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Mantra Recitation - Part - 2
Date: Sun Sep 13 1998 - 09:34:32 PDT

Mantra Recitation - Part 2
Anbil Ramaswamy
"Mantra combines the old Vedic root `man' to think with the element `tra' to
indicate `kra' a suffix meaning instrumentality. Both mantra and sandhyaabasa
are cryptic, esoteric utterances deliberately unintelligible to the
uninitiated. Of the 70 million mantras, some contain bizarre and
unintelligible phonemes like `hrim', hram', `hrum', `phat' etc. But, 'OM' -is
the most sacred of all belonging to a special class as `m' and `n' which
unlike most consonants can be sustained as long drawn out humming sounds.     

"The Bijakshara" (the seed Mantra) bestows great benefits on being repeated.
The Moolamantra (the root Mantra) is a.k.a.Pranavam or OM or the Akshara or
Ekakshara and is the most powerful and can bestow unimaginable benevolence on
the person uttering it. There are a number of shorter Mantras. Even
exclamations used  during   sacrificial  rituals are regarded as Mantras
though of less significance- svast fortune; samyoh: all hail; svadha:
oblation, svaha: offering; vashat: Bravo, phat: crack (a weapon used to drive
off evil spirits)

The Sanskrit `O' is  a `diphtong' and is a contraction of A and  U when
pronounced quickly result in the sound O. With `m' it gives the whole the
sound of " OM"  

There are also a number of specific Mantras which are believed to confer
special benefits apart from the moolamantra (brahmabija) which  alone  leads
to realization, to liberation from bondage and attainment of Moksha 
1.'AIM" (Vak bija): for acquiring knowledge and wisdom, mastery over words,
powers of speech 
2.'HRIM' (Saktibija) for   conquest of the unmanifest, of the power of nature,
going beyond the constraints of time and space.
3.'SRIM" (Laksmi bija) for gaining worldly wealth, power, beauty, glory
4."KLIM" (Kaama bija) for gaining transcendent knowledge, pleasure, victory,
royal power etc.,
5."KRIM" (Aadhya bija) for gaining detachment, power over death, transcendent
6."YAM"=Air              Items 6 to 10 are the sacred Mantras relating to the
7"LAM"=Earth           They are used in performing NYASA (Consecration of the
8."RAM"=Fire            various parts of the  body to the  deity presiding
over them
9"VAM"=Water         corresponding element -- a kind of relating the human    
10. "HAM"= Ether       with the elemental cosmology
11.PARASAKTI BIJA-      for acquiring supreme energy
12.KHECHARI BIJA-        for flying through the void
13.GAYATRI BIJA -       for acquiring and protecting vital energies
14.KRODA SANTI BIJA- for calming of anger
15.AGNI PRAJVALANA BIJA- for kindling fire
16.NIDRA STAMBANA BIJA- for preventing sleep
17.PANCHAKSHARA- for invoking Siva with his 5 lettered mantra
18. PANCHADASI- the 15 syllable Mantra of the primordial Goddess.
And, many more like Brahma Gayatri, Brahma Mantra, Mantra Raja, Rudra Mantra
and special Mantras for preventing misfortune most of which are found in
Atarva Veda.
(To continue)