Grammar before the revolution of Ik Omkar.
Dr. Ranjit Singh Rangila
Ik Omkar is the first word-point of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. If Adi Granth is studied in the context of the history of the Universal thought culture, the Punjabi-Indian tradition of knowledge, Ik Onkar becomes the beginning point of the revolutionary thought. But along with this known fact, through this article, we are making an attempt to relate it to the conditions before Adi Granth, or before Ik Omkar, in the context of the long traditional grammar, Ik Omkar has got a close relationship with that. This assumes importance because Adi Granth is not a granth connected with any grammar. In our view, this relationship comes to the fore in the context of conceptual totality if, instead of centering our point on grammarisation , we make grammar our problem. We should do so, while tackling the problems rising in our mind along with touching those philosophic questions which are not only conceptual but also philosophic in nature. The basic point of view in this article is that expanding the thought process from the basic point of Ik Omkar, the grammar is manifest in all its ramifications in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Prior to Ik Onkar, the grammar had its long tradition. If starting from the point of Ik Omkar in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, we say that after Ik Okkar, a revolutionary thinking takes place, then this revolution comes within the purview of the long tradition of grammar-making and its philosophic bases. That is why it has been considered essential to say something about the tradition prevailing prior to Ik Omkar.
The totality of the Indian-Punjabi grammarisation cannot be covered within the space of an article. Of course, if the study of the entire tradition is taken up, everything would assume such an easy form, the intricacies inherent in this tradition cannot be effectively highlighted. In our opinion, the academics of Punjabi have paid much more attention on their surface study than it was necessary. It is not possible to make do without studying the basic intricacies, especially when it comes to studying Guru Granth Sahib. It has therefore been decided to study only two pages of long tradition. The first page is about our Punjab brother Panini and the second one is that of Bharathri Hari, the saintly friend.
Grammar is a conceptual reality of speaking which is divided and spread over many kinds. These are- part of speech, practices, and the limits laid down for methodology. The clear form of pronunciation, which emerges out of experience, goes far beyond the limits or limitlessness. Grammar is manifest in the entirety of limit-limitlessness. Grammar, however, is not speaking, but something else.
It is possible to hazard a guess about the origin of speech and its many streams. To our mind, two streams seem to assume the basic form. The first stream is that of ‘being, living, existing, creating and learning’. Both the pages of the tradition under study seem to be pronounced in this stream. The second stream is ‘knowing, pronouncing, spreading, thinking and redeeming ( ‘One who eats and digests, is redeemed) (from mundavani M.5). The entire thought process of Sri Gur Granth Sahib emerges from this stream. Both the streams have their own areas, and so also their history, naturally, but there is so much scope of their close relationship that they easily become complementary-supplementary to each other. In the tradition of grammar-making, these streams flow in a complementary manner- in the theorization of Bharathari, this complementary role is clearly discernible in an ample measure, but in the Panini tradition it flows in a subtle manner. The beauty lies in the fact that both the streams sub-merge in the divine design. ‘Being, living, existing, creating, learning’ in its own place and ‘knowing, saying, communicating, thinking and redeeming, has its own distinct place. Five forms each of the divine game of speech can be identified – creativity moves these five basics – the playing of the divine game rests on the working of the process of creativity.
The divine game of speech, within the working capacity of the subject, lies in it as a natural phenomenon. Every subject lies conscious or unaware in this game, according to its very nature, like a silent ardour of life. The boundary of every subject is limited to this but the possibility is infinite –there is poissibility of anything happening to any one at any time .
At some moments or on occasions, to take part in this divine game, some inaccessible subjects also come down. These incarnations appearing in the detached light, descend in the time and space of the global regions. They know about the One and Countless manifest and expanded in the cosmos. Such a divine game, is above the limits of a general subject, risen high and expanded extensively. Limit-and limitless are moulded in the process of speech. Creativity flows out of new mysteries-non-mysteries of numberless relationships. Ignorance comes to play in the sphere of knowledge as a newness- unknown ways, directions and logics are unraveled.
Whatever priceless and priced is available with the global awareness culture, coming within the ambit of this divine process, is the result of this happening constantly. The Adi Granth is the real achievement derived from this divine process.
In this speech building divine process (of the first stream) the role played by being, living, existing, creating and learning assumes the form of fullness, but not completely. In fact ‘being……learning’ have their own separate entity which flows in five streams which contribute their share in creativity-building. By why should there be five only? Why not more or less? Such like questions can be raised, which will not be answered. What is important is only this that how these five are worked? It is not automatic flow – the governance of their working and methodology are lying elsewhere. Thus the flow of the two streams is engineered. Creation is a process which, in order to maintain logic, draws its methodology from elsewhere.
When being, living, existing, creating and learning created by the divine game, are working in the flow of the stream, when creativity is engaged in its direction, then this methodology is controlling this flow. Giving the logical tinge to this flow, this methodology is called grammar.
In the building up of grammar, the totality of action is kept in view. It is necessary to imagine this, without linking it with one basic methodology, as a process and as a flow. By doing so, the ‘being, living, existing, creating and learning’, the relationship of grammar with this gets highlighted cementing the bond therewith. When a method is considered or explained at the level of a ‘thought process’, then that method gets accepted as a reality. But when the process of inter-action begins, the method would become first of all a process and when the process makes the five streams flow, the method would become the flow also. If it does not happen, the method would remain aside in its conceptual form. We are trying to conceptualise the method as the power of working-methodology, and not like a conceptual unit.
By giving the power of methodology to grammar in the context of ‘creativity’ and being, living, existing, creating, then it remains only to call it a natural consequence that grammar is the name of the working process which governs the building of speech and it is the name of that ‘shastara’ which owing to such like power, controls and guides the speech (if we limit ourselves only to the spoken word), it helps in making the statements of mutual relations a serial or consecutive writing.
