chapter  23
22 Pages

Darçana

ByJohn A. Grimes

Darçana, from the Sanskrit root d®ç, “to see,” implies not only vision (which includesinsight, intuition, and vision of the truth) but also the instrument of vision (such as viewpoint, worldview, doctrine, and philosophical system) (Grimes 1996: 109). In a word, darçana implies “sight” in all its myriad connotations, and the term, like most Sanskrit terms, is multisignificant, multivalent. Thus, besides expressing viewpoints or perspectives, the term also suggests the idea of right vision or realization (mok‚a). The former meaning customarily refers to the great Hindu philosophical systems (Ía∂darçanas). Here, it is not so much a search for the truth as it is an exposition, elaboration, clarification, vindication, and conceptual fixation of what has been received. The latter meaning, on the other hand, refers to the person experiencing a vision or insight. In this case, it is direct, personal, and experiential. In other words, the “seeing” implied by the term “darçana” includes both conceptual knowledge and perceptual observation, critical exposition and intuitional experience, logical inquiry and spiritual insight, concrete and abstract, and gross and subtle. The English expression “I see” contains a hint of this multivalence in that it denotes both a direct vision as well as a correct understanding. It may be noted that the term “darçana” is also used, in certain contexts, to refer to the audience or “auspicious sight” of a revered, great, or holy person, deity, or place (Eck 1981b: 3).