[Advaita-l] Sakti as Mantra in Mantra Sastra - 3

Venkatesh Murthy वेङ्कटेशः vmurthy36 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 06:53:30 CDT 2012

This great
Mantra bears a meaning on its face, though the Commentaries
explain and amplify it. The Self of all which exists in the
three regions appears in the form of the Sun-god with His
body of fire. The Brahman is the cause of all, and as the
visible Devatā is the Eye of the World and the Maker of
the day who vivifies, ripens and reveals all beings and
things. The Sun-god is to the sun what the Spirit (Ātmā)
is to the body. He is the Supreme in the form of the great
Luminary. His body is the Light of the world, and He
Himself is the Light of the lives of all beings. He is everywhere.
He is in the outer ether as the sun, and in the
inner ethereal region of the heart. He is the Wondrous
Light which is the smokeless Fire. He it is who is in constant
play with creation (Sṛṣṭi), maintenance (Sthiti)
and “destruction” (Pralaya); and by His radiance pleases
both eye and mind. Let us adore Him that we may escape
the misery of birth and death. May He ever direct our
minds (Buddhivṛtti) upon the path of the world (Trivarga)
and liberation (Mokṣa). Only the twice-born castes and
men may utter this Gāyatrī. To the Śūdra, whether man
or woman, and to women of all castes, it is forbidden.

But the Tantra Shbtra has not the exclusiveness of the
Vaidik system. Thus the Mahānirvāṇa provides (IV.
109-111) a Brahmagāyatri for all: “May we know the
Supreme Lord. Let us contemplate the Supreme Essence.
And may the Brahman direct us.” All will readily understand
such Mantras as the Gāyātrī, though some comment,
which is thought amusing, has been made on the “meaningless”
̣. I have already stated what it means, namely,
(shortly speaking) the Energy (Nāda) in Sadākhya Tattva
which, springing from Śiva-Śakti Tattva, “solidifies” itself
(Ghanībhūta) as the creative Power of the Lord (Bindu or
Īśvara Tattva) manifesting in the Trinity or Creative
Energies. (For further details see my “Garland of Letters.”)
“Oṃ ” then stands for the most general aspect of That
as the Source of all. As it is recited, the idea arises in the
mind corresponding with the sound which has been said to
be the expression on the gross plane of that subtle “sound”
which accompanied the first creative vibration. When
rightly uttered this great syllable has an awe-inspiring effect.
As I heard this Mantra chanted by some hundred Buddhist
monks (one after the other) in a northern monastery
it seemed to be the distant murmuring roll of some vast
cosmic ocean. “Oṃ ” is the most prominent example of
a “meaningless” Mantra, that is, one which does not bear
its meaning on its face, and of what is called a seed or Bīja
Mantra, because they are the very quintessence of Nantra,
and the seed (Bīja) of the fruit which is Siddhi (spiritual
achievement). These are properly monosyllabic. Om
a Vaidik Bīja, but it is the source of all the other Tāntrik
Bījas which represent particular Devatā aspects of that
which is presented as a whole in Om
. As a Mantra-Śāstra,
the Tantras have greatly elaborated the Bījas, and thus
incurred the charge of “gibberish,” for such the Bījas sound
to those who do not know what they mean. Though a
Mantra such as a Bīja-mantra may not convey its meaning
on its face, the initiate knows that its meaning is the own
form (Svarūpa) of the particular Devatā whose Mantra it
is, and that the essence of the Bīja is that which makes
letters sound, and exists in all which we say or hear. Every
Mantra is thus a particular sound form (Rūpa) of the Brahman.
There are a very large number of these short unetymological
vocables or Bījas such as Hrīm ̣ , Śrīm ̣ , Krīm ̣ ,
Hūm ̣ , Huṃ , Phat called by various names. Thus the first
is called the Māyā Bīja, the second Lakṣmī Bīja, the third
Kālī Bījā, the fourth Kūrca Bīja, the fifth Varma Bīja,
the sixth Astra Bīja. Raṃ is Agni Bīja, Eṃ is Yoni Bīja,
Klīm ̣ is Kāma Bīja, Ṣ rīm ̣ is Badhū Bīja, Aiṃ Sarasvatī
Bīja and so forth. Each Devatā has His or Her Bīja.
Thus Hrīm ̣ is the Māyā Bīja, Krīm ̣ the Kālī Bīja. The
Bīja is used in the worship of the Devatā whose Mantra it
is. All these Bījas mentioned are in common use. There
are a large number of others, some of which are formed with
the first letters of the name of the Devatā for whom they
stand, such as for Gaṃ (Ganeśa), Dūm ̣ for Durgā.



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