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Nirguna & Saguna Mantras

Mantras are Sanskrit-invocations of the Supreme Being. Reinforced and propelled by japa meditation, they pass from the verbal level through the mental and telepathic states, and on to pure thought energy. Of all languages, Sanskrit most closely approaches telepathic language because of its affinity to the fifty primeval sounds. It is the most direct way to approach the transcendental state.

Mantras cannot be concocted or tailor-made for the individual, despite some current claims. They have always existed in a latent state as sound energies. Just as gravity was discovered but not invented by Newton, Mantras were revealed to the ancient masters. They have been codified in the scriptures and handed down from guru to disciple. Although it is customary for the guru when giving initiation to accept voluntary offerings of fruit, flowers or money, the selling of Mantras is strictly against all spiritual rules.

Neither Mantra, deity nor guru, once chosen, should be changed. There are many paths up the mountain. Perseverance on one alone will bring the aspirant to the top faster than if he were to spread his energies in exploring all the alternative paths.

NIRGUNA MANTRAS

As saguna Mantras have form, nirguna Mantras are without form. There are no deities or personalized aspects of God to be invoked. Rather, one uses the abstract Mantras and Vedantic formulas to assert identification with all the creation. Because people are of many different temperaments, not all spiritual aspirants are drawn to a personal deity. Many perceive the universe as diverse energy patterns, all connected and interrelated, and stemming from one Source or Primal Cause.

For this type of temperament, the abstract mantra creates a vibration in which the meditator identifies with the whole of the Cosmos. With the repetition of one of these Mantras, the meditator loses his individual identity and merges with nature. He avows that he is identical with that homogeneous substratum, that energy or power of existence, which underlies and permeates all that exists

All Mantras are hidden in OM, which is the abstract, highest Mantra of the cosmos. OM is the manifest symbol of the Sabdabrahaman vibration, or God; but it must not be equated with the Divine. The universe has come from OM, rests in OM and dissolves in it. AUM, as it is sometimes written, covers the threefold experience of man; A represents the physical plane, U represents the mental and astral plane, and M represents the deep sleep state and everything beyond reach of the intellect. The transcendental sound of OM is heard only by Yogis, not by the ordinary ear.

Letters of the alphabet are emanations from OM, which is the root of all sounds and letters. A is the first sound the vocal apparatus can utter, and M is the last. In between is the middle range of U. The three sounds comprising OM encompass all sound. There is no language, music or poetry outside its range. Not only does all language and thought arise from this word, but also the energy vibrations of the universe itself.

Because of its universality, OM can be used as a Mantra by all who are unable to find a guru. However, its very universality and lack of particular form make it very difficult for a beginner to grasp. The mind must be very strong to be able to concentrate on formless and abstract Mantras such as OM.

Japa meditation on OM has a tremendous influence on the mind. Vibrations set up by this word are extremely powerful. By holding the hands over the ears and intoning it, one can experience its vibrations on a rudimentary physical level. No other sound similarly intoned will have the same vibrational power within the head.

Correctly pronounced, the sound proceeds from the navel with a deep and harmonious vibration, and gradually manifests itself at the upper part of the nostrils. The larynx and palate are the sounding boards; no part of the tongue or palate is touched. As the U is pronounced, the sound rolls from the root of the tongue to the end of the sounding board of the mouth. M is the last sound, and is produced by closing the lips. Pronounced merely as spelled OM will have a certain effect upon the nervous system, and will benefit the psyche. Pronounced correctly, it arouses and transforms every atom in the physical body, setting up new vibrations and awakening dormant physical and mental powers.

Just as the various deities are aspects of One Supreme, so the various bija, or seed Mantras are aspects of the supreme Mantra, OM. Bija Mantras are seed letters directly derived from the fifty primeval sounds, and are very powerful. Generally a bija Mantra consists of a single letter, although some, such as HREEM, are compounded. Each has a significant inner mystic meaning, although on the surface the sound itself appears to have no meaning at all. Each element of the universe has its corresponding bija. The sounds for ether, air, fire, water and earth are, respectively, HAM, YAM, RAM, VAM and LAM. Every deity also has its own deed syllable. Because of their innate force, bija Mantras generally are not given for initiation. Japa on them may be practiced by those who are in a pure state, and their use is preceded by intricate rituals.

