Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Latin Roots of the Yoga-Sutra--Chapter 1--Aphorism 5

Welcome back fans of Latin roots as they relate to English vocabulary words! Recently I have been focusing this SAT English vocabulary blog on analyzing the Latin root words of titles of great English and world literature, and then discussing why those great works are nonpareil. I have recently perused Patanjali's great work concerning yoga, the Yoga-Sutra, translated by Chip Hartranft. I have found the aphoristic style of the Yoga-Sutra to be not only engaging, but also deeply profound; in it, Patanjali discusses the considerable spiritual, mental, and physical rewards that one can derive from the practice of yoga, which is much, much more than the usually held western conception of yoga as just the asanas, or physical postures/poses. During the next two years or so, I will devote myself to writing about each of Patanjali's aphorisms, sequentially, contained in his remarkable 2nd-century BCE text, with a focus on analyzing the text in terms of its classical Greek and Latin roots of the fine English translation, and then providing an individual's exegesis of the text itself, based upon my own wonderful experience with yoga thus far. It has been said that memorizing the Sanskrit text of the Yoga-Sutra in and of itself can re-pattern the mind; I am most curious to see if this phenomenon is also metalinguistic, that is, can English and its root words effect the same transformation? Last week I focused on the Latin roots of the Yoga-Sutra: Chapter 1: Aphorism 4. This week I move on to:

Aphorism 5: There are five types of patterns, including both hurtful and benign.

Let's first discuss the Greek and Latin roots of four of the following words above:

type: From the Greek root typos: "blow, impression, form." One "types" on a keyboard by making "impressions" on the keys with one's fingers, just as a "type" of candy is the "form" it takes, just as character traits "form" a "type" of person. Numerous SAT and GRE-level vocabulary words run through the Greek root typos, including: archetype, stereotype, atypical, typify, prototype, genotype, and timbre. Pattern: from the Latin word pater, patris: “father;” a “pattern” is the “father” of something because it generates the limitations within which forms can arise, that is, according to its “pattern,” in much the same way that a father’s genetic information helps form the physical “pattern” of his offspring, and also the child’s mental “patterning” by the way that the father behaves, highly influencing the child. Other SAT and GRE-level derivatives from pater, patris include: patriarch, paternal, patron, patronize, repatriate, patriarch, and compatriot. Include: from the prolific Latin verb claudo, claudere, clausi, clausum: "shut, close;" when something is "included" with something else, it is etymologically "shut in" with it. This root has many, many English derivatives at the SAT and GRE-level that come from it, "including" but not limited to the ff.: exclusive, inclusion, exclusion, preclude, occlude, recluse, conclusive, closure, disclosure, seclude, conclusive, claustrophobia, seclusion, cloister, and foreclose. For even more SAT and GRE vocabulary words, check out www.wordempire.com where you will find many more examples! Benign: this word comes directly from the Latin word benignus: "kind;" this includes the Latin adverb bene: well and ago, agere: "do;" so, someone who "does well" is kind. English words are legion from ago, agere (in the 100s); from bene: benediction, benefactor, beneficent, benevolent, beneficial, etc. Aphorism 5: There are five types of patterns, including both hurtful and benign. As we learned in my last post concerning aphorism 4, patterns of thought that are formed at birth and early on in life limit one's view of reality, coloring one's awareness of what the world truly is and restricting it to the view of the pattern, which is not necessarily where reality lies, but only the reality of the pattern itself, which is not actual truth or clear perception. Hence, to understand how to supersede such patterning, one must learn the "types" or forms of these patterns; all of them, according to Patanjali, are not necessarily hurtful, although some are. Being able to harness those that are benign to further the process towards enlightenment and obviating those that are hurtful will take us a long way towards fulfilling our goal, that is, to allow one's awareness of true reality to be unhindered and unfettered by those patterns. We all live with the purview or even control of these patterns, and without even being able to recognize them as such, one cannot know how to deal with them, for through the patterns we perceive the reality dictated by the pattern, not unadulterated, pure reality. This concept is fully discussed in Plato's Allegory of the Cave, in which men live who have only ever seen shadows dancing on the wall of the cave and have never been out in the real world; imagine one man's surprise one day when he leaves the cave and comes upon glorious, colorful, three-dimensional reality--what a blow to his mind and preconceptions that must have been! In much the same way do our mind's patterns cause us to remain in the shadows, shackling awareness and giving us only the smallest glimpses of the glory of reality as it truly is. My next post will focus on aphorism 6: They are right perception, misperception, conceptualization, deep sleep, and remembering. Fascinated with English vocabulary words? Want to pick them apart into their constituent Greek and Latin roots? Want to know even more SAT and GRE words that come from the Latin root words pater, bene, ago, and claudo? Studying hard for the SAT or GRE verbal section, and just can't get a handle on all of those vocabulary words, which are truly legion? Check out www.wordempire.com , where you will find the most comprehensive Greek and Latin roots dictionary available today, and also the most beautiful...it's in full color, and artistically designed. There's even a Greek and Latin roots poster available, which nicely illustrates the full power of what Greek and Latin root words can do for you.