[Advaita-l] Theory of Language: Mimamsa, Advaita and Vyakarana 3 of 3

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 13 11:25:15 CST 2015

Sri Chandramouli ji
Regarding the difference between the Brahman of Advaita and Sabda of Vyakarana, the short answer is that there is no difference if we understand that VaiyAkaraNas worship Sabda as Brahman; what Advaitins do not accept is that Brahman, in the ultimate view, is of the form of Sabda (Sabda is Brahman is agreeable to Advaitins for everything is Brahman, the reverse that Brahman is of the form of Sabda, in the Advaitin's view is limiting the limitless Brahman). There is absolutely no issue within the realm of SagunopAsana. Now is nirguNabrahman the same as Sabda? It depends on how we want to interpret; if we take a literal interpretation of received texts, we have to say Advaita is opposed to SphoTavAda (since BhagavatpAda condemned SphoTavAda in DevatAdhikaraNam) and therefore have to interpret Sabda as a "property" of Brahman (actually, Sabda ought to be the property of AkASa, but we will let that be). However if we take a sympathetic view, then the meaning of "Brahman is of the form of Sabda" is that since Brahman is beyond Sabda (यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते), and yet Sabda remains the only means to Brahman (ब्रह्मणः शास्त्रप्रमाणत्वम्), that Brahman is of the nature of Sabda is a proper resolution. For most advaitins the first position is the natural one to take - and easier, I might add. I am in the process of exploring the second position or something similar to it. I don't think the journey has ended. The second position has the obvious difficulty of explaining sphoTavAdanakhaNDana in DevatAdhikaraNam. Two plausible explanations are a) paravAsanayA (paraphrasing NAgeSabhaTTa), i.e. due to the influence of MimAMsA [1], b) to ensure that sAdhakas are not misguided; it might be possible to propose that Brhaman = Rasa etc. (as Alankarasastra very nearly does - they say rasAnubhUti is brahmAnandasahodarI) and so on, and in the confusion, proper understanding might be diluted.
Anyhow, leaving the critical issue in the unresolved position, I give below descriptions of Brahman by BharRtrRhari in BrahmakANDa and will follow it up in the next email with translation of two or three kArikAs from jAtisamuddeSa and maybe all of DravysamuddeSa to show how close the descriptions are. You might find that, except in point no. 2 below, Advaitins will agree with all other descriptions. Numbers in parentheses refer to the kArika number in VAkyapadIya.
1. अनादिनिधनम् – without beginning and end(1.1)

2. शब्दतत्त्वम् – of the nature of Śabda (1.1)

3. अक्षरम् – without decay (1.1)

4. यतः अर्थभावेन जगतः प्रक्रिया विवर्तते –whose apparent modification in the form of Artha is the prakriyā of jagat (1.1)

5. एकमेव यदाम्नातं भिन्नं शक्तिव्यपाश्रयात् –which (Brahman) is one but is said to be many due to different Śaktis (like kāla, dik etc.) (1.2)

6. अपृथक्त्वेऽपि शक्तिभ्यः पृथक्त्वेनेव वर्तते –which, thoughnon-different from its Śaktis, is as if different from its Śaktis. (1.2)

7. यस्य अध्याहितकलां कालशक्तिम् उपाश्रिताः।जन्मादयो विकाराः षट् भावभेदस्य योनयः॥- the six vikāras of janma etc., which are dependent on the kālaśakti withimposed parts (i.e. kāla actually does not have parts like past, present andfuture, but these are imposed upon it), are the reasons for the divisions of Being (Brahman).  (1.3)

8. यस्य च एकस्य सर्वबीजस्य भोक्तृ-भोक्तव्य-रूपेणभोगरूपेण च इयम् अनेकधा स्थितिः – which, though one and the seed ofeverything, is seen in the differentiated state of consumer, the consumed andconsumption  (1.4)

9. तस्य प्राप्त्युपायः अनुकारः च वेदः – Vedais the device to obtain such a Brahman and also its anukāra, i.e. which takes its form, or is its reflection.(1.5)

10. सत्या – Real (1.9)

11. विशुद्धिः – Pure (1.9)

12. विद्या एव – Knowledge alone (1.9)

13. एकपदागमा – leading to one goal (1.9)

14. युक्ता प्रणवरूपेण – with the form of Praṇava (Om) (1.9)

15. सर्व-वाद-अविरोधिनी – not opposed to anyVāda (1.9)

16. छन्दसां योनिः – the source of Vedas(1.17)

17. छन्दोमयी तनुः – having the form of Veda(1.17)

18. यत् प्रत्यस्तमित-भेदायाः वाचः रूपम् उत्तमम् –which is the highest form of undifferentiated 

Vāk (speech). (1.18)

19. यत् शुद्धं ज्योतिः अस्मिन् एव तमसि विवर्तते – whoseform of pure illumination is apparently manifest in this darkness (avidyā) (1.18)

20. समतिक्रान्ता मूर्तिव्यापारदर्शनम्, वैकृतम्(यमुपासते) – which is beyond mūrty-anubhavaḥ (experience of forms) and vyāpāra-anubhavaḥ(experience of activities), but is worshipped as Vaikrṛtam (विकृतौमायायाः परिणामे ब्रह्मणः विवर्ते प्रपञ्चे भवं वैकृतम् – that which is inVikṛti, i.e. themodification of Māyā, i.e. the world, which is anapparent modification of Brahman) (1.19)

21. व्यतीतालोकतमसी प्रकाशं यमुपासते – whichis beyond light (vidyā)and darkness (vidyā),but which is worshipped as prakāśam(1.19)

22. यत्र वाचो निमित्तानि – in which wordsare indicators of Brahman (because every word is ultimately unreal andindicates Brahman. ब्रह्मदर्शने च गोत्वदिजातेरप्यसत्यत्वात्अनित्यत्वम्  "आत्मैवेदं सर्वम्" इति श्रुतिवचनात् - Kaiyaṭa explaining the sentence आकृतिरनित्या of Mahābhāṣya under the Vārtikaनित्ये शब्दार्थसम्बन्धे . . .) (1.20)

23. यदेकं प्रक्रियाभेदैर्बहुधा प्रविभज्यते – whichis one but is divided into many by different prakriyās (1.22)

RegardsN. Siva Senani

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