Tag Archives: John Gospel

Philosophy behind “Who are you – an survey into our existence” – part 1


“Who are you – an survey of our existence – 1” begins with eight introductory posts wherein the background, the framework and the scope of the survey is outlined. The survey is described in the form of a quest, a contemporary myth and an Odyssey that will end in a homecoming.

In part 1 of the quest, the first three chapters (of the 17 chapters) are described. At the end of part 1 follows an interlude before the main characters will continue their quest in daily life in part 2. In part 3 of the Odyssey, the main characters transcend our everyday world. At the end of the Odyssey – in zero – the homecoming will take place.

In Chapter 1 of this Odyssey the main persons completely experience the philosophical Monism [1]. Within the metaphysics, Monism argues that the variety of existing things – or entities – in the universe are reducible to one substance or reality and therefore that the fundamental character of the universe is unity.

In the Oriental philosophy, Monism occurs in different forms in the Upanishads, in Hinduism, in Taoism and in Buddhism. Christianity provides direct and indirect references to Monism in many places. After the Industrial Revolution in Western Society, Schopenhauer [2] has studied Monism in the Upanishads [3] – including the īśāvāsya [4] (or Isha) Upaniṣhad [5] – and in Buddhism.

[6]

Francis Herbert Bradley [7] has studied Monism in his essay ‘ On Truth and Coherence ‘ written in 1909.

[8]

At the end of Chapter 1, Indra’s net [9] from the Avatamsaka Sutra [10] is described as transition to Atomism – and also as synthesis between Monism and Atomism. According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, the dust particles within the net of Indra have feelings and needs. They know anger, joy and knowledge and ignorance. Within their scope they can also make everything happy. The net of Indra can be healthy and ill [11]. The main characters look at the net of Indra in different dimensions on the basis of a 10-minute film “Powers of Ten” of Ray and Charles Eames from 1968 (and re-released in 1977) [12].

In Chapter 2 of the quest for “Who are you” the main characters experience Atomism [13]. After the original separation of Heaven and Earth, they fell apart in countless pieces until the smallest particles remained. In the 20th century, Atomic Physics was extensively studied by many physicists: this study has resulted in a great deal of knowledge and many more questions [14]. In philosophy Bertrand Russell [15] and Ludwig Wittgenstein [16] in his young adult life [17] were adherents of logical Atomism.

[18]

[19]

In Chapter 3 of the quest for “Who are you”, the main characters studied how mutual trust is established and perpetuated. The “person in the middle” and “various objects in the middle” including the Church, meditation rooms, the sacrifice, the Lamb of God, the Dove, the word and the “Spirit in the Middle” are reviewed.

As preparation of everyday life the main characters have made a concise study of the five skanda’s which according to Buddhism give everything what is needed for spiritual development. Looking back after their homecoming, the main characters will examine if this statement – and all other experiences – were useful and meaningful.

In an intermezzo they studied the own image of rowers that fully depends on the results of races; they saw the outcome of the madness of war on basis of the Peloponnesian War in Greece 2500 years ago.

Finally, one of the main characters rediscovered the bond with Monism on basis of the opening sentence from the John Gospel in the New Testament translated into Sanskrit by the eternal wind – which also includes God and the Gods.

 “A breath of the wind

In the rustling of the trees

Your voice is heard” [20]


[1] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism

[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schopenhauer

[3] Upanishad literally means: “sit down next to”. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads

[4] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isha_Upanishad

[5] A word by word translation of the Isha Upanishad into Dutch is available via the following hyperlink: http://www.arsfloreat.nl/documents/Isa.pdf

[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schopenhauer

[7] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._H._Bradley

[8] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._H._Bradley

[9] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra’s_net

[10] Zie ook: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatamsaka_Sutra

[11] See also: Cleary, Thomas, The Flower Ornament Scripture, a Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Boston: Shambhala, 1993, p. 363.

[12] The film “Powers of Ten” can be viewed via the hyperlink: http://www.powersof10.com/film

[13] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomism_(logical)

[14] Brian Greene has written excellent books on atom physics, relativity en quantum mechanics. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Greene

[15] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

[16] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein

[17] See also: Sluga, Hans, Wittgenstein. Oxford: Wiley – Blackwell, 2011

[18] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

[19] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein (fair use of small image)

[20] Moses saw and heard  – the voice of – God in the burning bush. See Old Testament, Exodus 3:2

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Intermezzo: Bible in Sanskrit


Your Narrator has met the second main character. He was completely exhausted after undergoing the first three stages on our Odyssey to “Who are you”. The recovery of these efforts has lasted a long time, because the second main character is rather old. Now he is recovered more or less: the next week we can resume our Odyssey.

