[Advaita-l] Vedic Symbolism - a cryptic language??
Venkata sriram P
venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Thu Mar 3 23:25:24 CST 2011
The sastra adopts 3 types of languages. They are: samAdhi bhASha, laukikI and
samAdhi bhASha: The state the experience which is beyond the perception of
our senses, this language is adopted which involves description of “viruddha lakShaNa”
and negation of the same “niShedha paddhati”. The Vedanta adopts this method.
laukikI bhASha: To express the hidden secrets of the sAstra, laukika
driShTAntAs (which is called symbolic interpretation) are adopted.
These symbolic representations unravel the “hidden mysteries”
behind the examples.
parakIya bhASha: There are certain symbolisms and the description of those
are seems to be quite opposite and unnatural to the normal public like us.
This is the beauty adopted by our ancient sages. To express the “innermost hidden secrets”,
the sages codify the languages and hand down a sort of crossword puzzle / jigsaw puzzle / sudoko to us.
The methodology adopted to understand this cryptic language is only through upAsana.
And the technical term for this methodology is tantra. The mimAmsa sUtrAs are plenty in
number that has adopted this tantra paddhati. The basic foundation of karma kANDa
lies on this “parakIya bhASha. See below:
“chatvArishringA trayO(a)sya pAdA dvEshIrShE saptahastA sO asya
tridhA baddhO vriShabhO rOravIti mahO dEvOmartyAgaM AvivEsha //
This the famous rk from Rg Veda that describes a Bull with 4 horns; 3 feet; 2 heads; 7 hands.
This bull is tied at 3 different places.
Can we ever imagine this strange animal to be ever present? Certainly not.
But the entire vedic concept is squeezed in this rik. yajnA is vriShabha that bestows 4 purusharthas; For this yajna rupa vrishabha, there are 4 ritviks (hota, adhvarya, udgata, brahma) that are symbolically represented as 4 horns; the 3 feet represent 3 vedas; 2 heads represent the yajamAna and his wife; 7 hands represent 7 chandas of veda (gayatri, ushnik, pankti, anushtup, trishtup, jagati, brihati); 3 different places indicate 3 savanas (prAtaH, madhyAna, sayam).
Now, why vriShabhA is contemplated to be yajna; ritviks to be its horns; 3 vedas to be its feet; yajamana & his dharma patni to be its head; chandas to be its hands is altogether a different concept and probably we will discuss them later.
This same rk is also interpreted in describing Agnihotra & Aditya.
Even puranas & kavyas also adopt this “parakIya paddhati”. Take for instance, the Ramayana. Lord Hanuman belonged to “vAnara” who is an animal. But if you study Ramayana, Hanuman is said to be foremost among jnanis who mastered 3 vedas, 9 grammers. How can this be possible? The monkey is less evolved when compared to humans in terms of intellect etc. There lies the beauty of “vAlmiki hridaya”. And hence, he was a Rishi.
So, the tantra paddhatis has a characteristic of having inter-woven thought processes. Just as the
cloth is woven using the threads, tantra has the inter-woven concept of “parakIya bhASha” whose objective is to maintain *secrecy* or *guptatva* or *rahasya*. There is a rk in veda which says "paroksha priya hi deva, pratyaksha dvishah" which means that "Gods prefer what is Secret and dislike what is obvious". So, it is this "secrecy" or "gUdhatva" that has to be unraveled.
The "secrecy" or "rahasya" has been maintained in Tantra in 6 different ways. They are:
1) Names of Gods (devata nama) 2) Ayudhas of Devatha (weapons of the deity) 3)
Vehicles (vahana) of Devata 4) Devata murthi (sthula) (forms of devata) 5)
Mantra Uddhara and Varna Sankhya of the Devata (number of letters and syllables
in the mantra of the devata) 6) Twisting and jumbling of Devata Name (sometimes the names of Gods are jumbled).
All the vehicles (vAhanAs) that we read with respect to our vedic deities have the rahasyArthAs that unravel the mysteries of devata tattva whether it is sthUla, sUkShma or para.
When time permits, I would explain these 6 aspects of rahasyAs in tantra shAstra and how it is related to our sruti.
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