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2, LANGUAGE (JUNE 1984), pp. 177186 Published by: India International Centre Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23001657 . Accessed: 21/01/2014 09:09
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23. in the origin itself of the universe.26. here about 177 the Indian concept of chandas.LANGUAGE AS EXPRESSION Language Lokenath as Creative Expression Bhattacharya man EvEN in the darkest and deepest caves of his consciousness. not just crying for expression but simply by being expression. yet nameless. It is even greater. A name here. with the creation of speech. has been simultaneous. he has discovered this speech everywhere in the universe and. And are all words. Silence itself is an expression. never attains a state free from speech. A pain only as is no a the same less nomenclature of sensed. or a flower there. spreading itself coolly. into layers and layers of light and darkness. beyond the borders of time and space. specially. have evoked images. The manifest world of whatever the senses or the mind can perceive or imagine—the hiranya-garbha or the golden embryo of the Rigveda—is peopled by words. two states of an only an expression. if not synonymous. also of whether such words are already articulated or irrespective a splendid and lying merged in silence. at times. A word may be added This content downloaded from 94. or may not. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and comfortably. is not ripe fruit for anyone to savour. already fully expressed. irrespec they description. since silence but the mother of expression. he assumes. He thinks he has reason to believe that. it is an expression. The creation of all life. tive of the minds in which they may. existence merged into one.157 on Tue.
as they lie beyond the reach of are not known to me. man finds parlance." cried out the author of the Isopanishad (verse 15). creed. which represented man returning to its source. or nationality. in the hands of his maker.157 on Tue. time immemorial. not need to be stressed that nothing intelligible in this be attained This is the without the help of language. the inaudible unseeable heard. has been to push the limits of his language to such extremes which alone can open for him the realm of superior expres sion—as distinct from utterances amounting to a mere waste of breath. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . was soon thrown open to be used by one and all (prapattih sarvadhikara). 5. and all other utterances of breath a mere waste seemed (vaco This expression of deep religious sentiment. The hymns that man sang spontaneously to God were the earliest literature produced by him. himself confined to which limits. without any distinction of caste. This was for him the logos or the Word. kridanaka. The chandas or revealed lore.6). What follows from such a remark is that there are other worlds and other expressions which. 0 Sun. doubt. in its formal as well as expres sional meant for the ancient. but also for registering the effects of his action. breath in for him God's congenially to his prayer. A distinction may be made here between. or the fascination that it has always exercised poets strived to who. language as understood in common Even in the latter case. he is but a toy. no to the limits of his language. from my language. The creative man's craving. "Do remove. why the intricate techniques attention in an have to pay ever-increasing employed psycho-analysis for to the subject. but later came to be identified with the metre which gave an utterance a rhythm and bound its con tents together. why it is a favourite topic for and methods and psychologists linguists. more than any others. "the lid of the golden vessel in which the face of the Truth This content downloaded from 94. Indian everything that covered aspect. the German refers when he says. Wittgenstein philosopher "The limits of my language signify the limits of my own world" (Trac tatus. —not only for understanding primary instrument that man possesses his world. primarily restricted to the verse form.26.23. have ceaselessly This It does that the limits-so to the farthest possible carry the effect of speech can at last be seen. the unspeakable spoken. after all. world can has remained an essential concern of explains why language in the East and philosophers West. on the one hand. from which chandas) his sins and he submitted himself (chadayati.178 LOKENATH BHATTACHARYA which originally meant revealed lore. particularly. They were motivated by his realisation that. though viglapanam). on the other. that speech which is the symbol of creation and.
and the nature of the experience which it produces in man. which is the subject of the prayer expressed in the verse.23." adds. some such of the first utterances of man have often reached a peak of excellence which not only remain in later annals but also exemplify. of Plato who said. for posterity. If language. as an essential means of communicating and preserving developed it is because of its proven ability to represent the world knowledge. II This to my mind the mystery which surrounds the topic suggests word 'inspiration'. in its infinitely diverse material as well as spiritual aspects. to make the intelligible and a subject for man's reflections. language. in this connection. but nevertheless a portion of which must lie in darkness and beyond the reach of utterance? It will be necessary to come back to this question later. As Benveniste. qualities unsurpassed that must constitute the core of any creative expression worth its name. and give form to that representation—in short. "God has given the art of divination not to the wisdom. The view expressed which may have few advocates inspiration as an ecstasy or possession." The sun. could be ledge and action. holds the key to know Speech. In the matter of creative expression. the beyond. This content downloaded from 94. attains prophetic truth and in them of the but when he receives the inspired word.157 on Tue. 71). has. since the primeval utterances of man." think. which he desires to be forceful enough to hit the target and tear apart the veil.LANGUAGE AS CREATIVE EXPRESSION 179 lies concealed. is enthralled in sleep. when in his wits. universe The point to be made meanwhile is that the symbol that is a sublimity of sophistication of the human spirit language represents which. a system based on symbols. using the means of to wonder at the mysteries of the universe.26. the eminent French furnishes remarks. "Language in fundamental configuration of properties which the spirit recognises "To he of "is to the things. to organise. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . of which language is but a part. I am reminded. either his inspiration." manipulate signs the cannot Can there be a thought then which the power of speech the realm it a Or is the well within continuation of same line penetrate? of speech. or he is demented by some distemper intelligence of possession" is clearly one of (Timoeus. of those qualifications is the omnipresence the irrational. One immaterial. linguist. No man. structure. represents for the poet his own power of expression. never ceased language. but to the foolish ness of man.
