Selection from Mohini M. Chatterji’s translation of the Ātmānātmaviveka of Śaṃkarācarya | Note by H.P.B.

Q: What are the organs of action?

A: The organ of speech (vāc), hands, feet, etc.

Q: What is vāc?

A. That which transcends speech, in which speech resides, and which is located in eight different centers1 and has the power of speech.

1. The secret commentaries say seven; for it does not separate the lips into the “upper” and “nether” lips. And, it adds to the seven centres the seven passages in the head connected with, and affected by, vach; namely—the mouth, the two eyes, the two nostrils and the two ears. “The left ear, eye and nostril being the messengers of the right side of the head; the right ear, eye and nostril—those of the left side.” Now this is purely scientific. The latest discoveries and conclusions of modern physiology have shown that the power or the faculty of human speech is located in the third frontal cavity of the left hemisphere of the brain. On the other hand, it is a well known fact that the nerve tissues inter-cross each other (decussate) in the brain in such a way that the motions of our left extremities are governed by the right hemisphere, while the motions of our right-hand limbs are subject to the left hemisphere of the brain.