A System for Design:
From Intent to Manifestation
The Design of Ṛta
Design is a qualified form of Creation. It is good creation, or creation that is True and Proper.
Here is its Ontology.
The Consonant Stasis
Is-ness simply is.
Without Beginning, without End.
It stands transcendent of what we perceive as Time.
It is not the coming into being, but the exist-ing.
Is, or what the ancients knew as अस्ति (asti).
From the root √as (अस्).
The present participle of √as is sat (सत्)
सत् is Is-ness – the Existing.
To have the property of सत् is to be Satya. That which simply is.
Which is without Beginning and without End.
Not the coming into being, but the exist-ing.
The stasis is in equilibrium.
There is only consonance in Sat.
A consonance that whirs with harmonics.
There is vibrance.
The Coming into Being of Motion
All vibration is sound.
All language is sound.
Language is but vibration – a specific register of reality.
The harmonic whirring of Sat, the motion in the stasis, is the root √ṛ (ऋ).
Ṛṣi Pāṇini explained it as gati and gatiprāpaṇa.
No longer Is-ness, but Is-being.
From this root emerges the core sound of our system.
With – kta as an affix: क्त प्रत्यय (kta pratyaya).
A verb-form with this suffix is used to express a sense of ‘has been done.’
ṛ + kṭa, ie.- motion has been attained, gatiprāpti.
Thus is Ṛta understood as Reality.
It is Sat, manifest.
It is what surrounds us. The playground for Life and Creation.
The manifested Intent
A Law of Motion: For every action exists an opposite reaction.
A Law of the Motion of Ṛta: For every action exists an acting agent. A Doer.
The Doer is the Kartā. The Action is the Karma.
To Do: Karaṇa.
All from a singular root: √kṛ कृ, ie., to Do.
And by the same rule of language as before, we get Kṛta:
kṛ + kta, ie.- Action/Creation has been done, karaṇa.
And while the word for a Doer is Kartā, that for the Creator is Kartṛ.
Any creator is a Kartṛ. Possesses Agency. Manifests Intent.
To design is to create with intent, deliberation, plan and purpose.
A Designer is a Kartṛ with both Purpose and Agency. Manifests Intent to the Proper Objective.
The objective of Ṛta in Design is to formulate the processes, methods and utilities for a Saṃskartṛ.
And at the center of this system is the Creator, and the Creator’s Intent.
This is where it all begins.
This is where the Consonant Stasis can Come into Motion.
Where Sat and Ṛta can Manifest in the Kṛta.
And that Intent is where it all begins was known to the Ancients as well.
To the very root of √kṛ कृ, Ṛṣi Pāṇini assigned another meaning.
It can not only evoke creation, or karaṇa, but also destruction, or hiṃsā.
In doing or creating we run the risk of injuring, hurting, destroying.
Which way our creation turns, depends on that singular thing.
It is why we are Culture obsessed with Karma.
The calibrated and True Intent
People can manifest intent at scale- a collective manifestation.
Kṛta as Our Output. The Output of All.
Samṣkṛti – sam + kṛta.
But collective manifestation today faces a challenge:
“How are we collectively creating a world that none of us wants, individually?”
– Daniel Christian Wahl
Today we live not only within the bubble of ṛta, we live cocooned in the bubble of technology, which 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.
Thus do we need a dhārma-inspired framework of analysis for the modern context, a new way to design our lives than the one prevalent.
“Study your predecessors’ works intently, to see how they solved problems. Try to figure out why they made the design choices they did; this is the most illuminating question to ask yourself.”
– Fred Brooks, The Design of Design
Mr. Brooks understands that behind the design of design is iteration, and iteration over a long period of time.
Not a single lifetime, but a civilizational span.
Iteration happens with Culture. With one generation taking what is passed down and building upon it.
The “all” or “sam” in Saṃskrti cuts across space and time, both.
It originates in the root √dhi धि – dhāraṇa, to bear and preserve.
When borne and preserved over the rhythm of ṛta, across space and time, it becomes dhī + ṛta – dhṛta.
It is the borne and preserved. The design that has worked for our predecessors, and as the author of The Design of Design understood- what has worked for our predecessors is the most illuminating thing to identify.
Dhṛta represents the Collective Intent that has been calibrated, over time and generations.
This then is the developing Ontology of Design:
Dharma is Collective Design. Built by All, spanning Space and Time:
“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
-Robert Peters, Co-Founder, The Circle Design.
The clarified Manifestation of intent
An ancient cultural hand-down, ubiquitous to the Indian kitchen even today- Ghee, or clarified butter.
Or as it was called in Sanskrit: Ghṛta.
Kṛta as Our Output. The Output of All.
From the root √ghṛ घृ, which as Ṛṣi Pāṇini explains, is evocative of kṣaraṇadīptyaḥ, prasravaṇa, secana – trickles through heat/light, gushes or oozes, sprinkling or effusing.
There is a paradigm of consciousness embedded in this concept. For consciousness to the Indian mind is comparable to light:
Like light on its own is without attributes, but takes the shape and form of whatever it falls on, so is consciousness on its own without attributes- nirguṇa. It becomes with-attributes- saguṇa- by taking the shape and form of whatever it falls on.
The literal ghṛta is simply ghee, clarified butter.
It is the ghee of creation.
The best output of Design.
It is what all design aspires to.
And it emerges through heat/light, ie., through intense application of the mind. Of consciousness. Of Intent.
It emerges, like does the ghee from a yajña, from the yajña of our own lives.
From the cultural yajña, the civilizational yajña, the collective yajña, or the personal yajña.
But what should ghṛta be- what is it that can be called Clarified Intent?
That is the next step…
The fulfilling and delivering intent
The pattern i