One more thing ! ......

The methods ( Lakshanas) in Vedic elaborations !

Our title needs a clarification.

It is sometimes difficult to get a true meaning of a sentence. So certain methods for arriving at the meaning are employed. By methods we mean certain Characteristics( Lakshanas) which are used for arriving at the intended meanings as opposed to the word meanings.

Sanskrit is a well structured language . The Panini's Ashtadhyayee is worlds first exposition of a language with structure. Based on the authority of Vedas various schools of philosophy emerged with their own tenets . They were all using Vedas to establish their points. It is in this context there is an exposition of characteristics ( Lakshana) of a word/sentence . It is brought out in the Nyaya school and also explained in Tarka Sangraha . It is interesting and hence is brought out here !!

It is as under :

Given a sentence or the usage of a word , when the direct word meaning says something contradictory to our personal experience and other established sources of Knowledge then the sense that intelligently suggests itself becomes acceptable and that is to be taken as its suggestive meaning.

Very often thus the direct dictionary meaning will have to be dropped and its subtle meaning is to be taken.

As an example consider the statement “He consumed a mountain of mangoes” . Here only the subtle meaning to be taken is that he has consumed an unimaginably large number of Mangoes !!

This principle is stated as under by Sankara .

మానాంతర విరోధేతు ముఖ్యార్థస్య పరిగ్రహే|
ముఖ్యార్ధేనావినాభూతే ప్రతీతిర్లక్షణోచ్యుతే||
मानांतर विरोधेतु मुख्यार्थस्य परिग्रहे।
मुख्यार्धेनाविनाभूते प्रतीतिर्लक्षणोच्युते॥

If the direct word- meaning throws up an inconsistency what is pointed out by other proofs and evidences , then the sense consistent with its word meaning that is intelligently suggested by the term is to be accepted. And that is taken as its suggestive meaning !!( Lakshana)

Thus there is a process of extracting the true meaning of sentence , and it is of three kinds.

- a Reject method

- a Accept method

- a Reject- Accept method

The "Reject" method is employed in correctly understanding a statement like “ my house is right on the Sea” – obviously it is not floating on the sea. Therefore we “Reject “ the direct meaning ( on the sea )and understand the statement as “ the house is nearest to the Sea !!”

Now consider a statement like

“ the guns marched”.

Here the direct meaning points to some thing impossible . Therefore while retaining the direct meaning we accept a new factor suggested by the statement and understand it as

the gunmen with guns marched

This is called the "Accept" method , where in we retain the direct meaning adding some other factor making the sense clearer.

Then there is the third method , namely the "Reject –Accept" method.

The Reject -Accept method is used to explore the meaning of a statement such as :

"This is that child of mine


This is that Devadatta .”

The term ” this ” is used to some thing near at hand and “ that ” to the thing that is far off in the past away from the speaker and the listener.

This young man with me now , so well grown up with hefty body, is that baby which you used to play with when he was tiny baby" .

Here in the comparison , the time , size, and the nature of the body so explicitly clear are all rejected , and the baby that was then is recognized as the grown up man now !

So the individuals identity is accepted.

So here one part is rejected and another part is accepted . This is the “Reject- Accept “ method.

These methods have their own names

- Jaha Lakshana ( Reject method)

- Ajaha Lakshana ( Accept method)

-Jaha-Ajaha Lakshana ( reject- accept ) method ;

All of this came in the context of explaining the Vedic Mahavakya

That thou art !”
తత్వమస్యాది వాక్తేషు లక్షణా భాగలక్షణ|
సో అయం ఇత్యాది వాక్యస్య పదయోరివ నాపరా||
तत्वमस्यादि वाक्तेषु लक्षणा भागलक्षण।
सो अयं इत्यादि वाक्यस्य पदयोरिव नापरा॥

In this context Sri Sankara says - "For sentences like - tatvamasi ( that thou art)- you have to use these methods for explanation like in " he is that man " !.

The Direct meaning of That being the Creator and thou being the you ( or Jiva) , the sentence does not give a true meaning because the creator with his many faces and many forms cannot be the “you” with one mundane Life !! . But if one takes the meaning of Creator as the Supreme Being whose main form is Jnana and you as the Jiva with self( Atma) as its charioteer as also a form of Jnana then the true meaning of equating Jnana svarupa in That and thou is reached and it is truly “ That thou art !”

Here we had to reject the direct meaning and accept the inner meaning !

Adi Sankara's "Vakyavritti" is an introductory text explaining to students a Vedic statement . In "Vakyavritti", Sankara explains the statement "That thou art" by taking the student gradually through the meaning of "That" and then the meaning of Thou and finally explains how the subtle meaning of "That Thou art" is to extracted using example of "This is that man" !!

We have also used explanation of the Reject- Accept method for explaining "tatvamasi"- "That thou art" . Some other time we take up the more detailed exposition of "tatvamasi" .

||om tat sat ||