Sunday, September 14, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 84 of (Vol 2) of 15 Feb 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 84 of (Vol 2) of 15 Feb 2008.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! I offer my sincere apologies for the likely errors, as the one doing the translation. ---KTSV Sarma. Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1930's to early 60's.


(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 83 of (Vol 2) of 13 Feb 2008.)

54. I told you that, if someone has learnt as to what is the 'Praamaanya Vaadam', then he is considered as a Maestro. It is so mind boggling that, explaining it is to run the risk of rendering some people to become insane. But, at the time of the Avatara of Adi Sankara, it seems that the parrots on the tree outside Mandana Mishra's house, used to discuss this 'Praamaanya Vaadam' as a means of passing the time!

55. One day Adi Sankara went to Mahishmati, the town in which Mandana Mishra was residing. It was morning time. Ladies were returning from the river carrying water on their heads. He asked them as to where is Mandana Mishra's house located. Evidently the girls had much literary ability. One of the girls answered his query, by promptly composing a song in reply:- "swata: pramanam parata: pramanam keerangana yatra cha sankrante I dwaarasta needantara sanniruddhaa jhaaneehi tan mandana panditouka: II" It means, 'Learn that house to be belonging to Manadana Mishra, where the female parakeets will be arguing about what is 'Swata: Pramaanam and Parata: Pramaanam'. From such incidents, we learn as to how wrong it is to think that in olden times, only men were well read and women were kept uneducated! Not only that the human females could compose a poem impromptu but, even female parakeets called, 'keeranganaas' were qualified to discuss subtle points of Saastras! 'Swata: Pramaanam and Parata: Pramaanam' are part of this 'Pramaanya Vaadam'. Having talked about it so much, we may as well get to know what it is! It may prove to be a matter of breaking our heads. There is an interesting story about it.

56. A well read Tamil Pundit went to Nawadweep in Bengal, to learn about Tarka Sastra. Bengal was famous for that aspect of the Vedas. This Tamilian was already a famous poet. He had already earned substantial name and fame prior to his visit to Bengal. He went there. Tried to learn the Tarka Sastra, to no avail. More he tried less he learnt, with the result that he was so confused that, whatever he had known earlier was also lost. His poetical acumen was also lost! With the limited capability he could only bemoan his fate, in the following lines, "...nama: pramaanya vaadaya mat-kavitva-apaharine...", meaning, ' prostrations to pramaanya vaadam, which has only snatched my poetical acumen!...'. It is this Praamaanya Vaadam, that the female parakeets outside Mandana Mishra's house were discussing! Let us try to understand that, if only slightly.

57. When you look at something, you get to know something about it. Some knowledge so gained is correct and some are wrong. We look at a piece of crystal and assume it to be a piece of candy. That is wrong knowledge. To look at candy and know it to be candy, is right knowledge. The correct knowledge is 'Prama'. The wrong knowledge is 'Bhrama'. If you are wondering as to whether it is crystal or candy, it is 'Samsaya Gnanam'. If you know for certain, it is 'Nischaya Gnanam'. Some of this Gnanam seems temporarily certain(nischaya pramaanam) and later as wrong(apramaanam), like the case of mistaking crystal for candy. Some of it are immediately known to be wrong(apramaanam), like the reflections in water, because the image is upside-down. Then again, looking at upside-down images, one may mistake a mirage to be a water source(bhrama)! To know something to be true at the very outset, is one variety. To know something to be untrue at the outset is another variety. That knowledge which comes at the very outset, that it is true, is 'pramaanya graha gnaanam'. The opposite of that, that is the immediate knowledge that something is untrue is 'apramaanya graha aaskandita gnaanam'.

58. As in Pramai, there can be Pramaana Gnaanam in Bhramai too, if only temporarily as when the crystal was seen to be candy. Now this knowledge gained could be either subjective or objective. On some occassions we need the objective version, like while reporting on a project or operation. But when it comes to individual responses to, say a particular medicine or taste of wine or a fragrance; we need the subjective response. Objective proof is 'Parata: Pramaanam' and subjective proof is the 'Swata: Pramaanam', that the female parakeets were discussing outside the house of Mandana Mishra!

59. The certainty or otherwise of the Knowledge that we get, as to whether it is Pramaanam or Apramaanam, is not a subjective matter. It happens by the Guna of the Padartham. Whether our knowledge is right or wrong depends upon the material. For example, if it melts and tastes sweet, it is sugar candy and if it is hard like a rock, it is glass crystal. The subjectivity or objectivity of our knowledge depends on the Padartham. So, the correctness or otherwise of our Gnanam is still objective as per Nyaya Sastra. Mandana Mishra and othe Meemamsakas, have a contrary view point. They are of the opinion that, the certainty that our knowledge is Pramanam is Subjective and that our knowledge is not Pramanam (ie., that it is Apramanam), is an Objective matter, as it depends on the outside material! So, their view is that..."praamaanyam swata: apramaanyam parata:...". Tarkam will contain argumnts such as this!

60. 'Vaadam' now-a-days is mistakenly thought to be, to stubbornly insist that one's own view point is the right one and all other's are wrong. In fact 'Vaadam' is to make one's point of view, listen to the other's and assess each others views in an impartial manner and then come to a mutual acceptance. Mandana Mishra was one of those with whom Adi Sankara had debated thus. His Adwaitam is the end view after evaluating many view points. Vaadam was thus an exchange of thoughts and not an one sided presumptuousness. That is known as 'Jalpam' not 'Vaadam'. There is a third variety too. Neither have one's own view, nor accept other's and fight for that. That is known as 'Vithandai', from which 'Vdandaa Vaadam' came into being.

61. From the time the dimwit 'Ganga' became the learned 'Gangesa Mishra', ie., the 12th Century A.D., Nyaya Sastram got rejuvenated. Having taken birth in Bengal Navadweep area of Nadiad district, the Sastram also got the name, 'Navya-Nyayam' as a new Sastram. Sri Krishna Chaitanya was also born in this part of the country only. He too was a great personality, who went around singing 'Krishna Naama Sankeertanam', establishing, that as a great Royal Path of 'Bhakthi Marg', towards Moksha.

62. Nyaya Saastram emphasised the Dwaitam, with conepts such as, the reality of the world setting aside Maya, Jeevatmas will remain seperate as many and Paramatma will always stand apart, and so on; to the extent that the Nyaya Sastram countered the 'Nireaswara Vaadam' / Godlessness of religions such as Buddhism and paved the way towards Adwaitam; it was a very salubrious part of the Vedas. If Nyayam was thus a Science of Intellectuals, the next in line of the 'Chatur-dasa-vidyas' are the 'Puranas'. These puranas, full of interesting stories are a repository of moral values. But they are put down as being full of 'blind beliefs'. Though the whole world is ready to spend all their time and money, in fictitious characters of cinemas, novels, TV serials, from Batman to Superman to Spiderman and are avidly awaiting for the serialization of Rowland's Harry Potter; the Puranas are considered shamelessly as blind beliefs. Let us have a look at them, the poor 'Puranas' in the next few e-mails.



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