M. Arulchelvam 1996 Common Similes&MetaphorsinHinduPhilosophicalLiterature

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An article comparing the recurrent imagery in Sanskrit and Tamil classical (philosophical) literature
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   OMMONSIMILES NDMET PHORSINHINDUPIDLOSOPID LLITER TURE Hinduphilosophicalandreligiousliteraturesarerepletewithsimilesandmetaphorsthatarecitedtosupportandtoelucidatethetheoriespropounded.Someofthesesimilesoccurinmorethanonephilosophicalsystem.Thisisunderstandablebecausethebasictreatisesofthesixphilosophicalsystems,the saddarsana, arenearlycontemporaneous.   EventheSaivaSiddhantaschoolofthought,whosedoctrinaltexts appearsomecenturieslater,drawsonthesamephilosophicalheritage. 2 Themetaphorthatiscommonestbyfar,occurringinbothHinduandBuddhistliterature,isthatwhichcomparesworldlylifetoanocean.Theoceanofworldlylife The Saddarsana Sarikhyaearliestwork,The SankhyaKarika ofIsvarakrsna,circa5thcentury A D YogaYogaSiitraofPatanjali,5thcenturyA.D.Nyaya Nyaya Surra ofGautama,2ndcenturyB.C.Vaisesika YaisesikaSurra ofKanada,betweenthe2ndcentury B.C.andthebeginningsoftheChristianera.Mimarnsa Mtmamsa Surra ofJaimini,circa2ndcenturyA.D. Vedanta VedanmSurra(Brahm a Siirra) ofBadarayana3rdcenturyA.D; MtitujuJ..ya Karika, Gaudapada'scommentaryontheMal}9ukya Upanisad, 7thcenturyA.D. MaikantaCattiram, the14doctrinalworksoftheSaivaSiddhantaschool, 1 Ithtothe14thcenturiesA.D. MaikantaSaatiramPatinaangu (MSP)VoU Il,TheSouthIndiaSaivaSiddhantaWorksPublishingSociety.Tinnevely (1969) containsthefollowing SaivaSiddhantaworksreferredto:CivananapotamCivafianacittiyarCivappirakacam(S18)MSPVolI(SS)MSPVol.   (Civa)MSPVol. n  r COMMONSIMILESANDMETAPHORS   hastobe'crossed',theroot  tr; 'tocross'beingoftenusedinthiscontext. Andone hastogettotheother'shore', para, whichinthecontextmeans mokra 'liberation'. 4 Jnana, 'knowledge',whichisthemeanstoliberation,iscomparedtoaboatorraft. 5 Karma, 'ritual',thenbecomesan'unreliableboat'. 6 Thismetaphorwhichoccursinthe Upanisads,becomescommonplaceinSanskritliterature.Itisfurtherelaboratedbylater Hindupoetsandsingers.ThustheTamilsaints,Manikkavacakar,Tayumanavarand Pattinattarcomparehumanlifetoavoyageacrossastorm-tossedseaamidthedangers ofsharkssuchasthesenses. Lifehasalsobeencomparedtoariver.Knowledgeof the dtman 'soul'thenbecomesa'bridge' setu acrosstheriver. Thesimileofthetreethatisturnedupsidedown,withitsrootsreaching upwardsanditsbranchesspreadingdownwards,isadopted by theUpanisadstoillustrate theimmanenceofBrahman/Godincreation. Creationwithitsmanifoldvarietyis groundedandproceedsfromtheoneunitarysource,Brahman,whichisalsoimmanentinit.ThissimilegoesbacktoevenearlierVedicthought, iO wherethesacrificialcultwhichsustainstheworldiscomparedtoatree,'thehymnsbeingtheleaveswhichkeep thetreeandthebranchesalive'.TheUpanisadicsimileofthetreewith'itsrootabove ChandogyaUpanisad (ChUp)inS.Radhakrishnan, ThePrincipalUpanisads (PU)London(1953)VII.i. 3; BrhadaranyakaUpanisad (BAUp)IV.iii. 22;KashaUp 1. 17;iii.2; Mw}4akaUp.(MU~14Up) Ilii.6; MaitrayantyiiUp(MaitUp) vii.28; Bhagavadgtta (GIla) ed. S. Radhakrishnan,London(l971), xii.7;Mahiibharata (Mbh)CriticalEdn.xiv.18.31; 1, ivekacIl4ama~li (Vive) ofSankara,ed.SwamiMadhavananda,Calcutta(1944)35,37,40,79etc. ChUp VII. i  3;xxvi.2; MU'14Up Il.ii.6; Kashallp ii.II; ni. 2;9; MairUp vi28;30. SvetasvataraUp(Svettlp) ii.8; Mahanarayanallp vi. 2;5. MundUp ii 7. Tiruvacakam ofManikkavacakar,trans. K M Balasubramaniam,Madras(1958) p. 61; PaitinattuppillaiyarTiruppadalgal, PartII,Madras(1990),p.33-4;PonnambalamArunachalam,'SelectionsfromTayurnanavar'in Studiesand Translations Colombo(1937)p.134. BaUp IV.iv.22; MWJ4- Up. II.ii.5; Mair. Up. vii 7;Mbh.XIV.5?-.87; VedantaSutras (Ved.S.) SacredBooksoftheEast (SBE)vol.34,p.154;156. Svetl.Ip iii. 9; Kathallp vi.1; MaitUp vi.4. .0 oua. op.cit. p.326-7;   VtAtnjLCHEtvAM/ : .. 30andbranchesbelow'isrepeatedinthe Bhagavadgtta.  