Introduction: The following is an English translation of an original Sanskrit composition by Swami Veda Bharati. The explanations and stories which follow will give the reader a glimpse of the vast linguistics theory in the Sanskrit language and its rich tradition of philosophy.
Allusions: Before we begin, it seems necessary to explain some of the allusions that the reader will encounter in the forthcoming composition.
Those who, with the cool waters of the peace of silence, annul now the fire of the celestial poison of decibels and of cacophonies,
unto those great minds we offer our homage, Namah.
We join hands with bowed heads.
Namah, to the arrow that is silence
Namah, to that siddhi* which makes us shoot right to the target
Namah, to the vibration of mind.
They whose silence
is the all-sheltering banyan tree
that grants us the shade of wisdom.
They who have kindled the sacrificial fire of silence within,
unto those gurus,
only in our silent mind,
we offer our homage, namah.
1. The tradition has it that the Vedas, the ancient scriptures, are nothing but the breath of God. God breathed into the souls of his first manasa-putras--his mental offspring. These were the rishis, the first prophetic sages who were born jivanmukta, born liberated, living liberated, and therefore abandoning the bodies liberated, and we are all offspring of them, as all words are offspring of the archetypal Word. All languages are the children of the words revealed by God as he breathed into the highly realized souls.
2. Sanskrit word gau, for cow, is derived from the verb root gam. The English word "go" is related to this verb gam. The nominative singular form gau, means both the cow and the earth. The English word "cow" is also derived from the Sanskrit word gau. From the same word comes the modern Hindi word gayya which is more or less the same as gaia from the Greek that has become the key word in the ecology movement. From the same gam come the Greek geo pronounced gayo which is now pronounced as geo, measuring the earth, geometry. The idea is of a constantly moving single organism, the ever milk-giving cow, the sacred earth in which all is related and connected. One must take all of these words and see their meaning as a single unitary whole.
3. The ancient stories in the texts called the Puranas consist of a half million verses of such narratives. Some of those stories tell us of a time when the earth became overburdened by the proliferating human population and the profligate behavior of all human beings. She goes and seeks refuge at the feet of the Lord, the Preserver. Then the demonic forces haunting the earth are countered by devas, the divine forces, who give battle and defeat the demonic forces. There are innumerable such episodes in the Puranas. Quite often the human warriors also seeking power to do battle against the forces of evil withdraw into the forests or the mountains for years of tapas, ascetic endeavor, so that the divine powers would manifest themselves and grant them unfailing weapons. Many years before the war of Mahabharata, the battlefield of which is the setting for the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna took a year of asceticism, celibacy, deep meditation, and contemplation. The Lord Shiva appeared and granted him a weapon.
Now these weapons used in the Mahabharata War were of a very peculiar quality. They consisted of sound itself wielded in various forms as weapons. The movie Dune incorporates this idea also, borrowing from the Sufi tradition. At the time of the Mahabharata War this was very common scientific knowledge, so for example the account of the war will mention the wielding of the Agneya astra, igneous missile, whereby a single missile created a fire havoc. Then to counter it a varuna, aqueous missile, was used. All of these missiles were impelled by the particular power of specific sounds, the weapon mantras.
It is said that there was so much destruction in the Mahabharata War that in the 5094 years since, humanity has not yet recovered. With the power of such weapons four million warriors were killed in eighteen days and civilization was devastated. The mantras behind these strange forces are still known in the form of written texts. But from that time on the exact way of using them has remained concealed for the duration of the kali-yuga, the current dark ages. And since the Mahabharata War, the policy has been enforced strictly within the tradition that this science should not be taught to anyone who has any negative or destructive personality traits. That is why so many of the traditional sciences of India have been lost. It is preferable that they be lost rather than be given to those who would wield them irresponsibly.
4. This allusion is based on the Upanishadic passage on Om. Mundaka Upanishad II, 2.4.: "Om is the bow; atman is the arrow; Brahman is said to be the mark. It is to be struck by an undistracted mind. Then atman becomes one with Brahman, as an arrow with the target."
