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

Yadu Moharir ymoharir at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 12 22:10:47 CDT 2005

Thank you Jaldhar-Ji:
I absolutely understand why the emphasis has to be placed on the pronunciation.
Because - anaksharM hataayuShyaM visvaraM vyaadhi piiDitamM, akshataa shatra ruupen vajramM patati mastake.

Thus a change in vowel alters the meaning but changing a dhaatu totally destroys the meaning (brings death).  Example:  While invoking indra, a wrong choice of vowel may sound like u.ndara (mouse) or indiraa.  This rule also applies in English as well.  (Paul, Paula; Vijay - Vijayaa  ..... etc.  Just by changing the vowel the gender changes, but use a wrong word in front of your boss one can get fired.).
But if we ask the questing why paaNIni might have emphasized this because the ultimate aim of speech is communication.  If this gets violated then there is no meaning to anything.
That is also why our shaanti mantra suggests us to listen carefully and correctly to what is being said (by the teacher), because if you do not understand it you may not understand the subject matter that is being discussed.
Our ancient sages use the word hR^idispR^irsha in veda that leads us to understand with heart and not just head.  Here are some quotations that reverberate this idea..

ayaM te stomo agryo hR^idispR^ig astu shaMtamaH  |   athaa somaM sutam piba  || R^igveda 1.16.7 ||
hR^idispR^isho manasaa vacyamaanaa asmabhyaM citraM vR^iShaNaM rayiM daaH  || R^igveda 10.47.7 ||
etaa arShanti hR^idyaat samudraac Chatavrajaa ripuNaa naavacakShe |
ghR^itasya dhaaraa abhi caakashiimi hiraNyayo vetaso madhya aasaam || 4.58.5 || 
imaani yaani pa~ncendriyaaNi manaHShaShThaani hR^idi brahmaNaa sa.nshitaani |
yaireva sasR^ije ghoraM taireva shaantirastu naH || atharvaveda 19.9.5 ||
Trying to understand is always a big hurdle for obvious reasons (language, ability to understand, however not having a desire is even a bigger hurdle). If we do not try then we will never understand it either.
Here, I am only making a point that mechanical recitation leads saadhakaa no where but on the road of acquiring false pride.  That why Saint Dnyaanesvra Maharaj warns of this hazard on the path in following words:
jayaate.n abhyaasaacii gharaTii . yamaniyamaa.ncii taaTii . je manaate.n sadaa muThii . dharuuni aahaati ||nyaaneshvarii 2.311 ||
and thus needs to be avoided.
Finally, if we ask the question why our ancestors might have insisted on passing on their knowledge (Our real inheritance) was for us to gain the benefit of their understanding.  But if we do not understand what we keep on reciting is our loss.  They did their job, they told us what they thought that was important to them, it up to us to try and understand the significance of why they may have said but understanding the purpose behind the specific mantra.
Hari Om tat sat
Dr. Yadu

"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.

Jaldhar H. Vyas 
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

 Yahoo! Music Unlimited - Access over 1 million songs. Try it free.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list