Thursday, January 07, 2010

Meet Shree Vallabh, the Microblogger, er the Twitterer of the medieval period

The advent of the 21st century saw the rise of social media, the so-called web 2.0 which facilitated anyone with a computer and internet to publish their thoughts instantly for the entire world to read and comment. However, not everyone is interested or gifted to write a detailed articles or blog posts, that's where the microblogging phenomenon comes into picture. Twitter is an example of it as it allows one to publish a short (140 character i.e. 10-15 words) "microblog" to describe anything one wants. You can follow this blog on twitter @ShuddhAdwait

Now, fast backward to the medieval period (15th century AD) when scholars used to write lengthy commentaries on scriptures to establish their philosophy. However, there was one who was different! Meet Shree Vallabh, the microblogger, er the twitterer of the spirituality. Vallabhacharya's writing was so succinct that few sentences would suffice him to comment on a Brahm Sutra of Ved Vyas (who himself was a great twitterer to express the entire Vedas as Brahm Sutras or shall we say, Brahm Tweets!) Here is an example of a Sutra and the commentary:

अत एव न देवता भूतं च || १|२|८|२७ ||
वैश्वानरो न ऊत्येत्यादिमन्त्रैर्देवताया महाभूताग्नेर्वा वाक्यार्थतेति कस्यचिद बुद्धिः स्यात | तदप्यतिदेशेनैव परिहरति | मुख्योपपत्तिर्भगवत्परत्वे संभवति नान्यकल्पना युक्तेति ||

This sutra is a part of the Vaishvanar-adhikaran which is a part of the second section of the first chapter of Anubhashya. Here Vallabhacharya establishes that Brahm is the Vaishvanar who is universal and not just limited to the devata (the belly-fire or digestion acid of a living entity), because the main purpose of Brahm Sutra is related to the Supreme Brahm and not any other imagination.

Coming back to microblogging, it requires a great deal of intellectual skill to express a complex topic into a few words - anyone who had to do a comprehension or summarization as part of the school exam knows how difficult it can get. Late Prof G H Bhatt has glorified this brevity of Vallabhacharya in his book Shree Vallabhacharya and his Doctrines. Especially read the chapters 8 and 9 where it is also established how the mentality of Vitthalnathji was different from that of his father Vallabhacharya, resulting in stark contrast of writing and expressions.

Vallabhacharya has also written "macroblogs". In fact, the above book clarifies why Anubhashya is called Anu-Bhashya and hints that there was a Brihad-Bhashya written by Vallabhachrya but was lost. By the way, Bhashya in sanskrit means "the speech/commentary" which in bird language would mean "tweets", there you have it! The take away from this blog post is that depending on the circumstances, you should be able to convey a message as succinctly and precisely as possible. It reflects your intellectual scientific advancement. Otherwise you will litter the blogosphere with spam!