Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A puzzle on Emancipation

This was a interesting puzzle posed by Krishna and my reply to it.


Whose name should we hold sacred; Who is that All-glorious, Resplendent Being Who is imperishable among all the perishable things; Who having made us enjoy the bliss of emancipation again invests us with bodies and thereby gives us the pleasure of seeing our parents? It is the All-glorious, Eternal, Immortal, All-pervading, Supreme Being Whose name we should hold sacred. He, it is, Who helps us to enjoy the bliss of Emancipation and then bring us back into this world, clothes us with bodies, and thereby gives us the pleasure of seeing our parents. The same Divine Spirit it is Who regulates the period of Emancipation and lords over all.

RIG VEDA 1:24, 2.

What are the implications of this verse?

There is no permanence in liberation from Life and Death (notice the underlined part)

A soul might be liberated in this kalpa but after the mahaKalpa - The Grand dissolution. Does the jivas return? Adhyaasa remanifests?

This puts all the vedantin philosophy under a re-examination (or does it) . Because most (99.99%) of the Vedantins be they from dualist, monist or qualified monist sects believe in permanence of Liberation. So what are the implications of this verse?

First look at this verse may make the reader rethink his philosophy. But another interpretation, to this verse : Does this fill in the vedantic gaps? ( like the actual cause of unreal adhyaasa? )

This is a very good read on the implications.

However, total justice is not done as the argument presented is one sided.

I am looking forward to a good discussion.

My Reply:

The idea of liberation is not that a being is there and it is free forever in the future, but the very idea of time is annihilated and hence it is free. Sometimes the word eternal is used to just finger point at the reality; but this should not be misunderstood as final. By liberation, soul does not become free in time eternally, but it becomes free from time.

Let us take an example: suppose there is a ocean and we are different drops in it. Once a drop is formed, it has an individuality, an "I". So it also starts to be effected by various results of the duality. But once the drop becomes one with the ocean, it is nolonger exists and the drop is gone free from the effects of duality for ever.

But at the same time there may form another drop with the same water again and undergo all the cycle again. But here it is not the same old drop which has again come under the effect of duality.

In the same manner, a soul once liberated becomes free for ever; but after a mahapralaya one more soul may appear. But this is nolonger to be seen as the same soul as the previous. The history of the first drop once it mixes again in the ocean is no longer present; time becomes irrelevant to it coz the very individuality itself is lost.

But seeing from a view point of another drop whose time is going on, the first drop was formed, then gone and then again a drop formed.

So the basic mistake here is while saying the soul becomes eternally free, we are talking from the stand point of the time as seen from the first drop. But when we are saying that the drop which lost its individuality has is again having an individuality, we are talking from the view point of time as seen from another drop which is being witness to this process. We are mixing up statements from two different stand points of time.

Dibya’s Reply:


The translation you are using already has certain interpretations ingrained in it. It is not literal enough so that you can actually base any objective argument upon it. Let me provide you a faithful translation so that you guys can base your arguments upon it:

Rgveda 1.24.1-2:

कस्य॑ नूनं क॑त॒मस्या॒मृता॑नां॒ मना॑महे॒ चारु॑ दे॒वस्य॒ नाम॑।
को नो॑ म॒ह्या अदि॑तये॒ पुन॑र्दात्पि॒तरं॑ दृ॒शेयं॑ मा॒तरं॑ च॥१॥

Whose (kásya) now (nUnam) ... Of which God (katamásya devásya) among the immortals (amR'tAnAm) shall we think (mánAmahe) of the esteemed name (cÁru nÁma)? Who would have given* us again (káH naH púnaH dAt) to the great Aditi (mahyái áditaye), so that I could see (dRsheyam) my father and mother (pitáram mAtáram ca)?

अ॒ग्नेर्व॒यं प्र॑थ॒मस्या॒मृता॑नां॒ मना॑महे॒ चारु॑ दे॒वस्य॒ नाम॑।
नो॑ म॒ह्या अदि॑तये॒ पुन॑र्दात्पि॒तरं॑ दृ॒शेयं॑ मा॒तरं॑ च॥२॥

First among the immortals (prathamásya amR'tAnAm) we shall think (vayám manAmahe) of the esteemed name of Agni (agnéH cÁru nÁma). He gives/would have given* (sáH dAt) us again to the great Aditi, so that I could see my father and mother.

* The Vedic verb-form "dAt" is not very specific for tense/mood - so it may be debated upon whether the RSi wants or not to impart some amount of uncertainty, here. Otherwise, the meaning is pretty much clear ... right?

The translation Krishna provided already contains some interpretations of the terms Agni, Aditi, etc... And remarkably, the verses have not spoken a single word about emancipation - at least not directly.

I am not challenging any interpretation. However, I would prefer a literal reading of the verse as a starting point, rather than some interpretation already imparted into the items which are open to different interpretation.

>> What is the source of your Verse, I would very much like to read your version of the vedas.

My version? Oh no, I have no my version of Vedas. This is just a word-for-word translation from the Rgveda, which I myself made right now - seeing that the original translation used was not a close one. I don't have any problem with the interpretation you have provided, but people may actually need not bring in the question of "emancipation" to interprete this verse - that was all I meant...


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