By Dr. Bindu Purohit, M.B.B.S.
Physician and Surgeon
Eternity is the most coveted stage in the Indian scriptures. Through mystical practice, the process of amalgamation that takes place between an individual, an intermediary source such as Mantra and Yantra, and the Supreme Divine Power can turn that which is mortal into immortal substance and grant us deliverance from age, maladies and death. The ancient spiritual seers of India envisioned a divine Yantra, or divine mystical form, which turned into an elixir of immortality. Since very remote times people have applied the science of Yantra to solve their physical, mental and other material problems. By doing so, they create a level of health in mind and body that are no less precious than this immortal elixir.
Colour, smell, sound and forms have a direct bearing on our mental states. Each of them strikes the mind in its own way and creates a complicated network of wave patterns that are conducive to health and beneficial for the practitioner. Science has discovered infinite energy in the fission of atoms. Mystical strokes on the mental screen can generate energy in a similar way.
The ways of mysticism are strange. They are even stranger for the mystical truth they contain. Mantra is the most significant among the different approaches of mysticism in that it attempts not only to analyze the human mind but also to synthesize it. Mantra Shastra, or ancient Mantric scriptures, describe in every detail how the human mind can be distributed in different directions in order to reunite it into a single whole.
Shastras are called Shruti or “Something that has been passed on through generations as an oral tradition”. An implicit quality of Mantra is that it is a form of knowledge that has to be communicated in spoken words. It can not be written down. The ancients presumed that something gets lost between sound and its inscription. A written script can be analyzed, but the actual force of sound with its articulation, pitch and tone and the specific arrangements of multiple sounds are totally lost as soon as they are scripted.
The Vedas were preserved through oral tradition for thousands of years. Their documentation was ignored on purpose because the sonic power of the Vedas would be dissociated and therefore lost. The whole calculation would alter with the written word. The ancients understood that if sounds came to be represented by written symbols or alphabets, their finer, subtle sensibilities would be marred. Documentation would render them lifeless. That’s why scripture has always been passed through the ages in the form of Shruti.
Mantra is a word or a phrase propelled with power. It is a methodical set of notes pronounced with a particular pitch, articulation and tone. Its rhythmic incantation sends specific, one-of-a-kind vibrations through the medium of the ether present in the atmosphere. These vibrations gradually affect the different cells of the body. Incantation merges the energy of sound and will power. It is only when the horizontal and the vertical sound waves of the words achieve the same wavelength as those of the juxtaposing energy waves of the body that the Mantra achieves perfection and galvanizes itself. This can be achieved by constant repetition of the Mantra in its characteristic rhythm and tone. If a sound or a word in a Mantra is dislocated or interchanged, the desired effect will not be produced and render the incantation futile. The precision of a Mantra is its only inherent steering force.
It was in order to reflect the wholesome effect of the constant incantation of Mantra on himself that man devised Yantras in the form of temples. The domes in the architecture of our temples are very significant. They are miniature replicas of the sky. The sound of OM is lost under the sky and doesn’t reflect back to the one who produces the sound. A dome, on the contrary, reflects the sound back to the source itself. Constant incantation creates a circle of sound: one emanating from the source and the other reflecting back to it. This encircling effect transports the devotee to an inexplicable spiritual elevation. If the incantation is practiced in solitude, this sonic circle should put a definite end to the thought current. In other words, the turmoil of thoughts subsists only in the absence of the circle of energy round the devotee. The moment the circle is complete, the energy pacifies and channels itself into spiritual power unto the desired goal of the devotee. The domes of the temples, therefore, symbolize a mystical process that has been lost over the years through disuse.
When the scholars of the west visited Indian temples for the first time they considered them unhygienic because of the congestion caused by lack of proper ventilation. Later they were amazed to discover that the devotees sitting in these ‘closed temples’ were among the healthiest people in all of India. This was when they realized that the incantation of a particular sound like OM purifies and purges the atmosphere by striking it regularly with vibrations.
Our seekers of Mantra have been meditating for centuries in closed caves that hardly admit any light or air and yet they have been healthy and content. This is because there are particular utterances that purify and others that defend against disease. For these reasons these sounds have been called Nad Brahma, the highest sublimation of sound.
