Let us now consider the meanings of the consonants.
Consonants Gutturals (Buddhi-class): K: Name of Prajapati; of Brahman; of Vishnu; the soul; the Sun; fire; light; air; time; sound; water; head; happiness; Mind.
K, being the first consonant of the alphabet, refers to all things that can be conceived as being first in the manifest universe. It would, therefore, refer to the Supreme Creator, Purusha or Prakrti, or the Heart-energy; the Head energy or the Buddhi-theory of life; Mind, first according to the Mind-theory of creation; and Ether, first according to the Ether-theory of life. We should be able to explain all the meanings of K on this assumption.
- Supreme Purusha: Vishnu, Brahman, Prajapati.
- Prakrti: Water.
- Purusha as Heart-energy: Vishnu, Purusha as Buddhi: Vishnu.
- Purusha as Ether: Brahman.
- First Energies:
- Heart-energy: Soul; air (associated with the Heart as Breath);
- Buddhi: the Sun; fire; light; time; head; happiness;
- Mind: Mind.
- Ether: Sound.
KH: The Sun; cavity, hollow, apertures of the human body; hence, an organ of sense; Ether; Brahma; Anusvara; happiness; action; understanding.
Kh, being the second consonant of the alphabet, refers to those energies that come second into manifestation. Further, in our diagram of the alphabet, it occupies place No. 9 in the region of Mind, and so would refer to the ideas associated with that number. We should be able to explain all meanings of the letter Kh in this light.
The idea of second manifestation is easy enough to understand. Thus, if the Heart-energy be regarded as the first, Buddhi will be second; similarly, if Buddhi be first, Mind will be second; again, if Mind be first, Ether will be second; and lastly, if (Purushic) Ether be first, (Prakrtic Ether or) Air will be second.
- Buddhi (second), Heart-energy being first: the Sun; knowledge; happiness; understanding.
- Mind (second), Buddhi being first: Knowledge.
- Purushic Ether (second), Mind being first: Brahma; Ether; cavity, hollow (all holes are related to Ether); Organ of sense (of knowledge).
- Prakrtic Ether (second), Purushic Ether being first: Organ of sense (of action).
- Air (second), Ether being first: Action.
There is one very interesting meaning of Kh, Anusvara, which has not been explained. But Anusvara, the sign representing the action of the Centrosomes on the Chromosomes in the development of the Cell, is a symbol of the union together of Purusha and Prakrti and, it has been shown that, whether the idea of creation be that the Supreme Purusha is first or Prakrti first, it is followed by the idea of the union together of Purusha and Prakrti. Accordingly, the idea of Anusvara, as representing this union, is second in order, and it is indicated by the letter Kh.
In this connection it may be of interest to note that the two letters which, according to the rules of Sanskrt grammar, are changed into an Anusvara, N and M, belong, in our diagram of the alphabet, to the region of Purushic Ether, (Nos. 17 and 18 respectively.) From this we may conclude that the union of Purusha and Prakrti (represented by an Anusvara) takes place in the region of Purushic Ether; that is, in a state of elliptical motion or rest (for Purushic Ether is characterised by this, and Prakrtic Ether has motion from place to place) This idea would be important in connection with a proper understanding of the law of creation.
It has been pointed out that the meaning of a letter should be indicated by the place it occupies in the diagram of our alphabet. As Kh has number nine, in the region of Mind, it would refer to the idea of the Mind; and that has already been explained. But there is an added significance attaching to the number nine; and it has already been pointed out that it includes the seven manifest energies, from Buddhi to "Earth", as well as the two currents of life, the descending or Purushic and ascending or the Prakrtic one. Accordingly, it includes all that can be conceived as arising out of the union of Purusha and Prakrti, and this idea is also indicated by Anusvara.
G: Going; moving; staying, abiding in; having sexual intercourse with; singing; third note of music; name of Ganesa.
G being the third consonant refers to the third idea of the creation of manifest life; and that, in order, is (a) Mind, if the Heart be regarded as first; (b) Purushic Ether, if Buddhi be first; (c) Prakrtic Ether, if Mind be first; and (d) Air, if Purushic Ether be first. Further, in our diagram of the alphabet, G is assigned to the region of Purushic Ether (No. 15), and this should further elucidate the meanings of the letter.
