It is possible that this post gets too technical, but this was the best I could do to simplify the concept! (The website http://spokensanskrit.org is quite good for basic translations of Sanskrit words.)
Sanskrit is the Devbhasha देवभाषा, it भाषा means ‘to define’ and देव means ‘light’ or ‘divinity’. Thus Sanskrit language defines Illumination. Humans did not discover this language, its origin is from the cosmic sound of Om. (There are scientific papers on the perfect mathematics of the 14 Maheshwar Sutras). Sanskrit is highly mathematical and precise. Each word has layers of meanings and can express concepts both from the physical as well as the spiritual world with equal ease. There are several scientific papers on the mathematical and linguistic perfection of Sanskrit and experiments are being conducted to record the effect of Sanskrit words, on the DNA, in medicine etc, the visible energies of these words are being mapped with cymatics etc. We are re-discovering the importance of Sanskrit again.
Sanskrit has 54 Akshar/अक्षर. Akshar are indestructible, inalterable, immutable, fixed sounds. All these Akshar are sourced from Om, they are different aspects of Om. Om is the original sound of creation. The entire Universe resonates to the vibrational frequency of Om (lots scientific papers on this too). Thus the Akshar define existence and evolution both, and have the power to change these states. Each Akshar is considered to be Divine in its own way. Stringing them in defined ways gives the words of Sanskrit. These words are speech, the Mantra.
You can change your existence and the direction/speed of your progress/evolution using these mantra. Mantra words have tremendous power as they harness the energy of sound/vibrations itself, (Nada/नाद Brahma or Shabda/शब्द Brahma). We revere sound/vibrations/rhythm as Divine, and call this divinity Matrika/मात्रिका. Vibrations are Time itself and have the capacity to alter Time. Sanskrit speech /mantra /मन्त्र are not just words. They are the the perfect expression/description of an idea. If you know the perfect word for an idea you can use this expression to manifest your idea. Thus Sanskrit Mantra have the power to manifest and create.
To re-cap, Devbhasha Samskritam/देवभाषा संस्कृतम is the first and original language of this Universe. It is absolutely perfect by its own creation. Its origins are from the Pranav Mantra Om, and the seer Rishi Panini wrote its grammar as he saw it from the Akash. It has remained unchanged since it was first expressed by the Universe. Sanskrit words are found in all the languages of the world and it is the original mother-tongue of mankind.
So let’s list out the 54 sounds. (I don’t know how to write them with the diacritical marks).
- 14 vowels – a, aa, e, ee, u, uu, rhu, rhuu, lhru, lhruu, ae, ai, o, au
- 2 support vowels – am, aha
- Gutturals – ka, kha, ga, gha, nga
- Palatals – cha, chha, ja, jha, nja
- Cerebrals – ta, tha, da, dha, na
- Dentals – ta, tha, da, dha, na
- Labials – pa, pha, ba, bha, ma
- Semi-vowels – ya, ra, la, va,
- Sibilants – Sha, Ssha, sa
- Consonants – Ha, LLa, Ksha
- Conjunct Consonants – Tra, Jnya
- The sound of the Bindu or dot. (it is somewhat like ‘ang’, very very nasal)
Now with this brief introduction to Sanskrit and the sounds, on to beej mantras. The sound which is the ‘seed’, the primary cause, the source, the truth is the ‘beej’.
Every sound/Akshar has its own power, linking 2 or several can create a blend of their powers. These Akshar are the root sounds and are the purest expression of their energies.
Example, Ga (ग) – is ruled by the specific Devi Gayatri who personifies the light of pure wisdom and clarity. Thus the beej mantra derived from this गं (‘gung’ with the nasal sound of the Bindu/dot) has the capacity to grant wisdom. Mantras are power, to utilize this power you will need your Intention and your personal Will. This गं beej mantra will do whatever action is required to confer wisdom. This is the reason why using beej mantras randomly is considered dangerous by normal people. When you use this गं beej mantra you are sending out your intention (powered by your will and the mantra) to the Universe that you desire the purest expression of wisdom, and the Universe will respond in all ways possible. Extreme example is, if for receiving this wisdom you are required to leave your householder’s life and take sanyas, you will be made to do so, if not in this life, then in whichever life this intention will fructify. So beej mantras should be used with due respect.
Now the mantra of the Devi Mahatmya/Durga Saptashati. ‘Om Aing Hreeng Kleeng Chamudayai vicche’. This is what the beej mantras briefly mean,
Om = the pranav mantra, origin of the Universe, your real name, the Paramtattva
aing = ai + ang = Abundance/richness + Bindu
hreeng = ha + ra + ee + ang = Eternity/Endless/One + Removal/Dissolution + Balance/Perfection + Bindu
kling = ka + la + ee + ang = Control/Coordination + Beauty/Enchanting/Captivating + Balance/Perfection + Bindu
Now each of these beej mantras end with the nasal ‘ang’ sound. This is different from the ‘am’ sound. This sound is the reason why mantras are not so effective anymore. If you observe your priest doing a puja for you, he will use the sound ‘am’, as it should be. He is doing this puja for you, this beej mantra is not being recited for his own self, he is saying it for you, so he pronounces it as ‘am’ sound made by closing the lips.
Now the Bindu ‘ang’ sound. This is transcendental. It is the sound of the 16th kala/aspect of the Moon (internal Illumination) ruled by Mahatripurasundari, the highest Paradevi, Mahamaya Herself who is represented by the central Bindu of the Shriyantra/Meru geometry. You are accessing the creative aspect of the Parabrahma itself when you use this Akshar. When you make this sound the lips remain open, the tongue presses at the back of the palate (is significant) and the energy of the sound is directed upwards through the nostrils into your third eye. You are powering the mantra to high energy levels, you are manifesting your intention, you are being the Creator Himself.
So always pronounce the beej mantra as ‘Om aing hreeng kleeng Chamundayai vicche’ and not as “Om aim hrim kleem Chamundayai vicche”. And treat the mantra with due respect, you are putting the energies of the Universe into motion with the mantra.
I got several confused questions on the ‘nasal anngg sound’ so here is a audio of the Ganapati mantra, ‘Om Gan Ganapataye namah’ it has been recited perfectly.
(Thank you to the kind soul who wanted to know more about the beej mantra, I hope reading it triggers something good for you!)