“Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” -The Dhammapada
And what if the one “word that brings peace” is repeated a thousand times? That’s what mantras are – sounds, words, and phrases which are repeatedly pronounced and which hold within a spiritual meaning and a variety of beneficial psychological effects.
The word mantra means a “sacred word” in Sanskrit for a reason.
From the early times of known history, mantras were chanted by spiritual seekers, and they are also practised today, in order to experience the benefits of conscious inner states and spiritual faculties.
Mantras are extremely effective to awaken one’s dormant divine spark – chanting mantras is one of the easiest ways to experience the basics of authentic spirituality.
On a more advanced level, mantras also play an important role in mystical and revolutionary esoteric exercises. Mantras are a part of alchemical transformation, transmuting the surplus of ones energy to create superior bodies and incarnate the divine.
We express ourselves through speaking, but our words can be more than simple means of mundane communication. It is possible to connect to superior worlds of the multidimensional universe with the power of our words, especially during such marvelous times of the year as solstices and equinoxes.
Welcome to the journey of exploring the universal message of esoteric spirituality, written in the stars and in our hearts – and resonating in the spiritually nourishing vibrations of some of the world`s most ancient mantras.
An Experience of Primordial Vibration
The material world exists in perpetual motion – the entire universe vibrates, be it enormous clusters of galaxies or the tiniest subatomic particles.
Our planet gives us an illusion of stability while flying through space faster than the breathtaking speed of about 100 000 kilometers per hour – a thousand times faster than we drive on our highways!
According to esoteric tradition partially revealed and preserved in sacred texts such as Popol Vuh, the Rig Veda, The Book of Genesis, etc., the universe was created and sustained by the power of the “Word” of the Highest Spiritual Force called the Heart of Sky, Brahma, God, etc.
What exists outside of us, exists within us. Our human psyche, the microcosm, is the reflection of the macrocosm – the universe. We have been created in the “image of the Creator”, so we can also be a source of creation.
“That which is below is like that which is above that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing. And as all things have been arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.” -The Emerald Tablet, interpretation by Isaac Newton
We can discover authentic divinity within our own psyche. It emanates inner stillness and peace in the present moment – where both past and future melt away in the true reality of the eternal now.
One of the most simple, yet powerful mantras is “OM”/”AUM”. The naturally made sound with opening the mouth, rounding the lips, and closing them, reflects in our speech the “Word” – the primordial divine vibration giving birth to creation, the manifestation of Brahma (God) into form. The origin of “OM” can be traced to sacred Hindu texts such as the Upanishads, Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras.
This mantra is written as “AUM”, and “AU” tends to be monophthongized into the vowel “O”, stimulating the heart chakra.
But the mantra pronounced as “AUM” also exists, affecting other chakras. The vowel “A” (pronounced like “a” in the word “atom”) stimulates the chakra of the lungs, and the vowel “U” (pronounced as the double “oo” in the word “moon) – stimulates the chakra of the solar plexus.
Mantras “OM” and “AUM” facilitate gaining intuitive knowledge and developing mental clarity.
Also AUM (OM) is a seed syllable placed in the beginning of Hindu and Buddhist mantras. Besides its symbology, it is also a way of preparing the vocal chords for chanting.
There are 7 notes in Indian music: Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni. All those notes besides Sa and Pa can change their frequency. AUM is made up of three immutably fixed notes: Sa, Pa and again Sa, but on the immediately higher scale. When chanting AUM (OM) in this way, all the other basic notes can be heard in it.
By chanting mantras OM and AUM, mystics connect with the source of creation (known in Ancient Egypt as Amun) within themselves. It helps them to pass through the turmoils of life with “awareness of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles.” (Verse 1:29 of Patanjali Yoga Sutras)
According to the Mandukya Upanishad, awareness and unity with the Self is symbolically expressed in the pause after chanting the 3 letters of AUM (in this context, “Self” means the Spirit – not to be confused with selfishness)
“Letterless is the fourth, the Incommunicable, the end of phenomena, the Good, the One than Whom there is no other: thus is OM. He that knoweth is the Self and entereth by his self into the Self, he that knoweth, he that knoweth.”
Interestingly these mantras are not just a part of Hindu or Buddhist spiritual traditions, or traditions developed in close geographical proximity such as Jainism. We may find that numerous prayers from different cultures start with “O” -“O My Lord”, “Otche nash”, “Ho Osiris”, etc. And so words similar to Aum may be found at the end of Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers: “Ahmen”, “Amen”, “Amin”. And is it just a coincidence, that 3 well known Christian attributes of God are omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence?
Conscious beings which govern the universe are connected by the force of divine love. The vibrating universe is kept united “in a wheel whose motion nothing jars – by the Love that moves the sun and other stars “ (Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy)
However our global society on the planet Earth lacks love and harmony. We suffer from injustice, violence, environmental destruction, and many other grave problems. While everyone lives a mostly self-centered life and there are more than 7 billion people on the planet Earth, obviously there are numerous conflicts of interests over our planet`s limited and rapidly depleting resources.
