When the East
Gave birth to the Moon,
Love was the dancer at the feast;
The heavens smiled for joy;
And the Wind strewed the perfumed dust
Of lotus-pollen in the courtyard of the sky.
- Anonymous Sanskrit Poem
One of the intriguing, and in many ways inspiring things about the world today is the increasing popularity of Sanskrit. I love Sanskrit and I’ve struck up conversations with many people with tattoos or jewellery or tote bags inscribed with beautiful Sanskrit script. I like to ask them what connection they found with this ancient language. The common response is the beauty of the shape of the letters, the inspiring message in whatever words they chose, and the powerful reminder of their own inner strength and light.
I studied Sanskrit under great teachers for many years, and I can fully relate to everything these people say. They have been touched by the magic and power of Sanskrit, just as I have.
Let’s look at one example. The movie star Jennifer Alba has a tattoo of the word padma on her wrist.
Padma is the Sanskrit word for ‘lotus’. This beautiful flower grows in ponds where it rises from the mud, up through the water, until it rests on the surface and opens its petals to the sun.
The lotus flower is richly symbolic and is used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam to represent divine beauty and purity. There is, for example, a legend that wherever the Buddha’s foot touched the ground, lotus flowers bloomed. In Buddhism it symbolises divine creation and cosmic renewal. Many of the Hindu gods and goddesses are depicted holding a lotus and seated within the petals of the open flower.
Several of the attributes of the lotus carry a message for us. Although it is born of mud and lives in water, the rain and moisture roll off its petals and leaves, leaving the flower dry and untouched. Thus, the lotus symbolises freedom and immunity from the touch of worldly cares and troubles.
When the lotus first breaks the surface of the water, the bud is tightly closed. This symbolises the limitless potential within all of us for growth, expansion, knowledge and strength. When the petals open, this is the awakening of our spiritual consciousness, and the expression of all of our talents and gifts showing themselves to the world.
There is a long and wonderful story in the Indian tradition of the Churning of the Milk Ocean. It is so amazing and enjoyable and rich in symbolism that I’ll tell it in full in another blog post. Here I’ll just say that the nectar of immortality – amrita in Sanskrit - was lost, and this was such a crisis that the gods and the demons for once put aside their enmity and joined together to go in search of it. They searched high and low in heaven and on earth and finally decided to search all the oceans. Finally, they came to the Ocean of Milk.
The gods and demons couldn’t see through the milk, so they decided to churn the ocean to bring up all of its treasures that lay hidden. They succeeded in doing so and many wonderful things appeared. These included Chandra – the Moon; Kamadhenu – the cow of plenty who would provide anything anyone wished for. Then the goddess Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity and abundance, arose out of the Milk Ocean riding on a beautiful lotus flower, hence one of her names is Padmini.
Plot spoiler, the amrita finally emerged held in the hands of Dhanvantari – the physician to the gods. The story however, does not end there. There are many more ups and downs before the amrita is regained. So stay tuned for a future blog post.
So it is understandable why Jessica Alba should want to have a reminder of the wonder and beauty and symbolism contained in the simple word padma.
While I’m on the topic of Sanskrit tattoos, I was in a café having lunch with my husband when he spotted the tattoo on the neck of a young man at the next table. It was the Sanskrit word ahimsa. My husband struck up a conversation with him. He was surprised and pleased that we could actually read the word and knew that it meant harmlessness.
In fact, ahimsa was one of the central tenets of Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha philosophy of non-violence, in his struggle to gain independence for India. This philosophy of confronting the powerful with non-violence and peace, had a profound influence on Dr Martin Luther King in his struggle for civil rights in America.
The principle of ahimsa – peace and non-violence - had world changing significance, and here it was, proudly displayed by a man having lunch with his girlfriend in a café in country Australia.
Sanskrit words – in this case padma for Jessica Alba, and ahimsa for the man in the café – have the power to act as a reminder of our limitless, universal qualities. For years I have been a teacher of adults and children, and an executive coach. So often my students and my clients want to move forward on their life journey, their soul path, if you will. However they express their concerns and frustrations with the internal blockages and barriers that confront them.
For some, it is fear and insecurity at taking a step into the unknown, at making changes in their life that lead them to step out of their comfort zone. For others, it is the difficulty in bouncing back when they meet the challenges that life throws up. For still others, it is a feeling of insignificance, of powerlessness, of being a cork bouncing and bobbing along in the stream of life, vulnerable to shifts in the current over which they have no control. There are those who just feel isolated, lonely and unloved.
There are many effective means of meeting these and other challenges to fulfilling our potential and striding forth confidently on the great stage of life. As a teacher and coach, I have a full arsenal of techniques and practices that could help.
I have put many practical exercises in my book Conscious Confidence: Use the Wisdom of Sanskrit to Find Clarity and Success. These practices and exercises are specially designed, and tested, to help alleviate the issues and challenges that many people face in life.
Having written the book, I wondered if I could do more to support the efforts people were making to go free. Was there more I could do to help people to experience limitlessness and strength in their lives? I realised that the energetic power of Sanskrit was one of the keys. My husband and I set about creating an accessible resource that everyone could use, that would keep people in memory of their higher self, and that was effective and affordable.
We founded Damayanti.store, an online store where beautiful Sanskrit power words are available on jewellery, clothing and other items. We wanted to create living reminders. We chose our first collections carefully to help solve the issues my students and clients had raised with me.
Here are some of those collections.
Prema, universal love, which is everywhere all the time, enfolding everyone in its warm embrace. Prema is like a limitless ocean in which we all swim. Remembering prema, helps us let love flow out to everyone we meet, then that memory lets it flow in from all around.
Shakti, divine energy, is the power which motivates action and sees all undertakings through to their ultimate completion. Shakti is like a fire which inspires and encourages us to engage in purposeful productive action. Everyone can have access to divine energy, but fear and insecurity, can cut us off from accessing limitless shakti. Our jewellery and clothing etched with the word shakti can stir the memory and fill you with the energy to move forward.
Prāna, means the breath of life. It is the invigorating energy and life force which we feel with conscious deep breathing. It circulates throughout the body, but illness and other forms of imbalance in our lives, can cut us off from the healing and energising power of prāna. Some easy adjustments to our diet, sleep patterns, and our daily cycle of work, rest and refreshment can help re-establish balance. Taking a few moments each day to practice controlled deep breathing is very helpful as well. Our range of products with the beautiful word prāna, act as a great reminder.
And finally, satya, truth. Satya, does not just refer to factual accuracy. There is actually a whole philosophy of truthful speech expounded in the Bhagavad Gita which states that factual accuracy is only one half of true speech. For speech to be truthful it must also be kind, uplifting and beneficial.
There is another aspect to satya, which is the truth of who we really are. While we may feel small, insignificant, subject to the slings and arrows of fate, and to any number of other limiting ideas, the timeless wisdom of the ancient sages tells us we are limitless, grand, powerful beings full of love and strength and resilience. This is satya, and our collection engraved with this beautiful word is specially designed to remind you of that fundamental truth of your own greatness.
Our other collections are: abhyāsa – resilience; abhayam – fearlessness; kshamā – patience; and balam - strength.
Go to Damayanti.store and discover for yourself the amazing power of these Sanskrit mantras to transform your life.