The Indian Mantra Author(s): J. Gonda Source: Oriens, Vol. 16 (Dec. 31, 1963), pp.

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THE INDIAN MANTRA
by

J. Gonda
Utrecht

Hellmut Ritter zum 70. Geburtstage

I

In the practice of religious life the importance and decisive power of the spoken word, and especially of the well-formulatedword, has always been understood. The spoken word is an act, an exercise of power, revealing an attitude of the speaker and containing something creative. Especially when they combine into formulas, into phrases definite in the sound, rhythm and order of their terms, words possess the greatest might and effect whether dangerous or beneficient. The performance of ritual acts, the exertion of influence upon the Unseen, the utilization of power as a rule require a vocal expression of the officiant's will, desire or intentions; the verbal referenceto a desiredresult becomes an instrument producing it. Words and rites are closely connected, the former lending the latter their specific character: accedit verbum ad elementum et fit
sacramentum 1.

In a long chapter of a recent book 2 Friedrich Heiler enumerates no less than twelve different aspects or manifestations of the holy or sacred word 3. He distinguishes various forms of prayer and spell, oath and curse, conjuration(whetherciting or exorcizing), invocation or seLXXClJq, confession of sins, adoration, praise and the expression of thankfulness, confession of faith, sacrificial forms, vow, and formulation of desires. It can not be part of my task here to criticize this twelvefold classification and to ask for instance why praise and gratitude are so closely connected
1 Augustinus, in Joan. 80, 3, quoted by F. Heiler, Erscheinungsformen und For the significance of the sacred word in general see also G. van der Leeuw, Religion in essence and manifestation, London I938; F. Heiler, Das Gebet,Miinchen
3

Wesen der Religion, Stuttgart 1961, p. 266. 2 See note i; chapter VII, esp. p. 306ff.

Gebet und Opfer. Studien zum griechischen Kultus, Heidelberg I927; V. Larock, Essai sur la valeur sacree et la valeur sociale des noms de personnes dans les societds inferieures, in Revue de l'histoire des religions IoI (I930), and the bibliography contained in the footnotes to Heiler, Erscheinungsformen, p. 306 ff. 244

(I918), 5I923;

D. W. Steere, Prayer and Worship, New York 1934; F. Schwenn,

The Indian Mantra

245

as to form one category. The only remark which I should like to make here is that the well-known Indian mantra is, in these pages, conspicuous by its absence. At first sight this is rather surprising because references to the Indian religions in which the mantras from the beginning to the present day play a highly important part, are numerous in this book. On second thought it becomes however understandablethat the Indian mantra has either escaped the attention of the learned author, or perhaps intentionally been left out of account because it does not fit in well with the twelvefold classification adopted by him. It is true that Professor Heiler has no reason to mention the Indian mantra under some of his twelve headings: it is, for instance, no expression of thankfulness towards a deity. But it would be incorrect to hold that it does not for some of its aspects come under the heading of "Zauberwort,Segen und Fluch", and for others under "prayer", or under "adoration, praise, liturgical formula, expression of a wish, invocation" and even under "confession of faith". The concept of mantra covers much more than "prayer" or "invocation", than "praise" or "formula".A mantra is now invocatory, then evocatory, now deprecatory, then again conservatory. It may be beneficent or hurtful, salutary or pernicious. So we repeat: this special Indian manifestation of the sacred word does not fit in well with the above twelvefold classification. The same plurivalent character of the Indian term-that is, the impossibility of translating it by one single word of one of our modern languages-has no doubt induced other authors to adopt, consciously or unconsciously, short, but inadequate, and sometimes even deceptive translations whenever they are under the necessity of explaining the 1 or "incantation" 2 may, indeed, someIndian term. "Zauberformel" times do duty, but are far from being a general equivalent; "short prayers"is very incomplete and "sacredsentences" 3 too vague; "formule magique pour prendre contact avec la Verite" 4 may like "prayer" 7 ("priere") 5, "liturgy" 6, "formulemystique" lead to misunderstanding; neither "formule, gdneralement versifide, recitee au cours du sacrifice
1 See e.g. H. von Glasenapp, Die Religionen Indiens, Stuttgart I943, p. I4I;

S. Dasgupta, A history of Indian philosophy, I3, Cambridge I95I, p. 69; W. Volz, in G. Buschan, Die Volker Asiens, Australiens und der Siidseeinseln, p. 544. 2 A. K. Coomaraswamy, Pour comprendre 'art hindou, Paris I926, p. 62. 3 A. C. Bouquet, Hinduism, London, p. I39. 4 J. Herbert, La mythologie hindoue, Paris 1953, p. 36. Cf. also H. Zimmer, Myths and symbols in Indian art and civilization, Washington D.C. 1946, p. 72. 5 L. Renou, in L. Renou et J. Filliozat, L'Inde classique, I, Paris 1947, p. 270.
6 M. Eliade,
7

J. Herbert, Spiritualite hindoue, Paris I947, p. 366.

Yoga, Paris I936, p. I07.

