On the other hand, India has had a long history of phonetic writing. Some examples of this are available in our ancient books:
1. There is a story in the Yaju Taittareeya Samhita that once the gods faced the problem that since sound vanishes once the words are spoken out (i.e. sound it is shapeless), what method could be applied to give it a shape? So, they went to Indra and said, ?Vaachanvya kurveet? which meant, grant sound a shape. Then Indra said that he would have to take the help of the Vaayu, (wind). The gods agreed and Indra gave a shape to sound in the form of the knowledge of writing or script. This is famous as Indra vayavya vyaakaran that is, the grammar pertaining to the aerial Indra. This is more popular in the South.
2. The following lines from the Ganak Rishikrit Sookta Ganapati Atharvasheersha give clear proof of the birth of writing.
Gakaarah poorvaroopam Akaaro
Binduruttar roopam. Naadah
sandhaanam. Samhita sandhih.
Saisha Ganesh vidya.
This means first pronouncing the group of sounds, then writing them in the proper sequence with the help of colour and then, putting a dot (which marks the nasal sound). This way, O Ganesh! Your picture will be thus-ga will be consonant and the part in middle will be the akaar roopadand and the last will be a vowel. The sound and the correct pronunciation is Ganapati vidya, that which only Ganesh knows.
3. Shiva was the deity who gave the source of sound. Because of the death of people the branches of the various Vedas started disappearing. Hence, with a prayer to save them, the Sanak and other saints went to Shiva in Chidambaram in the South. Hearing their prayers, Lord Shiva played his damru nine and five, i.e. fourteen times during the interval of his cosmic dance. With this, fourteen sources of sound were born. These came to be known as the Maaheshwar sootra. Describing them, it has been said:
sanakaadisiddhaan etadwimarshe Shivasootrajaalam.
Panini talks about the 14 Maaheshwar sootras as follows:
1. a, i, u, na
2. ri, lri, k,
3. e, o, unva
4. ai, o, ch,
5. ha, ya, va, ra, t,
6. la, naha
7. inya, ma, angh, unva, nha, na, m
8. jha, bha, inya,
9. dha, tha, gha, sh
10. ja, ba, ga, da, d, sh
11. kha, pha, cha, tha, tha, cha, ta, tra, ya
12. ka, pa, y
13. sh, sh, sa, ra
14. ha, l
lti Maaheshwaraani sootraani
4. The sages developed many complex methods like jata, maala, shikha, rekha, dand, rath, dhwaj and ghan for remembering and ensuring the purity of the Vedas. All this was difficult to retain without writing.
5. When Ved Vyas was thinking of writing the Mahabharata, he faced the problem of who should write it. To solve this problem, he thought of Ganeshji?kaavyasya lekhanaarthaya ganesham smartyatam mune? and when Ganeshji came, Sage Vyas said to him, ?lekhako bharatasyaasya bhava gananaayakah? that is ?You be the writer of the Bharat granth?. This means that Ganesh was a renowned scribe of that time.
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd. 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002)