I remember taking part, as an experiential research, of a Buddhist retreat under the auspices of Tulku Chagdud Rinponche in 2001, in Florianópolis, Brazil. I realized there were mantras in Tibetan and Sanskrit and since I didn’t know these languages, when I had the opportunity I asked personally to the Tulku: Why written and singing mantras are in “foreign” languages?
He explained that the firsts mantras were written in Sanskrit and after many generations of devoted Tibetan practitioners, some mantra in Tibetan it began to appear as well. The same could happen in Brazil. Perhaps after many generations of dedicated brazilians practitioners, some mantras in Portuguese could arise.
The answer was very interesting, but my curiosity about the need to do mantras in Sanskrit was not over. The yogi tradition indicates that Sanskrit was a language created by the rishis, the yogi sages of the past. That is, an artificial language, designed especially for the expression of complex concepts and the vocalization of mantras.
The sound, as well as the colors, influences emotions. Sanskrit is a language in which the correct pronunciation and the appropriate use of all phonetic apparatus that we have (throat, tongue, teeth, lips and nose) can produce sounds and vibrations with a positive impact in our physical body and glands. All that, in order to facilitate the full health and meditative states. So, unlike a natural language whose function is communication, the ‘tongue of the wise’ has like a main function to produce auspicious sounds and vibrations.
I would add, that besides the vibration that massages some fundamental glands that can lead the yogin to a state of tranquility, the act of vocalizing a complex mantra can train your mind to a high level of concentration. The ability of high concentration is required for meditation. Without high capacity for concentration, the mind has no ability to go into meditation.
After a few years studying yoga, I find out that ends up being important to known at least the basics of Sanskrit, not only in order to vocalize the mantra correctly and to understand its meaning, but also to take contact with several concepts of the “yogic psychology”. Theses concepts often has no easy translation to any modern language. Words such as Shanti (peace), Ananda (bliss), Moksha (liberation) and Samadhi (enlightenment) for example, have a acceptable translations. But concepts like Dharma, Ahamkara, Samskara, Budhi and Vasana among others, are very poorly represented if we translate only as universal law, ego, trends, intellect and conditioning, the most common translations.
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil and I teach since 2001. I studied in India with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
Living in Europe these last 10 years, I teach regularly in Croatia, France, Portugal and in Denmark, where I am currently living.
Besides Yoga, I am Bachelor in International Relations with specialization in Political Science at Sciences Po – Bordeaux.
I think my diverse education helps me to see yoga as lifestyle that can balance the individual and result in a healthy society.