You are on page 1of 9

Preface: In this article we have tried to present the personality of a few numbers as

perceived in the Universal consciousness and described in the various Vedas/


Upanishads. In the present article the number One, Zero and One and half are
described along with the general meaning of the word sankhya (Number) and the
counting process as working in the universe.
We have a plan to describe the following numbers: Two through Ten and other
numbers in a series of articles to be published.
The Sanskrit words in italic can be found in the Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Sir.
Monier Williams available for free in the Internet at the address
http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/monier/ .
The Sanskrit words are ITRANS version as in the above mentioned dictionary.
This is written following the teaching of Rishi (seer) Shri Bijoy Krrishna
Chattopdhyay of Howrah (also was called Howrahs Thakur---The God in Howrah)
and his principal disciple Shri. Tridibnath Bandyopadhaya, the seers who preached
the Vedas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Numbers.
The number is called saMkhyaa in Sanskrit. It means sam + khyaa = samayk
(appropriate) + khyaati(description). Thus by the numbers anything can be
appropriately described.
The word kha means sky, void, hollow. It is that plane in consciousness where
everything is neutralized. The word khyaati means the title or denomination or
definition of the void. Thus khyaati means numbering or describing what does not
have any description. I am not sure of the linguistic root of the English word
number, however, one thing is remarkable that the word number is surprisingly
similar to the combination of two Sanskrit words---- nama (name) + ambara (sky
or void).
kraanti/kramaNa or count; meaning of the word time
The words which stand for transition and motion in a definite path are termed as
kraanti , kramaNa in Sanskrit. These words imply the transition in the course of
time. The word 'count' seems to be related to kraanti/ kramaNa/ kranTa.
We are naturally synchronized with many events which are happening in the
nature. Like we are synchronized with the motion of earth and thus with the rise
and set of the sun and with the seasons. Our sense of time is generally the sense
of synchronization. Thus in Sanskrit, time is called samaya meaning sama (same)
+ ayana (path or orbit). But the other term for time in Sanskrit is kaala which
implies the control or action that brings about the changes. kaala is same as
kaama. kaama means desire. It is the desire of Universal Consciousness that
makes everything moving and changing. Thus kaama can be termed as feeling or
desire inside and kaala as the consequent action outside.
Process of counting, a,an and aNa
The active form or personality of Consciousness is called praaNa which is pra
+aNa(ana) or prime animation.
Activity of Consciousness is naturally animation or ana. This activity or praaNa
introduces change which is felt as time. Action of praaNa or action of time consists
of three distinct phases which are (i) beginning, (ii) existence (iii) termination.
Probably the word one is related to the word ana or an which also means the
praaNa or god of animation; thus the words a and an stand for a single entity
or individual or for anything which is created from praaNa.
praaNa also means / implies kaala or time. Activities of Consciousness are from
the desire (kaama). Thus the activity of Consciousness or praaNa is kaama or
desire and also kaala or time that changes everything. So, with praaNa the
counting starts; the moments, the days and nights, the weeks and months, the
seasons, cycles and periods etc. all originate from praaNa.
Thus Veda has said sah (HE) akamayata (desired) ditIyah(dual) mae aatmaa ( of
my soul) jayate (be generated)----HE (the creator) desired: let duality be created
out of me. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, First Chapter, second BramhaNa?Part,
Fourth Hymn.)
akShara & kShara; Number One and Zero
The Universal Soul or the Universal One who is in the beginning (of creation), is
called akShara. akShara means who does not decay. So, this word
simultaneously creates the sense of decay also. The creation from akShara is
called kShara and it means who has been created by the decay of akShara. So,
akShara means who decays to become kShara but still remains same or as it
is. Thus the entire creation is kShara with the immutable, eternal akShara as the
origin.
In us we can feel akShara as the assertion-less self or soul as explained later in
this article. When seen in individual or in micro, akShara is also called puruSha
(individual entity). We have explained the term puruSha in detail, later in this
article.
The praaNa as described in the previous section above is the activity of akShara or
active form of akShara. akShara splits in kShara and akShara as praaNa
controls the kShara and brings them back in the origin or in HIM (akShara).
In Geeta, Krishna, has mentioned about akShara and kShara as two entities or
individual. It is as below:
Davimou(these two) purushou (individuals) loke(in the universe) kShara cha
akShara cha (kShara and akShara)
There are two individuals in the universe, called kShara and akShara.
kShara(kShara) sarvaNi(is all) bhUtani(those created)
kShara is all those who are created
kUtostha(who is in the peak or who is the root) akShara(akShara) uchhate(is
called)
The one who is above all (above all kShara) is called akShara.
