Mantra: As the Idea that Creates, Sustains or Destroys

Mantra is by far the most misused as well as abused word of Vedic Sanskrit. The mantra was never some “spell” reciting which you could recite to “magically” summon “divine powers” or “superhuman intervention.” Mantra is also considered by many to be synonymous with yet another Vedic Sanskrit word Shloka.

Mantra is by far the most misused as well as abused word of Vedic Sanskrit. The mantra was never some “spell” reciting which you could recite to “magically” summon “divine powers” or “superhuman intervention.” Mantra is also considered by many to be synonymous with yet another Vedic Sanskrit word Shloka.

Rishis and Rishikas, sages of Vedic era, wrote Shlokas or hymns enumerating their experiences, knowledge, and wisdom; which they considered are crucial in sustaining balance in life; to find peace and prosperity in their present – neither the past nor the future.

The word Mantra comprises of two words – Mana and Trayantam. Mana translates to the Mind and Trayantam means Protecting. Mantra is, therefore, anything which protects the mind. But, since Mana or Mind is not the body and it is not something tangible, what can hurt that mind? The answer is Vichara or Thoughts. When the body is dead, the mind too is gone. When the mind is filled with wrong thoughts, it is unstable and causes inevitable pain and eventual destruction of the body, thereby marking its end.

The word Mantra comprises of two words – Mana and Trayantam. Mana translates to the Mind and Trayantam means Protecting. Mantra is, therefore, anything which protects the mind. But, since Mana or Mind is not the body and it is not something tangible, what can hurt that mind? The answer is Vichara or Thoughts. When the body is dead, the mind too is gone. When the mind is filled with wrong thoughts, it is unstable and causes inevitable pain and eventual destruction of the body, thereby marking its end.

If you desire to seek bliss in life, mending your Mind is quintessential. And to fix your mind, you need the right thoughts. Thoughts that help you find peace within your mind is called Mantra. Mantra is also an Idea. Everything in this world tangible, or not, emanates from the ideas of the mind. Even the concept of right and wrong are ideas. What one mind consider to be as good may be declared by another as wrong. So, is there nothing as of right or wrong?

Many philosophers, sages, savants, and seekers across various schools of thought have tried answering this question to no avail. They seek to defend their flawed idea with another equally flawed one.

For example, most religions that claim to represent God(s) are with Prophets and a holy book. Adherents of such religions are to be followed dutifully. The disciples may ask any number of questions, but they can seldom challenge the authenticity of their religious texts or the sanctity of their prophets. Interestingly, in such beliefs, the prophet is holy because the holy book says so and the book is holy because the prophet says so. It is a circular logic – which is by definition illogical.

Most religions that claim to represent God(s) are with Prophets and a holy book. Adherents of such religions are to be followed dutifully. The disciples may ask any number of questions, but they can seldom challenge the authenticity of their religious texts or the sanctity of their prophets. Interestingly, in such beliefs, the prophet is holy because the holy book says so and the book is holy because the prophet says so. It is a circular logic – which is by definition illogical.

Illogical things often lead to confusion and chaos. And history is replete with wars in the name of such holy books and prophets – not just outside the faith; but even within. The ideas which are the harbinger of pain and suffering can seldom be right. Or can they?

Similarly, are the ideas of Political Power. A family that reigns power for decades or centuries come to believe in the idea that Political Power of the land is their birthright. When people who challenge that idea present opposition, those in power consider using brute force to suppress their rival as a valid idea.

In the matter of spiritual as well as political power, Vedic Rishis and Rishikas (sages) had a much better idea or Mantra. Their Mantra was that individuals are neither their body nor their mind. That physical body and the mind inside of it will perish sooner or later. Death is certain. The objective of life was to seek Sukham or happiness by doing things least hurtful to all living beings. This Mantra was called Dharma. If a being is to undermine his Dharma or cause dereliction of duties, (s) he is sure to be punished, either by Karma or by the law of the land agreed upon by the wise Mantri (ministers) and enforced by the Raja or king.

Karma is the Law of Cause and Effect or Causations Law. If you are inflicting suffering upon people, it is sure to cause similar or more pain. But the Karma often takes its time – people do not like the idea of having to wait. Also, because before the Karma is meet out justice the culprit, (s)he would have caused more pain to many. Therefore, the Nyaya or Law of the Land.

Karma is the Law of Cause and Effect or Causations Law. If you are inflicting suffering upon people, it is sure to cause similar or more pain. But the Karma often takes its time – people do not like the idea of having to wait. Also, because before the Karma is meet out justice the culprit, (s)he would have caused more pain to many. Therefore, the Nyaya or Law of the Land.

Nyaya or Law is never Pratikara or Revenge. Law is without emotional delusions; whereas Revenge is a direct reflection of emotion. Law is rational; Revenge – irrational. Law promises order; Revenge only brings chaos, both within and outside the human body. Both Law and Revenge are ideas that stem from the mind. But while Law is of the saner mind, revenue is from the insane.

Mantra is to mind what Mantri is to Raja or ruler. Mantrana is the art of verifying the right idea and is a relentless process. Mantrana is not just checking the relevance of an idea but also trying to improve it.

We often hear things from our parents, peers, friends and, even, critics that “Just an idea isn’t enough,” that “you must also act,” or, even, “stop ideating and start working.” What most don’t understand is the power of those ideas. When there exist absolute faith and determination of mind on an idea – the body is sure to achieve it. Passion and persistence have often empowered people to reach great heights, albeit at substantial costs.

We often hear things from our parents, peers, friends and, even, critics that “Just an idea isn’t enough,” that “you must also act,” or, even, “stop ideating and start working.” What most don’t understand is the power of those ideas. When there exist absolute faith and determination of mind on an idea – the body is sure to achieve it. Passion and persistence have often empowered people to reach great heights, albeit at substantial costs.

Rishis define passions of the mind as Manokalmasha or impurities of the mind. The mind functions the best without emotions. Emotions are natural. But not everything natural can be termed as good. For example, are we to let people with a tendency to harm people and destroy things be just because they are natural?

An idea that incites passion is sure to imply pain. As Rishi Vashistha says in Yoga Vashistha “That which can bring pleasure will also yield pain…” So, if you have earned commensurate wealth at the cost others, don’t expect to enjoy it in peace. It will bring you more pain that poverty ever will.

The idea of Dharma is all for people to enjoy happiness in life, but you will not do to others what you don’t like others doing it to you. And if you do, then Karma will undoubtedly ensure that you pay for the pain you have inflicted upon others.

The idea of Dharma is all for people to enjoy happiness in life, but you will not do to others what you don’t like others doing it to you. And if you do, then Karma will undoubtedly ensure that you pay for the pain you have inflicted upon others.

If your Mantra is to make money or gain power at all costs, then you must also be prepared to face the consequences of that “cost.” The consequences are guaranteed. And no number of magical spells can help you from suffering those consequences. Therefore, never believe in mystical ideas wrongly labeled as Mantras. Everyone has to reap what they sow.

May 6, 2019

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