Narach Philosophy

THE METHOD OF INTERPRETATION (PART-4)


There is good reason for following this method of interpretation. The common meaning of a word arises from retaining its existing form; but if we pronounce words correctly, we shall know their real meaning, which will be obtained by dividing them into parts. There is nothing irregular in this, and it enables us to know the exact meaning of the text.

The meaning of a word should be determined by means of its division into parts. Roots should not be divided into parts; and roots and parts of words should not be mixed together in the same word.

The secret of this method of interpretation consists in dividing words into  their parts; and this is the meaning of "seeing through the disguise". The common meaning of a word is its meaning without this "disguise" or division into parts. In case of doubt or difficulty there are suggestions in the text to guide us.

It is necessary to have knowledge to be able to understand the text; and there is a reference to it in a special way. The design of composition is such that each part is closely connected with the other, and there is no lack of words to complete the sense. A "disguise" is a collection of qualities, from which we have to draw our own conclusions; and we can understand these qualities by means of inference. "Seeing through the disguise" consists in our ability to show how things are connected with one another. But this method of division of words into parts applies only to the principal or the most important words.

Method of interpretation: This is the reason for following this method of interpretation. Its result is in conformity with the previous statement of the text; and it is worthy of all honour and praise.

Common and real meaning: What is called the common meaning of the text, current among the people, arises from our allowing its obvious form to continue. But if we pronounce the word correctly, we shall find before long that the real meaning is different. That meaning is determined by means of the very words of the text,- words that serve to fix the meaning of other words too; and it arises from the parts into which they can be divided. It is not possible to draw an irregular or irrelevant conclusion in this way, because there is always a confirmation or explanatory translation of the real meaning in what follows. The different parts of a word hold each other in mutual check, with the result that we can know the exact meaning of the text even as it was conceived in the author's mind.

An Illustration: The meaning of a word should be determined by means of its division into parts which, when put together, are so closely connected that they are like a single name, and can easily be pronounced like the word gou (a cow) uttered by a boy.

Roots: With regard to the roots of words, since that is their norm, their meaning should be determined according to their position in the text; and a root and subsidiary parts of a word are not permitted in one and the same expression.

It follows from this that roots cannot be divided into parts. At the same time we cannot have roots and subdivision of remaining part of a word in the same expression. For instance, if we derive the meaning of the word prshtha from its root "pr", we cannot divide the remaining portion shtha (or stha) into parts. Similarly, we cannot divide the word Krshna into Kr, sh, na, - for that would be a root (kr) and a division of the remaining portion of the word into parts.

The meaning of the word Krshna, has accordingly to be obtained from all the letters composing the name, - K, r, sh, na - when it would be "(K) Prakrti, (r) to reach or obtain, associated with (sh) the mind and (na) the intellect". That is to say, when we believe that Prakrti or Nature is governed by a law that is both good and intelligent, we get the idea of God, that is Krshna; and it would be found that this is the highest conception of God that a man can understand, and Krshna, as the highest "incarnation" of Vishnu, retains this character throughout the range of sacred literature.

In this connection we have explained that the idea of goodness is inherent in desire, which is the special attribute of the mind, and so the association of the mind with the intellect (sh-n) in Krshna gives us the idea of an intimate connection between goodness and intelligence. We get the same in the name Vishnu, - V, i, sh-n, u.

Meaning of "Disguise": The secret of this method of interpretation lies in reducing words to their rudimentary form, by dividing them into parts; and this should be done in all cases where this method is applied. This is indeed the meaning of "seeing through the disguise".

The common meaning: When a word is under a "disguise", but we take it as if it had none, that should be regarded as its common or popular sense.

Suggestions for guidance: In case the words in the text are evenly balanced, and yet we believe that they are under a "disguise" which needs to be pierced, we shall find that that there is at least one word to point the way, - just as we can understand the idea of the contents of a whole plate from a single grain.

The need of knowledge, how expressed: When in a series of days we say something that relates to the twelfth day, - that, in its original idea, would refer to only one day, the twelfth. But if we mean something more than this, it would require special knowledge to express it; and that is done in terms of the reference to a particular day; and there is good reason for doing so.

The number twelve, as has already been explained, refers to Time as well as Nature. It also refers to the intellect, as the first manifest form of Prakrti or Nature: for we have the ten sense, with the mind as the eleventh, and intellect as the twelfth. As the special attribute of the intellect is decision or definite knowledge, the idea of knowledge is expressed in terms of the duration or happenings of the twelfth day.

Design of composition: The design of composition is such that each part of the text is closely connected with the other, and there is no lack of words for making additional points.

Character of "Disguise": The "disguise" of a word should be regarded as a collection of qualities, from which we have to draw our own inferences; and if we succeed, the result is worthwhile, - like the idea of a proper person or thing. This, however, cannot be obtained from the meaning of words as they are, but only from the parts of the "collection" spoken of as a "disguise". We can understand the qualities of these objects by means of the process of inference; and "seeing through the disguise" consists in our ability to show how things are connected with or dependent on one another. We must, however, take note of the fact that the distribution or division of words into parts refers only to the principal words; and so far as detached statements are concerned, the meaning of words should be obtained from their common or popular sense.