Bṛhat

Preliminary Schema for Synaptic Reconnection, 2
Mental schema for synaptic reconnection to the civilizational consciousness. This is part 2 of an ongoing series.

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By Amritanshu Pandey

Amrit writes on history, civilization and design. He has come to understand Bhārata as a civilisational consciousness with multi-level coherence, and his work is to uncover the tale of this emergence.

This is Part 2 of an ongoing series. Read Part 1 here.

Ontology, Epistemology, Teleology- there is a fair bit of cognitive fatigue around these words, but they denote things of root importance to how we make sense of the world. They act upon us even without our knowledge or conscious perception, and it can be said that they contain the ‘metadata’ to reality. Simply put, they refer to What Exists, How we Know it Exists, and Why it Exists (or What For). These aren’t things most of us spend our time worrying too much about. After all, things do exist, we seem to have ways of knowing this to certitudes, and as for why- explanations galore and we keep chugging along anyway.

But quite like there are several biological processes constantly rolling inside us, below the level of our conscious perception and without our deliberation, our neurology draws from an accumulated base of impressions, biases, assumptions, acculturations and more that we are not always aware of. This is why lists abound for things like ‘logical fallacies’ and ‘unconscious biases.’ The metadata to meaning making is therefore of supreme salience in understanding the human mind– both as a discrete unit and as a grouping of culture. And to investigate this metadata is a uniquely human privilege. We are the only species (that we know of) that can look into the mirror of consciousness and recognize our own reflection staring back at us. And across time and place, when humans have done so they have hit upon an almost inexplicable intuition.

Reality is made of language.

1.

Indian thought has penetrated this to great depths, and it is a tragedy McKenna never heard of Bhartṛhari and the Śabda Brahman. We will visit this in due time. McKenna’s quote here in fact is a direct affirmation of the Indian worldview on mantra and ṛṣi.

This is not the stuff of esoterica, nor of literal conformity, it is the serious conclusion of many a considered opinion. We point to three here as examples1:

True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.
– William H. Gass
The world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.
– Terrence McKenna
The structure of language determines not only thought, but reality itself.
– Noam chomsky

What is suggested in these words is that a significant and defining aspect of the conscious experience- the cognitive processing of metadata- happens through the function of language. There is a natural implication to this, which we can add to the base intuition:

Reality is made of language, or code.
and like any code, reality can be hacked.

This is why in Part 1 of this series we referred to ‘decolonization’ as a shedding of the acquired syntactic-semiotic-semantic memeplex of a foreign civilization. And it is why the consequent memeplex to imbibe is one rooted in Sanskrit. What we are attempting in this series is a kind of ‘bootstrapping through language.’ But bootstrapping to what, one may well ask. That is the latter part of our title- reconnection to civilizational consciousness. The argument implicit in our approach is that we can use Sanskrit as a cognitive and self-initiatory tool to claw our way back from deracination, however far on that styx each of us may well be.

To recapitulate Part 1 then, we are building a preliminary schema to structure mental recalibration and deliberation- a design for redesign, if you will. A diagram of the schema in broad is embedded in Part 1, but here are some summary recapitulations:

Ārtava (from ṛta)

classification of reality, in general (consensus reality)

To recalibrate the mind to thinking of existence and reality as the Indian consciousness would

Ātmya (from ātman)

classification of reality, as subjective felt experience

To grow within oneself shades of the inner Indic mind, and come in touch with native archetypes, mental schema

Āsita (from sat)

sources of knowledge, or of certitude

To understand how the ancient Indians understood truth, and how they parsed what they knew

Pauruṣārthika (from puruṣārtha)

evaluation of purpose, utility or meaning

To attempt a fundamental meaning to life, beyond the rebellion that Camus suggested in face of the modern life’s crushing meaninglessness

from dhātu √ṛ

everything pertaining to emergent and perceived reality- the natural order. ex: nature, cosmos, consciousness. that which exists independent of humanity. it is what the Western mind understands as reality– “that which doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it.”

from dhātu √kṛ

everything that is kṛta, or done/ created, by life forms- where they are the kartā. this includes information, except that of exclusive qualia classified separately. Some art will be a part of {kṛta}, but others could be in the next two categories. commerce, trade and economic activity are also {kṛta}

from dhātu √dhṛ

all things phenomenologically part of humanity- culture, history, tradition- or displaying aspects of emergence. is Marxism a {kṛta} or a {dhṛta}? we decide on the basis whether something is a created ideology vs. whether it is emergent, and it should be clear where Marxism slots, for example.

from dhātu √ghṛ

the best, most exceptional products of humanity- be they things or ideas. the most ghṛta, well refined or clarified like ghee, output of the ongoing mānava yajña. a ranking category to separate some {kṛta} from others. this category is essential to our objective, for it helps understand what Indian civilizational consciousness values, and what it would not.