Butherethetreereferstothe 'cosmictree'.ItsleavesaretheVedas;itsbranchesextendingbeJowarenourishedby thethree gUl}as (sativa, rajas and tamasy? withsenseobjects  vi§aya  asitstwigs. This'firm-rooted'treehastobecutoffwiththe'strongswordofnon-attachment'.This tree,accordingtothe oua, hasrootsspreadingbelowtoo,intheworldofmen,which resultinactions.Sankara,thegreatexponentofAdvaitaVedanta,takesthesedownward spreadingrootsas'secondaryroots',as'the vasal/a, thetracesorpredilectionssouls carryasaresultofpastdeeds. ThemetaphorofthetreeoccursalsointheSanatsujatiya   sectionofthe Mahabharata,Herethetreeistheworldprocess.'ThegreattreeofBrahmaniseternal. Itisproducedfromtheavyakta(i.e.primevalmatter)asitsseed,withtheunderstanding asitstrunk,withegoismasitsbranches,andthesensesassprouts...'.Heretoothe wisemangetsemancipationbycuttingwiththe'swordofknowledgeofthetruth'and givingupbondsintheshapeofattachmentswhichcausebirthetc. The Vivekacadamani  ofSankaratoospeaksoflifeonearthasatree,whose seedis lamas 'spiritualblindness','inertia'.Itssproutistheconvictionthatthebody isthesoul,attachmentitsleaves, karma itssap,thebodyItstrunkandthe pran a 'VItalairs'itsbranches....Thetipsofthebranchesarethesenses;theflowersarethe objectsofenjoyment,itsfruitthevariedsufferingswhicharetheresultof karma. Theexperiencingsoulisthebird.Thesetwolatterreferencesdescribethenatureof conditionedexistenceandnotGod'simmanence.Theydonot,therefore,'saythatthe treeisupsidedown. Thoughimmanent,Brahman/Godisalsotranscendent.'TheUpanisadsandthe AdvaitaVedantaspeakofBrahmanas nisprapanca 'beyondcreation'.:5Brahman, accordingtothisview,isnottotallyidentifiedwithcreation.ThereisinBrahmanan 'otherness'whichisbeyondcomprehension,yetalllifeandnaturearedependentinit andareinsomewayaffectedby it ThusBrahman/Godisregardedas'uninvolved',as alooffromcreationbutaffectingitbyits/hismerepresence,asthemagnetattractsthe ironwithouttouchingit.Thissimileoccursmanytimesinphilosophicalliterature.The il ibid. xv1-3. Matter,accordingtoSarikhyaandsomeotherphilosophicalsystems,hasthree gU~lQS orconstituentelements, sativa, rajas andtamas, ;3 S Evol 8, pp. 370-71. op. cit. p. 145.ThewordfirstoccursinSankarascommentaryon SvetUp vi. 5.   OMMONSIMILES  AND MET PHORS 31. Mapatiyam, thegreatcommentaryoilthe.SaivaSiddhantawork Civananapotam.t'' says:Justastheattractionoftheironisduesimplytothepresenceofthe magnet,sothisexperienceofsoulsisduesimplytothepresenceofthe PrimalOnewhodwellsinthemnotbyactionbutbyvolition.Sothe PrimalOnedoesnot,throughthesoul'sexperience,himselfexperience change. ElsewhereintheSaivaSiddhantathesamesimileisuseddifferently.Themagnet attractstheironthatsomeonehasplacedwithinitsfieldofattraction.Sothesoul experiencesthekarmathatGodapportionstoitinthatlife. 17 Vyasacommentingon the YogaSatra ofPatanjali comparesthemindtoamagnet. In theYogaandSankhya schoolsofthought,thefundamental'ignorance'ofthesoulisitsmistakenidentification ofitselfwiththeevolutes of prakrti 'matter'.Themind, manas, also is anevoluteof matter,butonaccountofits'nearness'tothesoul,itisable to makethesoulimagine thatthefluctuationsofthemind-stuffareindeedthefeelingsofItsownself.SoVyasa says,'Themindislikeamagnetthatisenergizedbynearnessalone.Sinceitcan becomeanobject,itispossessedbyitsLord,thesoul'.Thesamesimileoccurs in Nyaya literaturetodenoteanaturalattraction.The NyayaSutra ofGautamasaysthat thenew-bornapproachesthebreastofitsmotherastheironapproachesthemagnet.'? Anothercommonsimile.thatoftheroseandthecrystal,occurringinVedanta, Sankhya,Yoga,NyayaandSaivaSiddhantaliteratures.?'illustratestherelationship 16 Sivananabodham, (SJB)Ed.GordonMatthews,Oxford(1948) p. 46;also p. 27;74. ibid. p. 10.B.D.Basu,ed., SacredBooksof[heHindus (SBH)vol.IV,Allahabad(1924), i.14; ii  17;Seealso AphorismsoftheSamkhyaPhilosophyofKapila, (Sankhyax),Allahabad(1852), i. 99. SBH, ed.B.D.Basu,vol.vii,III. i 23(p.88). 20 Brahma Sutra (BS)ed.S.Radhakrislman,London(1960),p.295; VedS.SBE vol.34,p.187;vol.38, p. 153;vol.48(Ramanuja'sCommentary) p. 481-2;Sankhya. op.cit. i. 17; SankhyaPravacanaSutram(SankhyaPS) of r andalal Sinhain SBH XI,Allahabad(1915)ii.35; YogaSurra.op.cit. 1.3;34;41; Aimabodha ofSankara, WorksofSankaracarya, vol.15,(Srirangam)verse5.; UpadesasahasrtofSankara(Upadesa] Trans.Swami Jagadananda, SriRamakrishnaMath.Bombay (1943)17:16;18:122.
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