Science of Mantra
The knowledge of Shabda Brahm - Nada Brahm is an important branch of the Indian school of spirituality. The science and philosophy of Shabda Brahm encompasses the methodology and effects of mantra-japa, prayers, collective chanting and sadhanas of the veda-mantras and that of the Nada Brahm deals with the genesis, expansion and influence of music. The volume 19 of the "Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya Vangmaya" series presents truly rare and detailed information and guidance on this topic. The present book is compiled from the English translation of the first two chapters of this volume that focus on the cosmic dimensions of sound and the science of mantras.
Linguistically, the word mantra in Sanskrit implies a specific structure of sonic patterns - coded in syllables and vowels, that works as an spiritual tool to liberate the mind from ignorance, illusion and evil instincts. The specific configurations of syllables and the corresponding combinations of phonemes in the mantras make the latter powerful 'carriers' of the cosmic energy of sound. The book presents a perspicuous introduction with analysis of multiple aspects of the physical and subliminal impact of sound and the structure of mantras. It also highlights authentic reports on scientific experiments in this direction.
Different methods of rhythmic enunciation (japa) and spiritual practices (sadhanas) of vedic mantras are described here with adept guidance. The author, Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya also focuses on mantra yoga as an effective endeavor to master the generation and utilization, without any external means or instruments, of the immense powers of sound for specific noble purposes. Although the vedic mantras could be well expressed vocally as prose or verse, the method of singing them in specific rythms as hymns was given principal importance by the Rishis. Hence the unique spectrum of vedic swaras and the gamut of chanting patterns for mantras were evolved and encoded in the Sama Veda. The Sama Veda contains divine knowledge of the miraculous spiritual flow of music that can effectuate a vivid connection of the individual 'self' with thy-self. The author highlights the crucial role of this Veda and discusses the present status of the schools of s│ma g│na in the context of the difficulties faced today in identifying the best chanting patterns for the Vedic Mantras.
The sadhanas of mantra yoga together with Nada yoga are integral parts of the spiritual experiments on awakening of the Kundalini and realization of the Brahm through Oamkar. These topics too are covered here sagaciously in scientific light. The paramount role of vak (absolutely refined voice) in mantra yoga is emphasized with necessary guidance. The author describes the four successively subtler levels of human voice (vani) and presents the methods, for the control and refinement of the vani and mental faculties, which can be practiced by everybody in day-to-day life. These sadhanas gradually lead to the spiritual elevation of the vani up to the supreme level - the vak. He further illustrates - how the hidden spiritual powers of a mantra are aroused by japa through such a spiriutally empowered voice. And how the materialization of the blessings and curses also becomes possible because of the power of vak. Authentic examples and scientific evidences of the modern times are presented in this book with relevant excerpts from the scriptures to support and explain the enormous potentials of refined vani.
Acharya Sharma's elucidation of the esoteric and complex subject matter of Shabda Brahm and Mantras is indeed lucid, logical and scientific. The book also outlines - how the modern science could offer multifaceted benefits towards the incessant welfare of human society by constructive investigations in the Science of Mantras.
Dr. Pranav Pandya, MD
Director, Brahm Varchas Research Center,
Omnipotent Role of Sound in the Universe
The vaidika scriptures on the origin of the universe mention that the absolute existence of the Brahm is expressed and realized in the sublime vibrations of Shabda and Nada. The anahat swar (the evolutionary impulse of cosmic sound) induced by these vibrations is said to be the generator of perpetual energy in the universe. Shabda - the omnipresent eternal origin of sound and Nada - the eternal element of the self-existent cosmic impulse of music, immanent in the subliminal as well as the gross realms of existence and their ever-evolving expressions in infinity are referred in the shastrik literature as Shabda Brahm and Nada Brahm.
Shabdaitavada - the vaidika knowledge of absolute sound, describes the sublime power of the omnipresent sound (Shabda) as an eternal, limitless whole and the sole creator of the universe. Sound is regarded here as the basic source of energy and motion existing in the universe. The existence of the material world is said to have originated from the cosmic impulse, the infinite bang of Shabda. [The big-bang theory of the modern science agrees with this conclusion of the -Rishis -scientists of yore]. The non-existence or absolute end of the world at the ultimate time - the other 'end' of the universal cycle - is also described to be a consequence of similar supersonic explosion. On the subliminal front, the existence of enormous activities of mind is said to have been realized through the eternal medium of sound.
