Perhaps the most arresting and scrutinized parts of the Christian Bible is the opening hymn of the New Testament, John 1:1:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God.”

Countless sages, Christian and otherwise, have examined this quote and found the roots of Christian teachings contained within. In examining this passage, it is vitally important that we examine the grammar of ‘the Word,’ and understand what part of speech that ‘word’ is.  Because the nature of this Word will determine a lot about how we live our lives. If you take this passage seriously, whether the Word is a noun, adjective, or verb will determine the path you take to achieve reunion with God.

 

So it’s a Word, but which part of speech?

If the Word is a noun, you would do well to accumulate property, make external offerings and oblations, and store our treasure in material things in order to connect with a higher power. While accumulation and sacrifice was a recommended path in the Old Testament, the New Testament suggests that with the coming of Christ, material offerings are no longer the answer.

If the Word is an adjective, you would look to honor god with the requisite traits, through spells and invocations praising God’s characteristics and looking to derive them within yourself. This was the root of polytheistic religions and the realm of the names of God in Hebrew traditions and the Saints in the Catholic faith. If the word is an adjective noting God’s traits then the Word is merely describing another primary object, and we would do well to look for that object in order to connect with God. Such an adjective will be an external descriptor of God, but not god incarnate. The 99 Hebrew names of G-D are essentially adjectives, showcasing different characteristics of deity, and the same is true for the gods of many religions. Still, this is an approach to God, not God itself. Remember, ‘the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ Adjectives are secondary descriptors, they could not exist ‘in the beginning,’ but only afterward, when an external separation from God made necessary external worship and invocation of God’s desirable traits.

If the Word is a verb, we would do well to create relationships with one another, to live in a vibrational harmony with one another, and seek to raise that harmony in ourselves and in the greater world.  Reading the new testament, this is consistent with Jesus’s teachings. I believe the Word to be a verb, an action, a living relationship.

If the Word is a verb, that verb is best translated as ‘love.’  Love is the beneficial living relationship between all things in the here and now. And, if we take seriously the notion that God is love, the living relationship between all things, this makes one of the most mysterious passages of the Christian bible easy to translate in a manner that bridges the divide between eastern and western spirituality:
I thus propose we understand John 1:1 as the following:

“In the beginning was the Verb, and the Verb was Love, and the Verb was with Love.”

 

Yet if we accept the notion that God is Love, ‘Love’ – the Holy verb that unites us all – is still expressed in this English sentence as a noun, as the subject or object of our mental possession. Love imprisoned in words is no longer a verb, but a passive concept. It must resonate in our flesh and tongues in order to be active, to be the Love that is God. This is a difficult task for us Westerners, due to the grammar of our language! It is not impossible to achieve a living love in English, but it requires us to overcome certain barriers, without which we may not even feel the love we are missing. Through seeing these barriers, we can choose to overcome them.

 

The English language was designed for the possession, transaction, and manipulation of matter. Its grammar preferences nouns above verbs. It was not built to cleanly express nature of love, as it consistently puts subjects before verbs, and chains verbs to a subservient role relating subject with object. Like most modern tongues, English is a male-brain oriented, concept-based language, honoring noun-based identity over verb-centered experience.

 

To understand a noun as a living verb requires us English speakers to transcend the structure of the English language itself. But not all languages place matter over vibration.

Thus lies the appeal of oriental languages, most notably Sanskrit. These languages have less of an emphasis on the individual will, and thus do not bind a thinker as strongly to nouns. Taken through the lens of our English-aided self-sovereignty and independence, Sanskrit grammar allows a freedom of association with living verbs which English’s pragmatic noun-based grammar does not. The independent will fostered by English grammar can be coupled with the verb-honoring of Sanskrit grammar to achieve a union with the living Word.

 

Verbs reside in the center of the Sanscrit language….

Sanskrit was a language deliberately developed by Brahmin sages to evoke and honor the gods as active states, enfolding vibration into reality with every word. Sanskrit grammar puts its verbs first, while subject and object subserviently follow after their verbs’ active thrusts. The perennial power of Sanskrit comes through actively honoring of the verbs which both Sanskrit and modern physics hold to drive all action in the universe. By honoring their verb first, Sanskrit enervates matter, infusing nouns with the living power of its honored, activated verbs. By bringing verbs into nouns, Sanskrit thinking brings its world to life.

Sanskrit grammar is the grammar of the shaman, of a living being communing with a living world, and reflecting that aliveness in his or her every word. Shamanistic consciousness has existed since the dawn of man. Sanskrit is notable in that it captured that shamanic state in a written form, aligning itself with ‘the Gods,’ which themselves are higher-vibrational processes: emotions, and the gods behind them, exist as living verbs.

