into the 21st
“in English….I find
but one word to express,
twenty different ideas, in the Eastern
especially Sanskrit, there are twenty
or more to render one idea in its
shades of meaning.”
H P Blavatsky’s Indian Metaphysics
P Blavatsky explores the difficulties of discussing
ideas in a European language
extract is from Indian Metaphysics by H P Blavatsky in which
she outlines the advantages of using Sanskrit terms to convey esoteric concepts.
one really discuss metaphysical ideas in a European language? I doubt it. We
say "Spirit," and behold, what confusion it leads to. Europeans give
the name Spirit to that something which they conceive as apart from physical
organization, independent of corporeal, objective existence; and they call
spirit also the airy, vaporous essence, alcohol. Therefore, the New York reporter
who defined a materialized Spirit as "frozen whiskey," was right in
vocabulary, indeed, that has but one term for God and for alcohol! With all
their libraries of metaphysics, European nations have not even gone to the
trouble of inventing appropriate words to elucidate metaphysical
they had, perhaps one book in every thousand would have sufficed to really
instruct the public, instead of there being the present confusion of words,
obscuring intelligence, and utterly hampering the Orientalist,
who would expound his Philosophy in English. Whereas, in the latter language, I
find but one word to express, perhaps, twenty different ideas, in the Eastern
Sanskrit, there are twenty words or more to render one idea in its various
shades of meaning.
into the 21st
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