You may wonder how there can be so many ways of describing the structure of the world. Which one is the “right” one? But as Albert Einstein so beautifully noted, everything is relative to the observer. Speed, direction, and appearance. The point you’re viewing from and your stage of development both effect how you see the world. Add in the multi-layered structure with nuances at different scales and you have almost innumerable perspectives. And that is why there is so many of us – to be able to explore all those ways of seeing wholeness.
There is of course lots of broad generalizations and purely conceptual ideas floating around – what I’m referring to is models based on direct experience.
In Sanskrit, there is a correspondence between the sound of a word, the form that vibration produces, and the meaning. This is known as “name & form“. Nirukta is one of the 6 Upanga texts from the Vedic literature. Nirukta means “said within” and refers to the meaning value of word roots.
Because of the relationship between sound, form, and meaning, you can learn about an object through all approaches. All of the qualities of a name (and thus its form) are found in its roots. Thus, if you analyse a words root meanings, you will know its values and effects. One of the roots of Maya, for example, is To Build. This is a much more direct way than analysing the form the way we typically would. By studying the roots, we in effect analyse the cause of the form. However, it is quite a bit more subtle and does require the actual Sanskrit name of the object. An English name does not normally correspond to its form and its roots are historical and from prior versions of the word rather than being causal.
This subject is related to the science of mantra. Mantras are used not just for meditation but for healing, modifying the effects of time (yagyas), and other things.
Because it’s related to causality, Nirukta describes the 6 modifications or stages of becoming (also the 6 verb forms – Sanskrit grammar mirrors the rules of nature itself). According to Varsa yani, they are: genesis, existence, alternation (modification), growth, decay, and destruction.
On this blog, I’ve spoken several times about the stages or spiral of growth cycles. (This also relates to the levels of existence, but that’s a subjective way of detailing this process. We see levels when we are in levels.)
The growth spiral I’ve used is: balance, disintegration, growth, integration and repeat. The nirukta model mainly adds genesis and destruction, making it a cycle of creation and destruction. The model I’ve been using sees the same pattern cycling back on itself. These may seem like quite different views but are actually two perspectives of the same process.
From one perspective, the world moves in cycles, like the days and seasons. In the other, the world is continuously destroyed and recreated, like the leaves on a tree or the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum.
Another way of looking at this is the flow of a Sanskrit verse. From one perspective, there is a sequence of letter-sounds with gaps of silence (the meter). In another, each progressive sound collapses and drops into the “gap” of silence. From the gap then arises the next sound in sequence. These match the 2 styles above.
We can take this even further and study the mechanics of the “gap”, the way silence structures sequence. This is the way pure intelligence organizes all of creation. This is known as Veda (knowledge) and is embedded in silence. What arises next out of silence is determined by those unmanifest laws.
Most fascinating, the long cycles of creation are organized by that unmanifest structure being cognized by sages and thus enlivened. That makes them more expressed in creation which then flowers it into form. We could say this is the way the unmanifest silence comes to know itself fully, by expressing its unmanifest structure. It also means laws of nature are awoken and evolve.
This is the transformation of silence into form and the fulfilment of the divine. So yeah, a little more detail than a sequence of sounds. But there’s a lot going on underlying the surface forms.