Paradise is no heaven : Devdutt Pattanaik

Paradise is no heaven : Devdutt Pattanaik.

The lower realm of pleasures are material pleasures, which in Indian Mythology is the stage that deities could reach. [That’s why they had to go for help from God (Vishnu or Mahadev or Brahma – The Trinity of Gods) or Supreme Power (शक्ति)(Durga, Kaali or Ambaa) when they failed to overpower some of the very strong demons]. This is known as Paradise.

Whereas Heaven is where material pleasures have no significance. One raises a few notches to renounce all material (sensory)pleasures(माया) and reach the stage of ब्रह्म.

The article has differentiated both with the help of a telling example.

Search a totally meaningful English equivalent of the word, શક્તિ [शक्ति]

The October,2011 issue of Navneet  Samarpan is a Diwali ‘Shakti’ Special issue and has been presented as an ‘attempt to link the ancient and contemporary interpretations of Shakti.’1. This issue is also quite classically aligned to its editorial objective of ‘spreading knowledge in the fields of life, literature and culture.’2

The thematic technical articles cover a  very wide range of subjects, ranging from philosophical and metaphysical aspects of the forms of Shakti to contemporary forms like Art, Internet, People-power , power-of-feminism etc., including a concise treatise on physical sources, usages and challenges relating to energy.

Selection of classical painting of the one of prime form of Shakti, the Sun, with its leaping sun flames and spectrum of solar heat as the cover page, duly supplemented by a large number of photographs of paintings of several other forms of Shakti, lends the issue in the Collectors’ category.

However, the present purpose to try to search a totally meaningful English equivalent of the word, શક્તિ [शक्ति], with the help of discussions contained within different articles in the present issue, currently under my reading.

We take up first the implications of two of the most obvious and popular equivalents – Power and Energy.

Power, at best, seems to convey a very partial meaning, by way of presenting static and /or kinetic and /or dynamic forms, like wind-power, people-power etc. or potentials, like capability, force, energy, source, life, capacity, adventure etc.. It is also perceived or seen through its elements like origin, status, rhythm, conservation, nourishment, conveyance, expansion, change re-construction, resurgence etc.3

These are still its philosophical or metaphysical forms or expressions, whereas its physical forms are, generally, known as Energy, so as to differentiate from the non-physical forms.4

The energy, the physical Shakti, is stored in the five basic elements, viz. earth, wind, water, fire etc. or the actions thereof. Its metaphysical forms are like sensation, liveliness, thoughts [or thinking], intellect, ego etc., differentiating these from its beneficial super-natural philosophical forms.5

Word or language or concept or sign also have contextual meanings. ‘ललितसह्स्त्रनाम’, an Indian epic of One-Thousand-Names of the supershakti  [महाशक्ति] , enlists such one thousand contextual  names. Of these 259th and 260th are ‘Invisible’ [अद्रश्या] and ‘Beyond-the- Vision’ [द्रश्यरहिता] 6 respectively. What cannot be seen or visualized with the help of physical eyesight vision is ‘Invisible’ [अद्रश्या] whereas what is beyond the vision and /or perception and /or worldly considerations is ‘Beyond-the- Vision’ [द्रश्यरहिता].

The शक्ति of conviction can also not be fully explained by ‘power’ of one’s conviction, as exemplified by the Ho-Chi-Minh’s  belief that he as ‘Gandhi of Vietnam’, which is considered at the root of the primitive agrarian Vietnam’s successful fight against the might of sophisticated weaponry of industrialized America.7

Shakti has deep and sweeping meanings for a variety of usages in the Indian Philosophy. Sir John Woodruff, an expert of Philosophy, justifiably states that:  There is no equivalent word in any other language, because in the context of the universe, Shakti is the cause as well as action of the world, which itself is born from Shakti’s embryo.8

It can well be surmised from the foregoing that there is no substance in this world which does not contain Shakti in some or other form.9

So, what is शक्ति in English?

References to articles of Navneet  Samarpan October’2011 issue:

  1. The message of Shri Surendralal G Mehta, Chairman, Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan; pp 11
  2. The message of Shri Homi Dastur, Executive secretary , Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, pp 15
  3. શક્તિતત્વની વિભાવના – નિસર્ગ આહીર, pp 7
  4. આરાધના ઊર્જાની – ડૉ. પરેશ વૈદ્ય, pp 41
  5. શક્તિતત્વની વિભાવના – નિસર્ગ આહીર, pp 9
  6. મહાશક્તિ – અદ્રશ્યા – દ્રશ્યરહિતા – રાજેશ વ્યાસ ‘મિસ્કિન’ , pp 13
  7. વિચારશક્તિ – ગુણવંત શાહ , pp 30
  8. શક્તિતત્વની વિભાવના – નિસર્ગ આહીર, pp 8
  9. શક્તિતત્વની વિભાવના – નિસર્ગ આહીર, pp 8