I’ll start by saying I’m thrilled at the expansion of modern Yoga and its reach into every part of the world. We are very fortunate that the world of Yoga is vast enough and diverse enough that it contains a little something for every seeker. It is truly and positively life changing. Some are not drawn to deep meditation and the physical practice of Yogasana becomes their chosen form of meditation. One can go very deep even with Yoga Vinyasa, and further can in fact reach those high states of liberation through the practice of matching breath with movement. Point being, there is something for everyone. In my own personal journey I was not only drawn, I was pulled by a force that would not be denied into the deepest most authentic forms of Saadhana (daily spiritual practices) available. All diversity aside, it is also true that with the expansion of the modern Yoga world it is the duty of a devout seeker to be mindful of the authentic principles that lead us to such a point. More and more teachers are certifying teachers and there is a fine line of dilution taking place. The more the information is watered down and made so called, “accessible” the more we step away from the original tenants of Vedic Wisdom that guided us here in the first place. Without these origins it is impossible to say that the world of Yoga would thrive. Vedic Heritage has not survived for thousands of years because it is antiquated. It as survived because even at Its most esoteric level, Vedic Wisdom is applicable here and now!
I attended a workshop from an “A-lister” Yogini. She was talking for 30 minutes about a specific pranayama (life-force control technique), and for the life of me I could not connect to which pranayama she was referring. Then it hit me, “oh she’s trying to say Bhramari Pranayama.” This particular technique I am well versed in and could still not make out what she was describing. There are multiple points to mention here: First, Sanskrit is a phonetic language of “natural sound partitions,” not only do the sounds connect to nature, one could say they are the energetic representation of nature and the cosmos itself. Secondly, when mispronounced the words do not ring in the ear in the natural way and this gives a subtle throw and wobble in the mind, which actually cause confusion and disruption. Lastly, and most importantly as a so called “teacher” of Yogic Wisdom it is important to be as authentic as possible because now there are literally thousands of people out there pronouncing the word incorrectly which is directly contributing to disinformation and pulling us away from the Divine Source.
Now, some have argued that purity of intention is EVERYTHING and pronunciation is secondary to that. I can relate to that in some ways and will admit that regardless of pronunciation one could stoke deep meditative feelings by uttering a mantra without proper pronunciation. However, the purpose of uttering that mantra is that the energy vibration without fail produces a result, because it is directly linked with nature, and is in fact nature Itself. Sanskrit is the very structure of the cosmos as well as the human body. Walking the fine line of science and devotion one could even say that Sanskrit letters and sounds tug on the strings of Divinity thus, Divinity responds accordingly. Meaning, if the Sanskrit mantra is uttered with not only Divine Pure Intention and also correct pronunciation, then only are the Divine Strings connected and the fructification of the result made possible. The result of a meditation on a mantra is Grace. Devotion and Faith cannot necessarily be defined or put into words, yet Grace can be felt tangibly. Further, it is not only important to feel the Grace, it is also important to imbibe and honor It by living it out in the daily life. The result (Grace) will not stick and create lasting change and deep connection with Divinity without these principles being attempted and respected. To say that it is ok to recite and listen to Sanskrit Mantra that is mispronounced is akin to saying one would enjoy listening to music that is completely out of tune. One simply would not buy and album or listen to music that is not pleasing to the ear, or completely out of tune. When an instrument is out of tune we may even cringe as if it hurts our soul to hear such a thing. Whether we are conscious of it or not, this is what our brain and nervous system is doing when Sanskrit sounds are not pronounced properly, because it is literally going against the natural sound vibration of the macro and micro world. When a Yogi or Yogini is an adept in Sanskrit pronunciation one can feel the difference. One may even say, “Oh, that is the most Divine Sound, I felt my heart come alive and chills all over my body.” It is not only do to the purity of intention, also it is the correct pronunciation that rang so true in the heart that “Grace” was felt deeply.
There are of course exceptions to any rule. A Jnana Yogi (Knowledge Seeker) may not care for the correct pronunciation because in depth knowledge of spiritual principles itself is a liberator. The Jnana Yogi can feel the depth of Grace because that Divine Knowledge has satiated worldly desires and brought them to higher states. That Yogi or Yogini can cultivate and even confer Grace due to the depth of authentic knowledge. However, that does not take care, give mindfulness or respect to ancient Vedic Heritage that brought us these Divine Teachings in the first place. Even the Jnana Yogi must eventually realize the importance of this principle.
One might also say, “well, I don’t have an Indian accent so it is not possible for me…” This is also a statement of ignorance. Sanskrit pronunciation is not accented. Again, it is a natural sound partition that is found in all of creation. The Great Seers of Vedic Wisdom and the safe keepers of Sanskrit sounds were absorbed in deep meditation. These Divine Seers have the level of meditation to be able to actually “realize” the Sanskrit verses. Through Their Divine Realization the Sanskrit Sounds were heard and connected with every element of creation, thus, Sanskrit and Vedic Language has been completely unaltered from time immemorial. ALL other human languages have gone through drastic alterations and changes over the course of human evolution. Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit have not. This statement of truth only proves the literal meaning of the word Sanskrit (Sans-Without, Krit-Critique), that which is already perfected. We wouldn’t look at nature, the cosmos and Divine Mother Earth and say, “what an amazing accident?” We wouldn’t look at the anatomy of the human body and say, “look at the RANDOM make-up of the body it’s so flawed.” We say the opposite. Any environmental scientist will expound on the great complexity of the PERFECTION of Mother Nature. Every facet of life works together to support the next, and through our deep meditations we have realized that matter is most certainly linked. When we pronounce Sanskrit Mantra correctly we are tapping into a direct channel, a direct road map to the Divine Principles which already exist in Mother Nature, The Cosmos, and our very own human body.
I truly hope these words are an inspiration, especially to those that wish to share Sanskrit, Vedic and Yogic Wisdom with others. These authentic teachings are both being supported be devoted seekers, and also brushed aside and diluted. The modern Yoga world could embrace the side of support as a form of Seva… Meaning, performing our duty as devout seekers to respect and become a walking representation of the ancient and Divine Spiritual Truths.
Lastly, one may be asking, “where can I receive more authentic training?” For this a personal introduction is necessary, there are literally none I would recommend on line. Contact me in person if you would like more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hari Om… With the labor of Divine Love,