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Thread: ' I Don't Get It ... '

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    ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    At times a person may read a certain śāstra and say 'I do not get it, what is this telling me?' i.e. what's going on here?
    A few ideas for your consideration.

    trayoḥ arthaḥ sarva-vedeṣhu
    (trayoḥ) three (arthaḥ) meanings (sarva) all (vedeṣhu) vedas -or-
    There are 3 aims or meanings one can find throughout the various vedas or bodies of knowledge.

    These are considered inherent in the veda'-s and great bodies of work one may be introduced to.
    What are these 3 aims?
    • ādhiyajña - ritualistic meaning; that of yajña or yaj sacrificing , worshipping , a sacrificer
    • ādhidaiva- relating to deities; that of the devatā, the higher creative impulses of creation
    • ādhyātma - spiritual or esoteric meaning

    There is another 3 some also consider:
    • The notion of ādhibhoutika - gross external meaning; that relating to bhu भु , to existence - the physical world and common transactions
    • The notion that ādhidaiva which includes (within it) ādhiyajña or the praise and worship of the devatā.
    • ādhyātma - spiritual or esoteric meaning; the Supreme Spirit अध्यात्म ; belonging to the SELF

    So here we sit, the reader, the śiṣya ( some write śishya) or student, the sādhu, a paṇḍita (pundit) or perhaps a śastrī ( one knowledgeable in śastra) and a sādhaka (the accomplished one) reading a passage , a śloka¹, from some great work. What occurs? The values and meanings are different for each pending one's advancement.

    The novice sees only words, and is able to make out a few ideas (ādhibhoutika); The paṇḍita and śastrī are able to see more of the knowledge and the linkages to the devatā and to yajña (ādhidaiva), and the sādhaka perhaps will view the passage as an extension of his own personal experience (ādhyātma) .

    What is this telling us? Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness or awareness. Knowledge becomes lively or fuller (pūrṇa) as one opens themselves to the expanded vision of awareness¹ , that is, as the 'container' of consciousness expands, so does comprehension.

    A key tenet or axiom as I see it is, reading does not insure comprehension. Reading says I looked at the words, I am able to sound them out, yet it does not insure that comprehension took place.

    A simple example. Take a student of the 8th grade and give him/her a calculus book. The words can be articulated without flaw, yet is the meaning aptly understood?

    Take the aspirant that this entering into the study and practice of Sānatana dharma. They pick up a book, say Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad. What will they see? They will see the words on the page, sound them out and try to the best to their ability to make sense of what they read, pending their comprehension and the quality of consciousness they maintain.
    It is not unusual to say ' I don't get this - I do not understand what is being said in this passage (śloka)'. Hence the only available meaning at that time is ādhibhoutika.
    To the ardent student this may be a motivation to learn and study more e.g. 'I don't get it , now where can I find this answer'.
    For others not 'getting it' may also be a deterrent e.g. 'I don't get this, so what's the use of trying'.

    It is said much of the veda-s where written in symbolic language (saṃketa) so only those with aspirations to achieve this knowledge would gain access to it. Hence much of the learning is available to the 'eager' student, the one that applies him/her self to study and practice. Also many choose a teacher, guru or paṇḍita for help which is wise and a natural compliment to one's learning.

    There also has been a natural 'water fall' of knowledge offered - that is, from the veda-s and āgama-s¹, then to the upaniṣad-s, then to purāṇa-s ( Śiva purāṇa, Viṣṇu purāṇa, etc.) and itihāsa-s ( some write itihika-s) such as the Rāmāyaṇa & Mahābhārata . The purpose is to make truth (satyam) available to all levels of ability.

    The native or aspirant too has the ability to assist by grooming and culturing their own awareness and increasing the ability for comprehension i.e. for opening and expansion of awareness ( the container).

    praṇām

    words and references
    • trayoḥ arthaḥ sarva-vedeṣhu
      • traya त्रय - triple , threefold , consisting of 3 , of 3 kinds
      • artha अर्थ - aim, purpose, meaning, notion
      • sarva-vedeṣhu : sarva सर्व manifold , various , different; veda वेद knowledge; true or sacred knowledge or lore , knowledge of ritual