The global economic system is designed for the rich to become richer at the expense of the poor becoming poorer. The richest 2 percent of the population own more than half of the world`s household wealth, while more than 25 000 people die of hunger each day!
Sacred spirituality has widely degenerated to the point of becoming a highly profitable part of the commercial market (which Jesus coined a “den of thieves”)
Evidently humanity is in dire need to find the right way to solve its problems and discover lasting release from suffering.
“The will of the Lord is the law of righteousness. The gifts of Vohu-mano to the deeds done in this world for Mazda. He who relieves the poor makes Ahura king. -Ahunwar, sacred Zoroastrian prayer (the Khorda Avesta)”
“Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realize that we cannot eat money.”
Do we need to wait for this Native American prophecy to eventually come true, or perhaps we won`t have time for that due to global warming? What can be done to do the right thing to help the world?
The real change in society is individual change. The spiritual solution to helping the world is to get rid of one’s own selfishness, to incarnate the inner spiritual, and help others as much as possible. As we do it we can learn to “be the change you want to see in the world” like Mahatma Gandhi has famously said.
The core Buddhist concept presented in the 4 noble truths expressed the essential need to find lasting liberation from suffering for all sentient beings. Only conscious suffering has a true value, when necessary on one`s way to inner freedom and to help others. Below is a parable from Oriental mystical teachings illustrating this principle.
“Two people are lost in the desert. They are dying from hunger and thirst. Finally, they come to a high wall. On the other side they can hear the sound of a waterfall and birds singing. Above, they can see the branches of a lush tree extending over the top of the wall. Its fruit look delicious. One of them manages to climb over the wall and disappears down the other side. The other, instead, returns to the desert to help other lost travelers find their way to the oasis.”
There are many spiritual techniques which may assist us in our spiritual quest, and among them we may find the incredible mantra Om Mani Padme Hum.
OM MANI PADME HUM awakens mercy and compassion. It starts with “OM” and contains within it “AUM”, thus relating to the primordial sound of creation. This mantra activates inner energy centres (chakras) widening our range of perception.
First mentioned in the Buddhist Karandavyuha Sutra, it was described as a precious gift of the divine cosmic being, primordial lord bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
Its words are symbolic: “MANI” means “the jewel” and “PADMA” “the lotus”. A marvelous gem of the spirit can be found under the “dirt”, the impurities of the subconscious. The beautiful lotus flower rises from the mud with the help of sun and water, which symbolize spiritual energies and divine birth.
Spiritual teacher and author Samael Aun Weor, who revived the esoteric teachings, expressed the meaning of this mantra in a simple sentence “O my God in me!”
According to Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, this mantra can symbolize altruistic intention and wisdom, which are indispensable components of advancing on the spiritual path:
“The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factor of method- the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings.
The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non- contradiction whereas there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty of self-sufficient or substantial existence, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality (that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object), and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.”
There are 6 syllables of the mantra OM MA NI PAD ME HUM and numerologically the number 6 is “Indecision”, presenting a choice between succumbing to animal passion or seeking divine love. If light triumphs, the number 6 is the Hexagram, the harmonious unity of Solomon`s seal.
There are different ways to pronounce OM MANI PADME HUM. Experiment and discover what works the best for you in different situations.
Connection with the Divine Mother
Everything within Creation is divided into opposites. And as above so below, our immortal divine part which had descended into Creation, also has its masculine and feminine aspects, known in esoteric traditions as “Divine Father” and “Divine Mother”.
Our Divine Mother is the closest part to our individual consciousness. She is the easiest spiritual part to reach; her precious help and guidance are vital for radical inner transformation.
The Divine Mother is highly revered among many Indian spiritual schools. Below is the beautiful praise to her by Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of the famous “Autobiography of a Yogi”, who brought simplified spiritual teachings from India to the West in the first half of the 20th century.
“The Divine Mother is so beautiful! But remember, in Her higher manifestation even that beauty is formless. She is in everything. Her divine, compassionate love is expressed in the raindrops. Her beauty is reflected in the colors of the rainbow. She offers fresh hope to mankind with the rose-tinted clouds at dawn. Above all, be ever conscious of Her presence in your heart.”
The Divine Mother was known all over the world under different names such as Ishtar, Rea, Cybele, Athena, Durga, Diana, Tonantzin, etc.
The mantra IS IS (“I” pronounced as “E” in the word “eagle”) is one of the effective ways to connect with one`s individual Divine Mother.
Aset (Iset) was her sacred name in Ancient Egypt and in Ancient Greece she became known as Isis. She was a highly revered Goddess of the Great Ennead of Ancient Egyptian Deities, the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus.
One of her central stories is her restoration of the body of her dead husband Osiris who had been betrayed, killed and split into many pieces by his evil brother Seth. That miraculous revival symbolizes the internal unity of the parts of one`s true spiritual nature separated by selfishness.
