Conversation continues on May 26, 2015:
What is truly spectacular and indispensable about Sanskrit, IF EVEN for no other reason, is because the language comes with a highly detailed manual, including the code itself, supported by 2500 years of commentary. Compared to Sanskrit, the manuals that come with our Modern languages look like manuals for software written by Chinese in Taiwan, just learning English “on-the-job”.
Troy Harris READING THROUGH THIS DISCUSSION THREAD I feel it worth reviewing some earlier remarks by Baba Rampuri (see above) in the spirit of Anthropologist David Price, the author of “Weaponizing Anthropology”. Rampuri reflects that when traditional knowledge and science are attacked or destroyed this ought to be declared “epistemic violence”. And further, when traditional knowledge is weaponized it becomes opaque and fruitless, causing human suffering and the deracination of civilisation broadly. In this way I think we can start to see how Modern Industrial Consumer Yoga is in fact the Weaponization of Yoga—an out and out assault on its ancient traditions. This is much more insidious than you ever imagined.
John Weddepohl This conversation has been enlivening and full of richness – so are we all agreed? The weaponising of knowledge and bastardising of yoga Is Adharmic. Is this purely a western phenomenon or is this part of the legacy of the good swami’s of India? If we start looking into the situation can we hide from what is unfolding around the adharmic behavior of a number of leading lights in the world of branded spirituality and yoga institutionalised and rooted in India? The fallout and meltdown is affecting so many. Should we comment on this? Or should we keep it for another discussion and dump it ignoring the meltdown? After all it doesn’t affect MPY or stretch exercise yoga?
Ekabhumi Charles Ellik You mean, there is something we SHOULD be DOING?
Ekabhumi Charles Ellik —–For my part, I recognize that my karma at this time is to be a public teacher. Hence book, hence social media. Hence my participation in the forthcoming website/teaching program called Living Sanskrit, which includes not only Sankrit and sacred art programs, but seeks to ‘fill out’ the cultural context in which yoga (Hindu Tantrik Yoga) arose.
—–I don’t believe that the technology of Yogic practice functions well out of context… much like a smart phone needs a complex support system for the ‘magic’ to happen. So this website includes Ayurveda, Jyotisha, recipes, stories, dance, daily household rituals, etc. We need a shift in the way people live, not just what is practiced each morning for 90 minutes.
—–My feeling is that the “Yoga” that was exported by the good swamis at the turn of the last century was functionally incomplete… as is MPY. They are sips of knowledge from a much larger stream of wisdom. Many millions of people have been practicing ‘yoga’ for decades, and so few with full realization (any)? IMHO, there needs to be a cultural shift, not just a shift in how people pose or breathe. I don’t think a website is going to be the answer, of course, but I do believe projects like this will help shift the dynamic of yogic practice in the West to a more holistic view. http://www.livingsanskrit.com/
Sacred language, ritual, wisdom, practice, & art
Shambhavi Sarasvati John Weddepohl thanks for inviting me. Following on your questions, John, basically: what should we do, or not do? The only thing I feel I can do is to try my best to realize yoga. In addition to doing a lot of sadhana in the usual sense, to me this means following the advice of Padmasambhava – “never fabricate even so much as an atom.” Never lie, never exaggerate, never self-aggrandize, never boast, never display my (modest) accomplishments unnecessarily, never teach anything I don’t have personal experience of, and first and foremost: do my absolute utmost to never fool myself about my degree of, or lack of accomplishment. I ruthlessly – to the best of my ability – question everything I experience or think I know until whatever is left standing is unquestionable. I am deeply saddened by all of the pain so many people have experienced at the hands of “yoga.” But I am also speechless in love with this path. I really don’t know anything else to do or not do than this. Love to you all.
Shambhavi Sarasvati Basically for me it’s “be the yoga you want to see.” Outside of that, I think we are quite helpless.
