Darśana: ‘To See’

One loves Wisdom of course, a lofty if slippery idea. I am still not clear what exactly it means. But I can’t Unsee what I See.


Darśana, is from the Sanskrit root: dṛś, literally, ‘To See’. The Sanskritic analogue of the Greek Phílosophía [‘Lover of Wisdom’] is the Seer: ‘One who See’s’.

‘Seeing’ in its analytic meaning is is all about catching the beam in your own eye. I catch the beam in my eye: and catch myself catching myself; and catch myself catching myself catching myself. And so on.

I look in a mirror and see my eye. I see my eye seeing my eye. I see my eye seeing my eye seeing my eye..

I see my Mind seeing my Mind. I catch my Thought catching my Thought. I Know. I Know that I Know. I Know that I Know that I Know…

This can get a little more loopy when the high inferential abstractions of Logic and Language are at play. Try your hand at: ‘All Words are Meaningless’-itself an expression in words. Or: ‘I don’t Exist!’

Darśana is the ‘Backward Step’, an ‘Infinite Regress’ back to ‘True Nothing’.  Shūnyam was designed as a guiding-rail. Without it the ‘Backward Step’ is not navigable. You will spin indefinitely in self-referential loops with no exit.


There are levels and levels of ‘Seeing’. For a pious Hindu, to see the adorned deity with a full and sincere heart is in turn to be seen by the deity in an act of divine grace [and often, such simple piety trumps all philosophy and metaphysics].

Watch out, though. Sanskrit Literature carries a long list of exclusive sightings made over the centuries by God-Men and Knaves. Each is raised up the flagpole and if anyone salutes a new school is born. All orthodox schools are officially Darśanas.