from dhātu √bhṛ

stuff pertaining to leadership, governance, policy, education and learning- institutional and individual human endeavors to bear, to lead, to be bhartās or bharatas- potters that shape clay. usage of this category helps us internalize the self-identity of Bhārata.

from dhātu √mṛ

things of mortal concern- to an individual, nation, species or planet. a callout category to highlight the most pressing dangers and threats. things that could bring death, or martya. all akṛta, adhṛta, aghṛta or abhṛta things- by definition.

from dhātu √ṛ / √nṛ

everything else- stuff that cannot be classified into any of the previous. it is a nartaka- a dancer that defies category. it mimes, it tricks and deceives. It is both this and that. the category of mystery and ambiguity, of unknown unknowns. of things for which we’re unsure- are they even ṛta to begin with?

from dhātu √smṛ

Things of the inner mind-space, ie, thoughts, feelings and emotions- the felt-experience of consciousnessness. Not as a phenomenon, but as a subjective experience of being. The same thing can leave different impressions on different people- creating as many smṛta categories. For example, there are today 3 fundamentally different Indias, when classified by smṛta. There is India, there is Bhārata, and also a Hindustan.

from dhātu √ṛc

Things I/you create, or conduct racanā of. Things we fasten together, bind or bring into existence. A subjective order equivalent to the kṛta level 1, where something of the smṛta category is brought to life/form.

from dhātu √dṛ

The innate skills and traits in us, the individual selves. Our emergent personalities and behaviours- the fundamental reason why being you and being me are different things.

from dhātu √śṛ

The best, most refined aspects of us- or the level 2 equivalent to the ghṛta of level 1. It is stuff that emerges in us after pariśrama, a miśṛt output of our self-application, or adhyātma.

from dhātu √pṛ

Things of love, affection, fulfillment and nourishment. Indian preparations of cottage cheese, for example, would fall in the pṛta category for me. A way for us to qualify the soundarya and rasa of our lived experience. This may appear quite different to bhṛtam of level 1, but in reality we are led by, informed by and pursue the pṛtam much like we are led and informed by bhṛtam in level 1.

from dhātu √vṛ

Things of personal subsistence, activity and commerce- the dincaryā. Stuff of vartana, or movement, or of dealing, day-on-day, with vartamāna- the present. Stuff we do for vetana- wages. Though the connection to mṛtam of level 1 is tenuous, we make it because the mindless, drone-like vṛtams of modern world are indeed akin to mṛta- or death of the self.

from dhātu √sṛ

Stuff that distracts, tempts and misguides us, for example drugs to the addict, or prostitution to the degenerated. Stuff that deceives us, thinks it gives us pleasure/benefit but in reality eats away the ātma. This ambiguity allows us to correlate it to nṛtam of level 1. The phonetic closeness to śṛtam, which is on the whole a positive category, helps reiterate a degree of ambiguity.

consonance of ṛta and smṛta

preceding and originator realm of emergence. L1 is emergence-realm of brahma, L2 is emergence realm of ātman

consonance of kṛta and cṛta

created things/ideas/forms that emerge from the previous category but are manifested physically. Are deliberate and done by ātman. L1 by humanity as a species, L2 by human being as an individual

consonance of dhṛta and dṛta

emergent stuff that gets established, entrenched, becomes natural and innate

consonance of ghṛta and śṛta

the best, most refined, most deliberated and produced through pariśrama creations. L1 of humanity, or a group of people. L2 of human being, an individual. In both cases, the output of yajña

consonance of bhṛta and pṛta

things that guide shape, inspire, fulfill, lead. consonance here is not on meaning of the categories but on the spectrum implied. objective of {bhṛta} is to provide {pṛta}- to bear and lead is to be steward of fulfillment and purpose

consonance of mṛta and vṛta

stuff that kills- group or individual, body or soul. dangerous and undesirable things, stuff we should be wary of

consonance of nṛt and sṛta

Confounding, slippery, resistant to complete cogitation or simply ṛta/smṛta hampering/discordant things

It should not unsettle us overmuch if the point to all this isn’t quite apparent yet. Even Bhartṛhari claimed, after all, that true meaning is revealed not with the words or constituent parts of speech, but after the end of a complete sentence in a flash of insight called sphoṭa. It makes sense then that looking at the schema through technical tables will not suffice just yet. But there is a way we can experience insight, in this case not with a flash but with a slow bloom. Not with sphoṭa, but with ucchvas– a word we’re using here to mean ‘a gradual mushrooming of meaning and revelation in the mind.’ In Part 2 of the synaptic reconnection series we will explore one such ucchvas, and a formative one at that. But first we do have to traverse technical terrain once again- some basic working definitions we need to internalize. It does get steep, but the ride isn’t a bumpy one:

2.

Heidegger himself abandoned this terminology later in his life.