This unity (or reuniting) has different levels. Internally, consciousness needs to be united and the spiritual parts of one`s multidimensional psyche need to become one. Externally, the spiritual ideal for our humanity is to become united with a spirit of love into one family. (and not “globalized” under the control of perverted elites.)
The myths of Isis were not fantasies of ancient people with a strange imagination and a dark sense of humor. At their esoteric core, these myths describe the psychological reality of a superior dimensional level of existence.
Even the Ancient Egyptian myths of divinities personifying forces of nature can carry a deeper spiritual significance, such as this interpretation mentioned by Plutarch in “Isis and Osiris”.
“…among the Egyptians such men ( those who have a reputation for expounding matters more philosophically) say that Osiris is the Nile consorting with the Earth, which is Isis, and that the sea is Typhon into which the Nile discharges its waters and is lost to view and dissipated, save for that part which the earth takes up and absorbs and thereby becomes fertilized.”
A simple esoteric explanation is that vital energies of the human body, symbolized by water, need to be transmuted and not wasted.
The mantra IS IS may temporarily activate the faculty of clairvoyance, expanding ones capacity to see beyond the limits of our physical vision. With this mantra one may perceive a bigger picture beyond the fragmented perception caused by subconscious elements and their subjective interpretations.
Some people (for example Joan of Arc) were born with an advanced capacity of clairvoyance and polyvision, the result of their previous spiritual progress. When combined with inner purity it meant they had a great capacity to receive objective spiritual guidance when needed.
This was the simple answer that Joan of Arc gave when she was questioned on how she had recognized king Charles who had hidden himself among the court to test her divine capacities.
“I recognized him by the counsel and revelation of my Voice.”
However, everyone may develop superior inner vision by practicing mantras, and more importantly, doing the inner work to walk on the path to awakening.
Mantras and Esoteric Astrology
A profound aspect of the science of mantras is that they might connect mystics with cosmic forces of enormous power: the sources of wise guidance and divine inspiration.
From ancient times, the changes of the year were studied with the Zodiac circle. It is divided into 12 constellations (signs) centered upon the ecliptic, the path of the sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year (as seen from the center of the Earth).
The Zodiac circle was also separated by 4 distinct points marking arrivals of new seasons and also carrying profound esoteric symbolism: spring equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox, and winter solstice.
Interestingly the remnants of many ancient sacred sites such as The Temple of Karnak, The Chichen Itza, Stonehenge, Angkor Wat, some Gothic churches, etc., are aligned precisely with solstices and equinoxes.
Thus, for example, during the time of the winter solstice, as the sun rises in the prehistoric Irish site of Newgrange, golden light slowly illuminates its inner chamber; this can also be seen in Vermont when the sun enters the stone chamber at the Calendar II site. In the Mexican Temple of Kukulkan at the Chichen Itza, the sun on the winter solstice appears to ascend the edge of the staircase and rests directly above the temple before beginning its descent down the other side. In England`s Stonehenge, the sun sets directly in the midst of 3 great stones (“Trilithon”) aligned with the centre of the monument.
Incredibly the lives of world spiritual teachers such as John the Baptist, Jesus, Mithras, Attis, Buddha, Osiris, etc., were also connected with those cosmic influences. For example, John the Baptist was born right after the summer solstice preparing with his life the coming of Jesus who was born 3 days after the winter solstice.
Astrology, the science explaining the psychological connections and dependence of individuals from the forces of cosmos tends to be ridiculed as the pseudo-science of primitive people, or diminished to divinations and superstitions.
Fortunately the knowledge of its true meaning and significance was preserved in esotericism.
The future can be seen, and even changed, by overcoming corresponding cosmic influences.
“…Esoteric astrology does not preclude free-will or the power of man to modify his nature.”
“Then destiny is a variable quantity?” I asked.
“Every conscious act of will brings a modification in your so-called destiny; but only a few men consciously will, most following blindly the impulses or tendencies of their nature. Therefore, most men’s lives are fixed and subject to only slight variations. But there are exceptions, and if you take a man of powerful mind and will it is difficult to cast his horoscope; for he can in a few short hours modify his course in life, and his predominant quality to-day may be replaced by another to-morrow.
-from the talk of St. Germain with Alphonso Colono – Brother of the Third Degree by Will L. Garver “
Mantras were a part of the astrological teachings of the Rosicrucian and Gnostic schools of Dr. Arnoldo Krum Heller and Samael Aun Weor, explaining the connection between Zodiac signs and parts of the human body. Importantly, Astrology became placed within the context of seeking enlightenment. It was taken out of the mathematical calculations of “destiny” into direct personal contact with spiritual cosmic forces.
For instance, during the sign of Aries governing the head, one exercise was the mantra “I” (pronounced as “E” in the word “eagle”) for one hour activating the chakra of the third eye. Another one was a special prayer to connect with the Divine Being governing the Heart Temple of the main star of the constellation of Aries.
Mantras can be also used during the times of the 4 cardinal points of the year for mystics to experience for themselves the profound effects of related cosmic and internal spiritual forces.
