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Vac


Vac, Sanskrit, vac, "speech," Hindu (Vedic), is the goddess of the spoken word. In certain texts she is a daughter of Daksa and the consort of Kasyapa. Alternatively she is the daughter of Ambhrna, and, also, is known by the epithet "queen of the gods." She is the personification of speech and oral communication and, is believed, to be able to lead a man to become a Brahman. Vac also personifies truth and sustains soma, the liquid essence of vision and immortality.

This Hindu goddess' manifestation is thought to have come from the early reliance on the sacred oral teachings "heard" by the rsis (holy men) properly intoned and accented, thrust the folk-divinity Vac into prominence. Since effective service depended upon effective speech, the supreme vehicle of knowledge and ritual power… Vac even gained precedence over Agni. As the "Word," Vac is somewhat like the Neo-platonic "logos": Vac is the source of creation, and the mother of the Veda. In the Tantric tradition she is celebrated as Para-vac, Transcendental speech, the mother of all sacred mantras. Later she was associated with the river goddess Sarasvati, whose banks of the sacred river served as fertile soil for the growth of brahmanical culture.

Vac, although prominent in the Rg Veda, almost completely disappears from Hindu mythology later when being syncretized with Sarasvati. She is generally depicted as an elegant womanly figure, dressed in gold, but in a secondary capacity as a mother goddess, who is also drawn as a cow. A.G.H.


Sources:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 275
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 1011

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