    • śloka श्लोक - is a stanza; also a hymn of praise
    • Expanded vision of awareness - see HDF Post http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=25888&postcount=2 if there is interest
    • āgama आगम - anything handed down and fixed by tradition
    • My references for this thinking : Prof. S.K. Rāmacandra, Prof. R.L. Kaśyap, Mahṛṣi Mehesh yogī, Śrī Aurobindo (Some spell Ôrobindo), T.V. Kāpali Sāstri, M.P.Pandit, Svāmī Muni Nārāyaṇa Prāsad, Svāmī Kṛṣṇānanda
    Last edited by yajvan; 20 December 2015 at 11:53 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté


    I mention in the above post:

    So here we sit, the reader, the śiṣya ( some write śishya) or student, the sādhu, a paṇḍita (pundit) or perhaps a śastrī ( one knowledgeable in śastra) and a sādhaka (the accomplished one) reading a passage , a śloka¹, from some great work. What occurs? The values and meanings are different for each pending one's advancement.
    The novice sees only words, and is able to make out a few ideas (ādhibhoutika); The paṇḍita and śastrī are able to see more of the knowledge and the linkages to the devatā and to yajña (ādhidaiva), and the sādhaka perhaps will view the passage as an extension of his own personal experience (ādhyātma).
    It is said there are 4 indispensible elements¹ to any śāstra. I list 5 below which is more accounting then any difference of opinion… I will explain at the end.
    • prayojaña - a purpose or aim
    • adhikārī अधिकारी- one competent to learn or study; Note that this infers there is an adhikārin अधिकारिन् i.e.one possessing authority, entitled to, or fit to teach the student.
    • abhidheya अभिधेय meaning 'that which is expressed or referred to' i.e. the subject at hand, the subject matter to learn.
    • abhidhāna अभिधान - a name , title ; lexicon
    • sambandha सम्बन्ध - binding together, joining, close connection. But of what? the connection between the title of the śāstra and the subject matter i.e. The title (abhidhāna) and the subject matter (abhidheya).

    Example of sambandha
    Title ( abhihāna) : Driving a car
    Subject matter (abhidheya) : includes driving techniques, the equipment, the layout of the fundamentals ( gas pedal, brakes, steering wheel).

    The purpose or aim (prayojaña) can be an introduction to driving; it could be part 1 of 3 parts to driving, etc. There is some intent.

    Now the student (adhikārī) is the one competent to learn. This is of interest as all the other parts do not work unless there is the adhikārī.
    'Fit to learn' is key. It suggests a willingness, attentiveness to take on the lesson. It suggests the time will be taken in due course, and a certain diligence will be applied to learn and practice.

    Note this word competence - it can take on many roles. I wondered if you had an opinion or view on this matter. What do you think competence of the adhikārī is or should be? Any thoughts?

    fyi -regarding the accounting of four points vs. five. Sambandha includes the title (abhidhāna) and the subject matter (abhidheya),
    yet the title (abhidhāna) is not one of the original 4 points laid out. I thought it important to break it out on its own.

    Titles tell you much about the subject at hand - especially when it comes to various Upaniṣad-s e.g. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad; the upaniṣad for the shaved, muṇḍaka, shorn, i.e. the sanyas.

    praṇām

    words
    • The 4 indispensable elements are called anubandhacatuṣṭaya
    • śāstra or śāstrá शास्त्र- an instrument of teaching , a manual or compendium, especially any religious or scientific treatise , any sacred book or composition of divine authority ; teaching , instruction , direction , advice , good counsel ; a law-book or whole body of written laws.
    • śastra is invocation , praise applied to any hymn recited either audibly or inaudibly , compared to stoma , which is sung.
    Last edited by yajvan; 20 December 2015 at 11:53 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3

    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    Wow! That's incredible!
    Om Hrim Kshraum Ugram Veeram Maha-Vishnum, Jwalantham Sarvatho Mukham Nrisimham Bheeshanam Bhadram Mrityu-Mrityum Namaamyaham

    Follower of Śeṣanaaga

  4. #4
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    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    Lets look at another example of the 4 indispensable elements anubandhacatuṣṭaya. I mentioned the following in the above post:

    ... there are 4 indispensible elements¹ to any śāstra. I list 5 below which is more accounting then any difference of opinion… I will explain at the end.
    • prayojaña - a purpose or aim
    • adhikārī अधिकारी- one competent to learn or study; Note that this infers there is an adhikārin अधिकारिन् i.e.one possessing authority, entitled to, or fit to teach the student.
    • abhidheya अभिधेय meaning 'that which is expressed or referred to' i.e. the subject at hand, the subject matter to learn.
    • abhidhāna अभिधान - a name , title ; lexicon
    • sambandha सम्बन्ध - binding together, joining, close connection. But of what? the connection between the title of the śāstra and the subject matter i.e. The title (abhidhāna) and the subject matter (abhidheya).

