Etymosophy as Shabda Yoga

  • Title: Contemplationam, Etymosophy as Shabda Yoga.
  • Author: Arvindus.
  • Publisher: Arvindus.
  • Copyright: 2023, Arvindus, all rights reserved.
  • Index: 202310031.
  • Edition: html, first edition.


Sri Ramakrishna on several occasions said that the sandhya merges in the Gayatri, the Gayatri in the 'om' (and the 'om' in samadhi).1

'Sandhya', a Hindu and Sanskrit word, means literally 'twilight',2 but the word is also used to indicate a set of rites that are conducted by Hindu's at dawn and dusk (and noon)3. Part of these rites is also the recitation of the Gayatri mantra.4 This mantra is dedicated to the Sun-god Savitri and is traditionally started with the sacred syllable 'om' or 'aum'.5 This sacred syllable basically represents the whole of existence and its beyond.6 And as such it is also considered as the means for man toward that beyond.7 This unification of man with the beyond then is what in Hinduism is called 'samadhi'.8 So basically the sandhya twilight rites merge into the Gayatri mantra recitation, which merges into the aum meditation, which leads towards the samadhi union.

Now the above structure of complexities merging into simplicities,9 leading towards transcendence, can not only be found in Hindu philosophy but also in contemplative etymology or etymosophy10. In etymosophy it is considered that an explanation merges into a definition, that a definition merges into a word and that a word leads towards its transcendent meaning.11 And it is this transcendence at which the on the word contemplating etymosophist (or etymosopher) is aiming.

But an opposite line may also be followed. In the transcendence of words newly conceived meanings may give rise to new words that then may be defined and further explained.12, 13, 14 And this is an outstanding feature of etymosophy.15 Etymology, although taking the transcendent meanings of words in account, focusses mainly on the history of word formations.16 Etymosophy in contradistinction aims, as stated above, at the transcendence of the word form under contemplation to arrive at the world of meaning.17 Subsequently then from this transcendence new meanings may be conceived, leading to the projection of them into the world of word forms.18

With the, from the world of forms, aim at transcendence, and after having reached it returning enriched to the world of forms again, the etymosophist basically follows the path of the mystic who through union with the transcendent given renews the teachings of his tradition.19 Thus the true etymosophist is, like every true new era scientist, also a mystic and a yogi. And true etymosophy then is, like every true sophy,20, 21 also a spiritual discipline or a mystical practise or a yoga.

Now if every true sophy is a yoga then etymosophy is etymo yoga, and with the Greek root of 'etymo' referring to words22 regards etymosophy then word yoga. And subsequently translating 'word' into Sanskrit with 'shabda'23 may etymosophy also be considered as a form of shabda yoga.

Let this then be the conclusion of this short contemplation. True etymosophy is a form of shabda yoga.

  1. Sri Ramakrishna, in: Mahendranath Gupta, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Volume I, Swami Nikhilananda (translator), Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, p. 465. "The sandhya merges in the Gayatri, the Gayatri in Om, and, Om in samadhi."
  2. Monier Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Etymologically and Philologically Arranged, With Special Reference to Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, Anglo-Saxon, and Other Cognate Indo-European Languages, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1862, p. 1106.
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica, Ultimate Reference Suite, Version 2015, (software), Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015, Hinduism, Rituals, social practices, and institutions, Sacrifice and worship, Domestic rites, other private rites.
  4. Ibidem. "If not shortened, the morning ceremonies consist of self-purification, bathing, prayers, and recitation of mantras, especially the Gayatri-mantra (Rigveda 3.62.10), a prayer for spiritual stimulation addressed to the Sun."
  5. Rig Veda Samhitā, Maṇḍala – 3, Mantrās of Vishvāmitra Rishi, Text in Devanāgari, Translation and Notes, R. L. Kashyap (translator), Sri Aurobindo Kapāli Sāstry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore, 2007, p. 182-183.
  6. Māṇḍῡkya Upaniṣad and Kārikā, in: Eight Upaniṣads, Volume Two, With the Commentary of Śaṅkarācārya, Swāmī Gambhīrānanda (translator), Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, 2008, Ch. 1, Sl. 1 / p. 173. "This letter that is Om is all this. Of this a clear exposition (is started with): All that is past, present or future is verily Om. And whatever is beyond the three periods of time is also verily Om"
  7. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, in: Eight Upaniṣads, Volume Two, With the Commentary of Śaṅkarācārya, Swāmī Gambhīrānanda (translator), Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, 2008, M. II, C. II, Sl. 4 / p. 126. "Om is the bow; the soul is the arrow; and Brahman is called its target. It is to be hit by an unerring man. One should become one with It just like an arrow."
  8. 'Contemplationam, Samādhi and Contemplation', Index: 202308071.
  9. 'Contemplationam, Complexity and Simplicity', Index: 202207121.
  10. 'Contemplationam, (Etymo)logy and (Etymo)sophy Summarized', Index: 202101141.
  11. 'Contemplationam, Language Layers', Index: 202111181.
  12. Geert Crevits, Morya Kracht 2, Sleutel tot de Nieuwe Tijd, Mayil Publishing House, 2013, H. 6, translated. "[…] very many people will make new words to give shape in the outer world to the things that they experience in their innerness."
  13. Geert Crevits, Morya Wijsheid 5, Het woord in de stilte, Mayil Publishing House, 2009, H. 2, translated. "Many new words are invented so that they go along with the experiences of people. But it is the heart which arranges this."
  14. Helena Roerich, Agni Yoga, Agni Yoga Society, New York, 1997, Sl. 181. "Just as Buddha taught the development of an entire topic from a single word, so must you broaden the understanding of your disciples by building upon one word or sign."
  15. 'Contemplationam, (Etymo)logy and (Etymo)sophy and Past and Future', Index: 202103042.
  16. Ibidem.
  17. Note 11.
  18. Note 15.
  19. 'Academic Philosophy, A Heideggerian Mysticism', Index: 200908282.
  20. Note 15.
  21. 'Contemplationam, 'Philosophy' and 'Philology'', Index: 202304092.
  22. Note 10.
  23. Vaman Shivaram Apte, The Student's English-Sanskrit Dictionary, Mrs. Radhabai Atmaram Sagoon, Bombay, 1893, p. 458.