Prajnaparamita hrdaya sutram – Part 1
There are so many rare gems in the Sanskrit literature. Some of which we should not even try to understanding until some of the core concepts have been understood. It is when we try to understand these literature without context that we end up with the messy translations that seem to be superstitious and meaningless. These rare gems can only be understood when you start delving deeper into understanding this reality around us. One such rare gem is this Sutram. The core concept to be understood before understanding this Sutram is “the concept of remote?” and “what the fifth dimension is”. I have explained what I think the fifth dimension is in my previous blog. First of all the translation of the title itself.
prajna + pAra+ mita + hRdaya + sUtraM = awareness + remote + establish + core + thread
The title translates to “The core thread of that establishes awareness in remote“. What does “remote” mean? The concept of remote is the core to a number of Sanskrit literature. It is called the “Para brahma tattva” which I have explained in the book “A Research of Shiva: The Enigma“:
The other very interesting concept that is propounded is the “Para Brahma tattva”. Translating it: Para = remote, Brahma = create, tattva = principle or the “principle of creation of the remote”. Instead of Brahma, it can also be said as “brahman” which then translates to “truth”, so, it translates to “principle of the remote truth”. Either way, this implies the same thing.
From A Research of Shiva: The Enigma
So, what does this mean? To understand this, we need to ask ourselves only one question “How many thoughts do I have that are purely related only to “I”? The answer is “none”! Yes, none. You can have a thought that says “I want to eat that banana” which seems like it is only related to me. But you see, it only ties the “I” with the remote “body” and from there ties it to the remote “banana”. You can have a thought “I am the most important person” which seems like it is only related to me. But, again if you think carefully think back, “important” is only when it is relative to a lot of other things which is either the “society” or “friends” or some set of remote truth other than the “I”. You can have a thought “I am hungry”, this too is tying the remote stomach to the “I”. You can experiment with any number of thoughts. In this form or simply in the environment of reality, we always only create remote things, things different from “I” and tie it back to the “I”. This is the principle of creation of the remote!
So, the question arises, what is the difference between “I” and “remote”? Where is the line drawn to differentiate between the internal and the external, when we consider the “I”? This is explained in the Surya Siddanta, as translated and explained in Surya Siddanta: Emergence of empirical reality. I have explained some of the concepts in the series on Exploring science in ancient scriptures. A very very high level summarised version, we can imagine what is explained as below:
A diffusion of various levels of concentration of natures belonging to some truth exist. As this diffusive un-manifested is traversed, due to the diffusion, a change of nature should be present. This change in nature can be viewed as series of small changes. The smallest change that can be recollected called a viNADi, six of which forms a pRaNa. By giving multiple of pRaNa a recognisable pattern we get a thought, which expands into a network with bonds connecting nodular thoughts via bonds. This network appears as space to an individual observable that forms within this network. The individual observable has a path that is traversed in the network based on a logic established for selecting nodes for itself. Thus, the network from the individual’s perspective, can then be divided into two, the nodes that are selected by the logic that defines the path of the observable and the other nodes that are part of the original network. This then is the division between internal and external, the “I” and the “remote”. The nodes that belong to the individual due to logic is internal to the individual observable and the nodes that are excluded but belong to the path of the network are external to the individual observable and are remote to it.Explained in book Surya Siddanta: Emergence of empirical reality
The surprising part of the whole explanation in these Sanskrit literature is, the formation of external occurs first before the formation of the internal. This goes to show, just as how this Sutram explains that the formation of the remote is the reason for “I” as opposed to the other way.
