A phoneme is the the smallest unit of sound which makes sense in a language. The Shiv sutrani शिव सूत्राणि also called the Maheshwar Sutrani महेश्वर सूत्राणि (सूत्राणि is the plural of सूत्र) are the phonemes of the Devbhasha Samskrutam. The highly intense building blocks of the perfect language of this creation, the perfectly arranged definition of Illumination. All common languages spoken in this world today are degraded versions Apabhraunsh अपभ्रंश of Sanskrit.
In my several posts on the Kundalini, Chakra system, beej akshar etc I have written on the Consciousness that Sound really is. We worship sound as Shabda Brahma, the Eternal Divine. Then the indestructible sounds, the Akshar of Sanskrit are the sounds that the pran makes as it moves in the energy channels/ Nadi inside the Pranmaikosh of the five sheathed body. As you speak Sanskrit, normally in conversation or as a mantra during your pujas you are actually enhancing the power of your own Pran and Nadi system. This is why I reiterate that everyone must be able to speak simple conversational Sanskrit, read one Sanskrit article/ day and recite one Sanskrit mantra for a life time. Sound is Awareness and Sanskrit is the accurately precise mathematically perfect raw power that you directly derive from Sound as Self.
Maharishi Panini arranged the grammar of the Devbhasha Samskrutam in his book Ashtadhyayi. He did not ‘write’ the grammar, this language is the Devbhasha, ie the perfect description of the Illumination, it is in-built. He merely ‘saw’ the grammar in the Akash and wrote it down. In this following shlok he gives the origin of the Shiv sutrani.
नृत्त अवसाने नटराज राज: ननाद ढक्कां नवपञ्चवारम्। उद्धर्त्तु कामः सनकादि सिद्धान् एतद् विमर्शे शिवसूत्रजालम्॥
For the students of Pravrutti, this shlok can be understood as,
- At the site of the act of Dissolution, the supreme actor of the drama, Nataraj, made loud sound using the large drum, Damru, fourteen times. The intention was to elevate the Maharishis Sanak and the other Siddhas Seers. This mesh of the Shiv Sutra, the auspicious phonemes of the Devbhasha, is truly inside the real Knowledge of the Divine.
- ie Bhagwan Nataraj danced the Tandav, ie caused the dissolution of creation. At the end of the Tandav, ie at the end of dissolution ie at start of new creation, he played his Damru fourteen times and created the first sound seeds of this present creation. These are 14 lines of the Shiv Sutrani. The realised Seers, the Maharishis Sanak, Sananda, Sanatan and Sanat and other Siddha Rishis etc witnessed this evolution of the Nada. ie the Conscious energy of sound vibration further differentiated into phonemes. As the language of light, Devbhasha took birth, it acted as a catalyst for further creation and subsequent evolution.
For the students of the Nivrutti, the same shlok can be understood as,
- At the location where movement was occurring. (This is the perceived Creation itself, the site of movement, ie duality.) The ruler of the best of the actors made a large sound, to the disappearance of the newly spread out multitude (All individual souls are the actors. The Paramatma is the sovereign of all these individual jivatmas. The Nada is the source of Om itself. Here the Eternal is has made Om itself disappear). The intention is to draw out the most ancient eternal by subduing the plural. This is verily the the illusion of the web which has the Intelligence of the auspicious thread inside it.
Sanskrit is a palimpsest. The same words will give different meanings depending on the intelligence, awareness and intention of the writer/ reader. This is the true beauty of the Devbhasha, it speaks to the individual soul and always describes splendour of the Eternal Soul.
The phonemes of Sanskrit, the Shiv Sutrani are,
- अ इ उ ण् |
- ऋ ऌ क् |
- ए ओ ङ् |
- ऐ औ च् |
- ह य व र ट् |
- ल ण् |
- ञ म ङ ण न म् |
- झ भ ञ् |
- घ ढ ध ष् |
- ज ब ग ड द श् |
- ख फ छ ठ थ च ट त व् |
- क प य् |
- श ष स र् |
- ह ल् |
This is me reciting them in one breath in the first audio, because I could not find anything suitable online. The effect is clearer when they are recited at one stretch. I have recited them slowly in the second audio. I am not a professional singer so do bear with me on these recitations. (For some strange reason, the Shiv Sutrani are the first mantra I have put up in my own voice on my blog.
Even though the mantra is in my voice, it is always and ever the Shiv Sutra by Nataraj Raja. One can read, recite and hear the mantra only if the Bhagwan desires/allows it. So do be grateful to the Parmeshwar as you recite/ read/ listen to them. It is by his Krupa.
Ideally the recitation should be in one exhalation, this will come with practice. And remember to start and end your mantra jaap with Om. Recitation of the Shiv Sutrani is called the akshar samamnaya अक्षर समाम्नाय and this is a mantra.
Try to get the pronunciation of these ऋ ऌ ङ् ञ ङ ञ् ष right. Very very few people can pronounce these correctly. The remaining vowels and consonants in the Sutrani are the usual ones we use in our daily life.
- ऋ – is Rrhhu, the tongue touches the upper teeth on both sides and the tip flicks the palate and you say ‘Rrhhu’, in a short burst (People in Uttar Bharat pronounce ऋ as ‘Ri’ which is incorrect)
- ऌ – is Llrrhu, the tongue first touches the sides and tip to the palate. and then flicks out and the sides of the tongue come down to touch the upper teeth. You say ‘Llrrhu’ in a short burst.
