Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 10
The teacher said: “Thy words, O honoured one, are true and there is no taint in them. Know that the meaning of the words must be understood before the meaning of the whole sentence becomes clear”.
The holy teacher in reply addresses the disciple as ’Bhavan’ which is a Sanskrit word indicative of very high honour. He holds him not only in great affection but also in great esteem. It is true that to have access to the heart of a person who wants to understand the holy truth you have to have affection for him and also reverence. Vulgar people think that affection and respect do not go together, but the tradition of holy Vedanta, is to the contrary.
Then the teacher pronounces the expression of the disciple to be free from all taint – that is to say, there is no diplomacy about it, no attempt to conceal ignorance, no high-sounding talk and no boasting. The words of the disciple are pure, simple, true and full of reverence. This is to be carefully noted by those who want to conform to the tradition of the holy teachings.
The teacher points out that a sentence, which is a combination of words, can be understood as a whole only when the meanings of the words are made clear.
In some cases the meaning of the words is obscure and the sentence is interpreted to suit the policy of the speaker. In the French Revolution the words ‘fraternity’ ,’equality’ and ‘liberty’ were widely used, but the leaders like Mirabeau, Danton and Robespierre had no intention of upholding these ideals. In our intercourse we must therefore recognise the meaning of the words which are used.
This verse is an expression of the Acharya’s deep love of dharma.