Upadesha Sahasri (Verse Section 1)
hilken_98 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 6 05:47:12 CST 2003
--- "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM> wrote:
> Incidently I would recommend this approach to all
> readers who are unable
> (yet) to read Sanskrit. Even the best of
> translators can misinterpret
> things so triangulating between severalcan give you
> a better idea of the
Thank you Jaldhar for giving us so much. May I add
also, for anyone passing this way who has yet to
approach the Sanskrit texts, please put aside any
inhibitions and start learning.
I am an Englishman which, almost by definition, means
that I am useless at languages. Also, for many of the
younger generation of Asians, then Sanskrit is somehow
tied up with attitudes imbibed from childhood.
We must put aside our individual limitations and
understand that a language is not primarily for
reading, nor for exchanging information.
It is to be listened to primarily.
Sound, the revealed Word, is that which it reveals
through direct experience. It reveals Brahman. It is
Therefore it is best, when approaching the scriptures
to use the language of that one who felt impelled to
speak and to the one who felt impelled to write it
down. Otherwise we will just imbibe the imaginations
of the interpreters, whoever they may be.
I began my own Sanskrit study with a dictionary,
Dhattupatha and the Bhagavad Gita for I wanted to
understand more of that text. I will still clam up
when in the presence of a proper Sanskritist but
through listening to others it is possible to now
'listen' to the text through chant as well as through
the traditional methods of study through books.
I mention this as an encouragement to others who may
feel a little uncertain as to how to approach Sanskrit
at the beginning. If possible find a teacher but if
such is not available, as in my case, then let the
Scriptures teach you.
Jaldhar has kindly interleaved comments for us on the
verses. He has wisely directed us to consider
carefully how we come to understanding and how we are
to make efforts to live a long and fruitful life
and/or participate in ritual.
At the time of Shankara's travels there was a
dominance by the ritualists as to the question 'How is
Shankara tells us in this introductory section that
all ritual is dependant on something else. For example
we may be asking, 'Can we afford the most proficient
priests?' 'Do I belong to the correct caste?' 'Have we
the correct materials?' etc.
To contrast this he reminds us that Brahman and
Brahman/knowledge is not dependant on anything, being
'Pratibha, otherwise known as parasamvit or citi sakti
in the agama, is the power of self-revelation or self
illumination of the Supreme Spirit, with which it is
essentially and eternally identical.'
So firstly, in the previous postings of the Prose
section, Shankara sets up the dialogue between the
pupil and the teacher, so that we, each one of us, if
we are serious in our approach to the Upanishad, may
ask ourselves 'Who am I?' free from all the
superimpositions of time and place. That is an eternal
question that the RgVeda gives us as:
What thing I truly am I know not clearly; mysterious,
fettered in my mind I wander. When the first born of
holy law approached me, then of this speech I first
obtained a portion.
Rg Veda 1.164.37
Now Shankara wants us to consider each action, from
the coarse to the most fine. He acknowledges that the
Vedas give teachings both on ritual and on direct
realisation but it is to the latter verses that he is
going to direct us in later teaching on the
It behoves us to follow seriously in our own
individual, seemingly, circumstances just what action
is and at what point is there attachment to action.
Also, to return to the first part of this posting, at
what point does language enter in to the attachment to
I will post the next chapter on negation at the
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