you play the harmonium, the nagasvaram or the flute, the sound is
produced by the air discharged in various measures through
different outlets. Our throat has a similar system to produce
sound. It is not that the throat alone is involved in this
process. How do we speak and sing? Speaking or singing is an
exercise that has its source below the navel in the
"muladhara" or "root-base' of the spinal column. From this point the breath is
brought up in various measures as we speak or sing. The human
instrument made by the Lord is far superior to the harmonium, the
nagasvaram or the flute. These latter can produce only mere
sounds and cannot articulate the syllables a, ka, ca, etc. Man
alone possesses this faculty. Animals can produce one or two
types of sound but do not have the ability to articulate.
may gauge the importance of articulate speech form the fact that
the Lord has bestowed this faculty only on man. Such a wonderful
gift of Isvara must not be squandered or abused in idle gossip or
useless talk. We must use it to grasp the divine powers and
endeavour to create the well-being of mankind thereby. And we
must also try to raise our own Self with it. All these lofty
purposes can be served with the Vedic mantras that the sages have
gathered from space for our benefit.
you recognise this fact you will realise why there should be a
sastra called Siksa specially for the purpose of guiding us in
the enunciation of Vedic mantras. This science as developed by
our forefathers arouses the wonder of linguistic scientists even
today. It teaches us how the syllables are to be produced
accurately and describes in the minutest detail how the passage
of the breath coming from the pit of the stomach is to be
controlled. Further, it tells us on which parts of the body the
breath must impinge and how it must be discharged from the mouth.
a sense, air going into our body in different ways is a
manifestation of the yogic science: it is because of the
vibrations caused in our nadis as a result of the passage of our
breath that our emotions and powers take shape. There is a
saying, "What is in the macrocosm is present in the
microcosm. " As mentioned before, the vibrations within us
produce vibrations outside also and these are the cause of worldly
activities. That is why those who have mastered the mantras have
the same powers as those who have achieved yogic perfection
controlling their breath. The one is mantrayoga, the other is
explains how each syllable of a mantra is to be produced by the
human voice, what its tone should be like. It lays down the
duration or matra for each syllable. In determining the matra the
short and long syllables (the "hrsva" and
"dirgha") are taken into account. Siksa also describes
how words that are joined together (according to the rules of
"sandhi" ) are to be enunciated without breaking them. All
such matters as help in the correct chanting of the mantras are
included in this sastra.
explains in very fine detail how the sounds of the various
syllables are to produced. A sound like "ka" is to be created
from between the neck and the throat; another like "na"
is nasal. To produce the sound of 'ta" the tongue should
come into contact with particular teeth - this is mentioned in
this sastra; so too how the tongue should touch the upper palate
for a sound like "na". Phonemes like "ma"
arise from completely closing the lips together and those like
"va" (labia-dental) are produced using both the lips
and the teeth. It is all scientific and at the same time part of
mantrayoga and sabdayoga.
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here