In our day-to-day life, we generally come across with two types of sound - vyakta (audible) and avyakta (non-audible). These are defined as jalp and antarjalp in the Jain scriptures. The spoken words fall under the first category and those expressed silently (e.g. while thinking....) or through the language of mind are examples of the latter. Acoustic theories of modern physics have characterized these categories in terms of frequencies of the involved 'hard sound'. The manifestation of the vyakta and avyakta are relative in the physical world. The ultra and supersonic forms are avyakta to our ears, which can normally sense a sound only in the frequency-range of 20 to 20000 vibrations per sec. Similarly, the loud noise of a busy road would be non-audible to a person who is sitting in a closed house away from the road.... These examples clearly illustrate that the avyakta sound also exists in the same 'reality' as the vyakta one.
Our cosmos consists of the sound waves in all frequency ranges -- beyond the grasp of our audio sensors and even beyond the limits of our imagination.. Each impulse of the infinite activities of Nature indwells in the cosmos in the form of subliminal vibrations (of Shabda) before its physical manifestation in space and time. Many animals in this world are well equipped to perceive such subtle sounds in some range. Several varieties of birds and animals are therefore able to sense the future events, especially, many of the natural calamities of tremor etc, that are impossible to be recognized by humans. Often this 'superhuman' potential of animals and birds beats the advanced sensors of sophisticated instruments.
The sonic vibrations of each spoken or mentally thought syllable exist in the universe forever. Some frontline researchers of the modern science of sound hope that further advancement of science and technology would one day enable recording the voices (of the sages of yore) in the omnipresent 'ocean' of ether.
The vaidika science of mantras - the Mantra Vijgyna, developed by the -Rishis had endowed them with an exceptional faculty of communication across the universe. This power was indeed supernormal as compared to the capabilities of the modern inventions like radio, television and radar...., etc. Mantra Vijgyna is the science of the subliminal as well as the cosmic powers of sound. The specific configuration of the syllables compiled in the mantras makes them important in terms of associated sonic effect. The enunciation of a vedic mantra in a specific composition of accent, pitch, intensity, amplitude and rhythm results in its expansion (at a pace faster than the laser beams) in the endless domain of physical energy waves and consciousness. Because of the unique property of sound to traverse (via the electro-magnetic waves) anywhere in the space, the collective chanting of vaidika mantras can induce cosmic impact.
Significant scientific research on the demonstration and the measurement of sonic energy has been carried out in the modern age of advanced technology. This includes pioneering research in the area of ultrasonic in the USA and Germany. The applications of ultrasonic and infrasonic technology range from strategic weapons to biomedical instruments, from brainwashing to sound therapy and from telecommunications to remote control of the spacecrafts..
Having realized that the energy generated by the decomposition - through japa of a mantra - of the cosmic sound (shabda) would be of exponential magnitude as compared to that of the atomic energy, some pioneering scientists have also begun an in-depth study of the mantra vigyan. However, the researchers of this field must note that, it is the sublime effect of the mantras on the consciousness, which is more important than the gross (physical) sonic effects. Studies in this direction should therefore pay greater attention on the possibilities of spiritual enlightenment of all conscious beings with the help of mantra vigyna.
The treasure of knowledge in the Vedas is encoded in the form of mantras and chandas (hymns). Every mantra and chanda has its significant importance. The Gayatri Mantra is honored as preeminent in the science of spirituality and the mantra vigyna. This aadi (absolute origin) mantra is a compilation of nine special words (in ancient Sanskrit) formed by twenty four syllables. The japa of this mantra creates rhythmic pressure on the nerves and also titillates the extrasensory energy center (the six chakras) and subtle nerve-bundles (upatyikas) that generate soothing effects in the sadhaka's body and mind and also affect his deep inner self. This absolute mantra is said to have been realized through the cosmic vibrations of the eternal, sublime force of the omnipresent supreme consciousness (Brahma). This mahamantra is referred as the divine mother of all the Vedas and hence of all branches of knowledge. It is also recognized as the smallest of all religious scriptures and volumes of ultimate knowledge.... Because of its unique potential of inspiring the individual consciousness to link with the supreme consciousness, the Gayatri Mahamantra is indeed the most powerful and astonishing creation of shabda.
The symbolic depiction in the shastrik literature about.... "the seven horses of lord Sun gaining energy from the vibrations in mahadaka´ (the cosmic dimensions)...." -- implies the generation of seven natural notes of music by the 'explosion' (from quintessential to perceivable state of existence) of the anahat nada. This cosmic expression of Shabda Brahm-Nada Brahm is described as the origin of the evolutionary impulse that resulted in the gross (perceivable) and subliminal existence of the ever-evolving Nature and the ever-expanding Universe.. This evolutionary afflatus is also described in the rhetoric presentation of the scriptures as - the cosmic force generated by the commingling of the Prakriti and Purusha .