( In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the seer Yajnavalka have described akShara in the
third chapter, eighth BramhaNa/part, while answering the questions of the seer
Gargi.)
So, akShara is ONE and only ONE. This is the plane of singularity. There is no
kramaor succession or sequence here. Time and space is in singularity here.
kShara is many and this many is also part of ONE and so many is ONE. This is
why akShara has been described as asa~Nga or who never gets attached,
touched or influenced by anyone else. So, anything which is created from akShara
there will be a gap or void or space. If you remember above, we have mentioned
kha which means hollow, sky, void. It this void or gap which keeps akShara
isolated. At the same time, this void is not void, it is full of praaNa or in this void
the actions of Consciousness or akShara acts to control the kShara. As long as we
do not know this, void remains as inane.
The word, asa~Nga has another meaning. If everything is ONE, then who will
touch whom, who will get attached to whom?
This control, the praaNa, which control kShara is also the conduit or the thread
between the two. So, praaNa is called sUtrataatmaa means sUtra (thread) +
aatman (soul) and also vaayu. vaayu means air and connected with the root word
vaya meaning weaver; thus praaNa has woven the network to connect evey one
with everyone else.
Here is an extract from Brihadaranyakya:
(Gargi asking Yajnavalkya)
saa(she) ha ubacha (then said), yat(what is) Urdhvam(above)
yajnavalkya(yajnavalkya) divah(the divinity) yat(what is also) avak(below)
prithivya(the earth), yat(what) antaraa(inside) dyava(divinitiy) pRithivI(and earth)
ime(this), yat(who is) bhUtam(the past) cha(and) bhavt(is the present) cha (and)
bhaviShyat(future) cha(and) iti achakShate (is addressed),kasmin(where in)
tat(that) otam cha protam cha (one is impregnated)?
Then she (Gargi) said: Yajnavalkya, the one who is above the heaven and below
the earth, the one who is inside both the earth and the heaven, the one who is
known as the past, present and future, do you know where this one is
impregnated?


(Yajnavalky answering Gargi)
..aakaash (sky) aeva(is certainly) tat otam cha protam cha (that thing is
impregnated
The one is impregnated in the sky.
The word sky is not the exact word for aakaash. Etymologically it means aa
(spread) + kash(radiance) ---so it means the all-pervading and radiating
Consciousness.
Sky or void means where all the directions are in equilibrium. This is why, it is
described that sky is above the heaven and below the earth and inside both the
heaven and earth. Thus all spatial distribution or space is held in singularity in the
sky or void. The origin of all dimensions is the directions. The sky or void is the
plane where all directions are in equilibrium. What we call direction in the physical
space is inclination in our personality. These directions are directions or
inclination of praaNa. The way Consciousness or praaNa is inclined
correspondingly the physical space is made. Similarly, in the sky, all dimensions of
time are in a singularity. This is what has been stated in the above extract from
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. So, this is the kha (sky) in the word saMkhyaa
(number).
(Gargi asking Yajnavalkya)
.kasmin nu khalu aakaashah otah cha protoh cha iti----- in whom the sky is
impregnated?
(Yajnavalkya answering Gargi)
sah (he) ha(then) ubacha(replied) : aeat(this is) vai (certainly) tat (that)
akSharam( akShara) gargi---- He then replied: Gargi, this is certainly that
akShara.
Yajnavalkya further described akShara as beyond all the qualities which we sense
in our perception. The words used to describe this aspect are significant. akShara is
described by words like, not coarse, not atomic, not short, not long etc.
meaning that all the qualities likes coarse, atomic, short, long etc. are there but
not active in akShara. Here in akShara everyone, everything is there but they are
in negativity; they are there but as ONE, as akShara, as Universal Soul and not in
any way with separate identity. Thus it is zero and one both. Zero, because no one
is active; One because it is One and no one else.

The number of praaNa , the number one & half (1.5)
The Universal consciousness as akShara has split as different entities or kShara
and holds each entity as His/ Her own part/form. This aspect of holding and
controlling is called praaNa. ONE is holding the dissected One (second) in
Oneness. This is 1+ (dissected ONE) or One and half (1.5).