Ekabhumi Charles Ellik Shambhavi: Wow! Describing your practice of humility and sober self-inquiry is inspirational to me. Thanks! But “…helpless” ? Perhaps I am a naive bhakta, but I feel Ma’s presence everywhere. Jaya Ma! I feel there is so much more going on than the obvious dynamic of consumer culture appropriating and ‘digesting’ Hindu culture. We are all participants in this dance, why not dance playfully? Vigorously? Or for a different metaphor: every day I brush my teeth, and every day they get dirty again. It doesn’t mean I am helpless in the face of plaque. Nor does it mean that brushing every day is pointless, or that teaching more folks how to brush their own teeth is pointless. It seems to me your own conduct is powerful, that you are playing an important part as a Dharmic teacher, that you are far from helpless!
Shambhavi Sarasvati Ekabhumi Charles Ellik “Be the yoga you want to see” is not being helpless. Outside of that, though? What is there? And everyone can play “be the yoga you want to see” according to their own predilection. So brush away, friend. smile emoticon There is Creation, Maintenance and Destruction. We are the limbs of the Lord enacting the entire play. So although I feel a natural human sadness at some of the destruction, on another level, what of it? In this lifetime I hope to entirely lose the mission. Ha! Lose the Mission. Maybe I’ll get a tee shirt.
Ekabhumi Charles Ellik Shambhavi: Agreed. I guess i take issue with the position of being “helpless” because I believe teaching is BOTH being the yoga I want to see AND actively engaging folks to improve their own lives – even if they aren’t doing yogic practice per se. This is why I believe the spread of MPY is beneficial, if only a baby step on the Path. Health cultivation and body-awareness is helpful. Participation is helpful. Brushing regularly is helpful. smile emoticon
Christopher Wallis Love Shambhavi’s comments.
Baba Rampuri I also like Shambhavi’s comments with one small twinge. “…to realize yoga.” “Be the yoga …” Personally, I would use words such as “ … to realize self/ consciousness/ being/ wholeness (you choose – or add more along this line) and “be wise/fruitful/conscious/compassionate (you choose or add more). Now, in order to realize or be those things, one may have strategic approaches through sadhanas, practices, or ways of thinking, and call that yoga. That’s a different thing.
Christopher Wallis Except that, esteemed Babaji, in the original sources “yoga” very frequently refers to a state of being—the result of practice—as well as the practice itself. Integration, wholeness, union, connection, intimacy = yoga. Hence “realize yoga” makes sense. (I have primary source citations to back this up if you’re interested.)
Baba Rampuri Echoing Orwell, I believe the abstract, often euphemism, has entered our Speech in an inordinate degree, seeping in from the disingenuous speech of the marketplace/ political narrative.
Christopher Wallis I don’t know what you mean at all, ji.
Baba Rampuri Christopher, you are making my very point. In original sources yoga means many different things, and often original (!) metaphor and (original!) storytelling states yoga in different ways. But that’s not the point. It’s completely different to translate a formalized text in a highly formalized language with the interpretation: “to realize yoga” [with the additional problem of whether to translate “yoga” itself] and then to have a modern statement in a modern native language using a foreign word, “to realize yoga.” And yet, you’re saying that its the same. I think you would have difficulty justifying that.
Baba Rampuri Re echoing Orwell, I’m actually referring to his essay, written in the 1940’s. Read from original sources: http://www.orwell.ru/lib…/essays/politics/english/e_polit/George Orwell: Politics and the English Language
Politics and the English Language, the essay of George Orwell. First published: April 1946 by/in Horizon, GB, London
Christopher Wallis I can’t say I get you, ji. Seems like linguistic nitpicking to me, which has its place in the academic philological endeavour, but not so much the spiritual one. I’ve learned it’s important to separate out an intellectual agenda from the drive to realize the truth of our innermost heart, which cannot be expressed in words.
Baba Rampuri Well, I guess that makes Panini the Maha-Nitpicker, and most of the Indian intellectual tradition nitpicking, with Abhinavagupta as one of the greatest of the nitpickers.
Christopher Wallis Mmmm not really re: Abhinava. What’s astonishing about him is that, though his intellect is awesome, he clearly and explicitly says that the only purpose of intellection is to undermine false beliefs (aśuddha-vikalpas) and that it does not and cannot establish the Truth. You can’t think your way to unity.
