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Essentials of Hindu Mantra Sadhana

Since ancient time till the present era; Mantras have been used as a remedy for nearly every problem. With the increasing number of TV channels in India, the situation is such that you tell about any issue and one out of ten persons, you will find at least one to come out with a handy Mantra to resolve your issue. The great learned pundits are there on the small screen almost round the cloc . !ow a "uestion arises, do we really get benefit from those free of cost advice # I don$t thin the TV channels will be helpful to you in this respect. They should be more than happy with the increasing T%& and would hardly get time to underta e a survey to find efficacy of such remedial mantras etc. With a view to verify the effectiveness of mantras, let us try to answer these "uestions' (an one mantra be effective for multiple purposes# What is the source of power of any mantra # What is the correct way of using a mantra # What matters the most ) The sound, the tone and rhythm of reciting a mantra, the meaning of the words used in the mantra, or the procedure prescribed# *y usage of a Mantra can any one be able to escape from e+periencing the fructification of ,arma# -ow does $offering$ of a mantra by a Siddha ma es a difference# .ne Mantra removes all evil#

.ne should not need any thing more than mere common sense to re/ect the notion of $eli+ir$ ind of a Mantra that can be used to resolve a problem irrespective of nature of problem.

0s we accept the low of $(ause and 1ffect$; we have to find the li ely cause of a problem and then the remedy has to address the cause. In a way, the remedy should be a ind of reversal process of the cause.

We can understand that every problem has to have a particularly related cause and hence, it has to be addressed with a specific process. Thus, a Mantra to increase physical height of a person cannot be accepted as a cure of (ancer.

-indu mantras li e $Maha Mrintyun/aya Mantra$, $2ayatri Mantra$, etc. suffer from the notion of $.ne)for)0ll$ remedy and we most humbly do not agree with the belief.

The sanctity of mantras for spiritual upliftment should be maintained and must not be recommended for temporal lau i reasons as trivial as $securing a /ob transfer $ or $begetting children$ etc. &eople indulging in such activities are un nowingly doing a grave disservice to the sacred heritage of Vedas.

&rere"uisites for 3sing a Mantra

The seers who formulated the mantras offered them to their disciples who were well)versed with the prere"uisites as a part of

the methodology of particular school of spiritual Sadhana. The nowledge of such prere"uisites was believed to be so fundamental that its narration, at times, used to be omitted to avoid repetition.

Most of the mantras have been a part of a Stotra or an 3panishad or a fullfleged Sadhana or an 0nushthana and were never intended to be used in isolation. -owever, over a period of time, some of the &undits started compiling the mantras and formulated boo s of such collection. 0t this stage, the brevity was the call and not only the prere"uisites, but even the overall purpose and relevance lost their place.

In the modern age, where education and spirituality has turned into an Industry, 0strology, too, has slipped into the hands of commercial people. In absence of honest custodians and the rightful inheritors; mantras are prescribed in most bi4arre manner by the commercial astrologers for meeting their selfish means. !eedless to say, mantras have become tools in their hands to e+ploit the greedy and ignorant people.

The %ishis who formulated the mantras also advocated certain procedures to be followed for its right use. This include a formal commitment in the form of $San alpa$, some movements and gestures in form of $!yasa$, creating protective sheath in form of $,avacha$ and offerings to the 5evata in the form of $0rghya$.

6et us understand the procedure as well as the parts of mantra.

San alpa

San alpa with respect to Mantra Sadhana, means a formal commitment about one$s plan of the Sadhana. 0 statement of san alpa generally contains one$s own identification. This is in the vedic manner including one$s full name, one$s vedic lineage i.e. Veda, 2otra, Sha ha etc. Then follows ones desire to chant the Mantra for a particular duration and in particular number or underta e an 0nushthana for fulfillment of a particular wish. The san alpa is addressed to the 5evata of the Mantra. %itualistically, a san alpa is ta en through Sans rit. -owever, as we now the significance of Mental vibrations in Mantra Sadhana, it should be ., to underta e the San alpa in one$s own language.

!yasa

!yasa is an important preparatory stage of Mantra Sadhana. It is in a way a $warming up$ and $cleansing$ session prior to underta ing Mantra chanting. The sadha a while e+ercising &ranayama, touches different parts his body either physically or visuali4e mentally depending upon the type of nyasa he has adopted. There are different types of !ayasa, e.g.,ara !yasa, 0nga !yasa, -ridayadi !yasa, %ishyadi !yasa, &anchatatwa !yasa, etc. -ere, again the primary ob/ective is to augment the process of attaining embodiment with the Mantra and its 5evata at psyche level.

,avacha

$,avacha$ is the imagery shield to be created for the protection of the Sadha a during Sadhana. It is very important because, the Sadha a loses his conscious sense of awareness as he transgress into meditative state or altered state of awareness. 5uring such a state he stands vulnerable and e+posed to abnormal fre"uencies and vibrations. The performing of ,avacha protects the Sadha a from such vibrations. The ,avacha in a way create hypontic layer of self)confidence and eep him comfortable

0rghya

0rghya is a symbolic gesture of hospitality offered to the 5evata. 0s we offer some tea and snac s and respect to the guest at our home, similarly, here during Mantra sadhana, we are invo ing the 5evata of the Mantra and suitable welcome is essential. The arghya is normally a mi+ture of water, mil , curd, flower petals, um um, sandal and grains li e til 7sesame8. The mi+ture is ta en in hands in the cavity created by holding two palms together and then poured in the vessel meant for it. The ingredients of 0rghya are 5evata specific and so is the way of offering it and as such different Mantra Sadhana re"uires different ind of 0rghya. .n mental and subtle level, the offering of 0rghya signifies surrender of the individual ego at the feet of the 5evata.

