Simple Sangeet Sadhana 

I am getting comments from readers who seem to be dejected in life. And with the nature of the current Time/ Kaal, as indicated by the current planetary influences, several of us are genuinely feeling demotivated.

However the easiest way remaining centred and focussed is to adopt a ‘daily routine’. This regular practice, helps you subtly ‘bind’ your life together, one day at a time. Just as the drop of water falling on a rock, for a hundred years destroys it, so does your daily routine destroy negativity in your life. Our Dharma has prescribed several such practices, starting with the Surya Arghya in the morning to lighting a deepak before the Tulsi plant in the evening. I have written about several such small daily practices (index page).

But my readers apparently want an even simpler practice. Thus this post.

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Devi Sarasvati gives her ashirwad/ blessings in two major forms. One is when you are alone, sitting on your Asan and doing your Mantra given to you by your Guru. eg the daily Gayatri mantra sadhana. And the second is when you are singing out aloud either alone or with a group of similar minded people or playing your musical instrument, ie performing Sangeet. This activity is also ingrained in our Dharma in the form of the numerous bhajans, kirtans, aartis etc that we sing daily. eg the Bhajan mandali groups. It is also the responsibility of every parent to teach his/ her child to sing, this helps the child understand ‘Bhava’, ie emotion and makes his/her life richer in the future.

Sangeet is a Sadhana in itself. Music is directly connected to the Naad and ultimately leads to Laya. Naad is the intelligence which creates Om and thus the manifested creation. And as every student of music knows, Laya is the complete absorption of the student into the Swar/ notes, Raag/ melody and Taal/ beat of the Sangeet/ music. As you become one with the emotion that the song expresses, its melody, its beat, you lose your limited sense of the individual self and briefly experience a small part of that Eternal Self. This brief touch of the Eternal then pulls you along even more strongly till eventually you realise Moksh especially if you practice it daily.

If you are not feeling inspired to do any personal spiritual practice, then the only option that remains is to sing out aloud. If you feel that there is nothing more left to do in this world, then the only thing that you must do is to sing.

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Ideally everyone should take up Music. And this is how you can very easily make it a part of your life.

Sing a song of your choice aloud, daily, for a lifetime. Just one song per day, ie 5-10 mins of your time. Even if your voice is toneless, dull, boring, cracked, untrained, makes you cringe, etc yet you must sing out, aloud. And record/ listen to your own singing (also share this audio with your loved ones if you wish.) You can choose movie songs, bhajans, stotras sung like songs, classical music, street-type of music. Sing any thing which you feel like singing, but it should have the following components. 

  1. Words, ie the Shabd – Your chosen song should have lyrics which express a mood, ‘Bhav-geet’. It has to convey, a ‘rasa’, an essence, an emotion, ie happiness, sadness, longing, devotion, anger etc. Check out movie songs, these cover a wide range of human emotions, choose one which resonates with your current mood. Random words stuck together is not a song, avoid this stuff. (You can also sing in Aakaar, ie vocalise just the sound of ‘aaaa’ in the chosen beat/melody, but attempt this after 1yr of the daily song practice.)
  2. Beat, ie the Taala – Every song has a tempo, ie you can clap your hands in time with it. So first try to tap your foot along the beat of the song you choose to sing. Taala is an entire concept by itself, an entire subtle philosophy of the ‘Taa’ and ‘La’ akshar and what they stand for. 
  3. Melody ie the Raag – You are required to sing a song, ie your voice should reach into the notes/ Swar – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni…, you are supposed to modulate your voice. This rhythm of the sound notes, their melodious ‘movement’ is called Raag in Bharatiya classical music. There are over 800 Raag and further about 400 Ragini in our music. Generally old movie songs from all Bharatiya language are set to the melody of the Raag. Performing rap or reciting in a plain monotone is not ‘singing’, avoid this.

Choose your songs and sing loudly, confidently. Try to pronounce the words clearly, follow the beat and the melody the best you can. And it is perfectly ok if you miss a beat or sound off-tune, you are after all learning how to sing. Try to hear your own voice with your own ears as you sing the songs. Becoming aware of your own voice is a big achievement in spiritual practice. This daily song will also help you practice ‘hearing’. Ultimately your ears have to be trained to ‘hear’ the fundamental sound of Om, the Anahata Naad, the ‘unstruck’ sound and the daily song will help you achieve this with time. Try to feel the sound vibrating in your throat, chest, upper abdomen. With time, you will sense that these sound vibrations are actually emanating from your navel/ Nabhi. When this happens, you will have completed a very significant phase in your Sangeet Sadhana.

Sound evolves from Silence in 4 distinct phases (Para, Pashchanti, Madhyama, Vaikhari). When you start feeling the vibration of the ‘sound’ in your navel, it means that you are now becoming aware of the Silence ie reaching towards the point of Para. Here ‘Silence’ does not mean ’emptiness’, it is not shunya. Silence here is the Poorna, the ‘completeness’, the conscious energy which has the potential to create anything and everything. Poorna is Advaita.

And if you critically analyse, as you sing, you are using the power of Silence strategically intertwined with the Sapta-Swar, Sa, Re…. Ni in a melodious, rhythmic format and also generating some emotions along the way. So with each song that you sing, you are subtly cleansing your own self, getting rid of the impurities in your astral body, moving forwards towards the Self. Singing is not a task, it can never be by force, you sing because you enjoy singing. You are singing for your own self, for your own enjoyment. This emotion in your mind generates very deep happiness on the inside. And happiness / Anand is also the Advaita.

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Once you get into the habit of singing your daily song, you will notice several positive changes about yourself. First your lung capacity will increase, ie you can breathe more deeply into your lungs. This helps your heart and your physical body will benefit. Singing out aloud helps elevate the mood, you feel fresh, active yet relaxed. Your brain is learning something new daily and also practicing it, ie producing the sound from the throat, this helps it remain active and alert. Your confidence will increase, public speaking will become easier etc.

One song per day means that in one year, you will have 365 audio clips with you. After this one year, again listen to the first song which you had recorded and compare. Analyse your performance, your voice quality, ability to follow a beat, to stick to a rhythm, the power of your voice etc. Then analyse your personality, you have changed dramatically in this one year. This one year mark is going to be an eye-opener for you as you analyse your own performance. 

Now, if you feel like it, you can start learning Bharatiya classical music under a proper teacher. Our music is categorised under Uttar Bharat aka Hindustani and Dakshin Bharat aka Carnatic. Uttar gives more importance to the essence and Dakshin is more focussed on the purity of the technique. Both are fundamentally the same concept expressed in two different ways. Both are equal, so choose whichever appeals to your mind.

Or you can choose to learn a musical instrument. Our instruments are generally of three basic types

  • stringed – eg Veena, Sitar, tambora, Ektara, Santoor, Sarangi, Gopichand etc.
  • wind – bamboo flute, Nadaswaram, Shehnai, Pungi
  • percussion (made of either metal or stretched leather). – Damaru, tabla, mrudangam, Dhol, etc.

Bharatiya instruments are designed to evoke Bhav, emotion from the inner depths of the mind. If possible, try to go to concerts where artists are performing the Raag live, or playing our Bharatiya instruments live, you will understand what I mean here. There is a depth to our Raag and to our instruments, the generated sounds are deeply absorbed within, they are healing in nature. (Hearing the same sounds through the electric speakers is also good but it does not give the same depth.)

Musical instruments are called ‘वाद्य’ Vadya in Devbhasha Samskrutam. Vadya means something that is played or sounded and it also means ‘speech’. So the basic Vadya that each one of us always has with us is the throat. This is the greatest of all musical instruments and everyone must use it, ie sing. There are fancy courses on ‘voice training’ these days, but the easiest ‘voice training’ is to train your throat to sing the notes/ Swar – Sa Re Ga…. in their correct frequency. Eg if your base note Sa is at D# then you must be able to consistently vocalise this same D# frequency as Sa. You can use a tanpura/ tambora app for training your mind/ throat or there are mobile apps which you can use to monitor the frequency of your base note. Again do all this after 1yr of singing your daily song.

In my opinion the most difficult instrument is the bamboo flute. This is called Bansuri in Uttar and Venu in the Dakshin. There are no keys, no strings, nothing inside it, nothing outside it. Perhaps this is why Bhagwan Krishna held the Bansuri / Venu to his lips. You can play the bamboo flute only if your mind is relaxed and your breath is perfect. Each hole has the capacity to play notes in 3 different pitches and both the regular and flat notes. It is your control over your mind and breath, that creates the specific note you want to play. It is an extraordinary instrument (even keeping a bamboo flute in the house is brings auspiciousness.)

Sangeet derives from the Ved. The technical name is Gandharva ved and it is one of the 4 upa-ved, ie is is a supplement to the Ved. The Ved themselves are understood and experienced through the lens of Music, thus Sangeet has a very high value in our Dharma and our life. This term ‘Gandharva’ is the understanding which brings near the Eternal Auspiciousness, creates that relationship, perfumes with the eternal aroma etc. Music is sometimes called Gandharva vidya and just like any other vidya it has its Para and Apara versions, ie it can grant you realisation of the Self or it can grant you material and worldly successes. How to use a Vidya is as always your own choice.

Sound is conscious and intelligent. and has its own undeniable power. eg Once, my Guru told me to sing Raag Bhairav in the searing heat of the afternoon. Bhairav is an early morning raag which uses shuddha Madhyam Ma while the afternoon Raags use Teevra Madhyam Ma. As I sang naturally, the first Ma I sang was Teevra! I stopped and then with conscious control sang in the correct Raag Bhairav at a time where it does not flow naturally. Another eg, when I get back home, it is the time for the evening Raag Yaman, so if I play my flute without thinking anything, the fingers automatically play a melody with the Swars in Yaman as is suited to the time/ Kaal.

Sangeet is very intricately connected to the Kaal, ie conscious energies of Time and if you take efforts and excel in the Gandharva vidya, Kaal / Time too will flow favourably for you. 

Point being, Sangeet has its own power, it is a Vidya, an Upa Ved and a Sadhana. If you take one step in its direction, the Gandharva ved will pull you 100 steps onwards. Even if you think that singing a movie song daily is silly, do it. It is the first step towards the Para. And it is perhaps the most delightful route that you can think of.

So sing as you flow towards your Self.

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Kuldevata and Ishtadevata 

Kuldevata

Every family belonging to Sanatan Dharma has a Kuldevata, ie a family deity. This ray of the divine eternal specifically protects your family and must be worshipped as per culture and tradition. Your this body, in fact your current existence, is derived from your ancestors and you maintain this with the blessing of the family deity. There are references to the Kuldevata in several of our Puran. Also examples in ancient history where kings built temples of their Kuldevata. The Kuldevata demands pujas at auspicious events, eg before solemnising a marriage in the family, at the birth of a child, at Yajnopavit sanskars, a yearly puja at the temple of the Devata etc. 

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In the current times several of us live physically away from the hometown. ie regularly going to the Kuldevata temple may not be practically feasible. So if you really cannot make it then here are some via media which you can adopt,

  1. Offer the fruit, coconut, sweets, sari/cloth, money, specific items etc to a local temple whereve you are and think of your Kuldevata with all intensity. Request him/ her to accept it as you have offered these items to him from your heart. Even if this is not at his actual temple this does work if you have deep gratitude for him in your heart, ie your intention/ Sankalp is pure.
  2. Keep the offerings in a separate bag in your own puja ghar. Think of your Kuldevata and sincerely tell him that you have kept the offerings ready and whenever he calls, you will go to his temple and offer him these exact offerings. When you do this generally something unexpected helps you complete your pilgrimage soon, eg a few days off or some bonus money.
  3. If your extended family members still reside in your hometown then you can request them to offer the yearly offerings to the temple on your behalf. For this you must make a full set of offerings, ie cloth, money, sugar crystals etc which can be sent by post to your family member’s house. Before sending the items everyone in your family should pray to the deity and touch the offerings before packing them securely. 
  4. Keep in touch with the pujari Brahmin family of the temple and from time to time send some offerings, money, Dakshina to the temple and request them send the prasadam to you by post.

Another more serious problem is that several of us have forgotten the Kuldevata’s name itself. Forgotten the ancestral village. Or the elders of the family are dead. Either way the identity of this deity is lost to you which is highly unfortunate. So here is something you can do to help yourself,

  • Make a small pindi (small rounded mound) of the purest soil you can find. Or take a green coconut with the peduncle intact. Keep this with due respect in your puja ghar, adorn it with a nice cotton cloth, saffron, turmeric, unbroken rice, flowers etc. Intend that your Kuldevata, whoever he is, resides in this and do its puja just as you would do the puja of a regular moorti. You can keep this as a full-time set up or a temporary set up for specific days, ie during auspicious events, festivals etc. Generally what happens is if your intention is pure enough, there will be hints on the identity of the deity, ie dreams where you see the temple, deity’s moorti, hear his name, or his mantra/stotra etc. When this happens, if you want, you can get a proper moorti of your deity and put this coconut / soil in flowing river or sea. 

For women, after you get married, the Kul devata for you is now of your husband’s family. During the Vivah sanskar, the bride formally does the final pujas of her birth family Kuldevata. And immediately after marriage she does the first pujas of her new family deities.