- Mind (third), Heart being first, Buddhi second. We notice that G does not refer to the Mind in any of the meanings assigned to it, and for obvious reasons; for the letter, in our diagram, belongs to the region of Purushic Ether (below Mind), and, therefore, cannot refer to the Mind as the creative energy of life.
- Purushic or Prakrtic Ether (third), Buddhi being first and Mind second. The meanings in agreement with this are, moving; abiding in; having sexual intercourse with; third note of music; singing; name of Ganesa.
It has already been pointed out that Motion in; the abstract may be regarded as belonging to both Purushic and Prakrtic Ether; and it has been shown that motion in Purushic Ether is elliptical or limited in space or at comparative rest, while Prakrtic Ether is characterised by wave motion with change from place to place. Hence the meanings, moving, staying or abiding in.
It has been pointed out that Purushic Ether is characterised by Sound: hence the meanings, singing, and third note of music. It has been shown that the union of Purusha and Prakrti takes place in Purushic Ether and as the letter G is situated there; it implies the idea of sexual union.
Ganesa: The idea of Ganesa; the son of Mahadeva and Parvati, is very interesting, and would be examined again in the "story" of the Mahabharata with which he is closely associated. It is enough to mention here that Mahadeva and Parvati represent the union of Purusha and Prakrti, as Mind-energy and Ether. The idea of a son in the, Hindu scheme of thought is twofold: Either he is a re-creation of the father, and so identified with him, or he is descended from him, in which case he represents one energy lower than his father.
Now Ganesa is said to have had a man's head at birth; but it was cut off by his father who, in order to appease Parvati, fixed an elephant's head to his son's trunk and restored him to life.
The explanation of this idea of Ganesa is not difficult to understand. He is the son of Mind-energy (Siva) and Ether (Parvati), and it is at first believed that he represents Purushic Ether, and so has the head of a man (Purusha) at birth. But, according to his parents, he represents Prakrtic Ether (senses of Action) more than Purushic (senses of Knowledge); hence he is given an elephant's head to express this idea. The literal meaning of Hastin (elephant) is "having hands"; and hands are the instruments of action, related to the element Air and the connection of Air with Ether has already been explained. Hence the head of an elephant (Hastin) in connection with Ganesa indicates that he represents Prakrtic Ether even more than Purushic Ether. The idea of the letter G meaning Ganesa, therefore, is that he represents Ether (Purushic and Prakrtic).
Gh: From "hand" striking, killing; a bell; rattling or tinkling sound. As we are not concerned with secondary meanings, the first, derived from "hand" need not be explained. Gh, in our diagram of the alphabet, belongs to the region of Prakrtic Ether (No. 20). Hence the reference to sound, (for Ether, both Purushic and Prakrtic, is characterised by sound), in bell, etc.
N: An object of sense, desire for any sensual object, name of Siva. N, being the fifth consonant of the alphabet, refers to the ideas conveyed by the number five; and they relate to the five elements, the five senses, etc. Further, in our diagram of the alphabet, it is assigned to the region of Air (No. 25). From all this we should be able to explain the meanings of the letter. An object of sense as well as a desire for such an object obviously refers to the five senses. As for a name of Siva, we have to refer to the idea of the number 25 occupied by this letter. It has already been pointed out that the scheme of thought associated with 25 energies of creation, related to Yoga philosophy, is connected with the religion of Siva and, calculating from the bottom, or from manifestation to its source, the Supreme Purusha in that system occupies place number 25; hence the association of Siva with the letter N.
Consonants Palatals (Mind Class): N: Pure; moving to and fro; mischievous; seedless; a thief; a tortoise; Moon; Siva.
N, being the sixth consonant of the alphabet and the first letter of the second or Palatal class, should correspond to the ideas conveyed by the numbers two and six. Further, in our diagram of the alphabet, it belongs to the region of the Mind (No. 8). This should have a bearing on its meanings.
