[Advaita-l] meaning of parama

Guy Werlings werlings.guy at wanadoo.fr
Wed May 23 11:30:42 CDT 2012

Dear List members,


I have once more a question for you most probably completely out of place as
it does not concern strictly speaking Shankara's advaita but I know that
there are so many reputed Sanskrit scholars in the list that perhaps one of
you could help me:


Writing a short article in French on Truth in vedAnta, I need to translate
also in French a mantra from the mahaanaaraayaNopanishhad(79.2), which as
follows in Itrans, provided I made no error in searching andcopying the


satyena vaayuraavaati satyenaadityo rochate divi satya.n vaachaH

pratishhThaa satye sarvaM pratishhThita.n tasmaatsatyaM parama.nvadanti ..


Now, I try to formulate the problem and my question. With my quite basic
knowledge of Sanskrit, I could obtain a French text, which seems rather
acceptable to me. My doubt concerns the word parama.n. I understand that in
English it means "supreme". AFAIK, parama being the superlative of para it
is used as an adjective to qualify something else: paramAtma, the supreme
Self, paramArtha, "the supreme Truth", paramArthasAra, "the essence of the
supreme Truth", as well as other expressions like parama shiva or

My specific question is: "Can "parama" be used alone meaning something
implied but not clearly expressed? 

The reason why I raise this strange question is that I tried to check my own
translation and found on the Internet a French translation made by Mr. M.
Buttex, not directly from Sanskrit but from the English translation of Dr.
A. G. Krishna Warrier, and in his retranslation Mr. Buttex translates
"parama.n" as the French equivalent of the English "means of liberation".
But the word mokSha is not found in the Sanskrit text.

Being somewhat dubious, I decided to have a look at the text of the previous
mantra of the upaniShad, as 79.2. seems to be the answer to a question
raised in 79.1, the Itrans text running as follows:

praajaapatyo haaruNiH suparNeyaH prajaapatiM pitaramupasasaara kiM

bhagavantaH paramaM vadantiiti tasmai provaacha .. 1..

There also "paramaM vadantiiti" is translated into French as the equivalent
of the English "what do the sages say is the best way to obtain liberation".

Nowhere the word mokSha appears in the Sanskrit text. May just "paramaM"
standing alone mean "supreme means of mokSha"?

I feel sorry and beg your pardon for having been unable to make this e-mail





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