The Wheel of the Year resonated in Sacred Hindu Mantras
Solstices and equinoxes are marvelous times of the year to practice mantras and to get more in touch with the spiritual.
Solstices can be described simply as the times when the sun appears to “stand still”, either during the longest day (in the Northern hemisphere – it is around June 21) or after the longest night (around December 21). Equinoxes are the equilibrium points at the end of September and March when the length of day and night is equal.
The journey of the sun through the wheel of the year represents the inner journey of spiritually advanced individuals towards the great goal of spiritual enlightenment and liberation.
From an esoteric perspective, the purpose of the entire Creation is so that unconscious sparks of the Absolute can descend into it to learn through the struggle and unity of opposites. The ultimate purpose of life is to become completely conscious, returning back to the Absolute completely enlightened and awakened.
This reunion is symbolized during the summer solstice with the longest day of the year. When the sun reaches its maximum power in the Northern Hemisphere and appears from our perspective to stand still on its movement along the horizon, it symbolizes the “inner sun” of the prepared initiate, reaching the maximum point of conscious awakening and enlightenment. This is the time of true spiritual triumph.
The powerful “Maha”(Great) mantra, which may be practiced at this time of the year in order to experience more its spiritual significance, is highly revered Gayatri – one of the most sacred Hindu mantras, closely associated with the powers of the sun. Devi Gayatri (divine deity personifying this mantra) is believed to be the Mother of the Vedas, the most ancient Hindu sacred texts.
This mantra connects its practitioners further with the forces of the sun (“Savitar”) and deeper than simply feeling warmth and seeing light, which is just “the tip of the iceberg”. The sun is multidimensional and affects us beyond the physical – on subtle levels of energy, information, psychology, and spirit.
Chanting the Gayatri is a daily practice for thousands of Hindus and is typically performed 3 times a day – at sunrise, midday and sunset, which relate to the spiritual aspect of the sun in its 3 primary manifestations, reflecting the 3 primary forces of Creation, and all other triads, such as birth, life and death; past, present and future; consciousness, personality, subconscious, etc.
“Savitar thrice surrounding with his mightiness mid-air, three regions, and the triple sphere of light, Sets the three heavens in motion and the threefold earth, and willingly protects us with his triple law.” -The Rig Veda
“He who for ever vigilant precedes these Twain, the Day and Night, Is Savitar the thoughtful God. He who gives glory unto all these living creatures with the song, And brings them forth, is Savitar.” -The Rig Veda
“May the libations poured to thee thrice daily, day after day, O Savitar, bring us blessing.” -The Rig Veda
Certainly, the Gayatri can be chanted more often than 3 times per day – just like any mystical practice, the more you put into it – the more you get out of it, as long as you do it wisely and responsibly.
“Chant the Gayatri as often as possible. If you chant it while you take a bath, your bath gets sanctified. Likewise, chant it before taking your food. The food becomes an offering to the divine. Develop heartfelt devotion to God.” -Sri Sathya Sai Baba
There are many interesting features of the Gayatri mantra, for example its components contain the numbers 3, 5, 8, and 13, which belong to the Fibonacci sequence, expressing mathematically the universal pattern of harmonious development. (to read more about it, go to the article The Mystery of Harmonious Sounds and scroll down to the end.)
Those who are interested in a comparative study of religions, might find interesting the resemblance of the Gayatri Mantra to the first chapter of the Qur`an, which is the essential part of Muslim daily prayers – Sūrat al-Fātiḥah:
Gayatri: “Oh thou existence Absolute, Creator of the three dimensions”
Sūrat al-Fātiḥah: “In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy!”
Gayatri: “We contemplate upon thy divine light.”
Sūrat al-Fātiḥah: “Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy, Master of the Day of Judgement. It is You we worship; it is You we ask for help.”
Gayatri: “May He stimulate our intellect and bestow upon us true knowledge.”
Sūrat al-Fātiḥah: “Guide us to the straight path: the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray.”
Helena Blavatsky, who had made enormous efforts to bring Eastern esoteric wisdom to the West, could be the author of this interpretation (signed as “An Obscure Brahman”), who described the meaning of the Gayatri to be a prayer for all humanity to unite with the Divinity.
“The object of this prayer is that we may carry out our whole duty, after becoming acquainted with the truth, while we are on our journey to thy Sacred Seat. This is our pilgrimage, not of one, not selfishly, not alone, but the whole of humanity. For the sacred seat is not the Brahmanical heaven of Indra, nor the Christian selfish heaven acquired without merit while the meritorious suffer the pains of hell. It is that place where all meet, where alone all are one. It is when and where the three great sounds of the first word of the prayer merge into one soundless sound. This is the only proper prayer, the sole saving aspiration.“
Om bhur bhuva swaha
Tat savitur vareniam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yonah prachodayat
Similarly to all other mantras mentioned here, its words are symbolic and have different meanings. Below are some of the different interpretations:
1) “Let us meditate on the light of the sun which represents God, and may our thoughts be inspired by that divine light.”
2) “We meditate on the transcendental Glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of Heaven. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds.”