he. without scar or sinews. that Purusha. has duly allotted to the eternal world-creators their respective duties. pure and unpierced by evil. The Sanskrit term for poet. omniscient. as a purely However. pervading all. tone of the poet. transcen dent and uncreated. I thought of the difficulty in understanding every individual word in the poetry of Saint-John Perse. lines such as these from Elytis: This content downloaded from 94. who are described to them in words.23. The following verse (No. etymologically means visionary. 8) of the Isopanishad specially comes to my mind: Bright and bodiless. should it not suffice and should I then just go on reading line after line. the magnified man exposed to the great winds and oceans the poet performing as a priest the invocation ceremony of elements. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Would the help of a dictionary be of that poetry or. kavi. and his audience. constantly sought then for a better comprehension if the general meaning had already been grasped.26. Perhaps the pejoration implied in the statement can be softened is the that what Plato may have meant to emphasise by explaining of this kind. and the human poet is said to be a facsimile in miniature of the creator of the universe who too is described as a visionary.157 on Tue. who is the seer (kavi). I am mastered through observation the ancient poets and seers of the Vedic hymns. the tone. role of the irrational in an experience preponderant I am also reminded of the Hindu conception its of the subject. that which is stored up in memory and study. heard. the emphasis as identical with the agent receiving the revelation. an intrusion of a foreign element into the here is on the discovery of the revealing force system. absorbed in the possessed atmosphere they create? The very idea of that atmosphere the my soul: that pitch of the poet's voice. meaning thereby to posterity through by the human ear and then directly communicated and smriti.180 lokenath bhattacharya today. unlike the theory explaining inspiration external phenomenon. who dwells there. and of a special also reminded me of lines from contemporary Greek poetry. the journey. says verse 16 of the Isopanishad. of Time. I am indeed He. have "seen" the sacred texts before expressing pen or oral teaching. and of and its oral theory tradition. inspiration revelation. and denotes learning reminded of the rishis. The thought of the elements. long of its division of literature into the two broad categories especially that is received which the divine voice sruti.
his vibrations. If the Proustian chosen to be cited here. Would it then be the apocalypse predicted throughout the ages. merged golden into an endless oneness. it may be argued. since one may have understandable about the epoch and the society depicted in his work. Does it then lead us on a return journey. reservations of First. to the Rigvedic pronouncements. to the primeval source of expression? Any worthwhile reflection on philosophic and creativity of expression language postulate as its base. his language. The end of the When life has ceased to exist. Ill Proust. on the contrary. the possibility of both of the permanence found. it is example is specially because of two principal reasons. the present moment as well as its immortality only in the past and in its restoration and reconstruction through a cultivated process—which he sees as a journey "in search of lost time". heat waves. curtain drops. through dark and speech? silent alleys.LANGUAGE On your lips there is a taste of storm But where have you wandered All day long with the hard reverie of stone An eagle-bearing Stripped wino stripped the hills your desire to the bone. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . his desire for expression. His approach is in contrast literature. AS CREATIVE EXPRESSION 181 and bare sea (Marina of the Rocks) world will continue to weigh on the minds of men for thousands of to until the scene of enacted and the final the drama is years come.157 on Tue. widespread and monsoons could strike us all by the year 2000. in which state the dust of the pre-creation era would return and remain. I was led to ponder over the possibility of an impending of the world.23. since no one will be there then to take any view whatsoever. it matters little what view of that cessation is taken. From a news item quoting a new study of atomic fallout and nuclear waste.26. The warning contained in the news was that the collapse polar melting and its effects causing floods. signifying a complete could also be the pralaya conceived by our seers. the illustrious French writer needing no introduction. and those of later Indian The mention of Proust in combination with Rigvedic pro Marcel must have this may be surprising. a negation of all life? It cessation. few contemporary writers have grappled with the subject what ultimately constitutes the core of creative expression as intensely nouncements This content downloaded from 94. But what happens then to all this chatter of mankind.
