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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Sacred Alphabets  (Read 1957 times)

Jainarayan

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2019, 12:50:15 pm »
Do you use a sacred or magical alphabet in your practice? Does your faith have a particular language connected to it?

I just stumbled on this, though it's from last year.

To answer the question, yes we use Sanskrit in all temple rituals, and most home rituals. We use both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. Vedic is the older of the two versions, which the Vedas and other scriptures were written in. Sanskrit, the Devanagari script is usually used, but either V or C can be written in just about any script as long as the sounds can be faithfully rendered. It's believed that sound is energy, with Sanskrit having mystical properties. We have prayers for the end of our rituals in which we ask forgiveness for mispronunciations or not being clear in our chanting.

I'm just beginning to learn Devanagari. My prayers are printed on cards in the Latin alphabet. Sample comparison and translation:

The Mahāmṛtyuñjaya (Great Death-conquering) Mantra, a prayer to Lord Shiva.

ॐ त्र्यं॑बकं यजामहे सु॒गन्धिं॑ पुष्टि॒वर्ध॑नम् ।
उ॒र्वा॒रु॒कमि॑व॒ बन्ध॑नान् मृ॒त्योर् मुक्षीय॒ माऽमृता॑त् ।

oṃ tryaṃbakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya mā'mṛtāt

Om, We worship the Three-Eyed One (Shiva; the 3rd eye is the mystical eye),
Who is fragrant, increasing the nourishment (of our spiritual sore);
May I be liberated from death, from these many bondages (of samsara, cycle of death and rebirth) similar to cucumbers (released from their vines).
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Sefiru

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2019, 06:39:27 pm »
It's believed that sound is energy, with Sanskrit having mystical properties.

It's interesting that in some traditions it's the writing specifically that has power, while in others it's the spoken words. I wonder why?

Quote
ॐ त्र्यं॑बकं यजामहे सु॒गन्धिं॑ पुष्टि॒वर्ध॑नम् ।
उ॒र्वा॒रु॒कमि॑व॒ बन्ध॑नान् मृ॒त्योर् मुक्षीय॒ माऽमृता॑त् ।

I am vaguely impressed that my browser displayed that correctly.

Jainarayan

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2019, 09:44:28 am »
It's interesting that in some traditions it's the writing specifically that has power, while in others it's the spoken words. I wonder why?

Hmm... and I never heard of that with writing! Of course, not that I know everything.  ;D  Come to think of it, that's probably not such an odd practice or belief. Consider the practice of writing prayers or petitions on paper then burning the paper. It's a way of purging oneself of negative emotions, e.g. writing a nastygram to someone but not sending it. In this case, by burning it, you let the deities, spirits, ancestors or whomever one prays to, handle it.

What we know/believe is that the scriptures, namely the Vedas, were transcendentally received, perceived, by the rishis after decades and centuries of intense meditations and tapas (not the snacks :D but "austerities"). We assume the language was an early form of spoken Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedas were not written down until centuries later. They were transmitted orally for centuries, with techniques that kept them intact. Writing came later, hence the sound of the language being more important in our tradition.

Quote
I am vaguely impressed that my browser displayed that correctly.

Testament to the power of Sanskrit and Devanagari? rofl :D
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Darkhawk

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2019, 01:38:54 pm »
Hmm... and I never heard of that with writing! Of course, not that I know everything.  ;D  Come to think of it, that's probably not such an odd practice or belief. Consider the practice of writing prayers or petitions on paper then burning the paper. It's a way of purging oneself of negative emotions, e.g. writing a nastygram to someone but not sending it. In this case, by burning it, you let the deities, spirits, ancestors or whomever one prays to, handle it.

There are some ancient Egyptian spells that include writing things down and then eating them so that the spell-effect is internalized.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Jainarayan

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2019, 04:03:09 pm »
There are some ancient Egyptian spells that include writing things down and then eating them so that the spell-effect is internalized.

Y'know, that does kind of make sense.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Eastling

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2019, 04:50:02 pm »
Hmm... and I never heard of that with writing!

As I talked about earlier in the thread, Jewish mysticism is very focused on the written word.

It's worth noting that while Judaism strictly forbids idolatry of any form (that is, anything that could be seen as characterizing an inanimate object as a living god), the way Jewish ceremonies treat the Torah is virtually identical to the way statues of deities and other physical representations of the Divine are treated in other traditions.
  • it is housed in a special "holy ark" in the center of the sanctuary, where all attention is directed during worship--have a look at this image of the front half of the sanctuary of the synagogue I grew up with
  • within that holy ark the Torah scrolls are draped in multiple elaborate coverings made of fine fabric
  • the center of a Jewish service is almost always a reading from the Torah, which is preceded by a number of special extra-holy prayers
  • at set points during services the Torah will be paraded around the sanctuary to great song while the congregants kiss their hands and touch the Torah as it goes by
  • for a Jewish youth to be called upon to do any Torah-related duties as a member of the synagogue is considered a special honor
This is all drawing from my own experience growing up as a Reform Jew, so it's likely different for others, but I don't think my experience is atypical with regards to the Torah.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
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Sefiru

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2019, 06:32:12 pm »
There are some ancient Egyptian spells that include writing things down and then eating them so that the spell-effect is internalized.

I have some edible rice paper for this (eventual) purpose.

Sefiru

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2019, 06:34:55 pm »
Hmm... and I never heard of that with writing!

Aside from the ones already mentioned, Taoism and related practices ascribe a lot of power to written spells and talismans. (And IIRC, Chinese writing was originally used in divination, and only later for practical uses.)

Jainarayan

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2019, 10:37:57 am »
Aside from the ones already mentioned, Taoism and related practices ascribe a lot of power to written spells and talismans. (And IIRC, Chinese writing was originally used in divination, and only later for practical uses.)

Of course!  ;D  I completely forgot.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Hariti

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2019, 02:55:30 am »
Hmm... and I never heard of that with writing!

Some Protestant traditions, especially early Protestant traditions put a lot of emphasis on the Word of God. Word meaning written Word.

There were even some radical protestant thinkers (forgive me for not recalling which ones at the moment) who suggested that being able to read was a necessity for salvation. Obviously, that idea never caught on... but there's a reason groups like the Gideons put bibles all over the place... and why those Bibles have a page at the front listing how many languages the Bible has been translated into! 

For protestants, merely knowing scripture is not normally sufficient. Actually reading it yourself is highly, highly encouraged.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Jainarayan

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Re: Sacred Alphabets
« Reply #40 on: August 30, 2019, 09:07:43 am »
Some Protestant traditions, especially early Protestant traditions put a lot of emphasis on the Word of God. Word meaning written Word.

There were even some radical protestant thinkers (forgive me for not recalling which ones at the moment) who suggested that being able to read was a necessity for salvation. Obviously, that idea never caught on... but there's a reason groups like the Gideons put bibles all over the place... and why those Bibles have a page at the front listing how many languages the Bible has been translated into! 

For protestants, merely knowing scripture is not normally sufficient. Actually reading it yourself is highly, highly encouraged.

That's not without some logic and reasoning. Iirc, the Protestant Reformation happened about the same time as the printing press. Previously it was wandering Catholic monks and priests who re-enacted and spoke the Bible because people were largely illiterate.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

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