The oldest and perhaps most widely used concentrative technique is the bija mantra sound. Mantra is primarily a concentrated ‘thought form’ composed of nuclear syllables based on the esoteric properties believed to be inherent in sound vibrations. Tantra has developed a system of sound equations which may vary from simple to complex, exerting its power not so much through expressing meaning as we normally understand it, but more deeply, through its emphasis on a ‘phonic element’. For example the vocables hrim, srim, krim, phat, which are found throughout the tantric texts, may seem meaningless, unintelligible and irrelevant to the non-initiate, but to the initiate they have positive symbolic connotations. Whether recited audibly or inaudibly they run through most of the rituals like an uninterrupted symphony. The recitation of the bija mantra without understanding its proper meaning or the mantra technique is an exercise and it is said to be inert.
According to Pandit Madhusudan Shastri , mantra may be divided into male, female and neuter, masculine mantras end in “hum” and “phat” the female in “svaha” and neuter mantra end with “namah”. The power of a particular mantra lies in a set of inter-connected factors, its pattern of sound waves and mode of its proper intoning. A bija mantra thus ‘awakened’ activates vibration channels and produces certain super conscious feeling states which aid the disciple in his sadhna.”
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The very sound of mantra or a combination of them has the capacity to a rose the divine forms of their energies. Each divinity possesses a bija mantra, or seed syllable, which is its equivalent. Thus the bija mantra is the root vibration or atomized form of sound representing the essential nature of divinity.
The monosyllabic bija mantra is to tantric sadhna what a seed is to a tree, just as the seed possessed, the potential of the tree, in the same way a single sound can contain the sum total of divinity in its vibration. The term bijakshara, “seed syllable”, consists of two words, bija meaning ‘seed or germ’ and akshara, which denotes both “syllable” and “imperishable”. The true bijakshara ends within an anusvara, or upturned semicircle with a dots in its centre, and in Romanized translation the anusvara is indicated with a dot above or below the letter M. the anusvara is described as a continuous nasal sound without any modification and is an adaption of an “unpronounceable vibration”. The semicircle and dot represents shiva-shakti.
The seed mantra is considered to contain the entire potentiality of full significance of a Tantra doctrine. A treatise running to several thousand verses, for instance, may be condensed into few stanzas, and then summarized into a few lines, and finally abbreviated to a bija mantra which, though the smallest sound unit, will still retain the full power of the Tantra doctrine.
Om, most powerful of all sounds, is the source of all mantras and a key to realization. It is made up of three sounds, A, U, M which symbolically represents the three ultimate tendencies or guns, creation, preservation, dissolution, and encompasses all the knowledge of different planes of the universe. It is referred to as the “quintessence of the entire cosmos”, monarch of all sound things, “mother of vibrations” and “key to eternal wisdom and power”. The bija mantras are primarily intended for japa, or repetition. The technique of japa involves the synchronization of a sound, the number of rhythmic repetitions and the sound’s symbolic meaning, that repetitions of mantra gathers so powerful momentum and produce phonic sound like “hum-sa” or “so-ham”, “this am I” or “I am He” with internalization of divine form or its energy and outwardly-directed and diffuse mental currents together in a point or centre. The condensation of the power field sought divine form.
( Manoj Kanak )
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