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The word as revelation: names of Gods, foreword by David Frawley Paperback – 2001
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There are two opposing views about language, both advanced by distinguished thinkers. One view holds that a language is external to objects and thoughts; the other view regards it as fundamental to them. In what sense or senses are these views true? Can they be reconciled? Language has not merely expressed man's fears; it has also expressed his sense of mystery. Again and again, man has sung of Gods and Divine Life and his idea of the Good and the Beautiful in sublime speech. This sublime speech, these inspired words, he has treasured as his veritable heritage, his Vedas. But in the passage of time, man's' thought-habits and speech-mores change and the inspired words become difficult to understand. Can a study of language help us to recapture the meanings of older scriptures? Can this study help us to understand the deeper life of man, his vision of Gods and the Good? Can this study throw some light on religious consciousness in general and the cherished old scriptures in particular? For example, can we understand the mentality of the seers of the Vedas--humanity's oldest extant scripture--by studying their language? Or can we understand the import of their language by entering into the state of their mind? The book studies human speech in its relation to man's deeper psyche and religious consciousness. It adds a new dimension to the science of Semantics by showing how physical meanings of a word become sensuous meanings, become concepts and ideas, become names of the powers of the psyche, become Names of Gods, depending upon the organ of mind--indriya, manas, buddhi, -- which is using that word as also on the level of purity-bhumi--of the organ concerned.
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Words matter and each have their own emotional charge. Much of the book discusses the many twists and turns of linguistic analysis. In the final portions of this book, Ram Swarup applies the results of his analysis to the deities found in the Vedas. Swarup analyses the many meaning of the major Vedic deities. He examines the major deities in light of their many epithets.
His discussion is not limited to Hindu religion. Swarup spends time discussing perhaps the most important portion of the Christianity dealing with language, John 1:1, where in the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God. According to his analysis, the “Word” signifies both the expressed nomenclature of everything and the inner, esoteric, meaning of things. This is the functional equivalent from the “Logos” of Heraclitus (in the original Greek of the gospel, “the Word” is “Logos”) and the relationship between the Buddhi and organs of sense perception in Samkhya philosophy, the bedrock of the Hindu dharsana.
So while most of us speak without attention to the words spoken, words at their essence is a reflection of their own inner meaning, and ultimately are a reflection of God. This book gives the Reader a deeper understanding of the nature of language and a deeper appreciation of the divine nature. It will change how you relate with God, whatever your faith.