When such rare tells us. which had the effect of an ignition and. It is a manner of what he himseif has described as his "search" for lost time. in and more importantly. that the theme of time which destroys. as he experiences should be confident in his Joy. that well.157 on Tue. a small cake. but is exemplified as a living proof of that theory validated the recording of events reconstructed his own from his past life. the order sing. There is not just one universe. in its final effect.26. and sounds —seemed to jump out from the very cup of that herbal drink.23. one understands of a madeleine understands what could does not logically that the word death' of time. even to contain the reason for this joy. as Proust himself says. has re-created in us the man And that such a If the simple cros man taste as Proust in the superior expressions of speech Proust A minute the minute. To be equally noted is the point that the question here is not about just any kind of memory. order embodying also achieved of time"—as the ancient hymns. "as many of them as there may exist apples of the human eye and signs of human intelligence which wake up every morning.182 LOKENATHBHATTACHARYA "the His discovery has not remained confined to mere in theory. in the example of Proust. there are millions of them—indeed. in a flash. responds theme of memory which preserves. attains the same aim of crossing has done. which cannot be carried on in a world ordinarily called real and which in actual fact is irreal or at least unknowable. unparalleled Secondly. revived in him the memory of a long lost world. we can have Therefore. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . through which the sensation of such a "minute" could be produced. while sipping a herbal drink. The whole village of Combray of his childhood days— with its people. The instance was his tasting here is that this preservation will have to be captured in a transformed speech which alone can serve as a passport to eternity. he fear from the future ? of a madeleine. odours. its apparent words. one appear has no meaning tor him: situated beyond time. because of the simple fact that it is so much distorted by our passions that we This content downloaded from 94. remarks: that has crossed the order of time. the contrast with the Rigveda and similar literature notwithstanding. Proust "the intuition of ourselves as absolute beings". he pleads to a complementary and privileged moments arrive in our life. discovery of Proust. can never see it in any other form. but about the manner in which the past is evoked—which makes all the difference. a much known one among others in Proust's life." There is no use. The point The reference in the quotation is to one particular instance.
IV to traditional Indian thinking. and luminous of its content. there are certain points in the Proustian conception of creativity which have a profound resemblance to the classical Indian doctrine on the subject. to reign sensation over of the Paradise renewal which one and has which not lost. complicated of its syntax because and structure. here is a complicated but luminous sentence from Proust. He says. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . But even then. speech of a is possessed According is second to nothing else. precisely an air which one has breathed vainly before. after having and re-searched the nooks and corners of our memories to trace out from amongst them the lost paradises are the only paradises existing anywhere. by receiving the food brought to it. if it has kept its distances. While in its power which in its supremacy loftiest form it is the divine "vibration". and that language creative expression is born. an air purer than the one desired and repeatedly this because by the poets profound generated already. which. its isolation in the hollow it is because point of a peak.23. and the sensation memory involuntarily aroused forms the basis of the creative impulse." he "Our remarks once. becomes animated. existence and celestial essence This content downloaded from 94. of a valley or at the date. innermost is silence which alone of the heart. a fugitive "contemplation the bells. As illustration of what is sought to be said. necessary searched or only for them. real I.157 on Tue. as the omnipresent remains reality hidden to the adept who will have the only to the ignorant—not to chances means to recognise it. "which occasionally seemed dead for a long time but was not so entirely. wakes up. the core of the reality. contract no link or throw no chain of could memory. on its it and the present has if it remained bondage minute. in celebration of the event. it never ceases to retain its power of deliverance. Proust affirms.LANGUAGE AS CREATIVE EXPRESSION 183 therefore. what is illusions living amidst these is to revive the past in us and re-live it. it makes us suddenly breathe a new air. could been not have breathed if it had If the the true paradises are those not always Although apparent. When such a thing memory. It can also limit itself. thanks to oblivion. start ringing in the happens.26. affirming the because importance the Proustian principle attaches to the meeting between a which it produces. bringing the empirical world into becoming the human language—thereby lending itself of error and slavery. between at its place. in a downward movement it regulates and disappearance the appearance of the worlds." food which is precisely that "permanent liberated and suddenly by habitually hidden from things" of eternity".
