Have Gods and Deities Language Preference?

September 11, 2021

“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.” - Noam Chomsky (b.1928), an American linguist, philosopher, historian, social critic and political activist.

To appreciate the main topic of today it is apt to start with the biblical account of the Tower of Babel which is a structure built in ancient Babylonia. According to Genesis (11:1 -9), the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower “with its top in the heavens.” God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another. The city was never completed, and the people were dispersed over the face of the earth.

The Madras High Court on September 3, 2021 rejected a public interest petition which sought a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw the ‘Annai Tamil Archanai’ scheme, which lets devotees to opt for the chanting of hymns by priests in Tamil, instead of Sanskrit, while performing pujas inside the sanctum sanctorum of temples.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu refused to entertain the case since the issue was not an unsettled question of law any more. They said another Division Bench had, in March 2008, dismissed a batch of cases filed in 1998 and held that the Agama Sastras do not prohibit chanting of mantras in Tamil.

Holding that the choice of wanting the mantras to be recited either in Sanskrit or Tamil vests with the devotees, that Bench had criticised litigants for making it seem as if God could understand only Sanskrit and not Tamil. Authoring the verdict, Justice Chandru had said that if the litigants were allowed to have their own way, then the fears expressed by former President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan might become true. In his book, ‘The Hindu view of Life,’ Dr. Radhakrishnan had said: “To many Hinduism seems to be a name without any content. Is it a museum of beliefs, a medley of rites, or a mere gap, a geographical expression?”

Though the present litigant, Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam, had relied upon yet another judgement by a different Division Bench which had rejected a writ petition filed in 2008 for reciting mantras in Tamil, the Bench led by Chief Justice Banerjee differentiated between the two verdicts. It pointed out that the 2008 writ petition was dismissed since the litigant then had insisted that mantras should be chanted only in Tamil and not in any other language. Therefore, the court had held that it could not compel the use of a particular language to the exclusion of others in religious institutions. On the other hand, the 1998 writ petitions were dismissed after holding that the choice of chanting mantras either in Tamil or Sanskrit would rest with the devotees, the Chief Justice said.

In his affidavit, Mr. Narasimhan had stated that the HR&CE Department’s attempt to introduce a new language by translating verses and hymns from Sanskrit to Tamil was nothing but blasphemy and an act to introduce confusion and create unrest in otherwise peaceful religious practices. To introduce a new means of worship that is alien to timeless and ageless customs and the usage of the temple is nothing but an act of blasphemy, he claimed. He also contended that a secular State should not interfere in religious matters.

“It defeats any logic for the State to think that only Hindus are more devotional to utilise Tamil language and not the Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and so on. One can very much understand that any such attempt by the State in any other religion will result not just in confusion but a total unrest to the law and order situation,” his affidavit read. He claimed that the State’s attempt to introduce Tamil alone, in recitation of hymns displays its language chauvinism. “While respect is there to those who hold their mother tongue near and dear, the same cannot be allowed to interfere in the religious faith of devotees,” he said.

Many historic temples in the State were built and consecrated during the reigns of many kings and chieftains of the Vijayanagara Empire and Nayaks who were either Telugu or Kannada-speaking people. Subsequently, the Sarabhoji kings of Maratha took over and maintained them. “None of those rulers imposed their language in the religious affairs of the temples that they built but respected the age-old traditions, the Vedas, the Agamas and the Sampradaya texts”, the litigant said.

He also contended that the translations are faulty. The Vedic mantras in Sanskrit are in a specific metre, producing certain vibrations or effects on the humans and they result in a certain benefit. These benefits were lost in translation and such a change could be detrimental not only to the devotees but to one and all, he contended.

Just like the people have faith that a vaccine could prevent a disease, people believe that reciting mantras in a particular language and a particular tone alone would result in well-being. “No one can tinker with such a faith,” he concluded.

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is invited in the format given below. (Pl. scroll down a bit).


Bantwal Victoria’s Secret

I had once attended the annual buffalo race at Bolanthur, near Panemangalore. Then Bolanthur was off my radar until one day Monsignor Alexander D’Souza (now late), then Chairman, Karnataka Konkani Academy, on being told that I had studied in Bantwal, related a little incident.