It might be pointed out, in this connection, that the number six refers to the Mind; for the Mind is always considered in association with the five senses, and called the sixth. Again it has been observed that the Palatal class refers to the Mind. Hence the meaning Moon (or Mind personified by the Moon) Hence also the name of Siva, who, as already explained, is associated with Mind-energy. It might be mentioned, in this connection, that the number 8 refers to Ahankara or Atman or the highest Self within each individual as well as in the universe. It is Heart-energy, the unmanifest, after which we get the seven manifest energies from Buddhi to the element "Earth". This Heart is "pure;" it is "seedless," being created out of itself; and it is ever "moving to and fro". All these meanings can be derived from the idea of the number 8, the place occupied by this letter. The meaning, Tortoise, can be explained in connection with the Tortoise incarnation; and, as has already been shown, it refers to the form of the Ether of the Heart.
It is difficult to explain the meaning, thief; but it would undoubtedly have some secondary connection with the place or class of the letter.
Ch: Dividing; a fragment; pure; clean; tremulous.
Ch, being the seventh consonant, refers to the energy of the number seven, and that is Buddhi, even as the Mind is the energy of the number six. Further, it is placed in the region of Purushic Ether, being number 16 in our diagram of the alphabet. Again, the idea of the number 16 is associated with the Mind, following the fifteen energies consisting of the five elements and the ten correlated senses of knowledge and action. We should be able to explain the meanings of Ch in the light of these ideas.
Number seven, Buddhi: Pure, clean.
As belonging to Ether: Tremulous, (vibration or motion or sound being characteristic of Ether).
The other meanings can be explained on the assumption that it is a characteristic of Ether to divide substances into fragments, and this would be borne out by the fact that matter in Ether exists in the form of Atoms.
J: Born, produced; speedy, swift; speed; victorious; eaten; enjoyment; light; poison; name of Vishnu; of Siva.
J, being the eighth consonant, is connected with the energy of the number eight, and that is Heart-energy, as Buddhi is referred to the number seven, and Mind to the number six. Further, in our diagram of the alphabet, J is placed in the region of Prakrtic Ether (No. 21), and number twenty one is associated with many ideas. We should be able to explain the meanings of J in the light of all these.
Number eight, Heart energy: Name of Vishnu who, as already explained, is associated with the Heart energy, having Buddhi for its first manifestation. Number seven, in association with the idea of thrice seven, referring to Buddhi: Light. Number 21, the place it occupies, referring to the Mind: Name of Siva who, as already explained, is associated with Mind energy.
Region of Prakrtic Ether, to which it is assigned: Born, produced. As this is the fourth region, the first three being Buddhi, Mind, and Purushic Ether, all manifestation takes place in this region, as has already been explained. Hence the meaning, born, produced.
Speedy, swift; speed: This also is a characteristic of Prakrtic Ether, viz. motion from place to place, or speed.
Poison: It has been pointed out that Prakrtic Ether is characterised by poison, in connection with one class of serpents; hence the meaning poison.
The remaining meanings, victorious, eaten, enjoyment, would appear to be secondary.
Jh: Asleep; playing a tune, beating time; a jingling sound; wind accompanied by rain; name of Brhaspati; hurricane; lost, destroyed.
Jh, the ninth consonant of the alphabet, should refer to the energy after the Heart, the number eight, in order. But as there is nothing after the Heart, life may be conceived as either destroyed or asleep after that. Hence the meanings, destroyed, lost; asleep. Again, in our diagram of the alphabet, Jh is placed in the region of Air (No. 26): Hence the meanings, wind, hurricane. Air also makes sound audible hence the reference to tune, beating time, and jingling sound. The name of Brhaspati is difficult to explain; for, according to our theory Brhaspati (Jupiter) is associated with Fire and not Air.
N: A singer; a jingling sound; a heretic; an ox; the planet Sukra or Venus.
N, being the tenth consonant, should have a connection with the ideas associated with that number. In the diagram of the alphabet it is placed in the region of Fire (No. 28). The number ten, as already explained, refers to the ten senses, five of knowledge and five of action; and they are connected with Ether, Purushic and Prakrtic. Again, Ether is characterised by sound; hence the meanings, singer, and jingling sound.
