Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 57 of (Vol 2) of 05 Dec 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 57 of (Vol 2) of 05 Dec 2007.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1950's and early 60's. Note 3. It may please be noted that as it is Periyaval is taking pains to make people understand in Tamil, the words of the Vedas which are in 'Chandas'. This I am translating into English, at times meaning a two way translation. So, I have to use the phrase, 'I mean / meaning / to mean / that is / ie.,' more often! So, please bear with me, that

Sikshai: Veda's Nose or the Breathing System

1. Sikshai is the most important part of the six parts of the Vedas. Sikshai is the Nose or the breathing system. It does not mean that it is meant for smelling. We breath through the nose, on which is our life dependent. Similarly, Sikshai is the Life Breath of the Vedas! On what is the life of the Veda Mantras depend on? Every letter of the Mantras have to be uttered / chanted with absolute clarity and correctness. That is known as 'Akshara Suddham'. Moreover, each letter has to be pronounced with 'normal' / 'more' (Udaattam) / 'higher than more' (Anudaattam) / 'lower than normal' (Swaritam), emphasis. If the pronounciation is correctly, as it should be, that is known as 'Swara Suddham'. When the Mantra is uttered with, 'swara suddham and akshara suddham' then only it will have the desired salubrious effect. Even when we do not know the meaning, the Mantra effect will be there, if correctly pronounced. ('Suddham' can become 'Saddham', meaning that 'clarity of sound can become confusion of noise'! {No 'pun' meant on the name of the Late President of Iraq.} The effect can be far from the expected, with a slight change in the way it is said.) So for Vedas, which is a collection of Mantras, the Life depends upon the ' form of Sound'.

2. There is a Mantra known as, 'Thel kottu mantram'. Its meaning is not to be told. It is the letters in that Mantra which has the power, to bring down the effect of the poison of the Scorpion bite! Some sounds have some special power. Why should the 'Devasa Mantras', which are chanted during the function held on the, 'Thithi' of the death of the departed souls, be only in Sanskrit? Why not in Tamil or English? The meaning can be the same, but, it is the sound effect which varies! There are some who know some Mantras with harmful and deleterious effects, known as 'Pilly Soonyam'. Once identified, people used to forcibly remove their teeth! The idea is that, once the teeth is removed, pronounciation is not the same anymore and the effect of uttering the Mantra is Zero! For Vedas, 'Uchchaaranam', meaning the way the letters and words are uttered is the most important requirement. How to ensure this? For this, every letter, every word and every combined word has to be clearly defined phonetically. Siksha Saastram does that.

3. To give the 'lakshana' or definition of each letter of the Vedas is the job of the Siksha Saastram. In other languages, mostly the method of pronouncing the words is known as phonetics. In English, it is mostly based on usage. In Vedas, this phonetics is rather important because, any slight change in the the way letters and words are uttered, is going to make changes in the meaning and more importantly in the effect of the Mantras! Hence, Vedic Phonetics is known as Siksha Saastram and kept as the first of the parts of the Veda Purusha. In Tamil, it could be called the, 'Ezhuththu Ilakkanam'. Siksha has been talked about in Veda Mudi, that is the Thaithreeya Upanishad, as 'Seeksha Valli'. It starts with the statement, "...let us now deliberate in detail on the Seeksha Saastra." Here and elsewhere, this 'siksha' is elongated to read, 'seeksha'. Aadi Sankara in his bhashyam says, "...dairkyam chandasam...", to mean to 'elongate'. In Tamil too, for 'thiruvadi nizhal', we tend to say, 'thiruvadi neezhal'.

Scientific Yoga.

4. In the Harmonium, Naayanam / Naadaswaram, and Flute, the air being blown through it is manipulated, by lengthening or shortening the gaps between the closing and opening; combined with variations in the pressure with which the air is blown. We have that arrangement in our throats too. Not only the throat, starting from the Moolaadhara, at the lowest tip of the spinal chord, the whole passage of the Naadi or 'air-passage', through, Swadishtaana(In the lower abdoman), Manipooraka(near the navel), Anaahata(near the heart), and Vishuddhi(near the Thymus in the throat); can be so controlled and amplified to play with the sounds created. This human capability for nuances and variation, is far far superior to what can be done with the instruments. Because, they can only make some sounds and not utter the letters and words of 'A B C D' or 'a, aa, i, ee, o, oo, u, uu,' or 'the consonants and vowels', of Tamil or Sanskrit Language, which can only be done by human voice. Animals and birds can copy some sounds, but not the whole range of thousands of sounds!

5. That God has given this capability for speech only to human beings; is indicative of some special significance, that at the least, it should not be wasted in meaningless talk and gossip! Through this, we should be connecting to the divine powers and be doing things of value and benefit to individual self and humanity as a whole. It is for this purpose, that the Rishis have discerned these Mantras and handed over for generations to come. If we understand this point, we will know as to why, this pronounciation has so much importance, that for that purpose the whole of Seeksha Saastram has evolved. To-days experts in Philology and Phonetics are flabberghasted, when they note with awe, as to how minutely the whole process of creation of sound has been analysed inSeeksha Saastram, that too without the help of any of the modern scientific equipments and methods of analysis. For each letter, it traces the exact origin of sound and the process of its move through the whole body, till it comes through the throat and comes out of the mouth, so that the exact sound for that 'aksharam' / letter; may be reproduced!