(The Gram devata is the deity of the village where your family has its ancestral home. Generally the oldest temple in the village. So if you go to your ancestral village do go to this temple too.)

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Ishta devata

Ishta devata is the deity which you personally feel drawn to and want to worship. But this does not mean that you forget your Kuldevata. First puja is always offered to the Kuldevata, for protection of the family, the departed ancestors and the future generations. In some cases, the Kuldevata can also be worshipped as the personal Ishta devata. Your Guru, if a genuine Atma jnyani Mahapurush, a Jivan Mukt Satguru can also be adored as an Ishtadevata.

Jyotish gives some pointers on the Ishtadevata. Let’s first use the basic birth chart D1,

  • The Deity connected to the 9th house of your basic birth chart helps you live a balanced life as per Dharma. He ensures that you get the benefits of the 9th house as and when you need them. Your role in this process is a bit passive as even if you do the bare minimum it will be enough to trigger the 9th house benefits. This is an ongoing background life time support. 
  • The deity connected to the 5th house of your birth chart helps you fructify the sadhana you perform in your life. To reap these benefits you are required to be active, ie do your mantra, jap etc. After you complete it will you get the huge and evident result, all at once.
  • Functionally benefic planets placed in the 1st 5th 9th houses of the birth chart and the deities linked to them can also be a choice for the Ishta devata as they protect and help you grow.

But if you have the exact birth time available then open the divisional charts. 

Birth chart Aleister Crowley

Navamsha Aleister Crowley

BPHS Chapter 33 shloks 63-74 Using the D9 Navamsha chart to find the Ishta devata 

  • First find the Atmakarak, ie the planet who has traveled the highest degree in any sign. In our example chart it is Saturn at 27deg 24mins. 
  • In the D9 chart, he shifts to Virgo navamsha. This is called the karakamsha navamsha. 
  • Check if any planet placed in the sign 12th from the karakamsha. Here it is Leo and it is vacant.
  • So we try the second option given in the BPHS. Find the Amatyakarak, ie the planet who has travelled the second highest in any sign in the D1. This is the Sun at 27deg 10min. 
  • Locate the Sun in the D9. He is in Virgo navamsha. Now count the 6th sign from Virgo. This is Aquarius and it has a planet, this is Jupiter.
  • So our example Aleister Crowley, could have worshipped the deity linked to Jupiter as his Ishta devata. 
  • (If there are no planets in either of these two locations then the planetary owner of the sign can be used to locate the Ishta devata. Eg here Leo – Sun or Aquarius – Saturn. This is not given in BPHS but can be inferred in practice)

BPHS chapter 16 shloks 17-21 – The D 20 is seen for spiritual progress so you can choose a deity from here. Either the one associated with the ascendant degree’s Vimshamsha or the deity of the Atmakarak planet’s Vimshamsha. (This is not given in the BPHS explicitly but I have seen in several cases that this deity is very close to the person and always willing to help especially so if you are doing tantra sadhana)

Let’s do this with the example. A bit of math. One division in D20 is equal to 1deg 30min. In the example,

  • Ascendant degree at 15deg 55min Cancer sign (even sign) – Devi Pingalaa
  • Atmakarak Saturn at 27deg 24 min (even sign) – Devi Mangalaa

Sequence of deities for even signs – Daya, Megha, Chinnashirsha, Pisachini, Dhumavati, Matangi, Bala, Bhadra, Aruna, Anala, Pingala, Chuchuka, Ghora, Vaarahi, Vaishnavi, Sita, Bhuvaneshi, Bhairavi, Mangala, Aparajita.

Sequence of deities for odd signs – Kali, Gauri, Jaya, Lakshmi, Vijaya, Vimala, Sati, Tara, Jvalamukhi, Sveta, Lalita, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Sachi, Raudri, Bhavani, Varada, Jaya, Tripura, Sumukhi.

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Now for the deities associated with the planets. This is always a source of confusion so I am directly copying from the BPHS.

BPHS chapter 2 shlok 1-13 – The general Vishnu Avtars connected to the planets.

  • Surya Sun – Shri Ram avtar
  • Chandra Moon – Shri Yadunayak Krishna avtar
  • Bhoomiputra Mars – Shri Nrusimha avtar
  • Somasuta Mercury – Shri Budha avtar
  • Vibhudejya Jupiter – Shri Vaman avtar
  • Bhargav Venus – Shri Bhargav Parshuram avtar
  • Bhaskarputra Saturn – Shri Koorma avtar
  • Sinhikeya Rahu – Shri Sookara Varaha avtar
  • Ketu – Shri Meen Matsya avtar

(One point to be noted – the Budha avtar is not the generally known Siddhartha Gautam. As per the BPHS the actual Budha Avtar of Bhagwan Vishnu was before his Krishna avtar. We can only wait for more texts to be translated or recovered or brought into the public domain to know more about this Avtar.)

BPHS chapter 3 shlok 18 – General deities/ Adidaivata connected to the planets

  • Sun – Bhagwan Agni
  • Moon – Bhagwan Varun
  • Mars – Bhagwan Subrahmanya
  • Mercury – Bhagwan Vishnu
  • Jupiter – Bhagwan Indra
  • Venus – Bhagwati Sachidevi
  • Saturn – Bhagwan Brahma

BPHS Chapter 33 shloks 63-74 – The planets in the 12th from the Karakamsha or 6th from the Amatyakarak’s position and the deities/ Adidaivata

  • Sun and Ketu – Bhagwan Shiv
  • Moon and Ketu – Devi Gauri
  • Venus and Ketu – Devi Laxmi
  • Mars and Ketu – Bhagwan Subramanya
  • Mercury and Sun – Bhagwan Vishnu
  • Jupiter – Bhagwan Shiv
  • Rahu – Devi Durga in her Tamasic form
  • Ketu – Bhagwan Skanda or Bhagwan Ganpati
  • Saturn if inauspicious – Tamasic deities
  • Venus and Saturn if inauspicious – Tamasic deities

Point is, there are several deities which can be chosen as per the BPHS. Choose one who appeals to you. Generally while you are thinking about this, you will get some signal ie in your dreams or some shakun, ie omen which will help you discover your Ishta devata.

Finally do read this one post on the real nature of the deities. The deities are not ‘gods’, they are conscious aware and intelligent energy, a ray from the same Non dual source. You are also a ray from that very same source. As you express your gratitude to them on the outside, you in fact enhance your own energy on the inside.

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Deepavali Utsav of Sanatan Dharma

A very short post on Deepavali.

Deepavali or Deepotsav is not a tradition nor a ritual nor a celebration nor a way of life.

Deepavali is Dharma.

Every follower of Sanatan Dharma is required to follow these specific Dharmic activities in these days. These days are overloaded with energy which must be channelised into our lives, our bodies, minds and souls in a positive way. You have to invoke energy of the highest levels, call on the Eternal Consciousness and generate positive intentions. The power of this time, space and the mantra power your intention and turn your desires into reality. This happens only once a year so make the most of it.

ॐ दीपज्योतिः परंब्रह्म दीपज्योतिर्जनार्दनः।
दीपो हरतु मे पापं संध्यादीपः नमोस्तु ते॥ ॐ 

This week long Deepotsav starts with

Rama Ekadashi – Ashwin Krishna Ekadashi – Here we do pujas of Devi Laxmi in her form named ‘Ramaa’ रमा. This word means opulence, splendour, good fortune, wife, the one who is constantly engaged in happiness, also the one who constantly grants us happiness. We request the Devi to keep us always happy and ensure prosperity in all forms in our life.

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Govatsa Dvadashi – Ashwin Krishna Dvadashi – on this day we do pujas of a desi humped cow and her calf and we feed them sweet food, ie chapati with jaggery is also a good option. This is in gratitude for all that the cow does for us, from giving us her milk to energising our surroundings by her mere presence. Being grateful is the first step towards the divine, genuine gratitude is a rare emotion, so try to feel this today for the Go who nourishes us on so many levels.

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Dhana Trayodashi – Ashwin Krishna Trayodashi – on this day we do pujas of Bhagwan Dhanvantari. We request him to free us from all types of aliments, ie the Aadhyatmik, Aadhidaivik and Aadhibhoutik sources of pain, to keep us healthy and grant us Arogya, complete health and Ayusha, complete life. We also request him to grant us the Amrut, ie the essence of non-death.

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Naraka Chaturdashi – Ashwin Krishna Chaturdashi – on this day Shri Krishna killed Narakasur and freed the 16000 women who were imprisoned by him. The esoteric meaning is that we pray to the Eternal controller of the Mahapran of this Universe to energise the 16000 nadis in our body, to remove all blockages in them. To elevate our consciousness from the merely human to the Eternal. We request him to annihilate the Narakarur, ‘the dissonance/karma that the individual soul/ jivatma suffers under’. We request him to take up his Sudarshan chakra, ie use the power of time/space in motion, to remove all Adharma and to establish Dharma in our life.

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Deepavali Amavasya – Ashwin Amavasya – this is the biggest and the most powerful Amavasya of the year. The radiance that the Devi is clearly shines forth. Everyone must do pujas of the Devi in some form on this Amavasya. Depending on the cultural context, Devi Laxmi or Devi Kali or Devi Lalitatripursundari or any other form of the Devi Prakruti is worshipped on this day. This day comes only once a year, make the most of it.

The Chaitra month is the start of the solar year, so we worship Shri Ram in this month. Our new year still begins with the day when Shri Ram was crowned as the King of Ayodhya. As per the Valmiki Ramayan, Ravan was killed on Phalgun Amavasya and Shri Ram Rajyabhishek was on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, a new era. So our new year even today is in remembrance of our King, Raja Ram. We reaffirm the King is always Raja Ram, none other. Then Ram Navmi is a celebration of his birthday also falls in this month. This month is the best for performing Satyanarayan puja. 

And exactly 6 months later is the Ashwin month. The lunar energies are at the maximum, so we worship the Devi in all her forms. We celebrate the Ashwin Navratri, the brightest energy of the Devi, either the Dasha Mahavidya are worshipped or the Nav-Durga. Vijayadashmi is the puja of Devi Durga as she vanquishes the Mahishasur, ie ‘the great dissonant energy of the limited self ego’. The Kojagiri Pournima of the Sharad Rhutu is exclusively for pujas of the Moon.

So Ashwin Amavasya is the day when the Devi is all powerful, listening and ready to give you what you desire if only you ask her. So make it a point to request and ask her to give you what you really desire.

ॐ शुभं करोतु कल्याणं | आरोग्यं धन संपदा | शत्रुबुद्धिः विनाशाय | दीपः ज्योतिः नमोस्तुते || ॐ 

Tripur, Tripurari, Tripursundari

Kartik Shukla pratipada.

On this day the husband gets gifts for his wife and she in turn blesses him with all auspiciousness. Children do namaskar to their elders and are given gifts / blessings on this day. Businessmen start their new financial year on this day, they do pujas of their workplace and of the account books. Devi Shri is willing to give all prosperity to all new endeavours started on this day.

  • Bali pratipada – In Dakshin Bharat, this day is for remembering Raja Mahabali. We think of him with gratitude and respect and request him to grant us his specific power, knowledge, wisdom, humility and his ability to completely surrender to the Eternal Divine. (River Narmada is the dividing line between Uttar and Dakshin Bharat)
  • Govardhan Puja – In Uttar Bharat, this day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja. The mountain Govardhan is worshipped, we request protection and nourishment from him. Also Shri Krishna is worshipped as the eternal protecter of Dharma.

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Yama Dvitiya – Kartik Shukla pratipada. This day is called Bhai dooj or Bhau beej. On this day sisters bless their brothers with all auspiciousness. The brothers get their sisters gifts and promise their protection.

This day is in remembrance of Bhagwan Yam and his twin sister Devi Yamuna. Yam is the ability to control and Yamuna is the ability to use this controlled power in the right way. These two are the children of Suryadev and his wife Devi Sanjana.

In Sanatan Dharma, the woman always has more power to give on the energy levels. And the men have more power to give on the physical levels. So it is her responsibility to protect her brothers, husband and children with her energy. And it is their duty to protect her in the physical sense. There is always a fair exchange of energy in Dharma. 

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During the Deepotsav, we cook sweet dishes with our own hands, offer them to everyone, share them with our relatives and loved ones. The house is decorated, garlands/ toran of marigold flowers and mango leaves are tied on the doors. Paper lanterns are hung outside the house. Earthen lamps with sesame oil are lit and placed inside and outside the house at the evening twilight. We draw Rangoli /Kolam outside the main door, these designs are from the mandala derived from the Shri chakra. The household deities are worshipped with all devotion. We wear new clothes, go to the local temple and offer our prayers to the deity who protects our town. Elders are respected and children are given gifts. Firecrackers are burst and there is a general feeling of happiness and exhilaration all around. These are beautiful days.

During Deepotsav we request our deities, ie Devi Ramaa, Shri Dhanvantari, Shri Krishna, Shri Yam, Devi Yamuna, Devi Mahamaya to establish Dharma and help us walk the Dharmic path. But this can happen when we also behave in a way that assures Them that we are serious about what we are asking. So if you feel it in your hearts, do this following scheduled Dharma everyday of your life, no exceptions.