3.
Ontic

4.
Between Ontic and Ontologic

5.
Ontic vs. Ontologic

Ontical, Ontological, Onomatopoeic

In Part 1 too we spoke of ontical and ontological as two separate categories- known as the “ontological difference.” We lean on side of reductiveness, but in any case we speak of these not so much to understand them as Heidegger meant it but to use them as supplementary scaffolding in our own build.2

Ontic describes what is there, as opposed to the nature or properties of that being. For Heidegger, “ontical” signifies concrete, specific realities, whereas “ontological” signifies deeper underlying structures of reality. 3
The science that studies a being is, for Heidegger, ontic [ontique], and it is necessary to distinguish it from the science of the being of a being which alone is ontological. 4
Ontological is like a level up in relation to “ontic”. Ontological being is not only being, but also being who understands being. 5

6.

The relevance to us should be visible by now, we’re only a few steps away from speaking of Puruṣa-Prakṛti, or even of Brahman-Ātman.

7.

Reformatted a different way, this is sat, cit, ānanda. More on this later.

The third sample here articulates the ‘ontological difference’ as salient to our schema. It divides existence into ‘that which exists/comes into existence’ and that ‘which is aware of its existence,’ with the added complexity of whether ‘awareness of existence’ is the true ontological- all else being ontical forms it descends into6. Our posited unentangling of the ontological difference is by bringing in a tangential notion- that of onomatopoeia.

What distinguishes the ontological is its self-awareness. It is not just something that exists, it is something that knows what existence feels like. It possesses what the ancients knew as ‘cit’ (चित्) and Pāṇini described as sañcetanā, smṛtyām, saṃjñāna- consciousness, in-descent of thinking, consonance (of awareness, ie., existence)7. It is Being, Heidegger’s Dasien- that which awareness/existence itself is. Luminous such, when Being reflects on its own existence, the same reflects back at it- cit becomes cint, cetana’s ping receives the pingback of cintana. This self-reflected glint is characterized by what we call semantic onomatopoeia. The dictionary meaning and standard usage of this word are straightforward:

The fact of words containing sounds similar to the noises they describe, for example ‘hiss’ or ‘thud’; the use of words like this in a piece of writing.

शब्‍दों का ध्वनि-विन्‍यास संबंधित (वास्‍तविक) ध्वनियों के अनुसार होना, ध्वनि-अनुकरण; ध्वनि-अनुकरणात्‍मक शब्‍द

Onomatopoeia therefore can be understood as a kind of ‘consonance’ between sound and meaning- the level at which language brushes against being a reflected shard of reality. Common examples- such as oink and buzz– do not do justice to this critical shard. Some better examples are found in Indian lore. The ancient ṛṣi, Bhṛgu, is credited in the Ṛgveda as having introduced the Bharata Āryas to fire. There is obviously a range of interpretation here, but what need not be doubted is the credit accorded to him in the primeval layer of Vaidika association to/with Agni. The name is built from the root √bhṛ- which is category L1-5 in our schema and also root to ‘Bhārata’: a level of consonance already.

But linguistically, Bhṛgu is built atop ‘bhṛg,’ which is ‘an onomatopoeic word expressive of the crackling sound of fire.’8 Bhṛgu literally translates to that which/he who is ‘for the purpose of’ or the ‘doer’ of ‘bhṛg,’ just as dhātu is for the purpose of/ doer of ‘dhā.’

What we are seeing between the Vaidika story and the linguistic derivation is a consonance of meaning- a semantic onomatopoeia. It is the type of consonance that arises through self-awareness, √cit pingbacked as √cint. And the consonance is semantic, which means the reflection is not of arbitrary sound but of deliberately encoded meaning. Owed to the Bhṛgu-onomatopoeia, and a host of other such cases, we find additional support for the sentiment expressed by Prof. Adluri when he says:

Itihāsa represents the empirical world aesthetically to problematize both being-in-the-world and the relationship of ontology, text, and the world. In other words, itihāsa is history that has overcome historicism: history that has become critical and self-conscious.

What we are trying to establish here is that semantic onomatopoeia gives evidence to a thing’s ontological nature- it hints that the thing is a Being for itself- possessed of self-awareness, and not merely an ontical form. The onomatopoeia evidenced by Indian civilization asserts that it is ontological, not ontical- that Bhāratīya sāṃskṛtika cetanā is a real thing (thus making itihāsa, as Adluri describes it, the cintana pingback.) The civilization is self-aware, has agency, and its consciousness impacts its constituents- be they colonized or not. And this onomatopoeia gives us an immensely helpful ramp- we can follow the consonance ripples as if a trail of breadcrumbs and reconnect to the civilizational mind. The vyaṣṭi reintegrating with the samaṣṭi. A ghar-vāaapasi of a different kind. Let us do this now through ucchvas– also called an ontic bloom-a gradual mushrooming of meaning-realization (or consonance dawning). We do this for a very apparent aspect of the schema’s design- its tethering to ṛ/ ऋ in all the category names of L1 and L2. This is bootstrapping through language in action.

The Ontic Bloom of ऋ

Some etymology: Pāṇini defined the root √ṛ as gatau and gatiprāpaṇa- motion/ movement and attainment of motion.

