Sanskrit has been called the language of ‘God’ – it certainly has a resonance, innotation and esoteric beauty about it that stirs the soul bridging our human experience with our spiritual journey.
The language of Sanskrit – The Names of the Chakras (Wheel or Vortex of Energy) (Image coutesy Pinterest)
Sanskrit is also known as Devavani, the ‘divine’ language; which in turn means ‘the dwelling place of the Gods’. It is poetic and nuanced; each sound or collection of sounds has so many variation and tones of meaning.
Perhaps the ultimate ‘sound’ of Sanskrit is found in the devotional chants known as Kirtan.
When I was in India, we started each day from the Yoga Shala with ‘Call and Reply’ Kirtan, our voices lifted gently over the foothills of the Himalayas and wafted across Mother Ganga on silken swathes of mist.
The Omega Institute say:
“Known in Sanskrit as kirtan, devotional chanting awakens a longing in the heart for the experience of inner silence, boundless love, and intimate union with the divine. Emerging from Hindu traditions in India, kirtan is practiced by millions of people. The call-and-response, rhythmic quality of these unifying chants kindles an exhilarating, joyful mood and is accepted as one of the surest paths to enlightenment. In recent years, pioneering musicians and seekers have brought this magical tradition to the West.”
(From Krisha Das Retreat in 2017 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies 150 Lake Drive Rhinebeck, NY 12572 United States).
For those who are not Indian, the langage and devotional timbre are evokative of church hymns. After experiencing Sanskrit first hand in its birthplace I traveled to the island of Crete and had the opportunity to sit for a morning in a church listening to the Orthodox Greek chants and again had the sublime transcendent experience of being carried on sound across a great divide to an embrace with the ‘One’ the ‘Source’.
AS in India after our early morning pre-dawn choruses; walking out of that church I was levitating – my feet skimmed the earth and today it takes only a moment to mentally, spiritually and emotionally travel back to those spaces in time.
Sanskrit like all ancient languages speaks to something far deeper than our mere understanding of words – for even without knowing the meaning of these words our hearts are transformed, mellowed, softened and yielded gently and urgently to the silent voice of ‘God’.
This language of God known as ‘Divine’ language which refers to the language that is used in divine or spiritual contexts as opposed to in every day communications.
As a result spiritual texts are written in this language just as first translation of biblical texts were written in Greek.
Sanskrit, Greek and Latin known as the Classical Languages are thought to date back as far as about 18th century BCE;
In terms of antiquity William Jones a law maker and devout Christian was sent to India from Britain when India was under Colonial Rule discovered this about the Sanskrit language;
… “whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.”
although Hebrew is the first language of the Bible it is along with a cluster of other languages of the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family have no relationship to the Greek or Sanskrit languages and declined in popularity while Greek rose in common usage. It appears these languages were in use in various different geographic locations in ancient times.
Known as the Torah the first five books of the Hebrew Bible was written in Biblical Hebrew a language known as ‘The Holy Language’ and was in popular use around 6th Century BCE. While other Holy texts such as …
“The Upanishads are written in Sanskrit; Sanskrit is the oldest language on earth. The very word ‘sanskrit’ means transformed, adorned, crowned, decorated, refined — but remember the word ‘transformed’.”
Sanskrit is considered by linguists as harmonious and thus it illuminated those who used it and this illumination became known as ‘enlightenment’.
As a yoga teacher I prefer to use the Sanskrit terms and allow the sounds to bathe students in the mystical and esoteric energies of the language rather than substitute these words with English as a means of de-mystification. I tend to think the ‘mystification’ yields us to the ‘wonder’ that is life. Even the gaps between words in Sanskrit are laden with energy – the ‘energy of light’ (enlightenment); is said to enter through the chinks, the tiny spaces between the colours the words create.
Sanskrit is the language of the traditional and classical texts of the Indian sub-continent; tombs such as the well known Bhagavadgita and the Upanishads are written in Sanskrit.
Because Sanskrit is an Indo-Aryan language it is similar to Greek – hence the spirit moving within while being transfixed for the morning in a church in Crete. Our souls simply respond to these from a deeply rooted connection with Source.
For more on Sanskrit check out this page regularly as common ‘Sanskrit’ terms your yoga teacher may use will be explored ad explained…
Images: Courtesy Pinterest https://www.pinterest.nz/suraacharya/sanskrit/?lp=true
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