246

J. Gonda

vddique et empruntee notamment au Rgveda" 1 nor "hymn addressed to some god or goddess" 2 give a correct idea; "son mystique", "mystischer Laut" 3 and "name of God" 4 are as a general explanation no less 5 inadequate than "sacred hymn" or the unspecified and ambiguous "formula" 6. Even an enumeration like "Verse, Gebete, Spriiche und Zauberformeln" 7 fails to satisfy a critical reader. Lexicographers were confronted with the same difficulty: "Spruch, Gedicht, Lied als Erzeugniss des Geistes; die vedischen Lieder und Spriiche; magische Besprechung; Verabredung, Rat ..." says the Petrograd Dictionary 8; "divine saying or decision ..., hence magic charm, spell; in particular a secret religious code or doctrine" the Pali Text Society's Pali-English dictionary)> 9; "formula etc." Edgerton's <(Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit dictionary,> 10. In a modern glossary of 'special terms' it reads: "mystic formula or spell, deriving its power from traditional association with a particular divinity or a desired result; it is rendered effective by means of repetitive recitation (japa) combined with meditation (dhydna)" 11. It would be unwise to deny that for practical purposes many of these translations may, in particular contexts, serve to give the modern nonIndian reader a fairly good idea of what is meant, but they may not be used as definitions of the concept or as exact indications of what is meant by the Indians who use the term. And although it must be conceded that in particular contexts, which have come into existence in different centuries and in different communities the various aspect of the concepts were differently emphasized, there is on the other hand no denying that the term has in the course of time and notwithstanding its varied application kept a definite semantic kernel. In this case, like in many others, our modern languages do not possess a single term which might cover what the Indians understood, and often still understand by a mantra. The very diversity of translations in dictionaries and books
1 L. Renou, Sanskrit et culture, Paris I950, p. i8i. 2 Ch. Sharma, A critical Survey of Indian philosophy, London I960, p. 14.

3 M. Eliade, Le Yoga, Paris 1954, p. 216; Jos. Abs, Indiens Religion der Sandtanadharma, Bonn I923, p. 17.

4 Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, London 1947, p. 68. 5 B. A. Gupte, Hindu holidays and ceremonials, Calcutta 1919, p. 269. 6 S. Konow, Die Inder, in A. Bertholet und E. Lehmann, Lehrbuch der Religionsgeschichte, II, Tiibingen 1925, p. I28; C. G. Diehl, Instrument and purpose,
Lund 1956, p. Ioo.

7 M. Winternitz, Geschichteder indischen Litteratur, I2, Leipzig (1907), p. 38. 8 A. B6htlingk und R. Roth, Sanskrit-Worterbuch,V, 537. 9 Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and W. Stede, V, Calcutta 1923, p. I46 s.v. manta.
10 F. Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit dictionary, New Haven 1 D. L. Snellgrove, The Hevajra Tantra, I, London 1959, p. I36. 1953, p. 419.

The Indian Mantra

247

touching upon "the sacred word" in India shows us that the term is, in point of fact, untranslatable. Defining, provisionally and for practical purposes, the term under consideration as a general name for the formulas, verses or sequences of words in prose which contain praise and prayer, references to myths, conjurations, ritual injunctions, religious statements etc. etc., are believed to have magical, religious or spiritual efficiency, are recited, muttered or sung in the Vedic ritual and which are collected in the methodically arranged corpora of Vedic texts called Samhitas or contained in other special collections 1 we must, however, add that the same name is applied to comparable 'formulas' of different origin used in the post-Vedic cults 2. In both periods and in all communities mantras are very sacred and their recitation is traditionally subjected to fixed and strict rules. Thus a mantra is, as far as the Vedic religions and literature are concerned, explained by Indian commentators and lexicographers as "part of the Veda", "special Vedatext"; "words (to be) taken from the Rgvedasamhita and the other corpora" and "means of propitiating gods etc.". They are moreover considered, not products of discursive thought, human wisdom or poetic phantasy, but flash-lights of the eternal truth, seen by those eminent men who have come into a supersensuous contact with the Unseen. Not only do the translations and definitions of the term strike the reader as considerably varied, also the literal explanations and interpretations proposed differ widely. Whereas some authors, for instance, explain mantra- as "thought" ("pensee" 3), others prefer expressions such as "pensee formulee et structuree" 4. Beside the explanation "mantra means originally religious thought, prayer, sacred utterance, but from an early date it also implied that the text was a weapon of 5 supernatural power" we find "originally the word mantra- meant simply 'a verbal instrument for producing something in our minds' "6 or "to pronounce a mantra is a way of wooing a deity, and, etymologically, the word mantra is connected with Greek words like meimao (read
1 The readermay be referred to L. Renou, in Renou et Filliozat, L'Indeclassique, I, p. 270; J. Gonda, Die Religionen Indiens, I. Veda und alterer Hinduismus,

