Posted by: Rajesh Shukla | August 6, 2012

Illuminations on Benjamin’s Language as such-Four

“या वान्नाम्नो गतं नाम्नो गोचरं तत्र तस्मिन्नामविषयेस्य यथा कामा चारः कामचरणं राज्ञ इव स्वविषये भवति-इति उपनिषद the knower of name gains the power of movement to the point name reaches. He becomes subject to name.”      

Our father who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done–Matthew

Benjamin point 4- The name, in the realm of language, has as its sole purpose and its incomparably high meaning that it is the inner most nature of language itself. The name is that through which and in which, language itself communicates itself absolutely. In the name, the mental entity that communicates itself in its absolute wholeness, only there is the name and only name is there……[ …] mental being of man is language….(but} the quintessence of this intensive totality of language as the mental being of man is the name. Man is the namer […through] him pure language speaks.  All nature insofar as it communicates itself, communicates itself in language and so finally in man. Hence, he is the lord of mature and can give names to things. Only through linguistic being of things can he get beyond himself and attain knowledge of them—in name. God’s creation is completed when things receive their names from man, from whom in name language alone speaks. Man can call name language of language. Name is not only the last utterance of language but also the true call of it. Thus in name appears the essential law of language, according to which to express oneself and to address everything else amounts to same thing. Language, and in it a mental entity, only expresses itself purely where it speaks name—that it, in its universal naming. So in name culminates both the intensive totality of language, as the absolutely communicable mental entity and the extensive totality of language, as the universally communicating (naming) entity. […] language is incomplete wherever the mental entity that speaks from it is not its whole structure linguistic—that is, communicable.

My illumination: “All that is name alone” is an absolute Upanishadic statement; from it we can derive all logic of languages.  Language begins in naming and ends in name.  Indian linguistics had realized long ego that even if all is name alone, it is nothing.  Form and name both are mithya and hence described as indescribable.  In the second illumination I have quoted Tulsi Das नाम रूप दुई ईस उपाधी । अकथअनादि सुसामुझि साधी।।॰
Name and form both are God’s upadhi and are indescribable and eternal; its true nature can be known only through pure intelligence.
Therefore, the question of linguistics is very much the question of knowledge rather an authoritative knowledge and experience.  We have to investigate whether knowledge and experience is possible in name?  Before I proceed into it, let me state what Upanishad says “the knower of name gains the power of movement to the point name reaches. He becomes subject to name.” It is clear enough that name’s power of movement is limited. Now, it is a well know fact that Knowledge becomes upadesh only when it is authoritative.  Any ordinary sentence can’t be authoritative and can’t endow right knowledge.  Similarly any name is not a name of God even if ever y name is eternal and a manifestation of same originary principle.  Concerning name one would say that by name-ing of cow, cow is known but it is a fact that naming is a mental construction and ddoesn’tbring knowledge as such.  Yoga sutra says “Mental construction is devoid of a corresponding object and is conjured up by knowledge which arises from words. ॰शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः”. In earlier illumination this sutra has been discussed. Here, we can explain it with example, as when one says “the arrow is at stand still”, “it will come to stand still”, “it was at stand still” in this perception there is no true knowledge only of the meaning of the root ‘stand still” qualified by present time, whereas the arrow being the agent and the present tense of the agent , the three meaning of knowledge is only fancy, because there is absence of action conducive to rest after movement, in the arrow.

Secondly in name of cow, cow is known only in two ways, either etymologically or by convention. Etymologically cow doesn’t mean cow, in knowledge of cow it is convention that prevails (in general sense of communication).  If there is no convention or prior knowledge of cow, a city dweller where cow is not found, having seen it in image would ask “what is it? It looks like deer “. Grossly word’s function is fourfold “चतुष्टयि शब्दानां वृत्ति “According to Mahabhsya that is genus, quality, action and substance. Genus is : action , quality < white, black etc>: substance .  Naming from ‘difference’ point of view as ‘tree’ and ‘fig tree, .naming tree does not describe all tree.  Shabda or word however is not just limited to fourfold function, another texts describe few more functions “यौगिको योगरूढश्च शब्दः स्यादौपचारिकः।मुख्यो लक्षणिको गौणः शब्दः षोढा निगद्यते।। A word my be 1-etymological 2-etymological-cum-conventional 3-metaphorical, 4-primary 5-indicative 6-qualitative. Rhetoricians add in it another function of word “suggestion”.  For more explanation on it refer to the texts of Indian Grammarians.  Main gross points on the word are that naming cow and its knowledge depends on prier memory of cow (of convention or if one independently acquires knowledge of cow), in absence of prier memory man questions what animal is this? Sloka Vartika says “perception cow at present time is always tainted by memory’ in other cases one perceives it either as animal or an animal of some genus or something else.

