[Advaita-l] <bhavatitva> and <astitva>: request for help

jiva das jivadas3 at yahoo.ca
Sat Nov 18 19:13:42 CST 2006

I have a view that an <Asana> is where one <asti>, but where does one <bhavati>? These thoughts arose while I was laboring over a <zloka> from the <mahA-rAmAyaNa-yoga-vAsiSTha>, in the sixth book, the first half of the Nirvana-teaching. 

As a translator, I have a slightly different view than you philosophers. 

I would be happy to have any reflection you might make.


tRSNA-moha-parityAgAn nitya-zItala-saMvidaH |
puMsaH prazAnta-cittasya prabuddhA tyakta-citta-bhUH [37]
tRSNA- moha- parityAgAt nitya- zItala- saMvidaH 
puMsaH prazAnta- cittasya prabuddhA tyakta- citta- bhUH
having got rid of Trshna Desire and Moha Folly, 
daily cool-understanders, 
persons of controlled Chittam, 
awakened, firmly based in a detached Chittabhu, a renounced Chitta-land: a Ground of Chittam [cf. “Ground of Being” in western philosophy]
In the invocation, the anonymous author of these three shlokas speaks of the triadic triplets of <jJAtA jJAtaM tathA jJeyam> “Knower, Known, ... Knowable”, <kartA hetuH kriyA> “Doer, Cause, Effect”;--and these two triads are worth your careful comparison--; but also between them is <draSTA darzana-dRzya-bhUH> “Perceiver, Perception-Percept-Ground”.
   Note that it is not ‘Perceiver-Perception-Percept-Ground’. Even if it were, there would still be <bhU>, the primal word of Sanskrit Bhvadi verbs. It is Earth, and earth, ground, soil. That is one of its senses. 
   <“>bhU”> is the first word of the first group of verbal roots in the great Panini’s Grammar, the first grammar of all; and it speaks of becoming. But the verb <bhavAmi> is usually translated as  “I am”. This is not correct, as I shall show. It should be translated “I become”. 
   There is another root in Sanskrit, >as, which speaks of location. We know it best as <asti>. In our kind of literature, it almost means “once upon a time”, it is the verb of <itihAsa> Hearsay.
It is usually unavoidable to translate it as “she-he-it is / there is / there was [historical present]. 
   But when Sanskrit wishes to speak of “is”, it is silent. Krishna does not say <ahaM bhavaty AtmA> “I become the Self”, to Gudakesha, (in the foremost verse of the Gita, according to Ramana Maharshi), nor does he say <aham asmy AtmA> “I am at myself”. 
   He makes an equation 
                              aham  =  AtmA 
but he does not sing the “=” sign: it is silent. 
   This is a characteristic of many languages: I can think of Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Greek as examples of languages that omit the copulative verb. I am sure you can think of other examples. 
So what is this <bhU> but the Ground of Being? 
Here the grammatical analysis has these odd couplings of <draSTA>, with <darzana-dRzya> and <bhU>. 
The entire BG <zloka>: 
aham^AtmA guDAkeza sarva-bhUtÂzaya-sthitaH | 
aham^Adiz^ca madhyaz^ca bhUtAnAm^anta eva ca || 
The entire Invocation of Yoga-Vasishtha:
yataH sarvANi bhUtAni pratibhAnti sthitAni ca | 
yatraîvôpazamaM yAnti tasmai satyÂtmane namaH [1] 
jJAtA jJAnaM tathA jJeyaM draSTA darzana-drzya-bhUH | 
kartA hetuH kriyA tasmai jJapty-Atmane namaH [2] 
sphuranti zikarA yasmAd^AnandasyÂmbare’vanau | 
sarveSAM jIvanaM tasmai brahmÂnandÂtmane namaH [3] 
asaMstutam^ivÂnAstham avastu paripazyataH |
dUrastham^iva dehaM svam^asantaM cittabhUH kutaH [38]

saMtoSaH paramo lAbhaH sat-saGgaH paramA gatiH | 
vicAraH paramaM jJAnaM zamo hi paramaM sukham [Yoga Vasishtha 2.16.19] 
   = Contentment is the highest gain, Good Company the highest course, Enquiry the highest wisdom, and Peace the highest enjoyment.

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