The word ardha in Sanskrit stands for the word half. This word ardha is from the
root word Ridh which means to grow. It implies the growing of ONE and thus
denoted by , i.e. ONE grown or split into duality. The number one and half
conveys something more. This number in Sanskrit is called adhyardha which
means adhi (over and above, additional) + ardha (half). praaNa has been
described in Veda (Brihadarnyaka Upanishad) by this number with the explanation
that praaNa is the deity (revealing personality of Consciousness) who while
remaining One still grows i.e. who remains ONE as well as splits into many and
grows. It also implies that though akShara as praaNa splits into many as different
entities, still akshara remains as ONE. This universe is expansion of the Universal
Soul or ONE and who remains ONE in all the sense of ONE though becoming many
simultaneously. ONE sees many as ONE only as they are made of ONE and
created by ONE.
The description in Brihadaranyaka is as below:
katamah (who is) adhyardhah (one and half)?
Who is one and half?
yah(who) ayam(this) pavate(flows)
The very one who flows .
Tat(that) ahuh(say)
However it is said that
yat (that) ayam(like) aeka(one) iva(as if) pavate (flows)
It flows as if it is one.
atha katahm (then how) adhyardhah (one and half)
Then how it is one and half?
Yat (since) asmin(in it) idam(these) sarvam(all) adhi ardhanat (grows) ten (by
that) adhyardhah (one and half)
By the fact that all these grow in/within it, it is called one and half.
katam (who is) aekah (one) aeva (so) ?
So who is the one?
praaNa, sah(he is) brahma(who is expanding as everything), tyat(that) iti
achakShate (he is addressed).
One is praaNa, expanding as everything and he is thus addressed as brahma.
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, third chapter, ninth hymn.)
The word brahma is from the root word bRih meaning to expand or to grow.
The word brahma means who has grown into everything or who is growing into
everything
Assertion of ONE and association
The word aeka means one and consists of the vowel ae which is used to express
association like aeShah gandhah (this fragrance) or aetani (all) sarvani(these) etc.
oi is the vowel in the Sanskrit alphabet series which is next to the vowel ae. oi
is the expansion of ae and used to direct or used to specify direction. Thus, in
Consciousness, before any activity, first comes the sense of one with assertion.
This is expressed as aham or I am. Once, the ONE asserts as I, the next thing
that happens in Consciousness is association and then fixing direction or
determination.
aham or I am is the first step or the first personality of the Consciousness in the
process of the assertion of Soul (or assertion-less One) or akShara. The
immediate expression of this assertion is aham or I am. Like we say I am the
one. or I saw a flower. Thus I always gets associated with duality. The sense of
One is always associated with the sense of duality. One cannot exist without the
other or without a second one.
Hence, akShara is zero and one; praaNa is one and half.
Expression of self and the rise of the sun
This also happens every day when we get up from the sleep. First we get back our-
selves and then we get the rest of the world. The assertive I loses its assertion as
it sleeps. I vanishes in its assertion less form also called soul or aatmaan or
immutable soul. Everyday morning, we get up, asserting as I am. The immutable
soul does not sleep, does not change and does not die. Though we do not have the
feeling of existence or non-existence during the sleep, still we say I have slept
well. This is because the soul remains as I disappears in the soul during our
sleep. Same thing happens during death. The subject of sleep, dream, wakefulness
and of immutable soul have been dealt in great detail in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
Thus as the word aham is the rise of I or I am. The same rise of Consciousness
in the external world is called aha meaning day.
aham/ I am and the universe
The word aham signifies the permutations and combinations of all the alphabets,
starting from the first vowel a and ending with the last consonant ha. The
expressions of Consciousness are the words. Anything, any being and the physical
world is made of the words of Consciousness. Similarly, our expressions are the
words. Our feelings are made of words and expressed by words. Thus the
expression aham signifies that I am the entire Universe. I am all that can be
created by the permutations and combinations of all the alphabets from the first
vowel a to the last consonant ha. The alphabet a denotes beginning thus the
word adya means today. The alphabet ha denotes end or annihilation and thus
the word han means to put to death. So, aham or I am is everything from the
beginning to the end. 'I am everything in the universe'. As the alphabets or the
Consciousness as the building elements make the word or the world, so the
alphabets are also called akShara in Sanskrit.
The divine I and the eye-----indra the observer.
In the Upanishads, the entity or the being or the individual has been stated to
be located in the right eye and is called indra. indra means idam (it) + dra
(observer). So, indra is the one who is knowing or observing everything. So, each
of us as a conscious being is indra. The Vedas and mythology have mentioned
about indra with thousands of wounds and indra with thousands of shining eyes.