John Weddepohl i only mention the following because all of us are deep and knowledgeable thinkers – everything is already accomplished – i.e. siddha – born out in the term praptasya prapti – meaning that which is already gained or already accomplished. apraptasya prapti on the other hand means the exact opposite i.e. that which has yet to be gained. i.e. all which is not yet accomplished. yoga falls into the first category not the second. i.e. yoga and its nature is gained already. in other words no effort on our part can bring about yoga. everything relative i.e. yet to be gained requires effort – sadhana (to get a newspaper, house, car, ice cream, pizza you have to take action and do something) – self on the other hand not being relative in any way (being that to which all relates) cannot be gained through sadhana. the more we practice sadhana the more we deny self – yogam – so the practices can only bring about a feeling of yogam momentarily – not bring about the accomplishment of yoga because SATCHITANANDAM is already our nature, already existing and already gained – only knowledge can bring this to ones attention. (i.e our ignorance of this is all that stands in the way and the only problem) knowledge of the relative world – falls under apara vidya – i.e all that appears to exist (mithyam). self – yogam – on the other hand being already existing means no work or action (besides ones actions – sadhana – to bring about knowledge) work. this is why shankara and the tradition advises us to steer clear of knowledge gathering and experience hunting because all this does is lead us through a whole gamut of more conditioning covering and clouding the already existing truth – which because it is the nature of existence – means the gaining of THAT through knowledge is instantaneous and effortless. (knowledge always takes place instantly and is effortless). so yoga as i mention earlier prepares the mind of the aspirant student making one adhikari ready for the eventual unfoldment of truth. because we are habituated to think that to get or gain anything we have to do something. of course this applies to all relative gains in the world but not to our selves. our existence cannot be denied and is self evident – what is existing is not thats all. this is the difference between apara vidya (relative knowledge) and para vidya – knowledge of that which is not relative in any way which some call supreme knowledge. knowledge of the self atma vidya or atma gnanam falls under para vidya. to know self as ever existing eternal is yoga. OM – Baba – Pankaj – Vik – Christopher – Todd et al.
Baba Rampuri Abhinava was Master of Speech which was his genius medium, and which was consistent with a long tradition beginning before Panini which has understood the connection of Speech with perception, cognition, and experience.
Baba Rampuri And although India is by far the largest contributor to the conversation on Speech, this is a very substantial conversation in many different cultures during a long expanse of history, including, of course, Aristotle and the Greeks. The conversation is Europe has become especially interesting after the introduction of Panini and Paninean logic. Orwell is a major contributor to the modern conversation. That cannot be denied.
Baba Rampuri Christopher, as a side note, I’m curious if you are aware of any existing manuscript of what I’ve heard rumoured to be Abhinavagupta’s commentary on Bhartrihari’s Vakyapadiya.
Baba Rampuri John Weddepohl beautifully written! Don’t take this as criticism, for your comment is clear, but as an experiment: how would that SAME comment be made without any Sanskrit words? Just something for everyone to consider.
Pankaj Seth John, very well put. Since sensory and cognitive activity divides, it is not the way to wholeness. Chitta Vritti Nirodha is such a clear instruction. When avenues of division are no more, there is wholeness. It is indeed anti-activity which is required. Of course, intellection is needed to frame what happens, but that is a different matter. Heisenberg wrote “When we move from the known to the unknown we may hope to understand, but at the same time we might have to learn a new meaning of ‘understand’.
John Weddepohl Baba Rampuri – without the Sanskrit words and knowledge – impossible. Even as without the word Yoga we would not be having this discussion!
Baba Rampuri Sensory & cognitive activity turn colourless, motionless, undifferentiated endless sameness into a hi definition technicolour action movie. One point about Patanjali – he was descriptive not prescriptive.
Pankaj Seth Sensory and cognitive activity create the subject/object structure. When that is no more, then the subject knows itself as subject, Samadhi. So I don’t agree that he should be limited to descriptive. In meditation, we do try to dim down sensory and cognitive activity, which is prescriptive.
John Weddepohl The ideas and concepts revealed can only come through Sanskrit no english equivalent exists. The words in english cannot convey the same meaning. However it takes a mind that knows (teacher – tradition) – to bring the meaning of these words to life.
