Vach or Vak is Hindu goddess of speech, and the most prominent and important goddess in the VEDAS. In later times she becomes identified with SARASVATI, the goddess of learning, and loses her separate character, except in linguistic philosophy.
   In Vedic tradition the words of SANSKRIT have a divine character. Words are not arbitrary or mere names, but are the essential truth of the object they represent. The sounds of the word tree, for instance, form the essence of a tree. All of reality can be seen as mere congealed speech.
   Vedantic theory sees four levels of speech: (1) the transcendent level, where speech is the divine silence out of which emerges the mani-fest universe; (2) speech as it becomes incipient thought looking toward manifestation; (3) speech expressed as thought, but before external expres-sion; and (4) speech as uttered words.
   Further reading: Alfred Hillebrandt, Vedic Mythology, 2 vols. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1990); Andre Padoux, Vac: The Concept of the Word in Selected Hindu Tantras. Translated by Jacques Gontier (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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