Satyam Anrtam Tuccham
In Sanskrit, there is a word satyam, meaning ‘real’. There is another word anrtam meaning ‘false’. Then there yet another word tuccham meaning – a ‘non-existent’ thing. All the three are “reality” words. There are no objects revealed by these three words.
“This is a rose” – real – satyam. (I have a rose in my hand)
“This is a glass ball” – false – anrtam (because what I am holding is indeed a crystal ball)
“Draw a square-circle” non-existent – tuccham (because it is non-existent)
These three words form the set-up of our understanding. All emotional problems come from these three words. All our pendulum movements, yo-yo movements, getting into extremes, are all because of ‘reality’ issues. So, unless one is clear what one wants and about ‘reality issues’, it does not work.
“Reality” issue is satyam, anrtam and tuchham. These three words form a class, revealing one’s understanding that we are going to examine now.
(Imagine a pot in my hand.)
“Now I have an object in my hand.”
Q. What is the object?
I have a special language for this object. I have told this before. We samnyäsis, have a different language to express normal activities.
We do not eat; we have bhikshä.
We do not go home, we go to our kutiyä that can be a bunglow.
A samnyäsi does not die, but enters into mahäsamädhi; means he does not come back from his samädhi.
You say it is a ‘pot’; I say it is clay. They are two different words describing the same object. If two words are used to describe the same object, then there are three possibilities:
1. One is right, the other is wrong. Like if I say it is a crystal ball, and you say it is a glass ball.
2. Both of us are wrong. (It is plastic.)
3. Both of us are right.
Here both are right. You say it is ‘pot’; I say it is ‘clay’.
Now when both the words are right, there are two possibilities:
i) Both the words are equally right; are synonyms. Like water, or päni, or tanni, or jalam.
One word does not fare better than the other, in referring to the object.
ii) Both the words are unequally right.
Considering, both of us are equally right,
Wherever there is ‘pot’, there should be ‘clay’.
and wherever there is ‘clay’, there should be ‘pot’.
But, we know that there cannot be a ‘pot’ without being ‘clay’ (or any substance); however there can be ‘clay’ without being the ‘pot’. So, one is more right than the other. Then we are unequally right.
Q. Then who is more right? The pot person is more right, or the clay person?
A. The clay person is more right.
Q. What is the weight of the pot? The weight of my ‘clay’ is 250 grams; your ‘pot’ has no weight. It is a ‘zero weight’ pot. If it is an object, it must have a weight. Otherwise, it is space, because even air has weight.
Now, the Naiyäyikä (logician) will say; the ‘pot’ is upon the ‘clay’.
– Is it like the flower is on the pot? Then the ‘pot’ can be removed from the ‘clay’.
– Well, I suppose ‘pot’ is inside ‘clay’.
– No, ‘pot’ is not inside the ‘clay’. Inside ‘clay’, there is ‘clay’. When you touch the ‘pot’, you touch the ‘clay’.
Now, if the ‘pot’ is neither outside nor inside ‘clay’, then where is the ‘pot’?
I do not know.
You see, I hold the ‘pot’ in my hand and make it disappear. (Vedantic Magic)
Now, in terms of “reality”, I give the word satyam to clay. Then, to the pot, I must give a “reality” word. This becomes a ‘merry-go-round’, rather ‘sorrow-go-round’ for most philosophers.
What is one’s understanding of the ‘pot’ in terms of reality? Satyam is already appropriated by the clay. Two more words are left. But, the pot is neither anrtam (false) since it holds water, nor tuccham (non-existent). So one has no word for the ‘pot’, which means one has no understanding of the ‘pot’. Poor ‘pot’ is misunderstood. It is the same problem with human beings. This implication is so important in everything, because one’s conclusion is based on one’s understanding. Vedänta is not a system that one can say ‘next what?’
What is the status of the ‘pot’ in terms of “reality”?
Words like “real”, “false”, “non-existent” reveal one’s understanding of “reality” of things. One cannot dismiss ‘pot’ as “non-existent”. One cannot look at the ‘pot’ and say it is “false”. A “false” pot does not hold water. This pot holds water. One cannot say it is “real”, because it has no existence of its own. So, one does not have a word to reveal the “reality” of pot. If one has a word, one can understand it.
Since “real” cannot be used to describe the pot, “false” cannot be used to describe the pot, nor “non-existent” can be used to describe the pot, we need a word to describe the pot. In fact, for want of a word, there is so much confusion. It is a very important word revealing our understanding. If one has a word, one has the responsibility of knowing its meaning.
We have a word “mithyä”. The word “mithyä” is used in a two-fold sense:
1. Anything “false”
2. Anything that depends upon something else for its existence is “mithyä” – ‘adhishthäna ananyatvam’.
One must note here that, “false” also depends upon something else. So, the rope-snake is mithyä, the rope is also mithyä. One is ‘You think, therefore it is’ (snake on the rope); the other is ‘It is, therefore you see’ (rope).
Both are “mithyä”.
The translation of “mithyä” is not illusion. It is “mithyä”.
This ‘flower’ is not satyam. It depends on something else for its existence. There are sepals, petals, pollens. Now if I remove the sepals, petals, and the pollens that are ‘non-flower’, to find the ‘flower’, what do I get? Where is the ‘flower’? You see, by removing the ‘non-flower’; the ‘flower’ is removed. Therefore, we understand that ‘flower’ is mithyä, depending upon something else for its existence. In fact, even the petal depends upon something else, and that depends upon something else for its existence. Same with anything – a car, one’s own physical body.
Q. Then what is satyam?
A. That’s what which does not depend on something else is satyam. That does not depend on time, space any form or name.