Baba Rampuri John Weddepohl – if that were truly the case, and it might be, I would then say it’s impossible for someone from the West to know anything of Yoga. Whereas we may use or hear a Sanskrit word, we’re not understanding or interpreting it in Sanskrit Language but in our own. The knowledge contained in a tradition(s) of Indian culture is also interpreted in our own languages and cultures. We’re understanding Sanskrit words with English (or other languages) words ANYWAY, and we’re interpreting knowledge into our own cultural terms ANYWAY – we use Sanskrit words for their authority more than for their precise meanings. By attempting to remove them – as an experiment – can show this quite clearly.
Pankaj Seth I think Buddha made the most incisive statement about the nature of perception when he said that namarupa depends on vijnana and vijnana depends on namarupa. The sensory organs which register phenomena are themselves composed of phenomena, a circularity, a chicken and egg scenario.
Baba Rampuri John, when you speak with me, I’m overwhelmed by the ideas and concepts you articulate so succinctly so informed by your yoga, your connection with self and consciousness. But you aren’t speaking to me in Sanskrit, but in English. You may use a Sanskrit term. but I’m hearing something else, I’m connecting with your speaking through my language to my experience. You manage to convey a meaning similar enough to my traditional Indian peers, that I hear it as such. I just think it takes a great deal more effort, skill, understanding, and grace to express it in our native tongues.
Pankaj Seth The term ‘namarupa’ itself contains everything, and comports with what QM discloses. Form (rupa) requires the making of a distinction (naming) and which requires mind which makes distinctions. In other words, form depends on perception and perceiver and does not exist independently as Materialists believe. The implications are huge, leading us towards reincarnation because the demise of form does not diminish the perceiver, though perception is diminished/finished.
Baba RampuriWhat is truly spectacular and indispensable about Sanskrit, IF EVEN for no other reason, is because the language comes with a highly detailed manual, including the code itself, supported by 2500 years of commentary. Compared to Sanskrit, the manuals that come with our Modern languages look like manuals for software written by Chinese in Taiwan, just learning English “on-the-job”.
Pankaj Seth Baba, I watched several of your videos on your youtube channel today on Bhartrihari and began to see something of what you’ve just said about Sanskrit. Link for those who would care to watch… https://www.youtube.com/user/NagaMahant/playlists
Pankaj Seth I’ve noted one place in English where a distinction made in Sanskrit still survives… gyana//vigyana and gnosis/diagnosis, but so far that’s about it. I can find nothing equivalent to jnana/vijnana which just becomes ‘knowing’. I am also critical of translating jnana which is a process term literally meaning ‘knowing’ but which gets objectified as ‘consciousness’. Then we look for consciousness because the language suggests its an object, and also due to the ‘ness’ that its an attribute (of matter, matter which is a defunct Newtonian concept now replaced with matter-energy or matter-light). Of course, ‘consciousness’ is none other than one’s own subjectivity. So consciousness is an absurd objective term for subjectivity, and this causes confusion. There is nothing like nama-rupa either, a term which unifies subject and object. So, not knowing about the ‘code’ aspect, I can already see that in these ways Sanskrit is indispensible. Vijnana is divided knowing or knowing in the subject-object form, whereas jnana is non-dual knowing. All this pertains to self-knowledge, and so Sanskrit does indeed come to the rescue while English leaves us in the dark. In the Tuvataka Sutta, Buddha specifically warns about “objectification classifications”, which Shrodinger noticed too when he said “our science – Greek science – is based on objectivation, whereby it has cut itself off from an adequate understanding of the Subject of Cognitanze, of the mind. But I do believe that this is precisely the point where our present way of thinking does need to be amended, perhaps by a bit of a blood-transfusion from Eastern thought.”
John Weddepohl Thank you Baba – I think we both are extremely fortunate to have been exposed to traditional Titans of knowledge. That we can assimilate the knowledge has to do with PARAMPARA – I am ever thankful and grateful to my teachers (and to you too) ; telling me to teach and articulate this knowledge. Without articulating and sharing the understanding, I would be selling bicycles or sitting under tree number 3. You told me assimilation and understanding becomes clearer when you articulate the knowledge. This is true. Om
John Weddepohl Pankaj – namarupa – name and form – the naming game. naming the nameless – we see the name and we see the form but not SAT – the ever existing – which being all names and all forms has no need of either name or form! wave and ocean come to mind. naming the wave we see only wave not ocean – without ocean what wave?