We are of course indra with thousands of wounds inflicted due to our vision mingled
with senses of duality. Observing duality means observing everything else without
knowing the observer or the real self. Real self is the immutable soul or assertion
less self resting on whom the act of observation happens. In all our
observations, we get coloured and tainted by what we observe but at the same
time we remain unchanged and untainted as the immutable soul in our core. This
immutable soul is indra without wounds and is our root. The wounds are the
effects of time which is the action of Consciousness and due to which we feel, we
see, we hear. We call them wounds because our life leads us to the death
because whatever we get or know we feel them as different. The fear stems from
duality (dvitIyat vai bhoyam bhavati-----Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, First chapter,
Fourth BraahmaNa, Second hymn); death is due to knowing the world as different
from self or Soul. If there is ONE and ONLY ONE where we will lose ourselves and
who will scare whom! Here is a quote from Upanishad:
manasa aeva (by the mind) idam (it) aptavyam (is achievable)
By the mind it is achievable.
na iha (not here) nana(difference) asti (exists) kinchana(at all)
No difference exists here at all.
mRityoh (from the death / difference) sa(he) mRityum(death) gachati(goes)
From the death (or from the state of experiencing duality)he goes into death.
Ya(who) iha(here) nana(different) iva(as) pashyti(sees)
Who here sees everything as different (from each other). (KaTha Upanishad,
Second chapter, First part, eleventh hymn).

At one end the time is moving at the other end we remain unchanged, immutable;
there the time is still. This is why the term for eye in Sanskrit is akShi which also
means axis (akSha in Sanskrit). Eye is the centre of the orbit and the One at the
centre is fixed and immutable. Eye is the centre of time and vision. It is same as
the sun in the external sky as the centre of vision (or light) as well as time. But the
events, i.e. whatever we know or feel, obscure the immutable self or soul also
called aatmaan or aatmabodh or nijabodh. Thus we feel only the events and not
the obvious, always present assertion less self or immutable soul beyond every
association of I or self with the feelings or events.
Thus this central personality is the I (Eye) or the observer. It is the first person.
Here is an extract from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad on indra and the eye:
indha (indhaone who is flagrant) ha vai (is certainly) naama (name) yah (who)
ayam (in this) daKshiNe (right) akShamaN (eye) puruShah(entity or person); tam
vai aetam (that he) indha santam(though being indha) indra iti (as indra)
aachakShate (is called)----indha (one who is flagrant) is the name of the
entity/person who is in the right eye; though he is indha (radiant or who produces
light or vision) , still he is called as indra (who perceives what is produced as vision
or who sees).(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, fourth chapter, second Brahmin, second
hymn.)
atma stouti---The Self praising hymns of the Universal Soul
Here is an extract from the hymns of Rik Veda on Universal I am or aham sang by
the goddess vaak (see below for vaak):
aham (Iam) raShtrI (the one reigning)
I am the one reigning!
sangamanI (I act inside the) vasunaam (vasu)
I function inside the vasu ( vasu are the gods dominating on the stability; thus
vastu means object and vasu also means wealth).
chikituShi (I kindle the consciousness in all) pratham(so I am the first)
yaj~nianam(who is worshipped; activity of Consciousness is yaj~na)
I kindle the consciousness in all, so I am the first among those who is worshipped!
taam(those) ma(me) devah(deities) vyadadhuh (spread me) purutra (severally)
Those deities have been my dispersed forms everywhere
bhuristhatram (staying in multiple places) bhuri aveshayantim (pervading many)
I am present numerously everywhere, I am pervading everyone numerously.
maya (by me) so (that) annam (food) atti (one eats)
It is by me one eats the food
Yo (who) vipashyati (sees)
It is by me one sees
yah(who) praNiti (breathes)
It is by me one breathes
yah(who) im(only) shriNoti(hears) uktam (spoken words)
It is by me only one can hear the spoken words
amantavah (Those who do not know) mam(me) te(they) upakShianti (live on me)
Those who do not perceive me they also live on me
shrudhi (listen) shruta(deserving listener) shrdhivam (on what you can rely/ which
provides shelter) te (to you) vadami (I am speaking)
Listen, you deserving listeners, these words those provide you the shelter and
which I myself am speaking to you.
The above are parts of the hymns of vaak (see below for vaak) and also known as
aatma stuti---self praising hymns. These are part of Rik veda.
(If you wish you may read the all the hymns related to this divine I speaking, you
may read it in the following link:
<
http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/janaswamy/janaswamy_add_info/RJ_Devi_Suktam.
pdf)>
We will discuss the other numbers in the subsequent articles.
(debkumar.lahiri@gmail.com)