TANTRA, YANTRA, AND MANTRA – ITS SIGNIFICANCE
Dr. Jayashree. R,
Research scholar, K.S.U, Bangalore.
Prof. V. Girish Chandra K.S.U, Bangalore.
Tantra shastra can be divided into three parts – Tantra, Yantra, and Mantra. Tantra is Ultrapure, sattvic worship originated mainly from Vedas. In the Tantras, the worship of the deity is in the form of Yantras, where the Yantras are constructed based on Geometry and many types of Yantras are constructed on a single deity based on its purpose or application. The Vedic sages along with the herbal remedies have also suggested Sonic therapy i.e, treatment of various illnesses with the sound which includes chanting and hearing of the mantras in the Veda Samhita. According to them, the basic healing art is the recitation of mantras or verses from the Veda Samhitas. The whole of the four Vedas consists of nothing but Mantras. The Triad, the Tantra-Yantra-Mantra is the divine blessings on mankind to emancipate man from his suffering and to get rid of physical, psychic, or spiritual problems.
Tantra is the one that gives protection (trana) from different types of fears (trasa). Hence it is said that “त्रासात् त्राणणात् तन्त्रः”. Hence Tantra Shastra is originated from a special procedure of worship to safeguard the man from different types of fear (like fear from disease, fear from enemies, fear from king, etc). Also, it bestows different kinds of worldly happiness with protection along with spirituality, emancipation and is the best means of realizing God.
Mantras are the treasure of unlimited power. The powers of different deities are merged in different mantras in deep subtle form. The word which gives the entire knowledge releases from all worldly bonds and in the form of worshipping deity which is continuously remembered and pondered upon, that suitable word is Mantra.
Significance of the Triad, the Tantra, Yantra, and Mantra:
Tantra-shastra can be divided into three parts – Tantra, Yantra, and Mantra. These three words Tantra- Yantra- Mantra represents quick success. Mantra is important among the three, as it is mainly used in the other two. The Tantra and Yantra cannot be used individually without the Mantras. In other words, all the Tantric procedures are carried out only with the help of Mantras.
Tantra is ultrapure, sattvic worship which has recognition even during Vedic ages from time immemorial. The Tantra is originated mainly from the Vedas. All four Vedas are comprised of Tantra-Vidya. Atharvaveda is mainly a book on TantraVidya. Probably it is the first book on Tantra-vidya which is full of siddhis in its entirety. Also, many Puranas like Shiva-Purana, Devi-Purana, Markandeya-Purana, Agni-Purana, Brahma-Vaivarta Purana contain information regarding Tantra. But in due course of time, certain people out of personal selfishness misused the Tantra and started doing Abhichara karmas (sorcery) to harm others which is sinful and condemnable.
It is a fact that some part of Tantra is related to Abhichara, other than the Sadhana and Upasana (worship). But this part of the Tantra is operational only in case of emergencies. But slowly due to lack of self-control and selfishness, the Abhichara karmas like Marana, Mohana, Vashya, Stambhana, Ucchaatana, and Aakarshana gain prominence in Tantra and because of this, this part of Tantra was said to be against to Vedas and hence to be abandoned.
The words Tantra and Āgama are generally used as synonyms. Āgamas are mainly three in number.
- Pāncarātrāgamas, or those which speak of the worship of Viṣṇu;
- Śaivāgamas, or those which deal with the worship of Śiva; and 3)Śāktāgamas, those of Śakti.
In these Tantras as in the Pāncarātra and Śaivāgamas, the Vedas are highly spoken of as a rule, and the Vedic methods approved. But in the present age of Kaliyuga, when people have a predominant tendency towards worldly pleasures, the worship of Śakti is recommended as the easiest way of obtaining happiness.
The Tantric mantras are more powerful among the mantras. In Tantric worship, the complete knowledge of procedure, rules, and regulations is very much essential. The worship without due attention to a procedure or faulty worship brings about harm rather than doing good. Whatever be the Sadhana, is very difficult and not possible for all to perform. Hardly one or two out of lakhs will be successful in attaining the siddhi.
In the worship of form (Saakara Upasana), the idols are mainly worshipped. While in the Tantras, the worship of the deity is in the form of Yantras, where the Yantras are constructed based on Geometry and this Yantra is not one for a deity, rather many types of Yantras are constructed on a single deity based on its purpose or application.
