, you have to choose between etymology (however you interpret that) and philosophy. The veda itself tells us that brahman is ultimately that from which words turn back, along with the mind, unable to truly grasp it - yato vAco nivartante aprApya manasA saha. So, at the outset, if you want to play games with etymological interpretations of Sruti vAkya-s that describe the nature of brahman, it is a futile effort.

Secondly, this sort of splitting meaningful words into component syllables and giving novel interpretations to each of them is neither philosophy, nor is it etymology, strictly speaking. It is not as if the sound a- at the beginning of every word is a prefix indicating negation. Take for example, the words agni and akAra - is the leading a- sound a prefix? The word aham, meaning I, is similar - it is not a + ham, no matter who it is that may tell you so. 


Thirdly, the word asmi is the present tense, first person, singular verb form. It means (I) am; not (he) is. In Sanskrit, he/she is, would be asti, not asmi. (As an aside, the word "asi" in tat tvam asi is present tense, second person singular.)


Fourthly, if you use translations, your understanding of any Sanskrit text, at best, can only be as good as the translation. If you are truly interested in understanding, please make an attempt to learn the language before jumping to etymology.


For example, in your quotation from the nArAyaNopanishat, can you point to me the original verse which means, "there is pin point space in it which is omnipotent"? Or is this supposed to be a translation of the line, tasmin sarvam pratishThitam? If so, please look up the dictionary meaning of the word pratishThA. How does this relate to omnipotence? Then, ponder upon this - that in which everything (sarvam) is pratishThita, is itself inside the lotus of the heart. So, is the lotus of the heart established inside that which is inside the lotus of the heart? How wonderfully circular!!! Clearly, don't you see the need to go beyond the merely literal, when you see such a wonderfully poetic description of some of the highest philosophical concepts? Which brings me back in a circle, to the very first point I made in this response - etymology is not philosophy!


It is good that you are questioning and it is good that you realize that the truth is not something dependent on your current birth. However, within the current birth, please extend your questioning also to those sources from which you have made your quotations so far!


With best wishes,

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