Ṛta is derived from this by affixation or pratyaya- ṛ+kta (ऋ + क्त). This pratyaya denotes a sense of the passive past tense. Ṛta thus means “was put into motion” or “has been done,” (where done refers to the action denoted by the verb, in this case movement/motion.)

Not only is this cosmogony at play, it is the birth of the ontic. Simply the etymological rooting of ṛ informs us of the “moment in time” when motion/ movement/ change/ time came into existence. Since it came into existence, it cannot be Being or Existing in itself. You see, that which is eternal and unchanging is sat (सत् )- it simply Is.

It is not ‘existence,’ a phenomenological thing and thus an ontical form. It is Existing, Being- the Ontological. It derives from the root √as (अस्) which means “is.” सत् is the present participle of अस्, which is to say that it is not exactly “is” but rather “ing”- is happening, going on.

Thus do we say that it is not existence- which implies the coming into existence, or coming into being at some earlier point. As the present participle of is, it is Existing or Being– what the thing is to itself, or the ontological that Heidegger gave up on. To Terence McKenna, it awaits us at the end of time- which is of course true. But it also sits behind us before the emergence of time. It is why sat holds the status it does in dhārmika ontology. Existing such, eternal and unchanging- there is no motion by definition. No movement, no time, no gati. Not a single ontical form in existence.

9.

The syntax of language begins to trip and stumble at this stage. We use tense-forms as if time existed in the “time we are talking of,” – there is no other way to express it, even if it technically makes no sense.

10.

These involve free-thinking speculations which are not meant as claims of authority on any of the darśanas, or as technical points on comprehensive ontologies such as Nyāya or Vaiśeśikā.

11.

Parallel to Sat is the idea of Brahman, which best derives as swelling, expansion, outpouring. One interpretation of brahman is as √bṛṃḥ + √an, where √an is prāṇane– breathing. √bṛṃḥ + √an is the the expansion or swelling of breathing, a vision of the inflationary-deflationary universe. It is remarkable that such cosmological intuitions can be found at the absolute root of Sanskrit language

But then, at some point, ṛ + kta has been done -> movement has been attained9– gatiprāpaṇayoh comes into being. The cosmic bubble which will contain things, or ontical forms. And so this bubble is called (ṛ+kta) ṛta. This explains the design of our schema. We shape it around ṛta since it denotes the pure, closest branching of sat. It is nothing but motion, rhythm. It is a-sat, yes, but it is still true, right, proper, efficient. It is a consonant reflected shard of reality, and an elaborate trail of ontic blooming10 is now possible for us:

Sat and Bhav

1 – The ontologically complete interpretation of ṛ + kta is that motion has been attained by “Being,” by “Sat.” This is different to saying that Sat has come into existence.11

2 – To come into existence is understood in Sanskrit as bhav– a cognacy to the modern “be” in English. In turn this gives us the word bhāva- expression, form or manner. The phenomenological and experience world is through bhav, through ontical forms coming into existence.

3 – Bhav proceeds at its emergent pace or happening, but ṛta continues- it is both gatiprāpaṇayoḥ and also gatau- the attainment of motion and also movement itself.

Ṛta, Dharma, Ārya

The Indian imperative has been to be in flow and consonance with this motion, ie.- dharma is the endeavor to conduct life and society in consonance with ṛta.

Another pratyaya to ṛ evokes the idea of “wanting to do” the action denoted by the verb, called the ṇyat pratyaya. Ṛ + ṇyat (ऋ + ण्यत्) gives us the word ārya – आर्य, ie. desiring gatiprāpaṇa- wishing to be in step with the rhythm of natural motion. All the expert philology and comparative linguistics of decades has not cared to factor such things in its imagined definitions of ‘Aryan.’ Or it has deliberately not done so. Ignorance or malice- we leave this open.

The Ride is not Free

To be in motion, ie. to exist in ṛta, accumulates entropic debt. In the modern world we understand this through notions like sustainability, ‘give-back-to-community’ and carbon credit. The ancient Indians understood this as ṛṇa, or essential obligation.

Ṛṇa is simply another ‘kta pratyaya’ of ṛ- ṛ + kta = ṛna (ऋ + क्त = ऋण ). The difference is that ṛta is the gatiprāpaṇa of Sat, while ṛṇa is the gatiprāpaṇa of you and me.

Only a few steps above the dhātu ladder, we are able to get core insights into the Indian mind. It perceives a deeper ontology to being and existence than we realize, discerns what existence is at core- motion, change, temporality; and formulates an elaborate set of design principles- dharma– that bring harmony with the motion. And it doesn’t stop here, on the branches of ऋ alone there is further core ontology such as:

ṛṣi – ‘possessed of mastery over gati’, ie., can see beyond the illusions of temporality; or cleaves through it with vision. In similar vein, one who cleaves through land, physically (for agriculture and irrigation- more flow), is kṛṣi.

