Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies by Vladimir on Mon 11 Dec 2006 06:35 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Yes, it is quite interesting that these terms in time have lost their original and clear meanings in the later traditions which borrowed them to refer to some particular concept or experience of their own. Let’s have a closer look at the etymological meaning of these words. “… In contrast the pra — prefix of prajna means ‘being born or springing up’ — presumably referring to a more spontaneous type of knowing in which the thought no longer seems to be the product of a subject but is experienced as arising from a deeper non-dual source (Loy, 1988, 136). Pra-jna, does not mean “being born or spring up”, it is a misreading of the word pra-jna for the word pra-ja; pra-jna is derived from the root ‘jna’ to know (cp. to ‘gnosis’); and prefix pra-, ‘forward’, denotes an objective operation. Vi-jna, on the other hand, gets its meaning from the prefix vi-, which has several meanings ‘to divide into two’ or ‘to hold two parts in one, together’, ‘through’, ‘in-between’. It is a comprehensive knowledge, which includes the opposites, and all the parts, mediating between them as a common awareness. In the later prakritic traditions including Buddhism, it came to denote a ‘discrimination’ or ‘discernment’ only; when the knowledge of the Supermind was completely lost. The root jna-, by the way, does not really mean ‘to know’, as in English. It means rather ‘to know oneself’, ‘to realize oneself as’, it does not have an objective connotation of knowing something but knowing oneself in a particular state; for instance, one cannot say in Sanskrit: “granthasya jnanam”, “knowledge of the book”, but only ‘granthena jnanam’ “the knowledge by the book”, where ‘knowledge’ refers to a subjective state of the knower, to his self-realized particular state of being. The root vid-, on the other hand, from which ‘veda’ is derived, means ‘to know objectively’, ‘to discover’, ‘to find out’, it has a kind of objective connotation of knowledge existing outside the knower. Therefore, sam-jna, would rather mean ‘to realize oneself as one with, to become one with, to feel’, where the prefix sam- means “joining with’, ‘together’, ‘completely’. Pra-jna, is ‘to realize oneself forward, toward’, where the direction away from the subject is clearly denoting an object. Vi-jna, is ‘to realize oneself in all the parts and properties and essence’, it does not have any object or even a direction towards an object, it only includes into oneself all the parts as mediator-knower. Aa-jna, is ‘to realize oneself towards or extending to’, as the comprehensive application of oneself in power, imposing oneself on something, expanding ones own presence or being onto another being. The prefix aa- means ‘up to’, ‘towards’.