[Advaita-l] the meaning trapped into the word

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Aug 8 00:56:58 CDT 2008

On Sun, 3 Aug 2008, Lakshminarayana wrote:

> Dear Jaldhar,
>> Speech cannot reach brahman
>> _for_the_man_who_has_already_reached_brahman_
> I am not able to figure out if you are talking about "speech reaching 
> brahman" or "speech being useful in describing brahman". These two are 
> different. Am I right?

What would reaching mean if not describing?
> So I ask this question -
> For the man who has not yet reached brahman, can speech reach brahman?

Yes.  In fact Brahman can be described in one letter: omityekakSharaM 
brahma as both Gita and Mundakopanishad say.  But the brahman known via 
speech (and concommitant action as I noted previously) is a provisional 
superimposition.  Nevertheless provisional truth is enough to dispel 
provisional ignorance.  When ignorance is dispelled then the 
complete truth of brahman is known.  Then there is no need for speech 
based on subject-object for brahman is svatasiddha -- self-illuminating it 
is not a subject or an object.  It is here at the end of the journey one 
can say speech does not reach brahman and not before.

Other vakyas which are often claimed to demonstrate agnostic views towards 
speech also in fact say the same thing.  For example the celebrated neti 
neti (brhadaranyakopanishad 2.3.6) is immediately followed by atha 
nAmadheyam satyasya satyamiti "Now its name: the truth of truth" Just 
because brahman is "not this" doesn't mean we can't describe it in a 
positive way.  But the seemingly odd-sounding formulation "the truth of 
truth" reminds us that vyavaharic satya is not the same as paramarthic 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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