3) “We meditate on the worshipable power and glory of Him who has created the earth, the nether world and the heavens (i.e. the universe), and who directs our understanding.”
4) “We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross, subtle, and causal. I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence. We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.”
5) “O God! Giver of life, Remover of all pain and sorrows, Bestower of happiness, the Creator of the Universe, Thou art most luminous, adorable and destroyer of sins. We meditate upon thee. May thou inspire, enlighten and guide our intellect in the right direction.”
Om: the primeval sound
Bhur: the physical world
Bhuvah: the mental world
Suvah: the celestial, spiritual world
Tat: That; transcendental Paramatma, God
Savithur: the Sun, Creator, Preserver
Varenyam: most adorable, highest, enchanting, supreme, the best
Bhargo: luster, effulgence, light, destroyer of sins
Devasya: resplendent, supreme Lord
Dheemahi: we meditate upon, to adopt, to acquire
Dhiyo: the intellect, understanding
Yo: which, who
Prachodayath: enlighten, guide, inspire
After the summer solstice the wheel of the year rotates towards darkness, as days become shorter and nights get longer. When the Zodiac enters the sign of Libra, it is the equilibrium point before nights become longer than days, known as the fall equinox.
Its symbological aspect is the mystery of inner death. A true spiritual dawn in ones life is only possible through destruction of old self-centered patterns, ego-elements, which was symbolically described in the Gospel of John with the analogy of a kernel of wheat.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit,” -John 12:24
Typically our attention is fixed outside and we see darkness in behaviour of other people, but how can we really defeat darkness externally, if we fail to see and defeat it within?
Selfish elements are required to be removed for spiritual elements to exist, as often symbolized in legends and myths throughout the world by victories over dragons and monsters, Indra destroying Vritra, Perseus decapitating Medusa, Horus defeating Seth, and so forth.
The help of the feminine spiritual aspect is required for the destruction of negative psychological elements, thus is reflected in many mythological stories, such as Perseus helped by Athena to destroy Medusa, Rama by Sita to defeat Ravana, Horus by Isis, Aeneas by Venus, etc.
The most prominent symbol of mithraeums is the scene of Mithras killing a bull, while mithraeums themselves are adapted caves and tunnels, which are the symbols of the Sacred Feminine. The purification procedures of Native Americans take place in sweat lodges and temazcals, which again symbolize the womb of the Great Mother.
Great Mother gives birth to all – but everything below her works in opposites, so it is subjected to both birth and death. She holds the keys to these mysteries, thus in the Egyptian Temple of Dendera one needs to pass under stretched body of the female deity, carved on the ceiling of the Zodiac room, in order to enter the room devoted to the resurrection of Osiris.
On our personal spiritual level, She is our Divine Mother who gives life to light, and death to darkness.
One of the sacred Hindu mantras which resonates in particular with transformative forces of that time of the year and expresses comprehensively its symbolic meaning, is the mantra of Goddess Durga, in her warrior aspect of Chamunda.
According to the Devi Mahatmya sacred text (a part of the Markandeya Purana), Goddess Kali appeared out of the midbrow of Chandika, the Supreme Goddess, in order to defend her from asuras Chanda and Munda, and their demonic armies. Kali had defeated bravely all her enemies in a terrible battle and was granted a new name – Chamunda.
Spiritual practitioners can overcome their inner defects only if they can observe them clearly and are helped by their Divine Mother, thus Kali came from the third eye of Chandika to fight darkness. “Chanda” and “Munda” represent two sides of selfishness, as each selfish element has its negative and positive side (which is also selfish and harmful, but feels good). Only when both sides of selfishness are defeated and transformed, the nature of one`s psyche truly changes, enriched by the light extracted from defeated darkness – bringing this light to one`s life and the world.
“Because you have brought me both Chanda and Munda, you O Devi, shall be famed in the world by the name Chamunda” -Chandika to Kali, The Devi Mahatmyam
The forces of the fall equinox each year, are symbolically related to the energies of the sunset each day, and on a smaller scale on psychological level – to each moment of each minute, when the forces of subconscious dominate over our consciousness. Thus the Chamunda mantra can be done at absolutely any time when needed – for the forces of light to gain strength and prevail over darkness.
This mantra directs one`s attention towards resistance and struggle against internal and external negative influences. It strengthens one`s intention and resolution to defeat the dark forces with a precious assistance of Divine Mother in her mighty warrior aspect.
The mantra of the Goddess Chamunda:
OM AIM HRIM KLIM CHAMUNDAYE VICHCHE
A basic interpretation of the meaning:
Om – primordial sound
Aim – the feminine counterpart of OM, knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
Hrim – purification and transformation, the force of the sun, dispels the traps of illusions
Klim – attraction of spiritual energies, love and evotion
Chamundaye – the name of the form of goddess Durga which helps to destroy evil
Vichche – cut, untie
After the fall equinox, darkness becomes stronger than light in the Northern Hemisphere, as days become colder and darker. Darkness keeps increasing until reaching the point of the shortest day and the longest night of the year, which is the time of the winter solstice – followed by the birth of Jesus, celebrated 3 days later, on Christmas.