Stuttgart I960, p. 9 ff. For some particulars see also Winternitz, o.c., I, p. 148 f.; 236 f.; P. V. Kane, History of Dharmasastra, II, 2, Poona 1941, p. 983; A. Minard, Trois enigmes sur les Cent Chemins, II, Paris 1956, p. 293.

2 This distinction between Vedic and later, so-called agamic mantras is also made by the Hindu authoritiesthemselves (see, e.g., Brahma-purdna 41, 63). 3 Thus Renou, Litterature sanskrite,Paris 1946, p. 74. 4 L. Silburn, Instant et cause, Paris I955, p. 25. 5 J. N. Farquhar,An outline the of religiousliterature of India, OxfordI920, p. 25.

6 Zimmer, o.c., p. I4I, n.

Shakti and Shdkta. P. ein 'Ding. where in connection with the gayatri metre which is stated to be "everything here that has come to be. is the presence of the deity: only that mantra in which the devatd has revealed his or her particular aspects can reveal that aspect. Gonda "to be very eager") which express "eager desire. "A mantra derives its name from the fact that it is a means of 'mental identification' with the nature of things and of obtaining the salvation. love"). however. p. Grundlagen tibetischer Mystik. 183. (read minn(e)a "remembrance. das ein Denkbild zuwege bringt' 2. In tantric literature 5 which generally associates the term with trd."to save. "So ist mantra 'Werkzeug zum Denken'. 4 5 See further on. dem der Geist widersprechen oder sich entziehen kann. wirken unmittelbar Wirkliches" 3. and with the Old High German word minnia. ist der heilige Laut. belief or tradition. yearning and [iLacL&co intensity of purpose" (this word is. I957. Ewiges Indien. the author observes that speech both recites (sings: gayati) of and protects (trdyati) everything here that has come to be. 82. Aspects Lama Anagarika Govinda. Zimmer. "Mantra. i. Sir John Woodroffe 7 is no doubt right in warning against regarding mantras as mere "formulas of worship" or as styling them "prayers" or "mystic syllables". Was in mantra verlautet. ist so. he rightly holds. formulates it. 2 Oxford I95I A wrong etymological explanation is also given by S. Conze. In matters of religion and 'Weltanschauung' explanations based on the principle of folk etymology frequently elucidate the opinions entertained by the adepts and adherents of a doctrine. kein meinendes Sagen. B.it is suggested that it liberates when properly meditated upon. p. sind Worte Taten. It is indeed true that the term mantra. whatsoever there is here". Thus the term mantra. p.248 J. Mit seinem Klange ruft es seinen Gehalt zu unmittelbarer Wirklichkeit auf. 3 H. meditates upon it" (man-). rescue") the one "who. which means "making love to" 1.as well as man. of Indian Religious Thought. I. The deity is believed to appear from the mantra when it is correctly pronounced.e. because of the power considered to be inherent in formulated inspired 1 E. by the best authorities rightly regarded as non-related). das Symbolwort. 454. 7 Sir John Woodroffe. For the gdyatri see further on. wenn irgendwo. der dem Eingeweihten vom Guru iibermittelt sein Inneres zum Schwingen bringt und es dem hoheren Erleben iffnet" 4. ist da. Zirich-Stuttgart (1953). begibt sich. Potsdam I930. 93. Dasgupta. The essence of a mantra. Calcutta I957.is often-of course from the scientific point of view incorrectly-explained as that which saves (trd. deliverance of transmigration" 6. in thought. . 6 A similar and likewise incorrect 'etymology' occurs already in the Chdndogyaupanisad 3. Hier. 12. 22. p. Madras I929.. 'Mantra' ist Gewalt. Buddhism.

