The Medium Of Murthy

Upakausalya: ‘To Speak at the Speed of Listening of the Listener’


Upakausalya: ‘Skillful Means’: As one early text defines it: ‘As a learned grammarian would even teach the alphabet to a beginner’. Pedagogic expediency with eyes wide open.

But there is a big difference between using a Name in an act of ‘Skillful Means’ and applying one that emerged in a short-stopped denouement. A difference of night and day.

There is a serious risk that ‘Skillful Means’ ends up being very unskillful. With the wrong teacher or a misjudged audience, it can quickly take on a life of its own.

And Skillful Means has its counterpart in the the listening audience, one of a very unskillful listening. Skillful Means is only meant to come half-way. You have to reach out to get it. 


Yājñavalkya talked of his Ātman as: ‘an endless infinite reality’ and simultaneously ‘an inner controller’; a ‘mass of intelligence’ which is also ‘the unattached and the undecaying’. An expressive circling around ‘That’.

He then went on to elaborate it in what would later be called Coincidentia Oppositorum, notion extensively developed in later Mystical traditions, both Jewish and Islamic, but is best known from the Docta Ignoranta of the German scholar Nicholas of Cusa [1440 CE].

[For those who believe our best scientists are the new philosophers, Neils Bohr [Nobel, Physics, ’22] chose Contraria Sunt Complementa as the motto on his ‘Coat of Arms’.]

Yājñavalkya’s was abstract language as used in the millennia before the Buddha, itself descended from an earlier oral tradition that was now being documented in script.

Over the centuries, as this language becomes molded to the more concrete sensibilities of the interested listener, it makes an anthropomorphic bent [‘man-made’ and in the likeness of ‘Man’] accommodating the deeply cherished socio-cultural inheritances of the listener. We call this the magical reality, the necessary medium of Murthy [Consecrated Icon] and Myth.

This happens in every religious tradition and I have given illustrative extracts in the posts. [None of this is unique to the religious front. See the sections on Logic and Mathematics for its different avatars.]


I wrote the piece, the next Post: Shivam many years ago and display it here to show how this parallel is recast from the abstract to the tangible.

Shivam is the ideal deity, widely popular yet complex and sophisticated in its mythological and iconic construction. No other God in the Hindu Pantheon is clad in such a mix of seeming contradictions.

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