The main purpose of creating this blog is to provide material and guidance to the students of Vedanga Jyotisha who are appearing for BA as well as MA level examinations of Kavi Kulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University. I hope this effort will be welcomed by all the students of the Vedanga Jyotish and this effort will be useful to them. Dewavrat Buit dewavrat2000@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 09, 2006




When ghee is offered into the fire, that cannot be called
sva'ha'. Only when the ghee is consumed by the fire, that is,
the ghee is totally effaced from existence, can that be called
sva 'ha '.

The sva'ha' mantra is often uttered when any action is
being done with a divine purpose. When action is performed
with a noble purpose in the psychic and spiritual spheres, or
even in the mundane sphere, the controlling acoustic root is
sva'ha'. This is the meaning of sva'ha' in the general sense.
More specifically sva'ha' is used while offering oblations to
fire. In this sense it is related to the acoustic root svadha '. The
general meaning of svadha' is "one who is self-reliant" (sva
+ dha'c = svadha'). Sva'ha' is also used as an acoustic root
for spiritual actions, while svadha' is used while making
offerings to the ancestors.
In ancient times, in the entire Rgvedic period and in the first
half of the Yajurvedic period, su and sva were used almost
synonymously. But later they acquired different meanings:
sva came to mean "own" (svadesha means "own country")
and su came to mean "good" (sujan means "good man"). One
Sanskrit word for "good" is bhadra, from which the Bengali
word bha'lo comes. The Hindi word bha'la'ii is the abstract
noun oibha'la'. In old Ra'r'hii Bengali, the word bha'la' is
used in the sense of "look at". It is an indigenous Bengali
word. Ajana' pathik ek deshke eseche bha'lgo. ["An un-
known traveller has come to our land; look at him." -
Prabha'ta Sam'giita}
Sva'ha' is split up as sva + a'ha' or su + a'ha'. In ancient
times sva'ha' and svadha' were synonymous, but later
sva'ha' came to convey the thought of welfare, that is, "Let
there be prosperity," and svadha' came to mean, "May the
peace of God be with you." Hence sva'ha' was used in the
course of offering oblations to gods and goddesses, and
svadha' for ceremonies in memory of departed ancestors.
In ancient times people used to observe a period of austerity
before offering oblations to the gods or ancestors; this pre-
paratory period was called adhiva 'sa. In the Vedic period, as
far as is known, people had a great weakness for sura' [an
alcoholic drink]. (Sanskrit synonyms for sura ' are somarasa,
madya, madhu, a'sava, aris't'a and sudha'.) During their
adhiva'sa the priests would of course have to abstain from
drinking. So they would cover their shoulders with a mrga-
carma* [a deerskin - a symbol of their adhiva'sa}, so that
other people would not invite them to drink. When they
conducted rituals concerning the gods and goddesses, they
would utter the sva'ha' mantra and would wear the skin on
the left shoulder (in this case the skin was called yajinopaviita,
or upaviita, for short); and when they conducted rituals
concerning the ancestors, they would use the svadha ' mantra
and wear the skin on the right shoulder (in this case the skin
was called pra'ciina'viita.) When they were not conducting
either of these rituals, they would place the skin around their
necks (in this case it was called niviita). While invoking the
gods and goddesses, they would chant the sva'ha' mantra
with the samprada'na mudra'; for ceremonies using the
vaos'at' and vas'at' mantras, they would use the barada'
mudra'; and for ceremonies involving the svadha' mantra
they would use the am'kusha mudra'.
A little while ago, I mentioned that su and sva could be used
almost synonymously. [When reading mantras from ancient
texts, people would understand from the context whether su
or sva meant "good" or "own".] But to use sva in place ofsu
[in the sense of "good"] was not so common.

* note: Mrga literally means "wild animal", and thus both a deer
and a tiger are equally mrga. Hence literally mrgacarma means not only
"deerskin", but the skin of any wild animal. In those days the kings hunted not
only.deer, but also other wild animals.
Later on, perhaps, the deerskin became somewhat rare, so people intro-
duced the use of cotton in its place. Even today in certain sections of Indian
society people wear a piece of deerskin during the holy-thread ceremony.

Rtam' pibantao sukrtasya loke
Guha 'ya 'm ' pravis 't'ao paramepara 'rdhe;
Cha 'ya 'tapao Brahmavido vadanti
Painca 'gnayo ye ca trin 'a 'ciketa 'h.
"Human beings reap the consequences of their own karma
[deeds]." In this shloka, stikrta is used instead ofsvakrta [to
mean "done by oneself", "own" (referring to karma,
The human mind is divided into two functional chambers:
the karttr a' mi or subjective "I", and the karma a' mi or
objectivated "I". The objectivated "I" moves forward; the
subjective "I" remains in the background, as an observer.
"Just as it is difficult to discern the precise line between
sunshine and shade, it is almost impossible to discern the
transition point between the subjective 'I' and the objecti-
vated 1'. This is what the brahmavids [knowers of Brahma}
say, and it is corroborated by the painca'gnii, or renunciates,
and the trin' a' ciketa, or householders."
Regarding the metempirical entity, the Vedas say:
Dva' suparn 'a ' sayuja ' sakha 'ya '
Sama 'nam ' brks 'am ' paris 'asvaja 'te;
Tayoranyahpippalam' sva'dvattyan
Ashnannanyo abhica 'kashUtL
[Two friendly birds with beautiful plumage are perched on
the same branch of a tree. One of them is eating the sweet
fruit while the other looks on as a mere witness.]
The acoustic root sva'ha' signifies pious resolve and the
psychic 'desire for universal welfare. The sound o is its
super-acoustic root or atibUja. So whatever may be the im-
portance ofo in the alphabetical order, its value as an acoustic
root is immense.

