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Sanskrit and the Evolution of Human Speech
Sanskrit and the Evolution of Human Speech
Description
Preface

This book “Sanskrit and the Evolution of Human Speech Based on Sri Aurobindo’s Linguistic Theory” is a revised and enlarged version of my doctoral thesis “The Origin and Development of Sanskrit in the Light of Sri Aurobindo”. This thesis has been awarded a Ph.D. by the department of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, in March 2003.

It was rather a sadhana, not just any intellectual joy, for me to prepare this book. The whole process helped me immensely in my intellectual growth as well as in understanding many hidden aspects of the origin of language revealed by Sri Aurobindo. With all my gratitude I offer this book to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Introduction

There have been several attempts in the field of Language to discover a science of it which can provide some clarity to the understanding of the nature and origin of language and its development in the course of evolution. But all the attempts made in this field, especially by the Comparative Philologists lead to disappointing results.

Sri Aurobindo, — whose contribution in the field of linguistics is not yet recognised — after having examined thoroughly the methods followed by the comparative philologist in establishing a science of language, arrives at a point where he is convinced that the origin and growth of language cannot be shown, satisfactorily, without going deep into the hidden foetus of language. For this a primitive language has to be caught and studied. He advocates that it is only the Sanskrit language which has preserved the original primitive structure of language and the working system of etymons or simple root-sounds. Sri Aurobindo has extensively studied some of the word-families of Sanskrit to find out the original mind- impressions that the seed-sounds and the root-sounds have within them. This original mind-impression he calls the guna of sound. Once these original mind-impressions are discovered it would be easy to establish a parent language or a source language of which all other languages of the world are mere transformations.

The present book is an attempt to bring into light the views of Sri Aurobindo with regard to the study of language and his scholastic endeavour at establishing a true Science of it. The attempts made in this book, though incomplete in many ways, will at least be sufficient to enter into the deep thoughts of Sri Aurobindo with regard to the Study of Language in general and Sanskrit in particular. It will definitely lead to ‘a deeper and freer approach to the problem of the origin of Speech’. An honest effort has been made here to compare the views of other philologists with that of Sri Aurobindo in order to establish some link among the thoughts that have gone into the field of linguistics. This, hopefully, will open many possibilities for advanced research in the subject concerned here.

This book has been prepared along the following lines:

Chapter I This chapter deals with the study of language retrospectively and tries to describe the attempts made by the ancient Greeks and Indians, as well as modem philologists in the study of language. Sri Aurobindo’s views on comparative philology have been summarised in order to show how comparative philology, after its inception, has been more a mass of conjectural and ingenious learning than a science.

Chapter II This chapter summarises the presently available theories of the origin of language and deals specifically with Sri Aurobindo’s studies on the ‘Origins of Aryan Speech’. Along with the description of Sri Aurobindo’s approach and methodology it also attempts to delineate Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on the laws and processes that have guided the growth of language. An outline of Primitive root-sounds has also been provided.

Chapter III The Sanskrit alphabet is considered by Sri Aurobindo to be the representative of the original vocal instrument of Aryan Speech. These are the seed-sounds from which the primitive root-sounds are made. Once these root- sounds are discovered and their senses are recognised then it will be a tremendous help in finding the common origin of all languages. This chapter attempts to give a description of:

(a) the structural pattern of the Sanskrit alphabet, (b) the root- meanings of the vowels and consonants of Sanskrit, and (c) the growth of language from seed-sounds. A number of words belonging to the (d) family have been analysed here to show how words of a particular family having a common root sound are similar in meaning. This also reveals the laws and processes of the origin and development of Sanskrit.

Chapter IV Communication is not the only aspect of language. It has many deeper aspects. Modern philologists having neglected all the higher aspects of language, through ignorance, have given importance only to the communicative aspect of it and thus have failed to understand language in its totality. This chapter attempts to deal with the higher aspects of speech along the lines developed by Sri Aurobindo. It summarises the Vedic and Tantric theories of speech, the Sphota theory of the grammarians, the Vibration theory of physics and the Creative Word theory of Sri Aurobindo.

