Resemblances and Correspondences X 3

Resemblances and Correspondences X, part 3

Consciousness and Speech Series X.

Sacred Speech Masterclass X, part three.

Resemblances and correspondences shape our consciousness and speech. How do things resemble each other, what are their connections and relationships, and how does this become known? How do analogy and metaphor guide our interpretation of texts?

Let’s use a word here to describe this proximity, or actually, yes, to describe this proximity in a way that doesn’t imply necessarily measurement. So we will use this word, convenience. It’s a word that I think is applicable to very much in the Indian tradition, that I have been a part of, but interestingly enough I think that you’ll find the word in different languages but especially in Latin used a great deal in Medieval alchemical texts and, in general, in the hermetic movement in Europe. What’s happening is that we have people in ancient India, such as Garg, such as Panini, whose Ashtadhyayi is, as well as other things, a mathematical system that could not be really properly understood until the 1930s or the 1940s . We had physicians such as Charaka, Shushrut — Shushrut was often called the father of surgery who was performing complicated surgeries thousands of years ago. Contrary to popular belief the Arabs did not develop the concept of the number “0,” the number “0” was used continuously in India, thousands of years, before any notice of the f ic “0” or the use of the Arabic numerals. What I am saying here is that there’s almost a cover-up of the fact that ancient India and Indian culture had a sophisticated scientific, or scientific-like approach to the world, that had a high level of technical sophistication in a sense that 25 hundred years after Panini , people can use his composition to make computers and create a computer revolution. And we have people in all areas, we have poets, we have other mathematicians, we have philosophers of astounding insight, and, yet, all these things are operating on other premises and this is really, what I have to say, grabbed me in my early days in India and excited my curiosity beyond anything I could restrain and determined what would take place basically for the rest of my life. I wanted to know how Garg could figure out these things and how Panini could come up with these things systems and in various other areas, and how these people, before, you know, there was pen and paper, let alone computers, could figure out all these things. And so I will suggest to you that the answer to this question, or the general answer to this question, lies in correspondences that we can describe as resemblances. Things are like other things for various reasons, both things are red, both things have spikes, two things are next to each other, two people look exactly like each other, people have a certain feature on their face that makes you think of somebody else or something else, in more traditional cultures, people would be recognized as having correspondence with different planets based on their nose, or their eyes, or their skin or other bodily features.

Interpretation of Texts

I want to talk about this evening is ways that things resemble each other. And I have prepared some notes here to, so that we can be somewhat comprehensive, about this. Ok. So, besides the fact of resemblance, resemblance guides exegesis, it guides the interpretation of texts, which in our case is very important and very interesting. That if we attempt to interpret the texts coming out of a culture that produces Rishi Garg and Rishi Panini and Rishi Patanjali and we attempt this exegesis in terms of etymologies and modern dictionaries and a rational process of using etymologies and dictionaries and grammar to come up with a result, you know, it sort of becomes like this, here you have a computer program, that makes your Microsoft Word work, or you have a computer program that makes your Photoshop work, and if you ever look at the code it just goes on forever with all sorts of gibberish, and not just letter gibberish but you got all sorts of signs that you find on your keyboard that goes in there as well and it goes on and on and on. If I decide that I want to interpret that, by explaining the whole thing and then I feed that into my computer, Microsoft Word is not going to go on, it will never work, I guarantee you, in fact even if you change just a little bit of the code, it’s not going to work, I guarantee you, that’s the way that computers work. But then, on the other hand, if you do put in the right code, and that code is interpreted in the correct way by the computer, because it has that proper exegesis, then that computer is capable of making any kind of imagery, it’s capable of making a texts, you could write books and publish books with this code, and yet you change it just a little bit and it’s not working any more. So, it became fascinating for me to understand, you know, what are other possible ways of interpretation. This is why we discussed our assumptions in the first couple of sessions, because we want to know what we bring to this when we do look for other means of interpretation and other ways of looking at this.

About the Author

Baba Rampuri, author of "Autobiography of a Sadhu, a Journey into Mystic India," and frequent commentator on Oral Tradition, Sacred Speech, and Consciousness, is an American expatriate,  the first foreigner to be initiated into India's largest and most ancient order of yogis, the Naga Sannyasis of Juna Akhara.  He has lived in India since 1970, where he practices and teaches the oral tradition of the Sanatan Dharma, conducts sacred ceremony and rites, and hosts workshops and retreats.

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