Friday, 3 July 2015

The World as Will / Chandogya Upanishad VII.iv.2

‘O venerable sir, I read the Rg-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Atharva-Veda the fourth. History and mythology which are the fifth Veda, grammar, the rites for the manes, mathematics, the subject of natural disturbances, mineralogy, logic, ethics, etymology, the subject of ancillary knowledge concerning the Vedas, the sciences of the elements, the science of archery, astronomy, the science of serpents, the subject of fine arts - I know all these, O venerable sir!’

In the commentary Sankara notes that the fine arts are perfumery, dancing, music (vocal and instrumental), sculpture, painting, handicrafts, etc. My early exposure to the writing of James Joyce has brought a comedic air to long lists of accomplishments. Myles na gCopaleen does it also. Nevertheless the Vedic education system was of long duration, from 9 to 36 years. Learning off the 4 Vedas, which is still being done, takes 21 years.

'O venerable sir, such as I am, I merely know the subjects textually. But I am not a knower of the Self. It has been heard by me, from venerable people like you, that a knower of the Self goes beyond sorrow. Such as I am, I am full of sorrow, O venerable sir, please take me beyond sorrow.’

To him he said: All these, whatsoever that you have learnt are merely names.'

Contrasted with ‘name’ is ‘speech’. It is the difference between the taxonomical and the creative. Speech is greater than name as it makes meaning known. Mind is greater than speech. In Ch.Up. VII.4.1 we are told that ‘will’ is greater than ‘mind’. This is the typical successive
nesting of the powers. The World as Will and Representation preserves this connection though of course the Subjective Idealism is Schopenhauer’s own.

'Those things that are thus, have will as their one goal, are identified with will, are established on will. Heaven and earth willed. Air and space willed. Water and fire willed. Rain wills in accordance with their will. Food will through the will of rainfall. The vital forces will in accordance with the will of food. The mantras will in accordance with the will of the vital forces. The rites will in accordance with the will of the mantras. The result (of rites) wills in accordance with the will of rites. Everything wills in accordance with the will of results. This as such is will. Meditate on will.
(Ch.Up. VII.4.2)

Nature is evidently teleological and dharma is the alignment of man and nature.

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