A Collection of Esoteric Writings of T. Subba Row/The Forms of Vâk


With reference to Mr. Subba Row's lectures on Bhagavad Gita, published in the Theosophist for April 1887, page 446, where he says, "I would here call your attention to the 1st Anhika of Mahabhashya, where Patanjali speaks of three forms manifested, Pasyanti, Maddhyama and Vaikhari vach; the way he classifies is different. ...," I have to state that the 1st Anhika of Mahabhashya does not contain any such particular divisions. Patanjali quotes a verse from Rig Veda "Chatvarivak parimitapadam," &c., and interprets "Chatvarivak" nama, akyata, upasarga, and nipata. The same verse of Rig Veda is interpreted by Yaska in his Nirukta, chapter 12, in the same way as by Patanjali, and he adds some other explanations than those quoted by Mr. Subba Bow; nor does Kaita, the well-known commentator of Mahabhashya, give them in his Bhashyapradipa. But Nageshabhatta, a commentator of Bhashyapradipa, gives Mr. Subba Row's sub-divisions in detail, in his Bhashyapradipothyota, referring to Harikarika, or Vakyapadiya of Bhartrihari. This Nageshabhatta speaks of the same sub-divisions in the Sphotavada of his Manjusha and some modern grammarians give the same sub-divisions quoting from Mahabharata; Annambhatta, a commentator on Bhashya-pradipa, who lived before Nageshabhatta, did not interpret the passage in question in the way that Nageshabhatta did.

I would therefore ask you to draw Mr. Subba Row's attention to the above facts, and to explain the thing in a more acceptable way. I have herewith enclosed extracts from Mahabhashya, Kaita, and Nirukta on this point.

Yours fraternally,
N. Bhashyachary.

I have to thank Mr. Bhashyachary for having called my attention to the wrong reference given in my third lecture. Instead of referring to Nageshabhatta's Bhashyapradipodyota and Sphotavada, I referred to the Mahabhasbyam itself through oversight. I had especially in my mind Nageshabhatta's remarks on the four forms of Vak in his Sphotavada when I made the statements adverted to in your learned correspondent's letter. Patanjali had to interpret the original rik of the Rig Veda from the stand-point of a grammarian in his Mahabhasbya: but he certainly recognised the importance of the interpretation put upon it by Hatayogis and Rajayogis as might be easily seen by the symbols he introduced into the mystic arrangements of the Chidambaram temple. Apart from mystic symbology, Nageshabhatta had very high and ancient authorities to guide him in interpreting this risk. Nearly seven interpretations have been suggested for this rik by various classes of writers and philosophers. The four forms of Vak enumerated by me are common to the interpretation of Hatayogis and Mantrayogis on the one hand and Rajayogis on the other. I request your learned correspondent to refer to Vidyaranya'a commentary on the 45th rik of the 164 Sukta of the 22nd Anuvaka of the first Mandala of Rig-veda. Most of these various interpretations are therein enumerated and explained. The learned commentator refers to Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari and indicates the order of their development as stated by Mantrayogis and Hatayogis. It will be useful to refer to Yoga Sikha and other Upanishads in this connection. There is still higher authority for the views expressed in my lecture and the statements made by Nageshabhatta in Shankaracharya's commentary on Nrisimhottara Tapani (see page 118, Calcutta edition, from line 14 to the end of the para). These four forms of vak are therein explained from the stand-point of Tharaka Rajayoga. I would particularly invite the reader's attention to the explanation of Madhyama. Madhyama is so called because it occupies an intermediate position between the objective form and the subjective image. On carefully perusing this portion of the commentary, it will be seen that the explanations therein given form, as it were, the foundation of the various statements made by me in my lectures regarding these four forms of Vak. Whether this commentary is attributed to Shankaracharya as many have done, or to Goudapatha as some have stated, its authority is unimpeachable. I do not think it necessary to refer to any works on Mantra Shastra in this connection, as the authorities cited above are amply sufficient to justify my statements. I may perhaps have to refer to the mystic philosophy of vak at greater length in another connection.