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The Element Language
by [?]

In a chapter in the Secret Doctrine dealing with the origin of language, H.P. Blavatsky makes some statements which are quoted here and which should be borne well in mind in considering what follows. “The Second Race had a ‘Sound Language,’ to wit, chant-like sounds composed of vowels alone.” From this developed “monosyllabic speech which was the vowel parent, so to speak, of the monosyllabic languages mixed with hard consonants still in use among the yellow races which are known to the anthropologist. The linguistic characteristics developed into the agglutinative languages…. The inflectional speech, the root of the Sanskrit, was the first language (now the mystery tongue of the Initiates) of the Fifth Race.”

The nature of that language has not been disclosed along with other teaching concerning the evolution of the race, but like many other secrets the details of which are still preserved by the Initiates, it is implied in what has already been revealed. The application to speech of the abstract formula of evolution which they have put forward should result in its discovery, for the clue lies in correspondences; know the nature of any one thing perfectly, learn its genesis, development and consummation, and you have the key to all the mysteries of nature. The microcosm mirrors the macrocosm. But, before applying this key, it is well to glean whatever hints have been given, so that there may be less chance of going astray in our application. First, we gather from the Secret Doctrine that the sounds of the human voice are correlated with the forces, colours, numbers and forms. “Every letter has its occult meaning, the vowels especially contain the most occult and formidable potencies.” (S.D., I, 94) and again it is said “The magic of the ancient priests consisted in those days in addressing their gods in their own language. The speech of the men of earth cannot reach the Lords, each must be addressed in the language of his respective element”—is a sentence which will be shown pregnant with meaning. “The book of rules” cited adds as an explanation of the nature of that element- language: “It is composed of Sounds, not words; of sounds, numbers and figures. He who knows how to blend the three, will call forth the response of the superintending Power” (the regent-god of the specific element needed). Thus this “language is that of incantations or of Mantras, as they are called in India, sound being the most potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which opens the door of communication between mortals and immortals.” (S.D. I, 464)

From these quotations it will be seen that the occult teachings as to speech are directly at variance with the theories of many philologists and evolutionists. A first speech which was like song– another and more developed speech which is held sacred–an esoteric side to speech in which the elements of our conventional languages (i.e. the letters) are so arranged that speech becomes potent enough to guide the elements, and human speech becomes the speech of the gods–there is no kinship between this ideal language and the ejaculations and mimicry which so many hold to be the root and beginning of it. Yet those who wish to defend their right to hold the occult teaching have little to fear from the champions of these theories; they need not at all possess any deep scholarship or linguistic attainment; the most cursory view of the roots of primitive speech, so far as they have been collected, will show that they contain few or no sounds of a character which would bear out either the onomatopoetic or interjectional theories. The vast majority of the roots of the Aryan language express abstract ideas, they rarely indicate the particular actions which would be capable of being suggested by any mimicry possible to the human voice. I have selected at random from a list of roots their English equivalents, in order to show the character of the roots and to make clearer the difficulty of holding such views. The abstract nature of the ideas, relating to actions and things which often have no attendant sound in nature, will indicate what I mean. What possible sounds could mimic the sense of “to move, to shine, to gain, to flow, to burn, to blow, to live, to possess, to cover, to fall, to praise, to think”? In fact the most abstract of all seem the most primitive for we find them most fruitful in combination to for other words. I hope to show this clearly later on. It is unnecessary to discuss the claims of the interjectional theory, as it is only a theory, and there are few roots for which we could infer even a remote origin of this nature. The great objection to the theory that speech was originally a matter of convention and mutual agreement, is the scarcity of words among the roots which express the wants of primitive man. As it is, a wisdom within or beyond the Aryan led him to construct in these roots with their abstract significance an ideal foundation from which a great language could be developed. However as the exponents of rival theories have demolished each other’s arguments, without anyone having established a clear case for himself, it is not necessary here to do more than indicate these theories and how they may be met.