[Advaita-l] the meaning trapped into the word

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Jul 27 14:20:18 CDT 2008

On Wed, 23 Jul 2008, Lakshminarayana wrote:

> In reply to your earlier post about speech and God, you are right in 
> saying that speech cannot reach Brahman. In the Taittiriya Upanishad, 
> Brahman is referred to as - "That from which speech turns back, unable 
> to reach it".

I have noticed misunderstanding of Advaita Vedantic texts is usually due 
to two reasons:

1. failure to consider the context
2. confusion between vyavahara and paramartha

The quote you mention, Taittireyopanishad II.9.1 (also repeated 
elsewhere in the upanishad) says in full

yato vAcho nivartante | aprApya manasA saha | AnandaM brAhmaNo vidvAn |
na bibheti kutashchaneti |

"[It is] that from which words turn back unreached along with the mind, 
the knower of [this] bliss of Brahman is never afraid of anything."

It is talking about a person who is _already_ a jnani.  For such a person, 
words (and Shankaracharya points out their complementary deeds.[1]) are no 
longer adequate.  But to turn that into the notion that words are devoid 
of meaning is the difference between the man who has grown out of his 
clothes and a nudist!

[1] He is a Mimamsaka remember.  The primary significance of a word is 
action.  The rest of this anuvaka brings out the same theme.  "anything" in
"never afraid of anything refers to good and evil deeds.  The jnani is not 
affected by remorse for the non-performance of deeds as he knows the bliss 
of Brahman.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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