The sublime vibration of the eternal sound of the self-existent absolute syllable "-" (Oam) indwells everywhere in the cosmic expansion. The self-generation of its rhythmic impulse (Omkar) - the 'big bang', had generated the infinite spectrum of the sublime and the gross reflections of Shabda and consequently effectuated the existence and manifestation of the electromagnetic waves and the basic physical energies of sound, heat and light.
The spiritual sadhanas of the Nada-Yoga lead to the realization of Omkar and hence to the unfolding of the secrets of Nature and deciphering of the hidden movements of time (past and future events)..
During the initial stages of Nada-Yoga one has to meditate upon the internal 'sounds' perceived through closed ears while sitting in an externally silent surrounding. Long term dedicated practices of this method results in the experience of a variety of 'otherwise' non-existent sounds ranging for instance, from that of a whistle or flute to a buzzer or a big-gong; tinkling of a beetle, peeling of bells, to the noise of the thunder bolts.... An unperturbed subliminal humming sound (of "Omkar") is experienced in the depths of the inner self in the completion phase of this yoga sadhana. The attainment of this ultimate state of deep trance in Nada-Yoga corresponds to absolute harmony and engrossment of the mind and the soul with the cosmic echo of Oam..
Realization and arousal of the sublime power of Shabda Brahm - Nada Brahm immanent in the human body, mind and the inner core of the soul are aimed in some higher levels of spiritual sadhanas.
All the branches of Mantra- Vigyan and related fields of yoga deal with the study and practice of rhythmic enunciation of mantras and deep meditation upon the transcendental powers of Shabda and Nada hidden in the former. These areas of research in the science of spirituality and yoga deal with the knowledge of Shabda Brahm - Nada Brahm. The inclusion of the perennial syllable (Oam) and its phoneme Omkar is compatible as well as essential with respect to the compilation of a mantra. Therefore, the science and philosophy of Omkar also fall within the vast domain of knowledge pertaining to Shabda Brahm - Nada Brahm.
The Indian scriptures on yoga and spirituality mention a great deal on Shabda Brahm - as the basis of all branches of Mantra Vigyan and the science of the eternal syllables ' - ' (Oam), and Nada Brahm - as the source of knowledge and realization of the seven eternal notes and the science of Omkar and music.
The elementary practices of Shabda Yoga deal with training, control and refinement of voice and speech. Consistent attempt for observance of purity, truth, precision and softness of spoken (vocally or in mental conversation via thoughts) words in day-to-day conduct are prerequisites before one could initiate Shabda Yoga. Gaining knowledge through sacred means like good literature, interaction and learning from enlightened personalities who possess truth and piety of character, and transmitting it to the deserving persons via equally noble mode is also necessary as a preliminary exercise of Shabda Yoga. A disciple (sadhaka) of this spiritual sadhana should realize the spoken and written words as live carriers of thoughts, sentiments and inspirations.
The Nada Yoga principle focuses upon the sadhanas of realizing the spiritual dignity and divine bliss of music through sincere training of the shastriya samgita (Indian classical music).
Higher level endeavors of Shabda Yoga and Nada Yoga result in the attainment of extrasensory potentials of communication in the subliminal horizons of supramental intellect and super consciousness. An accomplished yogi of the Shabda Yoga, can transmit his thoughts and inspirations to educe and control the minds of others at will. Similar state of success in Nada Yoga enables one to receive cosmic signals, divine voice and the messages of great souls and yogis from higher realms of spirituality.
Structure and Implications of Mantras
Swami Ramatirtha had once stated that - 'One may become a God but one can never see or show thee...'. The same is true of the subtle elements, they can be experienced or felt-in but can't be seen or shown in a laboratory. Flow of radio waves through the ether is well known though no instrument has been able to measure or demonstrate the 'appearance' or 'existence' of ether. We do feel the effects of chill, heat, happiness, sorrow... etc. in our day-to-day life but we can never see or show these effects in visible or otherwise perceivable forms.
Recitation of the mantras is only a means for arousing the omnipresent subtle power of shabda. When we awake somebody by pushing him by our hand, the hand simply plays the role of a tool, it is not a part of the process of awakening. Similarly, the specific configuration of syllables and the sound (including the sublime sound) produced by the japa of a mantra is only a means for activating specific field of the cosmic energy of shabda. Which mantra is suitable for awakening what kind of subliminal energy center - is described in the viniyoga (structural classification) of that mantra. All of the Vaidika and the T│ntrika Mantras have distinct viniyogas. The ancient scriptures of ┬gama and Nigama describe the viniyoga part along with the details on the methods (and sadhanas) of the japa of the mantras. Before reciting a mantra one must read and understand its viniyoga.
