Summary – Section 9 (Facts 103 to 108)
In this section we discuss How to reclaim our mother tongue
Fact 103 – The greatest and most well-known experiment to bring to life an inactive language was when the newly created state of Israel, in 1948, adopted what is called Modern Hebrew as the state language. Hebrew was the language spoken in ancient Israel and surrounding
areas till it was replaced by Aramaic in the last centuries BCE. Even though Hebrew was supplanted, like Sanskrit, with more modern languages, it still continued, again like Sanskrit, as the liturgical language of the Jewish faith and as a literary language of the area.
We discuss the possibility that the revival of Hebrew as the language of Israel can be used as a model for the revival of our Mother Tongue as our national language.
There are a lot of parallels between Hebrew and Sanskrit. Remember that Hebrew was the sacred language of Israel and Sanskrit was the sacred language of India. And remember that both Sanskrit and Hebrew became moribund around the same time–the last half of the first millennium BCE.
Fact 104 – In this ‘fact’ we look at a brief proposal for the revival of Sanskrit as the national language of India to be spoken nation-wide as a first language. After independence, the language of the elite, the link language and the language for international communication in India has been English. But Indians have always keenly felt the need for a language that they can tout within and without India as their language of pride. Hindi could have taken that place but for the fact that many in India do not accept Hindi as a representative language of the whole nation.
The bulk of the ‘fact’ is a proposal to make Sanskrit our national language.
Fact 105 – The Brāhmaṇas were composed to interpret and explain the sacred significance of the Vedas and the significance of the sacrificial rituals. The Brāhmaṇas transition into the Āraṇyakas, which are of a more mystic and theosophical character. Then come the Upaniṣads, which are theological and philosophical speculations on the nature of things.
However, in the 14th century CE, Sāyaṇa wrote a very comprehensive commentary on the Vedas. Sāyaṇa interpreted the R̥g Veda from a ritualistic angle analysing every word of the R̥g Veda in such a way that the meaning of the hymns can be understood for the sake of performing sacrificial rituals. European and later Indian scholars based their work and research on Sāyaṇa’s commentaries. The accepted narrative for the last few hundred years was based on this ritualistic interpretation.
in early 20th century, the Indian spiritual reformer, Aurobindo, proposed that the
R̥g Veda, in its hymns, which were outwardly materialistic, conceal the spiritual and psychological knowledge of the people of that period. Only initiated deep study reveals this concealed knowledge. He started, in his The Secret of the Veda, to analyse R̥ g Vedic hymns in this light.
Aurobindo said that Vedic utterances have both an outer meaning and an inner meaning. The ancients, who composed the Vedic hymns, may have infused this double meaning into the Vedas so that both the need for ritual and the need for drawing spiritual power could
be met. Over time, the outer ritualistic interpretations began to take precedence over the inner spiritual interpretations.
We discuss the possibility that some of the Vedic, especially the R̥g Vedic, hymns conceal references to political situations that obtained during that time. References to situations that the seers did not dare to openly talk about due to the political realities of that time. For example, the Dāśarājñám or the ‘Battle of Ten Kings’, described in the R̥g Veda (RV) hymns 7.18, 7.33 and 7.83, is clearly a historical event. There are other tantalising glimpses of battles.
We discuss the possibility that the reason why there are so few historical references is because we have not interpreted the hymns correctly, with history in mind.
Fact 106 – To justify what we said at the end of the previous ‘fact’, we interpret two Rig Vedic hymns–the Vr̥ṣā́kapi hymn (RV 10.86) and the hymn RV 10.33–looking at them through a historical lens.
The Vr̥ṣā́kapi hymn (RV 10.86) has been claimed by others (see Griffith, O’Flaherty for example) to be a conversation between Índra, the chief of the Gods, Indrāṇī́, his wife and Vr̥ṣā́kapi, Índra’s pet beast. We examine the hymn in detail and feel and conclude that
the hymn does indeed describe a historical event–a rebellion against the king that happened in a kingdom of the tribe of Párśu around 3,900 BCE.
Fact 107 – We look at another hymn RV 10.33 and interpret it as a historical event.
Fact 108 – To round off our discussions we discuss the fact that some thing that has caught the fancy of the modern world – mindfulness – has its beginnings in the R̥g Veda. It is important to note that Mindfulness has been practised in India since the Vedic period.
We reinterpret hymn RV 10.58 and one exhorting the listener to bring his or her wandering
mind back to the present, the “now”, and take control over it so that he or she can live peacefully. This makes it clear that the Vedic Indians practised a form of Mindfulness as a technique to achieve peace of mind. Another hymn that looks at this is RV 6.9.
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