All languages convey meaning, but Sanskrit opens the door to much deeper levels. These deeper levels of meaning can be divided into four: the Literal level; the Lesson level; the Symbolic level; and the Personal Spiritual level.
To get a feel for these levels let’s take a concept that gets a lot of airplay these days – ‘victimhood’ – and find out what Sanskrit tells us about its deeper meanings.
We’re speaking here about that feeling of victimhood, the negative emotion that arises when we feel hard done by and put upon by people and circumstances. This is the feeling of victimhood that is fundamentally baseless, where there are the usual ups and downs of life and relationships, but we exaggerate the ‘downs’ and create a self-image of being a victim.
People in a situation of real trauma should, of course, get good compassionate effective help.
One of the Sanskrit words for victim is ‘pashu’.
The first, Literal level of the meaning of ‘pashu’ is a sacrificial animal, one that is tied down, bleating, awaiting the sacrifice.
The next level is that of the Moral or Lesson. So what is the lesson of pashu? It is that victimhood has the effect of rendering us powerless, subject to whatever may come, lacking any control over what happens. All that is left to us is to bleat about our sorry state.
At the Symbolic level the sacrificial animal is us when we are in a state of victimhood; the binding ropes are the thoughts and feelings and sentences that run in our head telling us we are powerless; the priest coming to perform the sacrifice stands for the events of life which catch us in this state and toss us about.
At the Personal Spiritual level Sanskrit conveys a pretty clear message. Get out of this state, become a victor, throw off the mental and emotional ropes that tie you down, take responsibility, don’t be the subject of events but gain independence and autonomy and strength by going free of the binding power of victimhood.
All of this is contained in the Sanskrit word ‘pashu’. Following these threads of deep meaning turns a dry study of grammar into an exciting, life affirming experience.
Listen to the whole episode on Transformation Talk Radio.