(Continued from page 2)

the senses. It is 'aSabdam', not describable by sound sense, 'asparSam', not indicatable by the sense of touch, 'avyayam' immutable, 'nirguNam' with no attributes, 'nishkalam' with no marks or specifications.  Then how can it be at all described? The scriptures say it is not that which is described by speech but it is that which makes speech possible; it is not what is seen by the eyes, but it is that which makes the eyes see. So how can you decide whether it is this or that ? Is it the cause which is invisible or the effect which is visible? You cannot exclusively point to one of them and say it is only that and not this. It is not just this individual soul, nor is it just that Absolute, without reference to the individual soul. The individual soul has certain qualities like ignorance which do not belong to it absolutely, and the Absolute has certain facets like the capability to create, which is only a temporal phenomenon and not a definitive facet. So in this sense it is not possible to say it is this or that exclusively.

ISAdhi-devatAShe is the goddess-divine who is 'above' the ISa (ISa + adhi) where ISa stands for both the Almighty and the individual jIva - in the sense that She is the substratum that remains after one discards the adjuncts of the ISvara (almighty) and of the jIva (individual soul). The adjunct of ISvara is mAyA and the adjunct of the individual soul is avidyA, that is, ignorance. She is above (= 'adhi') both. 

lAkinI: lam akam asya asti iti lAkinI.  'kam' means the Absolute brahman. 'akam' means what appears as not-brahman, namely, the universe. Where this universe merges into (= obtains 'layam', dissolution)  is lam. By association of ideas, 'layam' is taken to include also 'creation' and 'sustenance'. So lAkinI signifies that which is the fundamental source from which all creation happens, all is sustained and into which all merge, that which shines as the base of all this universe of names and forms.

lakshaNAgamyA:  that which is unobtainable (agamyA)  by definitions, called lakshaNas. There are three kinds of lakshaNas. jahal-lakshaNa is exemplified by

'the tea-shop on the Ganges'.

How can a tea-shop be 'on' the Ganges?. Here the word 'Ganges' is not to be taken as the river Ganges. By context, the word 'Ganges' here only indicates 'the bank of the Ganges'. Thus the word 'tea-shop on the Ganges' simply means 'the tea-shop on the banks of the Ganges'. So the river-meaning of the word Ganges is to be discarded. 'jahat' means 'discarded. So this is an example of a definition which indicates by discarding. The second kind of lakshaNa is exemplified by the statement

'white is coming first'

in the context of a race of horses, say, where the white horse is coming first. Here the whiteness in the definition is not discarded in the derivation of the meaning. This is called 'ajahal-lakshaNa', the definition which does not discard. But when we try to understand the relationship between the individ

© Copyright V. Krishnamurthy  Sep.6, '99.        Home  Contents NEXT