Mantras have always been close to the heart of the Hindu faith since times immemorial.
For too long, taboos and restrictions have made the lay person, the ordinary individual and the uninitiated seeker slightly wary of this potent talisman that has been left for our benefit by the ancient rishis of India. Rev. Dada J. P. Vaswani demystifies mantras of their abstraction and esoteric aspects and brings them closer to us for our use.
In the pages of this book, Rev. Dada has chosen to share with you some of his own favourite mantras, with his characteristically lucid and eloquent expositions on the significance of each. Also included in the book are answers to questions on the use of mantras and their effects.
It was Chanakya who said, "The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody:' Rev. Dada does not believe in keeping secrets from us! His wisdom, his insights and his profound scholarship are freely offered to us that we may move onward, forward, Godward!
In this human birth, we take care to cultivate so many relationships. We have special relationships with some of our family members; we have our 'favourite' sister, brother or aunt; we take pains to build effective rapport with superiors and colleagues. We do this out of need, for motives of personal gain, for emotional security, or out of genuine affection and respect.
This is all very well; but there is one relationship that we must not neglect amidst all these worldly links: it is our special and unique relationship with God. Therefore, I urge my friends constantly, "Make God real in your daily life! Cultivate a special and loving relationship with Him! Let this grow stronger and stronger with each day of your life!"
Let me tell you, it is not as difficult and abstract as it sounds - cultivating a personal relationship with God. God is not afar from us: He does not live on a distant planet. Nearer to you is He than your friends or family; closer to you than your breath! In the endless adventure of existence, God and man are comrades. God is our one unfailing companion. He will never leave us. We may try to run away from Him. But He will continue to follow us as our own shadow. In the words of Francis Thompson, He is the "Heavenly Hound".
This beautiful relationship begins with a link that you can easily create; by simply thinking of the Lord, by taking His Name into your heart and your consciousness, by the repetition of your favourite sloka or mantra. For what is a mantra, but a specially charged set of words and sounds, which becomes an expression of your devotion and faith? As you keep on repeating it, the mantra acquires the power to make this love and devotion stronger and stronger. It becomes, in effect, your permanent link with the Divine!
Choose your favourite mantra; choose one that has a special appeal to you; choose one that suits your need; having chosen it, make it your own; internalise its energy, its positive vibrations and its life-giving pulse. Repeat it constantly until it becomes part of your consciousness. Believe me, it can transform your life!
People tell me that they cannot step out of their homes without their mobile phones; yet others say that their life and work are tied up in their 'notepads' and laptops; some people say that they cannot survive without their credit cards. "Connectivity' is the byword of this age! I respect your need to stay connected through these gadgets and devices; only, I urge you to remember that there is one important connection that you cannot overlook - and that is your link with your Creator, your Father, your ultimate Goal beyond the passing affairs of this world.
Japa yoga - repetition of the Name Divine, is the easiest sadhana that is available to us today. Sweeter than nectar, more auspicious than good luck and good omens is the power of the Name: and the power of the Name is focused, concentrated in the great mantras that have come down to us from our ancient scriptures. We know that they were heard in states of elevated consciousness by realised souls and handed down to us' for our benefit. Is it not incumbent upon us to claim our birthright as inheritors of these treasures?
What are the benefits of chanting these sacred mantras? Though these are too many to enumerate, let me touch very briefly on just a few:
1. First and foremost, the rare and precious gift of peace of mind; calmness and tranquillity; freedom from needless tension and anxiety.
2. The secure feeling of linking up with a power that is higher than us; the mature perspective that we have our place in the vast cosmic order that is controlled like a Divine clockwork 3. The power to conquer negative thinking and lower sense-desires.
4. The generation of a new spiritual energy that can neutralise past samskaras and clear the mind of accumulated vaasanas which drag us down through the endless cycle of birth- death-rebirth.
5. Constant chanting/repetition/remembrance of the mantra takes you closer to God - and this feeling cannot be described in words; it has to be experienced!
6. Each mantra, properly chanted with devotion and faith, helps us achieve the fourfold goals of this human life - dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
Naam gaao! Naam gaao! is the call of our saints and gurus. The Lord Himself recommends Japa as his chosen form of worship. Therefore, in this book, are brought together a few of the mantras that are familiar and well known amongst us, and a few considered reflections on them.
If these reflections should draw some of you closer to God, and give you peace, the purpose of this little collection would be more than fulfilled!
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