"Om is the bow." As the bow is the cause of the arrow's entering into the target, so Om is the cause of the atman's entering into Brahman. The atman becomes purified through the constant repetition of Om, and then with the support of this mystic syllable is absorbed into Brahman.
"The atman": Here the word means the reflection of the Supreme Self, which is like the reflection of the sun in water. This is called the individual self, the cognizer of the different states of the mind. Like an arrow, it is discharged at the Supreme Self, the immortal Brahman. Therefore Brahman is said to be its mark.
"By an undistracted" etc.: The mind of the aspirant should be free from restlessness caused by longing for external objects. It should be detached from the world. Through a mind disciplined by self-control and concentration one can realize Brahman.
"Then the atman," etc.: After reaching Brahman, the atman becomes one with It. Just as the goal of the arrow, after it has been discharged from the bow, is to be absorbed in the mark, so the goal of the atman is to become one with Brahman through the elimination of such erroneous ideas as are created by its identification with the body, the mind and the senses.
The sound of Om is the bow; the self is the arrow; Brahman, the supreme transcendental being is the target. Shoot the self from the bow of the enunciation of Om and become one with the target.
5. The entire composition reiterates the theme of a very strong, subtle, seemingly mystical connection between the collective temperament of human beings and what happens to the world around them. When the governments are unjust, the rivers dry up and the rains do not come on time. The grains do not grow, the trees wither, the bees cease to hum, or floods and earthquakes may devastate the earth. But then, in the Purana stories, as soon as a rightful, virtuous king has been reinstated, immediately all the ecological damage is undone, for reasons known only to the divine celestial forces. Everything again begins to flow in harmony and the earth turns green. But don't blame the king, nor the governments. This has to do with the collective temperament of all human beings. Unless the mental ecology of human beings becomes sound, there is no possibility that this earth can be saved.
6. A Devi, the divine mother Shakambhari, is also alluded to in the composition. There is a text in praise of the Great Mother, seven hundred verses lauding her which some recite daily (including the author). Within these verses is a prophecy by the Great Mother which runs as follows:
"When for hundreds of years there will be no rain
and the earth will be without water
the great contemplative beings shall sing praises of me--seeking me.
I will be born without human parentage;
and with hundreds of eyes, I shall look kindly upon these contemplative sages.
Then I shall cover the entire earth with greens born of my own being.
I shall nourish the sages with this green,
sustaining the prana of all beings,
thereby I shall be known as Shakambhari, "The Bearer of the Greens."
The name and form of Shakambhari would be a most appropriate logo of the international ecology movement.
An allusion which comes at the beginning of the verse is to Prajapati which means the "Progenitor." The great creator, Brahma first produced Prajapati, the great-grandfather of the earth and of the human race. However, as used here, Prajapati refers to words rather than to beings as we normally understand them. The first revealed words are called Shabda; I have called them live Shabda-Prajapatis.
In the beginning before time the great Brahman breathed out the word-progenitors. The rishis, the prophetic sages, born liberated, saw the Word within their own spiritual selves. These words, having been articulated, then became the vehicle of communication whereby human beings expressed their thoughts and sentiments to each other.
The words then got introduced to each other in sentence streets. Wandering about in these sentence streets, they met each other as like attracts like. They became attracted to each other and became associated. A certain affection arose among them. The affection became a passion, a momentum of lust whereby they united, bred and multiplied. These later generations of words forgot their divine origin from the spirit of the universe. Thus they reduced themselves to noises. The noises surrounded and filled the entire earth go, gau, gam, gow, gayya, gaia. The cosmic poison of quarreling words spread throughout the world.
With the venom of cacophonies, these egotistical, corrupt words became divided into many tribes and then became entire nations. They burdened the Great Mother Earth.
The human beings, their ears full of word poisons, could no longer express their love-filled thoughts and sentiments to each other. These human beings, originally the children of jivan-muktas, those born liberated, were now becoming in their thought, jivan-mrityus, living a death. There were decibel devils, together with their wives the cacophonies, their sons named licentiousness, and their daughters called twisted laughter and apageeti, disharmony of music.