    The book is Parā-trīśikā Vivaraa. This is the work of Abhinavagupta-ji and hence abhidhāna (title), from the list above. This book has also been called Anuttarasūtra or the sūtra-s ( terse verses) of the Unsurpassable (anuttara).
    Now Abhinavagupta-ji has also called it trikaśāstra rahasya upadeśa or the teaching of the secret of the Trika doctrine.
    prayojaña - the purpose or aim ; According to Abhinavagupta-ji, the intent of this śāstra is liberation which many call mukti¹ . We will revisit this mukti definition from Abhinavagupta-ji's POV in a moment.

    What is the sambandha or the binding together, joining, the close connection of the title and the subject matter?
    Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa -or- That (Śrī Devī) who transcends and is Identical with trika. It also means That which speaks out (kāyati) the three (tri) śakti-s (śa) of the Supreme (parā). Vivaraṇa means the act of uncovering, opening, or explanation.
    There are 6 kinds of sambandha or bindings, and we will review this in a new post.

    Now the adhikārī is Abhinavagupta-ji's pupils or sisya-s. Yet he says it is for advanced cela-s¹ (disciples) or śiṣya-s (students) that are advanced 'or proficient in this śāstra' i.e. 'for the clear understanding of my pupils', says Abhinavagupta-ji. This is mentioned in verse (kārikā or śloka) 5 of his bhūmikā, the preface or introduction.

    As I see it , it is to enlighten those on the path and to remind those that are advanced of their own experience.

    With the above, the 4 indispensible elements¹ of this śāstra has been quickly reviewed. Let go back and take a 2nd look at this notion
    of muktamārga ( path to liberation) and how Abhinavagupta-ji views it. I find it quite interesting.

    Generally liberation is considered the delivery from moha मोह i.e. bewilderment , perplexity , distraction , infatuation , delusion.
    This may be so, yet Abhinavagupta-ji's view is more regarding the association with Bhairava, perfect I Consciousness, or ahaṁ.
    That is, moksa मोक्ष is more about the experience and alignment to the Divine, to anuttara ( the Supreme, unpassable) then
    to the release from moha. The notion is, if the impressions ( saṁskāra - mental impression or recollection ) caused by māyā are no longer, then what does the announcement from this release hold? It no longer has value. It is what the individual becomes vs. what the individual has been that is of value and interest. I thought this to be a very inspiring view of - the notion of the return to one's original state - pratiprasava¹.

    praṇām
    words
    • śāstra or śāstrá शास्त्र- an instrument of teaching , a manual or compendium, especially any religious or scientific treatise , any sacred book or composition of divine authority ; teaching , instruction , direction , advice , good counsel ; a law-book or whole body of written laws.
    • mukti मुक्ति - setting or becoming free , release , liberation; throwing , casting , hurling , shooting , sending
    • cela चेल - a disciple ; from ceṭa a servent;
    • The 4 indispensable elements are called anubandhacatuṣṭaya
    • saṁskāra संस्कार - mental impression or recollections; forming the mind , training , education; yet this also means correctness , purity, making sacred , hallowing , consecration
    • moha मोह - loss of consciousness , bewilderment , perplexity , distraction , infatuation , delusion , error , folly ; rooted in muh -to become stupefied or unconscious , be bewildered or perplexed , err , be mistaken , go astray
    • pratiprasava प्रतिप्रसव - return to the original state ; counter-order , suspension of a general prohibition in a particular case
    Last edited by yajvan; 20 December 2015 at 11:54 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  5. #5
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    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~

    Namast

    sambandha सम्बन्ध - binding together, joining, close connection. But of what? the connection between the title of the śāstra and the subject matter i.e. The title (abhidhāna) and the subject matter (abhidheya).
    In the above post sambandha was between the title and its subject - its joining or union. Yet there are 6 kinds of sambandha or bindings,
    between the teacher and the taught. This was the six I was alluding to in the aforementioned post.

    I am not proficient with these six. I hope to study and understand more about them. Perhaps one of our HDF readers knows more
    and can add some depth and breath to this conversation.

