The most prominent non-Sanskrit scripture is the Tamil Divya prabandham of Southern Vaishnavites. Non-brahmin Tamils don't have a great love of Sanskrit and one can increasingly see them conduct Puja and even yagnas in Tamil. I have seen Hindu worship conducted in English also.

Have scriptures said anything about this?

  • 1
    Scriptures are those which are in Sanskrit and not any other languages..
    – Rickross
    Feb 16 '18 at 15:55
  • "Scriptures are those which are in Sanskrit and not any other languages" - thats only opinion and an extreme one at that. So ram charit manas is not scripture? per wiki - "In many temples — Srirangam, for example — the chanting of the Divya Prabhandham forms a major part of the daily service." you are entitled to your opinion, but I am looking for scripture citations @rickross
    – S K
    Feb 16 '18 at 16:05
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    No that is not an extreme stand.. Vedas, Tantras, Puranas, Smritis etc are the scriptures and they are all in Sanskrit.. Few exceptions here and there can not change the general rule.
    – Rickross
    Feb 16 '18 at 16:22
  • 2
    S.K check my another answer. All Sanskrit words (sounds to be precise) have one to one correspondence with Tattvas. Feb 16 '18 at 16:32
  • 1
    SK I'm just claiming Sanskrit have one to one correspondence with the Tattvas, nothing else. And I believe love & consciousness is the language with which we talk to the Shiva, not Sanskrit. Sanskrit does have huge significance, but it is not the mandatory language to convey our prayer or messages to the Shiva. Feb 16 '18 at 16:57

Sanskrit alphabets are considered as deities and are present in the chakras. Hence Sanskrit is recommended for use in worship and mantras. If you look at the iconography of Mother Kali you will see that she is garlanded by 50 human skulls that denote the Sanskrit alphabets or deities. However, use of Sanskrit is not mandatory. Unfortunately the Swami does not quote any scripture for his assertion.

Among the Vedic sacred formulas, the Gayatri has been prescribed for repetition from ancient times. The Vedic people had great faith in the efficacy of mantras. The Mimamsakas considered mantras to be the embodiments of deities. In fact, they accepted no deities other than the mantras at all. To them Brahman is nothing but sound (shabda), and sound produces form. Thus, the name embodied in the mantra is more real than the form of the deity. .... Forms are made up of nothing but fine vibrations, and vibrations are produced by sound only, so these ancient conceptions are tenable. From another point of view, a mantra gains spiritual potency through many years of being associated with holy men who have repeated it and attained realization through it. The concept of the mantra is based on the psychological fact that much of our thinking depends on auditory symbols. Repetition of the mantra creates a chain of thought which induces the mind with the thought of God, and this is the aim of all spiritual practices. ................. Every Vedic mantra has a rishi who first intuited it, a particular metre in which it is composed, and a deity to whom it is addressed. In Tantric mantras the most important element is the vija, a sacred syllable considered to be charged with spiritual potency, as also Shakti or power and a kilaka, a pillar (inner syllables on which the mantra rests.) All the letters of the alphabets are considered as different matrikas, minor deities around the main deity. The mantra is charged with a special potency, so much so that the Tantrikas believe that when offerings are made to the deity with the appropriate mantras, the deity accepts them immediately. ......... The Chandogya Upanishad I.1.10 says about the efficacy of the repetition of Om: Both perform spiritual practices - he who knows and he who does not know. But knowledge and ignorance are different in their effects. Whatever is performed with knowledge, faith and meditation, becomes spiritually effective.

Meditation and other spiritual disciplines by Swami Swahananda

There is an extensive discussion of Vaidika sabda in "The Garland of letters' by Sir John Woodroffe.

In the Yoga Bhasya that is Vyasa's commentary on the Patanjala-Darsana (3.17) it is said: Tatra vagvarnesvarthavatiti. According to this, each letter is intrinsically Sarvabhidhana-sakti-prachita, that is possesing the power (Sakti) to denote and connote all objects (Artha). For as the Visvasara-Tantra says:'What is not here is nowhere'. A letter (Varna) is the whole cosmos in miniature. One Varna differs from another in the relative latency of the universe of Artha involved in it, the universe being the same in both. They come to denote special Arthas by virtue of the order (Krama) of their collocation. ...... But the ultimate philosophical question is, "who, if any one, first said that this sound meant that thing?" The Indian answer is that the relation of the word and the object denoted are eternal and not a conventional thing, that there is a system of Natural names, whatever in fact that may be.'

The Garland of Letters chapter IX by Sir John Woodroffe

What the above quote means is that the Sanskrit words of a mantra for deity worship are not mere human invention. The implication of using a non-Sanskrit language is that the word that is eternally linked with a certain object is not being used. If that is not a concern then one can indeed use any language.

Let me use a concrete example. Take the word AUM=OM. OM stands for Brahman whether Saguna or Nirguna. Is OM a mere human convention? Did some people choose to use OM as the symbol of Brahman? The answer is no. OM is the eternal sound symbol of Brahman. Can we replace OM by say GY? Yes, we can indeed replace OM by GY from the intellectual point of view. All of us would associate GY with Brahman by convention. However, is GY a mantra? The answer is no according to mantra sastra. GY is a mere human convention and will never be a mantra.

Let me sum up the situation as I understand it. If one prays to God then one can use any language. Sanskrit is not needed. If one wants to meditate then any language can be used. One can chant in any language. Sanskrit is not required. Texts which are recognised by many as scripture can be in any language. Sanskrit is not necessary. Sanskrit is necessary if one wants to use any mantra. Just think of Tibetan Buddhists. They do not accept the concept of Brahman. Yet they use OM in the mantra 'Om Mani padme hum. The reason is that the Sanskrit matrikas are present in every human chakras and Sanskrit mantras take advantage of this fact.


Reaction of sodium with water is different than the reaction of sodium chloride with the water. Similarly when particular words are pronounced, it is similar to a type of reaction. Modern science is far behind in understanding the spiritual values of it. A word or a phrase will give a particular meaning, particular effect if it is pronounced in a specific way (similar to the chemical combination in a tablets which are prescribed by the physician. For example, if you ask for a paracetamol you will get one for fever and one for headache).
Worshiping in your own language is not forbidden but should not believe that the Sanskrit is not necessary. When you try to translate the context, you may loose the way the words are spoken. What we get depends on what we did.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Pandya
    Feb 17 '18 at 6:36
  • This looks like a personal opinion than a real answer, should be a comment under the answer. Feb 28 '18 at 21:39
  • @Pandya Please don't move comments asking for references into chats. Feb 28 '18 at 21:40

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