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Personified as a goddess in the Ṛg Veda, where she is naturally seen as the mother of the Vedas, ‘speech’, or the Word, vāc is also regarded as the power which, through mantra, underlies the sacrifice, and so the supreme creative force which at the same time informs, manifests, and exceeds the cosmos. In the Upaniṣads she is therefore equated with brahman (neut.). Later, as the goddess of speech (vāgdevī), vāc becomes synonymous with Sarasvatī. In Kashmiri Śaivism, vāc, as sound, is analysed in a complex and sophisticated way as the śakti, or energy, of Śiva, through which he manifests and reabsorbs the universe.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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