Under Standing Tantric Mantras

Vedic mantras are Tantric mantras, and are very complex.

Western scholars have hence failed to understand tantric ‘bija (seed) mantras’ used to invoke deities and their origins – which lie within the Sanskrit alphabet itself.

Here are some examples of how such great mantras are formed, from Vedic sounds:

Au is Sadashiva - the great form of Shiva as Parameshvara or the Supreme Brahman (Supreme Consciousness). It refers to sound and calling or invoking.

Da is Durga. It means a weapon, and refers to the Danda (staff).

Ga is Ganesha or Ganapati. It means a song, and hence implies sound, since Ganapati is lord of the word (Brihaspati), which are Vedic mantras or hymns (he is Brahmanaspati and Narashamsa).

Ha is Shiva. It means ‘to destroy’ and refers to the destructive power of Shiva in his terrible form as Rudra or Bhairava, and hence as Fire (Agni), which has power to destroy.

I (ee) is Mahamaya, the great illusion form of the Goddess. It refers to emotions, such as pain and anger, and thus represents the power of suffering in Maya. It also means the god of lust and thus implies illusion due to lust and ego.

Ka is Kamadeva (God of Love) and Goddess Kali. It means air, time and sound.

La is Indra, the Vedic wielder of the Vajra (thunderbolt). It means ‘to cut’ and refers to the vajra destroying or cutting heads of (i.e. removing ego or mind). It also stands for tejas (light and heat – properties of lightening).

M. is the Universal Mother and represents sound (nada) – the primal sound of creation.

Ra is Brahma, the creator. It means to rule or govern.

U is Bhairava, the firey form of Shiva. It means ‘to protect’ and also the moon, which are forms of Shiva. Bhairava is also the militant form of Shiva that destroys the demons and thus protects us.

These are few examples, and thus we can see how the mantras work.

Hence, the mantra ‘Hum’ is therefore the ‘sound (m.) that destroys (ha) and protects (u)”. It is hence the kavacha-mantra or armour mantra in Tantra.

Hlrim is the mantra of Goddess Bagalamukhi. It is hence the ‘sound (m.) that destroys (ha) and cuts (la) the creative force (ra) which is illusion (i)’. It creates stillness and silence by destroying the creator and illusion, leaving us to dwell on the inn-most self (beyond ego and illusion).

Likewise, Krim, the mantra of Goddess Kali is the ‘ruling (ra) sound (m.) of space and time (ka) of the great illusion (i)’. It is thus the ruling mantra for subtle sound in the cosmos that breaks illusion – which is the sound of thunder and power of lightening.

Bija mantras were known and used in Vedic times, as parts of the more esoteric sides of worship and sadhana.

Chakra mantras, for example, are mentioned in the Upanishads, and many have failed to correlate them with later ideas in the Tantras.

The Heart Chakra (also called Hridaya or Anahata) mantra, for example, is described in syllables in Brihadaranyaka Up. (V.3), where "Yam" is the sacred syllable (of the heart) - later used in Tantric Yoga to open this specific Chakra. Yam means "Control" and refers to the Inner-Controller (of death or Prana, breath of life).

Interestingly also, "Ram" is mentioned (BU.V.12) by Yajnavalkya as the syllable for Prana, relating to Food. Now, the Manipura Chakra has Ram (Rang, the bija-mantric form) as it's mantra, and relates to the Digestive system, thus food. Manipura is also the City of Gemstones chakra, relating to Delight or Bliss, which comes from Ram (pleasure, bliss).

Mantras such as “phat” (crack, break) that are used in astra-mantras in Tantra, are found in Vedic texts as Shukla Yajurveda and elsewhere. This suggests they were used much earlier in Rig Vedic times, as part of older brahmana and yajur (sacrificial) traditions.

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