6. The movement of air in speech and breath thus, start from the same place of origin, in 'Mooladhara', at the lower tip of the spinal chord. That is to say that, 'Praana' the human life force and 'Vaak' the human speech, are both starting from the same source! At that point, the yet to be 'speech' is known as 'Para'. Then as it passes through the lower abdomen, navel, chest, throat and mouth; it undergoes changes of, 'pratyakchitirupa or avyakta;(not yet expressed), pasyanti;(an inter mediate stage), madyama;(the middle), and vaikharee'(out as a word said). This metamorphosis is itself an achievement of the Yoga of Mind and Body. So for that particular sound to be reproduced, the very exercise that the body goes through, has the corresponding effect on the mind. What is there in the Macro is also in the Micro, "andaththil iruppadu pindaththil undu", is the Tamil proverb. So, those letters in the form of a Mantra, due to its vibrations, has the same effect on the body as they would on the world. Thus, what is 'Raja Yoga' in the Macro cosmos, is the Mantra Yoga in the Micro cosmos of the human body!

7. Seeksha Saastram clearly explains as to, how each letter of the Mantra is to be generated, it's sound, volume, pitch, duration, emphasis, and so on. The length of uttering of the letter/word is known as 'Matra'. The short utterance in Tamil is, 'kuril' and 'hrasvam' in Sanskrit. The longer one is 'nedil' in Tamil and 'deergam' in Sanskrit. These are very useful during 'Adhyayanam'. You also learn as to how the 'combination of words' known as 'Sandhi' can be uttered and also rules as to how they are not to be split.

8. In Tamil and English, you have a 'K' or 'Ka', respectively. In Sanskrit, we have, 'ka, kha, ga, gha and gnya', each of them with a slight variation, coming from the center of the neck / throat to almost nasal respectively. There are some sounds created by the tongue touching the teeth like 'tha' and 'na'; some by the tongue just touching the upper palate like 'la' and 'lla' when the tongue is rolled against the upper palate. Some sounds are created by touching the lips like 'pa' and by folding the lips inwards like 'ma', while some sounds are by the co-ordination of teeth and lips, like 'va'. All these have been very scientifically analysed and defined as labial, dental, labio-dental, palatal, velar, glottal, nasal and so on. Further they could be pronounced with 'alpa -prana' or 'maha-prana', for lesser or greater aspiration. Actually, when Siksha Saastram says that, if you move this part of the body in this way and use these particular set of muscles and control your breath in this particular manner; such and such will be the sound effect; and you practically try it out exactly as instructed; you will be surprised by the scientific correctness of it. It is a science, while simultaneously being a Sabda yoga and Mantra yoga!

The Basic Language is Sanskrit.

9. I have been repeately saying that, more than the meaning of the word, the sound is more important. While saying this, I am reminded of another thing. There are many words in 'Chandas' the Vedik language and in Sanskrit, it's derivative; which by the very sound of it indicates the meaning. For example, there is this word, 'dantam', which means teeth. The very word is so formed that, to say it, you have to touch the teeth with your tongue twice with some force. Those without teeth can never utter this word properly. From this small point, many languages have been relatively studied and Comparative Philology evolved. There is one lesson learnt from such study. That is, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Tutonic including German and English, French and Celtic; have all evolved from the same Basic Mother Tongue. They call it, the 'Indo European Group'. No conclusion has been arrived at as to which is that Mother Tongue. But, though not conclusively proved or accepted; that they are from a common origin is an accepted fact. But words like 'dantam' are indicative of 'Chandas' and 'Sanskrit' as that source spring.

10. Dental in English is also pointing out at the teeth only. We can see the similarity between 'dental' and 'dantam'. The French word for the teeth is also a very close sounding, 'dent'. OK. Let it be. Still how can this prove that Sanskrit is the origin? The point I am making is that, the way the teeth are used in uttering the word, 'dantam', while teeth are not used in uttering 'dental'. So 'Dantam' is the original and 'Dental' is a derivative! There are some more words, which are very close to the meaning conveyed. Take the name of 'Simha' for Lion. It does cruelly treat other animals and the word for cruelty is, 'Himsa'. It is this word, 'himsa' which has become 'simha'. Take the name of 'Kasyapa', the Rishi who is the first amongst all Rishis, the ancestor of all Devas, Asuras and Humans. He was the one who had known and seen the TRUTH. The one who had seen. That is 'pasyaka:'. Pasyaka: becomes Kasyapa. The Brahmin, in Tamil is called, the 'Paarpaan', the one who sees. It is entirely a different matter that this word is misused derogatively these days!

(To be continued. Siksha or Seeksha, will go on for the next five or six e-mails.)




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