    1. Para saṃbhandha - the Highest sambandha is where the questioner and the answerer ( teacher and taught) are both Śiva.
    2. Mahān saṃbhandha - the questioner is Sadhāśiva and the answerer is Śiva.
    3. Antarāla saṃbhandha - the questioner Anantabhaṭṭāraka and the answerer is Sadhāśiva
    4. Divya saṃbhandha - the questioner is the sage Nandakumāra and the answerer is Anantabhaṭṭāraka
    5. Divyādivya saṃbhandha - the questioner is the sage Sanatkumāra and the answerer Nāndī
    6. Adivya saṃbhandha - both questioner and answerer are humans.

    praṇām

    words
    • Para पर - beyond, exceeding.
    • Mahān or Mahan महन् - is greatness, mighty, abundence
    • Antarāla अन्तराल - intermediate space; from antar अन्तर् between , amongst , in the middle or interior
    • Divya दिव्य - heavenly, celestial; from div दिव् to shine , be bright
    • Divyādivya - suggests with two celestials
    • Adivya अदिव्य - is a+divya or not+divya which equals human beings.
    • More on Sadhāśiva at this HDF post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3657
    Last edited by yajvan; 07 March 2009 at 07:07 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6
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    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté
    I wrote in the 1st post,
    At times a person may read a certain śāstra and say 'I do not get it, what is this telling me?' i.e. what's going on here?

    This 'not getting it' seems to be prevalent in the classical veda's themselves i.e. rg veda saṁhitā , sama veda saṁhitā , etc.
    This part of the veda is called saṁhitā संहिता and it helps us better understand just how robust or potent the veda-s are.
    • saṁhitā संहिता means conjunction , connection , union , but even more it means the junction or combination of letters according to specific rules;
    • It also means any methodically arranged collection of texts or verses; for me, there is also another definition;
    • the force which holds together and supports the universe, as the veda-s are that grand knowledge that knows of the structure of this universe.

    So when we work and deal with the veda - there are several levels or elements one must remember. That of the uttered sound (śabda) it's meaning (artha) and of course the power/energy (śakti) that is transmitted with the uttered word. Yet too my teacher said the quality of consciousness of the chanter is also of key import, and the receptivity of the reciever must also be considered. We have not considered/appreciated the ṛṣi and the devatā that are being chanted about and will leave that for another time.

    Note that from a mere sound , we hear it an some meaning may (or may not) be assigned , but the sound is transmitted and the energy that goes with it is also transmitted. This point will make sense as we round out the discussion.

    This conjunction or union ( saṁhitā - holding together) of qualities/properties of the sounds are listed out in the Taittitīya Upaniṣad, śikṣā vallī.
    The notion of śikṣā¹ is that discipline which concentrates on proper chanting. Proper chanting of the veda-s are of great import for both passing the knowledge from teacher to student, but also for the proper results (effectiveness) of the chanting - both for the listener, the chanter, the environment, etc. Let me list them out first as it will assist me in making a point.

    Here are some of the qualities for proper chanting:
    • varṇa - syllables ; note to that varṇa means an outward appearance , exterior , form , figure , shape i.e. the sound takes 'shape' or is now 'exterior' , in the environment , from the chanter ( paṇḍita¹).
    • svara - the sound + pitch , there are 3: elevated (udātta), svarita (accented) and anudātta (unaccented)
    • mātrā - is measure or length of the sound
    • balam - accent or strength, some say emphasis points or accent points
    • ma - the uniformity of the sound
    • santāna - juxtaposition (placing close together or side by side)

    Note the beauty of the word saṁhitā (holding together) used to define these mantra-s of the veda. One is holding together these qualities of sound, strength, uniformity, etc. into the chant to bring out the full blossoming of the knowledge, wisdom, śakti and effects of the mantra.

    We have not talked of the meaning as yet… this is another level and when meaning is added then saṁhitā becomes mahāsaṁhitā.

    Note then all the components that are integral to saṁhitā that brings the fruit of the veda-s to life. If one picks up the veda-s as a text book , much of the richness remains dormant and left on the pages of the book.