Yantras are of two types. One is constructed based on the god or deity and hence is worshipped. The other is worn on the body as a kavacha, for different kinds of wishes like; to cure the diseases, to appease the grahas, to obtain wealth, to protect oneself, etc. Yantras can also be tied upon the shoulder or waist etc. A diagram is drawn on the yantras based on Geometry and specific mantras or numbers should be written over the yantras in specific places.
For special worship, the deity whose worship has to be done is worshipped through the medium of its Panchanga namely, Patala, Paddhati, Kavacha, Namasahasra, and Stotra.
The five ‘ma’karas namely, Meena, Mamsa, Madya, Mudra, and Maithuna, as advocated in Tantra-shastra is not acceptable in spiritual worship. Hence, it has been said by the learned that, the meaning of these ‘ma’karas should not be taken in its literal or materialistic sense. Rather, it should be understood in the spiritual sense which is according to the Vedas. But these are generally used in the “vama” direction only and hence, has spoiled the name of Tantric worship.
Vanaushadhas (herbs from the forest) should be given Nimantrana (invite) according to the procedure and then collected. In Tantra, many dravyas are used after doing Abhimantrana (or potentizing) with the mantras. For instance, the mustard seeds are energized through mantra (Abhimantranam) is tied to the waist of a pregnant lady to prevent miscarriage. When Havana is performed using specific materials and specific mantras, the remnants of oblation called ‘Hutashesha’ if administered to an infertile woman will certainly bestow a son to her.
For the Tantra-sadhana, restraint over mind and sense organs are mandatory. For this, Yoga sadhana is essential. Among the Ashtanga yoga, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara constitute Bahiranga while Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi constitute Antaranga yoga.
The highest siddhi in the yoga sadhana is to reach the state of samadhi and awakening of the Kundalini. With this, Sadhaka obtains all the siddhis. This can be achieved by continuous practice through Pranayama.
The entrance of Sushumna Nadi is obstructed by the Kundalini, which is in the shape of a sleeping serpent, measuring three and a half Valaya, is situated between the urethra (Mutrendriya) and rectum(Gudadvaara), in the Muladhara. This obstruction is removed through Pranayama, and thereby Sushumna is awakened and made to flow. In otherwords, awakening the Kundalini and taking it to the Brahmarandhra through the Sushumna Nadi leads to Samaadhi. From Mulaadhaara to Brahmarandhra, there are six chakras called Shatchakras. When the Kundalini is awakened, the Pranavayau through Sushumna moves upward by crossing (or passing through) all these six chakras, namely- Muladhara chakra, Swadhishtana chakra, Manipura chakra, Anahata chakra, Vishuddha chakra, Aajna chakra. After the sixth chakra, at the top, the Sahasrara chakra is located in the Brahmarandhra. According to Swamy Vivekananda, by continuous practice of Pranayama, the Kundalini gets awakened. When the Kundalini is awakened, the entire nature of the being is changed and the treasure of knowledge gets unlocked.
Mantras are the treasure of unlimited power. The powers of different deities are merged in different mantras in deep subtle form. How the entire tree is present in any seed in the subtle form, which cannot be seen through the eyes, but when the seed is sown, the entire tree becomes visible slowly after some time, in the same way, in each mantra, the worshipping deity in the form of seed is present in invisible form and by doing its Japa, the deity gets invoked and the form becomes visible in its entirety.
मननं विश्वविज्ञानं त्राणं संसारबन्धनात् ।
यतः करोति संसिद्धो मन्त्र इत्युच्यते ततः ॥ [पिङ्गलामते]
मन्त्र इत्युच्यते सम्यक् मदधिष्ठानतः प्रिये ॥ [रुद्रयामले]
The vibrations of the mantra are similar to Radio waves, by which, divine power is generated with continuous chanting, which helps in establishing the contact between the Sadhaka and the deity. The Japa or Purashcharana (repeating the mantra) of a mantra is performed to achieve the Mantra-siddhi or to get success in fulfillment of some wish or even to harm others using the Abhichara.
It is not proper to use (or apply) the mantras taken directly from the books without being initiated by a guru according to the procedure. Hence in Sankhyaayana tantra, it is stated like-
पुस्तके लिखिता मन्त्रानवलोक्य जपेत् वा ।
स जीवन्नेव चाण्डालो मृतः श्वाचाभिजायते ॥
Also, the mantra should be byhearted before starting the Japa-anushtana. The greatness of Guru and the procedure of Initiation:
According to the book ‘Kula chudamani’, the letter ‘Gu’ refers to ‘darkness (Andhakara)’ and ‘ru’ refers to ‘warding of darkness’. Hence, ‘Guru’ is the one who safeguards from the darkness and lack of knowledge.