  1. In the morning after you have a bath etc, give Argya to the Sun, ie a cupful of water poured in the direction of the Sun, with a simple ‘Om Suryaya namah’. Sun is the visible source of energy be grateful to him.
  2. For 5 mins, do the puja of your Kul-devata/ household deities, ie offer flowers, light a sesame oil deepak, recite your mantra or sing your favourite bhajan, ring the bell, blow the Shankh etc and put a tilak on your forehead. Kuldevata is the protector of your family, ancestors, children and your house, show your gratitude to him.
  3. Maintain a Tulasi plant in your house. In the evening, light an agarbatti/ incense stick before the plant and request Devi Laxmi to bring prosperity to your house. A living Tulasi plant is the establishment of Devi Laxmi, ie ensures prosperity and Satva gun in your life.

Do this yourself and encourage your spouse and children to do this much for Dharma daily. Also your relatives, nieces, nephews and other families and children whom you know. Each one has to to his own bit in establishing Dharma in our lives. If we follow Dharma ourself, the society too will follow it. Start on the Dharmic path, live your life as per Dharma and Dharma will protect you.

Thus praying that the Devi Mahamaya grants us all Dharma in this week long celebration of Deepavali utsav and establishes Dharma in our life.

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

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Mantra pujas the dos and don’ts

I wrote about practicing the Gayatri mantra daily and there were several questions, thus this generic post.

Everyone above the age of 6yrs should take up one mantra or stotra as a life time thing. ie Recite it every day during your daily puja routine. Choose this as per your convenience and inclination but dedicate yourself to this mantra, your life line for this lifetime. When you do a mantra jaap regularly, you are actually working very hard, focussing your mind, body and soul on this mantra daily for a few mins. This regular practice adds up over your lifetime. Eg exercising daily for 15mins is more sensible and useful than working out once a month for nonstop 24hrs. The mantra is pure Intelligence, it magnifies the work you have done on it and reflects it back at you.

The quantum of energy does not matter as much as your conscious control over your own Mind does. Read this line twice. 

Eg. someone I know, does intense jaap of Navavaran mantra but without the necessary lifestyle to be able to absorb such enormous amounts of energy. This has affected her negatively, her mind has become unstable. Generating power from intense mantras is dangerous if you cannot control it.

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Sadhana is something that genuine aspirants, Sadhaks or people with a genuine ascetic bent of mind do. They will invest time, energy and sacrifice several things in this process. For doing Sadhanas, you need combinations for asceticism in your chart. Intense Sadhana creates Nivrutti in the mind of the aspirant, ie detachment from the material, from the Game of Creation, from the Lila. This intensity is not for everyone. And, in fact, it is not even necessary for everyone.

So when it comes to spiritual practice, do only that much which you can easily do. You should feel happy when you do it. If you ever feel that it is a burden, review and reduce the practices. Rather than trying for ‘high power’ mantra which others recommend, do what you feel is the best for you even if it is for a few minutes, eg do it for 3 repeats if you feel 108 repeats is too much. But do something daily.

Generally gruhast ie householders do not do such Sadhana. What we do is, perform our daily puja and sometimes Anushthans, ie a targeted pujas. Daily puja would be something quite brief, 10mins max, generally lighting a deepak, putting tilak, putting flowers and doing Arti of the family gods. Daily pujas do not have many rules and are simple. Anushthans are more intense and last for a few days. eg I might intend to do a Gayatri Laghu Anushthan, ie 24000 repeats of the mantra in 9 days of the Ashwin Navratri. In these 9 days I will be bound by several restrictions. I will follow these rules to safely channelise the energy I generate with this mantra into my body. As a householder we are used to certain habits which we cannot continue when we take up targeted Anushthans. The rules vary in the different Anushthans but there are common themes. The first restriction will be on food, ie tamasic foods like non-veg, brinjal, heavy pulses like masoor, highly oily food, very spicy food, alcohol and other addictive substances, food cooked by others etc will stop. Eating ghee, milk from desi cows, eat food you cook yourself, keeping to yourself, not speaking much, not touching random people, shaking hands etc or travelling in crowded public transport will not be possible, physical intimacy with your spouse will stop for that time. Sticking to the schedules determined by your Anushthan will be necessary. You have to discipline your body first, this discipline will then more inwards as the mind gets disciplined. Thus you will get the results of the Anushthan.

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Common householders/ gruhast, cannot channelise much power, ie the entire ocean cannot be poured into a small cup. Householders are tiny cups, highly insufficient to hold the power of the mantras in their full-fledged form. So gruhast people are encouraged to slowly increase their capacity with all these festivals we have in the Sanatan Dharma. And we have a festival practically every fortnight. As you do the pujas associated with these festivals throughout the year, every year, you are actually training your mind. In Sanatan Dharma we have a plethora of options. You can choose your favourite deity, source of faith as per your wish. The beauty of Sanatan Dharma is that no one can compel you. You are responsible for your own actions and are required to follow your own Conscience at all times. We have the most beautiful life possible, genuinely happy from the inside. Our festivals are the backbone of our society. We worship pure nature, ie the Samudra Sea on Narali pournima, the Mountains on Govardhan puja, the Sun on Makar sankranti or Ratha saptami, Dawn and Dusk on Chatt puja, the Moon on Kojagiri pournima etc. We worship our Rivers, Sarasvati, Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada etc as our mother, we adore them. We worship animals with equal fervour eg Snakes on Naag Panchami, Bulls on Pola etc and plants eg Banyan tree on Vat Savitri. We worship human like deities ie the embodiments of the three Gun, Satva Vishnu-Laxmi, Raja Brahmadev- Sarasvati, Tama Shankar-Parvati with the rest of the pantheon. We even worship Mathematics with the same devotion, the Shri yantra and the other yantra are complex geometry. We revere sound, light, vibrations, energy. We recognise Divinity embedded in every aspect of creation. We worship Intelligence because we intend to recognise that same Consciousness inside us.

In my blog I have mentioned a few stotra, mantra, sukta which can be taken up as a regular practice. This practice helps still the mind. If the mind is still, you are more Aware, more focussed on the Real. I have written briefly about several including the Amrit sukta, Shri Sukta, Purush Sukta, Mahamrutyunjai mantra, Gayatri mantra, Guru stotra, Teekshna Damshtra Bhairavashtakam, Chakshushi mantra, Navavarna mantra etc. And referred to several books like the Ved, Upanishad, Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Devi Mahatmya etc. All mantra (except the Ajapa mantra and Om) are generally linked to a ray from the Eternal, ie a deity, an Aware Intelligent Consciousness. Eventually all merge into the same Eternal Advaita. It is so elegant.

I have written on Soham, the Ajapa mantra which my Satguru ‘gave’ to all his disciples, the easiest option. It gives control over the Mind, slowly and steadily with every breath you take. You gently train your mind to become aware of the most natural rhythm in the world, the rhythm of your own breath.

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Now for some specific dos and don’ts for women in general life. Two events in life are very stressful for women, the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle and the pregnancy.

I wrote a detailed post here on the restrictions during the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle, do go through it.

Next, during pregnancy, there are mantras and stotras which you can recite or listen for your and your baby’s well being during this time. Here your body is doing enormous amount of work. The astral bodies of the mother and child are highly intertwined.

  • So doing any sort of practice where you channelise mantra with your breath while sitting on the asan is not advisable. ie you can recite the Gayatri 3 times with your daily puja routine but do not sit on your asan and do a 108 jaap of the mantra with the breath. Or you can mentally recite Soham to relax your mind, but do not sit on your Asan for targeted 108 Soham sadhana. 
  • Then eclipses. If there are any eclipses visible in your town when you are pregnant, you must be very alert. Best would be to sit in front of your puja ghar/ altar and read something eg the Bhagvat Gita or recite or listen to mantra and stotra while the eclipse is on.
  • The Sutak time. In case there is a physical death in your close family ie this is the paternal family or after marriage husband’s paternal side of the family for married women, then from the day of the death till the pindadana on the 13th day, the dimensions of the spirits and humans, ie the Pitrulok and Martyalok are interconnected. This affects everyone in the family. If this event occurs in the same house you live in, try to keep away from the Anteyshti related activities as much as possible. A pregnant woman should not go for condolence visits to relatives or friend’s families, her husband can go if it is necessary.
  • The Natak time. Similarly if a new baby is born in your close family, then from the birth to the name ceremony day, again the dimensions are interconnected as the soul gets settled in his new life. This too is an intense time on the energy levels. A pregnant woman can see this new baby born in her family on the day of its Naamkaran sanskar.

Ideally a woman should stick to the daily pujas till the baby is 6 months old at least. Do not attempt Anushthans or other targeted practice during this time. This is the time when the baby is still absorbing your energy, ie breast feeding, and you are also working hard. So first focus on what the baby needs and on rebuilding your strength. After you do the Annaprashan Sanskar for the baby, if you feel up to it you can increase the intensity of your spiritual practice.

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For men, the life is interconnected with the Gayatri, as every boy above the age of 6yrs is entitled to the Yajnopaveet Sanskar. This means wearing the Yajnopaveet sutra for a life time and doing Sandhya Vandanam, ie Gayatri puja three times a day. Ask your father or paternal relatives for any restrictions or dos and don’ts as this often varies from family to family. If your parents have not done the Yajnopaveet Sanskar for you but you really want to do the Gayatri mantra in a formal manner then you can do a simple intention on an auspicious Sunday, consider the rising Sun as your Guru and start. Do this only if you really feel and your conscience agrees with it. Never do anything against the Antaratma, the inner voice. At the very least you can recite this mantra even once a day when you do your daily puja.

Generally for major Anushthans, if there is a Sutak or Natak period in your close family then you will temporarily stop your Anushthans till this period is on.

Then there are several dos and dont’s which vary from family to family. This is mostly linked to the culture and the family deities. eg in my family we never wear black colored clothes, as the family deity does not like it. So you will have to ask the elders in your paternal family or husband’s paternal family for any such typical things.

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The only requirement for a follower of Sanatan Dharma is that you have faith/ Shraddha in something. This can be in an external source, there are so many options. Or if you prefer, you can put your faith in your own Divinity, ie directly focus on the Eternal, the Advaita that you yourself are. Do not compare yourself with other’s. Don’t ever think that someone is doing so much and you are doing so little. This concept does not exist in Sanatan Dharma. Each one of us is an unique individual, but all linked to the same eternal foundation. We, the followers of Sanatan Dharma, adore Pure Intelligence in every way possible. Every route is acceptable, it only depends on the practitioner’s inclination and conscience.

Maha mrutyunjai mantra

This is a somewhat technical post. Someone requested me to write on this mantra so I took my time over it and its typical grammar. I will follow the grammatical meaning Shabd-arth and extrapolate it to the essence of the mantra Bhav-arth, all strictly within the framework of the grammar. 

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे
सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनात्
मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥

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The Rg 7-59 Sukta

The Maha mrutyunjai mantra is from the Rg ved 7th Mandal. It is the 12th shlok in the 59th sukta. So I opened my copy of the Rg Ved and and tried to understand what this sukta says. (If you can afford and feel like, get the 4 Ved Sanhita-s published by Yug nirman yojana vistar trust. These are translated by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya and Shrimati Bhagvati Devi Sharma, the set costs about Rs 1400/-)

The Rishi of this sukta is Vasishtha-maitravaruni. The deities are the Marut and the Mrutyu vimochani Rudra. Chhand, ie the meter of prosody is the Anushtup. 

The Marut are the energies of the breath, fierce winds, storms and war. And this word also means god, gold and beauty. Marut are the conscious energy of movement, change and vital energy/ pran. Rudra is the deity associated with the Marut as they both rule over the area between ‘the Earth and the Sun’, ie the Mooladhar and the Sahasrara chakras. They are sort of a link between the physical foundation and the heights of the conscious. Rudra is also said to be the father of the Maruts, so can be considered to be the brilliance of the pran energy. He is the reason due to which changes occur in the substance of the pran, which cause further cascading changes in animated beings. The energy which causes change can also be used to consciously direct the change and if needed also be used to stop the change from occurring. Thus Rudra and Marut together are a formidable force.

As I had mentioned in my post on Kaal here, ‘change’ is an illusion. Perception of change depends on the perspective. (eg If you stand at the center of a merry-go-round, your position does not change, even if it spins around you. But if you ride on the play-horses here, you will be swinging around till you get dizzy.) To exit this illusion of ‘apparent change’, we have to consciously use the power of Marut and Rudra. And this is precisely what we are doing in this Sukta which includes the Mahamrutyunjai mantra.

Let’s briefly examine the framework of the Rg 7-59 Sukta,

  • In the first 1-10 shlok-s, ‘we’ are invoking the Marut, fortifying them with power, requesting them to increase our strength, to destroy all our enemies, to be with us in happiness, to support us with their presence.
  • In the 11th shlok, we are inviting the Marut to come to our Yajnya with ‘Yajnyam Marut Aa Vrune’. This is the first mention of ‘Yajnya’ in this sukta.
  • So the background is that we are harnessing the power of the Marut, the vital energy and now exhorting them to provide their these energies to the Yajna, ie the evolution towards the Self. We are increasing the power of our vital energy/ pran and fortifying ourselves for the final evolution. And are preparing ourselves for taking the decisive step towards the highest evolution.
  • Then the 12th shlok of this sukta is the famous Maha mrutyunjai mantra.

