Mantras require the proper energization for them to work in the best possible manner. How to awaken the mantra is the most important consideration in the usage of any mantra.
Hearing questions along my different workshops and activities, i have seen that there are so many misunderstandings about what is a mantra. 'Devotional' singers around the world call almost any eastern devotional text 'mantra', without knowing the true meaning and pre-requisites of a Mantra.
In the Indian spirituality, the sacred texts have been passed through many ways: there are Mantras, Sutras, Strotas, Chalisas, Bhajans, Aartis, Suktas and so on. Then there are devotional songs written by various poets and devotees, from the current era as well as from saints that existed in the past and their wisdom. In Jainism, Buddhism, they also have mantras and various types of sacred texts. But mantra is not related specifically to sacred text - mantra is a sound, a sound which is directly related to a form or a certain energy, mantra is a call through sound.
For example, in Sikhism, they have SHABADS, which are the spiritual texts from the holy book 'Guru Granth Sahib'. SHABADS are sacred hymns, but not mantras. Many of these short hymns like Wahe Guru Wahe Jio, or Har Har Wahe Guru etc. are mis-presented as Mantras in what they call 'Kundalini' Yoga which is supposed to have a connection with Sikhism, created by Sri Yogi Bhajan and mainly spread in USA. But in Sikhism (the true Sikhism of India) there is no tradition of mantra as such (there's also no tradition of Yoga Asana) so these SHABADS cannot be categorised as Mantras. They are simply wise and beautiful statements or poetries of awakened Gurus of Sikhism, like Guru Nanak.And singing them can be an immense beautiful and powerful way of remembering the true nature of the self. So it's important to have the right understanding.
Another much present example is how people tend to put mantra and kirtan in the same box, when they are completely different approaches. Kirtan is based upon the repetition of mantric sounds, names and phrases, and then if one wants to know the spiritual essence of kirtan, one needs to look more deeply into the subject of mantra. There is a tendency to bring into 'western kirtan' not a sacred but a mundane entertainment that can be out of harmony with the deeper urges of Yoga (Yoga as its true meaning related to 'cosmic intelligence' not as asana). Mantra has absolutly no connection with 'entertainment.'
Every mantra includes three principles: the pranav, the bija, and the deity. The secrets of the Almighty within and beyond the universe are present in the pranav principle. Through the bija principle one becomes aware of one’s true nature (prakruti), the type of one’s relationship with The Almighty and the unmanifest energy within oneself which is making attempts to manifest itself. Knowledge of the deity principle gives one the realisation of The Lord’s wish which is to be fulfilled through oneself.
Usually a mantra encompasses the following:
1. The name of the deity
2. The favour asked for
3. Pallav (salutation)
4. Kilak (description, proximity, speed and method of pronunciation, the rhythm of recitation of the mantra)
5. Bija (seed, source, the letter forming the essential part of a mantra)
There are also six limbs of a Mantra, which are like rules that must be present in a mantra are:
1. Rishi (seer) is the one who perceived the Mantra
2. Devata (Deity) is the one to whom the Mantra is addressed
3. Beeja (Seed) is the source, forming the essential part of the Mantra (like Om and Hrim)
4. Shakti (Energy) is the energy by which the Mantra is put to use
5. Chanda (Meter) determines how the syllables will be grouped
6. Kilaka (Lock) is the most secret, potent and esoteric aspect of the Mantra
Mantra is not a 'song' or a church-gospel; mantra is not a sweet lullaby or soft pop music. Mantra does not even require music! because mantra is the utterance of a sound, a certain sound that may become like a key. Mantra functions according to the cosmic law and to chant a (true) mantra is to link to the entire universe through sound. There are mantric sounds that are able to awaken higher planes, higher potentials changing the flow of energy in the entire system, including our nervous system. Mantra is a WORD of POWER, it's the manifestation of the power of sound.
The sound of a Mantra only has value if applied in the right manner, just as a tool will only work if we are trained and know how to handle it properly.
Just as the Universe was created by Sound or wave frequencies, so huge and unlimited is the power of sound! The big bang was actually a big OM, which didn’t just happen once: it is ongoing, it's the sound current of the universe. In fact, if the OM stopped for even a second, the whole Universe as we know it would disappear instantly! OM rises from pure consciousness, which is primary and underlies all existence.
Mantra and sacred sound are one of the most interesting and fascinating aspects of yogic studies, having important rules and requiring a certain attitude to be followed in order to honor this tradition and, most important, to allow mantras to work in the proper manner.
Youtube link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l57Kf6urTUE
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