Narach Philosophy

KRAMA AND THE METHOD OF INTERPRETATION: MIND, INTELLECT AND THE SOUL


We should read the text properly according to Krama and analyze words according to correct grammatical rules, when we shall get their real meaning.

There are some who would include the mind in the intellect; but it is possible to regard it as a separate entity too. The mind is associated with the Moon in the text of the Vedas and other sacred books; and this should enable us to understand the law of life.

But the full moon also refers to a fixed point of time, implying that the mind can be properly controlled. On the other hand, possession signifies impropriety of conduct, for there is no fixed time for it. The connection between the mind and the Moon is based on reason.

The same word should have the same meaning throughout. Food does not minister directly to the intellect; but goodness is associated with both the intellect and the soul.

The idea of change arises from Nature as well as Time. Things that are essentially good are associated with both the intellect and the mind, are not subject to change; while those that are associated with only the mind, are; and this corresponds to the changes of the moon, from the new to the full moon.

Krama and the meaning of the text: The failure of Krama (to give the required result) arises from (defective) meaning and expression, that is, when we hear a word in a particular manner, and give a strange meaning to it.

When, however, we divide words into parts, extend them over to other words or parts, or take them as they are, we should do so in order, and in accordance with correct grammatical rules; and then we shall get the real meaning of the text, as can easily be proved. But we are told by learned teachers that, in applying these rules, we should give precedence to the opinion of grammarians who are considered to be authoritative.

Mind and the Intellect: According to the opinion of some authorities, the mind should be taken to have no special purpose of its own, because it can be included in the intellect; and it is the function of the latter to acquire certain (or definite) knowledge, which can transcend time and the stars. The words used in the text are Soma and Agni, which refer to the mind and the intellect respectively. This is their meaning throughout. This is the opinion of some, but is not held by all.

If a person does not wish to act, he will hesitate, if required to do so immediately, even though it be a great act of sacrifice, which his intellect bids him do; and this desire not to act is an expression of the mind, as has already been pointed out. This means that the mind cannot always be included in the intellect; for were it otherwise, a man should always act at the bidding of his intellect, even though he may not wish to act; and desire, as has already been pointed out, is a special attribute of the mind. The mind arises from the abundant flow or function of the intellect. At the same time the mind and the intellect are closely allied. Indeed, the Sankhya tells us that out of the intellect arises ahankara or the I-as-an-actor, and out of the latter the mind. The Mimansa means the same thing when we say that the mind arises out of the abundance of the intellect. The word for the mind in the text is Soma, and for the intellect is Brahmana.

Mind and the moon: The mind is associated with the full moon in connection with the text of the Vedas; and this is true of all texts, because their objective is the same; and this should enable us to understand the law of life. There are a number of references to the association of the mind and the moon in the Vedas and other sacred books. If we understand this, we can understand the law of life, and integrate the idea of the forces of Nature with the working of the human mind. But there is also a special idea associated with the full moon, where it refers to a fixed point of time; and there can be no two opinions that the full moon appears at its appointed time. The appearance of the full moon at the appointed time means that the Moon is subject to a law; and, as it refers to the mind, it implies that the mind too can be properly regulated and made subject to a law. The appearance of the full moon is accordingly symbolic of the proper control of the mind when it is engaged in action.

On the other hand, appropriating things to one's self signifies impropriety of conduct, for it can be done at all times. As fixity of time signifies control, its opposite implies irregularity or impropriety of conduct or lack of self control. This is represented by the acquisition of wealth, because it can be acquired at any time. But when Soma or the mind refers to the full moon in the upper regions, we should understand that it is in accordance with the teachings of the intellect.

The Mimansa tells us that the association of the mind with the Moon is based on reason; that is to say, they have common characteristics, and so the Moon is said to be a symbol of the mind. It is believed that the Moon is connected in a special manner with the birth of life on earth; and its effect on on the waters, which refer to Nature or Prakrti, is well known. This maybe said to be symbolic of desire, which is a special characteristic of the mind. Then the energy of the Moon is said to be electric, and so is that of the mind. As the mind refers to the Moon, so does intellect to the Sun; and there is a common link between their ideas too.

Meaning of symbols: The same notes (letters, syllables etc.) should have the same meaning throughout, and it should be fixed before arranging the whole idea.

Need of knowledge: But it is necessary to have knowledge of the law of life to be able to understand the text. For instance, food does not minister directly to the intellect; and so there is no special mention of the offering of the rice-cake to Agni (intellect). It is, however, associated with it in a general way, because it is a great force of Nature. But we cannot say that there need be no special mention of the association of goodness (represented by clarified butter) with the intellect (Agni), because goodness is inseparable from both the intellect and the soul. The word used in the text is Indra who, as has already been explained, refer to the self-conscious soul (Prajnatman).

Change and Time: Similarly, we get the idea of Change from Nature or Prakrti, which is subject to Time, and it takes place from moment to moment, and this fact of the interaction of Change and Time becomes apparent from what we see of things that remain (after others have disappeared); and we can see this even in a period of two days, according to a universal rule. A period of two days should be understood to illustrate this idea of change in Nature. According to this, Time and Change occur simultaneously.

Anything that is essentially good (mixed with clarified butter), and associated with both the intellect and the mind (Agni and Soma) is above change. But all that arises from the mind is like Prakrti, subject to change; and this corresponds to the changes of the moon from new to the full moon.

The special attribute of the mind is desire, which changes from moment to moment. But when this desire is characterized by both goodness and intelligence, it does not change in the same manner.

The idea of the changeability of the human mind is represented by the changes of the moon from the new to the full moon. The new moon refers to desire, and the full moon to the action of the mind under the direction of the intellect; and so the changes from the new to the full moon represent the process of development from desire to action. Then, when the mind acts, its desire is satisfied, and it is one with the intellect; and corresponding to this the full moon and the setting sun appear to be alike, and the Sun refers to the intellect, as has already been explained. And so we are told that Agni and Soma may be identified.