The Maha mrutyunjai mantra written as per the anushtubh chhand, ie 4 lines of 8 syllables each.

Trayambakam yajamahe
Sugandhim pushtivardhanam |
Urvarukam eva bandhanat
Mrutyuh mukshiya maa amrutat ||

The form of this shlok in the Sukta does not start with the Om, but when we do sadhana with this mantra we have to begin the mantra with Om, else it creates imbalance.

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The grammar of the words used in the Maha mrutyunjai mantra. Writing a bit on this to emphasise the beauty of the Devbhasha Samskrutam.

  • Tryambakam – neuter gender, nominative and accusative singular
  • Yajamahe – root verb Yaj यज् (1UP /AP) present tense, plural, first person
  • Sugandhim – neuter gender, nominative and accusative singular
  • Pushtivardhanam – neuter gender, nominative and accusative singular.
  • Urvarukam – neuter gender, nominative and accusative singular.
  • Iva – indeclinable
  • Bandhanat – neuter gender, ablative singular
  • Mrutyu – masculine gender, nominative singular
  • Mukshiya – root verb मुच् Much (6UP /AP) benedictive, first person singular (a very typical verb form)
  • Maa – indeclinable
  • Amrutat – neuter gender, ablative singular

The nouns are in three forms. So we have three options of subject/ object nouns.
1. neuter gender, nominative and accusative singular.
2. neuter gender, ablative singular
3. masculine gender, nominative singular

The indeclinables are Iva and Maa

Both the verbs in this mantra are from the ubhay-pad category, but their atmane-pad forms are used. Thus it is clearly indicated that the fruit of these actions directly go to whoever has acted in the first place. From these verbs, it is understood that the mantra is recited by ‘us’ or ‘I’. The doer is the first person, initially in the plural in ‘yajamahe’ and then in the singular in ‘mukshiya’.

  • So with the first verb yajamahe, ‘We’ are getting the fruits of this evolution which ‘we’ are performing in the present tense.
  • And in the second verb ‘mukshiya’, it is the benedictive mood. So ‘I’ am giving ‘myself’ this blessing that by the result of this action ‘I’ will be liberated. This is a rare form of the verb found only in Vedic Sanskrit.

Now if you just look at these words and their grammar it is obvious that the way the mantra is traditionally translated does not fit the words. I am assuming that there are two sentence structures because there are two verbs in the mantra, yajamahe and mukshiya. Also in Sanskrit, more than the order of the words in the sentence, the grammar is paramount in conveying its sense.

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So let’s understand what is being said.

Om is the moorti of the Advaita. Om is the energy which is accessible in the created universes and yet is ‘nearest’ to the highest Consciousness. A sort of a bridge from the illusion of creation to the Reality of the Non-dual. Om is composed of four parts of which three are accessible in the created universe, ie the states of Jagruti, Swapna and Sushupti, represented by the akshar A, U and M. The vibrations created by the 4th part ie the Bindu help the spiritual aspirant realise his Self. At the lowest level of consciousness you are aware only in the Awake-Jagrut state. As your consciousness expands you become aware of your Dream-Swapna and later Deep-sleep Sushupti states. And as you progress even more, you are able to dissolve these three states related to the creation into the 4th part of Om, the Bindu. Once this happens you are Enlightened, ie you have achieved Moksh, you experience yourself as the Non-dual Advaita. Whenever you do any mantra jaap you must start with Om, this channelises the power of the mantra in a safe and conducive way for you.

The trayambakam are the three states which are seen or perceived. ie the Jagruti, Swapna and Sushupti, thus the trayambakam are often commonly considered to be the ‘three eyes’. These trayambakam are the fluid energies which generate these three different types of experiences. As one experiences does one exist, so we can say that these three, Jagruti, Swapna and Sushupti, are the three perceived states of existence. Only when these three states of existence are ‘sacrificed’ does the fire of internal Self become visible. These three states are to be merged into the Light of the Self or ‘sacrificed’ in the fire of Awareness, which in this mantra ‘we’ will be doing.

In this sentence the doer is not specifically mentioned, ie there is no subject noun but as the verb ‘yajamahe’ is in first person plural, the subject is implied as ‘We’. The mantra describes a dynamic situation where these three states of perception are made to continually evolve, ie their energy levels being increased by ‘our’ conscious efforts. Here the doers are in plural. The three fold states of lower levels of consciousness ie Jagruti, Swapna and Sushupti avastha are continuously evolving by the action of multiple doers. Ie the doers of this act are still perceiving themselves as the multiple and are working with multiple states of existence, duality is perceived to exist.

Sugandhim is used as an adjective of Tryambakam. These three states, Jagruti, Swapna and Sushupti bear only a very small quantity of the Highest Consciousness. These three states are exactly ‘perfumed’ with the tiniest part of the most Excellent awareness. These three contain the highest virtue of the Eternal Beautiful, but just a hint of it, as it should be. These are the emanations of the Advaita and at their essence are also the Advaita. Something like a perfume exuded by a flower, the three states of existence are exuded by the Eternal. Just as the smell of a flower is at once both the flower yet at the same time apparently separate from it.

Pushtivardhanam is used an adjective of Tryambakam. These three states are continually being nourished and their levels of animation are being promoted by their link to the Eternal. They are thriving, developing, increasing their levels of awareness only due to this connect to the Highest. They are continually expanding, enlarging, extending, upgrading themselves. They are completing themselves by their link to the Awareness. All this is happening because ‘we’ are evolving the Tryambakam to begin with.

Finally Urvarukam is used as an adjective of Tryambakam but with the use of the indeclinable ‘Eva’ it has a subtly different meaning. This word causes a lot of confusion as it commonly means a cucumber or a melon. But vegetables have no place in a mantra focussed on the highest Consciousness. Broadly Urvaruk उर्वारुक can be understood as the result when the catalytic energy is acting on the foundation. And in Sanatan Dharma whenever we talk of a catalytic energy we mean the eternal consciousness. In this mantra, Urvaruk is the great fire of consciousness which burns within the depths. The blazing Sun. The bountiful extensive great ocean of consciousness. 

When we, by our efforts, evolve the three states of perception, we realise that these are mere emanations rooted in the Bindu ie the 4th state of Om, ie the Eternal Advaita. They are simply ‘fragrances’ of the Non-Dual flower. Thus we merge ourselves into the Non-dual.

The first part of the mantra deals with how the three states of perception are consciously made to evolve and gain more and more of the essence of the Eternal, to come very very close to the Eternal.

So by ‘our’ efforts we are bringing the Tryambakam almost to the level of the Urvarukam. But then what comes after this stage? This is in the second sentence in this mantra.

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Now the second part, ‘Bandhanat Mrutyuh mukshiya maa amrutat.’

Bandhanat, means ‘separated from the bindings’. We all believe that we are bound to our existence through different attributes, the Gun – Satva, Raja, Tama, Avastha – Jagrut, Swapna, Sushupti or even identities like Rajan, Priya, husband, wife, mother, father, child, teacher, student, the karmic ties which bind us. Our belief in these ties is so strong that we are unable to conceive our Eternal nature, this is also the cause of existential sorrow. Thus we take on lives after lives, searching for the true Happiness, trying to find the Self.

Mrutyuh is a noun in the masculine nominative singular form. There are several meanings for Mrutyu. Death or the deity of Death, ie Yam are the usual ones. But Mrutyu also means the secret of existence, ie the Para-Brahma. And also Maya, Vishnu, Kali, Kama-dev, samsara and the hunger ie desire. Interestingly, relevant to our mantra, Mrutyu essentially is ‘the evolution which is rapidly completed’.

In the first part we saw that the 3 states are still evolving continually by the action of multiple doers.
In the second part, the verb ‘mukshiya’ is the benedictive singular first person. The plural doer has now become singular. With the evolution of the three states, the non-duality has started asserting itself. 

So this “Bandhanat Mrutyuh mukshiya maa amrutat” will mean the following,

The ‘evolution which is rapidly completed’ will now most assuredly be separate from all bindings. This secret of existence will be released from all bondages. The concept of desire (which causes more ties) will be unyoked from all concepts of ties. The idea of Maya and Creation will be cast aside. Satva-gun will be discharged (Satva gun is the last one to dissolve in this involution process) etc. ie, the singular doer is now assuring himself that the direction of the evolution will most assuredly take him to himself. This is an intention expressed in the positive sense. ie release from bindings.

At this stage the doer ‘I’ realise that I am non-dual, there is no one but me and I have no attributes, I am almost there, so I use my intention to consciously ‘bless’ myself. Only I can bless myself, as there is no one else but me. I bless my own Self with this benediction. ie, ultimately everyone has to intend his own evolution. To evolve spiritually or to remain stuck in the ties is a decision that everyone makes for himself. If you want to play the Game some more or if you want to realise the Self, this is your own choice your own intention. You are always blessing your own self in this sense.

This ‘rapid evolution’ will most definitely not be separated from immortality. It will not be cast away from the Light. It will not be abandoned by the Eternal. ie, singular doer is now assuring himself using the negative clause too. That he will never be separate from the Advaita. He will always remain conscious of his Eternal Light and aware of his Non-dual nature.

It is interesting that the mantra reinforces the blessing using the positive ‘Bandhanat Mrutyu’ and negative intention “Maa Amrutat’ both. Somehow these two intentions are balanced by the benediction ‘Mukshiya’ that is placed between them. It makes the structure of the mantra very elegant.

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It is significant that the deity, conscious and aware intelligence linked to this mantra is the ‘Mrutyu vimochani Rudra’. Rudra means the vibration, change or brilliance. Vimochani means the act of release, liberation, casting away. Mrutyu has several meanings as above. Try to think on what the ‘Mrutyu vimochani Rudra’ really implies.

This mantra is all about how the energies of the Marut-s and the Mrutyu vimochani Rudra are being utilised by the spiritual aspirants to evolve the limited consciousness which thinks it to be separate from the Eternal to reach the highest pinnacle of Self awareness, the Advaita.

There are absolutely nil vegetables in this mantra and we are not worshiping any god nor propitiating any deity with this mantra. There are no deities in Sanatan Dharma, we Hindus adore pure consciousness, we adore our own form, the highest Conscious Intelligence. I create my Universe for the Game I play, for this I first create a mind, this now runs in the ten directions creating further elaborate illusions for my Game. When I am done playing, I dissolve the Game. This requires that I train the mind, stop it from running in the ten different directions and focus it on the one single Bindu that really Is. As I dissolve the mind, I see Myself.

This post is a very rudimentary way of understanding this mantra. If you want to really experience it, do its Jaap, ie 108 times mental repeats at least once a week. Or do its Homa. Or listen to its Ghana-path, its spiralling energies looping in your mind. This Maha mrutyunjai mantra is very useful for all issues in life, if you train your mind with its energy, it will act as an all-round remedy for all your problems.

The Ghana path by Uma Mohan, with its mesmerising spiralling energy.

 

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Adishankaracharya and Shivah

Adishankaracharya, when he wrote Shivah शिवः in his compositions, he used this to mean the eternal auspicious non-dual Advaita. Eg In the Brahmajnyanavalimala he ends it with ‘Shivosmyaham’ शिवः अस्मि अहं. Or in the Nirvan shatak he ends every verse with ‘Shivoham shivoham’ ‘शिवः अहं शिवः अहं’.

Today is Vaishakh Shukla Panchami, we celebrate Adi Shankarcharya’s birth anniversary today.

Also someone commented that Adishankaracharya wrote on the Advaita yet worshipped the deities by composing beautiful stotras in their honour. Apparently someone thought that the ‘Shiv’ he writes about is the deity Shankar, the embodiment of Tamo-gun (post here).

Adishankarcharya was a Sat-guru. In brief his life story is this. He took Sanyas at the age of 8yrs, then studied under his Sat-Guru at the banks of the Narmada till the age of 12yrs where his Guru said that he was ready, ie Jivan-mukt, the Advaita. He wrote his brilliant compositions, his Bhashya-s, his books on the Advaita, everything on the pure Jnyan till the age of 16yrs, all this in just 4yrs. He wrote about Himself as he was a realised Seer, a Sat-Guru. Then he toured Bharat giving discourses on the Ved (4 Ved-s, Vedanta, Brahmana, Aranyak) set up the 4 Maths in the 4 corners of Bharat, each one dedicated to one of the 4 Ved-s. Not deities, but to the Ved-s. The Ved-s are ‘worshipped’, read, taught and learnt even now in these Maths. He was/ is the highest Parmeshwar himself.

His work is not fully comprehensible to aspirants who are still on the path. Do not assume that he worshipped Shankar or any of the other deities of the Vedic/ Pauranic pantheon. These deities are a part of the manifested creation, ie in the domain of Mahamaya. He was/ is the Advaita, beyond the reach of Mahamaya. Also he wrote in the Devbhasha Samskrutam. So what he wrote and what you understand will be different. He, an Atmajnyani Mahapurush, ie the Advaita itself, and you, a sadhak, an aspirant. When you really understand what he has written, you will also become the Advaita. 

