Year : 2020 | Volume
: 13 | Issue : 1 | Page : 84--86
Ancient science of mantras – Wisdom of the sages
Srinidhi K Parthasarathi
Professor, Division of Yoga and Management, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), Bengaluru, India
Srinidhi K Parthasarathi
Professor, Division of Yoga and Management, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), Bengaluru
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Parthasarathi SK. Ancient science of mantras – Wisdom of the sages.Int J Yoga 2020;13:84-86
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Parthasarathi SK. Ancient science of mantras – Wisdom of the sages. Int J Yoga [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 25 ];13:84-86
Available from: http://www.ijoy.org.in/text.asp?2020/13/1/84/273021
Author: Om Swami
Edition: 1st Edition
Published by: Jaico Publishing House (2017)
Price: Rs. 356
Pages: 486 pages
“Mananāt trāyatē iti mantrah” is the definition of the word mantra in Sanskrit.
Sustained repetition (Mananāt) of that which protects (trāyatē) from all miseries arising from bondage or cycles from birth and death is called mantra. From time immemorial, mantras and their sonic powers have been a potent source of well-being for the entire creation. Mantras have their origin from the primordial sound OM which is the sound of creation. The sages or the seers who visited and revisited these mantras to gain in wisdom unearthed the science behind these mantras. This science when put to practice removes all the obstacles to growth, rids all miseries, raises a sādhaka or practitioner in wisdom, and catalyzes the process of realizing and achieving the goals set forth for and by every Spiritual being in a human form.
This book under review titled, “The Ancient Science of mantras-Wisdom of the Sages,” is penned by a practitioner who has spent many years in unearthing the science of mantras. The author takes us through an enchanting journey from the origin of the mantras to practicing and applying them for self and societal development.
The first chapter on the origin of mantra initially throws light on the reasons of dukha or sorrow. The chapter starts with an interesting story of the meeting and the conversation between Śiva and Dēvi in a picturesque setting situated two billion light years away from Kailās and three trillion years ago in time. The different emotions such as delight, fear, sorrow, and the amazement of Dēvi corresponding to the different picturesque and dynamic environment come to life. The conversation tunnels into the sound of the ḍamaru of Śiva. The seventy million sounds manifested that covered the entire spectrum of all mantras that is to be created. The sages from Śiva's abode such as Kaśyapa, Vasiśta, Paraśurāma, Dattātrēya, Atri, and Gautama came down to earth and passed on the mantras to the humans and captured all of those in 14 sūtras with 57 letters called the Māheśwara sūtras, which became on the basis of the Sanskrit language. The basis of the entire creation such as the 14 tattvas, five elements, three modes of material nature, the four aspects of mind, intellect, fluctuation of mind, and the ego all emerged from the sound.
The author then goes along to explain mantra sā dhana and as to how the mantra is passed on from one generation to the next through guru siśya parampara.
The anecdote of African tribal women passing on a song to their offspring right from the time they conceive till the child is delivered and beyond and the way the song is used to evoke positivity by the child even after attaining adulthood makes an interesting reading and develops the faith to begin the path of Mantra sādhana. For a question as to do Mantras work, the author explains his own experience in terms of his sādhana in an isolated place where he practiced. The chapter lists dinacharya and the strict regimen, a sādhaka, has to follow. This leads to siddhi where the sādhaka starts to see in reality as to that which he has dreamt. The practitioner reaches the state of jīvanmukta where he is free from all bondage.
After explaining the why and how of the working of mantra, the author throws light on the challenges which a sādhaka would encounter when traversing the path of sādhana. Three mandatory requisites to attain siddhi in sādhana have been enumerated. They are devotion and faith, often referred to as Bhakti, initiation, also known as dīksha, and the performance of daily duties, known as nitya karma. The 16 conditions that need to be sincerely fulfilled to get the divine grace in the path of mantra yōga have been enumerated in the book. The steps starting with bhakti and culminating in samādhi or from devotion to absorption have been explained at various places in the book referring to the context.
Initiation forms an important bond between the guru and his disciple. The book gives insights into three ways of initiating the disciple, namely Śakti, Śāmbhavi, and Māntri by touch, stare, or imparting a mantra.
There are predominantly four aspects of mantra sādhana. The first and foremost is approaching a guru who has achieved siddhi which is one of the 16 qualities to be imbibed by a guru. Four types of gurus are discussed in this book, namely the crusading guru, the cryptic guru, the eager guru, and a fake guru.
The second is a dedicated aspirant or a sādhak. Three types of students have been listed in the book. A restless sādhak who jumps from one belief system to the other called the hopper. A stable disciple who is captive of someone else's belief system and is referred to as prisoner and the third one is referred to as discoverer who is a perfect combination of effort, surrender, determination, and devotion.
The third aspect of Mantra sādhana is the resources or sādhan, necessities which are required on a daily basis for a sādhak to continue his sādhana. The fourth and final aspect is the sādhya or the goal. Realization of the final destination is important and an emotional intent to reach it takes one closer to the goal.
The book further speaks about the ten tenets of a disciple beginning from keeping the mantra a secret and not disclosing it to anyone else as the first tenet to serving the guru with all his abilities as the tenth tenet. The daily duties of the adept and the three types of action, namely Nitya Karma, Naimittika Karma, and Kāmya Karma, along with the daily routine comprising of none steps have been dealt with.
