Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 58 of (Vol 2) of 10 Dec 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 58 of (Vol 2) of 10 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.

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

Rules of Pronounciation.

11. Uchcharanam, swaram, matra, balam, samam, santhanam are some of the control switches, used by Siksha Saastram to ensure that each Mantra is chanted exactly as it is required to be done without the slightest deviation. That too, it exactly defines as to which sounds should be created from which part of the body and with what effort, so practically so perfectly and scientifically. The proof of it's perfectness is in doing exactly as instructed by the Siksha Saastram and hearing the sound effect for yourself. Whils talking about this, I am reminded of an interesting fact. Letters such as, 'pa', 'ma', and 'va', while being uttered, need the lips to be used. For letters such as, 'ka', 'cha', 'ta', 'na', 'tha', and such, there is no job for the lips to come into play! There is one gentleman, who has composed the complete Story of Ramayanam, in poems, using only words made-up of letters not requiring the lips to touch each other at all! It is known as 'Niroshta Ramayanam'. 'Oshtam' is the lip. 'Oshtragam' comes from that and the Tamil word 'Ottagam' for Camel comes from that. Do you know why? The most noticeable part of a camel are it's lips! You will agree with me that, though the Camel has a peculiar odds and sorts body, of outlandish proportions; it's lips really strike you as the oddest! That is why, it is 'oushtragam' or 'the lips' in Sanskrit and 'ottagam' in Tamil! 'Nir-oshtam' is lip-less. It may look as though, he wrote the 'nir-oshta Ramayanam' just to prove his mastery over the language, that he could do that. It also occurs to me that, may be He was rather particular that the words of the 'Ramayanam' should not become soiled with his or the reader's saliva! So, he created a Ramayana with such words which will never let the lips touch each other!

12. The Seeksha Saastram has been written by some 30 authors, amongst whom, those written by, Panini, Aabisali, Chandrakomi, Yagnavalkyar, Vasishtar, Kathyayanar, Parasarar, Maandavyar, Naradar and Lomasar, are available to us. In the 'Paanineeya Seeksha', there is a slokam which clearly brings out as to how carefully, one has to handle their pronounciation! It says, "vyaagree yata haret putraan dhamshtrabyam na pidayeth I beethapathana bedannabyaam tatvat varnaan prayayojayet II" It means that, one has to be very careful while chanting the 'Veda Aksharaas'. The sound form of the letters and words should not be misspelt or mispronounced, neither shortened nor elongated; the way the mother cat catches hold of it's young in the mouth with its teeth by the scruff of the baby's neck, firmly but without any slippage or hurting! It is the same Paanini, who has contributed in the next important part of the Veda, Vyaakaranam. In each branch of the Vedas, to specially expand upon some of the important words used in that branch, there is a portion known as, 'Praatisaakhyam'. Some of these and their old commentaries are also available. They are also part of what we call the Seeksha.

The Alphabet / Script.

13. To show that for this sound, this is the sign or shape that it is going to have, when written down, these various scripts came into being. English and other European languages use, what is known as the, 'Roman Script'. (Actually in Indian Army, we write Hindi in the English Alphabetical Script and call it the Roman Hindi.) There is a script by the name 'Brahmmi'. All the records on stone of the King Asoka period are in that 'Lipi'.(We will use this word 'lipi' to mean the written form of any language, call it alphabet or script or whatever.) From that Brahmmi is the Grantha lipi and the Devanagari lipi and many other Indian languages lipi too. Out of the Brahmmi lipi, what was prevalent in the South was known as, 'Pallava-grantham'. Many of the Dravidian lipis are out of this only.