With this in mind, we read the translation of this sutram:
namaH sarvajnAya = namaH + sarva + jnAya = yield to + all + which knows OM namo bhagavatyai Arya-prajnApAramitAyai = om + namo + bhagavatyai + Arya + prajnA + pAra + mitAyai = om + yields to + illustrious / glorious which is + excellent / suitable? (favourable / conducive) + awareness + remote + that which is established Aryavilokiteshcaro bodhisattvo gambhIrAM = Arya + vilokita + esha + caro + bodhi + sattvo + gamdhIraM = excellent(favourable? conducive?) + looked? observed? + seeking + moving + wisdom / knowledge + existence / reality / essence / nature + deep prajnApAramitA-caryA caramANo vyavalokayati sma-paNca skandhAH = prajnA + pAra + mita + caryA + cara + mANo + vyavaloka + yati + sma + paNca + skandhAH = awareness + remote + established + wandering / going about + moving + manas + the act of taking view of (viewed / beheld) + restraint / control + stored + 5th + multitude / aggregate tAMshca svabhAva-shUnyAn pashyati sma = ta + aMSha + ca + svabhava + shUnyAn + pashyati + sma = that + part / portion + thus + self nature + being void of + visible / appearing + stored iha shAriputra rUpaM shUnyatA, shUnyataiva rUpam = iha + shAri + putra + rUpaM + shUnyatA + shUnyata + iva + rUpam = in this place / here / now / at this time / hence + (shAri = an arrow? trick?) delusional + children (successor hence successive) + forms + devoid + devoid + these + of forms rUpAnna pRthak shUnyatA, shUnyatAyA na pRthag rUpam = rUpa + anna + pRthak + shUnyatA + shUnyata + Aya + na + pRthag + rUpam = form + food? stimulus? + separately / respectively + devoid + void + (going / favourable) (Aya = approach/profit?) + not + separately / respectively + form yadrUpaM sA shUnyatam yA shUnyatA tadrUpam = yad + rUpaM + sA + shUnyatam + yA + shUnyatA + tad + rUpam = which + form + its + is devoid + (to go / to get / to obtain) + void + that's + form evameva vedanA-saMjnA-saMskAra-vijnAnaM = evam + eva + vedan(a/A) + saMjnA + saMskAra + vijnAnaM = and + thus + perception / knowledge + to know together? + putting together / (working together?) + coherence ihaM shAriputra sarva dharmAH shUnyatA, lakShaNA, anutpAnnA, aniruddhA, amalA vimalA, anunA aparipUrNAH = ihaM + shAri + putra + sarva + dharMAH + shUnyatA + lakShaNA + anutpannA + aniruddhA + amalA + vimalA + anunA + apari(pUrNAH) = this + delusion + successive + all + attached / bound (by established order?) + is devoid / void + indicating / expressing indirectly?/ illustration / definition / description + unborn / unproduced + unobstructed / unrestrained + (amala = spotless / clean / pure) + pure / bright? + (anu + nA = afterwards / then / in consequence of / with regards to / towards / along / like / similar + not / knowledge?, aNu = small / minute) + incomplete (aparipUta = unripe - so apari should be the opposite of what is appended?)
Here a few words of explanation on the translation. “Arya” is translated to typically the noun aryan which is master or owner. But, I think here it should be the adverb, that which qualifies the prajna-pAra-mita. We need to reflect on our thoughts and ask ourselves, “how does clarity of thought occur?” We all have experienced thoughts that “we are not convinced about at all”, but we still have it, thoughts whose certainty “we cannot break at all”, irrespective of how much ever irreprovable proof we are given. That “clarity” that occurs to a thought is “Arya” or “excellent or that which favours”.
The next translation is of “bodhisattva” which is typically translated to “enlightened divine being” or “essence of enlightenment”. But, I believe “bodhi” needs to be translated as “knowledge” as explained in many places, Bhagavad Gita, Surya Siddanta and many other places. Read it here. Knowledge is more core to existence than enlightenment or intelligence. These are higher concepts over knowledge. Here, bodhisattva is referring the “essence of that knowledge”.
Then comes Shunya and rupam. Shunya can be any of devoid, void and non-existent based on the context and rupam can be form or nature based again on context. As we see above, the Shunya rUpam is used many times within the same line. Thus, these refer different descriptions. And becomes apparent when we come to the translation where words such as “saMjna” or “saMskAra” is used. jnA is knowledge and saM is usually used for “together”. “Together” as a word can only be used when there is two or more concepts referred to. This tells me, that rupam is used as both “nature” and “form” in the above lines.
As anyone who has read my blogs from the beginning will realise, I have been wondering what OM refers to. There was a time I thought about it as “a vibration”. But, over the various translations, I have changed that view and I don’t believe we know what “OM” really is. If you read the book “A Research of Shiva: The Enigma“, you will see that there are Sanskrit verses even in Sri Rudram which talks about “OM namo bhagavate rudraya” or “OM yielding to the glorious turbulence”, which is even prior to the formation of this environment or Shiva in which reality is formed. So, I don’t know what OM is, it can’t be vibration. I will just leave it as OM.
The next to think about here is “shAriputra” which “shAri + putra”. Normally it is translated as “son of shAri”. Sometimes “first disciple of Buddha” But this does not make much sense in this context. I think this needs to be translated as “successive delusions”. shAri also means fraud or delusionary, putra is the “successively born” which would have been shortened to son in later translations. So, I believe, according to the context, it has to refer to “that delusions which is successively born due to the establishing of awareness in remote”. Thus, I have translated it as “successive delusions”.