    More on the meaning will be taken up in the next post and will draw some insights on where one may wish to put their reading and attention.

    praṇām

    words
    • śikṣā शिक्षा - training, teaching; More importantly (to me) it is defined as 'being able to effect anything' , 'wish to accomplish'
      so it is more skill in doing, vs. just learning for an appreciation. And in the definition we are using it means the science which teaches proper articulation and pronunciation of Vedic texts
    • paṇḍita पण्डित - learned, wise, teacher , philosopher
    Last edited by yajvan; 20 December 2015 at 11:54 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  7. #7
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    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    We talked in the previous post about the uttered sound (śabda) and its quality of śikṣā¹, that discipline which concentrates on proper chanting.
    I mendtioned or listed out the parts considered with śikṣā.
    I also mentioned back in post number 1
    trayoḥ arthaḥ sarva-vedeṣhu
    (trayoḥ) three (arthaḥ) meanings (sarva) all (vedeṣhu) vedas -or-
    There are 3 aims or meanings one can find throughout the various vedas or bodies of knowledge.
    Yet Yāska, an early ācārya (circa 2000 BCE), was one of the earliest saṁskṛt (sanskrit) grammarians or etymologist. He mentions several interpretations of the ṛg veda itself - that of naiyāyika¹ (logic), itihāsika (or history some call mythological in its most noble sense), yājñika (rituals), ādibhuta (natual powers) and ādhyāyma ( spiritual and that of the Supreme).

    So the veda's are a vast array of knowledge. How then is one to extract the meaning and maximium benefit? One can study under the proper paṇḍita, this is always a welcomed approach. Yet what is one to do when they are engaged in work, daily activities? It is my opinion then one can consider the Upaniṣad-s.

    This word in itself gives us its value:
    upaniṣad उपनिषद् means 'to sit down near to' . But to whom? It could be to the teacher (ācārya) or guru well versed in the truth (satyam). Another view on this matter is setting (down) at rest ignorance, by revealing the knowledge of the Supreme. This notion comes from upani -śad. This śad is throw down , slay. And what is one throwing down? Ignorance. And this upani-śad is taken to include upāya - a means of success or strategy.

    Yet upaniṣad is also defined as a 'secret doctrine' . But of what ? Of the Truths and essence of the veda-s. So we can apprecite the wisdom of the veda-s via the upaniṣad-s. Still it is of great worth to read the upaniṣad-s with commentaries ( bhāṣā ) offered by the wise, learned, and advanced in the subject matter. Many here on HDF have offered some clues on what to read¹ .

    And what of the veda-s? IMHO the closer one can get to hearing the chanting of them, there will be benefit.

    The next question then is what if one does not understand the Upaniṣad-s? Here too there is help.

    words & references
    • śikṣā शिक्षा- training, teaching; More importantly (to me) it is defined as 'being able to effect anything' , 'wish to accomplish'
      so it is more skill in doing, vs. just learning for an appreciation. And in the definition we are using it means the science which teaches proper articulation and pronunciation of Vedic texts
    • nyāya न्याय- that into which a thing goes back i.e. an original type , standard , method , rule hence a logical or syllogistic argument or inference ; one of the six darśanas ;nyāya is so called , because it 'goes into' all subjects physical and metaphysical according to a specific 'logical' method.
    • bhāṣā भाषा- language, some call this gentle talk; description , definition
    • What to read: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1946&highlight=ocean
    • How many upaniṣads are there? See http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=15825&postcount=2
    Last edited by yajvan; 20 December 2015 at 11:54 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #8
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    Re: ' I Don't Get It ... '

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    If one reads the information above, there is one thing that has not been considered - those that are suitable/amenable for instruction.

    First lets start with those that are not...
    There are some people on this good earth that are just not ready for higher levels of knowledge. That is , one's ignorance is so dense that they don't know that they do not know a higher level of existence could even possibly exist. This level is pure moha - the darkness or delusion of mind preventing the discernment of truth.

    There also is another type of person that is not amenable for instruction - the brahmanirvāṇain or the realized muni where
    the realization of Being is in full bloom. What can teaching bring him that has accomplished the end-state of all knowledge?

    The others...
    So, all others between the purely ignorant and the purely enlightened are the candidates for instruction and knowledge.
    How so? It is these people ( including me) that have doubts.
    We can look at the ~spread~ of people in this light:
    • 0% knowledge + 100% ignorance = pure moha
    • Some knowledge + some ignorance = doubts and this person can be called a śiṣya ( some write śishya) or student, or tapasvin
    • 100% knowledge + 0% ignorance = brahmanirvāṇain or muni
    You see , when one has doubts it suggests that the intellect is at work probing, questioning and discovering. This is healthy. What then is needed ? The application of the ointment of knowledge, as the wise say.
    It is this person that śikṣā (training, teaching) bears the greatest fruit.

    praṇām


    words

    tapasvin - still practicing ; working with and practicing tapas or austerity , penance , deep meditation , special observance, etc.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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