A Goan settled in the USA and a Konkani writer, as also a Ph.D. in Art, Jose Pereira, visited him and requested him to take him to Victoria Press in Bantwal because he was an admirer of its writer-owner, Bolanthur Krishna Prabhu. This was in the early 1960s when Krishna Prabhu was bed-ridden. On seeing the visitors he perked up and got into an animated conversation and recitation of his poems, with Jose responding and keeping up an hour-long literary interaction. Jose had found Prabhu’s books in Oriental Library in London.

Victoria Press displays on the front façade its date of founding – 1914. Before I go further, I will let you in on Victoria’s secret (not the f-Channel variety) as it is not yet in the public domain. Prabhu was a noted writer in Kannada and Konkani. One of his ambitions even in his teens was to start a printing press of his own. Press and publications were viewed with suspicion by the British regime in the context of the freedom struggle. Prabhu went for permission of British district officials to start the press with the title of Vijaya Press. But, his native well-wishers advised him to change the name to Victoria Press. Prabhu also explained to the white officials that he was starting the press to have his three sons gainfully employed or else they would be drawn into the freedom movement. Flattered by “Victoria” and convinced by the “freedom” story, permission was granted and the rest is history.

That history starts with the birth of Krishna Prabhu on November 13, 1882 at Bolanthur where his father, Govinda, and mother, Pommie, were farmers. But, even before he was two years old, his maternal uncle, Soukar Srinivasa Prabhu of Bantwal, who had no male issue, brought him to Bantwal where he studied up to 7th standard in the Basel Mission School. Beyond his formal education, Prabhu took the self-study route. Since some members of the family, settled in Poona, visited Bantwal often, Prabhu acquired proficiency in Marathi and he had a good collection of Marathi literature. He also had linguistic felicity in Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil. He wrote both in Konkani and Kannada on patriotic, religious and moral themes.

Prabhu enriched Konkani literature with stories, poems and dramas. He brought to bear his deep knowledge of Marathi and Bengali literature in his writings. When he was 24 years old, he had written his famed Konkani play, Chandrahasa, which brought Jose Pereira to Prabhu’s deathbed in Bantwal.


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • John Monteiro, Bondel, Mangaluru

    Tue, Sep 14 2021

    Mangalorian, Mangalore: Your point about the writing of Torah is new to me and so would be to many other readers. However, Chandama stories would have their readers . Francis Lobo, Mangalore: Welcome aboard and I hope you will stay with this column. The opposition of to vernecularisation was not very visible. Another change is not much noticed is the priest facing the congregation instead of showing their back. Dr Volga Menezes, Mumbai: Your point about stopping conversion and upgrading our people could be widely accepted. Mohan Prabhu, Canada: Your point about Goa conversion is new to me as would be for many other readers of this column,. Your point about PRABHU repetition at Mass is very interesting. Praying from the heart instead of lip service is laudable and feasible. Rohan, Mangalore: I got the basic Prabhu story from the late Fr Alexander with whom I was working on the souvenir of the 125th anniversary of Fr. Muller’s and I dressed it up a bit. Ben D’Souza Prabhu, Canada: You are raising the bar for me with your generous comments. Thank you.

  • Ben D'Souza Prabhu, Mangalore, Bombay Bandra now in Canada

    Mon, Sep 13 2021

    Thank you dear friend for your beautifully written article of yours. You always present yourself great and acceptable. THANK YOU DEAR !!!

  • John, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 13 2021

    More on contents in Vaccines..... Short Videos on Why Graphene Oxide in vaccines is deadly ? and blood damage caused by it, analysis by a Pharma Expert, Dr Jane Ruby and related recent Divine messages at following site........ https://maryrefugeofsouls.com/2021/09/11/shocking-graphene-oxide-parts-i-and-ii-god-reveals-the-truth-includes-scientific-evidence-all-covid-19-vaccines-are-deadly-poisons-that-are-the-precursor-to-the-mark-of-the-beast-maryrefugeo/

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 12 2021

    Beautiful touching and inspiring story of Krishna Prabhu ji the versatile poet. It humbles us to know of the great people of those days in those difficult times who excelled despite of the odds. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jossey Saldanha, Thane

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    There is only One God & he speaks in English ...

