Kim H. Veltman
|Figure 2. Old Turkish Rovas, Etruscan, Northeast Iberian, Rovas|
3. Adamaeum, Brachmanicun (2 of the 72 Sacred Alphabets)
4. Runes as a descent from Heaven to Earth.
5. San and Ou (Chinese), Hexagram 1, Magic Square, Lo Shu
6. Earlier Heaven Diagram (China), Zodiac Square (India).
In the physical world, this led to sacred knots and three-formed objects (tribindu, trisula).To explain creation, procreation and what might be termed post-creation required linking basic sounds and letters to all levels of the cosmos. This led to six alphabets, corresponding to the six main schools of Hindu thought ranging from 25 letters (52), 36 letters (62), 49 letters (72), 64 letters (82) with the largest from 102 - 104 (Chinese). This link with powers is of central significance to the history of Sanskrit and all other languages. It led to grids or matrices, which became mandalas, ranging from those in sand for meditation to vastu purusha mandalas, which became ground plans for temples and also cubbyholes for organizing the Hindu pantheon of gods. From this emerged a tradition of magic squares found also in China and also made its way to the West.
As the construction of alphabets went West they became smaller. The Bulgarians once lived in what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. This old Bulgarian runic alphabet has 132 (12 x 11) letters. The Sarmatian Alphabet has 120 letters (12 x 10). Old Persian and one form of the Anglo Saxon Runes both have 33 letters and the same sequence of letters. The old Slavonic Alphabets were typically 44 letters (11 x 4) and 33 letters (11 x 3). The languages of the Mediterranean, Phoenician, Hebrew, Greek in their early forms typically had 22 letters (11x2). The good news was that the new Western alphabets were much shorter and easier to learn. The less good news was the connection between the alphabet and man’s spiritual development went into the background, became a matter for mystics and magicians, or was forgotten altogether. One goal of this book is to reawaken awareness of these dimensions.
Our approach is simple. Part one is about the structure of the alphabet. First, we must understand the idea of underlying matrices which come from China as well as India. Second, we shall explore the basic clusters of letters that structure western alphabets:1, 3, called the mother letters in Hebrew); 7, called the double letters in Hebrew, and 12, called the simple letters in Hebrew. Next we must understand why and how these 22 letters of the early European alphabets became 26 (English), 28 (Arabic) and 33 (Russian). This journey will reveal how a small number of metaphors and symbols became basic to alphabets: the world tree, tamed animals, the idea of bathing and crossing.
Part two is about origins. For this we shall return to India. We shall see that the quest of Sanskrit as right conduct began with a quest of taming body, mind and spirit. This led to the root metaphor of a charioteer, transformed the burden of a yoke (yuga) to a vision of liberation (yoga). To achieve this key points and centres along the spine (nadis, chakras) were linked with the different divisions of sounds (vargas). These were also linked with the sun through signs of the zodiac and with the moon through mansions of the moon (nakshatras). From this emerged not only images of seated yogis familiar to the West but also an alphabet linked with a world view.
Part three is the story how these ideas from India came to the West. Some might even ask if these ideas came to the West. The quick answer is yes. The last letter of the language that the West attributes to Adam is the last letter in (some versions of) the Sanskrit alphabet. 2 of the 72 sacred languages collected by the Vatican (Indicum and Brachmanicum. cf. Figure 2b). More importantly, an old variant of Hebrew found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, has direct parallels with Sanskrit. These parallels help to explain why early Western alphabets such as Phoenician and Hebrew had 22 letters. We shall see also that the idea of linking chakras and letters became part of the Celtic mystical tradition. But all that is later. First, we must understand the ideas of matrix and matrices which give alphabets their inner structure.