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Do we need a language to relate to God? How important is language in adoring and worshipping God, or even for that matter in realising or attaining God?

This is an important question.

We feel the need for a deeper, richer, finer language when we wish to communicate our feelings, especially the deeper ones. Mere signs and gestures could serve to get us through the functionalities of life at an animal level, but as humans who are sabhya, bhadra and su-sanskrit , we need a language that is rich and expressive. This need is further accentuated when we speak of the ultimate thing in life: God!

If God spoke, what language would that be?
If we were to speak with God, which language would it be?

Well, one might argue that God will understand our feelings and there is no need of a language. But that’s a lame excuse. In any case, it is not God who needs a language; we are the ones who need it. God is anyway speaking to us through the whole of creation. But it seems God is communicating more in the domain of speech than the touch, taste, sight and smell. Across civilisations and religions, across geographies and histories, the experience of God has been in the form of words. The Word of God has been paramount. Be it Moses or Mohammad, Buddha or the Vedic sages, the divine import has been “heard”. This places Hindu Shrutis on the top: Dharma jijñāsamānam pramāṇam paramam śrutih (धर्मं जिज्ञासमानानां प्रमाणं परमं श्रुतिः) “To those who seek the knowledge of the sacred law, the supreme authority is the revelation Shruti.”

Language helps us to express our thoughts. What does this term ‘language’ mean?

Oxford dictionary defines it as ‘a system of communication used by a particular country or community’. It also says that language is ‘the principal method of human communication, consisting of words used in a structured and conventional way and conveyed by speech, writing, or gesture’. In both these definitions, we see that language is a means of communication. There is nothing more to it. But when we say ‘Bhasha ’ instead of language, we move to an altogether different plane of thought. Bhasha essentially means a repository of bhava. It means my bhava gets stored in the words that I speak and the gestures that I perform. So, when someone else picks those words up from me, they not only unfold my thoughts but step in to my world – my bhava. So the process of Bhasha has an extra layer to it, it’s not just expression. And that layer is transmission. One could speak and express oneself, this is fine. But that would just be heard. If you wish the words to work harder than that and ‘transmit’ the import and the meaning of the words, we need to find a language that has a transmission ability.

Sanskrit has such ability. Sanskrit was considered as ‘dev Bhasha ’, ‘devavani’ or the language of the Gods by ancient Indians. The word sanskrita, meaning ‘refined’ or ‘purified’, is the antonym of prakrita, meaning ‘natural’, or ‘vulgar’. It is made up of the primordial sounds, and is developed systematically to include the natural progressions of sounds as created in the human mouth.

Sanskrit is the classical language of Aryas, the oldest and the most systematic language in the world. The vastness and the versatility of Sanskrit can be appreciated by the fact that this language has 65 words to describe various forms of earth, 67 words for water, and over 250 words to describe rainfall.

Sanskrit is not proprietary, it is universal. It belongs to all. It is for all people and for all time.

Sadhakas through the ages have used this devBhasha (Sanskrit) to transmit their shakti to their disciples. Through their immense sadhana , they made some particular words so powerful that when these words passed from the mouth of the Guru to the ears of the disciple – they changed the course of the life of that disciple. The Bhasha that performs this act of the highest form of transmission of energy is called as mantra . Now if someone argues that any sound can be a mantra – because any sound can be a repository of any bhava and there cannot be an exclusivity for just Sanskrit – then it must be kept in mind that in Sanskrit there are beejas and a mantra is made up of a beeja. Other components assist this beeja to be rhythmically assimilated within the vibrations of the body of the sadhaka. The yogi or mahatma performs the beeja mantra japa and unleashes its power. When she or he gives that mantra to his or her disciple then that mantra becomes more powerful.

Considering the perfect antiquity of this process and the fact that only Sanskrit has scientific beejas in its letters, the use of Sanskrit (devaBhasha ) in realising God is logical.

So Bhasha and language are not the same thing. The expanse of Bhasha is much more than just mere words or sounds of expressions. It deals in the quantum of energy and acts as a store-house of wisdom and intellect. Yes, you can do away with language but with Bhasha you have no chance. If you have bhava – then you will use Bhasha .

The Guru will give you the mantra , the disciple will perform immense japa, become perfect and attain savikalpa samadhi . He might like to push further and go on more until he enters the realm of nirvikalpa . Yes, nirvikalpa is bhava-hina (not a-bhava), and the spiritual practitioner would be in the state of bhava-hina nirvikalpa samadhi , but when he reverts from that state, the savikalpa bhava will again greet him with open arms. He is now a mahatma. When he opens his eyes, he sees destitute mankind in front of him yearning for grace and begging for the nectar that he has just tasted in plenty. Seeing the destitute, a tear drop rolls and drops on the ground. The disciple who is watching the master from a distance feels his pain in his heart and runs towards these disciples. Seeing the master in pain brings tears to his eyes also. Bhakti bhava plays on both; this sort of exchange has been playing out and tuning the Bhasha and the guru-shishya samvada since eternity.

Guru cannot see the disciple in pain, God cannot see the devotee in pain. Vice versa too! No words. Just exchange of tears. bhakta and Bhagwan crying for each other. Exchange of bhava without words. The Guru and Sri Bhagwan have the daunting task of elevating the disciples and devotees. This needs a language – a language as powerful as Sanskrit. For which medium could be better at this than that which has acted as the repository of bhava for Sadhakas since sadhana was known to mankind?  

Let us bow down to deva Bhasha , invoke its shakti. Let us delve in the Sanskrit chanda and let it reverberate in the body of all the seekers. Let us elevate ourselves to the state where in not just bhakti but all bhavas will play aplenty. Let us allow Sanskrit to act as a positive catalyst.

~ Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
Editor, The Mother