According to ‘Yamala Tantra’, Guru is that power which through its siddhi and success, wards off the sins and lack of knowledge.
गुकारः सिद्धिदः प्रोक्तो रेफः पापस्य दाहकः ।
उकारः शक्ति इत्युक्तो स्त्रितयात्मा गुरु स्मृतः ॥
Hence, it is said that the person who understands ‘Guru’ just as a man, ‘Mantra’ as just a word or letter, and the ‘Idol of worship i.e Deity’ as just a stone will go the hell.
गुरौ मनुष्यबुद्धिं च मन्त्रे चाक्षरवाचितम् । प्रतिमासु शिलाबुद्धिं कुर्वाणो नरकं व्रजेत् ॥
The obtaining of knowledge regarding any mantra or procedure of worship is called ‘Deeksha’ or ‘Initiation’. Obtaining the initiation at an auspicious time, as stated in the shastras, bestows quick success.
Initiation is the root of all Japa. Initiation is also the root of austerity. Initiation received from a Siddha Guru is the fulfilment of all actions. Those who perform the actions of Japa and worship etc, without initiation, their such actions remain fruitless like a seed sown on stone. No action performed by an uninitiated person ever succeeds, nor does he ever attain siddhi. Therefore, with all efforts, it is proper to obtain initiation from a Sadguru.
A Brahmana should take Initiation in Vasanta Ritu, Kshatriya in Greeshma, Vaishya in Sharad and others can take initiation in the Shishira Ritu, which are said to be auspicious, or in every Ritu, initiation can be taken in the afternoon.
The Initiation should always be taken from the highest or equal Varnas and
The initiation can only be given to the lowest or equal Varnas. Hence, the Initiation given to a Brahmana from Kshatriya, initiation of Kshatriya from Vaishya, initiation of Vaishya from shudra is prohibited in the shastras.
Before taking the Initiation of a Mantra or doing Purashcharana, it is very much essential to know whether the Mantra suits him or not. Siddhamantra, Sadhyamantra, etc can be known with the help of ‘akadama’ chakra and ‘akathaha’ chakra.
Some Mantras like Nrisimha, Varaha, Surya, Mrityunjaya, Panchakshara, Pancha dashakshara, Tryakshara, Dvakshara, Ekakshara, etc which are being used commonly on an open basis for a long time need not require Mantra-shodhana.
To fulfill any special desire when the Initiation of any specific mantra or purashcharana is being done, then this Mantra-shodhana is essential.
Japa or Purashcharana for Mantra-siddhi:
Every mantra has its number for doing Japa. But generally, in Kaliyuga the number of Japa is four times the fixed number.
Sometimes, only Mantra is not powerful. Hence, at the beginning of each mantra, joining the Shira (i.e, Om) and at the end of mantra, adding the Pallava as like Namah, Svaaha, Voushat, Phat, Hum, etc and doing the Purashcharana of mantra is more powerful and gives fruit just like a Kamadhenu.
मन्त्राणां पल्लवो वासो मन्त्राणां प्रणावः शिरः ।
शिरः पल्लवसंयुक्तो मन्त्रः कामदुधो भवेत् ॥
But there is no necessity of adding Beeja and Pallava to the Vedic Mantras. In Vedic mantras, the knowledge of Rishi, Chandas, Devata, and Viniyoga is very essential. Even, the Shadanga Nyasa is not mandatory for the Vedic mantras.
Before starting the Japa or Purashcharana of any Mantra, the knowledge of the six secrets of the mantra is very essential. Without the knowledge of these, if Japa or yajna is done, it becomes fruitless and yields the Aasura bhava. The six secrets or parts of the mantra are Rishi, Chandas, Devata, Viniyoga, Shakti, and Kilaka.
It takes a lot of time to achieve the siddhi over each mantra. In this situation, a man can only achieve siddhi over a few mantras in his lifetime. If he wishes to achieve the siddhi over many more mantras from the point of view of the welfare of the world, a simple procedure of achieving the mantra-siddhi during the time of an eclipse has been stated in the shastras.