The Pranav Mantra, or OM, symbolizes the whole universe. The Rigveda, which is the original treatise on Mantra, attached optimum significance to this Pranav Mantra. Maharshi Aurbindo has said, “‘OM’ is the signature of the Lord; with the help of ‘Om’ one can realize the Divine”. Patanjali’s Yoga sutras, in the same strain, proclaim – “Pranav is the spoken symbol of God and thus it has the realization of God and the Universe.”
Nad, or sound, is regarded as a form of Brahma. This signifies that sound is omnipotent and the ultimate energy. Mimansa philosophy established Mantra as a form of God. Each Mantra corresponds to a patron god or goddess. Each Mantra, sound and intonation has a particular articulation that can be revealed through systematic analysis. The ancient visionaries with full knowledge of the power of sounds devised words or phrases that exert tremendous effects. These words and phrases are the original seed Mantras. The scholars and seekers determined through their experience and experimentation the frequencies peculiar to each Mantra and have prescribed the exact number of times a Mantra has to be repeated to create the desired results.
Musical symphonies create soothing effects on the human mind as well as the body. Rhythmic chanting of Mantra vibrates through the medium of the ether in a similar way. Mantras create particular sonic patterns whose waves influence the cells of the body. This impact can reach far beyond local effects. It can even be directed to a person who is thousands of miles away. This phenomenon is similar to a radio that can receive electromagnetic waves from the atmosphere and reproduce sounds that originate thousands of miles away.
Several laboratories in the west have recently undertaken experiments with sound and its possible impact on living systems. Some of these experiments have come up with significant conclusions. For example, one of them demonstrated that plants that normally bear flowers in six months blossom and bloom in two months with the effect of particular sounds. In Russia, the milking of cows has been influenced with certain sounds. Humans may also therefore respond to the impact of sound.
The medical world already makes skillful use of many forms of ultrasound therapy for both diagnosis and treatment. Medical scientists have successfully carried out numerous therapeutic experiments with sounds and musical compositions.
Music has proved to be a miracle cure for many a hopeless medical cause. For example, a 10-year old English girl, Catherine Fisher, fell into a coma after a bicycle accident. In the 12th day of her coma her desperate parents decided to play their little daughter some of her favourite music. They took a. tape recording into her hospital room and played some of the tunes with which she used to dance at her ballet classes. Then, for the first time since her accident, Catherine opened her eyes and smiled.
Doctors explain that areas of the brain that become tired can be revived by the introduction of familiar sounds or voices. Perhaps this is one of the mechanisms that helped young Catherine.
Experiments have been carried out to show the effects of music on sleeping people. When cheerful music is played to the sleeping people, they get up in a cheerful mood. Contrarily, if a person wakes up in the midst of noise or harsh music, s/he will be irritated and indignant in her/his mood. Thirdly, if pathetic music is employed to wake someone up, the person will be found sad in disposition. These three responses from the experimental subject’s point of view have no rhyme or reason. Yet they sufficiently demonstrate the effect of sound on the human mind and thus uphold the concept that sound can affect the cords of the psyche.
Incantation can provide remedies to almost all maladies. In this therapy the body cannot be superior to the conscience or the spirit. If the conscience is pure there is no reason for the body to be diseased. There is no shelter for the maladies.
In a non-medical experiment, Miss Watts Huge of London created a device she called an audiophone that she wrote about in her popular book Voice Figure. The audiophone has a sensitive vibrating membrane that she scatters with particles of different colours. These particles get momentum from the vibrations of the membrane and form different pictures that sometimes look like rivers, serpents, mountains and trees.
Using the same instrument, a Bengali student from India intoned the Bhairavashtak metre for Madam Kinlang of Paris. While the young man was singing, the particles of the audiophone’s membrane galvanized and in a few minutes formed into the patron god of the metre, Kal Bhairav.
The preceding thoughts can help us to understand why Mantra is considered to be all-important in making a Yantra effective. Mantra and Yantra are the two divisions of an ancient sacred science. Mantra interconnects with Yantra, and vice versa. Yantra is a representation of a Mantra in a graphic or other substantial form like an icon. A Mantra’s energy can be preserved in a Yantra as if it is in a battery.
