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In the beginning was the Word… (and the Crossword!)

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Padmasrinivas, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Padmasrinivas

    Padmasrinivas Silver IL'ite

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    In the beginning was the Word… (and the Crossword!)

    I always picture Thatha (my adored grand-father) sitting in his ‘easy-chair’ with ‘The Hindu’ folded to the cross-word page, solving the clues, getting up from time to time, only to go back and fill in another word. On Sundays, Appa (my dear Father) and Thatha vied with each to get their hands on the Hindu supplement - it was slightly more difficult to solve the Sunday cross-word! This interest, or should I say addiction, has been passed down to all of us!

    Nowadays, most newspapers have a corner devoted to cross-word puzzles with varying degrees of difficulty… The one in the TOI is more American-style, the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Deccan</st1:place> Herald in Namma Bengaluru has a two-in-one, a cryptic and a regular puzzle. The Economic Times is a bit too difficult, my personal favourite is the Hindu Cross-word!

    The grids in US papers and magazines have solid areas of white squares, in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>, the grid looks like a lattice. The grid is symmetrical so it looks the same when turned upside down. Then there are Japanese and European style grids. So it all comes down to words, criss-crossing, sharing a letter with another word, anagrams, quotes, phrases… resulting in an ever-increasing lexicon!

    Well, word games are usually a source of entertainment on long tedious bus or train journeys or to spend a rainy evening cooped up at home. Word-building, word-endings, word-associations and such games are also a fun way of teaching young kids to increase their spelling skills and vocabulary.

    Among other cognitive activities, solving Crossword puzzles is said to keep the mind sharp, as it requires a larger vocabulary and the ability to spot the easy clues like anagrams, and then move on to the cryptic ones… Research has pointed out that stimulating the mind helps to offset memory loss and delay the onset of dementia…

    All this set me thinking of words and sounds and the intricacies of languages. A word is ‘the smallest free form in a language’. A word is a sound or a combination of sounds that communicates a meaning. Words are combined to form phrases, clauses and sentences.

    <?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"><v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype>The Origin of sounds and words? It always comes down to the primordial and mystical syllable Pranava that resonates in the heavenly spheres from the time of creation of the Universe, holding within it’s sacred confines all the sounds that merge to form words, concatenate into languages and condense into the harmonious vibrations of the Mantras. This is the source of manifestation of the Shabda-Brahmam and the Nada Brahmam.

    Om (Aum) became the sacred word ‘Hum’ of the Tibetans, ‘Amin’ of the Moslems and ‘Amen’ of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Christians. Amen in Hebrew means – sure, faithful. The biblical passage, John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

    Paramahansa Yogananda called "<st1:place>Om</st1:place>", “The vibration of the Cosmic Motor” as the ‘Word’ of the Bible, as the Holy Spirit. According to Yogananda, “all aspiring yogis seek to commune with "<st1:place>Om</st1:place>" and understand it. Audible utterance of this sound produces a sense of sacredness... However, real understanding of "<st1:place>Om</st1:place>" is obtained only by hearing it internally and then becoming one with it in all Creation”.

    Realised Masters tell us that the sound ‘A’ starts from the chest at the Anahata Chakra (the heart centre), moves upward with the sound ‘U’ in the Vishuddhi Chakra (the throat centre) and ends with the vibrations of ‘M’ in the Sahasrara Chakra (the crown of the head).

    Just as the sympathetic strings vibrate and resonate with the plucked strings of chord instruments, all of Creation resonates with the Original sound. When the vibrations are completely in harmony with this Divine Omkaram, one is said to have attained the Supreme Consciousness…

     
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  2. manjulapathy

    manjulapathy Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Padma
    As usual awe-inspiring post. It reminds me of my father. The Hindu is always uncomparable. In our house we used to play lot of scrabble too. My daughter was hooked on to some online scrabble 2 years back where you can compete with very tough players with time limits. It was intriguing to see some very old people playing from different part of the world.
    About the pranava Mantra AUM, almost all the slokas starts with AUM
    The three words in AUM – A denotes the Creation - Brahma, U denotes Preservation -Vishnu and M destruction - Shiva. While pronouncing AUM it should emerge from naval and then to the throat and finally to the tongue and lips.
    It is said that the vibration itself is very good. I get carried away while chanting this in every Sai Bhajan
    manjula
     
  3. Padmasrinivas

    Padmasrinivas Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Manjula,

    How lovely to receive the 'boni fb' from you!