ṛca – where the ‘ca’ is of the same evocation as the sound holds in notions like citta and cit ⇒ luminosity, sparkle. Ṛca is most literally a ‘throwing of light on ऋ,’ which explains why it took ṛṣi-level vision to compose ṛcas.

To find a tethering within ṛta, a purpose or aim that situates it specifically (a relative but not absolute sthā), is artha (अर्थ).

This demonstrates that the schema we build is capable of fulfilling the first of the two test criteria we had set for validity in Part 1: rooting our thinking in Sanskrit opens new pathways, or seeds reconnection to the civilizational core.

The ontic bloom of ṛ connects us to the civilizational imperative, the harmony and consonance inherent to the design of dharma. Another way to put it is that what ṛta is to Existing, dharma is to Existence. Ṛta is flow, motion, movement in the ontological Sat, dharma is flow, tradition, sustenance in the ontical Bhav. This is why our aspiration is to be Āryas, why we consider rivers- ever in motion- to be sacred, and why flow- pravāha- is valued in sanātana dharma. In this light let us now examine the Ārtava and Ātmya layers again, this time with special focus on the civilizational thinking they reconnect us to. Each layer can yield ontic blooms like ṛ did.

Ārtava and Ātmya Layers Revisited

These are maintained as a separate layer to reaffirm that ātman is an ontological form within the ontical bubble of ṛta. This is the great synthesis of the “ontological difference”. ‘That which breathes on its own,’ or ātman, is akin to that which exists on its own.

12.

These are not exclusive and definitive meanings.

13.

Each word has multiple evocations, some often in conflict- just like the 2 evocations for √kṛ.

14.

In the category of {bhṛta} we have Newton’s laws of motion reconciled with quantum physics at the level of language- which many thinkers claim is at the root of reality. And through Sanskrit we get to touch the root of language.

Breathing is Existing, you and I are ontological shards of Sat/Brahman, experiencing motion/temporality. We experience thus an analogous ontology12:

The world of Ontical Emergence and Happening. Sat just is, always; but Ṛta is where Bhav happens. Consonance requires that which is bhav give clean, pure pingbacks to sat- which defines the dhārmika imperative.

The root √kṛ has two evocations. 1) karaṇa - doing and 2) hiṃsāyām - injuring, damaging Any act/deed in the ṛta motion is double-edged > to do is to flirt with the possibility of hurting/damaging > √kṛ happens to also contain the root √k, which means to cut. So it has to be an extremely mindful act, one that is bound to the ṛṇa that existence in ṛṭa accumulates. Thus the dhārmika accord given to ‘Karma,’ and one cannot escape this ṛta cycle if one carries ṛṇa of any kind.

√dhṛ also has two evocations. 1) avadhvaṃsaṇa - away from or separate to dhvaṃsana, which means destruction and 2) avasthā - away from or separate to sthā, which means stationary, without movement. This makes sense, because to get stationary on a moving cycle of ṛta is to be in direct vulnerability to hostile inertia. Existence is a delicate and vulnerable balancing act. Ṛta is always in motion, and so consonance requires being in commensurate relative velocity. Stationary-ness in this is akin to destruction- sthā is akin to dhvaṃsana. √dhṛ is the movement/rhythm that keeps away destruction. And thus from √dhṛ derives the system built for sustenance and existence in ṛta = “Dharma”.13

√ghṛ evokes kṣaraṇadīptya, prasravaṇa and secana- trickling of heat/shine, steaming/effusion, and sprinkling/emission. These further the continuing theme of deep cosmological intuitions at the root of Sanskrit. When something spins around in motion, as the ontical does in ṛta, it emits heat and light. Ghṛta is ghṛ + kta => illuminated, emitted, sprinkled. Here too we are met by dichotomy in possibility. From √ghṛ emerge both ghṛta and ghṛṇā. The former is pure, clarified emission; the latter is disgust, contempt. Will we emit clarified ghṛta, or will we emit contemp/contemptibility? It will depend on the karma we do.

Dhāraṇa, poṣana and bharaṇa- holding/reserving (dhāraṇa also relating to √dhṛ), nourishment/fulfillment, and maintaining/bearing. In the pattern of kta-pratyayas, bhṛta is bhṛ + kta = held, borne, nourished. It is clear that existence in ṛta is complex. Immense forces of physics are constantly in play, and each act has two opposite possibilities of consequence. The dhārmika imperative needs to be constantly maintained. The endeavor to be in sync with motion needs to be replenished at the right moments. Those who do this are Bharatas, and that which is designed in descent to Bharata is Bhārata. 14

√mṛ is prāṇatyāga- surrender/abdication of breathing. √mṛ + kta = mṛta- no longer breathing. Or what we understand in our experience as ‘dead.’ Breathing, or √an is a seed of ontology in dharma. Ātman best translates as ātm + √an > that which breathes on its own. And one philosophical definition of brahman is the effusion/outpouring of √an. But what is √an if not rhythm, if not motion in a cycle, in a repetition. Gatiprāpaṇa itself is √an, Sat in motion as ṛta is the first ātman, it is Brahman. Since motion is vibration, and vibration is sound, Sat is also Vāc, or the Śabda Brahman.And thus mṛta, the end of breathing, is pralaya, the dissolution. It is the end of ṛta. Amṛta is that which keeps mṛta away, it is that which bears, sustains and nourishes ṛta. Another name for amṛta is therefore- Dharma. This is how the Indian semantic-syntactic-semiotic memeplex interconnects at root levels. This is how consonance emerges at any level one looks at, and thus is Indian civilization multi-level coherent- a fractal maṇḍala.