Or you can say that when the stream of speech flows, ‘being, living, existing, creating and learning’, get moulded into conceptual thought, then grammarisation, moulding this construction gets a little more formless-fine, deeper, than the five flows. One working method is grammarisation and the name and knowledge and explanation of such established relationships arising out of this process is called grammar. Thus grammarisation is the basic act and grammar is the explanation of one aspect of this result. In the future writing, we would be talking of this basic act of grammarisation and not of grammar. In our opinion, what is being awaited as a basic revolution in the study of linguistics, in which Chomsky (1988) is waiting for all the elements suddenly going to occupy their correct places and that revolution, instead of studying grammar, would come in studying grammarisation, because we have spent much more time in verifying the relationships between the word and the text. The work regarding speech-building has remained untouched. At least, we will have to desist from studying Adi Granth in a routine manner.
If grammar has to be the main subject of study, in that case it would be necessary to know about what has been stated above. By knowing this what comes within the realm of possibility is that speech becomes the outcome of voice-course and necessitates giving up the general view about it. This giving up would inspire the modern theoretician to treat the uttered words as a bit of the formless saying.The centre point of reality on which the theoretician has to fix his gaze, would seem to be further highlighted, in its natural pose, and for grammar also a new vista would open up to come face to face with formless and logical process emphasizing regularity towards grammarisation. At the moment gramarisation is absence from the grammar book and there is no grief over this absence. Revolution does not take place every hour. Once upon a time Panini had also staged a revolution.
Panini’s page Talking of Panini and studying his page about grammarisation, it is but natural to hope to see his process of grammarisation in the light of the above perameters. It is necessary first of all, to study his process of grammarisation within his own meanings. In this way it would be possible to know the basis of his theoretical views. After knowing this only, it would be possible to assess it within the parameters built outside his work, taking one of the parameters at a time.
For Panini what has been spoken, has to be grammarised. Having been spoken means getting moulded into catholicity. The speech which is language, and the spoken words which have no direct reference outside the limits of language.
Whatever form the different sentences uttered assume in the social context of the spoken words, is acceptable to Panini. He takes upon himself the responsibility for studying the principle working behind such spoken language.
Panini pays greater attention to the Sanskrit language made use of by the elitist class. Sometimes, however, he comes down to lower levels also where the language of the common man is spoken to make it subject to some principles. By saying this much, we are not talking of Panini’s endeavour at studying the high-low level linguistic approach. It is just possible that some efforts of study, can hazard some guess about the social values. In our opinion, basically the importance of Panini’s lies in the fact that he, deals with the language used by social groups and coming down from Vedas (which has been called Chhandsi), and examines its ‘word-discipline’ minutely.
To have a grip over the language based social differences, he builds such a disciplined process as moves at three levels. These three levels are presented in the form of three situations – (1) Essential, (2) Possible and (3) May not be.
There are about four thousand principles laid down in the ‘Word-discipline’ of Ashtadhyyaya’. Every sutra is a stated briefly, as a fine example thereof. Every sutra is tied into a thread of logical process and if this thread is broken somewhere, or the given order of the sutras is changed anywhere, not only disorder would take place but a grave danger of descending in some other language than Sanskrit would be faced with.
This wonderful endeavour, free of any fault, and in one life time only has been termed as no less than a miracle. A miracle, which a Punjabi young man performed about 450 BC. Panini, the author of ‘Ashtadhyaya’. Panini, the son of Devki, Paninini who lived at ‘Siltura’.
1. It Is very clear from the way sayings have been written in Ashtadhyaya, the way theory has been evolved, that Panini has not been a great tradition himself, Panini also inherited a great tradition. Many methods have been used in the writing of the sayings, with which are connected many units and processes, the definition of which Panini does not give- when something emerges in such a well known form, giving it a form or defining it does not sound proper. For example, Panini does not say anywhere that the method he uses to create a sutra, the purpose therein is served by the use of noun only, and verb is not used at all. While deciphering and understanding the sutra, at every proper place, verb-sutra is added to the text. This fact comes to the fore when studying his sutras (maxims). Then in every sutra or in some particular sutra, to which verbs may be added is also not referred to by Panini. All this is very essential to understand Panini’s sutras, but who will understand this? The one, who knows the tradition legated to Panini.
Cardona (1988) has written about Panini’s tradition that the same verb ‘bhu’ and ‘uss’ was used in two forms. The Punjabi forms of Sanskrit ‘bhu’ and ‘uss’ are ‘ho’ and ‘han’. But the question that arises is as to why in every sutra verb ‘bhu’ or ‘uss’ should be made use of? Why not some other verb or any verb, for that matter? Cordona does not find an answer to these questions. In our opinion, in the answer to these questions lie the details of several philosophical levels and Panini’s grammarisation seems to have been founded in the context of some gyan shastra (book of knowledge).
If something or some truth has to come in the human mind, understanding or behaviour, or to occupy a place therein and to go on moving ahead, then the first basic condition is that it should happen. This condition applies to that non-thing, non-truth, etc. also which are assumed to meet the needs, moves or results of the book of knowledge. In this way the ‘to be’ and ‘happening’ do not bear a un-integral relationship with ‘nothingness’. Then ‘possibility’ and ‘happening’ prove to be that basic action which keeps it safe within itself in the pervading and non-pervading, spread and non-spread. This truth becomes crystal clear when it is understood that every non-thing, non-truth, etc. has its being and existence in thing, truth, etc is essentially linked to the existence of these things: if every non-tangible elaborates the tangible, then every tangible bears witness to the intangible.
By according the status of the basic action, ‘to be’ and ‘being’, it would have to be admitted that the entire gambit, the cause and effect, is the expansion of this basic verb. – such an expansion, which in relation to its traits and nature, seems to be assuming a distinct form. A fundamental difference is established. ‘To be’ and ‘being’ become the basic ‘verb’, and through the expansion in relation to action, the adverbs are formed. These adverbs can be viewed as definitive in the context of happenings in the world but cannot take the place of the basic cause and effect. Therefore when a mention has been made of the ‘effect’, on which can rest the happenings in their totality, then it does touch the basics of ‘to be’ and ‘being’.