II. La Kena Upanishad (1944).The Indian Mantra 249 thoughts and uttered words. A mantra is always a source of activity. p.was at the time defined by Meillet4 as "mente agitare". Grammatik der indogerm. p. I. II. 264. The sense of the root man-< I. Pokorny. 33. geistig erregt sein" 5. il peut non seulement produire des r6sultats semblables dans d'autres esprits que celui qui le prononce. act or faculty of hearing". Shri Aurobindo (I872-I950) 1: "La th6orie du mantra est que c'est un mot n6 des profondeurssecretes de notre etre oi il a et6 couve par une conscience plus profonde que la conscience mentale eveillee et enfin projete au dehors silencieusement ou par la voix-le mot silencieux considere comme plus puissant peut6tre que le mot parle-pr6cis6ment pour un but de creation. The integral philosophy of Shri 1960. B. Strassburg 4 Aurobindo. Worterbuchder indogerm. 341. A. Heidelberg 1940-1954. or preferred to hold that *men. Sprachen. Worterbuch. men. 5 J. . De indo-eur.E. 66. The survey of the Vedic uses of the term will show that the essence of the above statement is indeed already characteristic of the mantras of the Vedic period. names of instruments or sometimes names of the place where the process is performed3. jiidtram"the intellectual faculty". Chaudhuri and F. BerlinLeipzig 1927. The former category may occasionally express also a faculty: Sanskrit srotram "organ. it is always a potential means of achieving a special effect. radice men. Hofmann. Delbriick). Meillet. modifier notre etre psychique. II The Sanskrit words in -tra. p. Walde-J. 3 For lists of examples see K. or a "function": hotram"the function or office of a hotar priest". p. Spiegelberg. Vergl.. L'emploi vedique du mantra n'est qu'une utilisation consciente de cette puissance secrete du verbe" 2."indiquait les mouvements de Aurobindo. Lateinisches etymol. others assumed such basic senses as "denken. A. II. Let us conclude these quotations with an enlightening passage from a famous modem Indian mystic and philosopher. e.g. H. Sprachen 2. Brugmann (und B. mais encore il peut produire dans l'atmosphere mentale et vitale des vibrations qui ont pour effet des actions et meme l'apparition de formes materielles sur le plan physique. also implied that the 'formula'was a means of wielding supranormalpower.-one of the numerous indicia of the agelong continuity of Indian religious thought. are. Thesis Paris 1897. London 2 1 See.< Indo-European -tro-. Le mantra peut non seulement creer en nous-memes de nouveaux etats subjectifs. vergl. Grundriss der 1906. when neuter. generally speaking."mente agitare". reveler une connaissance et des facultes que nous ne connaissions pas auparavant.

. 4. passion. officiant) evoke or summon (by concentratingour thoughts. to purpose. p. . foreboder. I kasya nunam . 0 gods) all means of protection". strength. die l'esprit" 1. varfthyd mandmahe. [vrecaivo"to desire earnestly. . I. I60 f. A sumantu ndma is a "name which it is right or appropriate to invoke". the same. experiencing impulses in heart and mind etc. Paris I960. in ancient India a muni. and is then often associated with the noun ndma "name". to be minded". . calling up". mood etc. intention. life etc. 5. the related "to be very eager. an active eager energy.voS ein energisches Drangen enthalten. Pondich6ry 1958. Paris 1958. 1 A. 5. 24.. Struck. um Gunst angehen. Paris 1951.". thought. manas. affection. 4. 3 cikitvinmanasamtvd devammartdsautaye / varenyasyate 'vasa iydndso amanmahi "indem wir Sterbliche dich. 98. 8. Atharvaveda 7. seer. 68. Stuttgart 1954. prophet. the corresponding Skt. Gonda "bezeichnet solche Erlebnisse. Mut. Kampfgier"2.". ibid. 12. 79. 6.". fierceness..appears also in cases such as 8. K.has in Vedic usage also the sense of "evoking. to be occasion for the remarkthat this meaning of man. de la langue latine. 8. 704. intentional. Geldner's (Der Rig-veda ibersetzt. Griechisches etym. 4 See L. 4L?ovoc "to rage.was "any one who is moved by inward impulse. directed 'thought'. we have concentrated our minds on thy assistance (in order 2 E.means "mind. Etudes sur le vocabulaire du Rgveda. in addressing you. wilful. Renou. Heidelberg (I96I).e. Io. Harvard I95I) translation "gedenken" is inadequate. io. 64. a likewise related LatLvo. 172 f. desire.iaX a is "diviner. Meillet. II. rather ". p. I. an inspired or ecstatic man". mandmahe cadr devasyandma "of which god do we now invoke the beloved name ?". moved. invention. .. might. I.250 J. Dictionnaire etymol. p. 47.g. Frisk.. Compare. den Gott mit achtsamem Sinne. p. 6. There seems. to rage". . intend. Ernout-A. haben wir an deine vorziigliche Gnade gedacht" (Geldner). 22. VII. II8. imagination. 71. Etudes vediques et panineennes. Without entering into linguistic details the root menmay therefore be assumed to have expressed also such meanings as "emotional. the phrase durmantu ndma expresses the opposite sense: cf. Worterbuch. RIgveda I. p. the Gr. IV. F.Lq desire eagerly". [LvoLvo) "to 0Etv. 39. to be filled by divine power". II. 7. 3 See also Hj. priestly poet. As shown by Renou 4 the verb man. p. Bedeutungslehre 2. however. RV. including also spirit. L. here Geldner's translation: "alle Schutzmittel haben wir im Sinne" should probably be replaced by "we (the eulogist. presager" 3. ii n. 3-the whole passage is a prayer for help against evil and the consequences of sinful deeds-visvdni . which may approximately be indicated by words such as "spirit. Now the sense of Gr. in the widest sense as applied to a large variety of mental and psychical powers. I8.

