VAC – A goddess


Vac means “word” and “song,” as well as being the name of an early Vedic god­dess. Vac refers to both speech and speech-consciousness. Vac enters into the seers (rishis).
A Rig Vedic hymn to Vac stated that all actions and powers were grounded in speech. It was the primordial energy out of which all existence originated and in which it subsisted. At the same time it claimed that Vac extended beyond the heavens and the earth. This was an example of an associative process that the hymnists were using what were called bandhus (links)—a logic that connected processes with divinities.
Speech was recognized as the first expression of truth. The sage Dirghata- mas proclaimed, “From her [Vac] flows the oceans; through her the four regions exist; from her the ground [akshara] of the Veda flows; on her the entire uni­verse stands.” Then he stated that only the manifested forms of speech can be known; the deepest levels remain hidden. He further added that prayer is the highest heaven in which speech dwells. Through prayer—the fundamental mode of speech-consciousness—the individual mind tried to resonate with the cosmic mind in Vedic hymns.
The yajna (sacrificial) performances were based on the psychology of speech-consciousness. Through the liturgical, performative knowledge of sacri­ficial celebration, the limitations of ordinary existence and the grounding of human existence in the more fundamental levels of consciousness were recog­nized and experienced.
In the Brahmanas Vac was equated with Sarasvati, the goddess of wisdom and the arts. In the Upanishads Vac was created from the self (atman). However, the tendency to pull down the gods and goddesses reigned in the Puranas, and her reputation was besmirched. As Vac-Sarasvati, she was the mind-daughter of Brahma. So the Matsya and Siva Puranas implicated her in the sin of incest with her father, Brahma. Viratrupa Agni (Brahma’s son as half a male) mated with his sister Vac, and their offspring became the year.
In Saivite cosmology, Siva manifested the cosmos in five stages: joy (ananda), knowledge (vijnana), thought (mana), life-breath (prana), and physi­cal life (bhuta). Bhuta divided into speech (vac) and food (anna). Thus, Vac was subordinated to Siiva as the true creator, and speech became just one of the prin­ciples involved in the origin of the universe.

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