Anṛta translates as something far more grievous than even asat. Asat is simply non-existent, it need not be considered within the ontical bubble. But anṛta is false ṛta => it exists and has consequence. It is untrue motion, or opposite motion. It is anti-rhythm. If dharma is avadhvaṃsana then anṛta is dhvaṃsana. It is to be considered most dangerous. As falsehood it is even more asatya than asat, more deluding/deceiving than the universal and indiscriminate veil of māyā. And this aspect is well captured by nṛta, which means to act, to represent, to dance. It is the illusion of a thing, not the thing itself. This category is needed because the world has changed in myriad profound ways since dharma last asked deep questions and made bold leaps in the ṛta-consonance mission. We now live not only within the ontical bubble of ṛta, we live cocooned in the doubly ontical bubble of technology, ‘doubly’ because it is of our own creation- or sva-kṛti. And the way we have reached here has wrought severe damage to that which precedes or is the natural form of creation- pra-kṛti. And as this happens we lose more and more of that which was our well-formed, collective and refined creation- saṃs-kṛti. We need a dhārma-inspired framework of analysis for the modern context, a new way to design our lives than the one prevalent.

15.

Western analysts largely contend that India has not paid much regard to the question and nature of being. While this sample paper explains Heidegger with nuance and raises some good points, its understanding of Indian ontology is mostly off the mark.

16.

Pāṇini’s derivations do not say that the suffix of man is related to the root √man. This is a speculation we leap to.

17.

The ‘tra’ (त्र) latter in ‘mantra’ can open up another branch of ontic bloom. It denotes not a verb/action but the instrument/tool for an action, which not only opens comprehension on tantra and yantra– instruments of the sheath/covering (body) and restrain/fastening (now, machine>unrestrained, self-learning, what we are restrained to) but also on rāṣṭṛ, which when derived as rāj + tra means instrument of rāj, which means shine, light, kindle. The ontic bloom of Light and Shine is a whole extended essay we will do after this introductory series is completed.

√smṛ + kta = smṛta; where √smṛ = ādhyāna, cintāyām, or descent-of-thinking, and self-reflection-in-process. Smṛta is the output of such descent and self-reflection. Like ṛta is the world of Ontical Emergence and Happening, Smṛta is the world of Emergence and Meaning inside the ontological entities within ṛta- for example human beings. Our minds are a whole ṛta-like realm on their own; containing analogous evocations of heat, shining, emission, outpouring, rhythm and possibly- consonance.15

At the absolute level ṛc is that which sprinkles light, or perception, on ṛ- thus penetrating through to what is Sat. Invertedly, to ‘bring something to light,’ which is to bring it to ontical form, is to create- racanam. The motion (ṛ) of light (ca) has been thrown on it. So our framework uses ṛca as the analogous category for kṛta. And just like the kṛta, which can damage or be in exaltation of ṛta, what we create can occupy any place in the spectrum. A small distance away is the root of √ṛch (ऋछ्), which among other things means indriyapralaya- the dissolution of senses. The matter is distinguished by what lies at root- Intent, or Mind. Like √an (breathing), Mind (√man) is at the center of ontology in dharma. In Part 1 we made the following observation:√kṛ, manin : karma√dhṛ, maniṇ : dharma√bṛh, man : brahman√at, manin : ātmani.e., No matter which angle we approach from, the Indian civilization makes it abundantly clear that at its center lies Mind, or Consciousness, or Intent– √man Good karma, good racanā = this is the objective.16 Where the qualia of “good’ is, at reductive- in ṛta, in consonance, and in complexia gleaned from Dharma.

The dichotomy continues- quantum semantics: √dṛ means both hiṃsāyām and ādara, or killing/hurting and respecting/honoring. Every step of the way Sanskrit seems to be reminding us that reality is an ouroboros snake- it eats its own tale. That is where śūnya and pūrṇa become the same thing. √dṛ + kta = dṛta, or honoured/respected. At the same time, the right type of √dṛ over ṛta, which is to say that a specific cut through its veil, is qualified as dṛṣṭiḥ: vision and perception; and a perception of truth/Sat beyond the veil is accordingly a darśana. Light is the ultimate bearer of qualia, and so √dṛ too blooms to anywhere in a full spectrum- dara (tearing/rending) to ādara (respect/honour); dŗmhaṇam to daraṇam (fortification to breakage); dṛbdha to daridrā (fastened/secure to be distressed/in-need. And always, if the dichotomy confuses us, if the threat is of dhvaṃsana (dissolution), the answer is to be in yoke to ṛta- yuktaḥbhavati svadharmaṛtaṃ.