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Shivah शिवः has the following meanings in the Devbhasha Samskrutam, auspicious, bliss, benign, friend, kind, gracious, favourable, etc. And if you had to break down शिवः to get at its root energy it is something like this.

  • The true and pure emotion that you feel for your inner self, when you recognise yourself to be this highest state of consciousness. This constant state of this purity. The transcendence achieved after apparent duality is resolved to be a superficial illusion. The discarding of the illusion of duality so that you dwell in the eternal constant, unchanging, non-dual, unborn state that you really Are.

The Advaita is called ‘Shivah’, ie ‘the highest auspicious’. (In some parts of India, the personification of Tamo-gun is called Shiva which causes confusion. I am from Maharashtra, in Marathi language we refer to this deity generally as Shankar or Mahadev not ‘Shiva’.)

In this context, all of us at our core are Shivah. But we want to play the Game of Creation so we have no awareness of this fact. We have purposely put filters over our perception which do not let us recognise our essential eternal auspiciousness. We conceal our Shivah nature. The energy which animates us all is the same energy which animates the Tri-dev, Brahma-dev/Sarasvati, Vishnu/Laxmi, Shankar/Parvati, Indra, Agni and the other deities of the pantheon, every one of the 33 Koti devata, the Rudra, the Aditya, the Devi Lalita Tripursundari, Mahamaya herself. They too are all Shivah. Everything is Shivah. This essential auspiciousness शिवः is the only thing which really exists, the concepts of you, me, deities, Mahamaya are hollow, superficial, illusory. 

This is the Nirvan Shatak. I will expand the meaning of just the last shlok. 

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो | विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् | न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः | चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् |

All alternatives, all variations, all options have gone away from my nature. All forms have dropped away, dissolved, vanished into nothingness like mirages dissolve. I exist as the basis of everything. I am the potential of existence. I exist as the covering of everything. I pervade all the organs of action and sense, ie I pervade the tattva-s of creation. I am all that Is. I do not have anything attached to me, nor do I cling to anyone. I am not the concepts of liberation or realisation or enlightenment. I cannot be measured in anyway whatsoever. I am the nature of the blissful intelligence. I am the eternal consciousness. I am the auspicious Advaita. The highest auspicious Advaita Am I.

 

This is the Brahmajnyanavalimala which I have referred to several times. I will expand the meaning of just the last shlok. 

अन्तर्ज्योतिर्बहिर्ज्योतिः प्रत्यग्ज्योतिः परात्परः | ज्योतिर्ज्योतिः स्वयंज्योतिरात्मज्योतिः शिवोऽस्म्यहम्‌ 

I am the light amidst. I shine within. I am the illumination seen in the inner eye. I am the Eye and I am the Light. I am the brightness which shines forth. I am the divinity which is always apart. I am the light of the eternal which illuminates the eternal. I am away from the transient. I am the eternal flash of lighting. I visibly shine with all power. I am the self-evident fire. I am the blazing flame, superior to the best. I am higher than the highest illumination. I am the radiance which gives power to fire. I myself am the celestial brilliance of the self. I am the eternal blazing flame of consciousness. I am the spontaneous light. I am the self-illuminated light. My nature is light. The highest auspicious Am I.

When you recite either of these compositions you are clearly invoking the pure Advaita within. 

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Now a bit on the word ‘Aham’. In grammar, it is the first person singular of ‘asmad’, ‘I’. In Sanskrit it means something like – I, self-radiance, indeed, verily, I grant, it is true, surely, certainly.

‘Aham’ broadly means the sense of the self. What you exactly understand your ‘self’ to mean. Your comprehension of what you are. What you experience your self to be? This is ‘Aham’.

Now at the lower levels of consciousness you understand yourself to be Rajiv, Anita, a boy, a woman, a professional, a home maker, a father, a grandmother, a human, confined in a body, having 5 senses, awake, going to work, sitting down to dinner, being born or dying etc. If you think of yourself as something like this, it is a very very limited sense of self. You are experiencing a very limited fraction of your immense Self. This is the ‘aham’ which represents the root cause of ignorance, the ‘ahamkaar’ which is the root cause of existential sorrow. When you put your ‘aham’ in words like this you are still playing the Game, your personal Lila. 

But in your spiritual path there will come a time when you will think and experience yourself as the geometry represented by the Shri Yantra. You will experience your consciousness as the multidimensional Shri Chakra. You will see yourself at the central Bindu of this geometry. This is the first tangible step where you will know that the ‘aham’ is much much more than these simple words can define. You will now move towards experiences which cannot be described in words. And at one point you will transcend all these experiences too. This is the state where when you say that ‘Chidanandah roopah Shivah Aham’ or ’Shivah Aham asmi’ you will mean it completely. 

“Most assuredly, verily, certainly, truly, radiantly, eternally, blissfully, auspiciously Am I.”

“Unchanging, non-dual, auspiciousness Am I.”

If any of my readers feel this post resonating in your hearts, you are on a very high level of understanding, continue on your path. And even if not, its ok to continue thinking of ‘Shivah’ as Shankar or Vishnu or Brahmadev or your source of faith or whatever generates positive energy in you. Everyone should freely worship the energy they are drawn to. No one can judge you but yourself. You choose for yourself. No one can force you. Only you are aware of what you experience.

But this is not what Adishankaracharya intended when he wrote these lines. When he talks about Shivah शिवः he talks about the Advaita. Listen to his these compositions and with the Light of the Advaita, when the time comes, you too will experience what शिवः indicates towards.

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Shivosmyaham

Teekshna Danshtra Bhairavashtakam

This is my favourite Bhairav stotra. I use it often to get rid of negative energies or entities around me. And to recharge my personal energy. Its energies are Ugra, intense and can be terrifying if you are not prepared to understand that you are much more than just the physical body.

This is the audio 

And I have written very briefly on the meaning of the verses using the regular meanings of the Sanskrit words, nothing too esoteric, else I would have to write a book on it. This is the beauty of Sanskrit (Devbhasha Samskrutam), a palimpsest, layers and layers of meanings. 

  • Eg Teekshna तीक्ष्ण means pungent, vehement, sharp, also peppers, resins of certain plants like asafoetida, a few trees are called teekshna, sea-salt, rude, rough, poison, keen, iron, inauspicious, hot, haste, harsh, fiery, death, battle, ascetic, weapon, acid, zealous, severe, etc. But what ‘teekshna’ means in this stotra is a matter of understanding as well as experience. Reference to Context. The context is all important.

This stotra is in eight shlok/ verses. Each line begins with a beej mantra. The lines have to be understood in context of the beej mantra which precedes it.

This is a description of the Bhairav, the auspicious one, the fearless one, the terrible, formidable, the highest of the high. He is considered to be an Ugra energy, he will take your sense of tiny individuality firmly and finally merge it into the highest ie himself. He is the destroyer of creation or more correctly he is the one who remains after all creation is annihilated. He is the protector of the Kshetra, ie he protects the seat of the highest divinity within you. Thus he is the ‘nearest’ to the Kshetra (to understand the concept of ‘near’ read the Bhashya on the Mandukya by Adi Shanakracharya). This is the Bhairav of the Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra who helps you reach that highest state of attribute-less-ness which you really are. He is the Shivah, the ultimate auspiciousness itself, ie the Advaita.

(Bhairav is not the personification of the Tamogun (post here). Often the personification of Tamo-gun, is also called Shiv, causing endless and unnecessary confusion.)

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The stotra beings with the sound of the Damaru which is the sound of OM. When you play the Damaru there are binaural beats created which create a subtle sound of Om. Om is the creation (pravrutti) or the moorti of the Advaita (nivrutti). Every stotra has to begin with the sound of Om, so here they have creatively used the Damaru to create the vibration of Om. Om is the conscious intelligence which is the thing of this manifested universe which is closest to the Advaita. Thus Om can be considered to be a Moorti of the Advaita.

The first shlok is,

  • Yam Yam Yam yaksha rupam dasha dishi vidhitam bhumi kampayamanam
  • Sam Sam samhara murtim shira mukuta jata shekharam chandra bimbam
  • Dam Dam  Dam deergha kayam vikruta nakha mukham chordhva romam karalam
  • Pam Pam Pam paap nasham pranamata satatam Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (1)

Yang – This is the beej mantra indicating the omnipresent, the eternally pure and auspicious one. Every beej mantra recited correctly ends in the ‘ng’ sound (in this recitation they are not pronounced correctly, but the person reciting it has done it with a pure intention, thus there is power in his voice). The ‘ng’ akshar is the enchanting awareness, beautiful intelligence and the attractive consciousness which controls the power of sound ie vibrations. 

He is the sustainer of the forms. He sets the ten directions as per the proper geometry as per the correct rules, ie creates and sustains the universe. The ten directions are the conscious Dasha Mahavidya (post here). He creates the conscious energies who organise the perceived universe. He sets this geometry, situation and objects into motion. He causes them to shake, tremble, vibrate, ie exist. He causes them to apparently change, ie he creates Time. He is everything that exists, all concentrated together. Everything that you see is drawn from him. He is the comprehensive description or a compendium of everything. 

Sang – This is the beej mantra for the one who is the true reason for everything, the one who is the single true description of everything. Also the enchanting intelligence controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the conclusion, ie he remains always. The manifested creation is dissolved back into him. He contracts everything back into himself. He stops the illusion of apparent change. He annihilates duality. His is the energy of the fully expanded Sahasrara chakra, its ‘luminous petals’ stretching infinitely, encompassing everything. The illusions of karma and memories are powered by his energy. The energies of creation flow from the highest point ie him. His highest illumination is reflected off his highest point by his power, this radiance is seen in the third eye during spiritual practice.

Dang – This is the beej mantra for the one who causes increase by granting sustenance. Also the one extremely pleasing to visualise. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the depth of this created multitude. He is the only attainable one. He is the deepest sign. He makes all imperfections leave. All unnatural, artificial, misshaped agitations are annihilated by him. All diseased incompleteness is removed by his granting the true intelligence of the source. He makes all energies flow strongly upwards, ie towards the highest apex, towards himself. He is the one who cuts through all bindings strongly and decisively with his sword of light. He is also the mouth of the terrible single pointed energy which devours the illusion called creation. 

Pang – This is the beej mantra of the one who destroys all forms of alternatives, duality, blocks and illusions. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He destroys all forms of evil ie notion of change and duality. All inauspiciousness, trouble, harm, wickedness are nullified, the biggest harm being ignorance of the self. Pran, ie the vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The second shlok,

  • Ram Ram Ram raktavarnam, katikatita tanum teekshna danshtra karalam
  • Gham Gham Gham ghosha ghosham Gha Gha Gha Gha ghatitam gharjharam ghora naadam
  • Kam Kam Kam kaal pasham Druka Druka drudhitam jwalitam kamadaham
  • Tam Tam Tam divya deham, pranamata satatam, Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (2)

Rang – This beej mantra indicates the one who burns, increases internal energy, grants special and unusual benefits. The enchanting intelligence controlling the power of vibrations.

He is beautiful, sweet, beloved and auspicious by nature. He uses the energy of sound to play this sport called creation. His attractive form is hidden. He is the subtle pivot of manifestation. He is the fiery, sharp single point, the terrifying energy of time which destroys all illusions and ignorance. 

Ghang – This is the beej mantra indicating the one who grants all auspiciousness and stillness. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the sound of the bow string which launches the self towards the Self. He is the power of the vowels of Sanskrit and also the power of vibrations itself. He proclaims his presence with the eternal sound. He is auspiciousness, stillness, also the thundering, roaring, deep energy of the Naada. (Om is created from the Naada, post here). 

Kang – This beej mantra takes away all dangers, duality and poisons. Also grants blessings and boons for positivity and welfare. The enchanting non-dual awareness which controls the power of vibrations.

He is the edge of Time, the boundary till where Time/ Space can exist. He is the fetters which tie the individual soul to fate. He is massive energy at the entrance of the Sushumna. He keeps the Sushumna inaccessible, tightly closed. He is also the fortress of the Eternal. He is the established, fixed, certain, complete, consistent, whole. He is the eternal fiery radiance, always burning. He destroys all illusory enjoyments, pleasures, desires, purposes, longings and also the subjects/ objects of such desires. 

(Time or Kaal is relative. We measure time in reference to changes that we see around us. In Jyotish we measure Time by the movement of the Sun, the Moon, the Nakshatra, Jupiter and the time from sun-rise to sun-rise. These are the 5 types of calculations for ‘year’ that we use in Jyotish. Actually there are 9 ways of measuring Time, of these 5 are used in Jyotish. And there is nothing called ‘Time’. Kaal is a matter of observing one type of change against another type of change, it is basically a series of changes. Might write a post on Kaal.)

