View Full Version : déjà vu

25 December 2017, 02:36 PM
hariḥ oṁ

déjà vu
This term déjà vu is French by nature and is defined as ‘already seen’ , which clearly establishes that something has been seen before. Usually déjà vu is not current in one’s awareness but is sparked by the ~same event~ occurring and the exclamation ‘ I have seen this before ( or done this before)' , usually with some wonder or surprise ( of which we will use as an idea in the following discussion).

Yet in saṁskṛtā (written in devanāgarī script) this term might be written as follows:
द्विजा dvijā (twice born) + चिन्ता cintā (thought) = dvijāścintā = twice born thought

Now this term dvijāścintā ( if my rules of grammar were applied properly) seems a bit dry for the experience one has when déjà vu occurs. So, how can one capture this idea in words/terms?

Another view
दीजाविश् dījāviś ( some may write dījoviś). At first one may see this as a 2 part dvandva compound term: dījā+viś

Yet it is made up up of 3 : dī+jā+viś (note: the last term should be shown as viśaḥ the plural form since there are 3 components and would look like this: dījāviśaḥ ; this is the nominative case ending).

The final 3rd term can also be declined as viśām (dījāviśām) if I am showing ownership i.e. ‘of this condition’. Yet my endings may be ill-applied, and look to be corrected by those with a better rules understanding; That said, this will not take us from the core terms offered.

Let’s look at the terms of dī+jā+viś individually:

dī – (2nd definition) is to shine forth; to bestow upon by shining
jā – produced or caused by; born or produced in or at or upon
viś - to enter; to be absorbed into

This dījāviśām now says one who is absorbed in a birth that shines forth.

Finer points to gain amazement
The finer point offered is the term dī , rooted √ ḍi , we have it as dīyati – this is ‘to soar’ ( he that soars 3rd person, singular).
So with this idea in mind we have one who is aborbed in a birth that shines forth and makes one soar.

This captures the accompanying ~feeling~ of when this déjà vu occurs; one intellectually captures the ‘birth’ of this experience, that it occurred before, and there is a wonder1 about it; it makes one ‘soar’ in the experience.

Yet there is something missing in the term dījāviśām, and that is dvijā or ‘twice’. How to get to this notion that it is the 2nd time this experience is apparently occurring without losing the notion of wonder and upliftment?

One way is to take birth (ja or jā) and make it dual or 2; that is jau and therefore dījau-viśām. Yet to have it take ownership/possession, that it belongs to this person having this experience the ‘case’ that is to be used is the 6th case ( called genitive case) and looks like this: jayoḥ , hence dī-jayoḥ-viśām and therefore dījayorviśām.

Now that said, I have accomplished the notion of ‘2’ by adding jau but I broke the rules of samāsa ( compounds i.e. the assembly of words into one2) and specifically dvandva samāsa.

The dvandva samāsa is well respected within grammar. Within the śrīmad bhāgavad gītā kṛṣṇaḥ -jī informs us of the following:

akṣarāṇām akārosmi dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca |
aham evākṣayaḥ kālo dhātāhaṃ viśvatomukhaḥ ||10.33

In simple terms this verse says,
amongst all vowels/letters ( some would call the alphabet, the ‘official’ term is akṣana samāmnāya) i.e. akṣara3 , I am ‘a’ ; amongst compound terms (sāmāsikasya) I am dvandvaḥ.

Kṛṣṇaḥ-jī goes on to say that He is time eternal , and the creator of all. Yet the term I wish to bring forward was mentioned of the high position of the dvandva samāsa compound.
Now why does kṛṣṇaḥ-jī mention this? It is due to the notion that this type of compound is made of terms that both are predominant and equal. That one term is not above the other. Hence wherever there is predominance I am there, where there is this equality I am there. I am predominance and equality at the same time ( this is how one can come to appreciate seemingly conflicting terms).

So, if I am to apply the dvandva samāsa rule accordingly dī-jayoḥ-viśām should be seen as dī-jau-viśām, hence dījauviśām.

Yet too there could be another way and this would bring us to dṛṣṭvā, 'having seen' ... that is, ‘I have seen this before’. This is called the ktvānta ; in English grammar it is called the gerund. We use this every day e.g. having gone, having seen, having purchased, etc. It is a verb-form that indicates a prior action , ‘I have seen, I have experienced this before’.

I will not pursue this line of thinking as it gets a bit thick and beyond the intent of the original idea offered.


1. smayamāna = smaya - wonder , surprise , astonishment + māna – opinion of, idea
2. compounds in English such as firecracker, baseball, grandmother, earthquake, grasshopper – these are considered closed compounds. Examples of open compounds are ice cream, grand jury, post office, full moon. Another one may see is hyphenated , mother-in-law, merry-go-round, mass-produced.
3. akṣara – has several meanings. In grammar it is that vowel or letter sound form that cannot be further reduced; it also means imperishable, indivisible. I used the term akṣana samāmnāya which = the enumeration of letters of which is a non-reducible syllable.

31 July 2019, 07:56 PM
That's really awesome summary and explanation. Have you ever come across the idea, that everything happens (or has happened) an infinite number of times? - I am not finding scriptural references, but in considering Atman to be infinite, it's interesting to think about. Thanks for the post 😊