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Thread: Shabda, Vac and Veda

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    Shabda, Vac and Veda


    I was not sure where to post this, and although this is an advanced subject, I thought to put here due to my limited understanding and also a chance to write it out so it can be read and understood by all who read. Please forgive any errors in the presentation as its a question.

    Recently I have been doing some research into shabda, sound, nada, which I have aligned with my studies on cosmology.

    इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्यः स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान |
    indraṃ mitraṃ varuṇamaghnimāhuratho divyaḥ sa suparṇo gharutmān |
    45 Speech hath been measured out in four divisions, the Brahmans who have understanding know them.
    एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहुः ||
    ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ ||
    Three kept in close concealment cause no motion; of speech, men speak only the fourth division. ( I am sure there are better intuitive translations)
    Rig Veda

    There are 4 levels of speech sometimes written as Vak, vac or vach, 3 concealed speeches or sound are higher Vac, and beyond our normal cognition of speech and sound.

    The 4 levels of speech or sound are

    1. Para-Vak is the highest form of sound. Transcendental

    2. Pashyanti is the sound vibration heard in the Causal worlds. Pashyanti in Sanskrit means “seeing speech”.

    3. Madhyama (Middle) is the sound as perceived in the forms of the mind.

    4. Vaikhari is the lowest form of sound, ordinary audible sound through the voice.

    There are a number of ways in which the 4 speeches-sound, Para-vak, Pashyanti-vak, Madhyama-vak and Vaikhari-vak are described.

    These four levels of sound correspond to four states of consciousness. Para represents the transcendental consciousness. Pashyanti represents the intellectual consciousness~dhi, Madhyama represents the mental consciousness, And Vaikhari represents the physical consciousness.

    These states of consciousness correspond with the four states known technically as jagrat, svapna, sushupti, and turiya – or the wakeful state, the dreaming state, the dreamless state, and the transcendental state.

    Contained within these are the Vedas and the highest shabda, sound, Vac is para vak which gives para vidya, para as supreme vidya as knowledge's ( knowledge's as in the cognitive ) All of which is contained within Shabda and is known as shabda pramana. Is Para Vidya the Vedas or do the Vedas point to something higher and transcendent which is higher than even the vedas.

    My question boils down to what is Veda, is Veda only contained within shabda which is non different from akasha. Akasha the most subtle of all the mahabhutas.

    In Bhagavad Gita Sri Krsna says that the Vedas deal mostly with tri guna the 3 modes of material nature, Sattva, Rajas and tamas.

    There are the Vedas as we known as the scriptures which have their root in Vak, but is Veda utterly transcendent too, are they beyond sabda, vak and Akasha. If Akasha is like the cloak of Sri Vishnu-Shuklambharadharam then what is it beyond Akasha, shabda and Vak, or are the vedas only within Shabda.

    I have seen it said that Veda is the 4th Pramana, The other main 3 being Pratyakṣa (perception), Anumāṇa (inference), Shabda (sound, Vac), and the 4th as Veda or Vedanta as the highest pramana beyond or higher than than Shabda, but to get this information seems very hard, I have only seen said like this once or twice as mostly it is written that shabda brahma is Veda. All forms of the 4 vaks have to be contemplated to understand the question. If its put that Veda is Sabda Brahma then Veda is only a sound vibration according to the 4 Vacs.

    (This view maybe depending on the school and model they use, some give 7 pramanas and within Gaudia line the 5th Pramana is pure Bhakti, so I dont want to make it overly complicated and listed the main 4, so this post/question is not about how how pramanas there are)

    When the 4 speeches are also given a parallels with the 4 states, Jagrat, Svapna, sushupti and turiya. Turiya the 4th or ultimate state, without beginning or end and all pervasiveand is absolute and unchanging. para vidya and para Vak is aligned with Turiya. Turiya then is also within Shabda Pramana ? When I talk of Turiya as within shabda Pramana I mean its origin, as Turiya is within all things, both here and there.

    "OM": This imperishable syllable is all that is. Its expansive
    expression is: What has been, What is, What shall be. All this is
    "OM." And whatever else there is, beyond the threefold division of
    Time, that, also, verily, is "OM." For all this is Brahma, the Eternal;
    and the Self, Atma, is the Eternal. And this Self stands in four
    worlds. ~
    Mandukya Upanishad

    I am just a little confused that transcendence or that which is utterly beyond all manifestation is given the same parallel as Sabda and Akasha, Shabda and Akash are non different as far as I understand, and so many say Shabda Pramana Shabda Brahman is Veda.

    I could understand better if Veda is carried into manifestation through Shabda, for example the Vedas vehicle or medium is shabda. So the Veda and Shabda are one and the same but Veda is still fully transcendent and silent to all speeches, or the essence of Vedas is within Sabda. When I say Veda I am not just referring to the written scriptures of the 4 Samhitas.

    I am just wondering if anyone could throw a little light on this.

    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 24 August 2017 at 12:05 PM.

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