While researching for my book “Beyond Space and Beyond Matter”, I came across the approach of understanding words from constituent letters. Each letter in Sanskrit has a meaning. I hadn’t paid much attention to this fact until Sri Sri Ravishankar, my Guru, mentioned it to me.
Every letter from the Devanagari letter “ka” is a representation of the 33 devas of the Vedic tradition. The letter “ka” represents prajapati, the creator. Similarly Sankhya texts map each of these consonants to a principle in creation. In another convention, the Maruts who are the helpers of Indra rule Forty Nine letters. Maruts are a group of seven Devas. Each group has seven of them.
Tantra texts group letters of the Sanskrit language. Secondly, there are fifty one letters in the Devanagari method of writing in Sanskrit. Matrikas, who are helpers of the mother divine, rule over these seven groups. In summary, many approaches were known in the distant past to understand the power behind letters. Certainly, words are formed from letters. Therefore, a knowledge of letters brings clarity to the words in the Veda.
Dictionary and additional techniques to understanding Mantras
There is a practical value in understanding this. Vedas are in the Sanskrit language. Secondly, Sanskrit is a structured language. Thirdly, Philologists say that the grammar of Sanskrit is the model for the science of etymology. However, the Sanskrit of Vedas predates grammatical Sanskrit. Dictionaries tell us word meanings to one level. However, a Vedic expert uses the Niruktam technique to understand words in the mantras. In addition, someone who knows the significance of letters can more clearly explain Mantras than one who is an expert in word meanings.
Here is a video explaining how we can interpret a Yajur mantra to be referring to photosynthesis based on the above theme.