S. Krishnamurthi is a professional manager and a popular author of books in economic and commercial law. He has been pursuing his study of our ancient scriptures and Indian philosophy right from his early days. With his rich experience as an author he gives a professional approach to the study of Veda and the Upanisads. He has authored the book ‘Universe and Man’ Aithareya Upanisad.
His book on Mantra gives a lucid and refreshing exposition of mantra and the esoteric effect of the cosmic vibration on the life of man and his environs.
Mantras, their role, their powers and efficacy, have survived from the vedic times down to our modern days in securing material gains and mental peace. In every Hindu household it is, therefore, the practice to chant or recite mantras to propitiate the gods to secure wealth, happiness and progeny.
The mantras are spiritual vibrations and they transform men to realise and to become one with the atman. The mantra sound vibrations were perceived by the ancient rishis at the subtle level. The mantras are knitted in certain metres so as to produce, on chanting, impulses on the human physiology. The metrical sound vibrations caused by the mantra awaken the supernatural energies within the human body, which bring about connections with the cosmic vibrations. By repeated chanting of the mantras, vibrations are created again and again which facilitate experiencing cosmic consciousness. As esoteric device, the mantras uttered in rituals cure diseases, promote agricultural production and social harmony.
Concept of Mantra
The technological inventions have made life comfortable and easy but the man is not happy and always feels dissatisfied. New problems crop up as the existing problems get solved and the quest for the source of permanent happiness continues. Man is divine in nature and the desireful personality has, therefore, contrived a tool in the form of God. The gods may be Vedic gods or Puranic gods. The mantras are the means adopted to propitiate these gods to obtain material gains.
Mantras mean that upon which one reflects. Mantras are the first to manifest in the form of sound vibrations. The mantras are not products of human wisdom but flash of the divine sound waves experienced by the ancient seers who came into supersensuous contact with the universal truth. The mantras are not mere sound. They possess the energy of the word and are to be articulated. As mantras are sound vibrations and are oral in character they are learnt by rote.
Mantras have three components, viz., Rishi, Chand and Devata. The mantras are revelations of Rishis. They experienced the sound flashed in their mind and expressed themselves in such mantras. They are not Mantra Kartas but Mantra Drishtas. The ancient seers were endowed with great mental prowess and intellectual capacity to grasp the subtle sound vibrations that were lying suspended in energy forms in the space.
Veda mantras are written in definite rhythm or chandas. Every Varna or syllable has in it power and the syllables are grouped in a particular manner called chandas. There are four padas or foot in any composition of the Veda mantra. The number of syllables in one pada measures the metre or chandas.
The mantras are addressed to devatas or Gods who are propitiated in order to win their favour and obtain boons or rewards from them.
Mantras are spiritual vibrations and not language. Mantras do not communicate information. The mantras are made in the performatory way. Uttering of the mantra is or is part of the performance of an action. Performatory statement brings about some reaction or response in a hearer to establish awareness of some state of affairs. Mantras transform men to realise the atman. Language unlike mantra is used for communication of thoughts. Language describes the objects and events according to the object perceived of its substance, of its activity, of its stability and of its relationship.
Mantra has the energy and to acquire that energy of the word one should pronounce it knowing its meaning or message. Mantras are not concerned with intellectual contents but upon its emotional, sensitive and efficacious power of moving the will. When the psychic entity is nourished with prayers the power is obtained to get the prayers answered.
Vedic mantras are thoughts that overflow with love of life and energy for action and take the form of prayer. Vac is the revelation of the soul of the sages. From vac syllables came and collection of syllables is mantra. Letters are names. Speech is greater than names as it makes known the three vedas. Speech is sabda and there are four bhavas of vac viz para, pasyanti, madhyama and vaikari. The para is subtler form and vaikari is the gross articulate speech. Pasyanti and madhyama are the intermediate forms
The various sound forms are formed by the combined activity of organs viz., lungs, larynx, tongue, lips, upper and lower pallets, teeth, nerves and brain. These sound forms are named according to their place of pronunciation such as guttural, palatal, dental or labial.
The fifty letters in Sanskrit are known as matruka and the letters are para sabda. The Brahman is the substratum of all sounds. The apara sabda reveals itself in the form of matrukas or gross letters. These letters are the forms of cosmic mother Sakti. OM is vac. OM is the matrix of all sounds. OM is Brahman at the macrocosmic level and atman or self at the microcosmic level.
Sound may be produced contact of one object with another or by causal stress itself. The latter, anahata sabda, for instance, heartbeat is not caused by contact. The unmanifest sound manifests as the articulate letter sound Varnatmaka sabda or unlettered sound, Dhvanyatmaka sabda. So sabda may be either Dhvani or Varna.
The causal stress of the para sabda is the cause for the manifestation of mantras. The sound waves lying in the space as dhvani are perceived by the ancient rishis and are heard by the absolute ear. The dhvani is supernatural and is experienced at the sublte level by the rishis who transmitted them by rote in succession. Correct sounding or pronouncing of mantras at various notes and scales brings about an impulse on the energy parts. Individual letters or syllables attain mantra power on recitation.
The primordial sabda of saktitattwa is the cosmic precondition of creative evolution. Cosmic energy in the potential and latent form is nada. This is para sabda. The manifested agitation in the primary substance projects itself as audible or vac. The manifested sabda-apara sabda –reveals itself in the form of matrukas, which are gross letters. Nama and rupa are causes of all differentiation. Parasakti is the creative dynamism of the supreme energy. It is cosmic bliss. Maya gives the name and form. By assuming these forms under their names, different but distinct functions are carried out by the supreme himself. When Siva manifests himself as the universe, sakti evolves as nada to create the universe. Maya sakti intervences in the creation. The Supreme Brahman identifies with the products of its own kinetic sakti.
As the creator of the universe the supreme conscious is known as Sarasvati. As the maintainer of the world the Jnana sakti pervades the universe in the form of Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the bestower of wealth and worldly possessions to the worshippers. In the third aspect the Parasakti pervades the entire universe as kriya sakti
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