Yantras are usually metallic because metals are good conductors of energy. They are made of gold, silver or bronze sheets that are consecrated and mystified. Yantras are powerful in proportion to their consecration and the mystic powers at the command of their makers. The electromagnetic power created by the incantation of a Mantra is intentionally preserved and discharged through a Yantra. The electromagnetic waves of the Mantra charge the Yantra to produce the requisite energy for the purpose of the Mantra. These waves are directed towards definite directions in order to expand the area of their effects. There have been hundreds of different forms of Mantras that represent the farthest limits of imagination and the deepest human sentiments.
A Yantra is therefore an instrument or tool that directs the functional force of a particular Mantra. Yantras symbolize divine power at its first manifestation. The process of making a Yantra embodies a journey from the minutest form of expression of a Mantra to the definition, description and presentation of its material form.
One of the definitions of Yantra is “machine.” Although many modern machines are based on the philosophy of Yantras, the sacred scriptures of India clearly describe how ancient Yantras were hundreds of times more powerful than our machines of today. Yantras are not inanimate entities like modern machines. They are living sources of mystical energy. Their fabrication and function are different from machines. Yantras have been much more functional and significant than machines to our ancestors, who attached due respect and reverence for them by adopting Yantras as integral parts of their social behaviour.
The purpose of technical machines is physical. Their structure and use further the material gains of the user. Yantras, on the other hand, are infused with mystical powers to become independent entities. They are not considered to be merely material. Yantras are invented with definite purposes. A complicated mystical process goes into mystifying even the metallic materials from which they are made into very special elements. The practitioner attains this stage for these elements through ardent and tedious meditation.
Dr. Alaxander Pavlovich of the department of computer research in Moscow University has stated that he was fascinated by the geometrical charm and sound form of the Shree Yantra. The Shree Yantra is particularly charming if one gazes at it intently for a long time. One can experience an indescribable mesmerism by observing the Shree Yantra, whose sophisticated equations would take even the most modern computer a hundred million operations to calculate.
Yantras are diagrammatic representations of Mantras in the ethereal medium. The incantation of a Mantra produces various vibrations in the atmosphere. These particular sound waves create a source, which is a Yantra. Our ancient practitioners of Yantra perfected this process and employed it for human welfare.
In their operational stage, Yantras relate to the Subconscious mind. As carriers of spiritual power, Yantras affect the human body as well as the environment around it. Our body substance is composed of five natural elements. It is also imprinted with numerous energies from its surroundings. A Yantra is a sketch of the total impact of these energies and their lines of influence impregnated into form. The sound waves of a Mantra create mystical effects on the human mind. A Yantra with its linear sketches and letters also affects the human mind in its own way.
Mantra has formed an essential ingredient of all faiths in one form or another. The most noble purposes and divine attributes have always been ascribed to Mantra. Yet the mere mention of the word “Yantra” conjures up a kind of fear or dread in the society of India today. Our common belief holds that the mystical powers of Yantras are often exercised to destroy human life out of vengeance. Such baseless fears misrepresent the whole Yantric concept by incorrectly labeling it as a destructive art. Scholars and all those who hold this highly spiritual practice in great esteem must combat these misinterpretations and misgivings and campaign to popularize the real significance of Yantras at the same time.
Spiritual Yantras are created with great thought and reasoning. They are undeniably impressive, made expressly to stimulate a special kind of mental activity and evoke psychosomatic force. Highly trained experts can utilize Yantras in ritual as offerings, meditations and rites that can change a person completely and give him or her a new direction in life.
Almost all Yantras available in standard forms have specific purposes assigned to them. Their operations strike corresponding fibres of the human form to activate the desired elements. Incantation and consecrated geometric representation are the central science of the mystical process of Yantra. A Yantra contains the potential to acquire total control over one’s body and can be functional in producing its desired effects through these very specific operations. It is amazing that the processes that were visualized and embodied by our noble ancestors thousand of years ago are still operational and effective with great precision today.