√śṛ + kta = śṛta, where √śṛ is associated to pac/pāka = cooked, baked, thoroughly prepared. This makes śṛta analogous to ghṛta = a qualifier for refined creation and output. But there is always a catch. Ghṛta is refinement that can come from sheer repetition and motion- clarified by ṛta. But śṛta, in words phonetically related, is built upon śrama, pariśrama. And of course the dichotomy- miśr is “strictly a demon,” but miśra is a person honored, accorded. Like ghṛta as ghee is the clarified output of a yajña, the individual life needs personal yajña, and the output is śṛta- refined creation. This is another thread of consonance weaved through the maṇḍala, for yajña is what the Vedic worldview sees life as. The category of śṛta, with its dichotomy and analogy considered, and the preceding base of ṛca and dṛta, gives us a manual for individual life in dhārmika ontology. It can be summarized such- by converting smaraṇa to a śṛta racanā, compliant to the bounds of karma and dharma, one can reach dṛṣti and be dṛta.

While √pṛ + kta = pṛt means an army, or combat; √pṛ to Pāṇini evokes pālana, pūraṇa, prīta and vyāyām- protection/guarding, fulfillment/completion, rejoicement/delight and extension/contention.It’s curious that the analogous category in layer 1- bhṛta, involves the notion of leadership which not only has to ensure, by definition, the pālana, pūraṇa of its denizens (who get to live in prītana), but in the real world has to engage in the vyāyam of combat in doing so. We wonder if this is coincidental, tangential or more onomatopoeia. Within the motion of ṛta, along with prāṇa emerges prīṇa- sensation and pleasure. Keeping this category in the framework allows us to have a classification and qualifier for (arguably) the most subjective of all experiences- pleasure, rasa, aesthetic, prema, prīyatam.

Analogy between this and {mṛta} of layer 1 is a more ‘forced’ element of our schematic design, but we make it to assert a critical point- death need not be the cessation of breath alone. Since the human experience is fundamentally of the mind, there is merit to considering that which brings a death to thinking, to cogitation, to freedom. And for these we have ample to list, from the modern human condition. These are captured by words stemming from √vṛ, and quite like elements of the final category in layer 1, they are more the artifacts of modern culture, ie.,- dharma is yet to process them.There was always a dhārmika merit to being in the present, to not be taken in by the momentum of time but rather be in sync with its motion. But in a twisted form today the mass of humanity is trapped in the daily vartamāna (the present)- eking out a day-to-day living. The more fortunate deal with the humbug of vartana (moving place to place), through traffic jams and airport queues. But all of us live on vetana (wages, livelihood, sustenance), and it is what we “educate” our young to be “qualified” for. The category is meant to represent all the ways in which modern culture has subverted and twisted the human experience. Our Vaidika ancestors spoke of it, but we have forgotten- the Vṛtra that blocks the flow. As long as Vṛtra has it blocked, Sarasvatī does not flow. And if the Sarasvatī does not flow there is no Agni established on its banks. With no Agni and no flow- there is no Bhārata, there is no Ārya. It’s a good way to realize what confronts us- the fundamental ways of the world are broken. The only grace is that solutions lie in the pool we draw from, and our schema attempts to make such evident in the framework design.

There is good harmony in the final category being of the same evocation as the first (√ṛ). To √sṛ also Pāṇini assigns the sense of gati, or movement. Like the ouroboros, and like the Ṛgveda- where first and last maṇḍalas both contain 191 sūktas each- our framework rounds up on itself. The illusory is not only within ṛta, ṛta is wrapped in it as māyā. Commensurately, √sṛ associates to sṛp and sarpaḥ- creeping/crawling and that which creeps (serpent). In the linked √sṛbh and √sṛmbh is the evocation of hiṃsā, and in √sṛj of visarga- separation. We leave this category for things that delude individuals, that lead them towards ignorance and away from the true perception of things. The theme of dichotomy is writ large and expanded for full view through this category- from √sṛ we also derive sāra- refined flow, true flow (a qualifier) and can engage in ontic blooms of the kind possible in branch sarasa > sarasvatī > sarayū > sarva > sā- (as prefix, which if followed down a specific trail can lead to sārathī, or Kṛṣṇa). For the analogous linkage to {anṛta} of layer 1, consider this- in {anṛta} we place the cocoon of technology, and explain how that is “doubly” ontical. Linked to nṛta, it refers to things that give pretense of the real thing, but are not the thing itself.At the individual level today, what is it that leads us towards ignorance, away from the true perception of things, the most?Virtual worlds, social media bubbles, disinformation campaigns- all the stuff of technology, all being perfected towards the all-encompassing metaverse that looks to hack not so much ṛta per se, but smṛta > the inner universe. The entropic force of dhvaṃsana need only hack into Mind- yours and mine- and reality is already under its yoke, for it can then shape it. At the individual level then, as at the cosmic, we can never not factor in the presence and/or the possibility of illusion. It is why the most qualified in Indian worldview are the ṛṣis- those who pierce through the veil- and their dṛṣṭi- perception of ṛ.What they perceived is articulated for us in the form of ṛcas- illuminations of ṛ; yajus’- for the purpose of saṃgati (saṃgatikaraṇa) and sāmans- conciliations/pacifications. The qualifier is always for true perception, for knowledge of and consonance with ṛta, which is gati > thus saṃgati.And recall the speculations we made on √man in the category of {ṛca}, if Mind is not at the center of it all in Indian ontology, why would these ṛcas, yajus’ and sāmans by those in perception of ṛ be called mantras- instruments of Mind?17