listen. the navel of immortality. There are those by my side but do not know: you who have hearing. is endless.4-5). the wishes of the devas I proclaim: great is the single divinity of the devas. who hears what is spoken.157 on Tue. present in literature. All the gods. Speech is the syllable. the first born of the Order. point and and that is void or the end. eternal. akshara is found associated the very beginning of the universe: With the dawning of the earliest of mornings the great eternal (akshara) manifested itself on the body of the cow.184 LOKENATH BHATTACHARYA Here is how Vac. it is I who am speaking these are my words which both the Devas and men will welcome. It is in speech that men have their foundation. means that which does not indestructible. (III. the sages searched their hearts with wisdom to find the kin of existence in non-existence. I make of him a Brahmana. As the primal germ of the mind. according to traditional etymology. is imperishable. grand great Sunya—a is contained. slip away or perish and. (X. work of creation unique frame in which the splendid Here the celebrated Rigvedic hymn of creation comes to mind: Darkness v/as there concealed in darkness and an indiscrimainte chaos pervaded all\ only the one enveloped by the void manifested itself through the might of tapas. a Rishi. men or animals live in it. obtains his sustenance who dwell only through me. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . therefore. I am and telling you the sacred truth. Revering. says the Taittiriya Brahmana (II. the gandha rvas. or speech. of its in the beginning at the must start also return from a which it must to journey. it is no less true that the movement of speech.26. in a Rigvedic hymn (X. 8.23. Speech. therefore. 3-4) The This content downloaded from 94. as she is feminine. beyond all creation. Yes. a gifted man. 55. if the whole world of action can express and assert itself only in and through speech.4-5): speaks of herself. I make him mighty whom I love.1) But if energy is speech and speech energy. 125. immense. mother of the Vedas. 129. which syllable itself is known in Sanskrit by the term akshara again. point silence. record of Indian the earliest available with sacred speech. The man who sees and breathes. From the Rigveda. there arose desire in the beginning-.
beyond. hymn (1. indeed. the reference to that quarter of speech is the only expressible part of it has an exact parallel in the descrip of the divinity. in another the manifestation tion of the Purusha. worth the name. transformed The question is linked with the one ask totally a reality experienced? ed earlier here: can there be a thought lying beyond the reach of utterance? Once again the Vedic seers come to our rescue as it is in India more than perhaps anywhere else that the whole subject of treatment. rest in the supreme region. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . though Purusha is greater than this.3) This the expressible speech identical with the manifest world.45) speaks speech known to the men of divine wisdom. can express only the one-fourth enced. since for a a little but suggesting expressing not yield a straightforward which does logical symbolic language of the meaning it may be easier to come close to the target because of logic nor within its simple fact that it is neither the business which alone is the con significance. power to hint a transcendental a question language of any creative expression in such an expression.LANGUAGE AS CREATIVE EXPRESSION 185 question may arise at this point When silence has been is it within its power to express fully and into speech. Vajasaneyi Samhita. (X.90. the rest must remain submerged The same idea is part of what has been in eternal silence. All beings constitute only a fourth of him. experi elsewhere expressed (Yajurveda. makes words that are The difference that so obviously exists between of breath" and that form of speech more than a "mere waste while no This content downloaded from 94. then. three of which "make no motion" and must be "kept in secret" while only the last quarter of it as spoken.164. So language matter.157 on Tue. a complete oneness with the achieves the totality of speech ultimate reality. Hence of the irrational and the cern and content the importance. or written for that is given to man to utter. which Not unexpectedly. 30.26. the mute is for the infinite. is the The universal answer creative solution to one seeking expression? to such to the symbolic points to the inevitable recourse much more. while three-fourths. famous hymn of the Rigveda which says: Such." What. In speech and its scope has been given a most elaborate Another the profound experience realised their attempt to describe by them. of the inadequacy their sense the Vedic poets have often expressed of four grades A Rigvedic of of language.19) in a slightly different manner: "While the eloquent man is for the finite.23. is his magnificence. his immortality.
makes the difference with sight and hearing.71. and my eyes strain to see this expanded light residing within my spirit. The language that is creative expression has to be such a lake a man can bathe. a perpetual point. any journey towards which cannot but be in the form of a devotee's circumambulation. and where hitting the mark with a sure progress arrow is no more than a metaphor.186 LOKENATH BHATTACHARYA which alone hymn says: can be creative expression is also highlighted. What am I to speak.4) Verse 7 of the same hymn.26. There is no other way-indeed. differ in the Friends.9. we can only echo the sentiments a the in expressed by Rigvedic following verse poet (VI. (X. Our present discussion has only tended to circle around what is a still centre. the others resemble lakes in which a man can bathe. am I to think? This content downloaded from 94. though ail endowed quickness of their mind. like the man who hears but has not heard her. In conclusion. no other in which way. a good even more accentuated: specimen of poetry. indeed. beyond its confines. 21 Jan 2014 09:09:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . My mind wanders far and wide. While some may look like pools reaching to the mouth or armpit. and what. involving neither nor regression. while to another she reveals her lovely form as does to her husband a loving wife.157 on Tue. A Rigvedic There is the man who sees Vak (speech) without actually seeing her.6): My ears strive to hear.23. finely robed.