Abstract Mantras

1


Soham
I am That I am
The meditator is existence itself. He is without form, without quality, without past, present or future. No bonds or limitations restrict the aspirant who has Soham firmly fixed in his hand.

2


Aham Brahma Asmi
I am Brahman
Aham Brahma Asmiis a great Vedantic formula. The meditator asserts himself to be One with the ever-present Brahman. In doing so, he denies confinement to the body and mind, and affirms unity with the Absolute.

3


Tat Twam Asi
That Thou Art
"That" is the eternal Brahman, and "thou" is the meditator. Tat Twam Asi, is one of the greatest of the Vedantic statements, identifies the individual as one and the same with Brahaman, the Absolute Substratum of Creation.

4


OM
There is no translation of OM. It consists of three letters: A, U and M. It signifies the three periods of time, the three states of consciousness and all of existence. A is the waking state, U is the dreaming state, and M is the deep sleep state. OM contains nada and bindu. Nada is the prolonged vowel sound and bindu is the humming sound, made with closed lips, with which the Mantra ends.

Sagun Mantra

Mantras are Sanskrit-invocations of the Supreme Being. Reinforced and propelled by japa meditation, they pass from the verbal level through the mental and telepathic states, and on to pure thought energy. Of all languages, Sanskrit most closely approaches telepathic language because of its affinity to the fifty primeval sounds. It is the most direct way to approach the transcendental state.

Mantras cannot be concocted or tailor-made for the individual, despite some current claims. They have always existed in a latent state as sound energies. Just as gravity was discovered but not invented by Newton, Mantras were revealed to the ancient masters. They have been codified in the scriptures and handed down from guru to disciple. Although it is customary for the guru when giving initiation to accept voluntary offerings of fruit, flowers or money, the selling of Mantras is strictly against all spiritual rules.

Neither Mantra, deity nor guru, once chosen, should be changed. There are many paths up the mountain. Perseverance on one alone will bring the aspirant to the top faster than if he were to spread his energies in exploring all the alternative paths.

SAGUNA MANTRAS

Mantras used by spiritual aspirants to achieve God- Realization are called deity Mantras. They are saguna, with qualities or form producing, and aid the conceptualization process, just as do visual symbols. In time, recitation gives rise to the actual form of the particular deity.

As a specialized sound body of consciousness, the Mantra is the deity itself. The form of the deity manifests as the visible portion of the sound. The Mantra, therefore, must be repeated in the proper way, with attention to the syllables and rhythm. If translated, it ceases to be a Mantra because sound vibrations newly created in translation cannot evoke it. Only the rhythmical vibrations of the Sanskrit syllables properly recited can regulate the unsteady vibrations of the worshipper and permit the form of the deity to arise.

Westerners are prone to think that the various Mantras refer to different gods, and that there is a wide diversity in the culminating experience. It must never be forgotten that the deities are aspects of the one Divinity whose grandeur is too vast for the mind to comprehend at the beginning of spiritual practice. To use again the analogy of the hill, the many paths to the top can be viewed as the worship of the various aspects of the God. The hill itself is the one hill, and the summit is the same. After reaching the pinnacle, one will have the vision to encompass the totality.

Every true Mantra fulfills six conditions. 1) It was originally revealed to the sage, who achieved Self-Realization through it and passed it down to others. 2) It has a presiding deity and 3) a specific meter. 4) It possesses a bija, or seed, investing it with a special power that is the essence of the Mantra. 5) It also has dynamic divine power, or shakti. 6) Lastly, there is a plug that conceals the pure consciousness hidden in the Mantra. As soon as the plug is removed by constant prolonged repetition, pure consciousness is revealed, and the devotee receives the vision of his deity.

All devotees are really worshipping the same Supreme Atman. Differences are only the differences in worshippers. These differences arise from the need for multiplicity in approach to Godhead. Various temperaments are attracted to particular manifestations of the Divine. Some people are drawn by silence, others by activity; some lose themselves in nature, others in intellectual abstractions. One can approach God more easily if there is a compatible relationship with the most suitable manifestation. Harmony between aspirant and chosen deity is essential. However, the goal will be reached only when one can see his chosen deity in all deities and in all beings.