Tang – This is the beej mantra which grants all material and subtle things required for true prosperity and is always radiant, true, pure and pleasing. The enchanting consciousness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is manifest as a splendrous divine, beautiful, heavenly, auspicious form. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The third shlok

  • Lam Lam Lam Lam Vadanatham La La La La lalitam dirgha jivha karalam
  • Dhum Dhum Dhum dhumra varnam sphuta vikata mukham bhaskaram bhimarupam
  • Run Run Run rundamalam ravi tama nighatam tamra netram karalam
  • Nam Nam Nam nagnabhusham pranamata satatam Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (3)

Lang – This beej mantra indicates the one with the highest radiance covering all including the the sport called creation. Also the enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the single point of the apex. He is the act of creation of vibration and also its cessation. He is the entrance of the Sushumna. He is the brightest shining extent of creation. (Sushumna is the brightest thing you can see, the light of a million suns and the coolness of a million moons is the actual experience here) He is the graceful, delightful game created by desire. He is the deepest aware energy inherent in all vibrations, ie all changes, ie Kaal. He is the unchanging substrate underlying all apparent change. He is the tongue of fire and the terrifying understanding of Time which burns all illusions. 

Dhung – This beej mantra indicates the one who destroys the illusion of duality, poison, heat of passion and impulse. The complete, abundant and prosperous one. The one with all strengths and the essence of everything. This beej mantra allows the removal of all troubles and allows one to endure in difficult situations. Also the enchanting awareness controlling the power of vibrations.

His form is obscured. His greatness cannot be precisely described. He is dark, ie he has no attributes which can be described in words. His truth is great, unusual and cannot be exactly determined. (Experiencing him is experiencing that the creation is an illusion. This can be a terrifying thought for spiritual aspirants). He is extraordinary, diffused yet apparent. He is certain, evident, real, extensive, spread all over. He is the form of a strange powerful, tremendous, conscious radiance. 

Rung – This beej mantra indicates the one who one who burns, increases internal energy, grants special and unusual benefits and has all possible strengths and is the essence of everything. The enchanting consciousness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the destroyer of all fake, fraud, artifice, illusory also the gun (post here). He especially destroys the Satva gun (the Raja and Tama are absorbed in Satva again during the course of your spiritual practice. Satva is destroyed by him so that you reach the tri-gunatit avastha, ie Advaita). He removes the darkness which surrounds the internal Sun, ie he provides true aware illumination. He is the third eye, is the depth of the radiant eternal fire burning here. He destroys the illusions of the created worlds with this fire. 

Nang – This is the beej mantra indicating the one who is ever still, silent, peaceful. It grants the ability to enjoy the game of creation and also attain Moksh. The enchanting intelligent radiance controlling the power of vibrations.

He is uncovered, ever new, ever fully visible always. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The fourth shlok,

  • Vam Vam vayuvegam natajana sadayam Brahma saram param tam
  • Kham Kham khadga hastam tribhuvana vilayam bhaskaram bhima rupam
  • Cham Cham chalitva achal chala chalita chalitam bhumi chakram
  • Mam Mam mayi rupam pranamata satatam Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (4)

Vang  This beej mantra indicates the one who makes everything travel, ie go through its life-cycle in time/ space and also travel towards the Eternal. Also attribute-less, enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the speed of the Pran vital energies, ie he controls the Pran. He is the impulse which drives the Pran to fulfil illusory desires, ie causes changes in the Pran. He also gently bends the Pran within each living being to reach the zenith, ie curves the Pran towards himself. He is kind and compassionate, the essence of the highest divine. He is the main point knowledge and the real meaning of wisdom. He is the energy of consciousness, the substance of intelligence. He is the eternal of the eternal. 

(Karma at the very basic is the change in the flow of pran. These changes are caused by intentions. So be very careful about what you intend in life)

Khang  This is the beej mantra for the one who causes tremors, agitations, disturbance, excitement in everything, ie puts everything into motion. Also omnipresent enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations..

He is the one who dissolves, annihilates the three worlds, (Bhuh Bhuvan Svahah) also the three states of Jagruti, Swapna and Sushupti. He is the terrible tremendous radiance of consciousness. He is the one who can be apparently moved, yet is immovable. 

Chang  This beej mantra destroys everything , ie self-ego, all living beings, all individual souls, the panch Maha-bhoot (post here). The fierce, terrifying and formidable enchanting awareness controlling the power of vibrations.

He apparently creates this universe through vibrations but he is essentially still. He is apart from the movement of matter, objects, worlds and creation. He is beyond limits, beyond extent, beyond creation, beyond place or position. 

Mang  This is the beej mantra indicating the one who is One, Advaita. Also the one consciousness which enchants all rivals and enemies and controls the power of vibrations.

He is the form of Maya, illusion, unreal, conjuring, deception, enchantment. He is ‘not this’. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The fifth shlok,

  • Sham Sham Sham shankha hastam, shashikara dhavalam moksha sampurna tejam
  • Mam Mam Mam Mam mahantam, kulamakula chulam mantra guptam sunityam
  • Yam Yam Yam bhootanatham, kili kili kalitam valakeli pradhanam
  • Ang Ang Ang Antariksham, pranamata satatam, Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (5)

Shang  This is the beej mantra which grants all auspicious benefits of positive actions. The most pure auspicious enchanting intelligence controlling the power of vibrations.

He is Om, all mantra, all vibrations, all sound. He is abundance prosperity and every thing. He is the kundalini which has reached its goal. He is awareness. He is dazzling, pure, without attributes, without blemish, beautiful, bright, illumination. He is the perfect and complete radiance of the realization of Moksh. 

Mang – This is the beej mantra indicating the one who is One. Also who enchants all rivals and enemies. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the greatest superior teacher, the Sat-Guru. He is the one who makes the kundalini free from the muladhar and carries her up along the seven chakra towards himself, the highest point. He is the secret mantra which perfectly and constantly brings the kundalini away from her limited set of lower chakras towards the apex. 

Yang  This is the beej mantra for the omnipresent, eternally pure and auspicious one. The enchanting consciousness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the protector of auspiciousness. He is the lord of all jiv-atma, individual souls. He possesses all prosperity, all worlds, all five mahabhoot all creation. He is the pivot, the pin around which the universes are bound. He is separate from the worlds yet his energy is subtly felt throughout. He is hidden in every bit of existence. This is his game, an amusement for the living beings who inhabit the worlds. He is the understanding of the most highest Intelligence. 

Ang – This is the beej mantra indicating the power of attraction. That essence which is always pulling towards the Self. The omnipresent, eternally present, ubiquitous one. The enchanting consciousness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the awareness pervading the ‘emptiness’ of space. Everything is filled with the consciousness that is him. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The sixth shlok,

  • Khan Khan Khan khadga bhedam vishamamrutamayam kaala kaalam karalam
  • Ksham Ksham Ksham kshepra vegam, Daha Daha dahanam tapta sandipyamaanam
  • Houm Houm Houmkaara naadam prakatita gahanam garjitaih bhumikampam
  • Vam Vam Vam valalilam pranamata satatam Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (6)

Khang – This beej mantra indicates the one who causes tremors, agitations, disturbance, excitement in everything, ie puts everything into motion. Also the omnipresent enchanting awareness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the sharp change in perception once you cross over the sword-like sharp boundary of the manifested creation. He is the one who stops the illusion of change. He destroys the concept of ‘division’, ie he is non-dual. He is eternal. The pain which one might feel in knowing that the creation is illusion is immediately converted into the realisation of the Eternal Truth.  He is the destroyer of that destroyer Time. He is the end of death. He is without attributes. He is the sharp sword who strongly breaks the illusion of creation. 

Kshang – This beej mantra indicates the one knower of the essence who exists in the manifested creation as well in the unmanifested consciousness. The form of the highest flame which radiates true illumination. The enchanting consciousness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the intense impulse for self-realization which seizes the individual soul, jiv-atma. He intensely burns the illusions around the jiv-atma. He completely destroys the concept of individual soul, ie the jiv-atma is completely consumed in his violent irresistible force and is completely absorbed in him. He is the blazing, fiery, burning flame of awareness, intelligence and consciousness.

Houng – This beej mantra indicates the one whose essence is the power and beauty of sound, speech, words, vibrations. Serene, resplendent and pure controller of everything. The one without attributes. The enchanting intelligence controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the roaring thunderous consciousness which creates the Om, ie creation. His presence is announced by the involution of the Om into the even more magnificent Naada. In your spiritual practice, he becomes evident when the Om is absorbed back into the Naada. His denseness, solidity, is manifested only when space/ time is destroyed. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

Vang – This is the beej mantra for the one who makes everything travel, ie go through its life-cycle in time/ space and then towards the Eternal. Also the attribute-less enchanting consciousness controlling the power of vibrations.

He plays the game of creation by apparently creating several living beings. He has devised this sport for the amusement of these living beings. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The seventh shlok,

  • Sam Sam Sam siddhiyogam sakala gunamukham devadevam prasannam
  • Pam Pam Pam padmanabham hariharamayanam chandra surya agni netram
  •  Aing Aing aishwarya natham satata bhayaharam purnadeva swarupam
  • Roum Roum Roum roudra rupam  pranamata satatam Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (7)

Sang – This is the beej mantra indicating the one true reason for everything, the one who describes everything. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the supreme union of understanding, fulfilment, prosperity, intellect, fortune etc with enlightenment. He establishes the complete attainment of perfection. He is the source of the three gun, Satva, Raja, Tama. He is the vibrations which create the material world. He is the divinity which energises all sense organs. He is the auspicious bright Light which is the source of all radiance. He is lucid, serene, true, pure, pleasing, kind, just, distinct, tranquil and gracious.

Pang – This is the beej mantra indicating the one who destroys all forms of alternatives, duality, troubles, blocks and illusions. The enchanting awareness controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the source of Time, ie he causes the illusion of change and the ability to sense this illusion. He is the opening where the kundalini resides. The centre of strength. He has within him, men, vibrations, worlds, Suns (post here) etc who are all destroyed and re-created in a cyclic manner. His true form is veiled behind the three eyes (right – Sun, left – Moon and third eye – Agni). 

Aing – This is the beej mantra for the one absolutely pure and faultless essence. All the individual souls are dependant on this one essence. The enchanting aware energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the owner of all possible prosperity and auspiciousness. He has dominion, supremacy, sway over all. He is uninterrupted, perpetual, constant and eternal. He takes away fear as surely as a sharp sword can cut. He removes the biggest disease ie ignorance. He is filled with radiance. He is the complete, strong, auspicious, perfect, full, entire, contented, abundant, excellent Emperor of all. He is the unknowable cipher. He is always in his own form. The individual soul, jiv-atma is a form of His own splendour.

Roung – This is the beej mantra which burns, increases internal energy, grants special and unusual benefits. Also indicates the ultimate controller whose essence is the power and beauty of sound, speech, words ie vibrations. The enchanting consciousnesses controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the original untamed, unsullied, pure form. He is the formidable fierce irresistible Radiance. He is the fire and also the cold. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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The eighth shlok,

  • Han Han Han hansayanam hasitakalahakam muktayogatahasam
  • Dham Dham Dham netra rupam shiramukutajata bandha bandhagra hastam
  • Tan Tan tankanadam tridalsatalatam kama garvapaharam
  • Bhrum Bhrum Bhrum bhutanadham pranamata satatam Bhairavam Kshetrapalam. (8)

Hang – This is the beej mantra of the one who is the essence of everything. The power of vibrations. The pure, unmodified source. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He rides the Hamsa mantra, ie achievable after the use of the Ajapa mantra. He has surpassed, defeated all the sources of turbulence. All sources of disagreements, imbalances, arguments, fights, quarrels have been effortlessly neutralised by him. All bindings and associations have been released by him. He scorns the concepts of fake, fraud, illusion, tricks, action, attachments, etc. All unions and combinations dissolve in a easy manner by him.

Dhang – This is the beej mantra which destroys the illusion of duality, poison, heat of passion and impulse. indicates the one who is complete, abundant and prosperous. Having all types of strengths and being the essence of everything. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is in the form of the guide seen at the third eye, conducting the individual soul, jiv-atma along a twisted route, towards the highest of the high point towards the root of all creation. He finally decisively unites the jiv-atma who has take a single pointed fixed pledge to realise itself with the highest apex experience ie the Advaita.

 Tang – This is the beej mantra which grants all material and subtle things required for true prosperity and is always radiant, true, pure and pleasing. The enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the sound of the sword which cuts off the sense of individual ego and limited self-pride. He dissolves the Om back into the Naada. He dissolves the three Gun back into the perfect base of everything that he himself is. He takes away all illusory desires, impulses, intentions etc. He removes all pride, sense of self-ego, arrogance and individual ego. 

Bhrung – This beej mantra finally silences the individual self-ego. It illuminates the eternal in the living beings. It alleviates the illusion of separation. It grants eternal calmness, peace and contentment. It is formidable strength which strikes terror in all inauspiciousness. Its energy encourages the internal flame, increases the internal fire and grants special and unusual benefits. Also the enchanting energy controlling the power of vibrations.

He is the lord of all existence, all individual souls, all living beings, the five pancha-mahabhoot, all worlds, all creation and everything. Pran, ie vital energies are reined in, inclined towards, course towards, are channelised by, always continuously, perpetually, eternally, by such a Kshetrapal Bhairav.

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  • Namo Bhootanatham

I bow down to that one who is the lord of all individual soul, jiv-atma-s, the five mahabhoot-s, all property, all worlds, etc. The holder of all that there is. 

  • Namo Pretanatham

I bow down to that one who is the possessor of all that has concluded.

