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.
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.
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