Jan Baggerud Larsen Regarding sanskrit and english. Another question would be how did people realize yoga before Sanskrit? How was yoga articulated?
After some studies with Baba Rampuri it is my limited understanding that it is the articulation of speech that manifests the world. Not the language itself but the articulation of yonis and swaras in the various vargas (sacred stations of the mouth) and the contraction and expansion of the throat. Thus in theory it could be possible to create/manifest the same using other languages.
Shambhavi Sarasvati Baba Rampuri Christopher Wallis Coming back to this rather late, but what I meant by “yoga” is union, continuity, the natural state. That simplicity.
Baba Rampuri Shambhavi Sarasvati, your meaning, of course, is clear. My little provocation had more to do with why use the word “yoga” there when you could make your meaning crystal clear, as you have in this explanation?
Shambhavi Sarasvati Baba Rampuri – it seemed that the people I’m speaking to in this particular conversation would understand “yoga” in the sense I meant it. If it were a different group of people, I may have used a different word.
John Weddepohl So Baba would you agree with what someone said to me that Sanskrit is a code or password language used to convey the knowledge and meaning of yoga? Like mathematics, once understood cannot be misinterpreted, so Sanskrit, once the meaning of yoga (sat – reality – self) is understood Sanskrit words cannot be misinterpreted. Once the verb is understood it defines the content or meaning of the sloka? Not an expert on Sanskrit myself though, the language is almost like the highway on which all our interpretations and ideas travel. Like all highways though the highway does not move. If the highway started moving then whoa!!! We’d be in big trouble.
John Weddepohl Shambhavi – nice to have you here. The whole conversation that has taken place in this thread is remarkable and wild. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest that you peruse through and not leave a thread unturned.
Michelle Synnestvedt John Weddepohl. There is no one meaning of Sanskrit words though , it depends on the context and commentary and there are so many fun things that the great grammarians do with words
Baba Rampuri Actually John Weddepohl, I wouldn’t agree with that. Sanskrit is a language that possesses a known code, is true, password in some applications of the language, certain jargons, but meaning is something in addition to grammar and syntax. Presumption, for example. What precedes a statement. Setting and audience. Certainly Sanskrit words may be justifiably interpreted in a number of ways to have a number of meanings including double meanings or ironic meanings. But this must be done in some sort of accepted and disciplined manner. Bhartrihari went so far as saying stand-alone words have no meaning, they require some sort of statement to give a bed of context. Sanskrit words may be easily mis-interpreted and often are. The verb, even if completely understood, certainly contributes to meaning, but again requires the context of so many other things, for the statement to carry meaning. In new age yoga & spirituality, it’s very common to use a dictionary definition of a Sanskrit word out of context. With all the blessings Panini left us with, he also left us with somewhat of a curse: when discussing determining the meaning of a word his commentators have pointed out his insistence that its current usage must be considered. Yes, John, it’s a moving highway.
John Weddepohl Nice –
John Weddepohl I guess I should have said consciousness is the highway –
John Weddepohl Baba although i hear you re Sanskrit I think the Siddhas would however disagree with you. It was at the Siddha doctors medical convention that I was told this.
Baba Rampuri South India Siddhas? I really wouldn’t know what they meant without being there. But, what I am saying is pretty straight-forward standard stuff.
John Weddepohl Yes the Tamil Siddhas describe sanskrit as a code or password language used to convey the secret of yoga and siddha medicine – ayurveda.
Baba Rampuri It may very well be in their tradition as you describe, I have no problem with that, only its just not limited to that.
Baba Rampuri I would have thought the language they use would be Tamil, but I know next to nothing about them.
John Weddepohl The Siddha guru is Aghustya – Asta yoga of Aghustya is similar to Patanjali (in fact they claim he did his sadhana in palani tamil nadu) while each anga has 8 limbs making up 64 – Chausathi shakti – SIxty four yoginis – relating to the 64 talents or arts.Baba Rampuri Agastya. Yes. I’ve been to one of his caves in Tamil Nadu. Illustrious character.
Eric Seaton Hahaha, Baba straight from the Goddess of Speech.
Eric Seaton Come on John, number 1 dhuni at the oldest order ? “The Old Maharaj”