Narach Philosophy

THE METHOD OF INTERPRETATION: THE LAW OF ACTION


Growth, progress or prosperity is the result of various kinds of action, which again are made up of parts; and if we count them up, we can trace its development from its very source.

Special meanings have been assigned to certain words. For instance, the difference between Dyu and Prthivi corresponds to that between a desire and its fulfillment; and this is also the difference between two Vedic metres, - Ushnik and Kakubha. Again, the ceremony lasting twelve days is intended to express the idea of a large, expanding action, - the end of which corresponds to the final syllable of a word. The place of the last two parts of an object should be at the end; and this is contained in Gayatri, Brhati and Anushtupm metres.

There can be no action without a direction by the intellect, for it is the function of the intellect to decide. The idea of desire and disinterestedness in action is represented by means of the use of certain bricks in the building of the sacrificial altar.

The object of all action is the achievement of more and more perfection.  The real meaning of Agni is intellect; and we can understand the text correctly in its light, because there is a definite design in this mode of expression, and the whole idea is consistent throughout.

Certain letter and words have a special meaning. For instance, the letter Ya refers to the intellect; and atha means "inexhaustibleness". This is how we can understand the idea of a law of life in the hymns of the Vedas.

Progress and composite action: Growth, progress , or prosperity is the result of expanding action or action of various kinds, which may be called composite action or an action made up of a number of parts, and compared to the use of clarified butter in a sacrifice; for we can point out the different parts of such action. If we sum of all the parts of such action, we can know the form into which it is finally changed, for there is a regular order of succession in such action, and we can trace its development from its very source.

Special explanation: Special meanings have been given to certain words used in the text. For instance, the difference between the two gods Dyu and Prthivi correspond to the difference between the desire for an object and the fulfillment of that desire. Dyu and Prthivi are commonly believed to refer to Heaven and Earth respectively; but they really refer to the senses of knowledge and of action. The Mimansa describes the same idea in terms of desire and its fulfillment, or knowledge and action. The text refers to certain verses relating to "desire for kindling the fire" and to the "fire as kindled"; and that is the difference between desire and its fulfillment. And there is an oral or traditional authority in support of this view. The text used the word sabda, which means oral or traditional authority or evidence, as a means of acquiring knowledge.

That is also the difference between the Vedic metres, Ushnik and Kakubha. Again, the ceremony lasting for twelve days is intended to give us an idea of what should be included in an object, the mass of which is increasing, - namely, that we should include in it all that can be included before we come to the end of its composition; and the end of such a thing corresponds to the final syllable of a word or the last word of a compound, - for that is how it is expressed or uttered at the end. It is this that has been expressed in terms of a sacrifice lasting twelve days, as we have been taught. There is nothing extravagant in this conception, except perhaps that it is new. Again, the place of the last two parts of a large object is at the end of an expression; and that is specially so in Gayatri, Brhati and Anushtup metres, as we have been taught.

Action and intellect: When a person lays hold of what is desirable, or recites what ought to be recited, it means that an order to that effect has emanated from his intellect. This is determination to act, and determination is the result of the function of the intellect, - arising from what has been directed by it. There can be no determination without such direction or impelling force, as has been stated before; and it should be deemed to be a characteristic of the intellect, because the two cannot be separated, as can easily be proved.

Disinterestedness and interest in action, how described: In building the sacrificial altar certain bricks, called Brahmanavati, are placed in the middle, because they represent the idea of "what is in the middle" (neutrality or disinterestedness); while, as opposed to them, are placed other bricks, called Lokamprna, which represent the idea of eating to one's satisfaction (or action with a desire).

Brahmanavati is said to be the name of a particular "brick" used in building the sacrificial altar; and the word for a brick is "ishtaka", which is derived from "ishta", one of the meanings of which is "desired". A "brick" used in building a sacrificial altar, is, accordingly, symbolic of the idea of desire, which constitutes the basis of action, - represented by this sacrifice. The Brahmanavati bricks are placed in the middle, because they represent what is in the middle, - namely, the idea of neutrality or disinterestedness in action, as has already been explained.

Lokam-prna means "penetrating everywhere"; and so Lokamprna "bricks" represent a more common idea of action with desire, which is seen everywhere.

Object of action in perfection: The object of action is the achievement of more and more perfection; and the proper performance of action is for the sake of this perfection. It is this that makes the mode of our life continuous or whole, as can easily be proved, because this is the real explanation of the meaning of action; and anything else would be a negation of the right mode of life.

Meaning of Agni: The god Agni represents the idea of the intellect, which we constantly use, and which enables us to explain the cause of things; and this should be the meaning of Agni in the text unless there is an express statement to the contrary. This is the real activity of Agni (the function of the intellect), of which there is a special mention in the text; and this would enable us to understand the real idea of that god, expressed in terms of a respectful mode of address. This will initiate us in the art of interpreting the text, and enable us to see the close connection between its parts. We can succeed in our task if we so desire, for these meanings are uniformly consistent throughout; and the whole text is of this kind. In this way we can understand that there is a definite design and a sequence of ideas in the text, - all closely connected with one another like the limbs of the body. This would obviously be impossible without a close connection between parts; and so we conclude that this connection is intentional.

We cannot say that there is no such connection on the ground that the whole text is meaningless. It is, however, possible that we may not be able to make any sense out of it at the beginning, - just as when we hear a number of sounds, all mixed together, from a distance, we cannot make them out at once.

Special meanings: When we get the letter Ya in the text, we should understand that it refers to Agni or the intellect, for that is its special explanation. It is because it is a word used to fix the meaning of another.

The word atha means "inexhaustibleness", for that is what has been laid down; and that is its idea in its natural form. Indeed, there should be no change in words of this kind; and in such cases the beauty of the text consists in the absence of making any change.

Idea of Vidhi or Law: But the idea of Vidhi or Law is obtained by means of the division of words into parts, for the beauty of the text does not consist in one mode of expression alone; and the idea of Law has intentionally been explained in this manner in a hymn of praise. We have already been told that if we divide words into parts to get their real meaning, the idea of Mantras or hymns of praise would be transformed into Vidhi or the law of life.

All hymns, however, are beautiful in their own way; and there are special rules in connection with their interpretation. These rules of interpretation have already been laid down. The meanings of certain words, like Agni, have been specially defined, and we should understand them in that light. In certain cases we may accept the common meaning of a word if it makes sense; but if it does not, we should divide it into parts, and understand it in the light of the meaning of these parts, and see that it has a bearing on the idea of action.