The viniyoga of each mantra has five components - (i) Rishi, (ii) Chanda, (iii) Devata, (iv) Bija and (v) Tatva. The first component contains the names of the -Rishi(s) or the spiritual saints who had discovered, compiled and/or completely mastered that particular mantra and who therefore are regarded authorities on all the knowledge associated with the spiritual practice of that mantra. Such spiritual saints are the ideal gurus (guides) for the disciples who endeavor a sadhana of that mantra. Recalling this first component of the - viniyoga of a mantra also implies that revered devotion for those -Rishis and adept guidance of a noble guru is essential for practicing (the japa of) that mantra.
The chanda indicates the rhythmic composition for the enunciation or chanting of the mantra. As described earlier, each mantra can be practiced with different combinations of swaras (musical accents) and gati (amplitudes). Manasika, Vachika, Upanshu, Udatta-Anudatta, Swarita...., etc are some of the many modes of japa that are also described in the chanda for a mantra. The specific pattern of sonic waveforms generated by the mantra-japa depends upon the syllables of the mantra and the type of chanda used. The assignment of appropriate chanda for the spiritual sadhana processes of practicing a mantra is called - yati. The selection of a yati and hence of a chanda for a given mantra is decided with respect to the purpose of the sadhana, the configuration of the mantra-syllables and the mental and spiritual level of the sadhaka.
The third component, the devata represents the specific cosmic field (- of the subliminal energy of shabda) in the limitless expression of the supreme thy consciousness - that is aimed to be reached (realized) by the japa-sadhana of the associated mantra. We all know that out of the different programmes being broadcast via the radio waves, a radio set can catch (receive) only the ones whose frequencies it is tuned for. Similarly, from the different streams of the conscious power of shabda present in the universe, a mantra can be used to link the individual consciousness with the devata of that mantra.
As the practice of the mantra involves devoted meditation upon the devata along with the specified (according to the chanda) rhythmic enunciation or chanting, the -rashes had assigned visible forms to different devatas - representing different manifestations and subliminal expressions of the One, Eternal, Thy Consciousness.. Some of the -rishis also recommended worshiping the idols - of these forms of the devatas - in sacred atmosphere before commencing the japa of the mantras.
Worshiping an idol of God often facilitates proper meditation and creation of the internal emotions to strike the intrinsic core of absolute faith that is necessary for confluence of the individual consciousness with the cosmic flow of divinity. This type of rituals (called sakara upasana) do help conditioning the minds of the disciples who find it difficult to meditate upon the subliminal forms of shabda in the shunya - the absolute void, the ultimate, the 'non-existent' but eternal realms of thy conception.
The bija represents the origin of the mantra. It may be understood as a group of those syllables that contain, in compact coded form, the gist (tatva) of the mantra and thereby imply the latent existence of the specific power of shabda in that mantra. The japa of the bija generates the 'energy' essential for initiating the activation of the 'power' of the associated mantra.
The understanding and expertise of the science of mantras had illuminated the minds of the -rishis with supernormal sagacity. They could therefore grasp the knowledge of the limitless expansion of the universe and completely 'visualize' the structure and function of the tiniest part of the over 72000 nerves and glands mysteriously folded inside the human body and could also accomplish remarkable spiritual realizations. They also presented different streams of their intrinsic knowledge in the ancient Indian scriptures via prose consisting of the hymns of mantras.
The scientific significance of the sound produced by specific syllables has attracted many researchers to study the special features of the sonic waveforms generated by the recitation of the mantras. The ultrasonometer developed by Dr. Fristlov is used for triggering different chemical reactions via the effect of ultrasound. The stirrer used in this device can be made to stir (by the obvious effect of ultrasound!) so fast that in no time it can make the steady water - contained around it - churn violently like that during boiling at maximum pace. As far as the sonic effects are concerned, the subtle power of a mantra, if focused, can be more 'explosive' than the nuclear power.
The yogis often use the vital power of the air-element (vayu-tatva) and gain supernatural physical powers. A mantrika works at the highest level (akasha ) - in the hierarchy of the five basic elements and he can therefore be more powerful than other yogis.