- ङ- ङ् + अ = ङ For the proper pronunciation of this ङ, first recite – Ka, kha, ga, gha, क ख ग घ and keeping your throat and tongue in the same position, elevate the middle part of the tongue towards the upper palate, but do not touch it. This is the nasal ङ of the ka-varga क-वर्ग. I cannot find a suitable english letter combination for this sound, it is something like a breathy ‘nng’. If you follow the rhythm of the Ka, kha, ga, gha, the last nasal ङ will also flow in the same style. Do not overthink. Once you get its pronunciation you can say it stand alone. Like this,
- ङ् – Here the pronunciation is a bit typical. ङ – अ = ङ् This is the same as the above but only the pure consonant ङ् is to be pronounced, ie do not pronounce the अ. This will come with practice.
- ञ – This is the last nasal consonant of the च-वर्ग. It will be easier to learn to pronounce with the rest of the Cha-varga. cha, chha, ja, jha, च छ ज झ . And keeping the same throat and tongue position, try to elevate the middle part of your tongue towards the upper palate but not touching it. Again I cannot find an english letter combination for this sound, something like ‘ynn’. As you follow the rhythm of the Cha Chha Ja Jhha, the last nasal ञ will also flow in the same style. Like this,
- ञ् – This is the pure consonant energy. ञ – अ = ञ् You will pronounce it in the same way as above but avoid the last vowel अ, speak only the pure ञ् consonant. Again this will come with practice.
- ष – This is Shha. In this you will fold your tongue backwards and say ‘shhha’. (This is different from श, here your tongue lightly touches the upper teeth on the sides and you say ‘sha’.)
The Damaru that the Nataraj plays is not a drum, it is so much more.
- It produces binaural beats and the ‘soundless’ vibration of the Nada is embedded in it. Binaural beats are formed when two slightly dissimilar tones are played together. They subtract from each other and leave an undefinable ‘soundlessness’ which is very beautiful and intense. In fact, do this as an experiment. Buy a properly made Damaru and play it yourself for 2-3 minutes. See for yourself what it makes you feel. You should experience a mental state equivalent to what you get after your 108 Dhyan mantra repeats.
- Playing the Damaru with specifically varying hand movements can create a series of two or more sounds. This is exactly what the Bhagwan did. He played it 14 times and created 14 sequences of sounds. He created the Devbhasha from the primordial conscious non-dual sound.
- Finally the Damaru is a representation of the continually evolving consciousness. Its shape represents expanding and contracting energies which follow each other ad infinitum.
- This shape is a representation of Dissolution and Creation perfectly balanced around the central Bindu. Cyclic Shrushti and Pralaya. The Eternal Nataraj plays the Damaru as he dances the Tandav, ie dissolution. And he also plays it to initiate a new cycle of creation.
- Playing the Damru while reciting the Shiv Sutrani is an energy high.
You are saying aloud the smallest elements of the Devbhasha, the building blocks of the perfection of Illumination. When you recite them faster and continue, it sounds just like the Damru playing, the same energy. Channelising the power of creation and dissolution within your self with the power of these vibrations. Trying to find that central Bindu, to stabilise yourself at this point. To become the Observer, the Pivot around which creation and dissolution are perfectly balanced. And the speciality of the Damru, the binaural beats, so in your jap a state will come when the Sutrani literally vanish in a burst of indescribable light/ sound/ energy. This is the state of Samadhi. And it happens.
In families who follow Sanatan Dharma, this sequence is taught to the boy child at the time of the Yajnopavit Sanskar and he is required to recite it during his Gayatri puja sequence regularly. For girls, wearing the Yajnopavit sutra is not compulsory, but all girls should be taught the Gayatri mantra and also these Sutrani on their 6th birthday.
So if you can, do add the Maheshwar Sutrani to your daily routine. Also teach your child and other family members, it takes less than 15 seconds to recite it once. On the very mundane levels, they are healing in nature and regular recitation will ensure that your physical and mental health remains balanced.
This will improve your pronunciation of the Akshar. Today people are unable to pronounce certain sounds, either they purposely spoil the sound or possibly they cannot say these. Spoiling the pronunciation of the Akshar affects your own energy, so always try to be as clear in your pronunciation. स्पष्ट उच्चारण is an asset. Do not unnecessarily fake accents or twist the sound, it will spoil your pronunciation for ever.
(Some people where I live pronounce र Ra as ड Da. eg Hindi Parso as Padso, Mirchi as Midchi, Kar lo as Kad lo. Then Ya as Ja, like Yug is pronounced as Jug! Some add an extra ‘A’ sound, स्त्री stri as istri इस्त्री though funny is actually common. But the heights was when an astrologer was pronouncing स्पष्ट spasht as अस्पष्ट aspasht, which was actually sad.)
Pronouncing the Akshar correctly means that your tongue is touching the correct parts of your mouth. This is what grants you the complete energy of the Akshar. (For Sadhaks, control over the tongue is critical. Ever wondered why it is attached only from one end?) As you improve your pronunciations, you will be able recite your mantra, stotra etc perfectly, this is invaluable. First is verbal jap, the tongue and the mouth, then as you perfect this, the jap moves inwards, manasik jap at the 3rd eye. And then you see what you are meant to see. Illumination.