At the time of initiation by a guru, one's deity or ishta devata is chosen. Every person has worshipped some deity in previous lives; the impression of this worship is imprinted in the subconscious mind. These impressions have influenced the mental vibrations and have helped to form the particular mentality. Worship of Lord Siva in a previous birth would incline one to Siva worship in this life also; it would impart certain mental characteristics, such as stoicism and love of solitude. One who chooses Siva, as his ishta devata would be most drawn to abstract forms of thought and meditation as his method of worship.

The householder to whom family, responsibility, order and ideals are important is drawn to Rama, the ideal son, husband and lawgiver. Krishna attracts most people, particularly devotional types and active, balanced extroverts who are concerned with the welfare of others. As the mischievous baby, a young man engaged in divine play in the fields and forests of Vrindavan, and inspired giver of the wisdom of the Bhagvad Gita, his range is all-inclusive. Those who feel reverence for the Mother aspect as divine universal energy might worship Durga. If one cannot discover his own natural inclination, the guru will choose the deity in accordance with his insight.

Once the deity and appropriate Mantra have been selected, and the aspirant has received initiation, he works with the Mantra until reaching enlightenment. The Mantra becomes his theme song, so to speak. He makes his vibrations his own, and to the extent that he can do this, he is drawn closer to God.

Other deity Mantras can also be used in a supplementary way, such as foe acquiring particular attributes. Repetition of OM Aim Saraswatyai Namah bestows wisdom, intelligence and creative achievement. OM Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah confers wealth and prosperity. The Ganesha Mantra removes obstacles in any undertaking.

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra prevents accidents, incurable disease and calamities, and bestows longevity and immortality. It is also a moksha Mantra, bringing liberation. Those who do japa of it daily will enjoy health, long life and ultimate enlightenment. The translation of this powerful Mantra is: "We bow to the three- eyed Lord (Siva) who is full of sweet fragrance, who nourishes human being. May he free me from the bondage of births and deaths, just as the ripe cucumber is separated from the vine, and may I be fixed in immortality."

The Gayatri Mantra is the supreme Mantra of the Vedas. It is the one Mantra that can be commonly prescribed for all, for Gayatri is the Mother of the universe, Shakti herself, and there is nothing she cannot do. Her Mantra purifies the mind; destroys pain, sin and ignorance; brings liberation; and bestows health, beauty, strength, vitality, power, intelligence and magnetic aura.

Repetition of the Gayatri Mantra, OM Namah Sivaya, OM Namo Narayanaya, or OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya 125000 times, with feeling, faith, and devotion secures for the devotee the grace of the presiding deity. OM Sri Ramaya Namah and OM Nmao Bhagavate Vasudevaya enable one to attain realization of God with attributes first, and subsequently realization without attributes.

Mantras for JAPA

1


OM Sri Maha Ganapataye Namah
Prostrations to the great Lord Ganesha

OM is the original, most powerful Mantra sound. It is a part of almost every other Mantra, and serves to invoke pure supreme vibrations. Sri is a title of reverent respect. Maha means great. Ganapati is another name of Ganesha who is symbolized as the elephant headed god, representing strength and fortitude. He is the remover of obstacles and bestower of success.

2


OM Namah Sivaya
Prostrations to Lord Siva

Siva is the lord of ascetics and recluses. He is part of the Hindu Trinity. Brahma and Vishnu, the other two parts, are associated with creation and preservation, respectively. Siva, the Cosmic Dancer, presides over the destructive energies, which break up the universe at the end of each age. This is the process of the old making way for the new. In a more personal sense, it is Siva's energy by which one's lower nature is destroyed, making way for positive growth.

3


OM Namo Narayanaya
Prostrations to Lord Vishnu

Narayana is the name of Vishnu, the preserver if the world. After the Creation, it is the energy of the Vishnu, which maintains order of the universe. It is Vishnu who regularly takes on a human form and incarnates in earth to benefit mankind. People who are closely involved in the running of the world and maintaining the harmony of life are drawn to this aspect of God.