Apart from the physical power of shabda, the mantras are also endowed with the 'magnetic' power of the conscious energy of ¤abda. The emotional linkage - through absolute intrinsic faith (shraddha) - with the devata of the mantra attracts the subliminal energy of shabda. The devotion and prayers of the devata of the mantra are performed to initiate this linkage. The rhythmic enunciation or chanting of mantras gives rise to two types of subtle fields of influence - one, the 'sphere' of sonic effects, and the other, of emotional (conscious) effects. The expansion and the power of attraction of these fields intensify with continuous (cyclic) japa of the mantras in specific rhythm in a consistent manner. So powerful their force of attraction could be that, any kind of material or conscious form entering into their peripheries could be transformed according to the influence of the mantra. The use of mantras for enlightening the mental and sentimental domains of all the human beings may therefore be regarded as a scientific possibility, a spiritual endeavor, rather than a myth or a daydreaming.
Scientific Roots of the Divine Impact of Mantra Sadhana
That sound can be recorded (e.g., by tape-recorders), amplified (e.g., by loudspeakers), propagated (e.g., by radio and TV signals), recognized (e.g., by the radar), measured and analyzed (e.g., by spectrographs or voice-printers) - in physical terms, proves its existence in matter.... A large number of examples of the destructive and creative effects of sound on matter can also be found in day-to-day life (c.f. previous sections).
Mantra Vidya is based on making perfect use of the gross viz., the sound of the vani of the sadhaka as well as the sublime viz., the consciousness -- the voice of the inner self, expressed in thoughts, emotions and intrinsic strength of the sadhaka, powers of shabda. The study of the higher level impact of mantras vis-Ó-vis that of the physical sound - in the gross domains of Nature, seems feasible in the modern times of scientific advancement.
The mechanical devices of radar send sound signals - via radio waves - far away in the space and receive the echoed sound back in few micro (10-6) seconds. The radio waves travel at a speed of about 295000 kilometers per second. Whenever their collision takes place with any object on their way, these waves are reflected back (to the radar that is set 'tuned' to receive them) at equally fast speed. The vibrations of these reflected signals contain the 'information' about the position, size and some other properties of the object. (This is how sound waves help in the recognition - through the radar, of an enemy's airplane during the war times....).
The human body could also be regarded as a 'radar' with respect to the gross sonic effects of the mantras. The extrasensory inner components (like the sat chakras or the granthis.... etc) of this biological radar send supernormal radio signals in the 'etheric whole' via the vibrations of mantras being enunciated in specific rhythms.... This wonderful radar receives back the quintessential signals of shabda as an 'echo' from the cosmic nucleus of the mantra.
The latent power of shabda - linked with the spiritual enlightenment and hence with the awakened power of the eternal consciousness of the soul of the sadhaka effectuates the impact of mantras on the 'radar' of the sadhaka's physical, subtle and astral bodies. And thus empowers the sadhaka with the supernatural potentials and afflatus upon successful completion of a mantra-sadhana.............
Omnipotent Role of Sound in the Universe
Astonishing Power of Shabda - The Eternal Element of Sound
Constructive Applications of Sound in the Modern Age
Misuse of Sonic Energy - Risks in the Present Times
- Scientific Studies on Noise Pollution
- Infrasonic Communications: Misdeeds of Today
Guidelines from the Ancient Science of Shabda
Impact of Shabda on Mind and Intrinsic Character
Elements of the Science of Vowels
- Relation of Vocal Sound with the Pancha Tatvas
The Shabda Yoga
Energies of Shabda in the Living Laboratory of Human Body
The Suprasonic Power Hidden in Mantras
Immense Power of Shabda Used in the Sadhanas of Mantras
Structure and Implications of Mantras
Mantra Yoga: Effects on Gross Body
Sound Therapy: Ancient Knowledge
The Phonetics of Collective Chanting Described in the Vedas
Difficulties in the Rhythmic Enunciation of Vaidika Hymns
Sama Gana: Chanting of Vedic Mantras
- Schemes of Sama Gana
- Stepwise Division of Sama Gana
- Scriptures on Sama Veda
The Secret of the Power of Mantras
The Gravity of Japa
Linguistic Meaning and Types of Japa
Practices and Effects Associated with Japa
- The Significance of Shabda Sadhana
- Some Scientific Points
- Essential Disciplines for Japa Sadhana
Experiments on Mantras : Interaction of Sound with Thermal Energy
- Agnihotra and Japa
- Possibilities of Scientific Research
Power of Mantras: The Divine Source
Cosmic Cycles of the Vibrations of Mantra
Power of Shabda Aroused by the Gayatri Mantra
Psychological Basis of the Effects of Japa
- Subtle Effects on Human Body and Mind
Acoustics and Mantra Vigyan
Integration of the Sciences of Mantra and Yantra
Hidden Roots of Mantra Sadhana and Its Success
The Key to Cognition of Mantra Vidya
Scientific Roots of the Divine Impact of Mantra Sadhana