Maheśvara sūtrāṇi

नृत्तावसाने नटराजराजो ननाद ढक्कां नवपञ्चवारम्। उद्धर्तुकामः सनकादिसिद्धान् एतद्विमर्शे शिवसूत्रजालम् ।।

nṛttāvasāne naṭarājarājo nanāda ḍhakkāṃ navapañcavāram| uddhartukāmaḥ sanakādisiddhān etadvimarśe śivasūtrajālam ||

Meaning: At the conclusion of his dance, Lord Shiva, the King of Dancers, played his damru fourteen times [9+5], producing fourteen unique sounds known as Shiva Sutras or शिव सूत्राणि. These fourteen sutras constitute the foundation of the forty-seven alphabets of the Samskrutam language.

These fourteen verses represent the Samskrutam alphabets, comprising 14 vowels and 33 consonants. The initial four sutras relate to Swaras (vowels), while the subsequent ten sutras pertain to Vyanjanani (consonants).

The sutras for swaras are:


The sound 'अ' embodies Brahma, an attribute-less entity present in all creations. 'अ' combined with 'इ' symbolizes Chitta or Pure Consciousness, while 'उण्' represents the entire creation and its creator - Ishvara from whom it emanates.


The sound 'ऋ' represents Param-Ishwara, the supreme ruler of all beings. 'ऌ' represents his illusory play of Maya, and 'क्' signifies the commencement of the creative process.


The sound 'ए-ओङ्' can be roughly translated as 'This is That,' which also translates to 'Om Tat Sat.' It signifies the unity of Maya with Ishwara, the source of creation, and underscores that creation springs from within all creatures.


The sound 'ऐ- औच्' denotes the continuous expansion of the universe. It also symbolizes the ever-evolving consciousness within all beings, expanding outward as sound.

These four sutras encompass all 14 vowels of Samskrutam grammar: अ, इ, उ, ऋ, ऌ (Pure Vowels) , आ, ई , ऊ , ऋृ , ऌृ (Long Vowels) and ए, ओ, ऐ, औ.

There are 2 sounds which are used and considered in Vowels which are अः (aha) and अं(am).

It's important to note that the suffixes at the end of each sutra are omitted, as they are used for poetic representation during chanting.

The sutras for vyanjanani are:


The five consonants sounds that emerged from Lord Shiva's damru became the Pancha Maha Bhutas. 'ह' represents Space, 'य' represents Air, 'व' represents Water, 'र' represents Fire, and 'ट' represents Earth.


The sound 'लण्' forms the foundational support for all living creatures. It provides support to the five elements and plays a crucial role in the creation of food, space, living organisms, and life itself.


The five sounds 'ञ-म-ङ-ण-नम्' represent the properties of the five primordial elements. 'ञ' is associated with sound and belongs to space. 'म' is associated with touch and belongs to Air. 'ङ' is associated with taste and belongs to Water. 'ण' is associated with feel and belongs to Fire. 'नम्' is associated with smell and belongs to Earth.


The sounds 'झ भञ्' become the faculties of expression in all mobile creatures. 'झ' pertains to the faculty of speech, and 'भञ्' pertains to the faculty of performing various actions.


These sounds occupy the fourth place within their respective Vargas (groups of consonants) and symbolize the Karmendriyas (motor organs). 'घ' symbolizes locomotion, 'ढ' symbolizes procreation, and 'धष्' symbolizes excretion.


These five sounds represent the five sense organs common to all humans. 'ज' corresponds to the ears, 'ब' corresponds to the skin, 'ग' corresponds to the tongue, 'ड' corresponds to the eyes, and 'दश्' corresponds to the nose.


The eight sounds symbolize five distinct Vayus (pranas) within the human body and aspects of the human mind. 'ख' corresponds to Prana-vayu, 'फ' to Apana-Vayu, 'छ' to Vyana-Vayu, 'ठ' to Udana-Vayu, 'थ' to Samana-Vayu, 'च' to Manas (mind), 'ट' to Buddhi (intellect), and 'तव्' to Ahamkara (self-identity).


These two sounds symbolize the dualistic manifestations of Purusha and Prakriti. 'क' represents Prakriti, the physically manifest, while 'पय्' symbolizes Purusha, the inner self that permeates all aspects of existence.


The three sounds represent the three Gunas inherent in all creatures and creation itself. 'श' represents Rajas or Raja-guna, 'ष' represents Tamas or Tamo-guna, and 'सर्' represents Sattva or Satvo-Guna.


This is the final sound that emanated from Lord Shiva's damru. Here, Lord Shiva declares, 'I am the witness beyond all physical attributes, and I am the self that dwells within all, in the form of 'हल्,' before disappearing.

The ten sutras above encompass all 33 consonants in the Samskrutam language. In this context, suffixes at the end of each sutra are disregarded to extract the vyanjanani (consonants).

These are the 14 Maheśvara sūtrāṇis. They are a valuable tool for enhancing vocal depth and speech clarity. Practicing them is an excellent exercise and aids in the articulate pronunciation of challenging words in various languages.

महेश्वर सूत्राणि प्रत्याहार

Maheśvara sūtrāṇi Pratyahara

Pratyaharas provide a convenient way to represent a collection of vowels and consonants within the 14 Maheśvara sūtrāṇis using just two letters. The first four sutras, namely अइउण्, ऋऌक्, एओङ्, ऐऔच्, include four fillers [ण्,क्,ङ्,च्] or suffixes that allow for different combinations of Pratyaharas.

The key point to remember is that all Pratyaharas must conclude with a filler from the respective sutra, such as ण्, च्, ल्, and so on

For example, the two sutras [अइउण्, ऋऌक्] can be represented by the two letters अक्. When we expand the series, it becomes अ + इ + उ + ऋ + ऌ. This series of vowels can be referred to as अक् प्रत्याहार [ak pratyahar].

Similarly, for consonants or vyanjanani, we can call it चर् प्रत्याहार, which represents च + ट + त + क + प + श + ष + स. Some other examples include अट्, जस्, हल्, etc.

You can also create your own Pratyaharas from the 14 sutras as per your convenience, ensuring they conclude with a filler.

namo namaḥ!

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