The eminent spiritual language of Asia is Sanskrit, a writing style that is the classical language of Indian, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Jainism. The term Sanskrit actually means ‘refined’, ‘consecrated’, and ‘sanctified’, all qualities that make it a ‘high’ language, something used for religious and scientific discourse and now even in modern day life with mantra, yoga, and naming (Ager). In this essay, the various meanings, purposes, lettering, and expressions of Sanskrit are discussed with respect to their application within both history and everyday life. In learning about Sanskrit, one may perceive the beauty and power within this most ancient and profound of languages.
The Sanskrit language comes to humanity from an urbanized and highly evolved civilization within the Indus Valley, India, within the Aryan migration period (Lowtiz and Datta 7). Aryan, while known to many as ‘Germanic’ with light hair and blue eyes, actually refers to a people of spiritual power. The Aryans of India spoke Sanskrit, with fair-skin, who roamed across North-West India from Central Asia as nomadic warriors (Lowitz and Datta 7). Sanskrit’s earliest form is the Rig Veda, a spiritual text as old as 1500 B.C.E. Thanks to the diligent work of trained holy men, the language was codified and catalogued in 500 B.C.E. giving rise to the study and field of linguistics (Lowtiz and Datta 8).
Sanskrit is used to house an enormous amount of Hindu Gods. The word Sanskrit also means, “language of the gods”, a term that refers to its capacity to capture and reveal divine qualities of intelligence and light (Lowtiz and Datta 8). Legend has it that the Divine Light, or God, took the form of the Sanskrit alphabet’s first seven dozen letters, something that will be discussed at greater length below. Culturally, this sort of lore helps to explain why the language has an almost living quality to it. Many people who encounter this language claim it has its own intelligence and will even utilize such knowledge through repetition of certain words at great length within the practice of Mantra.
Mantra is a key use of Sanskrit. The spiritual significance of every word may be savored and harnessed through their specific repetition within specific sequences. The idea is that within Mantra ritual, a meditative inner atmosphere can be cultivated that may then assist in gaining peace of mind and clarity. Mantras come in many varieties with purposes that range from talking to God, to healing, bringing happiness, and even immortality. The Maha-Mrityumjaya Mantra is a curing mantra that can be chanted to protect one against death and accidents of all sort. The Mantra Bestows Peace, Wealth, Prosperity, Satisfaction, and helps in realizing eternal life (Lowitz and Datta 222). It goes,
Sanskrit is well known for having given the world many of its most poetic and powerful of terms. The word OM is a Sanskrit word that many recognize as God’s own sacred sound.
Shown to the right, each quality of the word has a property that serves to create the overall affect of the sound. Pronounced “OHM or A-U-M”, the ohm symbol is the sound of creation that symbolizes the infinite. It thus is a gateway word to and from the outer beyond, the infinite light of God. The syllables are a mystery that comprise the entirety of the vocal intonation set. Starting with the ‘A;, the sound of the heart which is pronounced with the tip of the tongue, the sound continues with the ‘U’, a sound of the abdomen made with the middle mouth, while the ‘M’, of the head and back mouth, closes the sound and completes the word (Heaven Meets Earth). The entirety of all sound is thus to be found in the pronunciation of OM which suggests it’s all encompassing and unified nature. The connotations of Om have led some to conclude its actual meaning is love (Heaven Meets Earth). The depth of this symbol extends to its actual design. Using the numbering above, OM’s parts may be understood as
1. The waking state of the ego represented in the curve.
2. The deep sleep and/or the unconscious is figured in curve two.
3. The dream state connecting waking and sleeping is represented in shape three.
4. The dot is the absolute state of consciousness of omnipresence and omniscience that fructifies all the other consciousness states.
5. The dash is ‘maya’ the Eastern-Religion’s term for the ‘veil’ of illusion that seems to exist between the absolute and the relative states of consciousness.
The design of the OM, reveals much not only about the nature of existence and consciousness but also the Sanskrit language and the power it has to communicate complex ideas within an aesthetically pleasing and widely disseminated format.
Some other Yogic terms in Sanskrit that might be intriguing to read and say out loud are the chakra names, the seven energy centers of the body which Yoga harnesses in the awakening process. The philosophy goes that the Yogi, one who is studying yoga, begins in a place of ignorance, or at the bottom so to speak. Thus the spectrum begins with the
- Red Muldadhara chakra, an astral energy center in the genital and/or anus centers which connects one to the Earth. (Seven Chakras).
- The next chakra is the Sacral chakra, the orange center below the navel that is associated with sexuality and balance of emotions (Seven Chakras).
- Following is the yellow Manipura, an energy center in the solar plexus responsible for the direction of personal power and self-esteem (Seven Chakras).
- At the heart, there is the Anahata chakra, a word that means ‘unstruck’. The color green, love, relationships, touch and the thymus are all related to this chakra (Seven Chakras).
- The fifth chakra is the Vishuda, meaning purification. This chakra is at the base of the neck and is blue. Not surprisingly, this is where communication’s etheric energy is brought forth from (Seven Chakras).
- The Sixth Chakra is the Anja, a word that infers ‘to perceive, to know, to command’. The sixth chakra is above and behind the eyebrows and is usually observed in the color purple. It is the regulator for intuition and wisdom (Seven Chakras).
- The seventh chakra, located at and/or on the crown, is the Sahasrara, a term meaning ‘Thousandfold’. It is violet, gold, white, and platinum. This chakra is the gateway to the beyond and thus is ineffable (Seven Chakras).
All the technical business of Yoga aside, there is an almost undeniable attraction to the warm and distinct sound of Sanskrit when spoken. This language is not only used for scholarly discourse on spiritual matters but also in poetry. A few helpful and charming words of Sankrit hopefully can help one to Smita- Smile. These words are chosen from a list of baby names, each of which is based upon an actual Sanskrit word.
The Sanskrit language is a detailed and philosophic dialectic that has developed over centuries thanks to the combined holy efforts of many Indian, Hindu, and Buddhist holy people. Since its use helped to give rise to linguistics and also the attainment of many different spiritual Truths, it is a particularly interesting language to examine and know about. The language’s poetic power is instantaneously recognizable by those who utter their words out loud with an open mind and heart. The uses of Sanskrit for beginners in the West may include, mantra, yoga, and even the creative application of the children names explored.
Ager, Simon. Sanskrit. Omniglot, 2016. Web. August 8, 2016. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sanskrit.htm.
AWM. Sanskrit Names with Powerful Meanings. AWM, n.d. Web. August 11, 2016. http://awm.com/sanskrit-names-2/#
Glossary of Sanskrit Terms. Self Discovery Portal.com, 2016.. Web. August 8, 2016. http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/cmSanskrit.htm.
Heaven meets Earth. The Anatomy of the Symbol of Om. Heaven Meets Earth, n.d. Web. August 12, 2016.
Lowitz, Leza & Datta, Reema. Sacred Sanskrit Words: For Yoga, Chant, and Meditation. Stone Bridge Press, 2004. Web. August 12, 2016. https://books.google.com/books?id=qIIfHN4JCcwC&dq=sanskrit+words&source=gbs_navlinks_s.
Seven Chakras-An Overview. Sirenabernal.com, 2012. Web. August 8, 2016. http://www.sirenabernal.com/the-seven-chakras-an-overview/.