[Advaita-l] A Brief Introduction to pUrva mImAmsA - 6 (Mantras)

Ravi Parimi rparimi at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 20:19:06 CDT 2005

On 10/12/05, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 12 Oct 2005, Yadu Moharir wrote:
> > Namaste Jayanarayan-Ji:
> >
> > This is disturbing to learn that most teachers do not teach the meaning
> > of mantras.  No wonder we have lost the core principle "j~nana vastu"
> > from the culture.
> >
> > If we accept this, then whatever we say has no meaning.  All the words
> > and the combination there of become meaningless !!?
> >
> > This takes away the fundamental reasoning for language.  I believe that
> > is why yaaskaa said art.m vaacaH puShpa phalaM.
> >
> > The definition of mantra is as I recall - matraaH mananaata. or mannaata
> > traayat iti mantraH
> >
> > It is also said - "mantraarta mantracaitanya yo na jaanatoi saadhakaH |
> > shatalaksha prajaptopi tasya mantro nasidhyati ||"
> >
> > Our yogashaastra tell us - tatjapastadarthabhaavanam || samaadhipaada
> > 1.28||.
> >
> > We all desire to preserve or defend our culture, but how can we defend
> > something, if we do not know what and why we are defending?
> >
> Note the meaning being discussed is the _literal_ meaning.  Acharyas do in
> fact teach that this mantra is for agnihotra, this one for vivaha etc.
> And that is a "meaning" too.  Not knowing the literal meaning of mantra is
> suboptimal and one should try and learn it.  However not knowing the
> correct pronounciation of a mantra is a calamity.  Hence the Acharyas put
> greater emphasis on pronounciation.

I second this. Mantras, I have been told, have inner, insightful
meanings than what appears on the surface. Gaining that level of
understanding is definitely desired. For a regular student of veda, it
takes about 8-10 years only to learn correct chanting of the veda
(padam, moolam and kramam). There is further study involved in
learning the peripheral meaning of Veda that takes about 5-6 years
more. BTW, the duration mentioned above is for students who learn veda

For those who study veda on a part-time/interest basis, getting to the
outer meaning is quite a long journey. IMHO, it requires guidance of a
guru and strict perseverance of reading books, sanskrit texts etc..
The amount of knowledge gained is only proportional to the time spent
on this study..

One needs to realize that for a common man, the journey towards
understanding mantras is very long and arduous..


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