Sanskrit honors a different god-form with each of its letters, and the memory of the gods in living speech helps to prevent the calcification of consciousness into inert matter. Sanskrit has 52 letters, fully double the 26 of English and over double the 23 of Hebrew and Greek. In Sanskrit, properly remembered, pronounced, and affected, a different aspect God is honored in manifestation in every consonant and lives in activity in every vowel. These associations were mastered by the high priests of ancient India. In that time, grammarian wasn’t a boring profession- it supported the throne of living magic in spell chants of living words.

Every concept is connected in Sanskrit grammar. Nor are words themselves separated from one another in Devanagari – they are connected with a line of presence joining each syllable. This flow combines the archetypes contained in consonants and the vibrational states evoked in vowels to craft a living reality. With such intention crafted into the very matrix of Sanskrit grammar, it is little wonder why this crafted language holds such perennial power and fascination.

The ‘Word’ in Sanskrit theology is the vibration which created the universe itself: AUM. Some philologists hold that The Western ‘Amen,’ Arabic Ah-meen, Egyptian Amun,’ and other cosmic salutations are the Western echoes of the Eastern AUM. The difference here is that we still have a link to the evocations of the Sanskrit language. With AUM, each sound contained within evokes a separate ultimate god form: the Ahh heralds Brahma, lord of creation. The U evokes Vishnu, lord of life and its preservation. The M calls forth Shiva, the lord of consciousness and death. Sanskrit’s living Word is a spell encased in sound, a verb which in its aliveness contains all things. AUM can be seen as the vibrational residue of the big bang, the unfolding creation, and destruction in the tumult of the present moment expanding ever outwards, which unites all beings in its expansive flow. How beautiful when words don’t just mean things but are things themselves!

 

But how can we, as English speakers, commune with reality, and utilize our understanding of life, framed as it is with a noun-centered language? How can we as English speakers dance with the gods as verbs in our daily communication? Such an effort starts in the heart. Communion with the Verb starts by raising the living verb of Love to a greater importance than the processes of the mind and any noun-based relations contained within.

There are rituals we can take to invoke love into our hearts, to honor the living forces which interpenetrate our realities, and to live more present, in the moment, as a verb. My favorite invocation these days is simply heartfelt invoking of the four elements, air, fire, water, and earth, the above, the below, and the within, in your own words. After creating a sacred space at my altar, I enter into a meditation asking for assistance from all beneficial powers in opening the heart. While my head has developed to hold these concepts, my heart is necessary to strengthen in order to feel, see, and express this love in the world, in communion with others and with life itself. I can only say that at this point, it is beyond proven in my experience that the assistance I feel is real. Done every day, at a dedicated altar, such rituals build a living connection to a state of being that goes beyond noun-based consciousness and communes with living verbs.

There are some great books on the subject of communing with living spiritual forces. My highest recommendation for either the beginner or the advanced student is Catherine Maccoun’s masterfully simple book ‘On Becoming an Alchemist.’ Catherine experiences that higher vibrational beings such as angels, cherubim, seraphim, and devas, exist as verbs, as living states of being. These beings exist largely beyond our concept of linear time, and view human beings as transformational processes, being born, existing, and dying, replicated through generations. These beings hold immense wisdom, and hold it in the form of actions. It is only the entrenched processes of our English-trained minds that personify these beings and states as nouns. To the extent that we identify as static nouns, such beings will be invisible to us. To the extent that we identify as active, dynamic, moving verbs, actual communication with these vibratory beings is possible. Catherine goes on to say that the best way to communicate and commune with these beings is to align with the verb within yourself. And the best way to do that is to live a life centered in the heart, around love.

Communicating with these living verbs will change your world, for it has certainly changed mine. This works on the principle of ‘as above, so below,’ for what you feel in yourself determines what you see and feel in others. Identifying with yourself as an active verb gives you the capacity to interact with others, not as inert nouns, but as living verbs. And this relation is the basis for bringing more love into the world, which in final analysis is the only permanent solution to the ills of the modern human condition.

Living as a verb is not a new idea. But it’s one which must be repeated…

While countless men and women have burned lifetimes in the quest for understanding, it is the capacity to love, to choose to love and to emanate love outwards from our hearts that is the most notable quality of being human. Love allows us to merge embodied presence with wisdom in a way that changes the reality of another. And living with love, as love, allows greater access to perennial wisdom than the mind alone can perceive.

There is a scripture that I can say ‘amen’ to. Or in Arabic, ah-meen. Or in Sanskrit, AUM.