    Yes, Scrabble is a very interesting word game, definitely tougher than the Crossword... using up all or most of the letters and trying to make more points too...

    I like the analysis of AUM, the energy is amazing while chanting the Pranava Mantra.

    Thank you once again, Manjula dear!

    LnBBHs,
    Padma


     
  4. Jpatma

    Jpatma Silver IL'ite

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    Devatman padma,
    I remembered Irving Walalce the book "The word" which i read in my college days. You brought the essence of the word so well with connection to Aum and as Granth Sahib say it is the "Naam".

    Punjabi's consider it is blessing to receive the naam like we get diksha. All connnotes to the word.

    I am bit it out of touch with The Hindu, but the word brings the pranava nadam to my mind, the first word.
    So beautifully written which only you can do
    Jaya

    May Bhavani Maa's blessings be on you.
    Jaya
     
  5. Padmasrinivas

    Padmasrinivas Silver IL'ite

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    Priya Atma-Sakhi Jaya,

    No post is complete without an fb from you, I am overwhelmed by your lovely inputs on the 'Naam' and also Irving Wallace, one of my favourite authors...

    I have no words to express my thanks to you, my dear Soul-Sister Jaya,

    Jai Bhavani Maa!
    Loads of love,

    Padma


     
  6. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Padma ma'am,
    You are right about the crossword in The Hindu and I have seen my father working on it.
    At first I am not interested in it..but later on developed interest in it when I came to US..to pass the time, very useful.
    Now due to workload in the house...I am once again lost its touch..
    This post of yours is making me think...Why can't I start now once again?"

    What you had pointed about Omkaram is very true..it is a powerful sound, which transforms us to a higher level..

    sriniketan
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  7. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    What a great leap of faith from puzzles to spirituality! I personally prefer the crossword part of the thread. TOI crossword shows how increasingly americanised we are becoming. For years that crossword has been going on expecting Indians to know the names of baseball players and teams. Yes the Hindu crossword is cryptic but at the same time you dont have to rack your brains over it too long. Once you get the pattern it is quite easy.
     
  8. Padmasrinivas

    Padmasrinivas Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Bhargavi,

    I agree that one can get addicted to Crosswords, but it is such a value-addition in terms of vocabulary and to keep the brain cells ticking!

    You should start again whenever time permits, it is also a great stress-buster... just like chanting the Omkaram, it eases away all the accumulated tensions.

    Thanks for dropping by to post a sweet fb, Bhargavi dear,

    LnBBHs,
    Padma

     
  9. Padmasrinivas

    Padmasrinivas Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Balajee,

    Long time, no hear! Good to have you stop by...

    I can see you are a whiz at solving crosswords, particularly 'The Hindu' variety. I quite agree with you that there is usually a pattern to the clues and once we get the hang of it, just takes about 15 minutes to complete...

    Thank you for a refreshing fb,

    Padma


     
  10. Padmini

    Padmini IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Padma,
    A very thought provoking post. You have started with the cross word puzzles as an prologue to your wonderful description about the mantra " Aum"By merely chanting this powerful mantra we can cross or solve the puzzles that come across in our life.T
    he highest spiritual efficacy being attributed not only to the whole word but also to the three sounds aa-kāra), u (u-kāra), m (ma-kāra), of which it consists. A-kara means form or shape like earth, trees, or any other object. U-kara means formless or shapeless like water, air or fire. Ma-kara means neither shape nor shapeless (but still exists) like the dark matter in the Universe. When we combine all three syllables we get AUM which is a combination of A-kara, U-kara, and Ma-kara.
    According to Hindu philosophy (see Mandukya Upanishad), the letter A represents creation, when all existence issued forth from Brahma's golden nucleus; the letter U refers to Vishnu the God of the middle who preserves this world by balancing Brahma on a lotus above himself, and the letter M symbolizes the final part of the cycle of existence, when Vishnu falls asleep and Shiva has to breathe in so that all existing things have to disintegrate and are reduced to their essence to him. More broadly, Aum is said to be the primordial sound that was present at the creation of the universe. It is said to be the original sound that contains all other sounds, all words, all languages and all mantras.My dear friend, you have wonderfully narrated the effects of chanting this powerful mantra. After my trip to " Swamimalai" i was blessed to read your wonderful post.
    with love
    pad
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