I. II). 35. whereas in the two Avestan places exhibiting mantu. put on a par with a sacrifice (cf. 999. Vajasaneyi Samh. In I. Harvard I95I.. 25. 23. 74. 1872 (Leipzig I936). Grassmann. This word is dealt with under "Kiinste und Fertigkeiten". Dichterwort" is Geldner's translation in this place.. 50. 134). L. Heidelberg 1959.(Y. I99 ff. p. the well-known 'place' where the 1 Here W. in Anthropos 49 (I954). p. I acchidrd mantavo ha sargdh than "your flawless intentional and efficient thoughts are emanations" 5. T. .e. F. Gottingen 1954. Lenker. Worterbuch zum Rig-veda. Silburn. H. io. S. 4. AthV. 3I. I. 3 For words in -u. 2. Io6. 4. also Io. I). similarly io. p. Wackernagel-A. Akad. I where the reciter expresses his intention to address a mantra to the god Agni. the mantras) (in order to invoke) for assistance (the power which is inherent in them)". The other occurrences have been taken to express a personal meaning "Berater. Monographies sanskrites II. P..). Humbach. I39 ff. p. The Texts of the White Yajurveda. I7) this meaning is at least dubious 7. Harvard 1905. Io. Atharvaveda Samhita. 24. II 1. Die Gathas des Zarathustra. II. 4 See L. Geldner. 6. 32. Geldner's "eure Sorgen sind ununterbrochene(Regen)str6me"seems less acceptable as a translation of I. J. however. II daivm dhiyam mandmahe . 33. 4. I52. Benares 1927. 97. Walter" 6. p. 665. I. R.g. Havers. 84 (I947). Whitney-Ch. 2. ph. Lanman. Altindische Grammatik. 3 marutdmadhdmaho divi ksamd ca manmahe"then we evoke the majesty of the Maruts (a class of gods) in heaven and on the earth" (in the next stanza the poet states that he dedicates eulogy and sacrifice to the gods who protect men against injury.. 6 See e. 7 Nor does Humbach's "Rathschluss" appear to hit the mark (H. abhistaye. 46. 52. Similarly. translate "reverence". I. "perceive".gveda. Der Rig-veda ibersetzt. 17. 152. Osterr. Paris 1937. as to its effect.used "in der sakral-rechtlichen Sphare" etc.: W. in connection with "name" (AthV. 5. 7. 2 R. 40. 8 For other interpretations see K. 13 II-a line of difficult syntax which I would prefer to interpret as follows "thou lovest him who with all his heart offers liberally in order to procure himself safety.The Indian Mantra 25I to evoke it and make it active)". 26. Debrunner. IOI. mainly occurringin the R. D. Instant et cause. KI. Renou. I. "Dichterspruch. p. not "for aid we meditate divine Intelligence" 2 but rather "we concentrate our minds on (the product of our) divine intuition (i. 5 Cf. (Cf. d. 35. also Havers. Anyhow. Let us now turn to the use of the noun mantrahin the Rgveda. 4. Io. I. in Anzeiger. 4.. 2 where it is said to come from the poet's heart.-h. Paris I955. 2. p. rather something like "intentional thought". Passing mention may also be made of the noun mantu-3 which. 5. I.has been translated in different ways 4. I. 26. 202. Griffith. Wiss. who < recites > the mantra of the praising poet" 8-the recitation of the product of the inspired mind of the poet is. I. K.