In addition to the procedure, it is vital to understand the essential parts of a Mantra. 1very mantra is suppose to be complete only when it is used with the following si+ parts, nows as $Shadanga$' %ishi (hhandas

5evata *ee/a ,eela a and Sha ti. %ishi

%ishi is the person who originally formulated the Mantra. In vedic culture, %ishi is believed as the seer, a visuali4er of Mantra. The prere"uisite of naming the %ishi of the mantra before using the same is a humble way of showing gratitude and ac nowledgement. This act of ac nowledgement is the first step towards dissolution of personal pride and ego. The feeling of gratitude initiates the altered state of mind leading to internal environment congenial to invocation of the 5evata of the Mantra.

5evata

5evata of the Mantra is the form of the god who is being propitiated. The deveta element engages the visuali4ing faculty of human mind. 1very 5evata has its own Shape, (olour, &osture, 2esture, Mudra, 0yudha, and personality. The preceding steps of %ishi and (hhanda prepares the ground for effective visuali4ation of the 5evata. The initial utterrance of name of the 5evata creates flashes of the visions. Its fre"uent repetition enables a devotee to contemplate upon the form of the 5evata. 3ltimately, he forgets his own self and gets unified with the form of the 5evata.

(hhandas

(hhandas denotes to the grammatical formation of words in a particular rhythm. The chhanda sets the pattern of words and number of syllables. The formation guides the recitation of the Mantra in a particular way. The pattern activates different points in human brain and further augment the internal psychic environment. 1ach chhanda has its own attributes to influence the mood of the person reciting it.

(hhandas are classified into two types 798 Varni (hhand 7alphabetical stan4as8 and 7:8Matri (hhand 7stan4as containing short vowels8. -indu mantras follow the (hhandas of their respective Vedic Samhita and Sha ha. 2enerally a distinct Matri (hhanda has been preferred by different Sha ha in different Samhitas.

*ee/a

*ee/a is a single letter of Sans rit 0lphabet and it represent, again, shortest possible form of the 5evata. The shape of the *ee/a creates the route for the energy to vibrate. *ee/am resembles the basic character 7tatva8 of the mantra. for e+ample /ala tatva7soft8, agni tatva 7hard8 etc.

,eela a

,eela a means a nail. !ow, what is significance of a !ail here with respect to reciting a Mantra# To understand the significance of ,eela a we have to lin it with the nail that stops a rotating wheel slipping out of its e+cel. We now that the energy of a mantra is generated from the mind of the person and its important to eep it centered at a point to save it getting dissipated. This is done through ,eela a. Some people symboli4e it with a ey of the loc . Thus, a eela a is believed to be a ,ey to open the loc of the source of a Mantra power.

Sha ti

Sha ti means &ower. Sha ti means power or energy of the Mantra. This is the power generated through reciting the mantra.

It has to be noted that every Mantra has its own form of Sha ti. -owever, let us admit that today, e+cept the name denoted to the Sha ti, we do not now much about distinct forms of the energy of Mantra. The main reason for this omission is attributable to the fact that graphical reproduction of the form of energy vibrations visuali4ed during altered state of mind remains difficult. The second reason for the misconception is that we consider the words $5evi$ and $Sha ti$ as synonyms.

5ue to this ambiguity, it is "uite possible that a Sadha a of a Mantra may contemplate upon a nown form of 5evi in stead of the energy vibrations of the Mantra.

!ow, it should be clear as to why we don$t get the much acclaimed results from reciting a mantra. If we ignore the essential ; parts, how can we e+pect the desired effects#

The limitation lies on two parts. <irst is the ignorance of the doer. The person who underta es Mantra, does not now the essential prere"uisites. Secondly, the limitation lies with the source from where a person receives the mantra. It is "uite common now that people ta e mantra from any source, be it a cheap poc et boo being sold at the roadside, any Sadhu or a TV =yotishi. It is "uite possible that the prere"uisites are compromised in offering and receiving the Mantra in this manner.

%esearch on Mantra Sadhana

My ob/ective here is to sensiti4e the need for conducting a research upon effectiveness of various Mantras. This way, we can assess the effectiveness of different mantras. The research should include the following' What was the ob/ective of underta ing a Mantra# Whether Mantra was received from a Siddha or a 2uru If yes ) who was the person# what was the procedure used by the guru to season 7siddhi8 the Mantra# What were the conditions followed by the 2uru to assess the suitability of the beneficiary# -ow many times the Mantra was recited>chanted every day#

What was the duration>period the Mantra was recited# Whether the Shadangas i.e. %ishi, 5evata etc. were performed ritualistically# Whether Viniyas i.e. San alpa, !yaasa, &uruscharana were performed# If yes, what was the procedure# What benefits were observed that can be confidently attributable to Mantra sadhana# What way the pronunciation and modulation recitation of Mantra or or any instrumental sound used substantiated # (ould it be verified by a living e+perienced e+pert# Whether the Verbatim meaning of the Mantra signified the e+pected benefits# Whether colours were used deliberately i.e., colour of the cloths or the 0sana used by the sadha a If Mantra was used as a remedy of any disease; was it verified through medical reports# I wish to have valuable contributions from learned members and visitors of this esteem site so that the science of mantra can be augmented in right direction. I invite suggestions with regard to classification of various inds of Mantras and its genuine purpose. I wish that we can compile the Shadangas of every Mantra with its dos and don$ts. 6et us bring in transparency into this sub/ect. This is the way, we can get bac the lost glory to our divine heritage. 6et us admit and sensiti4e as to what can be done and what cannot be done through Mantra.This is the way, we can curb the (heaters and Thugs who are e+ploiting the ignorance of poor and needy people.
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