The idea of Ox (Gou) is also related to Ether; and it will be explained in detail in a subsequent chapter, how Ether is symbolized in the Cow or the Ox, and all the ideas of the Hindus in connection with the sacredness of the Cow are related to the ideas associated with Ether. Sukra or Venus, according to our theory, symbolizes Water, which represents Prakrti, and Ether does the same. Hence, as in signifies Purushic and Prakrtic Ether, it means Sukra or Venus. The meaning, heretic, would appear to be a secondary one, implying, perhaps, that he who believes in Ether as the ultimate source of life (Sankhya philosophy) is a heretic.
Consonants Cerebrals (Purushic Ether Class): T: A sound; a dwarf; a quarter (fourth).
T is the eleventh consonant of the alphabet and, in our diagram, belongs to the region of Purushic Ether (No. 14). In connection with the idea of Ether, the meaning, sound, is easy to understand. Dwarf (Vamana), as already explained, is connected with the Mind (No. 11). Quarter (Dig) is always associated with Ether, to which this letter belongs.
Th: A loud noise; an imitative sound; the disc of the Sun or the Moon; a circle, a globe; an object of sense; a name of Siva
Th is the twelfth consonant of the alphabet and, in our diagram, is placed in the region of Prakrtic Ether (No. 22). Its meanings should be explained in the light of ideas associated with Prakrtic Ether and number 12. Prakrtic Ether: a loud noise; an imitative sound (the former may be regarded as onomatopoetic, from the sound of the letter, ha, tha). A globe, a circle; it has already been pointed out that Purushic Ether is associated with an ellipse, and Prakrtic Ether with a circle or a wave; and the motion of the one is limited in space, while that of the other (e.g. motion on a wheel) is not; hence the idea of a circle or globe. An object of sense; it has been pointed out that the senses are related partly to Purushic and partly to Prakrtic Ether.
The number twelve: This number relates to the cycle of the Sun in Ether. The reference to Ether has already been explained; the reference to the Sun is to be found in the meaning, disc of the Sun. The remaining two meanings, disc of the Moon and Siva, both of which are associated with the Mind, would be easy to explain if we associate Buddhi or Prakrtic Ether with the Mind-energy, which is not illogical; for the latter is immediately transformed into Ether, and Buddhi is related to the Mind.
D: A sound; a kind of drum; fear; submarine fire; Siva.
This is the thirteenth consonant of the alphabet, placed in the region of Air (No. 27) in our diagram. Air: It has been pointed out that sound is made audible in Air; hence the reference to sound, and a kind of drum. The association of Siva with Air or prana or Heart- energy has already been referred to.
Number thirteen: This number refers to the energy of the Heart as twelve to Buddhi. As the Heart is akin to the Mind-energy, this would explain the meaning, Siva. The remaining meanings, fear and submarine fire, would be difficult to explain and appear to be secondary.
Dh: Nirguna; an imitative sound; a large drum; a dog; a serpent.
Dh is the fourteenth consonant, placed in the region of Fire (No. 29) in our diagram. The meanings, sound and a large drum, would appear to be onomatopoetic from the sound dha, dha; and the letters of this class (cerebrals) are associated with Ether, characterised by sound. As the number 14 is made up of ten and four, it would refer to all ideas associated with these numbers and the number ten, referring to Ether, would explain the idea of drum, imitative sound, etc. Ether would also explain the reference to serpent, which is egg-born. It is difficult to explain the remaining meanings, Nirguna, and a dog.
N: Knowledge; certainty; ornament; a water-house; name of Siva; a sound of negation; a gift.
N is the fifteenth consonant, placed in the region of Buddhi (No. 2) in our diagram. Buddhi: Knowledge, certainty; name of Siva. Number two: This refers to Prakrti, number one referring to Purusha. Hence the reference to Water-house, Water being a symbol of Prakrti, as already explained. Sound of negation would appear to be onomatopoetic, and this letter belongs to the cerebral class, related to Purushic Ether. The remaining meanings would be difficult to explain; but they appear to be minor and secondary.
Consonants Dentals (Prakrtic Ether Class): T: The pronominal base of tad, "that which"; the breast; the hip; a warrior; a thief; a wicked man, a Mlecha; a Buddha; a jewel; nectar; virtue.