4


OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Prostrations to Lord God, Vasudeva

Bhagavan means Lord, referring to Vishnu. Vasudeva, meaning, "He Who abides in all things and in Whom all things abide," is a name of Krishna. Krishna is one of the most loved of all deities. He is considered to be a world teacher for he is the source f the Bhagavad-Gita Gita, one of the most popular of all the Eastern religious texts. People are drawn to Krishna because of his playfulness and joyful nature.

5


Hari OM
OM Vishnu

Hari is another name for Vishnu. It is that aspect which forgives the past actions of those who takes refuge in Him and destroys their negative deeds. Thus Hari is a redeemer and a guide to personal salvation as well as the World Preserver.

6


OM Sri Ramaya Namah
Prostrations to Lord Rama

Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, took life on earth for the purpose of upholding righteousness and rewarding virtue. His life is the subject of The Ramayana. Rama lived the life of perfection and responsibility. Rama and Sita epitomized the devotional relationship between husband and wife. They are the models for all householders and people with family duties.

7


OM Sri Durgayai Namah
Prostrations to Mother Durga

Supreme Divinity is without qualities or attributes, and as such it contains all qualities and attribute. The masculine principles are important yet; they must be balanced with the feminine principles. Masculine and feminine are but obverse and reverse of the same coin. Durga represents the motherhood aspect of God. She is the force, or Shakti, through which Divinity manifests. Durga is power. She is the protector and benefactor. According to Hindu mythology, the chaitanya, or pure consciousnesses, of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva were united to form the being of Mother Durga. She is commonly pictured riding a tiger and having eight arms with which she carries flowers and weapons of protection and gives the gesture of blessing.

8


OM Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah
Prostrations to great Mother Lakshmi

Lakshmi is the bountiful provider. As Vishnu's consort, she aids in the preservation of the three worlds by bestowing wealth and abundance of a material and spiritual nature. She is pictured as a beautiful woman standing in a lotus blossom with her arms open and giving.

9


OM Aim Saraswatyai Namah
Prostrations to Mother Saraswati

Aim is the bija of Saraswati, the source of all learning, and knowledge of the arts and music. She is Brahma's consort and is involved with the creation of new ideas and things. Responsible for bestowing wisdom and knowledge, She is often worshipped by people in the creative arts.

10


OM Sri Maha Kalikayai Namah
Prostrations to Mother Kali

Kali is that divine aspect which is responsible for the destruction and eradication of negative qualities in this world. She is the transformative power of Divinity, which dissolves the individual into cosmic union. Maha Kali is one of the most fearsome of all the expressions of the Divinity. Because of the intensity of her purgative nature, very few people are initiated to this Mantra

11


OM Sri Hanumate Namah
Prostrations to Blessed Hanuman

Hanuman is the perfection of devotion. He is the greatest and the most selfless devotee of Lord Rama. In the Hindu tradition, he is considered to be a semi- deity, for he is the son of the wing- god. He possesses great strength and courage.

12


Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare;
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
My Lord, Rama! My Lord, Krishna!

Hare is a glorified form of address for calling upon God. Rama and Krishna were two of the best-known and most beloved incarnations of Vishnu. They took human birth on this earth to lead mankind to eternal salvation. This is the Maha Mantra, the easiest and surest way for attaining God Realization in this present age.

13


OM Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama
Victory of Rama
Jaya means "victory" or "hail."

14


Sri Rama Rama Rameti, Rame Rame Manorame;
Sahasrenama tattulyam, Rama Nama Varanane

All these sacred names of Rama are equal to the highest name of God.
This Mantra cures gossiping and back- biting and makes up for time lost in idle chitchat

15


OM Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanam Mrityor Mukshiya Mamritat

We worship the three-eyed Lord (Siva) who is full of sweet fragrance and nourishes human beings. May he liberate me from bondage, even as the cucumber is severed from the vine.This is the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. It removes disease, prevents accidents and bestows liberation. It should be repeated daily.

16


OM Namo `stute Mahayogin Prapannamanusadhi Mam Yatha
Twachcharanam Bhoje Ratih Syadanapayini

Salutation to thee, O great Yogi! Pray direct me that have fallen at Thy feet, so that I may find unfailing delight at Thy lotus feet.
This is the Mantra for self-surrender. It should be repeated with a pure heart free of personal desires.