Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Of late I have been deeply intrigued by jewish scriptures. Jewish traditions of kabalah etc. What I find very striking is, that in its most sacred transcendental form, God in judaism is called "the name", in Hebrew its called "hashem". Infact so scared is this name that, traditionally in Judaism, the name is not even pronounced but read as Adonai, "my Lord" during prayers. Its not meant to be said openly lest it gets defiled.  

Since then I have trying to correlate it with Vedic tradition and perhaps the closest we get to is Pranava (ukar akar makar yati).But still, even though divinity is referred to as "the word" it is never mentioned in the nominal sense. So while God/brahman is codified as sound/syllable/word. There is no direct mention of god/divinity being referred to as "Name". Infact even in the later classical sanskrit tradition, we have many shasranaams but God is never called Name, only other flowery adjectives are used. So god's name is important but god is never referred to as "Name".

However little later during bhakti age, we find repeated references of this sort i.e. god being referred to as naam. Kabir Nanak Dadu etc. do it quite often. And in the modern thinkers also we see Name being given a special emphasis by JK/UG etc. Even eckhart etc. 

What are your thoughts on this, i.e. "God" being referred to as "Name". Or I am just thinking too wildly ?

1 comment:

Lawrence Manzo said...

I don't see much use in comparing Vedanta with Judaism, because Vedanta is so much older. As far as I can tell, only Hinduism has a tradition that goes back to the Dwapar Yuga. All the other world religions developed after that, in the Kali Yuga. The Abrahamic religions might have deeper roots, but their libraries were destroyed along with the temple of Solomon, and subsequent warfare wiped out the ancient knowledge that might have existed, even in the Library of Alexandria. It is better to compare India Bhakti with the religions of the world, because they are more contemporary, I think! As a westerner, I believe only the Hindu tradition contains any hints of the ancient, pre-Kali Yuga religious philosophy. Ancient Egypt is another source, but that is not a living tradition. I believe Bronze-Age philosophers were much deeper thinkers than their Iron Age descendants!!!