The reason for not using the verb building a ‘sutra’ can be linked to the effect of attaining brevity. By deducing the verb, the speech becomes short, it also facilitates its learning by heart and time saving device. But what is the use of such a brevity which can endanger the fundamentals of a philosophy. Such a view is taken generally by traditionalists who think that if a sage reduces a syllable from his assertion, he gets the fruit thereof in the form of blessing of a male child. If it is true, this tradition has in it the seeds of its destruction. When a child was born after such an utterance, it was assumed as an unsaid vow, but it could hold good only till the possibility exists to repeat it along with the text. The tradition legated to Panini, even its hazy outline did not reach Patanjali. Otherwise in the Patanjali Mahabhas, the philosophical cause and other needs of linguistics which we have connected with the ‘being’ and ‘to be’ of Panini as regards ‘bhu’ and ‘uss’, if not these, some others could have been essentially mentioned. What is available in the sutras of ‘Ashtadhyaya’ are merely sayings like ‘mantras’, utterances made in terms of nouns only. One who knows the diction of mantra, can have an idea of its import, and one who does not, for him it is a hard nut to crack.
2 There being absence of bases of philosophy in a direct manner in Panini’s sutras, has made the research into his grammar making, a very hazy business. For example, Jai Dev Singh (1991) sees nothing and philosophical principle in the making of his grammar. Such a research would muddle the thought process of learned ones engaged in enquiring into the sutra built-up and their bases, leading them to conclude it to be hollow, baseless and made up. Such a finding could be based on giving an answer to the fact as to why Panini does not make use of verb in framing the questionnaire of his sutras. As has been stated above, talking in terms of ‘brevity’ would lead us nowhere. Jai Dev’s finding being not on all fours makes it clear that though he counts the number of Panini’s definitive sutras, regards these sutras as part of other sutras, he does not apply his mind to this aspect as to what purpose these sutras serve in the Ashtadyaya? It is also a wonder that the ‘types of sutras’ have not been determined by Panini. This type design is derived by Jai Singh from the tradition prevalent from Panini’s times. The question that arises here is that why should Jai Singh go out of the ambit of Ashtadhyaya to attain it from tradition? Why should he not try to find the bases of attributes present in the sutras as the basis of the philosophy. If one thing can be attained from tradition, then why should one be shy of finding another thing also in the tradition. ?
The present day knowledge of linguistics does not prove to be equal to the job of going beyond the common surface to know the mystery of creation of ‘speech’.Toching the meta and para problems is just a far cry. When the theoritisation goes beyond the surface level, an entry is made in the region of philosophic theory. Then it does not remain concerned merely with theoritisation. Then the problems of linguistics arise. Howsoever forward one may move towards the invisible, we proceed from meta to para. But it is the limit of our present knowledge of linguistics that the mention of meta principle is made in name only, weak and thin. If the problems of meta principles ever arise, they get dissipated in small bits. All the sutras of Panini come out of some philosophical basis. He does not dabble directly into philosophical problems, in which case, instead of being a grammarian, he would have become an authority on linguistics. He expresses his views with regard to ancient philosophical problems in the process of his building the grammar. The accomplishment of Panini in the field of devising a grammar as a system lies in the fact that when laying down sutras, he is not building the basics of grammar, whenever he enunciates a sutra, he is making a cosmological statement.
The present day linguistic may not have the know-how of or need of building up of a saying in the Panini tradition, but the thorough knowledge of this is very essential for understanding the spirit of the writing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib – in the non-use of verb lies hidden the mystery of chanting of mantra. The same method has been used in writing the ‘Mool Mantra”: Ik Omkar, Sat Nam, Karta Purakh, Nirbhau, Nirvair, Akal Moorat, Ajooni Saibhang, Gur Prasad’ as there is no verb in this mantra.
A question arises here that when the import of this Mool Mantra is understood, what is therein in the nature of a mantra? If a verb is to be used to understand the meaning of this mantra, then which verb should it be? Studying this mantra, the tradition based thinking comes to the fore and decides in favour of ‘is.’ So much so even a great thinker like Puran Singh, while translating ‘1’ (One) of Ik Omkar, he goes on to say ‘He is one’. Now ‘l’ is One and where has this ‘He’ come from? The Panini tradition, opens the way to the answer to this question when it becomes clear that the ‘bhu’ and ‘uss’, while transforming into Punjabi as ‘to be’ and ‘being’ and this is one form of ‘to be’ and ‘being.’
To crystalise the importance of this, instead of putting the verb ‘is’ in Mool Mantra, some other method could be adopted to understand the text. Suppose there is some difficulty in doing so, the negative form of this ‘verb’ could be made use of but what would be obtained would read ‘Not Ik-Omkar…..’ In this way the mantra would be reversed. To make it possible, would not have the motive of our illimitable mantra-writer. This becomes quite clear from the words next to ‘Japu’ – Hai bhi sach, Nanak hosi bhi sach. It can be said that what Panini had left out knowing his tradition, our incarnates of God, placed it after the ‘mantra’. Knowing the tradition of Panini, one may commit an error, but the writers of Guru Granth Sahib left no scope for such an error; the ‘is’ to be placed in the Panini’s sutra, has been elaborated as ‘hai, si, and hosi’ in the three ages of time up to their limits. Thus the working of Panini’s tradition has been taken to the level of extreme awareness. Japuji is the unique sermon about the primordial.
There is no need of philosophical base and decision thereon till some grammarian does not blindly accept everything stated about a language. Such grammarisation is very easy to be done; every language is heard in sounds and written in letters. The letters of sounds go to make words and the words joined together make sentences: the way the joining of sounds are placed in some order, the same way the joining of words also have an orderly setting; and every language has its own sequence of sentences. Such an easy and mechanical method can make grammarisation an interesting exercise. But in the knowledge-culture this has very little importance. The real questions will then arise when it would be asked why should there be grammar? And if it has to be, what is its nature? Otherwise on what should rest the reality of the principle of a sutra? This question is not put by grammarisation – these are the basic questions of grammarisation. The present day linguistics has its limits in that firstly, such questions do not arise, and even if they arise, it is only to confirm the pre-determined points. Such confirmation is only a sort of satisfaction – a clever way of giving status to reality. This is the mechanical way of accepting the elements drawn from the spoken spoken/written words in the process of gram- marisation in which it is engaged. In the theoretic process of Panini such questions lie at a silent level. Either he himself decides about those questions or he takes it from tradition and puts in practice. But what is Panini’s limitation? This limitation comes up in his grammatical practice. Now some words about this limit.