The posture of surrender to the greatness of another person
or entity is called namah mudra' or namomudra'. Such
surrender results in one's mental body being vibrated by the
greatness of the Supreme. It is the person doing namomudra '
who benefits, and not the one for whom the mudra' is
performed. The way to do this mudra' to the guru is to lie
prostrate before him with the palms placed together, that is,
with the middle fingers of each hand placed parallel to each
other. This represents the pinpointed concentration of mind
which is directed towards the supreme goal.
In this mudra' all eight parts of the body are engaged.
(According to a'yurveda the human body has eight main
parts. The a 'yurvedik system of medical treatment is called
as't'a'unga [eight-limbed] cikitsa' vijina'na.) The body it-
self becomes as straight as a staff [one Sanskrit word for
which is dan'd'a}, and thus one of the mudra''s names is
dan'd'avatpran'a'ma.* This is namomudra', the systematic
endeavour to acquire greatness in return for one's surrender
unto greatness. {Namah is the acoustic root of acquiring
greatness in life; and ao is the super-acoustic root of namah
The science of dance recognizes about 850 mudra's [mean-
ingful gestures], such as namo mudra', lalita mudra',
barada' mudra', abhaya mudra, am'kusha mudra', maha'
mudra', ka'kacaincu mudra', tejasii mudra', a'mbha'sii
mudra', pa'rthivii mudra', va'yavii mudra', a'ka'shUmud-

* Editors' note: This straight posture symbolizes that although one may
or may not be straight in all mundane activities, one is as simple and straight
as can be before the entity being revered.

ra' bha'va mudra', shparshika' mudra', cetasii mudra',
sarpa mudra', kapa'lii mudra', and many, many more.
In order to master the art of dance, one must become skilled
in the art otmudra'. Dance as practised in human society can
be broadly divided into two schools: *chandapradha 'na nrtya
[rhythmic dance] and mudra'pradha'na nrtya [mudraic
dance]. Occidental dance (such as ballroom dance) is more
rhythmic, whereas Oriental dance is more mudra '-ori-
ented.** Of course, mudra's are used in Occidental music
also, but their role is secondary; and rhythm is an integral part
of Oriental dance, but is nevertheless secondary to mudra'.
The sound ha is the acoustic root of the sun, of the stars,
and of the ethereal factor. T'ha is the acoustic root of satel-
lites, such as the moon. When the moon, which is the physical
symbol of the psychic realm, and the sun, which is the
physical symbol of mundane energy, are made to become one,
that is called hat'ha yoga (Hat'hena kurute karma). When an
action is done abruptly, out of sudden impulse, there is a
sudden release of energy called hat'hatah (hat'ha + tas) or
hat'ha't (fifth case-ending of hat'ha in Sanskrit). A synonym
othat'ha't is bala't, meaning "by force" or "suddenly"; and
another meaning of hat'ha't is "to get expressed suddenly
without giving any scope for thought". To do something good
or bad suddenly without prior thought is called bala'tka'r.
Remember that the meaning of bala'tka'r is not necessarily
a bad one.

* note: Dance should not be called shUpa - literally, "that which
is done with the hands" -because in dance, the legs, neck, chin and other parts
of the body are also used. In some dances every part of the body has a certain
role to play.
** note: Philology of "oriental", "occidental", and other words
omitted here.

The magnanimity of Shiva was as vast as the sky. People
used to show their veneration for Him either in namah mudra '
or with the sound ao. Hence the acoustic root oiShivatattva
[essence of Shiva] is haom': Haom' Shiva'ya namah. Those
entities who were very dear to Shiva by virtue of their
personal simplicity, naturalness and spirit of selfless service,
were also revered using the sound ha. Shiva's favourite
flower was the common dhustara flower. Ha is the acoustic
root of the dhustara flower. Thus you can easily understand
why haom' is the acoustic root of Shiva.
Am' is the acoustic root of an idea. The same sound, when
uttered with a different mental ideation, acquires different
meanings, and the effect it has varies from person to person.
The word bet' a', for example, can be used as an endearing
term for one's child. A parent may say, A 'ja ' bet' a ', kha 'na '
kha'le ["Come, my dear child, come and eat your food"]. In
this case bet' a ' ("my child") sounds very pleasing to the ears;
when the child hears it s/he feels very gratified. But one could
also say, A'y bet' a' toke dekhe noba; tor caudda purus'er
shra'ddha karchi. ["Come here you wretch, I'll teach you a
lesson! I'm going to send you and fourteen generations of
your ancestors to hell!"] In this case the utterance ofbet'a'
injects poison into the mind of the listener. The acoustic root
of the poisonous mentality which utters poisoned words is
am'. The acoustic root of that pleasant ideation which adds
sweetness to a word is ah. You should remember that when-
ever you speak to someone, or recite a poem, or play any part
in a drama, or sing any song, you should know the underlying
meaning of what you are expressing. Only then will you be
abl"e to touch your listeners' hearts and influence them.