Taking all this into consideration, these above verses translate to:
Yielding to that which knows all, OM yields to the that glorious, which is conducive to establishing awareness in remote, seeking a moving observable world conducive to deep essence of knowledge. By the movement of the established awareness in remote, thoughts move, controlling the observable world by aggregating in the stored 5th dimension. Thus, that part being devoid of self-nature, appears, due to storage. Hence, these being devoid of nature, the successive delusionary forms are non-existent. Being devoid of separate natural-stimulus, that non-existent has no separate form. The nature of that being non-existent, that form obtained is non-existent. And thus perceiving their knowledge together (nature and form), working coherently together, these successive delusions, all established order is non-existent and the consequent knowledge describing the unborn, unrestrained, purest of pure is incomplete.
What the above translation is suggesting is that, it is only because of the “awareness of remote” that “thoughts are able to move” and “nature” is an attribute that is given to a non-existent because of storage which leads to this reality which is the fifth dimension. This is another common theme that runs through out the Sankrit literature. Also to note is that “nature” and “form” are considered two different and considered to be working together to form this order that is established in the environment of reality.
tasmAcCAAriputra shUnyatAyAM na rUpaM, na vedanA, na saMjnA, na saMskArAH, na vijnAnaM, = tasma(t) + acCa (tacCa?) + shAri + putra + shUnyata + AyaM + na + rUpaM + na + vedan(a/A) + na + saMjnA + na + saMskAraH + na + vijnAnaM = then / therefore / from that + (pure / clear / transparent) (that nature) + delusional + successive + devoid + of that + no + form + no + knowledge / perception / making known + not + recognize / command / acknowledge + not + putting together + not + coherence nacakShuHshrotra-ghrANa-jihvA-kAya-manAMsi = na + cakShu + shrotra + ghrANA + jihva + kAya + mana + aMsi = not + eyes + ears + nose + mouth + group / multitude + thought + partial / part / portion is na rUpa-shabda-gandha-rasa-spraShTavyaH-dharmAH = na + rUpa + shabda + gandha + rasa + spraShTa + avyAH + dharmAH = not + form + noise + perfume + essence + touch + wrapped + by established order na cakShurdhAturyAvanna manovijnAna-dhAtu na vidhA = na + cakShur + dhAtur + yAvan + (na) + mano + vijnAna + dhAtu + na + vidhA = not + by seeing + the constituent part / ingredient + going / riding? (of which) (yAvat = as many as / whenever / until) + not + thought + coherence + constituent part + not + portioned / distributed na avidhA-kShayo yAvanna jarA maraNaM na jarA maraNa-kShayo = na + avidhA+ kShayo + yAvanna + jarA + maraNaM + na + jarA + maraNa + kShayo = not + (avihat = unobstructed) + destruction + of that which + wears out / becoming old + and dies / perishable + not + wears out + death / perishable + destruction na duHkha-samudaya-nirodha mArgA = na + duHkha + samudaya + nirodha + mArgA = not + unpleasantness + coming together / collection + confinement / imprisonment / suppressing + path na jnAnaM na prAptir na aprAptiH = na + jnAnaM + na + prAptir + na + aprAptiH = not knowledge + not + achievement + nor + unfulfilment tasmAcCAriputra atrAttitvAda bodhisatvasya prajnApAramitAmAshritya viharati acittAvaraNaM = tasma + acCa + shAri + putra + atra + atti + tvAda (tva + ada) (tvAdatta - shortened ) or (attit + vAda) + bodhi+ sattvasya + prajnA + pAra + mita + ama + ashr + itya + vihara + ati + acittA + varaNaM = then / therefore / from that + pure / clear / transparent + variegated + successive + here / herein / in this case / in this manner / there / then + consuming (engulf / envelop) + (other / different + consuming) (given by other) (rendering) + wisdom / knowledge + existing + awareness + remote + established + quickly? + penetrating + these + distribution + exceeding / abundant + unnoticed / inconceivable + by description
Here again and explanation of a few translations. “tasmAcCAAriputra” can be translated as “tasmat + acCa + shAri + putra” or “tasmat + tacCa + shAri + putra”. I have taken the second, basically because tacCa is a word that is used even in Surya Siddanta to indicate the nature and makes more sense here. These translate to:
From the nature of that successive delusion which is non-existent, no form, no perception, no recognition, no working together not coherence, no eyes, ears, nose, mouth, multitude or partial thought exists. No form, noise, smell, essence, touch is immersed in established order (exists). Not by observing as many constituent parts nor distributed constituent parts of coherent thought, not by not distributing the destruction that wears out the perishable nor by destructing the wearing out of perishable, not by the path of suppression of collection of unpleasantness, neither knowledge nor achievement nor unfulfillment (exists). From that nature of successive delusion then enveloping the rendered, essence of knowledge exists, establishing awareness in remote, quickly penetrating these abundant distribution un-observable by description.
Continued in the next part the last part of this Sutram.