T is the sixteenth consonant, belonging to the region of Prakrtic Ether (No. 19) in our diagram. Number sixteen; ten and six referring to the Mind the five elements and the ten senses.
Prakrtic Ether: It has already been pointed out that all things are made manifest in the fourth stage of development, and Prakrtic Ether is the fourth in order, the first three being Buddhi, Mind, and Purushic Ether. Accordingly T, the first letter of the dental class, which represents Prakrtic Ether, stands for all the viviparous made manifest in it. Hence it is the pronominal base of the pronoun, tad, meaning "that which", and is applicable to all manifest life, as Man, the highest of the viviparous, personifies all creatures119. As breast and womb also refer to manifest life, they might be associated with this idea. The idea of Buddha is also connected with Ether. The remaining meanings are difficult to explain.
Th: A mountain; a protector; a sign of danger; eating; fear; an auspicious prayer.
Th is the seventeenth consonant, placed in the region of Fire (No. 30) in our diagram. Fire: As food of the viviparous (vegetable kingdom) belongs to the Fire-class, this would explain the reference to eating. Further, food protects. Again Fire is associated with Speech, and this might explain the reference to prayer; and a large number of prayers are offered to the god Agni (Fire) in the sacred works of the Hindus. No. 17 belongs to Purushic Ether in our diagram of the alphabet; and this might explain the meaning, mountain which is associated with Ether. Other meanings would be difficult to explain.
D: Giving; offering; the act of cutting off; a mountain.
D is the eighteenth consonant, placed in the region of Buddhi (No. 3) in our diagram. It seems difficult to explain the meanings of this letter. The idea of mountain, however, can be explained in the same manner as in the case of Th, for No. 18 belongs to Purushic Ether in our diagram.
Dh: Putting; holding; name of Brahma; of Kubera; the sixth note in the gamut of music; virtue; merit; wealth.
Dh is the nineteenth consonant, placed in the region of Mind (No. 10) in our diagram. Mind: the reference to the region of Mind is to be found in the sixth note of the gamut of music, for this number is connected with the Mind, as already explained.
Kubera is the elder brother of Ravana, and is called Vaisravana, and Ravana, as has been pointed out is related to the two aspects of Ether, symbolized in his ten heads. Kubera, accordingly, would represent Mind-energy, being one degree higher than Ravana. Number ten: This would refer to Ether, Purushic and Prakrtic, and explain the reference to Brahma, who is associated with Ether. The other meanings appear to be secondary.
N: A particle of negation, thin; spare; vacant; empty; identical; undivided; name of Buddha; of Ganesa; jewel; pearl; gift; war.
N is the twentieth consonant, placed in the region of Purushic Ether (No. 17) in our diagram. The number twenty is associated with Ether, referring to the ten senses, the five elements and their five properties, Ether being the twentieth.
Ether: This will explain the reference to Buddha and the name of Ganesa. It has already been pointed out that the idea of Ganesa is associated with both Purushic and Prakrtic Ether and the philosophy of Buddhism is also based on Ether as the supreme manifest creative energy of life. The meanings, thin, empty, vacant, spare, would also refer to Ether, for it is regarded as empty space, vacant, etc. The remaining meanings would appear to be secondary.
Consonants Labials (Air Class): P: Drinking; guarding, protecting; the fifth note in the gamut of music; wind; a leaf.
P is the twenty-first consonant, first of the fifth (Labial) class, and belonging to the region of Air (No. 24) in our diagram. Air: This explains the meaning, wind or air. Fifth class: This corresponds to the fifth note in the gamut of music; and air is associated with the audibility of sound. The number five is also connected with Ether, and this element protects or guards. The other meanings, drinking or a leaf would appear to be secondary.
Ph: Manifest; a gale; swelling; flowing; bursting with a popping noise; bubbling, boiling; angry or idle speech.