Christmas doesn`t relate only to Jesus`s birthday – surprisingly for many, other ancient enlightened spiritual teachers throughout the world, such as Mithras, Odin, Horus, Dionysius, etc., were said to be born on the same day. And “Christ” is not just a second name of Jesus – the Christ is the spiritual force, referred in the Gnostic Apocryphon of John as “the light”, “the indestructibility” and the “divine Autogenes which created everything.”
Powerful spiritual mantras which resonate deeply with this time of the year and increase spiritual yearning and connection with the Force of the Christ are Hare Ram and Hare Krishna mantras.
The Hare Krishna mantra is known for its capacity to purify oneself by repeating the divine names of Hari, Krishna, and Rama. They all relate to Vishnu, the Preserving aspect of God, that manifests in our world within prepared individuals in order to defeat the darkness internally and externally, as was wonderfully illustrated in the great Indian epic Ramayana. Often this mantra (similarly to some others) is chanted 108 times per one practice .
“This maha-mantra consisting of sixteen names of Krishna is the destroyer of the (16-layered) illusory covering of all the living entities.
Only when the coverings are destroyed, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear in the heart of the living entities, just like the sun appears with full intensity when the clouds are removed.” -Kali Santarana Upanishad
In the Western Esoteric tradition, 16 is known to be the number of the Fall, associated with the Tower of Babel and sexual degradation, so by chanting this sacred mantra and reaching to the Divinity, one might be helped to replace the emanations of selfish material world with powerful spiritual feelings. And 108 was mentioned to be the number of human lives, that we have in one cycle of the Wheel of Samsara.
The Hare Ram mantra was introduced by Samael Aun Weor as the technique for astral projection. This mantra contains divine names – so it can be also used for a purpose of invoking the Christ-Force of Inner Fire. There are 15 syllables in this mantra, symbolically relating to overcoming temptations, which is vital in order to connect to the Christ-Force (Love).
When we use the power of our choice to reach to the Divine – the Divine reaches back to us, and helps us to liberate ourselves spiritually.
Mantras and their meaning:
- Hare (Hari) – the name of Vishnu – “The Preserver” aspect of God, who incarnates in the world when necessary.
- Ram (Rama) – the main hero of the epic Ramayana, the 7th Avatar of Vishnu. Rama symbolizes the initiate with the Christ within
- Christo and Krishna – the Christ – inner spiritual force and the one who has it inside. Note the similarity of words “Christ” and “Krishna”.
Also there are interpretations which relate Hare to “Radharani”, meaning Radha the Queen. Radha is Krishna`s eternal consort, sometimes associated with divine feminine Shakti energy and the Divine Mother Herself.
Hare Christo Christo Christo
- Light the candle in a safe manner, look at its flame as you do the mantra
- When you become comfortable with the mantra, emphasise its rhythm by clapping your hands
- Gradually increase the force of the mantra and then gradually decrease
- Sing one of these mantras in the morning, and another one in the evening
- Find your own way to make these mantras truly resonate in your heart – don`t just imitate someone. Improvise, innovate, when needed.
When the sun stops moving towards the south and days are about to start getting longer again, it symbolizes spiritual birth – the Christ starts his path in this world.
This path is universal, so there are numerous similarities between lives of enlightened spiritual teachers, for example Jesus was born surrounded by animals in stables, symbolizing the inner state of a spiritually advanced initiate on the certain high stage of the path to awakening, yet still possessing low animalistic states, and so Krishna was born in the prison cell surrounded by hostile guards. Similarly to Joseph and Mary who had to escape from king Herod to save their baby, Vasudeva and Devaki also had to escape from king Kansa to save infant Krishna. Both Jesus and Krishna were born as the result of the “immaculate conception” and “virgin birth”, symbolizing pure spiritual birth with Alchemy, etc.
Esoterically speaking, the Christian Triad “Holy Father, Holy Son and Holy Spirit” might describe the Divinity incarnated within Jesus. Jesus, the Son (the Christ), followed the will of the Father (God), while being connected to Him through the Holy Spirit. After he had fulfilled his mission and ascended to heavens, he reunited with the Father and became a part of the greater Trinity:
“I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible one.” -The Apocryphon of John
The Christ-Krishna is universal spiritual force that can be incarnated within – bringing its incredible powers and heavy responsibilities. The Christ follows defined process of development – that`s why there are so many similarities in the lives of Jesus, Krishna, Horus, Odin, Mithras, Dyonisius, Kukulkan, Viracocha, and others. Their lives were aligned with the changes of the wheel of the year, as a part of symbolic teachings about spiritual awakening. It is very likely that the close disciples of Jesus had managed either to incarnate the Christ within, or to be on the way to get there.
Ultimately, it is not about worshipping God, but about purifying ourselves and becoming Him, as it was beautifully described in the gem of Indian esoteric thought – Tirumular`s Tirumandhiram:
“Only those who in intense (Divine) desire seek Him, bereft of desires (worldly), will (Param Param) Siva become”.
