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Season 6 - Episode 13

R & Ha Sound

20 min - Tutorial
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Anuradha concludes her lessons on combining consonants with the neighboring consonants with the last two of the 52 letters: ra and ha. Together we sound the consonants and write words in the devanagari script and transliteration.
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Feb 26, 2016
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Namaste and Swagatam friends. It has been a very exciting journey together, learning how to combine consonants with the neighboring consonants. We are now at the end of the 52 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. I hope you've been ticking them off as we've gone down the list. So now we have just two remaining but they're two important ones.

The first one is the R which is a semi vowel and the H. The R for some reason does strange things whether it comes before or whether it comes after. If it comes before a letter, it does something interesting. So that's a R which is a half thing. And now I'll combine it directly with another letter which is the year.

And what this gives us is the R which becomes like a little C over the year. So we get the year again. And the R for some reason becomes like a C at the head. You would have noticed that it's really quite fascinating to see how these letters change themselves when they come in contact with their neighbors. Like all of us do, we don't behave the same way with our neighbors.

With some neighbors we are full, with some neighbors we drop something, with some neighbors we completely become different people. We notice that same trait when we're combining these consonants with each other. So we have this combination of R when it precedes any consonant. It becomes like a C on the head of that consonant. We have the word Surya, the sun, the Surya namaskara, very famous again in the yoga world.

We'll write it out. You would notice that when we have said it, we have said Surya. But when we are writing it, we would say Su, hold the R in our head, write the year, and then place the R on the head like that, Surya, there we are, yes? We look at what it looks like in transliteration. So we have the sound R, this combines with the year, and that becomes the R here, which is in a word Su, that should have been a green one because that's half.

So that's a green, so Su, and then we get the year, yeah, Surya, that's it. The other word that I would like us to do, and which is an important asana, in fact they say it's the king of all asanas, the shirshasana or the headstand, I'll try and fit it into that space there, and we'll write it out in transliteration first. So it's shi with the palatal shi, and then we have the R sound, shi, sha, sa, na, there we go. Now let's try and write it together, so you have your paper and pen ready, let's see if we can write it out in Devanagari, I have to get my black pen ready. So this is the shi, it gets the long e, shi, we have the R sound there, but you remember you have to pause on that particular letter, write the next sound out, shi, hold it, sha.

Now the question that comes up is, where do you put the R? Will you put it on the shi or will you put it on the vowel? So in Sanskrit when we are writing it as you have been practicing, when you combine a consonant with a vowel, this becomes a whole body. So the R comes on the head of the vowel, shi, sha, and then that should be black, sa, shi, sha, shi, sha, shi, sha, shi, sha, sha, sha, sh, sha, sha, sha, sha. Yes, isn't that exciting?

You can, for me to see that I have to literally go on my head like that. Okay, so like I told you, the letter R does funny things, whether it comes before or whether it comes after. This is when it comes before, I'll just mark that for you. Before and what does it do when it comes after? So we have a word like many words Pratya Hara, another of the important in the eightfold Ashtanga.

You have Pratya Hara as a middle point where you need to know how to hold back, so prr. The sound combination is, so we have the sound prr which is actually a half sound and that combines with the consonant rr so the R comes afterward and it's a full sound, so prr. And what happens is that you get the whole purrs there and the rr is like a line below it. I'm just thinking of it and what seems interesting is that it's almost like a mirror image of the rr. So when the rr comes before, the top reverse c or rather the reverse c becomes a proper c, so it's like a mirror image of the top part and if it comes after, it's the second part that gets a mirror almost, so it's like a prr.

Now putting it into a word, we get prr, rr, there we are. Now writing this in transliteration, we get p plus rr which is a full sound, gives us the prr and the word is prr, ja, ha, rr, that's it. And another, there is another important word that I would love to share with you, it's an important one because we use it to describe people who have certain realizations. It's the title to that, it's shree, short sound but which uses this very effectively. So we have the shree, as we have seen earlier, we get the shree, to this you add the rr, so that becomes shree and we add the e to that, so that's shree.

