|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 259 ]
When newcomers enter into the world of yoga they invariable come across the Sanskrit language. To some, this peculiar new speech ads a certain charm to this ancient and mysterious practice of yoga. Others may find it less then relevant to their ambitions, and others still may view it as an unnecessary nuisance.
I just want to make a few brief comments here about Sanskrit, so that both the novice and the initiated, and even the disinterested may gain a certain appreciation for this language and a general understanding of its place within yoga.
What is Sanskrit?
Sanskrit is the oldest language known to man. It is even considered to be the origin of language itself, and that from which all languages have in some way arisen or evolved. The VEDAS, the universally accepted first scriptures of humanity, were written in this language.
There is also a deeply rooted faith among Indians that Sanskrit itself is the language of the Devas (Gods). Hence, this language was known during the vedic period (6,000-8,000 years ago) as Daivi Vak (the Divine speech). The great grammarian Panini structured this language with his grammar in the 7th century BC, and henceforth, it was referred to as Samskritam.
Numerous important works of eternal value were written in this ancient language, from cultural, spiritual and scientific standpoints. All of the classic literature of Vedic times was written in this language, included the classical texts of yoga, Vedanta and other spiritual and philosophical schools of ancient times, as well as the historical texts in the great sciences of astrology, astronomy, medicine, architecture and the physical sciences.
It is said that the language of Sanskrit itself arises from the 'root sounds' or vibrations of the Universe. The various vowels and consonants of the Sanskrit language represent these root vibrations, known as bijas.
As Quantum physics has now revealed to us, everything consists of vibration, and the primary essence of any object or phenomena could be thought of as its own unique pattern or composite patterns of vibration. Whilst in states of deep resonance with the Cosmos (or, while in meditation), the Rishis, the ancient scientists, it is said, could perceive these vibrations (sounds).
A Sanskrit word, then, is not merely a word chosen to name something, but an actual reflection of the inherent 'sound' of that object, concept or phenomena, as divined by these great sages of old...
“Every one of its vowels and consonants has a particular and inalienable force which exists by the nature of things and not by development or human choice... (Sanskrit's) basis is universal and eternal.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
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