Monday, December 19, 2011

The Powers of Brahman

Bhartṛhari asserts that powers such as kālaśakti (time), karanaśakti (causality), dikśakti (direction), sādhanaśakti (means) and krīyaśakti (action) are non-different from Brahman. Although they might be considered in some philosophies, such as by the Vaiśeṣikas, as separately existing entities, in the Vakyapadiya they are considered powers of śabdabrahman. They always appear united in the same object, function together, and have no independent reality at any level of discussion. A multiplicity of powers belonging to the Ultimate reality is admitted in preference to postulating multiple entities. The latter postulate moves too far from the fundamental assertion that Brahman is one. 

The primary power, according to Vakyapadiya, is Kālaśakti. It is time which allows the appearance of sequence, although all divisions in time remain unreal. Time posits the interval between two states yet no interval can be found. Time itself is possessed of the three powers, past, present, and future, which are used to explain the transitory phenomena of the universe. Without time practical analysis of grammatical tense would be impossible. According to Helārāja it is this which is important to the Grammarian, and not a philosophical analysis of time. However from a metaphysical perspective, Helārāja informs us that although time is considered to appear first, it is indeed time in combination with space (ākāśa) that allows the appearance of saṃsāra. This happens when paśyanti, which is eternally sequenceless, is seen to associate with the prāna principle (activity), and as a result appears as though it has sequence. However, all differentiation is nescience. At the empirical level, everything is unreal, and without the attainment of true knowledge, Truth remains hidden. Any idea of Creation must be dependent on a sequential progression. Past and present can only be known in relation to the present. paśyanti is always in the eternal present while the gross expressions of language are confined to the fictions of past and future. 

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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