By Shriram Sharma
There are many prevalent rites with reference to the worship of images. For e.g. they are pilgrimages, visiting temples, eulogy, regular reading of sacred texts, Shodashopchar, circumambulation, bathing God, religious processions, prayer meetings, keeping awake at night, singing God’s name etc. The next higher stage is where there is minimal use of worship articles and that the worship is more at the mental level akin to meditation. Of course at times it does utilize bodily activities, hard work and other modes of worship,
Under a high-level mode of spiritual practice, there are 2 aspects :
1) Mantra chanting or Japa
2) Meditation or Dhyan
Not only in Indian tradition but amongst all modes of worship in the entire world, one makes use of the above 2 aspects in one way or the other. The methods may vary but they are seen as a part and parcel of the above 2 aspects.
Via Mantra chanting it is spirituality that calls on God which in a certain way we all have forgotten. Just as a serpent without its jewel sits down weakly and tiredly, in the same way we all, after being separated from the Lord are full of fear like a orphaned child. We feel unprotected and experience a lot of hardships. It seems as though we have lost something that is most dear to us. Hence Mantra chanting helps one search, what we have lost.
No doubt Draupadi was rendered naked bodily, but today it is our soul that is losing purity and thus it is rendered shameful both externally and internally. Hence under such circumstances it is appropriate that the mind as the elephant and soul as Draupadi calls on God. One chants a Mantra so that God catches hold of our hand and pulls us out of the hole of spiritual ignorance. Remembrance of God is the chief leg of worship. It is on the basis of a name that we can come to know someone’s existence and thus remember him/her. In order to re-instate God in our psyche, we have to take the help of his name. After remembrance comes summons, from summons comes re-instating and from this comes attainment of God. All this is accepted by the Science of Psyche (Psychology).
In order to educate the soul, the Science of psyche gives us 4 levels and substratum. The first is education – it is also called the learning process. It is at this level that school children are educated. They are given a lot of information. It is not enough just to gain informative knowledge. School children keep repeating it by rote. School education is dependent on this repetition and memorizing various subjects. They have to remember the names of all the mountains. Sanskrit language studies are in fact called the Science of Rote. This memorizing by rote method has to be accepted by all students. There is no other way except to repeat all that one has heard and establish the same in the mind.
There are some things which are easily remembered after listening only once but there are other topics, which if not pursued regularly, are forgotten easily. After completing school studies, if the topics studied are of no use later, they are easily forgotten. The soldiers of any army have to regularly participate in parades. Wrestlers go to their gymnasium on an empty stomach and regularly perform sit-ups. It is most required that musicians continuously practice all that they have learnt. If they fail to do so, their fingers falter and cannot maintain correct beats and musical notes.
The second layer of education is retention i.e. labeling all that one has studied in one’s psyche. The third layer is recall i.e. to unearth forgotten events of the past and activate them. The fourth layer is recognition i.e. to accept things. That is it should be converted into steadfastness, faith and trust. In God worship, all these goals have to be attained. We have to go beyond all the above 4 layers. Image worship helps us experience the close proximity of God via retention. We stray in life because we have forgotten our soul’s ancient relationship with God. When the string of a kite slips from the hands of a kite flyer, the kite strays away here and there only to fall down ultimately. When the connecting string between a puppeteer and his puppets snaps then how can the puppet dolls dance to his tune? If the wire connection in gadgets like fan, fridge etc. snaps, the machines can no longer function. The relationship between a living being and God is eternal but because the living being is enmeshed in the material world, this relationship is as good as broken. Hence over here recall would mean to search for this broken cord and thus re-unite with God. Via Mantra chanting this goal can be achieved. When the living being reaches the fourth state called recognition, it realizes/ experiences that within him/ her is the divine light of God and as per the tenets of Vedant he/ she experiences that “this is God”, “that I am”, “I am that”, “I am blissful consciousness” and “I am God”. This is not merely superficial lip service but it is at the experiential level. As a result of this the qualities, actions, nature, viewpoint and activity of man reaches a divine level. His/her state is equivalent to that of a saint, God etc.
For soul progress, the area of thought has to work hard and only then can we reap rich dividends. Only when a field is ploughed again and again, can it give a rich harvest. Chanting Mantras is akin to ploughing fields. The act of worship is akin to opening a school by the inner soul so as to educate the mind and ten senses. In this school one is asked to repeat the Lord’s name continuously so that its student can easily memorize alphabets, numbers etc. It is this primary education which is behind repeating the same thing again and again.
When you dip a cloth in colored water for a long time, it takes up that color. Those trees that grow in the vicinity of sandalwood trees, imbibe the fragrance of sandalwood. When rose petals fall on muddy ground, its mud too gets the fragrance of rose. The benefits of close proximity are well-known. One has to face the reactions of good/bad associates. The act of meditation is an example of getting close to God and hence its good results will definitely be experienced. The law of butterflies worm and buzzing bee is well-known.