Chapter V The Vedas are the oldest scriptures of the world. In order to find out the primitive structure of the Sanskrit language a proper interpretation of Vedic words along the lines of linguistics and psychology is essential. This chapter deals with the principles that have in the past been adopted to interpret the Vedas and throws light on the issues related to the interpretation of the Vedas from Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint.

Conclusion This gives a brief idea of Sri Aurobindo’s status as a philologist and summarises the thoughts presented in the main chapters of this book.

A few original writings of Sri Aurobindo related to the origin of speech are given in the form of four appendixes.

A Select Bibliography and an Index have been added at the end of this book for use as referential tools.

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
I. Study of Language and Sri Aurobindo
Introduction 5
A Retrospect of the Study of Language 6
A Note on Comparative Philology11
Sri Aurobindo on Comparative Philology 14
II. The Origin and Development of Language: Sri Aurobindo’s Theory
Introduction 27
Sri Aurobindo’s Approach 29
Sri Aurobindo’s Methodology 32
The Growth of Language: Laws and Processes 34
III. Growth of Language from Seed-Sounds
Introduction 53
Structural Pattern of Sanskrit Alphabet 54
Root-meanings of Vowels and Consonants 57
Root-families of Sanskrit 59
IV. The Creative Word: A New Approach to the Study of Language
Introduction 79
The Vedic Theory of Speech 79
The Tantric Theory of Speech 81
Sphota: The Central Doctrine 84
Grades of Speech 86
Human Speech and the Creative Word 89
Vibration 91
Silence and Speech 95
Conclusion 96
V. A True Interpretation of the Vedas: Need for a New Science of Language
Introduction 105
Attempts at Interpreting the Vedas 107
Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation of the Veda 114
The Language of the Vedic Age 119
Conclusion 131
Appendix I135
Appendix II 139
Appendix III147
Appendix IV 161
Bibliography 163
Index 169

Sanskrit and the Evolution of Human Speech

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Edition:
2005
ISBN:
817060236-X
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Pages:
171
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Weight of the Book: 200 gms
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Preface

This book “Sanskrit and the Evolution of Human Speech Based on Sri Aurobindo’s Linguistic Theory” is a revised and enlarged version of my doctoral thesis “The Origin and Development of Sanskrit in the Light of Sri Aurobindo”. This thesis has been awarded a Ph.D. by the department of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, in March 2003.

It was rather a sadhana, not just any intellectual joy, for me to prepare this book. The whole process helped me immensely in my intellectual growth as well as in understanding many hidden aspects of the origin of language revealed by Sri Aurobindo. With all my gratitude I offer this book to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Introduction

There have been several attempts in the field of Language to discover a science of it which can provide some clarity to the understanding of the nature and origin of language and its development in the course of evolution. But all the attempts made in this field, especially by the Comparative Philologists lead to disappointing results.

Sri Aurobindo, — whose contribution in the field of linguistics is not yet recognised — after having examined thoroughly the methods followed by the comparative philologist in establishing a science of language, arrives at a point where he is convinced that the origin and growth of language cannot be shown, satisfactorily, without going deep into the hidden foetus of language. For this a primitive language has to be caught and studied. He advocates that it is only the Sanskrit language which has preserved the original primitive structure of language and the working system of etymons or simple root-sounds. Sri Aurobindo has extensively studied some of the word-families of Sanskrit to find out the original mind- impressions that the seed-sounds and the root-sounds have within them. This original mind-impression he calls the guna of sound. Once these original mind-impressions are discovered it would be easy to establish a parent language or a source language of which all other languages of the world are mere transformations.

The present book is an attempt to bring into light the views of Sri Aurobindo with regard to the study of language and his scholastic endeavour at establishing a true Science of it. The attempts made in this book, though incomplete in many ways, will at least be sufficient to enter into the deep thoughts of Sri Aurobindo with regard to the Study of Language in general and Sanskrit in particular. It will definitely lead to ‘a deeper and freer approach to the problem of the origin of Speech’. An honest effort has been made here to compare the views of other philologists with that of Sri Aurobindo in order to establish some link among the thoughts that have gone into the field of linguistics. This, hopefully, will open many possibilities for advanced research in the subject concerned here.