At the end of June – at the beginning of his rest period – he has attended the graduation ceremony of one of his granddaughters. She and her family beamed. He has been in the background: he is not invited to the ceremony, because he and his family are alienated from each other. In the next stage we will learn more about the life of the second main character. Now he will give his report.

During the graduation ceremony all successful candidates receive a Bible to their wish. It is a Christian school and although I am of Jewish origin, my children and grandchildren are raised Christian. Most students have chosen a Bible in the usual translations. Some have received a Bible in English and one girl from Japan has been given a bible in Japanese. Two outliers have received a Bible in Swahili – “Hakuna matata” [1]  – and a Koran. The Bible in Sanskrit – The language of the gods in the world of the men [2] – is not requested.

  [3]

A few months ago I have seen two translations of the New Testament in Sanskrit [4]. I started to study this language a few years ago, so my knowledge is still limited. Reading the John Gospel in Sanskrit, it strikes me that the opening sentence has an additional interpretation.

  [5]

  [6]

Or in our alphabet: “Âdau vâda âsît, sa ca vâda îshvarâbhisukha âsît”

At first glance, the translation [7] of this sentence is equal to the text in our language:

“In the beginning was the word,

and this word was with God”.

But looking closer at the words in the sentence, creates a deeper insight.

The first word “âdau” is a conjugation – locative singular – of the word âdi” meaning “beginning”.

The second word looks like the word “vada” meaning “good/meaningful word”. But the translator has, in my opinion correctly, choosen the word “vâda” meaning “word of/about”.  “Vâda” is composed of “vâ” meaning “blow like the wind” and “da” meaning “to give”. So “Vâda” can mean “gift from the wind” or “sound of the wind”. If the word ” Vâda” is interpreted in this sense, than “sound/gift of the wind” refers to the memory and remnants of the first separation of air and earth [8].

The third word  “âsît” is a conjugation of the verb root “as” meaning “to be”. This verb is conjugated  –  in accordance with the verb root – in the active voice or the “parasmaipada”: this means that the fruit of the action is transferred to the other. Here my preference is the middle voice or the “âtmanepada” [9]: the fruit of the action remains with “the Self”. In this case I choose for the verb root “âs” meaning “to sit/remain/exist/inhabit/praise”; I prefer to change “âsît” to “âsta”.

The fifth word is “ca” meaning “and”.

The fourth word is “sa” meaning in this case “this or his”.

The sixth word – “îshvarâbhisukha” – is a consistent of “îshvara” and “abhisukha”. The word “îshvara” is composed of the noun “îsh” – in which the German word “ich” may be recognized – meaning “God, ruler”; “va” meaning “wind, ocean, water, stream, go” and “ra” meaning “give, influence”.  “Abhisukha” means “approaching, focus the face on, in the vicinity of” and consist of “abhi” meaning “to, towards” and “sukha” meaning “happy, comfortable”.

The seventh Word is âsît again. Here I also prefer “âsta” meaning “he sat/remained/existed/inhabited/praised”.

With this background knowledge the opening sentence of the Gospel of John has the following additional interpretations in Sanskrit:

“In the beginning the gift of the wind exists,

and the sound of the wind was encompassed in the All/Self”.

With this additional interpretation the air and the earth are not yet separated in the opening-sentence of the Gospel of John. I love the sound of the wind. In it I still hear the connectedness of air, earth and water within one “All/Self”.

“A breath of the wind

In the rustling of the trees

Your voice is heard[10]

 In following post the second main character explains why he is studying Sanskrit.


[1] Literal meaning Swahili: “No problem”.

[2] Free rendering of the title: Pollock, Sheldon, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men – Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in the pre-modern India. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006

[3] Source image: http://www.ehow.com/how_7834631_frame-university-diploma.html

[4] See: http://sanskritebooks.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/the-bible-in-sanskrit/

[5] Source image: http://www.archive.org/details/dharmmapustakasy00brit

[6] Source image: http://www.archive.org/details/NewTestamentOfBibleInSanskrit

[7] In the analysis of the text the electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – the introduction to Sanskrit MWDDS v1.5 Beta, the introduction in Sanskrit by Egenes, Thomas and the Sanskrit by Mulder, Maaike and the Whitney, William Dwight are used.

[8] See former post “Two” of 11 April 2011.

[9] The word “âtman” means in Sanskrit “Breath, Self/self”; also “ât” means “thus/then” and “man” means “think/consider/observe”.

[10] Moses saw and heard – the voice of – God in the burning bush. See Old Testament, Exodus 3:2