Ph is the twenty-second consonant, assigned to the region of Water (No. 31) in our diagram. Water: as Prakrti is symbolized as Water, and all life is made manifest in Prakrti, we have the meaning, manifest. As this is a consonant of the fifth or air-class (Labial) we have a reference to gale. Swelling might be explained in connection with the idea of Air, and flowing in connection with Water. Popping noise, bubbling, boiling would be onomatopoetic (from pha, pha). Speech is connected with Air, which makes it audible; or it may be connected with Ether in which sound is produced; and the reference to Ether is to be found in Ph belonging to the fifth or the Labial class. The number five might refer to either Ether, as the first of the five elements, or to Air, as the fifth energy of manifest life. But if we combine Purushic and Prakrtic Ether into one, it would refer to Fire instead of Air. In that case Speech would be associated with Fire, having Agni for its presiding deity.
B: Name of Varuna; Sindhu; Water.
B is twenty-third consonant, assigned to the region of Buddhi (No. 4) in our diagram. B is often changed into V and connected with it and V, in our diagram, is assigned to the region of Water (No. 32) Hence the meaning, water, given to both B and V. Varuna, as will be shown is associated with water or Prakrti. The letter B is assigned to the region of Buddhi, and also refers to water; hence its connection with Varuna. Sindhu signifies a river or ocean or water in general; and so the meaning is clear.
Bh: Name of Venus; semblance, delusion, error; a star; a lunar mansion; a planet; a sign of the zodiac; the number 27.
Bh is the twenty-fourth consonant, assigned to the region of the Mind (No. 11) in our diagram. As has been pointed out, the number twenty-four refers to the Sankhya system of thought, having Prakrti for the supreme creative energy of life and it has been shown that Prakrti is symbolized by Water. Now, the planet Venus also represents Water hence the reference to Venus. The meanings, error, delusion, etc. would appear to be secondary, indicating that the idea of Prakrti as the supreme creative energy of life is an error and a delusion. Or it may be associated with the conception of Maya, which is commonly believed to mean error or delusion, and Maya is often identified with Prakrti. As the letter Bh is related to Prakrti, the meanings, error, etc., can easily be explained.
The explanation of the number 27 in connection with this letter is also easy; for this number represents the cycle of the Moon or the Mind in connection with the twenty-seven Naksatras or asterisms. Now, in our diagram, the letter Bh is placed in the region of Mind or the Moon; and No. 11, as has been pointed out, refers specially to the Mind. Hence the reference to the number 27; hence also the meaning a lunar mansion. As a Naksatra or a lunar mansion is a constellation of stars, we get the meaning, star. As the Sun also passes through these Naksatras, even as he does through the signs of the zodiac, Bh also means a sign of the zodiac.
M: Time; poison; the Moon; name of Brahman; of Vishnu; of Siva; fourth note in the gamut of music.
M is the twenty-fifth consonant, placed in the region of Purushic Ether (No. 18) in our diagram. It has been pointed that lime signifies the cycle of Buddhi completed in Ether, and the idea is represented by the number 12 (7 and 5). It has been shown that the Yoga or Mind system of philosophy is associated with the number 25, and M is the twenty-fifth consonant; hence the reference to the Moon or Mind. It has been explained that Brahman represents Ether, Siva Mind, and Vishnu Heart energy, having Buddhi for its first manifest form. It has also been pointed out that Ether is represented by the number five; Mind by six, and Buddhi by seven, all together making a total of 18. Now, the letter M occupies place number 18 in our diagram; accordingly, it signifies the union together of all the three principal deities, Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu; hence their names referred to by this letter.
From this idea we can understand why these three Brahma, Siva and Vishnu are considered the three principal gods of the Hindus. They embrace all conceivable ideas regarding the creation, manifestation and destruction of life, as explained in the light of Ether, Mind and Buddhi energies of the universe. It should also be borne in mind that the three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, all meet in Purushic and Prakrtic Ether; and in our diagram this meeting takes place at points indicated by the letters M and T (Nos. 18 and 19), both of which are associated with the idea of manifest life, the latter (T) representing the whole universe, it being the base of the pronoun tad, meaning "that which". Thus we find that the letter M represents Buddhi, Mind, and Ether all together; hence the reference to Time (Buddhi and Ether); to Vishnu (Buddhi); to the Moon (Mind); to Siva (Mind); to Brahman (Ether); to a note of music (Ether) The meaning, poison, appears to be secondary, for we have associated Prakrtic and not Purushic Ether with poison; but the former is only a form of the latter.