This book has been prepared along the following lines:

Chapter I This chapter deals with the study of language retrospectively and tries to describe the attempts made by the ancient Greeks and Indians, as well as modem philologists in the study of language. Sri Aurobindo’s views on comparative philology have been summarised in order to show how comparative philology, after its inception, has been more a mass of conjectural and ingenious learning than a science.

Chapter II This chapter summarises the presently available theories of the origin of language and deals specifically with Sri Aurobindo’s studies on the ‘Origins of Aryan Speech’. Along with the description of Sri Aurobindo’s approach and methodology it also attempts to delineate Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on the laws and processes that have guided the growth of language. An outline of Primitive root-sounds has also been provided.

Chapter III The Sanskrit alphabet is considered by Sri Aurobindo to be the representative of the original vocal instrument of Aryan Speech. These are the seed-sounds from which the primitive root-sounds are made. Once these root- sounds are discovered and their senses are recognised then it will be a tremendous help in finding the common origin of all languages. This chapter attempts to give a description of:

(a) the structural pattern of the Sanskrit alphabet, (b) the root- meanings of the vowels and consonants of Sanskrit, and (c) the growth of language from seed-sounds. A number of words belonging to the (d) family have been analysed here to show how words of a particular family having a common root sound are similar in meaning. This also reveals the laws and processes of the origin and development of Sanskrit.

Chapter IV Communication is not the only aspect of language. It has many deeper aspects. Modern philologists having neglected all the higher aspects of language, through ignorance, have given importance only to the communicative aspect of it and thus have failed to understand language in its totality. This chapter attempts to deal with the higher aspects of speech along the lines developed by Sri Aurobindo. It summarises the Vedic and Tantric theories of speech, the Sphota theory of the grammarians, the Vibration theory of physics and the Creative Word theory of Sri Aurobindo.

Chapter V The Vedas are the oldest scriptures of the world. In order to find out the primitive structure of the Sanskrit language a proper interpretation of Vedic words along the lines of linguistics and psychology is essential. This chapter deals with the principles that have in the past been adopted to interpret the Vedas and throws light on the issues related to the interpretation of the Vedas from Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint.

Conclusion This gives a brief idea of Sri Aurobindo’s status as a philologist and summarises the thoughts presented in the main chapters of this book.

A few original writings of Sri Aurobindo related to the origin of speech are given in the form of four appendixes.

A Select Bibliography and an Index have been added at the end of this book for use as referential tools.

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
I. Study of Language and Sri Aurobindo
Introduction 5
A Retrospect of the Study of Language 6
A Note on Comparative Philology11
Sri Aurobindo on Comparative Philology 14
II. The Origin and Development of Language: Sri Aurobindo’s Theory
Introduction 27
Sri Aurobindo’s Approach 29
Sri Aurobindo’s Methodology 32
The Growth of Language: Laws and Processes 34
III. Growth of Language from Seed-Sounds
Introduction 53
Structural Pattern of Sanskrit Alphabet 54
Root-meanings of Vowels and Consonants 57
Root-families of Sanskrit 59
IV. The Creative Word: A New Approach to the Study of Language
Introduction 79
The Vedic Theory of Speech 79
The Tantric Theory of Speech 81
Sphota: The Central Doctrine 84
Grades of Speech 86
Human Speech and the Creative Word 89
Vibration 91
Silence and Speech 95
Conclusion 96
V. A True Interpretation of the Vedas: Need for a New Science of Language
Introduction 105
Attempts at Interpreting the Vedas 107
Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation of the Veda 114
The Language of the Vedic Age 119
Conclusion 131
Appendix I135
Appendix II 139
Appendix III147
Appendix IV 161
Bibliography 163
Index 169
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