Mantras should never be misused for the sake of hatred, greed, or fear. Even, it should not be used commercially. Otherwise, along with the ending of the siddhi, he will lose both this world and the world hereafter. Just for the sake of the welfare of the world, to ward off the difficulties of the people this knowledge of mantra is used.
Any mantra becomes successful only after getting mantra-siddhi according to the procedure by doing purashcarana (successive repetition). The mantra will not be effective without getting the siddhi. Hence, using the mantra without getting the siddhi is of waste. Though it is a Siddha-mantra, if it is not successful in its use, can have many reasons behind for the same. For instance, lack of self-control, lack of purity, lack of due procedure, lack of concentration, etc. The sincere usage of any
Siddha-mantra cannot be unsuccessful. In case it is unsuccessful, it is only because of his own mistakes. Hence, faith and confidence are very essential to the mantra. It is said that,
मन्त्रे तीर्थे द्विजे दैवे भैषज्ये देवते गुरौ ।
यादृशी भवना यस्य सिद्धिर्भवति तादृशी ॥
means, the siddhi of the Mantra, Pilgrimage, Brahmana, God, Medicine, Devata, and Guru solely depends on the faith of the practitioner. Positive feelings or good faith can yield good results while no faith or negative thinking will not work though it is effective.
Concentration or Mindfulness is very essential in Purashcharana and Mantrasiddhi. While uttering the mantra through the Mouth, the Heart should ponder over the meaning of the mantra, the worshipping Deity should be meditated upon in the center of eyebrows and the vision should be steady at the tip of the nose, and doing the Japa is a hard sadhana. Even a little disturbance in the concentration spoils the whole and the sadhana goes in vain.
मुखे मन्त्रः भ्रुवौ ध्यानं हृदि भावार्थचिन्तनम् ।
नासाग्रे स्थिरदृष्टिश्च इति साधकलक्षणम् ॥
A single medicine though effective, cannot be used to cure all diseases. Similarly, a single Mantra cannot be used for all purposes. According to different kinds of wishes, the sadhana of mantras on different deities should be carried out. But, if there is no worldly wish other than the ultimate emancipation, the purashcarana of a single mantra on any deity becomes certainly successful. Hence, the selection of a mantra of a particular deity according to the wish is very important.
One should have confidence and wait towards the effectiveness of any mantra usage. If the mantra was used according to the procedure, it should be successful. But it can take some time. Because of delay, one should not lose faith. Some mantras are fruitful instantaneously. But this is not possible with all the mantras. It takes time for any work to get completed and fruitful. In the same way, after doing the mantra-anushtana and its usage, it takes some time to yield results.
The Triad, the Tantra-Yantra-Mantra is the divine blessings on mankind to emancipate man from his suffering and to get rid of physical, psychic, or spiritual problems and hence has a lot of therapeutic significance. Through recitation of Vedic Mantras, through prayers, through healing Vedic rituals, through meditation, through the way we live our life, by the purity of our thoughts and feelings, by stainless character, by devotion, surrender, and faith, by doing and, non-doing whatever be the ways we should live a life where we feel the presence of God all the time and work for the welfare of our society.
1) An introduction to the “Mantrashastra”
By: S. E. Gopalacharlu
A paper was read by the author before the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society, held at Adyar, Madras, on 27th, 28th, and 29th December 1891.
Published in 1934, Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai (Madras) India.
2) Eternity of Sound and the Science of Mantras
Author: Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya, Translated by: Dr. Rajani Joshi, First edition: 2003, Publisher: Shantikunj, Haridwar (U.A), India, 249411.
- Mantra Shastra: Saadhana tatha siddhiyon, By Acharya Bhaskarananda Lohni, First edition-1997.
Agrahayana publications, Lucknow.
- Mantra-Yoga Samhita:
Bhavanuvada by Vivekanandaji, Samvat 1182 Vikramiya, Published by Sri Bharath Dharma Maha Mandal, Banaras.
- Mantra-Yoga Samhita:
Second edition-1982, Edited text with English translation by Dr. Ramkumar Rai. Published by: Chaukambha Orientalia, Varaṇasi.
- Meditation and Mantras:
By Swami Viṣṇu Devananda, Revised Edition:1981 Published by: OM Lotus Publishing Company, New York.
- Practicals of Mantras and Tantras:
By Dr. L. R. Chawdhri, First Published: July-1985 Sagar Publications, New Delhi.