Of language and potential…

अमन्त्रमक्षरं नास्ति नास्ति मूलमनौषधम् ।
अयोग्यः पुरुषो नास्ति योजकस्तत्र दुर्लभः ॥

amantramakṣaraṃ nāsti nāsti mūlamanauṣadham ।
ayogyaḥ puruṣo nāsti yojakastatra durlabhaḥ ॥


There is not a syllable which is not a mantra; there is not a root that is not a medicine. There is no person who is not able, but rare is the person who knows how to apply his true potential!

Sanskrit is a very advanced and highly systemised language – it is the only language in the world that is arranged by the principles of phonetics. 

According to Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna, The Bhagavad Gita, “In a highly simplified description, it may be said that the fifty letters or sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet are on the petals of the sahasrara, and that each alphabetical vibration in turn is connected with a specific petal on the lotuses in the spinal centers (which have a total of fifty corresponding petals…)“Petals” mean ray or vibrations. These vibrations, … are responsible for various psychological and physiological activities in the physical and astral bodies of man.”

Each letter of Sanskrit can be treated as a mantra, if recited in the right manner – with your breath, mind and body in unison.

But today’s śloka doesn’t limit itself to Sanskrit. Speech is a powerful tool – it defines who we are, and it can also cause manifestations of your thoughts. Science has proved that matter is energy, a series of vibrations, and conversely, a series of vibrations can define matter. Speech is a series of vibrations, and hence we have to be very mindful of what we say.

amantramakṣaraṃ nāsti – there is no letter that you say, that can not have a powerful effect – all you need is the proper pronunciation. Which also means that there are no useless syllables, or letters.

nāsti mūlamanauṣadham – there is no plant or food without medicinal value – all we need is the knowledge of Āyurvedā to decipher it. Ancient scriptures found medicinal properties in most herbs, roots and plants –

the humble turmeric that we use so frequently in Indian cooking has only recently been ‘found’ to be a super medicine

(and hence the turmeric lattes at Starbucks).

ayogyaḥ puruṣo nāsti – This is a very powerful phrase – there is no one who is without potential, no one who can be called useless. Brain science has demonstrated that at a subconscious level, we have more stored information than we ever thought before. The basal ganglia, or ancient part of our brains, store our experiences and the feelings associated with them, without us even knowing it. This is what kicks in when we have a ‘gut feeling’, or ‘instinct’.

When we are such a treasure trove of information, without even consciously working on it, imagine the potential we all have when we combine this with conscious effort.

yojakastatra durlabhaḥ – This is an equally powerful line. It is tough to find a person who can recognise and tap this potential. The potential within oneself, or also the potential within others.

To tap one’s own potential, one has to use introspection – without bias, without thinking of what you want to become – and by focusing on what you can become by applying your knowledge, experience and most importantly, interest. śhreyān swa-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt sv-anuṣhṭhitāt – It is far better to perform one’s natural prescribed duty, though tinged with faults, than to perform another’s prescribed duty, though perfectly. 

To tap the potential within others – this needs a Guru. For only a Guru can dispel the darkness (Gu) of ignorance and take you towards the light (Ru).

Only a Guru can bring out your best abilities, your best potential. And yes, it is rare to find a person who can truly introspect, and even rarer to find a true Guru.

Meditate on this śloka whenever you feel low, or think that you are worthless. The smallest parts of existence, every cell in your body, has a function, and is important for you to live a healthy life. Everything in this Universe has a reason for being, and we as humans have been given far more capabilities – we need to recognise them, harness our potential, and work towards a better life, a better society, and a better future.