[Advaita-l] Modern science and Vedanta.

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Jul 22 15:54:29 CDT 2011

On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 6:31 PM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Sri Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote: I withdraw from further discussion with
> you at this point and refer you to that old English adage about glass houses
> and throwing stones. Someone who thought, not too long ago, that the Tamil
> pronunciation of "sagotharan" for the Sanskrit word sodara/sahodara is
> instead derived from the term "sa-gotra", should think twice before preening
> about their grasp over the grammar and usage of the Sanskrit language.
> Sri RV wrote: While I believe Sankara is inerrant, probably because of
> childhood conditioning, I am ignorant and prone to errors in many ways. So,
> I have nothing to preen about. All I am trying to do is truthfully and in a
> scholarly way (at my level) elucidate the position of bhakti in sankara
> sampradaya. I made a casual remark in a different post about sagodharan and
> sagodhari possibly coming from sagotra. I have not studied the roots of
> sagotra and sahodara *** but will not be surprised if they are mutually
> related. *** (emphasis added).
> ------- now, my post ...
> - Quite revealing, the last phrase ! For those who are not Tamilians, here
> is a quick and simplified explanation of the above issue. One version
> of Tamil aphabet - the classical or original one at any rate - has only one
> letter to represent ka, kha, ga, gha, ~Na and ha. In Dravidian
> words, neither the mahaapraaNa (kha, gha) nor the varga-pancamaakshara (~Na)
> is used; so effectively it uses one letter to represent three sounds: ka, ga
> and ha. In many words, the parusha (ka, ca, Ta, ta, pa) is replaced by the
> sarala (ga, ja, Da, da, ba): like in the English compound cup-board (which
> is actually pronounced as cubboard), the parusha 'pa' of cup is replaced by
> the sarala 'ba' of cubboard. This is called saralaadeSa sandhi by some.
> Educated Tamilians make this sandhi mentally and read ka as ga, ca as ja
> etc., whenever the situation demands. Many who do not pay attention to this
> aspect get this wrong especially when using non-Dravidian words. For
>  instance, in the famous pancaratna kriti, endaro mahaanubhaavulu (in
> Telugu, though almost every music-loving Tamilian knows it or is aware of
> it), the 'ha' of 'mahaa' is written as 'ka' and pronounced as 'ga' and it
> often is sung as 'endaro magaanubhaavulu'.
> Now coming back to sahodaran (that last 'n' is the Tamil prathamA vibhakti
> marker) issue, since classic Tamil script has not the letter for 'ha', it is
> written as sakodaran and often pronounced as sagodaran. This is tolerated as
> the meaning is clear to all. Some, though, get confused. It seems Sri
> Rajaram Venkataramani thought this sounds very similar to sagotra and
> thought they share a common root! In reality they do not. saha + udara
> (womb, stomach) = sahodara, that is a sibling, one who is from the same
> stomach. sa-gotra is of the same gotra, a family, originally a shelter.
> Udara and gotra have absolutely no connection or relation. It is somewhat
> unusual for a Sanskrit knowing scholar to be so confused; but,
> still this might happen - pramaado dheemataamapi - especially as childhood
> impressions stay for long. However, even after this is pointed out, that he
> still won't "be surprised if they are mutually related", is as I said, very
> revealing! It
>  is a bit like you say 128 + 128 = 256, and a Mathematics scholar replies
> that he would check it out, as he is only a scholar of partial complex
> differential calculus and not arithmetic!

RV: For my research, I rely on experts in the subjects required (grammar,
logic, philosophy etc.) and do not claim scholarship though as I said making
an attempt to build it. In my primary school, the teacher appreciated me
when I wrote 128 + 128 = 256. In my high school, my teacher called me a
number one fool for saying that. He asked me to first ask which system the
sum is set in. So, 128 + 128 = 250 in hexadecimal. When I deal with higher
mathematics or physics, I dont go with primary school thinking. If I did, I
wont be able to understand how an electron can simultaneously exist in
multiple places or quantum entanglement allows instant exchange of
information across space! We need higher mathematics for deeper

Having interacted with a few scholars who have spent decades in sanskrit,
logic and philosophy, I am able to understand that the language is very
intricate. I have learnt not to take any thing for granted on the face value
because each letter is pregnant with multiple meanings. I have not done an
analysis of the roots of sahodara and sagotra but have seen sagotra used in
the context same family (gotra-jah). Tamil is no ordinary language and
maruval or change of words is no accident there due to limitation in terms
of texts. Hence I said, I wont be surprised if there is mutual relation
between the words.

It is interesting that my main point is not discussed. It defends the
tradition in super-excellent terms. If my logic incorrect, no one has
pointed it out. There is an urge to call me a fool with all these empty
verbiage when I have directly stated that myself in my own post. I consider
it my greatest achievement in this life to have understand that despite my
member in High IQ Societies, I am highly ignorant. The only greater
achievement is my fortune to come in contact with the works of great
acharyas who I believe are sarvajna. I may be wrong but probably not.

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