A re[sounding] friendship: Inspirational video on studying Sanskrit

An ode to Maitri (friendliness; loving kindness) – a personal focus in svadhyaya (self-study) this month – is the friendship which awaits in nurturing your relationship with Sanskrit. Watch this moving, authentic and inspirational video from Gabriella Burnel on why she studied Sanskrit, and read on for a short post with a big message: on Yoga, on Liberation, on Purusha (Self) and Prakriti (Nature), and a few fun takeaways on the Joy of Discovering Sanskrit.

Earlier this year, we had the privilege of learning from Gabriella Burnel during our ELSY 200hr YTT course in London, and cannot overemphasise the value – spiritual, mental, emotional, practical and beyond – of taking a step toward nurturing your relationship with Sanskrit (and the devanagari script); Sanskrit is the language of Yoga, a living language which is being revived and ignited worldwide.

Source: “Why I Studied Sanskrit | Gaiea Sanskrit” (Donate, here: https://www.gaieasanskrit.com/donate)

A few takeaways on Sanskrit and Freedom: 
16 Vowel (Purusha) sounds; and 36 consonants (Prakriti). The relationship between Purusha and Prakriti is explored, for example, in The Bhagavad Gita (Chapters 13-18): the key text in Yoga; where we learn that through meditation (Ch6; Path of Meditation) we can transcend the three gunas (qualities of nature), and liberate Purusha (Universal Soul; True Self; capital “S” Self) from Prakriti (Ego Self; mind and body, small “s” self), liberating, freeing, separating ourselves from pain and pleasure to realise our Deepest Self; Union with the Divine. 

Note on consonants (Prakriti): 
Like humanity, Prakriti (Nature; matter; body and mind) is always changing. Pra being “that which comes before”. Prakriti (consonants) rest on the vowels (Purusha), and are categorised into five mouth positions: guttural (in the throat), palatal (tongue against hard palate), cerebral (tongue on top of the mouth against soft palate), dental (tongue between the teeth), labial (with the lips).  

Where to start?
Start by learning, listening, sounding it out; try the different mouth positions, have fun and you will discover! i.e. “Kra” sounds like Create (Kriya Yoga – Tapas; Svadhyaya; Ishvarapranidhana – is Yoga of Action). Whereas chakra/cakra, an example of the palatals, is pronounced tshakra; ‘the palatals “c” and “j” sound like “ch” in “church” and “j” in join…’, explains Georg Feuerstein in his book The Yoga Tradition.  

Remember: We are on a journey! And it is okay to mess up! We all mess up! This is our common ground – we are all human, all struggling; we can struggle alone or together, and maybe even discover another way to look at these daily struggles, a way which is grounded not in Fear, but in Peace, Love, Joy and Liberation. Liberation (moksha) in Life! Jivanmukta (liberated soul); Self Realisation with a Capital S!

Don’t rush. This is the message. Take time to deep dive through history, language, song, dance, tradition and creation – and find the relevance rippling ever strong in modern day society, asking yourself “What can I do to make ripples of positive change keep rising, ever higher?” 

We practice Yoga Krama – bit-by-bit progress! Learning, laughing, creating, failing, loving, fighting for change, witnessing, acting, accepting and persevering….A journey in balance. Take a deep breath. Slow down.  
Hope you enjoyed this short post with a big message: keep learning, maintain a beginner’s mind always.

Sarah x

Find out more about Gabriella, here:https://www.gaieasanskrit.com/about and ELSY training, here: https://eastlondonschoolofyoga.com/ 

Sources and inspirations: Gabriella Burnel, StewG @ ELSY, Bhagavad Gita – Veeda Vyasa (Easwaren translation), Georg Feuerstein – The Yoga Tradition, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPNeBJJWxpY&feature=youtu.be

Originally published on my YogaAllianceProfessionals member profile page, here: https://www.yogaallianceprofessionals.org/articles/the-sound-of-friendship-an-inspirational-video-on-studying-sanskrit

6 thoughts on “A re[sounding] friendship: Inspirational video on studying Sanskrit

  1. Thank you, Sarah, for this amazing post! Discovered Gabriella Burnel’s music online just yesterday and listened to her song ‘Bhagavan Sanskrit Healing Frequency’ for hours while walking through the forest. In fact, I lost my way for about an hour in the dark and my only fear was that my battery in my mp3 player would run low. The sheer love that she channeled to me was divine. Whenever she sang ‘Hey Bhagavan’, it was as though the Goddess was calling my name, trying to wake me from a dream. Even though Sanskrit is a foreign language to me, it felt as though it was my mother tongue. The words made sense to me, but not in a logical way. There seems to be three Devas and/or Goddesses speaking through Gabriella. One can be likened to our universal Mother, the other as a Lover, and the third was the voice of our Daughter. The Mother voice reminded me that my love for Law & Order, Justice & Truth, was causing an imbalance in my personality, and that I needed to temper my decisions with love. My Lover warmed me with intoxicating kisses, and our Daughter beckoned me to act in a more loving way. It was the most beautiful and humbling experience I’ve ever felt in my life. Namaste


    1. Hi Jason,

      What a wonderful comment – really appreciate your time and loved learning about this experience you had. Gabriella is truly a remarkable human full of strength and warmth-if you get a chance have a look at her website too for more about her story. Will share more about what we learned in our Sanskrit lecture. There is so much wonder to share – Sanskrit is like hanging out with an old friend 🙂

      Love and peace,
      Sarah x

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for responding with such thoughtful kindness. I followed up with your suggestion and then some. It appears that others have had similar experiences to my own. Looking forward to learning more of your time with Gaiea. May your day be filled with blessings…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Sarah, I just read through your About page and I feel that I know you much better. Your quote by Dr. Seuss certainly provides footing, and I also like your sense of playfulness with words. My mother suffered with bulimia during my childhood and in some respects I absorbed her suffering. For instance, depression has been a debilitating force in my life even to this day. Acceptance and forgiveness are such simple terms but so necessary in our healing process eh. My other reason for dropping by is to let you know that I’ve put together a beautiful intro to Gaiea Sanskrit and was hoping that you might read it in view to providing constructive feedback. It’s just under a page in text but it was crafted with every ounce of my love. You may locate the post on my website metaphysicaldiscourse.wordpress.com – it’s titled My Gift to You.
    Love & light,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jason

    Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing this about yourself. I will definitely read it and would love to learn more about your story and how you are doing currently. Give me a few days to reply properly as would like to give this the time it deserves. Just know you are not alone and speaking about our life helps so many others find the courage to speak too. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging others with your own courage and compassion 🙏 Chat soon, Sarah

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hello Sarah, just a brief message to say I hope you are feeling better and taking good care of yourself. Was also wondering if you could delete my comment regarding my mother’s condition. It may deeply sadden her if she were by chance to read this as a public post. Keep well, JY

    Liked by 1 person

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