In transliteration, it would be shh, the r after that and the e, shree, yes? So this particular letter, the r, when it comes before does something different and when it comes after does another different thing, just keep that in mind. I hope you have got it, you need to practice it, practice reading it as well, then it would help. The final letter of this series is the ha which is also the last pure consonant of the Sanskrit alphabet. It is a very powerful letter because it is also a letter that corresponds to the third eye, the Ajnaya chakra and it is also a letter which is the seed sound of the throat chakra, the ha.

It seems to have a sense of removing things from us, okay? So just saying the ha is a very distressing experience and as you can see the letter itself is a very beautiful letter. It is also a little like a pregnant woman somewhere, it has a stomach coming out and holding it below it. Now this aspect is important when it combines with other letters, all right? So we will combine this with letters that have a single touch point.

So we take the letter for example, ha, so we have half the ha and then we take the l. Okay, so that is l, try saying that, l, very nice and so that becomes, like I mentioned it is the pregnant woman. So she carries the letter in her womb. So draw out the tummy, make sure there is enough space to put it in there, all right? So make sure there is enough place for it there and that the letter almost becomes like the baby, it becomes a seed form, so it becomes a tiny thing that goes into the tummy there, all right?

So that is the l. Now we have an important word which is not so important, it is an important character in the Indian mythology called prahladha. He was known, he is an epitome of devotion, all right, prahladha and this is how you would write it. So we had the pr from the previous section, pr, and then we get the halah, put it in the tummy there and then lah, the vowel stays outside, prahladha, all right? There you go, so that's prahladha, prah-la-dah.

Let's write it out in transliteration, we get the h plus the l which is the halah, l and then when you put it in the word, it's prah-la-dah, got that, her pregnant woman takes the letter within it. Another example is the sound jihwa and this time I want you to try and write it out with me. So we have the combination of her with the letter v, I write it out in transliteration, j, oh sorry that's an h which should be the half sound and vah, all right? So if you remember the v is the letter, so that's our g, then we have the her, to practice along you have to have, you have to start knowing the letters a little bit. So here it is, in this one you use this part of the tail as the stick of the v, all right?

And then you make a jihwa, that's the tongue, jihwa, practice saying that, all right? So we come to another aspect of this letter and that is when you have a double touch element, two point touch on the head, so in these letters that we have seen there is only a single point touch, what happens when there is a double point touch? So it seems too much for the her to digest, so what it does, it takes a little of it and allows the rest of it to stay outside, you'll see that, so here it is. So we have the her plus the sound meh, and let's see what you can guess. So like I said, it's too much for it to digest the whole letter within its stomach, so it takes the first part of it and lets the second part remain outside.

So it is, it uses that meh, again an important word is brahmeh, the most important truth that underlies everything in creation, the brahmeh, and this is how it looks like. So we have the bruh, again the ruh that sticks out like that, the her and the meh, brahmeh. Write that for you in transliteration, so we have the her plus the meh and that gives us the her, try doing these sounds, they say especially with the her, it's a sound that is very purifying, so the more you practice saying them with combinations, the more it opens up the heart, like you know with the word heart also has the sound her, so here we are, so it's brahmeh, there we go, brahmeh, and finally another combination just to get this very clear in your head, we have, we'll combine it with the sound year, instead of the meh, we put in a year, so you get here, and the word that I'm proposing is bah, here, kumbh bhaka, it's one of the breathing exercises that you need to do, so it's the one when you hold your breath and you do bah here kumbh bhaka, and this is what it would look like, so we'll write it in transliteration first, bah that has to be half, so in green, bah year, kumbh bhaka, oh just made it, and this is what it would look like in Sanskrit, bah and then the her, which combines with the year in the tummy, it doesn't touch there fully yeah, let's get that writing right, bah year, trying to make it look beautiful so that there's no confusion, so here I've touched it to the edge but it need not necessarily touch there alright, bah year, kumbh bhaka, there we are, so I hope you practice this more than anything else, as you practice writing it, remember that you need to sound it, the more you sound it, the more these letters also become part of your system, enjoy it, it's a very fulfilling journey, make the most of it, bye bye, namaste.


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