if it comes to conquering the insidious". I. Gonda intuition is conceived. 14 the god and his name are coupled together: "celebrate thy hero with mighty words of praise . Indra. 32. 3 where samitih no doubt refers to the gathering of those concerned in sacrificing. 5 "he (the god of fire. 2) may be admitted in io. 46.. 5 "I do not forget the words of praise to be addressed to thee . 555 ff. Grassmann4 took the term in a personal meaning "Berather". the invoked ones (and) the mantras proclaimed by inspired poets must. 50. 37. i. In 8. o1. 13) 2. . I4. 67. not "Rat" (Geldner) or "counsel" (Whitney-Lanman in the corresponding stanza 6. 4 Grassmann. 4 "thou possessest four divine names which are impervious to deceit": the text no doubt refers to the mighty names of epithets such as vrtrahan-"killer of the demon (power) of obstruction" etc... 64. it is. Gottingen I959. p. Varuna. O Indra. The same meaning. See also 7.e. . 7. the famous name . 50. this adjective derives from the verb taks. In 6. and cf. i8. 191. light and inspiration. the inspiration is received . 32.". p. 4 bhuvo . 14.and Geldnertranslated: "du wardst der beste Rat". 17 where the name of the god is invoked by those who are in need of hither".. increasing through rta3. sutasta.". moreover. . just like the name of Christ enables man to exorcize demons and to work wonders (MarkI6. 17 f. 88. especially chapter XII. for your sake. 67. 7.."well fashioned"."to fashion" which is often used in connection with intuitions and inspirations which are transformed into poetical compositions (see 7. we make an appeal to. jyesthas ca mantrah the god protection.e. thy names. 4 a tvd mantrdhkavisastdvahantu "the mantras proclaimed by the inspired poets must bring thee (the god Yama) Indra is called the best mantra. 6. The term "name" is in connection with this god mentioned in this corpus: 3.... praised. which express some of the most important qualities and abilities of the god or which mythologically speaking refer to some of his most impressive exploits. 's-Gravenhage 1963. . 's-Gravenhage 1959. Agni) has fixed heaven firmly with mantras which are in harmony with reality (satya-)". In IO. II. also 7. I would venture to suggest: "thou art (i. lend assistance". I always proclaim thy name . 2 . the supranormalvisions are seen. thy name is) the best mantra (potent formula)". IO. mantram abhi mantraye vah means "I pronounce. 7 the god and his majesty. "Der Name ist 1 See The vision of the Vedic poets. 54. Worterbuch.). 3 ndmdni te satakratovisvdbhirgirbhir imahe/ indrdbhimdtisdhye "we 'approach'. 22. 5 See Epithets in the Rgveda. in 6. 4 "the mantras fashioned with (in) the heart". mantras".Iooo. O thou who art of hundredfold resourcefulness5. As will be shown further on the name of a mighty god is a potent mantra. The power of the mantras is also emphasized in I. 36 ff.252 J. Io. Liiders. 14 "all the gods. 3 See H. with all words of praise.

E. chapter III. In Hinduism the name of a god alone is a great protection even when pronounced unconsciously. 5 Cf. 38. Edinburgh 1919. In I. 4. 276. dem melanesischen topui "tabu machen" entspricht. reference to which has already been made. e. sondern ein Doppel-Ich ..and the noun ndma "name". 99. 30. also i. 4 For dhiti. which has saved millions of votaries and will. I9. ist etymologisch fraglich" should be replaced by: ". Der Name ist kraftgeladen . p. 341 f. 3 Indra's name is called a light. 52. . I "taking the name of Indra into the mouth the seers (rsayah) gave the janigida (a sort of amulet). Hill. Herbert.. and the name of Allah used by Indian Muslims. Erscheinungsformen.exaggerated lengths in glorifying the name of his God. XXIX).. L'Inde classique. when duly muttered. Thompson. 4 makes mention of "intuitions (to be) transformed into eulogies which bear the names of the gods" (dhitayo devdndmndma bibhratih). the phrases with the verb man. D. . 275. The Samaritans.g. Hymnes c Shiva. AthV. Der Name ist der Stellvertreter Gottes. e. 7.. 2. 3 Cf. p. spoiler of the viskandha (a power provoking a disease6)": here the "name of the god" can hardly function as anything else than as a mantra 7.see The intuition of the Vedic poets. 2 J. 7 Cf. 3. Shankara. ist etymologisch vollkommen unm6glich". Der Name macht einen Menschen oder Gott prasent . P.. 76. also Chdndogya-upanisad 7. Tulsi Das (I532-I574) Berlin I956.(the neuter is rare and 1 Heiler. 8. Erscheinungsformen. I7 if. 20. H. as a mantra are too well known to need quoting. Der Pretakalpa des Garuda-Purana2. 5. Abegg. The holy lake of the acts of -Rama. Lyon I944. 4. 55.. Examples from other religions. E. 2 (Agni).Finally.. io6. asserting that the name is greater than God himself who is unknowable until revealed by the Name. A perusal of the Atharvaveda brings to light similar data: 6. The Samaritans even read "the name" instead of "the Lord" 2. identisch mit dem Trager. unintentionally or when fallen asleep8. The poet of 9. the context suggesting that it was created to be a light 3. p.The Indian Mantra 253 fur den primitiven Menschen kein blosser 'Schall und Rauch'. Similar observations might be made in connection of the names of other 4 gods: 5. p. p. Rama. (with a bibliography). I2. for instance went to .. may be recalled to mind. which the gods in the beginning made a remedy. 178. The words left out in the above quotations: "ob schon das Wort 6voLo . 5. 44. I4. for divine and holy names on amulets in general see Heiler.. 6 See Filliozat. also 7. Gott selbst" 1.g. 35. 2 "the mantras find their unity in name and ritual acts (karmani) in the mantras". p. 4 "the ksatriya who knowing takes the name of Agni in order to enjoy a full life-time (is secure from pernicious influences)" 5... IIo.. See J. in 19. 57. The masculine gender of the term mantra. the holiness and power inherent in the name of Jesus Christ. Oxford 1952. 5. 28. I. 4. continue to save them to the end of time (see also W. 8 See. p.