There are many reasons and means behind presenting accomplished type of mechanics in Panini’s Ashtadhyaya. The first basic reason is that grammarisation appears to have been attempted within the ambit of grammar as given above. Panini begins with the linguistic sounds. He talks of sound joining and nature of sound. There are definitions of the words, their formation and process. By saying ‘Supring antam padam’ beginning is made of word building. In the Ashtadhyaya now found in the written form, the reader finds it very difficult moving from one layer to another. One may spend a life time to fathom the mystery of the tradition behind these mechanical type of sutras and then come to the conclusion ultimately as to what is being said. Without the knowledge of tradition these sutras do not talk even if questioned. This difficulty would be encountered from the very first sutra while going through this treatise.
The Ashtadhyaya begins with the ‘Shiv sutra’. It is said that while composing this sutra Panini heard Shiva’s damroo (tabor) beat. Keeping in view the echoes of the damroo he created the sutra of fourteen parts. The first part of the sutra is based on ‘Ion’ sound. The remaining thirteen parts relate the entire Sanskrit alphabets. All the lingual sounds have been placed in an intricate but orderly system. In this entire orderly system the vargas (classes) of sound system are certainly found but no statement about the philosophical base. In the ‘Shiva sutra’ are found the word sounds. The reader of this sutra become merely a spectator with this finding and Ashtadhyya is an ordinary grammar prepared by an ordinary person.
But when a question is raised as to whether Panini, while talking of the sounds in Sanskrit language, like an ordinary grammarian, goes on building sutras, then why did he begin the alphabets with ‘Aa’? Did he make the beginning of Ashtadhyya under some special design or it just happened by chance. Such type of questions fully highlight the true essence of his theory and enunciation. The mystery which is unraveled is that ‘Aa’ denotes the first person and for Panini there is no other first person than ‘Timeless One’. Could the wise son of the Punjab, which has given to the world the concept of Timeless One, have given precedence to any one else? To know about ‘Aa’ as the first person, it is necessary to understand that the Timeless One in our tradition, or Panini tradition, He is the third person in the western grammar which came to us with the English language. Thus beginning the Ashtadhyaya with ‘Aa’, Panini does not merely give the word-sounds of a language, the order of those sounds and their characteristics, but he is performing the important role of invocation: ‘Shiva Sutra’ does not merely remain an outline of the word sounds arranged in order, it becomes a cosmological statement.
When, side by side, it is also known that the beginning sound-letter “Aa” of the Ashtadhyaya rests on a special ‘Karak’ (case), another feature of Panini’s grammarisation opens up. The meaning of Karak is the common name of seven or eight relationships in the world. In this way, Panini, with the very first letter of Ashtadhyaya, besides doing the invocation of the deity, is fully conscious of the place of this meaning to be universally understood. In the history of linguistics, nothing has happened after the Panini tradition.
If we go against the above belief about ‘karak’ (case) and instead of viewing it as a concept of worldly relationships (the western scholars have tried to do so), then it can be said that by placing ‘Aa’ in the beginning of the Ashtadhyaya, Panini, at the level of word-sounds, is gripping the relevance of sentence and the seed form of sentence. In the context of Panini’s ‘case theory’, it remains a half truth, but even if this much is accepted, it was, in the history of linguistics, such an achievement as the grammatical theorization of the present day linguists has met with very little success; they have not been able to touch even the fringe thereof.
Based on Panini’s grammatical practice, the putting into use the decisions taken through philosophical churning, a very important but hard to comprehend example lies tied down in 1.4.23 to 1.4.55 sutras. Earlier, talking of ‘karak’ (case) we have lightly alluded to it. In these lines the theory which comes to note can be given the name of ‘Case theory’. Patanjali, in his ‘Mahabhash’ names these sutras ‘karkahinka’ (To read its valuable translation ‘Joshi and Rudvirgin 1975 can be referred to). These sutras being with the ‘Karke sutra” (4.1.23), is the last sutra.
By calling it ‘Karke’ Panini says ‘Now we are getting down into the sphere of ‘Karak’ . The entire discussion would be based on ‘authority’ method: under which, whatever has been stated in the first sutra gets repeated in the subsequent sutras, so long as any sutra, occurring in the series, does not stop this. The same methodology has been followed in the writings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The entire text of the ‘Mool Mantra’, or its shortened form, being placed in the beginning of every important segment can be considered the outcome of this. The authority of Karke sutra extends up to 1.4.53 sutra. Sutra 1.4.54 breaks this authority and sutra 1.4.44 has been connected to this ‘case’ principle – the letter ‘ch’ at the end of this sutra, which becomes ‘bhi or vee’ in Punjabi, and also is said to have been connected with this.
Through the authoritative sutras, Panini defines those relationships which appear to him to be working basically in joining the words. The words have to, along with noun (sup) and verb (ting), built, by joining with one another, ‘pada’ (supting antim padam), but side by side have to create meanings. The Panini’s world of meaning seems to be divided into seven or eight basics. Say, whenever a speech is made, it would be a happening in the world of meanings. When the speech is made through linguistic methods, whosoever dons this linguistic cloak, the meanings which this speech has to create, would be within the frame work of these seven to eight basics. By doing so, Panini builds a calculus which, through seven or eight units, he seems to drive forward.
In the context of the above discussion, a point needs special attention, that is, Panini gives definition of all the relationships falling within the ambit of ‘Karke’ sutra but says nothing about ‘karak’ (case). It can be said that ‘karak’s’ own definition lies in tradition. Panini does not consider it necessary to define this. A study which speaks of absence of definition in Panini’s work, would have to find out the reason for giving ‘case’ relationships. How did it happen that Panini, without giving definition of the basics, set about to define their extension.