  • Namah Kaalkaalam 

I bow down to that one who is the destroyer of all illusions of change. Time is measured in terms of change.

(Change means that there are two things, two states ie duality. He is the destroyer of the illusion of duality.)

  • Namah Rudramalam 

I bow to the one who wears a garlands made of pure awareness and the conscious energy of vibrations. 

  • Namah Kalika premalolam karalam

I bow down that one who out of love (for the seeker, spiritual aspirant), lights up the dark blackness visible at the third eye by a flash of conscious lightening.

(Thus the Kundalini enters the cavernous opening of the Sushumna and in one sweep merges with the Bhairav at the Sahasrara. Thus destroys the illusions of creation and realises the non-dual, Advaita.)

  • Namo Bhairavam Kashikam Kshetrapalam 

I bow down to that one fearless one, the most high, eternal Non-dual awareness. The protector of the highest awareness. The sustainer of the eternal consciousness. The self illuminated, Radiant. The Advaita.

(Kashi when used in the esoteric context is the third eye. The Ajnya chakra is the Kashi-kshetra of the body you reside in. The individual jiv-atma resides here in an ashtapadmadala chakra ‘behind’ the Ajnya chakra or the Kuthastha (post here))

Namah means more than just ‘bow down’! This word means something like the Ultimate power which is the paradox of illusion and wisdom united together. Depth of stillness and flowing movement together. The eternal unborn one in solitude.

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I sometimes recite this beautiful Teekshna Danshtra Bhairavashtak endlessly. Listen to it on a loop for days from time to time. It enchants my mind, silences it, removes all negativity, energises my soul. I was doing this for the past week, immersing myself in it, so thought of writing about it in brief. 

(I have used images of the Shivlingam in this post. Again, the Shivlingam is not connected to the personification of the Tamogun. The Shivlingam is a visual moorti or sign or mark used for the Advaita.)

 

Gratitude and the Sun

In your journey through life, gratitude is the first auspicious quality you have to recognise within yourself. Krutajnyata कृतज्ञता is the Sanskrit word loosely meaning gratefulness, gratitude. Krutajnya कृतज्ञ isto be grateful’. Gratitude is the fundamental way in which you change yourself. If you cannot feel grateful then you are always going to be unhappy, your spiritual progress will be blocked and auspicious things will not come your way. Feeling gratitude in some way opens up every positive quality within you.

कृतज्ञ is a compound word composed of kruta कृत and ज्ञ jnya. Being grateful कृतज्ञ means you understand that positive work that has been done for you. You recognise that some auspicious activity has been performed for you. You acknowledge that you have been given some help. Something good has been made available to you and you know it. You realise that you have gained a prize by some blessings. You are aware that some vital action has been accomplished for you. You know that  you have received something precious. You experience this magic of receiving and this elevates your soul. This is being कृतज्ञ. If you cannot experience this uplifting emotion then nothing will go right for you and if you are in trouble you will remain there. Gratitude is the basic energy which helps you from the inside out. It is your choice to feel grateful कृतज्ञ, so choose to recognise this emotion.

I am still getting so many comments with personal details. I have already written about the sure-shot remedy to all your material problems in this post here. If you cannot do even this much for 5mins daily then here is a even tinier 30sec daily practice. Do this much at least. You are doing this for your own self. If you do not do it, no one but you yourself are going to suffer. Do this for 21days and it will become a lifetime habit.

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When you wake up in the morning, go to your window, look at the skies. If your window faces the east, you will see the golden disc of the Sun blazing in the sky otherwise you will see his sun-rays lighting up the world. Look at him, his sun-rays and his light with your open eyes. Fold your hands in a Namaskar. Feel his golden power entering your body, mind and soul. Thank him for being there in the sky, giving so freely of his energy. He is so utterly beautiful, pure shimmery gold. Feel his beauty, his strength, his warmth on your face. If you know any Sanskrit mantra you can recite it mentally or express your gratitude in any language you are comfortable in or just keep your mind blank, be in the moment. Relax in the pure energy he is showering over you and the world before you. Do this very simple thing as you wake up and you will change yourself from the inside out. Just for 30 seconds, daily.

There are so many deities you can pray to, use as a focus for your intention, then why the Sun? The Sun is special, he is different. He is the consciousness you can actually see with your own eyes. You cannot see Brahmadev, Vishnu, Sarasvati, Ganapati, etc with your open eyes. The other deities are worshipped in their derived forms, eg in form of Vigraha or Moorti.  They are visualised in the Sa-gun forms. Eg Shankar is visualised with attributes like a beautiful man, brilliant skin color, blue colored throat, Trishul, sitting in Kailas etc. You offer kumkum, turmeric, flowers, Akshata, coconut etc to this Moorti and thus do your daily puja. This is the simple way of worshiping the Parabrahma in the Sa-gun form. More difficult is Sadhana of the Nir-gun form of the Parameshwar. When you do your Soham mantra, you are doing the most subtle Sadhana of the Nir-gun Advaita itself. You are focussing on the pure conscious energy directly. But all this might not make sense to those people who are still struggling on the spiritual route.

So the easiest Sadhana for everyone, irrespective of anything, is to focus on the Sun. Surya is the only ‘pratyaksha devata’. He is the only symbol of the radiant consciousness which is actually visible to everyone always. You just focus on the visible golden sphere of the visible Sun. (later as you go deeper within, he will show you more subtle aspects of himself. Nature of the Sun post here)

  • प्रत्यक्ष pratyaksha – manifested, explicit, visible, direct, can be sensed, can be perceived, self-evident, real, actual, immediate, clear, etc.
  • देवता Devata – image of the Parameshwar, moorti, divinity, radiance etc.

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There are atheists or people who do not follow Sanatan Dharma or ‘modern’ people who do not believe in the Non-dual Consciousness. But even these people have to believe in the Sun visibly shining in the blue skies. If not in the spiritual sense then at least in the material sense? He is responsible for Life on Earth. His power maintains the planet Earth and us on it. All the processes on the Earth from the water cycle, plant life, animal life, everything depends on the Sun. If there were no Sun, there would be no Life.

We understand the concept of Time, Kaal with reference to the Sun. Colors, light, warmth, all concepts that we know are in relation to the Sun. Everything that we understand or do has the Sun as the reference point, either subtly or visibly. Without the Sun in the skies, we are nothing.

Sun, the Surya, is the original Jyotirlinga. He is auspicious, pure, the brightest light that we all see always.

  • Jyoti ज्योतिः is brightness, fire, eye, celestial realms, dawn/Sandhya, lightning, life etc.
  • Linga लिङ्ग is image, token, power of generation, power to cause change, spot, sign, reason, proof, a invariable mark which proves the existence of something, evidence, conclusion, mark, movement etc.

We all believe in the power of the Sun in some way or the other. It is only irrational and illogical people who perhaps don’t. Sun is the visible source of energy in every way possible. So acknowledge this strength, be grateful to him and give him this 30 sec of your undivided attention daily.

I have written a lot on the Sun. He is always available in front of you and his worship is the easiest, ie you offer him Arghya, plain regular water. It takes just 1 min to offer him Arghya. What could be more simpler? But if you feel this to be random superstition, then at least accept that his warmth keeps the Earth and you alive. You are here on the earth and you can see the Sun in the skies. Be grateful for this fact. Acknowledging it is just 30sec of your time daily. This is the beginning of gratitude, कृतज्ञता, your first step towards real understanding.

The tiniest things done with positive intention have tremendous cascading results. In Sanatan Dharma, practice is given prime importance. And no spiritual practice is small or big, all are valid paths. Choose something simple and do it daily. Keep reminding yourself of your pure connection to the Divine. Practice so that you Experience. Experience so that you can Transcend. And know that you are the Advaita yourself.

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Today is a special day for me so thought of sharing this simple practice.

Bali

I am writing this short post because of a question I received on Bali. Apparently someone thought that killing birds and animals is a part of Sanatan Dharma aka Hinduism.

The short answer is, No!

And if you ever kill animals/ birds thinking the ‘sacrifice’ will help you, you are in for a traumatic time. If you ever kill any living being, thinking that this ‘sacrifice’ will take away your problems or give you happiness, you will create horrible karma for yourself. Such killing is not allowed, ever. This is applicable to everyone irrespective of the faith he follows.

बलि Bali is a Sanskrit word and has several meanings like levy, offering, oblation, revenue due to the king, tribute, worship, gift, offering, power, strength, might, karma etc. There was King of the Asuras named Maha-Bali who was extremely wise, strong, generous etc. The root word is Bala बल which essentially means strength. When you give ‘Bali’ you are essentially powering your intention with this act of Bali. In Sanantan Dharma, if someone says that you should give Bali, it means that you have to offer a coconut. Only this one item, नारिकेल coconut, is Bali. Nothing else is acceptable as Bali, ever.

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You go to any temple in India, or at the ghats/ banks of sacred rivers, you will find that the flower vendors there always have the coconut as a part of the puja flowers set-up on sale. When you go inside the temple, you will offer this, coconut, flowers, sweets, kumkum, turmeric, akshata, camphor, incense sticks etc to the deity with your prayers/ intention. The priest will generally break open the coconut and give you half of it as a prasadam. Or he will touch the coconut to the deity’s feet and give it back to you, you are now expected to break it at a designated place inside the temple. This one fruit has the capacity to amplify your intention, to add power to your wish and will help in getting it fulfilled soon. You can offer a coconut /Bali in a temple or in your home puja-ghar or at sacred rivers/ sea etc. Bali is also performed when you start something new for the first time or when you need added protection or an added boost of power. eg when entering a new house, or entering your new office, when driving a new car for the first time, etc. All auspicious activities are powered by a Bali of the coconut.

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A brief procedure would be this.

You take a brown coconut which has water in it. This water part is necessary, so do check if you can hear the water sloshing inside the coconut. Then remove the excess fibres on it leaving a tuft at the point where its ‘eyes’ are. If you do not remove these fibres, breaking it with a single dash will be difficult. Stand in front of your deity. Keep the coconut in front of it. Pray for whatever it is that you want from the deity. Or wish for general happiness and prosperity. You can use Sanskrit mantra-s if you know them or speak in the language you are comfortable in. Just keep your mind clear and intention strong. Then apply Kum-kum, turmeric, unbroken raw rice/ Akshata, flowers etc, if you have these items, to the deity and to the coconut. Then hold the coconut in your hand. Express your wish again intensely in your mind. Then dash this coconut on the ground before the deity so that it breaks. It must compulsorily break in one dash. If it does not break then it is considered inauspicious. This requires strength, so this part is generally done by the men, father/ brother/ husband/ son or the pujari in the temple will do it. The water from the coconut will spill as it gets broken, if you can catch it in your palm, you can drink it as a teerth. Afterwards you can eat the coconut white as a prasadam.

A coconut is a scared object but obviously it is also used in the kitchen. Like I use 1-2 coconuts in my kitchen in an average week. But even if I am going to use it in a chutney or a curry, when it is being broken, my husband will say aloud the name of the family deity and break it cleanly in a single dash.

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There are some videos where animals/ birds are being shown killed in the name of deities, especially Ugra-roop of deities, often Devi Kali. This does not feel right in the energy sense. I was watching a weird ritual on Youtube where Her Moorti  was drenched with the blood of these killed animals. The blast of negativity from the scene was unbelievable. So then I asked the Devi Kali Herself about this (even you can ask deities questions and they always answer). She clearly said that if you cannot give it life you cannot take its life. The energies of the animals/ birds who are killed are absorbed by Her Gana-s and not by Her. The Gana-s are the attendants of the deities and are capable of granting minor blessing, siddhi etc etc on their own. If you get caught in these minor things from the Gana-s you will never be able to focus on Her. This is a traumatic death of a living being, the energies are inauspicious so are more used for the maran, maaran,  vidveshan etc types of prayog. This is a tamasic activity which cannot add auspiciousness. But people who do not know better indulge in this as it does give results. The energy of physical death is a powerful force which can be used for hurting others. But it is a power born of trauma and will eventually give only trauma. It always turns back on the practitioners themselves. Regular people like you and me should never get into these types of prayogs, they will turn on you later and give spectacularly horrid results.

In some cultures all over the world, mass killing of animals as ‘sacrifices’ is practiced routinely. This energy of traumatic death increases the negativity of these people and the place too. In fact it feeds the energies of dissonance, discordance and strife in the subtle planes around the Earth. And obviously create negative karma for those doing it.

So if you feel that you have to do a Bali, go ahead, dash a coconut and power your intention, it will always help. But never ever harm an animal/ bird thinking that its death will help you gain your desire. This is short term gain for long term pain.

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Ved Vedanta and Om

There was a question “Is that the reason why the Veda samhitas have absence of some key devas and deities like Ganesh , Kali , mahavidyas , avatars of Vishnu. They have been lost or is it by design that rishis want us to explore them via indra?” and the answer became too long so posted it as a post. 

A simple question and here is a longish answer.

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First a bit about Sanskrit, the language in which all these texts, Ved, Vednant, Puran etc are written. One thing you have to remember is that Sanskrit, Devbhasha Samskrutam has no proper nouns. Am sure this sounds odd to you. So, a brief explanation,

Eg This sentence, ‘I am Samantha’. In this sentence ‘Samantha’ is a proper noun. It is a girl’s name and by this sentence you understand that I am a girl named ‘Samantha’. The word Samantha has no meaning in itself. Thus it is a proper noun. That is the end of it, no more meanings here.