Cambridge 1959. 84 translates "the incremental divine word". Also from passages such as Yast I. 7. Forsch. Bartholomae. Altind. radiant 'soul' of Ahura Mazdah. Subjoining some places of interest I draw attention to Yt. 195 ff. 5 "we should like to avert the evil beings through the tongue") 8. p. G6ttingen I954. Ausspruch. p. 346. also Humbach.is a powerful word. called the most powerful. II77 f. Niedermann. II. 3 where the name of the Lord. Gershevitch. "der Inbegriff der gottlichen Offenbarung. Heidelberg I959. without entering into speculations about a historical (i. 43. I. bright. often accompanied by spanta ["intrinsically powerful" 6] " 'das heilige Wort' " 7. 28 it appears that the spanta mqWra is the "powerful word" which emanating from Ahura Mazdah returns to him in the form of the liturgical verses and formulas spoken by the poets and reciters. 9 f. Gathas. prehistorical!) earlier or later a double conception of the instrument names is quite understandable (in Dutch and in other languages words like veg-er mean "sweeper" and "brush"). Strassburg 1904. Brugmann 2 attempted to account for it by observing "gleichsam 'der lebendige Gedanke' ".. 6 See my relative paper in Oriens 2 (1949). Debrunner. M. liable to vary.e. 154. God's name is moreover that which in the 1 J. phrase. From the Gathas it is clear that a mqYra. Wackernagel-A. Altindische Grammatik. capable of destroying or chasing away evil powers (28. Humbach.. 8i. Altiranisches Worterbuch. 44. the mqbra par excellence. p. auch vielfach als Gottheit". 4 Chr. p. Spruch". 37. see also Wackernagel-Debrunner. 13. 45. 8 Cf. Die Gathas des Zarathustra. 6. for instance. p. by the mouth of Ahura Mazdah himself. the neuter mqtra. 706. in the singular. im Gegensatz zu Wort und Werk" (once) and "Bedenken. sometimes "Zauberspruch" 5. in Indogerm. It may in this connection be remembered that the Avestan mqYra is likewise in a large majority of cases masculine. The Avestan hymn to Mithra. Grundriss. II. especially. Niedermann3 more aptly remarked that instruments 'originally' (whatever that term may mean in this connection!) were conceived as 'selbstandige handelnde Wesen'.means "Gedanke. where the spanta mqflra is said to be the white. 14. victorious and brilliant element in the spgnta mqfra. because the contents of the concept 'Zauber' are in different times and on different levels of civilization. to Yt. According to Bartholomae4 it means "Wort. 3 2 5 This term should be used with caution. Gramm. 7 I. I for one cannot agree with Humbach's translation "Zauberspruch" for the 'holy word or formulas' inspired by Ahura Mazda (Yasna 29. 2. p. verse or formula which being formed and communicated by the Lord and being pronounced by men is. I. 706. 3I.254 J. I4. p. Nachdenken fiber" (once). 3): H. Gonda secondary) is exceptional 1. the name of the "immortal Saints" (Amgsa Spantas) is. Brugmann. .

