Yoga Retreat
Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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The ten principle upanishads are
  • Isavasya
  • Kathopanishad
  • Mundaka
  • Taittareeya
  • Chaandogya
  • Kenopanishad
  • Prasna
  • Maandukya
  • Aitareya
  • Brihadaaranyaka

The Vedangas
The vedangas are complimentary text that have been written by sages to ensure that the revealed vedic mantras are not corrupted by use over a period of time. Also to facilitate the study of the vedas and make use of the vedic wisdom effectively in day to day life.

This the most primary text that gives the correct method of pronouncing the mantras within specified time limits in such a way so that the ‘Akshara shuddhi' syllable purity is maintained at its highest. Besides the time duration rules as to the pitch of the sound high, middle and low are specified. This maintains ‘Svara shuddhi' tonal purity. Even if the correct meaning is not known the proper intonation guarantees the expected results. Siksha lays down the rules of phonetics, it is vedic phonetics. The 50 sounds (letters or alphabets) of the Sanskrit language have come from the vedas. If the letter ‘Gnya' is taken as separate then we have 51 letters. They are called ‘Maatruka'. The word means Cosmic Mother. The 51 letters are the parts of the body of the Cosmic Mother. The whole creation has emerged from these 51 sounds. The Divine Mother is then the personification of these 51 sounds. All these sounds have emerged from the original sound ‘Om'. The Siksha shaastra says that these 51 syllables represent the various parts of the body of the Divine Mother and also defines which syllable represents which part. In ‘Shakta' or Tantric tradition we have 51 Shakti peetha or seats of Shakti. These are connected with the 51 parts of the body.

This is the vedic grammar. Sage Panini wrote the sutras of grammar. Sanskrit grammar is considered to be the most perfect. There are approximately 40,000 sutras in Panini's grammar.

It means metric composition. The vedic mantras have a specified meter and number of letters. ‘Chhanda Sutras' by Pingala is the most authoritative text on this. Of different meters Anushtup chhanda is the most widely used. Any verse that has four lines with eight syllables each is called a anushtup. The meters in the veda are Gayaatri, Ushnik, Anushtup, Brihati, Pankti. Trishtup, Jagati etc. These chhandas ensures that the original form of the vedic texts is kept absolutely in tact without adding or subtracting any syllable. It is important not to take liberties with the vedic sounds because a small change can disturb the spiritual content.

Nirukta is the vedic dictionary. The celebrated Sanskrit dictionary is called ‘Amara Kosha'. Dictionary is also called ‘Nighandu'. The ‘Nirukta Shaastra' of Yaska is the most authoritative Sanskrit dictionary. The dictionary breaks each word into its roots and gives the meaning. Each sound has its roots. In English only verbs have roots. In Sanskrit all words have roots.


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