Agama vs Nigama: The Role of Nigama Communicator

By Bal Ram Singh, PhD

Agama and Nigama are naturally interconnected whereby one reinforces the other with mutual respect. For example, the observational experience of yoga is essential for realizing the Vedic knowledge that often is referred to as shruti based knowledge, and also considered apaurusheya or beyond human reach. Thus, Veda becomes the Nigama knowledge system.

In the case of shruti, it is argued that the knowledge is either from guru to disciple or directly from the Supreme Brahm!

According to Indian philosophy, the knowledge is in the ether element or the Aakash tatva of the panchabhutas. Sound is its tanmatra or the quality that expresses it. This is the origin of the universe called a ‘Big Bang,’ not a ‘Big Flash,’ even though what we see around us is the light, not the sound.

Sound represents vibration of the karma according to the Jain philosophy or the oscillation of the nasadiya sukta of the RigVeda. This oscillation/vibration is the integral feature of the little of the littlest like the subatomic particles and  the large of the largest like the galaxies. They all go around at certain frequencies, a portion of which are hearable to human ears, and the human vocal cord is capable of producing only a very tiny part of these frequencies.

Human vocal cord has capabilities to vibrate and produce certain frequencies of sound. Generation of sound and sound machinery employs genetic and molecular systems operating in conjunctions to produce a unique sound for each individual that has never been produced and would never be produced.

For hearing also, a complex set of molecular and genetic bases is integrated creating a system that receives, transmits, and translates the sound to make sense. The sound waves enter the inner ear and then into the cochlea, a snail-shaped organ. The cochlea is filled with a fluid that moves in response to the vibrations from the oval window. As the fluid moves, 25,000 nerve endings are set into motion.

These nerve endings transform the vibrations into electrical impulses that then travel along the eighth cranial nerve (auditory nerve) to the brain.The brain then interprets these signals, and this is how we hear.

Thus, both sound production and hearing involve an intricate set of vibrations associated with genetic material. Molecular structures, physiology involving movement of ions, proteins, tissues, and organs.

The frequencies vibrations and motions in these systems range from less than femtoseconds to seconds, and even days to years. Shruti involves hearing the sounds from outside, but also inside, and thus the inner sound could be equally or even more effective and efficient to acquire knowledge. The deductive of learning could in fact involve inner listening as much or even more than listening to others. This may also involve development of hypotheses and practices to test and experience the knowledge.

The lack of this process leads to misunderstandings of the knowledge available in books which was created by the experience through observations or hearing the inner vibrations in processes like epiphany.

The natural human tools are not just means of communication outwardly but also inwardly, thus making them integrated with the person’s inner being, which can receive and communicate the information to others on those levels.

The information actually originates internally at para level or externally at apara level. At the para level it passes through pashyanti (darshan or vision), madhyama (thoughts), and vaikhari (speech). According to Maharishi Vedic Science (Sinha and Singh, 2018, In: Vedic Traditions for Education and Learning, (K. M. Naryayanan and S. Tiwari, editors), SCV, Inc. for World Association of Vedic Studies, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pp. 111-123.), speech or language ultimately arises from the basis of speech, which is pure consciousness or the Self.

Practically speaking, ordinary language emerges directly from the level of awareness of the speaker, travels to the listener, sinks into the listener’s consciousness to whatever level it might, depending upon the listener’s level of awareness, and evokes as much of what originally gave rise to the word as the listener can receive. If both speaker and listener have the basis of speech fully developed in their consciousness, then communication will be most meaningful and effective. Thus, deductive knowledge requires that level of communicator.

Balram Singh is a Professor and the President of the Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, researching Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedic education, and Vedic social and political traditions. He is also an adjunct faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

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