Vāc

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Vāc (also spelled as vāk or vāch) (devanāgarī: वाच्) is the Sanskrit word for "speech", "voice", "talk", or "language". Personified, Vāc is he goddess of speech, most frequently identified with Bharati or Sarasvati.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's account of the Hindu view is as follows:

Mulaprakriti, called Aditi in the Vedas. In its third aspect it becomes Vâch, the daughter and the mother of the Logos. . . . In the Rig Veda, Vâch is “mystic speech,” by whom Occult Knowledge and Wisdom are communicated to man, and thus Vâch is said to have “entered the Rishis.” She is “generated by the gods;” she is the divine Vâch—the “Queen of gods”; and she is associated—like Sephira with the Sephiroth—with the Prajâpati in their work of creation. Moreover, she is called “the mother of the Vedas,” “since it is through her power (as mystic speech) that Brahmâ revealed them, and also owing to her power that he produced the universe”—i.e., through speech, and words (synthesized by the “WORD”) and numbers. But Vâch being also spoken of as the daughter of Daksha—“the god who lives in all the Kalpas”—her Mayavic character is thereby shown: during the pralaya she disappears, absorbed in the one, all-devouring Ray.[1]

Theosophical interpretation

Mme. Blavatsky identifies Vach with the female Logos, co-creator and mother of the gods:

As already stated, Aditi-Vâch is the female Logos, or the “word,” Verbum; and Sephira in the Kabala is the same. These feminine Logoi are all correlations, in their noumenal aspect, of Light, and Sound, and Ether.[2]
Again, as goddess of Speech and of Sound, and a permutation of Aditi—she is Chaos, in one sense. At any rate, she is the “Mother of the gods ,” and it is from Brahmâ (Iswara, or the Logos) and Vâch, as from Adam Kadmon and Sephira, that the real manifested theogony has to start.[3]

T. Subba Row wrote that there are four different manifestations of Vach:

Our old writers said that Vach is of four kinds. These are called para, pasyanti, madhyama, vaikhari. This statement you will find in the Rig Veda itself and in several of the Upanishads. Vaikhari Vach is what we utter. Every kind of Vaikhari Vach exists in its madhyama, further in its pasyanti, and ultimately in its para form. The reason why this Pranava is called Vach is this, that these four principles of the great cosmos corresponds to these four forms of Vach. . . . The whole cosmos in its objective form is Vaikhari Vach, the light of the Logos is the madhyama form, and the Logos itself the pasyanti form, and Parabrahmam the para aspect of that Vach. It is by the light of this explanation that we must try to understand certain statements made by various philosophers to the effect that the manifested cosmos is the Verbum manifested as cosmos.[4]

Mme. Blavatsky elaborates on the above as follows:

The para form is the ever subjective and latent Light and Sound, which exist eternally in the bosom of the INCOGNISABLE; when transferred into the ideation of the Logos, or its latent light, it is called pasyanti, and when it becomes that light expressed, it is madhyama.[5]

From the two quotes above we could make the following arrangement:

Sanskrit name Cosmic principle Manifestation of Vach
Para Parabrahman Incognizable and ever subjective and latent Light and Sound
Pasyati Logos Latent light
Madhyama Light of the Logos (Daiviprakrti) Light expressed
Vaikhari Objective cosmos (Objective light and sound?)

When regarded as "power of speech" Vach manifests on two different levels:

But there are two distinct aspects in universal Esotericism, Eastern and Western, in all those personations of the female Power in nature, or nature — the noumenal and the phenomenal. One is its purely metaphysical aspect, as described by the learned lecturer in his “Notes on the Bhagavat-Gita;” the other terrestrial and physical, and at the same time divine from the stand-point of practical human conception and Occultism.[6]
This connects Vâch and Sephira with the goddess Kwan-Yin, the “merciful mother, “ the divine VOICE of the soul even in Exoteric Buddhism . . . and at the same time with the voice that speaks audibly to the Initiate, according to Esoteric Buddhism. Bath Kol, the filia Vocis, the daughter of the divine voice of the Hebrews, responding from the mercy seat within the veil of the temple is—a result.[7]

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 431.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 431.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 434.
  4. T. Subba Row, Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita (Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1978), 26.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 432.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 431.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 431, fn.
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