Eg This sentence ‘I am Manish’. Here Manish is a Sanskrit word. It has a meaning in itself. Every word in Sanskrit has a meaning. Every word can be used as an adjective to describe something. If you think of ‘Manish’ as a noun, then you will understand that I am boy named ‘Manish’. But if you think of ‘Manish’ as an adjective then you will think that I am ‘someone who can be described as Manish’. There is a very big difference in these two levels of understanding. The Sanskrit word ‘Manish’ is a samas/ compound word, it is expanded to ‘Mansaya Isha iti Manish’. The simplest translation of this compound word would be ‘the Highest God of the Mind is Manish’. So our sentence ‘I am Manish’ completely changes its meaning depending on ‘Manish’ being understood as a proper noun or adjective.

Sanskrit is a highly esoteric language, it has layers of meanings. Understanding it depends on the capacity of the person who is reading it. Enlightened Rishi-s wrote these texts so there are secrets within secrets. That is why I always say never read Sanskrit books which have been translated into other languages. Or if you read them never believe that the translator has got the correct meaning of what the Rishi actually wrote. Best is to learn Sanskrit yourself.

Now if I write this same sentence in Sanskrit. ‘Aham Manishh asmi’, then here is what you get. ‘I, self-radiant, truth, certainly, surely, indeed, verily am the wisdom, reflection, intelligence, idea, desire, conception, power, master, strength, the Lord of the Mind.’ This is the power of Devbhasha Samskrutam. Now tell me can you ever trust ‘translations’ of Sanskrit texts?

So, if you can, think of our deities names as adjectives. Shankar means happiness. Shiva is the auspicious one. Ganapati means the energy which enters the individual souls and causes change. Nandi is intelligence. Laxmi is the one who has a recognisable sign. Sarasvati means the one who flows. Ganga is the one who moves very fast. Krishna means the unknowable blackness which pulls. Ram is happiness. Dev is radiance. Bhagwan is the one who has all auspicious qualities. Each of these Sanskrit words has several meanings in addition so every deity of Sanatan Dharma is more like a collection of attributes. The deities are not humans, even though we have got used to seeing them as humans. Deities in Hinduism are pure consciousness defined by some attributes. Their names are not proper nouns but are adjectives. Think of them in this way and you will get more insight into their real natures. (I wrote on meaning of the Navavarna mantra post here

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Now what is Sanatan Dharma/ Hinduism? To understand Dharma you have to understand the Shatdarshan shastra. I have written a post here on these 6 darshan shastra-s. It is not the work of one lifetime, but you carry on whatever you have learnt into your next lives.

Our ‘God’ is the highest conscious intelligence, non-dual, Paramatma, Parabrahma, Paramtattva, Nirvishesh Brahma, Advaita etc. This is the key deity of Sanatan Dharma, the only ‘deity’. You yourself are this Parabrahma. So essentially you worship your Self.

The Ved (Ved, Brahmana, Aranyaka, Upanishad),are the final authority for everything in our Dharma. The crowning glory of the Ved are the Vedanta, which deal with the Advaita in great clarity. The 10 major Upanishads with the Mandukya Upanishad occupy the highest place. The beautiful Mandukya has only 12 lines about the Om and the Paramtattva. 

So now about Om. Om is also not the actual Paramtattva. Om is the nearest thing to it. Something like a ‘Moorti’ of the Advaita. A Moorti that you see in temples is made from stone, metal etc. But here you are required to visualise a Moorti made of conscious energy. Om is a Moorti of the Paramatma. You have to visualise Om with this intention and understanding. This is difficult for beginners on the spiritual path.

The course work has to suit to the student. You cannot teach a 1st std child, the syllabus of a PhD. Ved and the Vedanta is PhD course work.

In Sanatan Dharma the main texts are the Ved (Ved, Brahmana, Aranyaka, Upanishad), these have the highest validity, they are the source of everything. Then are the Itihas, histories, eg Ramayan, Mahabharat, the actual incidents are given in detail. They also have philosophy ie attaining Moksh and practical stuff like how to manage a kingdom (ever read the original Mahabharat or Ramayan, it is much much more than a simple story). These Itihas conform to the Vedic principles. Then we have the Puran-s. In these additional historical incidents are given, more philosophy, more practical stuff etc. And anything written here has to conform to the Vedic concepts and the broad outline of the Itihas. The 18 Puran-s written by Ved-Vyas are given more prominence in this category. And there are the several commentaries, Bhashya, treatises, practical work, more philosophy etc written on these texts by enlightened Guru-s like Adi Shankaracharya and others. This broadly is the corpus of texts available in Sanatan Dharma. Regular Hindus never read these texts, unfortunately.

All Shastra, all pujas, all yajnyas, all mantras are secretly hidden in the Ved. It is a huge huge repository of knowledge. eg the entire Shri Vidya which deals with the worship of the Devi Lalitatripursundari, the Maha-vidya-s etc is from the Ved. It is one of the many Vidya-s mentioned here. Another Vidya is the Chakshushi, I have written about it briefly in this post. All these Vidya-s will take you to the Parabrahma if used in the correct manner. Jyotish is also a Vidya.

These different texts describe the same Reality in different perspectives in different words which are suited to people of different mindsets. eg If you read the texts on Devi Lalita, it is given that the Devi just looked at her toe-nails and the 10 Vishnu-avatar-s manifested from here, did their work and again got reabsorbed in her. This is obviously different from what we popularly know about the Vishnu-avatar-s. In the Shiv Puran, there is a Shiv Gita which Bhagwan Shiv narrated to Shri Ram at Rameshwar before his war with Ravan. eg Bhagwat Gita, most people believe that this is the only Gita, the highest teaching. But if you open the Ishwar Gita, it is very similar to Bhagwat Gita. If you read the Shiv Gita, this is also similar and also has a Vishwaroop darshan. Then you read the Anu-gita which Krishna taught to Arjun after the war, and this is very different from the Bhagwat Gita which he taught first. There is a vast ocean of philosophy, spiritual practices, teachings, discourses in Sanatan Dharma. If you randomly read from here and there, you will get extremely confused. 

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In the past and even now, Dharma is facing a lot of challenges. The Dev-Asur Sangram, ie the constant war between radiant and dull energies is always on at different levels. It is still going on now and will always occur. Sometimes the Dev will have the upper hand and sometimes then Asur might seem to be winning.

There are numerous examples where our temples, libraries, universities and their custodian Brahmins were very viciously destroyed. The horror in Kashmir where specifically Tantra and its genuine practitioners were systematically wiped out over the last 500yrs or so. The oldest physical book of Valmiki Ramayan was burnt when the Britishers burnt the libraries in Kolkata about 200yrs ago. Tipu burnt ancient libraries, manuscripts and their custodian Brahmins in South India about 300yrs ago. More insidious was that the invaders injected nonsense in our books and are still doing it. People who do not follow Sanatan Dharma are writing translations of these texts with the express purpose of altering their meanings.

It is difficult to find authentic texts and more difficult to find a real Guru. Also we have forgotten our mother-tongue Sanskrit, thus are a highly confused directionless lot.

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Back to Om. Vedanta clearly states the Om to be the Paramtattva. Focus on the Om and you will gain that realization. The Ved describe Om and how it has manifested the universe from itself. Om is the first vibration, the first movement. The main deities described are the 33 koti devata ie the 8 Vasu, 11 Rudra, 12 Aditya, Prajapati and Indra. They further create the universe and everything else in it. These are the backbone of the creation and they actually exist in our backbones, in the Sushumna nadi. 

You create your own universe. This concept is also rather difficult for beginners to comprehend. I have put posts on using energy consciously, try doing some of these exercises to actually experience how you can create. Once you succeed at an ‘energy experiment’, your perception changes forever. 

Indra as well as all the other Vedic deities are pure energy. They are not human figures. Now for the students who could not comprehend the highly esoteric Ved-s, more human looking deities was introduced in the Puran-s. All the energies were given human forms. Prakruti was given a Moorthi of the beautiful Devi Lalitatripursundari. The tri-Gun, Satva, Raja, Tama were given human forms so we have the Tri-dev etc. All these Puranic deities are also conscious energies, but described in more human terms so that we can relate to them more easily.

But every shloka, every stotra, every sukta in this vast ocean of Sanatan Dharma describes only the Advaita. This might be difficult for beginners to believe but eg. every one of the 1000 names in the Vishnu sahastranama are ultimately dedicated to the Parameshwar, from the first ‘Vishnu’ to the last ‘Sarvapraharanayudh’ all are linked to this Parabrahma. The Dasha-Mahavidyas are the energies of the 10 directions, the intelligence of space, their essential nature is also the Paramtattva (post here). Now open the Devi Atharvasheersha, She says ‘Aham Brahma swaroopini’ in the first line. If you open the Ganapati athavasheersha, it says that Ganapati is the ‘pratekshya tat tvam asi’ in the first line itself. ‘Tat tvam asi’ is a Mahvakya of the Ved. So all deities are essentially Parabrahma.

There is only one thing that is worthy of being known. That is Parabrahma and we do it through his Moorthi, Om. You are Om, I am Om, we worship Om and whatever we do or see is all Om. Eg In all stories/ allegories, you see that the Tri-dev are generally in Dhyan or in deep contemplation. Who are they doing Dhyan of? Who is the essential consciousness within them? In the Puran-s, it is mentioned that the Tri-dev did intense Sadhana to get to this position that they enjoy. Whose sadhana did they do? To become aware as ‘Indra’, 100 ashva-medh yajnyas are necessary, who are they dedicated to? So just think, to become aware as ‘Om’, what level of intensity will be necessary?

In our pantheon of deities and the humungous mass of stories/allegories, if you get into who was whose husband, whose wife, who was the father, who was the son, who came first and who came later, you will get very confused. The Ved say this same thing, the serious aspirant must focus on the ultimate reality, not on anything else. 

You should not think of yourself as Indra or Vishnu or Shankar etc or any of the Vedic or Puranic deities. Think of yourself as Om, the Parabrahma. Try to explore and locate that Supreme consciousness within.

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And finally to sum up this discussion.

Do what your Sat-Guru teaches you to do. Practice under the guidance of a Guru. Follow what he tells you. This is why the Sat-Guru in Sanatan Dharma is so essential. Without the blessings of the Guru you cannot do anything and cannot realise anything. 

Eg if your Guru teaches you from the Bhagwat Gita of the Mahabharat. You will think of Shri Krishna as your adored deity. First as a Vishnu-avtar, then as you go deeper into him you will realise that the Gita talks about the Advaita. The real Krishna, who ‘pulls’ you inwards is the Advaita. The ‘unknowable blackness’ is again a negation of this created universe. Your Guru will help you experience this essential attribute of ‘Krishna’. 

Eg if your Guru teaches you to worship Devi Lalitatripursundari. You will worship the Shri Chakra/Meru with mantras. Initially you might think that you are worshipping a beautiful Devi wearing red sari, jewellery, 4 hands etc. You might call her Mother, Maai, Aai, Mataji, Maiiyaa, etc but later you realise that her name Maa is most apt. I have written this post on this word ‘Maa’, it is a negation, essentially means ’No’. Her subtlest nature is a resounding negation of the creation you see around you. She is Advaita. This realisation will come at the highest levels of your sadhana.

Eg if your Guru teaches you Gayatri puja. You might think that you are worshipping a beautiful Devi with 5-faces etc with her Gayatri mantra. But later as the mantra pulls you inwards you realise that the ‘Savitra’ in the Gayatri mantra refers to the internal illumination. Your are worshipping your own Luminous Self. And this is the Advaita.

Eg if the Guru starts off with the pure Vedanta. This is a rare Guru and an equally rare student. You will then go directly to the Upanishad. He will teach you ‘na iti, na iti’, not this not this. Again the negation of the Maya of creation and the single pointed focus on the pure Om. Read about the Om, practice Om, experience Om and thus the Paramtattva whose Moorti Om is.

A Guru teaches what he has achieved, ie he can teach only what he has the ‘adhikar’ to teach. ie, a History teacher will teach History not Math and a 1st std teacher will not teach PhD students. If a Guru has practiced the Gayatri mantra he will guide you with the Gayatri mantra. If he visualises the Gayatri as a Devi in a red sari then he will teach you this same visualisation. If he has visualised the Gayatri as the Advaita then he will be able to guide you till this final destination. When you get blessings of a Sat-guru, the Atma-jnyani Mahapurush, the Jivan-mukt, ie the Parabrahma only then will you attain Moksh.

So choose your Guru very carefully. Guru is a force which pulls you towards your Self. And there are several pretenders who claim to have got enlightenment or claim to converse with the deities etc. Evaluate carefully before accepting someone as your Guru. If you do not have anyone around, try to follow some daily routine (post here on daily pujas). Get your own intention moving, desire to know your own reality. If you desire it, it will happen. When the student is ready the Guru will manifest. 

So Dear Reader, this is a rather rambling answer to your question, see if it helps you in some way.

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