by Candice Stein
The Telugu language is at the very heart of Sri Kaleshwar’s teachings. The knowledge he shared with us comes from ancient palm leaf manuscripts written predominantly in an ancient script of Telugu. For many years Sri Kaleshwar begged his students to learn this sacred language. In his life time he shared thousands of techniques and a tremendous depth of knowledge about healing and becoming a master healer in today’s world. This knowledge has been the transformative catalyst for positive change in so many lives. In these palm leaf manuscripts, some dating back thousands of years, is an incredible knowledge of enlightenment which saints have been practicing, perfecting, and passing down master-to-student for hundreds of generations.
This ancient knowledge was written at a time when people understood that for every problem there is always a solution. These manuscripts carry creative yet practical solutions for the problems humanity is facing today. Authored by holy men and women who dedicated their lives to researching the deeper universal truths of life, death and the nature of creation, these palm leaf manuscripts are the foundation upon which we might build our spiritual practice. This knowledge has historically been thought of as myth but when we can experience the deeper truths of reality we are able to recognize that to be human is among the greatest boons in this creation. To be human is to exercise the experience of being a creator, as a human we are given the freedom and power to create. We create our lives, community's, and at the macro level society, the knowledge in the palm leaf manuscripts is empowering us to awaken to our full human potential as creators.
“To remove the darkness, there is only one thing - the knowledge. Once, if you, have the minimum knowledge, the real knowledge, your life is a wisdom. It’s a really big wisdom. You have to utilize it. One day, this information will come out. I am going to put it out.” ~Sri Kaleshwar
The origins of the Telugu alphabet can be traced back to the Braahmii alphabet, also called Kadamba. Some of the earliest historical inscriptions found in India are written in this script. The Braahmii alphabet is the ancestor to hundreds of scripts found in South, Southeast and East Asia, and might be thought of as the script of the Dravidian family of languages. It is thought to have been modelled on the Aramaic or Phoenician alphabets, that appeared in India sometime before 500 BCE.
The Modern Telugu script is comprised of vowels, consonants and secondary consonants. Below you will find a chart of the primary vowels and consonants, as well as a few helpful instructional videos. In Telugu both the vowels and consonants have secondary symbols. For this reason Telugu, like many South Asian languages can feel somewhat daunting because of the amount of variation found in their scripts, yet it is, without a doubt what makes them so aesthetically beautiful.
However daunting mastering learning a new alphabet may seem, it is the foundation of any language. Many modern native Telugu speakers never learn to read or write the script, which is one of the reasons why Telugu is among the dying languages of indigenous community's the world over. Like many of the other dying languages in the modern world Telugu is sometimes referred to as a hybrid or Pidgin language. This classification is one reason why Telugu, regardless of its recognition of as a heritage language of India it is still not recognized linguistically in the same way that Sanskrit and Tamil have been. It is very common that native Telugu speakers only learn to read and write in Hindi and English and many words in modern Telugu language are actually are Hindi, English or Urdu words.
For me learning the Telugu script was about diving more deeply to an understanding of mantra and yantra as was taught by Sri Kaleshwar. The struggle of learning a new alphabet as an adult helped me re-evaluate what I thought I knew about a beginner's mind. But once I found a method of studying, and started practicing writing out the different variations of vowels, consonants and secondary consonants, I was so amazed by the joy it brought me. I could do it! And for sure you can too... please be inspired. Give it a try! There is no better moment then this one right now to take a new step towards our divine Guru Parampara.
Intro to Vowels and the Vowel Song by Ramakrishna Jenkins
Vowels by Ramakrishna Jenkins
Consonants by Ramakrishna Jenkins
Studying the sacred language of Telugu has brought a new depth of understanding to my spiritual practice and the culture from which it was born. It is a beautiful language that is founded in human relationship to the five elements. It is the language of the divine mother and my study of it has brought me closer to Her.