Panini appears to be giving answer to many of such questions by creating 1.4.54 sutras. The sutra is ‘Kavtantra:Karta’. Under the authority of Karke sutra, ‘Apadanam’ (1.4.24) to ‘Karman’ (1.4.53), the defined case relationship has been given. In our view, Panini is trying to hold a definite view about the ‘Karak sidhanta’ (case theory) in the tradition prior to what he had propounded. He defines the case relationships anew from the given theory from which he accepts the definition as it is so that through his own definitions, he is able to establish the independence of the subject. Then only does he break the authority of Karke sutra (1.4.23) through this sutra (1.4.54). In this process, from, ‘apadan’ to ‘karman’, all the karaks (cases) assume a secondary position. With declaration of the independence of the subject, Panini establishes the supremacy of ‘subject’. In other words, from ‘apadan’ to ‘karman’ Panini establishes them in the meaning-sentence relationship and himself establishes the subject lying outside these relationships – as if the working of these relationships is in the hand of the subject. If this were not there, the hollow supremacy of the subject, its rule or its independence would be meaningless.
In this way are the cause and effect seen in the theory and philosophy: it is the trait of the subject, that it should be independent even of his field of activity. Then only can it become the driving force behind the entire field of activities. It has been stated in the Adi Granth in this regard – ‘Tis bhavai taan ekankar.’ (Gauri Sukhmani M.5). If ekankar has to come into being under the will of some ’tis’, then that ’tis’ (subject) would be out side this ‘ekankar’! The ‘beloved’ of any one does not come under the supremacy or authority of the subject. The ‘beloved’ ones remain only on the periphery of the capacity and express their love. Panini establishes this maxim. Keeping the object of the subject on the periphery of theory, he says that talking of the extension of sentences, the basic relationships underlying therein, the subject and object should be kept side by side.
The excellence of explanation lies in the fact that what appears to Panini to be the real thing working in some way, he explains it. In process of grammarisation of Panini, theorization and its explanation are nowhere randomly or unconsciously placed.
Preparation of calculus was mentioned earlier. It can be said that the subject, because of the needs of calculus, has to remain outside the limits of ‘case’ relationship. According to us, the subject of Panini, or the case relationships and in the same way about his case theory, in this entire set up, in the tradition of Punjab gyan-prampra (linguistics) the point of view of calculus is presented for the first time: calculus is not a self-driven mechanism.The involvement of the subject is essential in its working. The subject drives such a calculus.
Talking about the subject, we come to the limits of our topic vis-à-vis Panini’s theorization: the subject may be free of other relationships, subject should be supreme and sovereign, it should have an object of its action, but who should then be the subject? Panini’s shastra has no answer to this. Those who know and admire Panini would have us believe that Panini would not give an answer to this question-the question is outside the purview of his shastra but with this sympathetic stance, the limitation of the shastra is also being accepted. The capability of the Panini’s theorization lies in the fact that he raises the grammarisation above the animate and inanimate existence upto the level of the supremacy and hegemony of the subject. But the limitation is that the subject even after coming to the centre of the entire game, has remained outside. What Panini had established was the possibility of the concept of the subject and not actually the concept of it. And if he has borrowed this concept from some silent tradition, no one has the real clue to that. It is just possible that Panini may be assuming the creator of the world, as found mentioned in the Vedas, as the holder of the place of supremacy and hegemony, in his dissertation.
The main concern of the incarnate writers of the hymns of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, starting with the Mool Mantra, is doer or the ‘subject. Nature, extension, governance, and universal expanse and its relationships in several directions, establish its definition and assumption. After Panini, this is a great revolution taking place in the Punjabi liguistics. Instead of the demarcation made by Panini about the subject, our incarnate personages, have in placed of the delineation done by Panini, seated ‘Patshahi Patshah (Japuji .25.) (Emperor of al the empires) and handed over to Him the reins of the entire universe. It can be said that if sage Panini elaborates the possibility of the subject, Baba Nanak builds a multi-dimensional concept thereof. One is the subject of the possibility of the limitless, and the other, the creator of the concept of taking the limitless to some limit. This is the relationship between Panini’s theory and the writing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This is the fathomless ocean of Punjabi tradition of learning. The revolutions accord vastness to this ocean, and do not indulge in ridiculing it. Visualsing Panini’s limits, is knowing about the tradition lying in its vastness and the limitation of the shastra, not by ridiculing it, but by recognizing that level of thought from where the writers of Sri Guru Granth Sahib created a new revolution, in the realm of thought culture, enunciated their own intent. In our view, the revolution brought in by the writing of the hymns of Sri Guru Granth Sahib had its sway from Grammar-grammarisation to the development of grammatics.
Bhagat Bani and its ideological base.
Religion and philosophy have always been the backbone of the Indian society. Religion denotes love and faith has devotion as its second name. Service, meditation, self-sacrifice and offering the result of all the actions and austerities at the feet of one’s deity, are the well accepted means thereof. When love and the one worthy thereof begin to feel its joy, this should be taken to be the peak of devotion. The love-stream of mind would flow in the same degree of purity, as pure would be the love, attachment and selflessness, free of deception. Love of man for man, or for beast or bird or some super-power, makes no difference. And difference, if there is any, is that of the sphere.
Bhagati movement was a very powerful awakening in which, the worshippers of the Immanent or transcendent, got together to make their valuable contribution in creating the supreme type of literature. Those of Hindi literature, divide the Bhagati (devotion) in two parts, Immanent Bhagti stream and transcendent Bhagati stsream. Going a bit further, two more sub-streams each come out of these two streams. The former becomes Rama-devotion and the latter Krishna-devotion sub-streams. The Nirguna stream is the path of love and path of enlightenment. In our Punjab Sarguna devotional path is followed merely in name and even if some writings are there in regard to Rama or Krishna, they have fallen victim to religious bias and are disappearing or have already disappeared. In the Nirguna Bhagati poetic stream, the path of enlightenment and that of love finds no visible division. Of course the Gurmat poetics, Sufi poetry and Bhagati poetics are all said to constitute the total Bhagati literature. Even the Nirguna Bhagati literature, like the sarguna literature, has fallen prey to our neglect and after the partition, the Sufi thought too has lost the importance it enjoyed in the past, and it is not getting as much attention as it should or as much reverence it enjoys in West Punjab (Pakistan). The division of saints, bhagats, mendicants, Gurus and Pirs is a great blow to the sublime objects of the Bhagati movement and we have to hang our head in shame when we find that politics can bring in so much decline in the intellectuals and the writers.