With this we arrive at the second moment of pause.

With Parts 1 and 2 now combined, we have fleshed to detail layers 1 and 2 of our schema. These cover ontology, with ample space for exegesis on the ontological difference. The 14 categories, in a 7×2 inter-analogous setup, cover the realm of things that exist, ie., what we know, in a design that demonstrates the Indian way of looking at reality, and finds repeated affirmations of it through basic etymological structuring. In parsing the modern world through their filters we are met with our self-identity (Bhārata, Ārya), what our civilization values (ārya, saṃgati, bharaṇa), and how it formulates a navigation through life (dharma, karma, ṛṇa) while acknowledging both the pleasures and dangers on access (pṛta, mṛta, anṛta).

It also gives us a few lessons on physics and philosophy along the way- in intuiting of emission, illumination, vibration, and on harmony, consonance, conciliation. All encoded into the basic roots of language. In the previous part, we have also given an example of the complex ontological forms that can emerge within ṛta- in this case of civilization, or saṃskṛti- described through what we have termed ṛta sūtramaṇḍala. Each layer in the schema is built upon a basic design principle- a kṛta sūtra- and the kṛta sūtramaṇḍala that inspire the four layers are what we will visit in the next part of the series.

  1. Indian thought has penetrated this to great depths, and it is a tragedy McKenna never heard of Bhartṛhari and the Śabda Brahman. We will visit this in due time. McKenna’s quote here in fact is a direct affirmation of the Indian worldview on mantra and ṛṣi.
  2. Heidegger himself abandoned this terminology later in his life
  3. Ontic
  4. Between Ontic and Ontological
  5. Ontic vs. Ontologic
  6. The relevance to us should be visible by now, we’re only a few steps away from speaking of Puruṣa-Prakṛti, or even of Brahman-Ātman.
  7. Reformatted a different way, this is sat, cit, ānanda. More on this later.
  8. https://sanskritdictionary.com/roots.php
  9. The syntax of language begins to trip and stumble at this stage. We use tense-forms as if time existed in the “time we are talking of,” – there is no other way to express it, even if it technically makes no sense.
  10. These involve free-thinking speculations which are not meant as claims of authority on any of the darśanas, or as technical points on comprehensive ontologies such as Nyāya or Vaiśeśikā.
  11. Parallel to Sat is the idea of Brahman, which best derives as swelling, expansion, outpouring. One interpretation of brahman is as √bṛṃḥ + √an, where √an is prāṇane– breathing. √bṛṃḥ + √an is the the expansion or swelling of breathing, a vision of the inflationary-deflationary universe. It is remarkable that such cosmological intuitions can be found at the absolute root of Sanskrit language.
  12. These are not exclusive and definitive meanings. Each word has multiple evocations, some often in conflict- just like the 2 evocations for √kṛ.
  13. In the category of {bhṛta} we have Newton’s laws of motion reconciled with quantum physics at the level of language- which many thinkers claim is at the root of reality. And through Sanskrit we get to touch the root of language.
  14. Western analysts largely contend that India has not paid much regard to the question and nature of being. While this sample paper explains Heidegger with nuance and raises some good points, its understanding of Indian ontology is mostly off the mark.
  15. Pāṇini’s derivations do not say that the suffix of man is related to the root √man. This is a speculation we leap to.
  16. The ‘tra’ (त्र) latter in ‘mantra’ can open up another branch of ontic bloom. It denotes not a verb/action but the instrument/tool for an action, which not only opens comprehension on tantra and yantra– instruments of the sheath/covering (body) and restrain/fastening (now, machine>unrestrained, self-learning, what we are restrained to) but also on rāṣṭṛ, which when derived as rāj + tra means instrument of rāj, which means shine, light, kindle. The ontic bloom of Light and Shine is a whole extended essay we will do after this introductory series is completed.

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By Amritanshu Pandey

Amrit writes on history, civilization and design. He has come to understand Bhārata as a civilisational consciousness with multi-level coherence, and his work is to uncover the tale of this emergence.

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