  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    More on vaccines...... Corruption of more than 80,000 Crores in bringing circulars of compulsory vaccination and restrictions on entry to local train, malls etc..... https://vaccinemafiaexposer.blogspot.com/2021/09/corruption-of-more-than-80000-crores-in.html

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    Thank you John for this interesting tower of Babel story. While God confused all the workers, he also allowed his disciples to speak in their own language but translated them into the listerner's language, so goes another biblical story, and this was repeated during the time of conversion in Goa when the missionaries spoke in Portuguese and the people who listened to the gospel teachings in their own language - so hundreds of people got converted in one day!!! Now, democracy rules; people can demand that the scriptures (especially the Holy Mass) be read/said in their mother tongues; so, there are masses in Konkani, Kannada (in Bengluru), Hindi ( attended one with a Canadian English couple at the turn of the Millennium, in New Delhi). My friends did not understand a word, and wondered why the name of PRABHU was repeated so many times in the prayer book [I explained to them, Prabhu means LORD and they understood]. I give this example because when a Mass is celebrated in a local language, people who do not understand that language have to try and remember what the different stages of the Mass are. God knows and understands all languages, not just Sanskrit and Latin (and Portuguese). He wants people to pray from their heart and not recite what is in the prayer book (as in Novena prayers - people when reading from a prepared text just patter, not pray from the heart - or if words do not come from the mouth, at least contemplate. He knows what you mean or meant to say.

  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    Also, High Tech Robbery (and slavery) of God given Image, DNA, and so the Soul? using Vaccine ? ...... Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Coming true ? ...... That's what Bill Gates and communist chinese want to do all remove God gene or God Created human DNA change, make one Communist controlled robots with high tech nano particle mRNA auto connectable through 5G to the cloud network, with Artificial Intelligence and 24x7 monitoring Big Brother advance surveilance technology, Cunningly. Uploading even body parameter and activity through 5G, Cloud to Beast Super Computer. mRNA vaccines yet to come but it will come as booster shots to make one working robot with no privacy, a slave to communist chinese. That's why so many strains to slowly convert all humans into humans 2.o or Transhumanism or communists controlled robots. As and when not required or rebelled decimate, high tech, modern technology but total slavery? ...... Bill Gates changing DNA of 7 billions using vaccine ? A 2 minute video at https://principia-scientific.com/bill-gates-admits-covid-vaccine-changes-dna-now-doctors-rebel/

  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    "People have faith that a vaccine could prevent a disease" but this brainwashing from school days (once a upon time, may be good) now becoming a curse? or How These evil and smart elite and communist chinese trying to make everyone totally Godless or bring under their satanic control (Gene level surgery with vaccines)........ Following exposing this communist Chinese global control, also decimating, sterilizing plans.... INDIAN DOCTORS for TRUTH (20 Hindu Doctors), INDIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, mumbai doing wonderful job educating and saving public from so called vaccinations by globalists elite. They had earlier raised a formal complaint against WHO and others also against forced and coercive vaccinations with the President, PM and HM, also based on recent two high court decisions. Their site link is ... https://indianbarassociation.in/legal/ .... and their Latest GLOBAL COVID CRIME information at.. https://indianbarassociation.in/latest-update/ Bill Gates changing DNA of 7 billions using vaccine A 2 minute video at https://principia-scientific.com/bill-gates-admits-covid-vaccine-changes-dna-now-doctors-rebel/

  • francis lobo, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    This reminds me of our Catholic community of the early 60's. All the prayer and liturgical sessions were in Latin as the higher-ups thought that it was God's language. Priests were only able to recite them and the mortal people only repeated them without understanding. But the Vatican reform of 1965 changed things. All the prayers and religious celebrations including holy mass were in the regional language or the mother tongue of the people of the local region or diocese. So we have services conducted in the language of the people and by the people and not in Latin. This brought more involvement of people in the religious activities and also understanding. But this change had also a lot of resistance particularly from priests who had put a lot of effort to learn the Latin language and were not ready for the change to the regional langiage. As it is said "Time is a great healer"

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Sat, Sep 11 2021

    Some very interesting points raised by you in this article, Mr Monteiro. Thank you for the article. Research by many has pointed out that the Torah (Old Testament) was written after the Jewish nation was released from captivity by the Persians in the 6th century BC. Many of the "stories" in the Old Testament as written in Genesis etc are thousands of years older than the time of writing. So they are all Chandamama stories, with no historical evidence. Sanskrit as a language did not exist before the 17th century AD. It is a very new language. So, people have made everything up for some convenience. God has neither ears, nor mouth, since god is supposed to be formless. And god cannot hear anyone's prayers - not because he has no ears, but prayers are "bound by time" while god cannot be bound by time. Indians need to move out of the god obsession.

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