There are some words which are neither good nor bad,
but adopt a positive or negative meaning due to the way in
which they are uttered or due to the mentality behind their
utterance. A' ja'na' bet'a' baet'hna', kha'na' kha'ye ho?
["Come and sit here, my child. Have you had anything to
eat yet?"] In this example the word bet'a' is very pleasing
to the ears. It is uttered in such a sweet way that the child
will feel gratified. But when someone says, A'y bet'a' toke
dekhe noba! ["Come here, you wretch, I'll teach you a
lesson!"] the word bet'a' becomes repulsive.
If one tells a boy, Eso khoka' mis't'i niye ya'o ["Come,
little child, take some sweets"], a very pleasant mentality is
expressed. But if one says, 0 a'r nya'ka'mi kare khoka'
sa 'jte habe na ', aman d'ham ' anek dekhechi ["Stop being so
childish. I'm sick of it"], that same pleasing mentality is not
expressed. The same word, khoka', when uttered with a
different mentality takes on a different meaning. Where the
mentality is bitter or repulsive, it is indicative of poison, and
its acoustic root is am '; and where the mentality is sweet or
attractive, it is indicative of nectar, and its acoustic root is
ah. So when singing, or reciting a poem, or acting in a play,
or even when saying ordinary things, one should have full
control over one's expression, be it pleasant or unpleasant.
Singers should also remember this and sing accordingly. The
controlling point of vis 'a [poison] and amrta [nectar] is the
vishuddha cakra. * Thus one should exercise a certain degree

* note: Not only am' and ah, but all sixteen vowel sounds, are
located at the vishuddha cakra. For correlation of other sounds with their
respective cakras, see "Plexi and Microvita" in Yoga Psychology (1991).

of control over the ku'rma na'd'ii [a nerve] at the vishuddha

The way in which people think varies from individual to
individual. The thought processes of sub-human creatures
flow in four directions — towards food, sleep, survival, and
procreation. Broadly speaking, human thought moves in five
directions - towards food, sleep, survival, procreation and
dharma. Yet there are many sub-streams. Human thought can
be roughly divided into two categories: abhiips'a'tmaka
(a 'sha ' vrtti) and vishuddha sam 'vedana 'tmaka (cinta ' vrtti).
A major part of the world of thought revolves around a 'sha '
vrtti [the propensity of hope]. Goaded by this propensity,
various creatures, especially human beings, are inspired to
work in various ways. Ka is the acoustic root of the abhi-
ips'a 'tmaka a 'sha ' vrtti. It is also the acoustic root oiKa 'rya
Brahma [the expressed universe].
In ancient times, before people learned to dig in the ground,
they collected water from the rivers and springs. Hence,
anything that produced sounds like the roaring of rivers, the
babbling of brooks, or the gushing of spring water, would
inspire the hope of survival in their minds. Ka (derived from
the root-verb kae plus suffix d'a) etymologically means "that
which produces sound". It also means "water", and thus ka is
the acoustic root of flowing water (va is the acoustic root of
water in general).
If someone keeps a matted lock of hair on his or her head,
it will be quite visible even from a distance. If the hair is
properly oiled, it will become glossy. From kae, meaning
"glossy", we get another meaning of ka, "hair grown on the

Hair when it is curly is called kuntala. And Shiva used to
tie His hair in a knot in such a way that it pointed upwards.
Hence just as one of Shiva's names was "Vyomakesha",
meaning "Hair towards the Sky" (vyoma = "sky" and kesh =
"hair"). He was also called "Khakuntala", with the same
meaning, since kha means "sky" and Shiva's hair was curly.
And, as many people know, another name of Shiva was
We said before that ha is the acoustic root of Ka'rya
Brahma. It is also the acoustic root of creation. According to
Buddhist Ma'dhyamik and Saota'ntrik philosophy, one name
for the created world is Sam'vrtti Bodhicitta (which is also
another name of Ka'rya Brahma). The then Buddhist cult
called those sa 'dhakas who took the noble vow of serving all
in the living and non-living worlds, ka 'pa'likas-Kam' [from
ka} sam 'vrtti bodhi cittam 'pa 'layati iti ka 'pa 'likah. Later on,
the meaning and import of the word ka'pa'lika became
As mentioned, ka is the acoustic root of Ka 'rya Brahma.
Ka' ry a Brahma (Sagun'arasa'tmaka Brahma), represented
by ka, is the controller of the livingworld..Ka + iisha = kesha.
Kesha can mean "hair"; it can also mean Na'ra'yan'a.


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