14. There is one speciality of the Telugu lipi, as compared to all the other lipis. All other lipis are written to the right, down, left and up; that is in the clock-wise direction, known as 'Dakshina + avartham'. In Telugu, it is done to the Left in the anti-clock-wise direction. In the Ardha-Nareeswara, the Devi is on the Left and there is special Puja for Her known as Vamapadha. Srichakram is a symbolic representation of Herself and Being. While drawing the Srichakram as a design, while doing Puja to Her, the Mantra Aksharas are to be written in the Telugu Lipi, is a requirement. Andhra Bhasha is Siva oriented, it is said. In all other places, the first time the child is initiated into reading and writing, known as Aksharaabhyasam, it is done with Maha Vishnu's Eight Lettered Mantra of 'Om 1 + Namo 2 + Narayanaya 5 = 8'. Whereas in Andhra Pradesh, they start with, the Five Lettered Panchatchara of 'Om 1 + Nama: 2 + Sivaya 3 = 5'. The whole of Andhra Desam is also defined by the three Siva Kshetras of, Kalahasti in the South, Sri Sailam in the West and Koti Linga Kshetram in the North. That is how the very place gets it's name of 'Trilinga Desam' from which the word, 'Telugu' has evolved. That is why, the great 'Siva Baktha', Appayya Deekshidar, has written this poem in which He cribs that, he was not lucky enough to be born in that Trilinga Desam and that too amongst the Yajus Shakha Brahmins. The interesting point is that, Appayya Deekshidar, is from the Saama Veda. In Bhaghawat Gita, Sri Krishna says that ' amongst the Vedas He is the Saamaa'. But, being an ardent devotee of Siva, Appayya Deekshidar, feels bad that he was not born in the Trilinga Kshetra! Actually, he does not say that he is 'not lucky' enough! He says that, he has not earned enough merits (alpasya tapasa: phalam), for deserving a birth in the Trilinga Kshetra! Now, that you know the meaning, read the whole Slokam:- "andhratvam andhrabhasha cha abyantara desha swajanma boo: I tatraapi yajooshi shakha na alpasya tapasa: phalam II"

15. I will come back to the matter of 'Lipi'. Though all the Lipis of all the Indian languages owe their origin to the Brahmi Lipi, you cannot make this out by looking at them! We will understand nothing of the Brahmi Lipi whatsoever, if we try to read the same. That is why, what is not understood at all, started being referred to as, 'Brahmi Lipi'. Then they probably related it to their fate and started indicating their own forehead, while regretting, saying, 'Brhma Lipi' as though Brhma has written something in their forehead!

16. There is one Lipi known as 'Karoshti', which means, 'donkey's lips'. That is the lipi for the Parsi language. Like the lips of the Donkey, those letters will have 'protruding out' curves. Like the Roman lipi is the common one for all the languages of Europe, the common one for all Indian languages is the Brahmi. Devanagari script is quite noticeably evolved from the Brahmi. In Tamil, we do not seem to be aware that each letter has a different sound form. What is in one language, when written in the Lipi of another language, it is known as Transliteration. When you do that, when read by people of either language, not knowing the other, it leads to some avoidable but, humorous situations.

17. Looking only at the spelling, if you want to correctly pronounce the words completely correctly, it is best done in Sanskrit. Comparatively, in English it is totally confusing. The very word 'Sanskrit' means, 'well made scientifically'. English on the other hand is the most 'unscientific'. The perfect Sanskrit is what is 'unknown' and possibly, it is the unscientific English, which is used more for communication all over the world, to-day.
The point I am making is that, in all other languages other than Sanskrit, there is quite a variation between what is written and what is pronounced. Over the years, you get used to certain of these variations and are not aware of them. The Englishman reads the word 'read' as 'read' some times and 'red' sometimes and is not even aware of the variations. Sometimes, 'wound' is an injury and sometimes the circular movement of turning and coiling. There was this gentleman who had come from North India and told me that he had learnt Tamil and that he would like to recite the 'Thevaaram'. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say that. Then when I heard him sing, "...madappiraik kanniyaanai...". It took superhuman effort not to laugh, since he was in all his earnestness. Without guidance, we will also read like that only. That is the wide gulf between what is written and what is read, in our own language. It comes from a limited number of 'Aksharas' on the one hand, (like one 'ka' for 'ka, kha, ga, gha), and some repetitions without much difference in pronounciation(like having two 'na's and two 'ra's), in Tamil. That is so in all languages. But as I said before, English is the most, 'avyavast' or disorganised and Sanskrit is the most, 'su-sanskrit'.

(To be continued.)




Post a Comment

<< Home