Gods have received many names in history, in all the languages of the
earth. The unique God of monotheisms, himself, is far from having
only one name to represent his uniqueness. There are ten, one hundred
or even many more, depending on the variations of different
monotheisms, on this subject.
Guillaume Postel’s Interpretation of the Candlestick of Moses
(Venice, 1548), based on the famous sephiroth, we find
listed the ten names of the One God, as they are transmitted by the
first name is EHIEH: « I am ». He is associated with Cheter,
the crown, superiority, multitude and power.
second is IAH, which is found in compound expressions, for example
HALLELU-IAH. His property is Hokhmah, wisdom, sapience,
third is JEHOVIH, associated with Binah, intelligence,
fourth is EL, associated with Hesed, that is mercy or sovereign
kindness, and Gedolah, greatness.
fifth is ELOHIM, which refers to Pashad as fear, terror and
judgment. We associate Geburah with it, strength, punishment,
sixth name is JEHOVAH, whose property is Tiphaeret, which
means the honour and perfection of the beauty of the world.
seventh name is JEHOVAH TSABAOTH, associated with Netzah, the
perfect and final victory, which means the final achievement of the
eighth name is ELOHIM TSABAOTH, whose property is Hod, praise
ninth name is EL SHADDAI, to whom the property of Iesod
answers, which means the foundation and base of all the perfections
of the world.
tenth name is ADONAÏ, which is accompanied by Hatarah and
Malcut, which means « lower crown ».
seemingly heteroclite list of ten main names calls for comments, the
most salient of which I would like to report.
order in which these names are placed is important. They are arranged
in a figure (the « candelabra ») that has a vague body shape.
first and tenth names (the beginning and the end) are under the sign
of the crown, which is well suited to a reign.
first three names refer to God in the higher world. The next three to
God in the intermediate world. The next three to God in the lower
world. Finally, the last name is a generic name, which refers to God
in all his states.
אֶהְיֶה « I
am » (Ex. 3,14). This is the very essence of God, the essence of
Him who was, is and will be. It is the sovereign power.
יה. This name
is composed of a Yod and a Hey, the two letters that symbolize
respectively the masculine and the feminine. They are also the two
letters placed at the beginning and end of the « very high and
inexplicable name »: יהוה,
the Tetragrammaton. It is associated with Wisdom.
is the name of God, as it relates to Intelligence. It represents one
of the ways to distribute vowels on the Tetragrammaton (supposed to
the name of power, goodness and mercy. It is in the singular, and
refers in a way to its plural form: ELOHIM.
plural of EL, is the name of terror, fear and also of strength and
which presents another reading of the Tetragrammaton (another
vocalization), is the virtue of the whole world.
TSABAOTH is the Lord of armies, multitudes and final victory.
TSABAOTH is a similar name, meaning Gods of the armies.
SHADDAI which means « Almighty » is interpreted by Kabbalah
as « feeding » and « udders of the world ». But it is
also logically enough the « foundation », or « base ».
Some add that this name of power, is « at the right of the
seminal place in the great divine man ».
is the common name of God. It summarizes and embodies all its
ten names are arranged to draw the mosaic »candelabra ». Upon
careful observation, it is not unworthy, I think, to propose the idea
of a possible comparison with the « snake » of the Vedic
other words, the comparison of »names » with Vedic and Tantric
shakras seems stimulating.
start with the three lower shakras. They can be associated
with the three divine names that Kabbalah associates with what she
calls the lower world.
SHADDAI, which is the « foundation » of the world according
to Kabbalah, can be associated with the first shakra,
Muladhara (which literally means « foundation support »
in Sanskrit). In Veda culture, this shakra is associated with
the anus, the earth, the sense of smell and the inciting awakening.
As it is at the place of the « seminal place », the name EL
SHADDAI can also be associated with the second shakra, the
Svadhisthana (« seat of the self »), which refers in
the Vedas to the genitals, water, taste and enjoyment.
names ELOHIM TSABAOTH and JEHOVAH TSABAOTH can be quite easily
associated with the third shakra, the Manipura
(« Abundant in jewels »), which refers to the solar plexus,
sight, fire and life force, which seems to apply to the qualifier of
Lord or God of the « hosts ».
name JEHOVAH, as it refers to the virtue of the world, can be
associated with the fourth shakra, called Anahata
(« Ineffable »), which is related to the heart, air, touch
and subtle sound.
names ELOHIM and EL, in so far as they relate to power, kindness and
mercy, can be associated with the fifth shakra, Visuddha
(« Very Pure »), which is related to the larynx, hearing,
ether and sacred Word.
name JEHOVIH, as it refers to Intelligence, can be associated with
the sixth shakra, the ajna (« order »), which
refers to the forehead, mind, spirit and truth.
name IAH, which refers to Wisdom, can be associated with the seventh
shakra, Sahasrara (« Circle of a thousand rays »),
which is associated with the occiput, « vision » and yoga,
with the ultimate union.
name EHIEH will be left aside, not affected by these metaphorical
analogies, since it is used as a tautology.
the name ADONAÏ, it is the most general name, we said. Therefore, it
is not appropriate to involve it in these kinds of comparisons.
like to retain from this correspondence between the « kundalinic
serpent » and the « mosaic candelabra » the idea that
archetypal, permanent forms are sculpted, in the depth of our bodies
as well as in the depths of our minds.
archetypes, the « snake » or the « candelabra »,
represent a « tree » or « ladder » of hierarchies,
and symbolize an ascent towards divine union, from a « base »,
the most material of all, the « foundation ».
metaphors in Kabbalah and the Vedas refer to the same intuition: the
ascent of man to the divine.