Even while the clouds wandered in the sky, the decibel demons drank up their waters so that none poured downwards. They kidnapped the clouds; lightning wives absorbing their energies to strengthen themselves. Thus the streams, rivers, and lakes began to dry up. All green things turned into copper color, causing confusion of directions among the winds. The decibel devils by their twisted power uprooted the trees and by their decibel fire they burned the cities, the countryside, the parks, the forests and the mountains; turning everything to ashes. The entire world of living beings cried out "Save us. Save us. Help! Oh from where has this misfortune befallen us, as though a conflagration to end the earth! Such is our grief!"
But there were among living beings ones whose pranas were synonymous with compassion, whose hearts melted with mercy. These were the distinguished contemplative sages, who retreated to the caves of the Himalayas and hid themselves. They hid themselves to perform ascetic devotion to Devi, the Great Mother. She, who is the very sun of great fortune shining upon the earth, was petitioned for the right weapons to defeat the decibel devils.
After an eon she was pleased by their tapas, and granted them three boons. The first boon was the bows of meditation, dhyana-dhanush. She fitted these meditation bows with every-unfailing arrows of silence sharpened upon the ascetic disciplines. The second boon, was siddhi, the power to strike the target without fail by impelling the arrows with the enunciation of Om. For the third boon she gave them armor by means of the contemplation of the great sentences of Vedanta.
1. Dhyana: Meditation. Dhanush: Bow
2. Four Great Sentences of Vedanta form the topic for contemplation of metaphysical philosophy. For details, ask for the author's cassettes on Vedanta Philosophy.
Thus well prepared, the contemplative munis emerged from the caves of the Himalayas and went out in expeditions in all four directions of the earth. They conquered the multitudes of the decibels that are the corrupt words and banished them into the seven holes in the world of patala, the underworld below the Muladhara chakra. Thereby, they sanctified the earth again and filled her with the power of merit and virtue. At that moment they rediscovered, within the lights of their pure souls the very original Word that had been revealed as the Shabda prajapati, the Word Progenitors, which was now but seldom spoken. They taught their descendants to speak with great care, and to use only words that are beneficial, measured, and pleasant. Otherwise they steadfastly held to the truth that silence is the true ornament of the mind. Thereafter, the sages mostly communicated through the vibrations of the mind.
The celestial poison of distorted sound had formerly penetrated the free flying birds and the diving fish through their ears. But no longer does it prevail, no longer does it poison the minds of living beings. No longer does the poison of sound lead them towards their own destruction.
When such silence prevails, communication is wordless, from mind to mind, as when a musical string, once touched, evokes a sympathetic chord in the other strings of the instrument. This is the expression of truly silent affection. The contemplative beings are now living in freedom, seeing their own self in the form of all the selves and listening to the light that is the subtle sound of the soul.
1. The first center of consciousness at the base of the spine, symbolizing the earth itself, among other things.
2. The phrase I have coined in Sanskrit is Kolahala-kala-kutam. Kolahala=cacaphonic tumultuous noises. Kala-kutam=cosmic poison of destructive time.
Shanti, the peace who is the queen of the universe, now reigns supreme again because the beings have found succor in a pacified, saintly mind.
The earth is filled with the smile of such saintly minds. What the Great Lady of the Universe, the Shakambhari Devi, had promised in silence came to be true, for the world that had become copper colored now was turned green again through her gracious compassion.
This we have been told by the balladeers of silence, those who pass on the oral history of the phenomenon of silence.
We were told this in our minds and into your minds we pass on this narrative silently.
Swami Veda Bharati was trained from childhood in meditation and yoga philosophy and has taught yoga to thousands of people from an early age. He is an expert in raja yoga which is the source of all branches of yoga. A faculty member of the Himalayan Institute, he has written many books and articles on yoga and meditation. In addition to his writing and meditation, Swami Veda Bharati has lectured and taught meditation throughout the world.
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