Thursday, December 15, 2011

Madhyamā - the Second Level of Language


As śabda moves into the next level, named Madhyamā, temporal differentiation, albeit only subtly present, allows for the potential formation of a sequence which is associated with buddhi. Although still unspoken, the concept is realised at this level as pre-speech in the mind of the speaker, or as post-speech in the mind of the hearer. It is an internal discourse which takes the form of thought. It is speech in its latent form. This level can only exist courtesy of the individual, ‘I’. Without this primary thought no differentiation can take place. This "I"-thought is always the first to arise and the last to subside. In the Vṛtti, under the second Kāṇḍa, Bhartṛhari explains that word and meaning are really not different from each other. In reality it is the one Self which appears to divide.* The arising of ahaṃkāra creates subjectivity with the prerequisite naming of perceived forms. Initially the split is into vācaka and vācya, the expressive and the expressed.  The first is called śabda, the word, and the second is called artha, meaning. They are also equated with kāraṇa, cause, and kārya effect. This is the beginning of the potentials, mentioned in the opening kārikās, becoming  active powers.

*ekasyaivātmano bhedau śabdārthavapṛthaksthitau |


Excerpted from "An Exploration of the Metaphysical Rationale at the Heart of Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya (Grammar as the door to liberation, a problem for the modern scholar?)" MWright; Dissertation, 2000 
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