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Re: message of theosophy -- using English terms

Oct 25, 1996 05:34 AM
by Ann E. Bermingham

> From: Eldon B. Tucker <>
> I'd say, then, keep the Sanskrit terms, and use more, when our English
> equivalents are subject to misunderstanding.

Eldon, I was involved with a yoga group for several years and Sanskrit
were thrown at me all the time and I diligently copied them into my
notebook.  There
was even a Sanskrit class that was held on Sunday afternoon for the more
ambitious.  To this day, I couldn't tell you what most of them meant.
you do rigorous continuous study, really committ them to memory and then
have the opportunity to use them all the time, it's difficult to remember

The spelling and pronounciation is so different than the standard English
that we use in the USA, it is literally like lifting words from a foreign
language and dumping them into our own.

Sanskrit terms would have to become part of the language and keep its
original meaning to have any use in our culture.  Do people really know
the meaning of "karma" or "dharma" when they say them?  Its too easy
for the popular media to pick up a word and attach a meaning to it,
something that may have nothing to do with its original meaning.

Take the term "New Age".  All it really means is another turn of the
astrological wheel and the beginning of another age.  Now it conjures
ideas of everything from crystals to channelers to UFOs.

If you can keep the Sanskrit words uncorrupted in meaning and make
them widespread over the group that uses them, more power to you.
If not, then start searching for equally good words in the English

-Ann E. Bermingham

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