Monday, November 14, 2011

Mantra for Beginners -- II

Someone in the forum had asked about Devi Mahatmyam. The following was my response. This was again posted in 2001.

You had said about Devi Mahatmya and other hymns. Devi Mahatmya is considered to be the supreme text of many Saktha Sampradhayas. To even read Devi Mahatmyam you need Adhikara or right, which can be given only by a Tantrik guru. Again there are rituals and laid down procedures for even reading Devi Mahatmyam. This is emphasized in all texts. For the full details of the rituals of reading Devi Mahatmyam you can see the book Sri Chandi by Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi. The text by the Gita Press also gives the rituals and contains a warning not to read it without Adhikara. To get over these restrictions Sri Sri Chandi was translated into Bengali long time back. The Sthudhis can be said without any restriction.

Similarly very strict rules have been laid down for reading Soundharya Lahari.

But these rules have been given a go by in the case of Soundharya Lahari in South India. This has started happening in the case of Devi Mahatmyam also.

This has started happening in the case of mantras also. Mantras have ceased to be the exclusive privilege of the few. In India you can get any mantra from a book or magazine. People have also started reciting even esoteric mantras.

I reproduce a part of my message in another club

" Fortunately in the last few years the irrational fear of Mantras has begun to disappear among common people due to the efforts of many saints, scholars and popular magazines. There are magazines in Tamil "Bhakthi" and "Anmeekam" and also in Hindi, which have started giving one Mantra every month, sometimes with the Yantra also. I was  surprised to see that a magazine came out with MAA DHOOMAVATHI Mantra a couple of months back stating that it is very good for general prosperity. Then I realized that I am having a wrong conception of MAA DHOOMAVATHI because of her image. She is MAA and will reward

All books on mantra contain a warning that mantras should not be said without the guidance of a Guru. In fact some of them in English even disclaim any responsibility if anything goes wrong. According to Mantra Sasthra there are millions of mantras. But not all of them are listed in books. Many mantras have been forgotten. Many remain the exclusive property of some families.

There is no standardization even in important mantras. For example there is one mantra with two Beeja mantras. There are many different ways of reciting the same mantra.

1. Mantra alone.
2. Mantra preceded by Om
3.Mantra with Om followed at the end with Swaha
4. Mantra without Om but with Swaha.
5. The two Beeja mantras repeated once.
6. Beeja mantras repeated twice.

And so on.

So you see the same mantra in different permutations and combinations. The exact mantra will depend on the tradition of the Guru.

There is no generalization or classification of mantras as safe or otherwise.

About the pronunciation of the mantras different views prevail. Some insisting on proper pronunciation. But this is a puritanical view. I have known many Tantriks with Siddhis whose pronunciation of Sanskrit leaves a lot to be desired. With no two Indians agreeing about whose pronunciation of Sanskrit is correct, this is a difficult subject.

I give below the words of Buddhist Govinda

"If the efficacy of the mantras depended upon their correct pronunciation, then all the mantras in Tibet would have lost their meaning and power, because they are not pronounced according to the rules of Sanskrit, but according to the phonetic laws of the Tibetan language (for instance not: OM MANI PADME HUM but OM MANI Peme HUM) 
This means that the power and the effect of the Mantra depend on the spiritual attitude, the knowledge and responsiveness of the individual. The sabda or sound of the Mantra is not a physical sound (though it may be accompanied by such a one) but a spiritual one. It cannot be heard by the ears but only by the heart, and it cannot be uttered by the mouth but only by the mind."
Filtered through Brooklynese, uttered as a Bronx cheer, whispered in an East Texas drawl, OM is always OM - or it isn't. "
About the effect of Mantras on Kundalini and how they work a lot of research has been done. But we have not seen any conclusive evidence.

Mantra Sasthra is a vast subject. You keep on learning. The book "Understanding mantras" from Motilal Banarsidass is a good book.

My Gurus told me that "MAA is your Ultimate Guru. You seek her permission to recite any Mantra."

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