Significant difference of opinion exists among the scholars in regard to the origin of Bhagati movement. Some view it as the outcome of the disappointment at the defeat of Hindu society of North India, while others consider it a move to find a common path and cohesion between the two religious faiths. It would be proper to talk of this dispute in an open manner so that we can have a true idea of the nature and aim of the Bhagati movement and to evaluate it accordingly.
Though the famous critic of Hindi literature, Acharya Ram Chandra Shukla, considers that the Bhagati movement was born in the south….. ‘ The bhagati stream which was already flowing gradually from the south to the north of India, got a fillip in the stunned public mind owing to political change. Ramanujamacharya (born in 1073 BS or 1016 AD) gave form and content to the Sarguna Bhagati towards which the people were drawn in great numbers. In spite of this he regards its dawn in North India because of the political turmoil and the defeat of the Hindu nation, which was in quest of a supreme power base. With the establishment of the Muslim rule in India, national pride and enthusiasm had no place in the Hindu mind. Their places of worship had been razed to the ground before their eyes, the images of deities were broken to pieces and those revered them were insulted and they were helpless. In these conditions they could not sing the songs of their valour nor could they hear such songs without a feeling of being insulted. Later on, when the Muslim imperialism was established far and wide, the independent states, which were at loggerheads all the time, also lost their existence. Such like destructive developments had plunged the Hindu mind into disappointment of the worst type. For the nation, totally disillusioned with its sense of bravery, had no other way in seeking shelter in Divine power and compassion.’ Shukla means to say that although the stream of Bhagti had been flowing in the south of India for a long time, the credit to spread and develop it in North India goes to the saint-poets who, far-sighted and imbued with the sense of time as they were, began to awaken the latent sense of devotion in the mind of the people.’ 1
Dr. B.P. Sharma regards Ramananda as the leading light of this movement. He writes – ‘Swami Ramananda was a Vaishnava saint and after Ramanujam, he became the most effective leader of the Vaishnav Bhagati cult. His liberal, simple, and progressive personality transformed this movedment in North India into a people’s movement.2 ..
…Someone has said, ‘Bhagati was born in Dravidland from where Ramananda brought it’. Under his guidance, the Vaishnava Bhagati, besides its regular preachers, a powerful body of saints, who had risen above narrow considerations of high and low, stood up in India, which based on the purity of mind, good moral character and the worship of the all pervading God (Ram), rising above the caste considerations, in the people’s language and breaking free of the tradition bonds, they preached the gospel of true devotion to Rama. In the roots of this movement lies prominently the personality of Swami Rama Nanda and his ‘attainment’ Because of the driving force of this ‘attainment’ the Vaishanava cult, which we call now Sant Mat, the musical aspect got a prominence and the philosophical aspect vanished. The general meaning of ‘attainment’ is – ‘ Taking shelter in God and in total self surrender.’
Swami Rama Nanada belonged to the Guru-disciple tradition of Ramanuja. He not only opposed the meaningless, caste based principles of Sri Cult, he took recourse to the people’s language in place of Sanskrit and lent great significance to Indian languages.
Hindi Sahitya ka itihas, p.43
Sant Guru Ravidas bani (Hindi) p..44
His path of devotion was largely acceptable to the common people as it was easy to practice. Kabir, Ravidsas, Dhanna, Sen, Pipa, etc., all his disciples were joined to the formless God and thus gave the proof of his liberal and largely acceptable lead. That is why he enjoys the highest place in the spread of the Sant faith and that is why they have been accorded a special place in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Accorlding to Dr. Tarak Nath Bali, ‘The experience of enlightenment is real Bhagati’. In it does lie the importance of enlightenment, but side by side the basis of experience too is very essential which joins it to devotion. Without the experience of enlightenment, one cannot attain Brahm. Shankracharya, the great preacher of the path of Gyan (enlightenment), has laid stress on experience along with Gyan. While the devotion to the deity having form is linked with the people’s fatih, the devotion to the Formless goes a little away, based as it is on Gyan, from the common man. The devotion to the deity with form with the concept of incarnation gets a solid base, but against this, the basis of the Nirguna Bhagati is Formlessness of God, and therefore it does not percolate to the common people. From the social untility point of view, the worship of the deity with form, compared to the devotion to the Formless, is of greater importance. Therefore the question arises if the basis of the Nirguna Bhagati is ‘Formlessness’, how could this worship become the object of love, devotion and reverence? In this form of devotion, though the Saint poets basically have faith in the Formless Brahm, still they have the love of Bhagati, devotion and attachment thereto. Can they be expelled from the fold of the devotees of the Formless God? In fact, we do not find the same kind of opposition in the worship of the Formless God and the deity having form, as many of us generally believe because of our limited understanding.
Tulsi Das, who says ‘Sarguneh Nirguneh nahin kachu bheda’, worships Dasratha’s son Rama and in the style of the Saints of the Nirguna line, says ‘Rama nam ka maram hai aana.’ He uses all the adjectives for Rama when he appears to be a true adherent of the Nirguna line-
Rama Sachinanda dinesa,
nahi the moh nisa lavlesa.
Sahej prakash roop bhagwana,
nahi the pun bigyan bihana.
Harash vishad gyan agyana
Jiva dharma ahmit abhimana
Rama Brahma vyapak jag jana
Parmananada pres Purana.
(Rama is the bestower of true bliss. He has no tinge of attachment of any kind. He is a light which gives peace, which is not without enlightenment. Joy-sorrow, knowledge and lack of it, and ego as the mortals are wont to. Rama is known to be pervading the world with Supreme Bliss and above the ambit of Puranas.)
In the same manner the leading poets of the Nirguna school, see no difference between Nirguna and sarguna, as –
Agun sagun doe samkahe janyo, chahu darsan tora.