For Mantra chanting the best and most well-known Mantra is Gayatri as per Indian scriptures. It is called the Guru-Mantra i.e. it is Supreme. Gayatri Mantra chanting is very helpful in purifying our psyche. It is called Vedmata (Vedic mother) because the entire seed of divine wisdom/ knowledge present in the Vedas is found in this 24-lettered small Mantra.
The mouth is called a fireball. At the gross level it is correlated to the fire of our stomach. The description of slow fire and intense fire is made so as to give us an introduction to active/ non-active nature of the digestive glands which spread out from the mouth to the stomach area. When the mouth chews food, it is executing the first leg of the process of digestion. Later this food is further digested in various steps. The fireball of our mouth performs digestion at the gross level, uttering speech at the subtle level and at the causal level it creates a divine flow of consciousness. All these 3 functions excel one another. We all know the importance of digestion and talking. Only a few know what this divine conscious flow is. The total Science of Mantra Yoga revolves around this mysterious power.
When you utter various words, it not only gives us its meaning but that even many emotions, sensations, inspirations and energies are conjoined to it. If this was not the case, our speech would lack the power to harbor friendship or show enmity. It could never then be utilized for raising or demeaning people. When we hear bitter words, we get angry and we act and say things which should never be executed or uttered. When we get worrisome news, we do not eat anything and sleep runs miles away from us. When man hears about the demise of his near/ dear ones, he loses consciousness. A word flow of logic, enthusiasm and love can change the very thinking of the lay public and people, mesmerized by the utterances of the speaker, act exactly as he wishes. When we delve deep into these facts, it becomes clear that speech does not merely give us the meaning of the words uttered. Along with the word flow, the influential conscious principles too is conjoined to it. When they resound at a place after mixing with sound vibrations it induces consciousness oriented movements. When words are tested on the basis of material science, it can only be called a material wave vibration. Over here one cannot describe materially, its sensitive potential that influences consciousness. In its pristine purity it is spiritual.
In Mantra – Yoga after understanding this very spiritual influence of word energy, it is made use of variedly. After squeezing a lemon, its dry skin is set aside. When we get clarified butter from milk, the remaining butter-milk has hardly any value. The same holds true for Mantra-Yoga. As a result of it such a conscious energy manifests, that it induces strange movements in the mind and body of the one chanting the Mantra. This also results in, influencing of infinite space, meeting special individuals and encountering special circumstances.
Mantras are chosen on the basis of Sound Science. The meaning of words is of least importance. The power of the Gayatri Mantra is extraordinary. Yet its superficial meaning is ordinary. In it we request God to give us a sacred intellect. There are thousands of other such Mantras which ask for the same thing. Even in Hindi and other languages, there are thousands of poems that request the Lord to give us all a sacred intellect. Then why do we not give the same importance to these poems as we give to the Gayatri Mantra? Why does not poetry reading give us the same results as Gayatri Mantra chanting? In reality in the eyes of Mantra creators, the weaving of words us is of utmost importance. There are so many Beej (seed) Mantras which are given meanings by some people but in reality they have no meaning at all. What meaning can we give to Mantras like Hreem, Shreem, Kleem, Aim, Hoom, Yam, Phat etc. It is futile to rack one’s brains over them. These Mantras are created while keeping in mind what level of Divine Energy can be generated from them. What is its influence on the Mantra chanter, external atmosphere and desired goal? Alongwith the letters of Vedic Mantras, it is chanted in the Udaat – Anudaat cycle with a rise and fall of tones that are low, high and medium. The tradition is that these Mantras are chanted with specific tones. This method had to be created so that the Mantra repetition would help created an energy flow, which in turn would give us our desired goal. The sound flow of Mantra chanting creates movements that are as deep as the water that flows deep down in the ocean bed and are as high as the winds that in fly in space. In its casual body there is a special flow of energy in the Chakras (plexuses) and glands.
One must continuously chant the Mantra and in one round itself, one can clearly understand the results of this process in a scientific laboratory. If we hang an iron garter of 1 ton on a roof and keep banging a light cork (having a weight of 5 grams) on the garter, in a short time this garter will start trembling. This miracle is the result of continuous banging that manifests energy. If Mantras are chanted methodically, its results too are as above. The sound waves of Mantra chanting influences the Chakras and glands present in the subtle body and this movement, by warding off unconsciousness, later activates it. The Mantra chanter attains the benefits of activating Chakras (plexuses) and various glands. In turn these sacred activated centeres, manifest soul force in the spiritual aspirant. Such a person experiences certain activation / manifestation in himself / herself which was absent previously. He/ she experience their benefits too.