Unfortunately, many people became conditioned and confused by their religions. Some build their faith on superficial interpretations of their sacred texts, often not realizing that all religions share the same core, and there have been many distortions and omissions in most, if not all, religious sacred texts.
But there are teachings, which have managed to reach us in their pristine form, because they were carved in stone and were carefully encoded in ancient temples and sacred monuments. Their builders were very advanced – some of their stones are so massive and so perfectly placed and aligned with each other – and the environment – and the cosmos, and the design of some of their sacred sites is so deeply profound and symbolic, that begs a question, whether our civilization is actually progressing in any sense.
Amazingly, the meaning of Christmas, which many people think relates only to the Christian Church and Jesus, can be studied deeply in ancient Egyptian temples.
The Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor is one the biggest religious site in the world. It is dedicated to the Creator God Amun-Ra and aligned precisely with the winter solstice sunrise. At first, the light of the rising sun was symbolically funnelled to enter the Holy of Holies of the temple – its inner sanctuary, then, the light could pass through the East-Western axis of the temple making its way towards the temple`s main entrance. The light of prepared initiates becomes the light of the world.
Following the Nile River, to the south of the Karnak`s Temple, the road of sphinxes was designed to lead to the amazing Temple of Luxor (The Temple of Man as called by Schwaller de Lubizc), containing scenes of annunciation, sacred sexuality and divine birth, which educate in symbols the mysteries of spiritual transformation within the body of a prepared practitioner. Across the river Nile, the energy of the winter solstice was channelled directly into the beautiful temple of Hatchepsut, devoted to her quest for divine birth and immortality.
The winter solstice is the time of hope – yet there is a lot to overcome, as it was symbolically depicted in another sacred site, located in Caucasus mountains, in the place known as the Wolf`s Gate – where the entry to the dolmen is aligned with the winter solstice sun, rising from behind the mountain`s rock of such a shape, that it creates an illusion of the sun emerging out of the jaws of a wolf.
After the winter solstice “the sun slowly recovers its powers”, until the point of the spring equinox which symbolizes the victory of light over darkness – the time of spiritual resurrection.
The vernal equinox was widely acknowledged and celebrated in ancient spiritual traditions and mystery schools. There are numerous alignments of sacred sites around the world, for example at the Cambodian Angkor Wat, during the time of equinoxes, the sun rises on dawn over its central tower (symbolizing Mount Meru – regarded as the centre of the Hindu universe and the abode of gods.)
Astrologically at that point, the sun enters the sign of Aries, named by the golden ram whose Golden Fleece was sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Colchis. It is a popular myth, yet has an esoteric meaning.
“The Golden Fleece, with all of its precious stones, and incalculable wealth, is our own Christified and resurrected Being. Fortunate is the one who reaches Christification. Fortunate is the one who reaches Resurrection. Blessed be the one who defeats the Dragon and takes possession of the Golden Fleece.” -Samael Aun Weor, Pistis Sofia Unveiled
The temple at Angkor Wat contains impressive stone reliefs on its eastern wall, depicting 2 scenes: “Vishnu conquering Asuras” and “Churning the Milky Ocean”. Each year, when the sun rises in different positions, it is roughly aligned for a half of the year with one of these scenes.
Symbolically, Vishnu conquers Asuras (demons) during the light time of the year between the spring equinox and the fall equinox. But in order to get to that power, Vishnu needs to pass successfully through the period of darkness, symbolized by the dark time of the year (fall equinox – spring equinox), and the scene from the Mahabharata, known as the Churning of the Milky Ocean.
This scene shows the great struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, pulling back and forth the serpent Vasuki to rotate the Mandara mountain in the milky ocean, which churns the ocean and produces a sacred elixir of immortality, that confers spiritual virtues and eternal life.
“Hari, the creator of the universe, being thus prayed to by the prostrate divinities, smiled, and thus spake: “With renovated energy, oh gods, I will restore your strength. Do you act as I enjoin. Let all the gods, associated with the Asuras, cast all sorts of medicinal herbs into the sea of milk; and then taking the mountain Mandara for the churning-stick, the serpent Vásuki for the rope, churn the ocean together for ambrosia; depending upon my aid. To secure the assistance of the Daityas, you must be at peace with them, and engage to give them an equal portion of the fruit of your associated toil; promising them, that by drinking the Amrita that shall be produced from the agitated ocean, they shall become mighty and immortal. I will take care that the enemies of the gods shall not partake of the precious draught; that they shall share in the labour alone.” -The Vishnu Purana
The process of spiritual growth is also symbolically illustrated in the carvings of Devadas on Angkor Wat`s Eastern gate. When the sun rises on the winter solstice, aligned with the southern end of the Eastern gate, 3 Devadas hold the buds of flowers.
But when the sun rises on the summer solstice, aligned with the northern end of the Eastern gate – the image completely changes. This carving is not so well preserved but you can still see that again, 3 Devadas stand together – but the one in the middle keeps her right hand on her heart area, while 2 other Devadas on her sides, hold fully grown blooming flowers.