Then, taking the insights into the sādhana further, the author details the different facets about invoking the mantra. The śhadangās of mantras, namely rishi, bīja, chanda, dēvata, and śhakti, kīlaka, are explained in short. The right mantra that is to be chosen and the duty of a guru to correct the flaws in the mantra are discussed. Out of the many flaws the mantra can have, fifty flaws have been listed in the book with the most common six flaws such as dagdha, tṛśta, garvita, mattah, chinna, and stambhita explained in detail and the other 44 explained in short at the end of the book. The five ways of correcting a flaw, namely acquiring a mantra sentiment (mantra bhāvana), praying to a guru (guru dhyāna), crowning the diety (kulluka), bridging the mantra (mahāsetu), and the protective shield (bandhana), are explained in detail and the procedures for carrying out the same is done. The ten samskāras to infuse life in a mantra; the four ways of chanting a mantra, namely vāchika (spoken chanting), upāmśu (whispered chanting), mānasika (mental chanting), and ajapa (unspoken chanting); and the hurdles in the invocation of the mantra such as fear, impatience, and beads are dealt at length.
The second part of the book throws light on the rites of invocation. The nine steps of invoking the diety, namely āvāhana, sthapana, sannidhāna, sannirōdhana, sambōdhana, sammukhīkaraṇa, śakalīkaraṇa, avagunthaṇa, amarātīkaraṇa, and paramīkaraṇa, are explained in short. The most important aspects of mantra siddhi which is awakening the mantra called nyāsa and self-identification with the deity called mudra are explained in two full chapters. The essential steps contained in the rites of invocation which are 36 in number are enumerated in the next chapter.
The third part of the book deals with the actual sādhana. The book enumerates four sādhanas. The initial sādhana or ārambha sādhana is of Lord Gaṇēsha. This is for the blessings and grace. The process (the procedure for performing the rights of invocation known as puruscharaṇa), time taken, and the eligibility to perform the sādhana are explained in the chapter. The second sādhana explained in the book is the guru sādhana. In the author's own words, “this book is written for people who do not have a guru or those who have not been bestowed by the grace of a guru in the human form. This book when understood and the tenets practiced, activates or awakens the guru who permanently resides in us. Many of the true teachers today are hard pressed for time and are preoccupied with their own sādhana. Hence, this book helps in inspiring us in the path of mantra sādhana like a guide.”
The third sadhana explained in this section is the Gāyathri sādhana. This sādhana is extremely important for improving the Spiritual Quotient. The sādhana of Vēdamāta Gāyathri forms the foundation to perform any other sādhana. The nyāsa and mudrās to be done in the Gāyathri Sādhana are explained in detail. The fourth sādhana is contained in the longest chapter of the book which is the Sri Sūktam sādhana. This is a sādhana for the improvement and well-being of the society and all people living in it. This tantric sādhana should be done after taking permission of Vēdamāta Gāyathri. This is a 16-night sādhana with a 960-day routine to earn a right to do the sādhana. Even though this is a tantric sādhana, it could be easily done by any gṛhasta. The dinacharya that needs to be followed by a sādhaka has been given in this book. The dinacharya for a gṛhasta or a sanyāsi is clearly defined.
The next couple of chapters in the section three speak about the rites of atonement known as prāyaschitta and the ways of making an offering known as yajna. The scriptural injunctions prescribed for the atonement of undesirable acts have been enumerated in the chapter. Fasting (upavāsa), penance (tapas), charity (dāna), chanting (japa), fire offerings (yajna), repentance (anutāpa), confession (abhīśṭa), pilgrimage (tīrtha), bathing (Snāna), consuming concoction of cow products (pancha gavya sēvana), and finally word of a guru (guru vākyam) have been described in the chapter. In the chapter on yajna, information on ingredients required for the offering, the ways of making a fire pit, and the process of performing a yajna have been described.
The book concludes with the fourth section where detailed notes on the types of mantras, flaws in the mantra, 16 samskaras of sanātana dharma, 16 significant aspects of mantra sādhana, the different types of Vedic meters, pā tra sā dhana, types of upachāras, and mantra compatibility.
Reading of this book reinforces the power of mantras to a yoga sādhaka. Mantras are one of the means to achieve siddhi and higher spiritual accomplishments. As told in the first sutra of the fourth chapter of the Patanjali Yoga Ṣūtras janmauśadhi mantratapah samādhijah siddhayah, meaning, the siddhis or powers which converge on to sādhaka who follows a Yoga way of life are attained by birth, through rasayanas or medicines, power of repetitive chanting of words or mantras, mortification, or concentration. The sūtra clearly states that mantras or the repetitive chanting of the sacred words when repeated under proper conditions aid siddhis to converge. Taking a cue from the book and carving out quality time among the rustle and bustle of his daily chores, a student of yoga will tend toward manifesting the unlimited power residing in man.
After penning some of the best-selling reads such as, A Million Thoughts, Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Fistful of Love and If Truth Be Told: A Monk's Memoir, this book “The Ancient Science of mantras-wisdom of the sages” is yet another interesting read by Om Swami a business management graduate from Australia and successful entrepreneur who turned inward to contribute to the ascension of man. The book which adopts the story-telling methodology of the pen is a wise man's journey.