Vedic Language: Each Word has Many Meanings- Aurobindo(Post No.9499)


Post No. 9499

Date uploaded in London – –16 APRIL  2021     

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Paper cutting dated 23-7-1983,Indian Express

In a further talk at TTK Memorial Auditorium on July 18 Sri S Sankaranarayanan drew attention to the unique features of the language of the Vedic Rishis ( ref. Sri ‘Aurobindo study On the Veda’).

The Vedic Rishis felt the words to be more alive , less merely conventional symbols of ideas, more free in their transition of meaning than in our later use of speech. They sought new, brief and adequate formulae of speech for psychological conceptions, not understood by the ordinary individuals— to conceal profound ideas from profanity.

Words are living growths of sound with certain’seed sounds’ as their basis from which a small number of primitive ‘root words’ develop, having a numerous progeny , with successive generations, to function as selective groups with a common stock and psychological history.

At first language sounds were just vocal equivalents of certain general sensations and emotion values, the nerves not the intellect— creating speech!

Agni and Vayu were then the artificers of human language.

There were word clans with a common stock of realised significances, individuality being in shades of expression of the same ideas. It was only much later the fluidity became rigid.

Only the general concrete notions- light, motion, touch, substance, extension, force, speed, etc are first expressed . The ideas are the  progressing by association.

A single word has numerous different meanings. There are also numerous words to represent a single idea. For instance for the Vedic rishi, the word Vrka meant tearer having numerous applications and not only the wolf as in classical speech. Similarly, the word Dhenu is a general term for nourisher including the cow. The word Ghrtam and Soma have many significances. The latter is the symbol of Ananda. Bhaga was one word with two different uses Enjoyment and Share

Paavaka is the purifier- water, fire etc

Agni meant the strong, bright, force, brilliance recalling to the initiated, the idea of illuumined energy, not the physical principle of fire.

Again the names of the gods Indra, Mitra, Varuna etc denoted love and harmony. Enjoyment, illustration, all pervading, vastness and purity.

The Puranas have to be understood in the light of the Veda and not vice versa. It is the misunderstanding that has primitive that has led to the charges of primitiveness, ignorance , obscenity and the like in regard to the Vedic mantras.

Xxx subhamxxx#

tags – Vedic Language, Aurobindo

Secret of Vedas – Aurobindo (Post No.7993)


Post No.7993

Date uploaded in London – 17 May 2020   

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Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.

Aravinda Maharishi— Bengali spelling Aurobindo — contributed a lot to the study of Vedic literature. He has translated more than 4500 mantras of the Rig Veda. He has given new interpretation to various Vedic gods including Agni, Varuna, Ashwins, Vishva devas, Indra, Sarasvati, Ocean and Rivers, Dawn/ Ushas, Sons of Darkness and Angirasas.

He interpreted 42 Suktas out of 87 from the Fifth Madala and then took up various Suktas dealing with various other gods.


Yaska knew 20 Sholars

The problem of Vedic interpretation was always an open question: the known traditional interpreters are Yaska, Skandaswami, Udgitha, Venkata Madhava, Ananda Tirtha, Madhwa etc. many of them lived before Sayana.

Yaska, centuries before Sayana, mentions in his work several schools and more than 20 prominent individuals who had been in his time. Sayana took up the ritualistic view which was only one of the many possible. The Yajnikas, Aitihasikas, Vaiyakaranas etc and Shakapuni, Shaktala, Udumbara, Tittiki, Gallava, Chamasiras were mentioned by Yaska.


“The evidence of the Rig Veda shows that Aryans were not foreigners who had come from outside and settled in the valleys of various rivers,” says Dr Laxman Swarup.

Dr AKCoomar Swamy in the preface to his book ‘A New Approach to the Vedas’ says,

“What right have Sanskritists to confine their labours to the solution of linguistic problems? Is it fear that precludes their wrestling with the ideology of the texts they undertake? The Vedas were not preserved for their language by the ancient Indians”.


Knowledge of  Tamil helped me!

It was my stay in Southern India which first seriously turned my thoughts to the Vedas. The sharp distinction between Aryan and Dravidian races created by the philologists disappeared.

On examining the vocables of the Tamil language , in appearance so foreign to the Sanskritic form and character, I yet found myself continually guided by the words or by family of words supposed to be pure Tamil in establishing new relations between Sanskrit and its distant sister Latin, and occasionally between the Greek and the Sanskrit…. And it was through this Dravidian language that I came first to perceive what seems to me now the true law, origins and, as it were, the embryology of the Aryan tongues.


Comparative Mythology

At the beginning of all human traditions there is this ancient memory.

It is Indra and the serpent Vritra,

it is Apollo and the Python,

 it is Thor and the Giants,

Sigurd and Fafner,

it is mutually opposing gods of the Celtic mythology;

but only in the Veda do we find the key to this imagery which conceals the hope or the wisdom of a prehistoric humanity.

My comments

I will add biblical Adam and Eve story where also the snake figures.



Aurobindo explains the Vedic concept of poet.

A mind visited by some highest light and its forms of idea and word, a seer and “hearer of the Truth”, kavayah satyasrutah 5-57-8

The poets of the Vedic verse certainly did not regard their function as it is represented by modern scholars, they did not look on themselves as a sort of superior medicine men and makers of hymn and incantation to a robust and barbarous tribe, but as seers and thinkers– rsi,dhiira–these singers believed that they were in possession of a high , mystic and hidden truth, claimed to be bearers of a speech acceptable to a divine knowledge, and expressly so speak of their utterances , as secret words which declare their whole significance only to the seer,

Kavaye nivacanaani ninyaa vacaamsi

(R V.4-3-16)

Ninyaa vaacaamsi – secret words

This is from the fourth mandala of Vamadeva Rishi.

The Rishi describes himself as one illumined expressing through his thought and speech of words of guidance, secret words— ninyaa vaacaamsi— ‘seer wisdoms’ that utter their ‘inner meaning to the seer’

Kaavyaani Kavaye nivacanaa.

The Veda thus understood stands out, apart from its interest as the world’s first yet extant Scripture, its earliest interpretation of man and the Divine and the universe, as a remarkable, a sublime and powerful poetic creation. It is in its form and speech no barbaric production.

The Vedic poets are masters of a consummate technique , their rhythms are carved like chariots of the gods and borne on divine and ample wings of sound, and are at once concentrated and wide waved, great in movement and subtle in modulation, their speech lyric by intensity and epic by elevation and utterance of great power, pure and bold and grand in outline, a speech direct and brief in impact, full to overflowing in sense and suggestion-so that each verse exists at once as a strong and sufficient thing in itself and takes its place a large step in between what came before and what comes after.

The utterances of the greatest seers Viswamitra, Vamadeva, Dirgatamas and many others, touch the most extraordinary heights and amplitudes of a sublime and mystic poetry and there are poems like the Hymn of Creation that move in a powerful clarity on the summits of thoughts on which the Upanishads lived constantly with a more sustained breathing”.


tags –Kavi, Poet in Vedas, Aurobindo