Thirdly, Naming is related to perception, one does name only when one perceives object or subject and acquires some form of knowledge of it. Knowledge doesn’t depend on naming however it is name in which it is communicated.  Another important thing to be noted is that, knowledge of cow is not just communication of “name cow” rather communication of perception of knowledge to some extent (not knowledge as such in absolute sense) that cow is milk giving animal etc. In naming there is also some inferential knowledge, as soon as one names Lion one infers “it is a dangerous animal.” Naming is not just naming and by naming knowledge doesn’t come in general sense to man as Benjamin thinks. Sloka vartika says that object is independent of word or NAME. It means that name is not that object, it is not name that is out there.  However after naming we can say that it is ‘name cow’ that is out there; it is in this sense we can say that in naming god’s creation is completed.  In naming God it done, his name is perhaps hollowedIn relation to creation and naming perhaps Matthew utters “Our father who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done”.  How it can be read if not this context? I leave it here to take it later.  Indian thinkers have different thought about name and form. It is said that name and form is eternal and exist together, it means name doesn’t come later after form comes into existence.  In “let me project fire” name is already there because God projects it from knowledge.  If God is an absolute consciousness, he must think name before he projects it as form. However in existence both appear simultaneously and in it God himself entered.  Here too God is hollowed and perhaps the great invocation “ॐ पूर्णमिदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्चयते” is read in this sense. I will come to the both utterances in my later illuminations. Some more serious metaphysical questions in relation to naming can be invoked here, as for example such questions “what one gives when one gives in the name of God? “How misfortune etc. is given in the name of god?, “How such potentiality or virya is obtained in the name of god? “ very serious in nature as for as language is concerned but I have left it, as it is not possible in blog post. But one thing is certain that it can’t be obtained in fall.  The utterance “मा निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वगमः शास्वती समाः” Valmiki made in the beginning of Ramayana was not a fall of language, as it brought astonishment to him and God Brahma visited him as soon as it was uttered and says “मच्छन्दादेव ते ब्राह्मन प्रवृत्येयं सरस्वती this vaak (saraswati) comes to you because of my impulse. It is not language of man; it is language of God as he says “it will be a hymn”. I will discuss it later in full detail in relation to fall as well as word of judgment. How the potentiality or virya of such speech is obtained in the name of god?, is a very serious theological question in the realm of linguistics.  We will be able to understand the language of mantra shastra of Hindus if we can understand it. Entire theology of linguistics revolves around it.

Now let us take his last point in this passage.  Benjamin’s “Name is utterance of last language” is a metaphysical statement but he didn’t explain it. Name is utterance of last language can be true only in ॐ. Because it is the first and the last utterance of man, all names ends in Pranava. It is life death of all utterances.  Name as last utterance of language is absolutely correct; even if Benjamin did not know it. Name as word is nothing more than Varna as we consider it, and from this point of view it is destined to utter its last Verna “अकार”, and in fact, all names irrespective of their forms utter it; as in it all languages dissolve. For example “ क्षकरो वै मृत्यूः”is said in scriptures because in it all consonants die, similarly in“अकार” all garlands of letters including “क्ष-कार” dissolve as well as rise from it. Concerning Name, Hegel thought that the universe of the Word, logos, can only emerge from the experience of an abyss, a night of the world.  Man realizes true nature of language when it turns back to its own dialectic, in the inwardness of the pure self he realizes its inherent power and as he says “thereafter he must enter also into existence, become an object, oppose itself to this innerness to be external; return to being. This is language as name-giving power. . . . Through the name the object as individual entity is born out of the” I.” Hegel’s metaphysics of language and name is very close to Indian linguistics as in both everything is born out of “I”.  It is discourse of “I”. In Indian linguistics name is none other than “अकार” as universal self-consciousness (sva-samvita) from absolute point of view.  In “अकार” consciousness situates itself in its innate freedom “स्वस्वातंत्र्यमास्थितः”, hence, it is called pure and of the nature of Shiva himself. However, from the word as name point of view it can be the law of language for it is name that is all. Upanishads sages have stated it thus: ”सर्व हीदं नामानि” All that is name alone.1


Note: This discourse on “name’ will end in Vedanta when I will finish all twenty six illuminations. In fact, it has already  become a Vedantic discourse .  Even if I haven’t written it as a philosophical text, it is philosophically structured. You can’t expect much on blog.  In this discourse on name, later on I will also bring the view of psychoanalysis because Freud had situated it in language. I will also discuss three subtle mind modifications dream, memory and Sanskar  in relation to linguistics and psychoanalysis. I would like to show you how psychoanalysis has been a total failure as for as interpretation of these three subtle mind modifications are concerned.  In this regard I have taken Yoga Sutra and other yoga texts in a new way.  How to read these great texts in relation to contemporary thought should be our next job. We Indian are parasite and fools; we renounce kalpa vriksha for ber trees. Yoga Sutra is not just a manual of yoga, it is the highest work written till today on psychoanalysis. Indians never visited it to get illuminations as western thinkers have visited Biblical canon. Only in meditation these texts of great Sages reveal anything to you. I can’t write great texts but I will tell you why I say so.


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