The equinoxes are the equilibrium points between Birth and Completion (Culmination).
Death and Resurrection, Birth and Completion, all together, form the Cross of the Wheel of the Year.
Interestingly, even the numbers of pulling Devas and Asuras on the Churning of the Milky Ocean scene, seem to point out to solar events: there is 91 demon to the left pulling towards the south, symbolizing the days between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. But then 88 devas pull back the sun and light towards the Northern Hemisphere – which are the days between the winter solstice and the spring equinox – that marks the end of the dark half of the year…
The spring equinox is the point of a spiritual victory, when days become longer than nights, when sacrifice bears fruit, what was dead, comes back to life symbolized by the return of Persephone from the underworld of Hades, the revival of Inanna, and the resurrection of Jesus during the Easter time.
It is the moment of joy – the Pythogoreans were described by Iamblichus to have a musical celebration at this time of the year by gathering in a circle and singing songs; one person stayed in the centre of the circle and played the accompaniment on the lyre. (The circle with the dot in the centre is the symbol of the sun)
The sacred “Death Conquering” Mahamrityunjaya mantra from the sacred Rig Veda is utilized to rejuvenate, protect from danger, and advance forward spiritually through the obstacles – despite any difficulties.
Similarly to all other mantras, it may be chanted any time when it is needed, but also during the time of the vernal equinox to experience the energy of its forces and to understand deeper its profound spiritual meaning.
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat
“We Meditate on the Three-eyed reality Which permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance. May we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality Even as the cucumber is severed from bondage to the creeper.”
- OM: primordial sound
- Tryambakam: “Trya” and “Ambaka” – meaning 3 Eyes of Rudra (Shiva), who is the supreme God. The First Triad : Creation, Existence, and Dissolution, and all other triads, which originate from AUM. Seeing simultaneously Past, Present and Future; being beyond the 3 Gunas: satva, rajas and tamas. Experiencing these three stages and all triads at one time, from the higher, all pervasive vantage point of the Absolute.
- Yajamahe: We adore and revere you, we rejoice in meditation on all of this.
- Sugandhim: Fragrance. A popular Christian metaphor for divinity is “light” – here it involves another sense. Just as a fragrance of a flower spreads around in all directions, the divine emanations permeate all the existence, while at the same time being that existence.
- Pushtivardhanam: Increasing prosperity, that which strengthens, sustains and nourishes all. Thus, “Sugandhim Pushtivardanam” means the fragrance that permeates all, is the sustainer of all beings, while also the essence of all beings.
- Urvarukamiva: “Similarly to a cucumber”. But also it is translated with these words: “Urva” – great. “Iva” – as if. “Aruka” – injuring, disease, like the spiritual diseases of ignorance and untruth, which are like the death of Wisdom or Truth.
- Bandhanan: To bound down. So “Urvarukamiva Bandhanan” can be translated as “I am bound down just like a cucumber (to a vine),” “I am bound down by a powerful disease”.
- Mrityor: Death, ignorance and untruth.
- Mukshiya: Liberation from the cycles of physical, mental, and spiritual death.
- Maamritat: “Amrita” is “nectar”, “ambrosia” and “immortality”. “Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat” means please give me rejuvenating nectar, so as to have this liberation. May we be delivered from death and reach immortality.
How to learn the Mahamrityunjaya (and other complex mantras)
- Find the version of the mantra which touches your heart
- Get the melody and the rhythm, memorize the words, feel deeply the essence of the mantra.
- Write down the words of the mantra and their interpretations. Chant the mantra while looking at the words, try to understand deeper their meaning.
- When appropriate, sing the mantra without your notes for a short period of time in different settings. You are alone, waiting in your car – why not to try the mantra? Nobody hears you in the shower – sing the mantra…
- When you become familiar with the mantra, see if you can improvise well – for example, chant and emphasize certain words, try different notes, add a musical instrument, etc. The point of improvisation is breaking mechanical routine, adaptation to different circumstances and overall improvement.
- If there is someone who is ready and expresses sincere interest to learn mantras – keep your heart open – help them to the best of your capacity. You will learn much more in this way.
Year after year, time passes by, and so our lives move with it.
“Alas! As with love time is impossible to grasp with reason. Just as there are different loves, so too are there different times” –The Flight of the Feathered Serpent, Armando Cosani
Mantras were designed to cultivate the continuity of mindfulness through external changes and changes within ones psyche.
True wisdom is the result of spiritual development. The earlier in life one gets sufficient wisdom to live well, the more time one tends to have to apply this wisdom in the world, and to learn more. And our world is in dire need of more love and wisdom.
The daily practice of mantras is a powerful tool to connect with spiritual forces, enabling a deeper understanding of the causes hidden beneath life’s events, and ideally helping one to walk on the path to profound inner transformation and enlightenment.
Copyright – EsotericteachingsDotOrg, published on June 10, 2012