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Thread: śāstra

  1. #1
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    śāstra

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    How often does śāstra come up in our conversations ? We quickly think scriptures, yet as one would expect there is more to this word that has been crafted by the wise. Let's take a look.

    śāstra ( some write śāstr&#225 - is scripture; any instrument of teaching , any manual or compendium of rules ; any religious or scientific treatise; any sacred book or composition of divine authority applicable even to the veda.

    It is said there are fourteen kinds and when we add in the 4 veda-s there are eighteen kinds. We can say in short it is a body of teaching (in general) , scripture , science.

    Yet if we choose to take apart this word we find even more meaning...
    śāstra = śa + astra
    • śa is another name for śiva. An appropriate definition for śiva in this conversation is 'in whom all things lie' - that which contains all.
    • In its masculine use śa is equal to śastra. And how is this śastra defined ?
      śastra can be an invocation , praise applied to any hymn recited either audibly or inaudibly heard ( as opposed to stoma , which is sung)
    The 2nd meaning is any instrument or tool, a weapon. We will see how this fits-in to the next part of this word.

    astra = a weapon in general i.e. a sword, a bow, a missile, etc. It too is considered the art of throwing missiles.
    • This astra is rooted in 'as' and means to drive away , even to frighten and drive away. So we see the application as a weapon.
    • Astra is also another name for phat ( an interjection) 'that which throws out or emits rays of light'. Some know that this goes with a clap of the hands over the head.
    • Astra is a name of a mantra or invocation. We find this in say the śiva aṣṭottaraśata nāmāvali.
    So , from this śāstra and its configuration (śa + astra) we can conclude a few things:
    • It is scripture, and can be considered a sacred book or composition of divine authority
    • Within it (śa) is the wisdom of the Supreme (śiva).
    • It can be considered a tool and or a weapon... yet against what ? Ignorance. It has the ability of 'as' - to drive away. It has the ability to drive away ignornace.
    • It has the ability to bring light (from astra = phat)
    Such is the wisdom of our ṛṣi-s who compose the truth for us to consider.

    praām
    Last edited by yajvan; 25 July 2012 at 01:27 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: śāstra

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    If you recall , on several occasions the notion that the śastra-s can be understood on 3 different levels has been offered:

    • abhidhā or the conventional meaning i.e. the literal meaning
    • lakṣaṇā or indirectly via sign, symbol, inference.
    • vyajanā or the figurative expression more intuitively offered some may call implied indication , yet is on a higher level of meaning
    Yet too, there is an additional 4 elements that must also be recognized ( some call this anubandhacatuṣṭaya):
    • prayojana - the puropse or aim of the śastra
    • adhikāri - qualifications, or one who is competent for the study of the śastra
    • abhiḍheya - the subject matter being offered in the śastra ( its knowledge, etc.)
    • sambanḍha - the relationship between the title of the śastra and its subject matter.
    Many times people read the name of a upaniṣad and then begin to read. It is the thoughtful reader that first comes to understand the meaning of the title , as it leads to the deeper significance found in the body (abhiḍheya) of the śastra.

    Hence within these 4 elements ( anubandhacatuṣṭaya), we also find the 3 different levels of understanding at work - abhidhā, lakṣaṇā, and vyajanā.
    For the casual reader and/or a translator, these total 7 components are of key import. Some come to appreciate all 7, and many do not. It is the wise and the realized person that is able to come to appreciate all 7.

    praām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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