Paras mani muhrit nhai bhavai, jag janjar na thora
Kahai Ravidas taj sab trishna, ik Ram charan chit mora.
(I regard both, the Formless and With form equally, and seek their Glimpse. I don’t like the philosophers stone or the gold coins, as there is enough attachment entangling the world. Sayeth Ravidas, giving up all cravings, I fix my mind in Rama’s feet.)
Sargun nirgun nirankar sunn Samadhi aap
Apan kiya Nanaka, Apai hi phir jaap.
(With form or without, the Formless sits Himself in deep meditation. He created the Universe and then sustains it.)
Nirguna aap sarguna bhi ohi, kala dhaar jin sagli mohi
Apnai charit Prabhu aap banaye, Apni qeemat apai paaye
He Himself is of Form and Formless, enchanting the entire world. He knows His Own design and He evaluates Himself) (Assa M.5, p.387)
Sarguna and Nirguna are the Names given to Him
But both the Names point to the One and the Same.
‘The doubt, which is expressed about the worship of the Formless, the main reason behind this is – the one sided dissertation of the medieval worship. Often, different forms of devotion, like Nivirti Marg and Pravirti Marg, devotion and mysticism, etc. while doing the dissertation thereof , it is easily accepted that these forms differ from one another and counter one another. Behind this acceptance, there is a reason of history. Sankaracharya, while establishing the two opposites, Gyan and Bhagati (Knowledge and Devotion) and Nirguna and Sarguna, he tagged Gyan with Nirguna and accepted the Nirguna-Braham and Gyan-Sadhana as the supreme truth. According to him, Sargun or God and Devotion both fall under Maya (Illusion). Recognising devotion as Vidya-Maya, while he accepted its importance in part, but this is not the supreme truth of the Sarguna-Bhagati and it is thus clear that the practitioner, who wants to experience the supreme truth and Nirguna Advait Brahm, he would have to reject bhagati (devotion). In opposition to this view of Sankaracharya, stood Acharaya Ramanuja, Vallab, etc.and explained ‘Prashanattreyi (Gupanishad, Brahmsutra and Gita) in a very serious manner and in order to establish bhagati on strong footing, they applauded the Sarguna forms like Rama, Krishna, etc.
The over all effect of these opposing stances of Sankracharya and the Vaishnvacharyas in regard to the supreme truth, was that the Formless and Formlessness of Brahma came to regarded as opposed to each other. This not only began to be understood in the context of Gyan (Vairah, Navirti) and Bhagati (Raag-wont to attachment) and opposing views but also considered as opposed to each other in Nirguna Bhagati and Sarguna Bhagaati. It is therefore clear that there is no basic difference between Nirguna and Sarguna Bhagati, but the two paths rather than being opposed to each other, they are complementary to each other. It is for this reason that most of the Bhagats were the worshippers of deity –having form- and later on as their practice reached a certain stage, they became the worshipers of Formless God, as in the case of Nam Dev who was the worshiper of Vithal Bhagwan to start with and Sant Ravidas worshiped Keshav or Madhav, Dhanna and Mira Bai revered Lord Krishna, but later on their Vithal, Keshav and Krishna came to be identified with God. Within these meanings, the Sarguna devotion can be accepted as the initial stage of Bhagati.
To find the ideological base of the Bhagat Bani, we will have to go into the doctrines of different faiths, cults and lines. Parshu Ram Chaturvedi, has explained the ideology of the Santa-Marga in this way-
According to Bhagvat Prampra, the saints did not consider Gyan (knowledge), Yoga (Exercises and breath control) or Karma (Actions). They held His Bhagati as the only means to attain salvation and they gave Him the names of Rama, Krishna, Gobinda, etc. (the names of Vishnu), but unlike the Upanasidha tradition, they did not permit this to be converted into incarnations or the idols. From this point of view, this could be termed as the Samskara of Upanishidak Bhagati or Vaishnav Nirguna Bhagti.’ 1. Dr. Des Raj Singh Bhati has enumerated the special features of the Sant Mat, like, method and rejection thereof, importance of Guru, sense of self-surrender before Ram, feeling of non-duality, exposition of the Formless Brahma, non-mortality of life and the universe, melodious devotion, etc.
Now we will examine the Bhagat Bani in the context of Upanishidak prampra, Sankar’s –Non-duality, Natha Pantha, Sufi ideology, Islamic thought and come to the conclusion that the Bhagt Bani or the Sant Bani that there is a beautiful confluence of the small streams in this rather than any one or the other running counter to the other. Sant Ravi Das accepted the source of his ‘Hari Bhagati’ as the Vedas, the Puranas and Bhagavata and he has talked
Dr. Tarak Nath Bali, Hindi Sahitya ka itihas(Ed.Dr Nagendra) of all the sins and ills getting washed off by the ‘Ambroisal look’ of the saints. The following pada can be accepted the ideological base thereof –
Dhann Hari bhagati tiya lok pas pavani.
Karo sat-sang ihi bimal jas gavani.
Ved tain Purana, Purana to Bhagvat,
Bhagat to Bhagati pragat kini.
Bhagati tai Prem, Prem tai lachhna,
Bini satsang nahin jai chini. 1.
Ganga paap harai, sasi taap,
Ar kalpatra dinata door khovai
Paap ar taap sab tuchh mat door kari
Ami disht jab Santo jovai.
Vishnu bhagat jitan rit par dharti,
Tai man bach karam kar biswasa
Sant dharni dhari, kirat jag bistari
Panat jan charan Ravi Dasa.
The main feature of Vaishnav Bhagaati is love and this cannot be imbibed without the company of true-ones. When a perfect saint looks at one with His Grace, only then can one attain the good fortune of Bhagati as the Saints are holding this earth, sustaining it, and because of them only the significance of Bhagati is known the world over. Therefore, Hari Bhagati is acceptable in all the three worlds and it bestows applause. In this way we see that the greatest influence on the Sant Mat is that of the Upnisdic thought. The Upanisds have provided a solid philosophical base and they have adopted their concepts of Brahm, creature, universe, maya (illusion) and moksha (salvation), etc. from the Upanishads. When Sant Ravidas says ‘Akath katha’ (un-relatable tale), he corroborates it by alluding to the upanisads :
Kahai Ravidas Akath Katha, Upnisad sunijai
Jas toon tas toon hi, kass Aupam dijai .