With the example of the typewriter we can understand the above fact very easily. The keys are tapped with fingers and the ink falls on the paper to print alphabets. The vocal cords that help us speak can be compared to the keys of a typewriter. Chanting of Mantras is akin to tapping the typewriter keys. From here the manifested energy flow reaches the subtle Chakras and divine glands with the help of fibers of the subtle nerves and it instigates /activates them. Printing of alphabets on a typewriter is akin to attaining these mysterious divine glories (Sidhis) via these activated Chakras (plexuses). This is a decisive fact that if Mantras are chanted in a methodic manner, it definitely yields sacred results.
Because a Mantra is repeated again and again, a cycle of energy is generated. Because of a cyclic movement, an energy flow is generated. The earth rotates on its axis. Because of this rotational movement a magnetic force and potentials of varied levels of earth are generated. If the earth stops rotating and revolving, there will be sheer gloominess and lifelessness on earth. Only the users of dynamo know how important movement is, to create an energy flow. As soon as movement stops, electricity generation too comes to a standstill. In order to create a special level of an electrical flow in the gross and subtle body, special words have to be chanted with a special speed and method. The ordinary Science of Mantra chanting too is this.
In Mantra chanting one set of words are repeated ceaselessly in one cycle and uniform speed. In ordinary speech many words are uttered with many manifestations, many sentiments and many emotions. Hence over here there is no uniformity, nor is there a uniform movement/ speed. Sometimes a pause, sometimes a flow, sometimes a rush of energy manifests. In traditional speech, one does not find one special center or level. As a result only a conversation ensues and a special energy flow is not perceived. But the state of Mantra chanting is something entirely different. It is only limited number of words that are made use of and they are repeated ceaselessly. A new spiritual seeker has the make the speed of his Mantra chanting uniform with the help of a watch or Mantra calculator. If this much takes place, know for such that the cycle of sound (word) speed has been established and on its basis the special results of Tantra Science will be established. In special Purashcharanas, special spiritual seekers of Mantra Science are asked to participate so that their cyclical process gives correct results.
When the earth rotates, we can see its miracle in the day-to-day life of ours. Small children play with tops. When it is skillfully rotated, it keeps moving on its axis and does not fall down. But as soon as its speed starts decreasing, the top falls flat on the ground. It is definitely the miracle of movement that one mere push lasts for so long and the resultant movement (speed) continues on its own for a certain span of time. The speed that results due to ceaseless Mantra chanting, too works for a long time during our austerities. Thus it helps in steadying and activating the soul’s special characteristics of a spiritual seeker.
When there is a high speed rotational movement, it results in a centrifugal force. When slings filled with pebbles are rotated speedily the pebbles are let loose, what happens is that birds that would otherwise eat up crops are shooed away. Generally crops like jowar, bajra, corn etc. are eaten up by parrots, crows etc. Hence at such times, pebbles rotated in slings and then let loose help in scattering these birds away. It is this force which is a creation of rotational speed that helps let loose pebbles, at a very high speed. These pebbles move so fast that if it actually strikes a bird, its falls flat on to the ground.
In a circus we can see the game of a motorcycle moving round and round a circular road make of wood and it can be called a well of death. The viewers are amazed to see that the motor cyclist as moving circularly at a slant and yet does not fall off.
If you fill up a steel jar with water, tie its neck with a rope and rotate the jar, it is noted that water does not come out of the jar.
Ordinarily one can actually see such amazing results of the power of circular / rotational movement. The same holds true for the result of the moving sound energy through the medium of Mantra chanting. Just as kids seated on a swing get the joy of not falling from it, despite the possibility of falling down, when it is swung on either side in a large diameter, in the same way the circumference limit of the inner consciousness sees its expansion in a widespread area which is much larger than a short boundary. Further the apprehension of a downfall, due to vile thinking and activity can easily be warded off. Like the pebbles thrown from a sling, the spiritual seeker moves at a fast pace towards his desired goal and if the thrower is skillful, is aim too is bang on target. While revolving at a slant, the tumbler of water does not eject/ throw out any water from it. In the same way the danger of falling prey to the wiles of undesirable elements of the world and life principle decreases. It is a different story altogether if the tumbler is rotated very slowly but the water definitely does not spill out, if the speed is very fast. If the level of sensitivity and mode of Mantra chanting is correct, the hardships of facing inner vile activities and lack of success diminishes.
A motorcyclist who drives his motorcycle at a slant in the wooden well is saved from dangers because of the slanting position and lack of space to run. A spiritual seeker who faithfully chants his Mantra, gains victory over obstacles he encounters, on the path of spiritual advancement. Even while facing obstacles, he ultimately tastes success.
AUTHOR: Shriram Sharma Acharya, founder of the International Gayatri Family, was a great Yogi, seer and incarnation of God who wrote volumes of scientific literature mainly on spiritual subjects for world welfare and peace.
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