THE POWER OF MANTRA - Part 2
Sanskrit - the Magic Language
by Dennis Gaumond
In the last newsletter we talked about the idea that all sounds have an inherent power or meaning - a built in capacity to affect human consciousness. We can refer to this capacity as the sound's 'vibrational meaning.' Sanskrit is one of our most ancient root languages, one that has retained a high degree of connection between the literal meaning and the vibrational meaning of its words. It is highly developed in this sense and is sometimes referred to as a 'science of sound.' In fact, Sanskrit is a remarkable language in many ways.
Sanskrit is said to be between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. It was developed in the Indian sub-continent and passed from generation to generation in oral traditions for millennia before it made an appearance in written form. The oldest example of written Sanskrit is thought to be the Rigveda, a key Hindu text written about 1,700 BC. The grammar and phonology of this ancient tongue was recorded in great detail in the 5th century BC by an Indian linguist/grammarian named Panini.
Sanskrit heavily influenced many of the languages that followed. It is the earliest form of Indo-Aryan language and has had a key influence on most modern Asian languages. It is also the oldest Indo-European language, heavily influencing later root languages such as Latin and Greek, which in turn form the basis of much of today's European languages. For instance, this can be seen in the Sanskrit words for mother - matr, and father - pitr.
Referred to as deva-bhāsā, meaning 'language of the gods,' Sanskrit is thought by many, especially those from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, to be a sacred language. In the Upanishads it is called niśvāsitam brahma, the very 'breath of God.' Hindus believe that this language is eternal and perfect in its wording and word order. They believe that, at the beginning of every cycle of creation, God remembers the proper order and usage of these Vedic words and reintroduces them.
Sanskrit is the language of Yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, the paths of Buddhism and of ancient mystical texts such as the Vedas and Tantras. Probably more than any other language, Sanskrit is equipped to deal with metaphysical and spiritual subject matter. It has words for abstract concepts and intangible objects related to the more subtle nature of reality, affording a grasp of a deeper version of 'truth'. It can describe the subtleties of human nature and the pursuit of enlightenment. Ironically, even though Sanskrit is a language well equipped to deal with a wide range of human feelings, poetry and matters of the heart, it is also a very academic and scientific language.
Many ancient Sanskrit texts are surprisingly complex, dealing with concepts and theories that have emerged recently in modern science. Such ideas as the big bang theory and atomic theory, for example, have counterparts in Tantric texts that go back thousands of years. They have much to say about many disciplines including; astronomy, astrology, cosmogenesis, cosmic evolution, mathematics, geometry,chemistry and physics. Sanskrit is considered to be a very precise and unambiguous language. The very word, Sanskrit means 'language brought to formal perfection.' Scientists at NASA, in an effort to develop a precise 'artificial' language suitable for the techno-computer age, declared that Sanskrit was the only human language that was completely unambiguous. An article in Forbes magazine stated that, as we move toward a more sophisticated technology of artificial intelligence, Sanskrit will increasingly become the language of the computer industry (Forbes Magazine, July, 1987)
As a 'science of sound,' Sanskrit's association with mantra is well known and well documented. A study of the ancient Vedic and Tantric texts will reveal a wealth of information, including pronunciation and the proper usage of language to maximize the transformative effects of the mantras. There is much written on the subtleties of certain sounds and their inherent powers. According to these schools of thought, there are masculine, feminine and neutral mantras; the masculine usually end with hum, the feminine with svaha, and the neutral with namaha.
Root or seed mantras representing different aspects of divinity are called bijas. Here are some examples of bijas and their meanings: Krim; known as the Kali Bija) is associated with power over creation and dissolution, recited for conquest of limitations. - Srim is associated with the feminine energy of abundance, recited for the acquisition of material joys and prosperity. - Klim is associated with procreative desire, recited for joy, bliss and pleasure. As mentioned, the names of the many Hindu deities are themselves mantras, so that the vibrational quality of the name correlates to the aspects of humanity/divinity embodied by the deity. (For a more in-depth methodology on the use of mantra, I recommend the work of Thomas Ashley-Farrand, Andre Padoux, and Russill Paul.)
In the modern era about half of the world's 6,000 languages are fading away into extinction, due to lack of use and the homogenizing effects of globalization. Despite this, Sanskrit seems to be making a comeback. In a wider and wider variety of spiritual pursuits, it is being recognized as a sacred language and acknowledged as a powerful healing tool. As yoga and other Eastern traditions become increasingly popular and as chants and mantras are exposed to ever-widening audiences, it seems that Sanskrit is once again being recognized as a magic language. We can use this ancient gift to help raise our vibrations and to enhance our powers of attraction.
(This article will continue with the next newsletter - you will learn about the significance of the number 108.)