(Ravidas Sayeth what is beyond saying, as is heard in the upanisadsd. Thou art as thou art, no simile can be offered)
Bhagat darshan, Khalsa Brothers, Amritsr 1953, p. 45
Bhagat darshan, Khalsa Brothers, Amrtisar, 19053 p.46
Apparently, the Indian philosophy as a whole has been greatly influenced by Sankaracharya’s ‘Brahm sat jagat mithya, mayavad and vivartavad, but it has been the centre-point of Sant baani. Like Sankara, the Bhagat-Saints accept the living being as the self-essence or Brahm and they believe that so long as the living being’s intellect is covered by the veil of illusion, the living being gropes in the dark but by dwelling on His Name or self-realization, he is able to know himself and find his proper place within. The Sant Samaj, like Sankra, considers the soul as all powerful, and all pervading and has a deep faith in univeralism of the soul. Thus the Saints show their full faith in Sankra’s non-dualism.
Besides, the Nathas and Yogis also had a great influence on the prevailing social set up of the time. Almost all the saints have talked of their faith in the Yogic practices and their learning, but compared to Hathayoga, they were more inclined towards Sahejyoga, Bhagati-yoga, etc. To some extent, the tantra-mantra aspect of the Bhagat Bani is because of the influence of the Nathas-Yogis. In what way the Nathas, Siddhas, Yogis and the Bodhi thought provided a direction to the Sants-Bhagats, the views expressed by Dr. Sita Ram Bahri seem to be quite correct. He says – ‘The Buddhists, Siddhas and Naths, in order to put an end to the hegemony of the Brahmin, vehemently opposed the outward show of faith by means of certain practices, worship of numerous deities, worship of the book, idolatory, discrimination based on caste system and other rituals. They firmly believed that the purity of mind and true knowledge attained thereby is better than the references to traditional texts and discourses. Although Sahej-yoga, though was practices in the post-vedic age, had its significance popularized more by the Budhists Siddhas and the practitioners of Tantra.’1. The vocabulary like Ida-pingla, sukhmana, anhat, shabad, surti,etc. (inhaling, exhaling, holding breath, unstruck sound, word, mind, etc) came into the Sant Mat as a result of the influence of the Yoga-mat. Another reason is that Sant Rama Nand was a great yogi, because of whom the Bhagat Bani was influenced by yogic thought and yogic practices.
The Sant Bani or Bhagat-banni lays greater stress on devotional love. With mere mention of devotional love, some of our learned men immediately begin to assume that this has been due to the Sufi influence. But it is not so.The Narad Sutra and other writings as also the other cults also regard the devotional love as a special feature of Kabir has criticized both the faiths, but when he talks of the principles of the Hindu faith, he goes deeply into these principles. Idol-worship, deity worship, incarnation worship, impurities of chid birth and death, caste-system, etc.are rejected by him. Still he accepts the path of devotion, creation of the universe, existence of soul, non-violence, transmigration, fruit of action. He talks of Guru-bhagti (devotion of Guru), renunciation of Kanchan-Kamini (gold and enchantress), bondage of Maya, Shabad-Surat (Fixing of mind in the word) and the dasam-duar (tenth door – the other nine doors being two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, urinary organ and anus. ) like a Hindu philosopher.’2
What Gianiji has said above about non-violence, it is based on the Budhist and Jain thought which has come in full measure in the Bhagatbani. Pain, compasion, sympathy, hurting no one’s feelings, etc. are clearly part of the Buddhist philosophy and its preaching and have become essentials of Bhagatbani. Though basically, Bhagatbani does not attach much importance to Vedic philosophy and the Puranic thought, Srimad Bhagvat has been the good source of inspiration in Bhagatbani.
The above mentioned principles have been imbibed by Bhagatbani through the teachings of different faiths and cults, prior to them, or contemporary to them but viewed realistically, the Bhagat literature or Sant writings is not limited in the true sense of the word nor does it follow a set traditional pattern. It is a faith risen from people’s mind, a true and practical path, which by its views, the day to day human conduct, the miseries and hardship of the people, the conflict between the ruler and the ruled, high castes, especially the brahminic atrocities and to protect the common man irrespective of his creed, class, caste and any other distinction, showed the path of universal faith of universal humanism
Bhagat darshan, Khalsa Brothers, Amritsar 1953,p.45
Bhagat darshan, Khalsa BAmritsar, 1953. p.46
universal faith of universal humanism. The only yardstick or the criteria followed by them was the thing, view or method was to the best advantage of the majority of the people and what worked against the interest of the masses.
‘Gharibniwaz gusaiyyan mera, maathei chhatar dharai’
(Helper of the poor, my Master, puts a crown on (my)forehead)
‘Ja ki chhot jagat kau lagai, ta par tuhi dharai.’
(Whose touch is avoided by the world,
Are viewed with compassion by Thee)
The writings of Ravidas reflect fully the mental make up underlying the Bhagatbani which assumed the form of Bhagati Movement. These saints were not those holding any political views but they came as the saviour of the people who suffered at the hand of the dirty mindedness of the political leaders who had caused untold suffering to the masses. Their views were very simple – all are the sons of one Universal God, the same indivisible, eternal and the highest power pervades in every one. Therefore do not hurt the feelings of any one because it is Ka’ba of God, purity of mind, spotlelssness, sweetness of words, personal character of umimpeachable nature, living by truth, taking shelter with a perfect Guru, and talking of not only improving this world by the next also, dwelling on His Name, service and meditation, devotional love and by having good moral character, to serve the people always wishing them well, praying for happiness of all, were the salient features of their teachings. Besides, if some other aspect is also discerned, it should not be regarded due to some other thought process, but treated as essentially born of their own thinking. This is the ideological base of Bhagatbani.