The Pioneer Trail


Shūnyam is fully transparent in the present and shows no particular deference to the past.

The Posts would have been easier to write, the regular referencing unnecessary, the respectful acknowledgments uncalled for, the sharp criticisms spared, if there was no historical trail.

But something as pivotal as Shūnyam leaves a large footprint. And you ignore it at your own peril. Plus my own roots were nurtured in orthodoxy. And these pioneers are my heroes.

If you ask a Librarian to show you the section with the Upanishads and Sūtras, she is likely to point you to the shelves marked ‘Religion’.

These texts are documents of Inquiry sandwiched between untethered imaginative sprees. And elaborated in a context quite inconceivable today. They were the obsessions of the Learned. Your normal, healthy farm-boy will find it all quite batty.

The Sanskrit literature is cited, not because it is revered in the sense of the Abrahamic religious texts, but because it is the earliest documented record of the Inquiry. These volumes are characterized more by attempt and failure, trial and error, than they are by Claim and Faith.

And Sanskrit commentaries have a long history of wild philosophical exploration which have thrown up a rich list of words that contain self-referential turns. And English, more generally European languages, modern and very pragmatic, as a rule, do not.

They are emphatically not ‘Holy Books’, not much here about Damnation nor Deliverence. [Only a cultivated credulity keeps such holy books unassigned and restricted to the Children’s Section.]

See: ‘The Oldest Printed Text’