. etymologically speaking and judging from the usage prevailing in the oldest texts. evoked and influenced by it" assumes a connotation which may lead a modern translator to choose such a term as "Rat" (Geldner). fashioned and spoken by the 'inspired' seers. Filliozat. safely be contended that from the prehistoric period of Indo-Iranian community onward the mantra concept-created no doubt by the mystery of speech as that which expresses thoughtplayed an important role in the religious life and conceptions of the Aryan peoples 2. Paris I949. counsel. Die YdSt's des Awesta. 5 etc. from Y. concentrating and realizing intentional and efficient thought. P.and the other which will be touched upon hereafter seems to be constituted by phrases such as IO. Leaving some details out of consideration it may. 2 . conveying. it is to be translated otherwise. design. 9.ntyo bhavati "he brings the 'holy word' into his voice. 21 vdcy evdsya mantram dadhdty dmantra. 46 where the adjective spanta does not turn up). 496. p. Pancavimnsa-brahmana. 34. A mantra may therefore. advice etc. It appears moreover from Videvdat 4. poets and reciters in order to evoke divine power(s) and especially conceived as means of creating. It would be expedient 1 H. 134. 7 "we do not.in the meaning of "counsellor (of a king)." occurs Paficavimsa-brahmana I8. not rarely another 'meaning' -that is to say. Caland. See also J. 'minister' ". on the strength of a number of particulars concerning the Indian term mantrah to be discussed in this article. Hence also mantrin. which "im ganzen k6rperlichen Dasein am meisten das Denken durchdringt und den Willen reinigt" 1. we observe obedience (0 Indra) to thy mantras (mantrasrutyam cardmasi)". p. 14.has. 71.The Indian Mantra 255 spfnta mq4ra helps most to conquer the enmities of men and anti-gods.. viz. that it is worthy of worship and veneration. 45 that this 'holy word' was the best instruction to be given to those who sought instruction (cf. which furthers most supreme salvation. transgress . 0 gods. The 'semantic link' between the above meaning of the term mantra. also W. advice. 3 Cf. also 14. In this context the term for "powerful expression given to inspired men by the god who in his turn is expected to be invoked. plan. approximately be defined as follows: "word(s) believed to be of 'superhuman origin'. by "consultation. secret". he becomes a person who should be consulted" 3. Another contextual variant showing the transition to the 'meaning' "counsel. The word mantra. and of coming into touch or identifying oneself with the essence of the divinity which is present in the mantra". resolution. La doctrine classique de la medecine indienne. Lommel. Calcutta I93I. received. in other contexts. G6ttingen-Leipzig 1927.

6. It is understandable that the term may also admit of the meaning "Rat des Herzens" 3. 8 Grassmann translates "Entschluss. P. p. Leipzig 1926. because it will prove to shed some light on the very essence of the concept under consideration. A mantra is addressed or offered to a god (Satap. 388. Br. K. Poona I960. I. Io) and ritual acts (2. I. 31. I9. p. scheme. Das altindische Buch vom Welt. 2.. i6).c. The conclusion seems to be warranted that both 'meanings' of the term mantra. 4. imparts the strength of a definite conclusion to what is apprehended. 1 See The Kautilzya Arthasastra. 6) 6. 14. in: P. p. 6 Thus J. 27 and Ramayana 2. 14. The Satapatha-brdhmana translated. p. Br. 44. Also formulas such as svdha (an exclamation used in making oblations to the gods) are in these texts considered mantras (Satap. or "plan. 3. 2 J. 404.D. Geldner "Ratschluss". 26. 20) a mantra accomplishes the apprehension of what is not or cannot be seen. 4 In RV. 2.oder Verwirklichungsmittel' 2 is jndnabala-. "the power of knowledge". 2). "is the root of victory". 7. intention": one should not betray one's mantras by facial expression etc. I. 31). Oxford 1882. 2.und Staatsleben. 5. Kangle. V. depend on consultation (mantra-). 2. 4. (ibid. Bombay I960. Br. All undertakings. I5). 6. 5. P. 5.. Thus quotations from the great Vedic collections of metrical texts are in the younger prose texts of the brahmanas referred to by the term mantra: Satap. 78. 373. RV. 3.e. (geheimer Plan)". 15. II. I admits of the translation "words". A. where the translation 'prayer' 5 is not applicable. Io) and accompanies oblations and libations (4. 6I and 62 (the so-called Nabhanedistha) is given that name. although there is a similar undertone. Vol. Ramaswamy Sastri. also the Kashmirian (Xth cent. Io.. 3. the epics teach us (Mbh. Eggeling. he informs us elsewhere (6. 15. 6). here also there is question of realisation of intentional thought. Cf. It is considered extremely powerful: Ait Br. or leads to the concentration of."speech which expresses. 3. . RV. A mantra. 2. Gonda to devote by way of digression some attention to this use. I14. .256 J. J. the same authority holds (I. I00. I. 2. I. conveys. 2. Code Comm. I7. which should take place in secret. Power being threefold. 2. i. 5. 8. 6 Cf. 33). Io. Br. 28 (with reference to VajS. the first 'Macht. According to Kautilya's famous Handbook of politics (Arthasastra I. 9. The term applies also to larger portions of the ancient texts: in Aitareya-brahmana 5. A. leads to inference of an entire matter when only a part is seen 1. 3. p. Cf. Mutatis mutandis the same description applies to mantrain the religious meaning. thought" owe their origin to different contextual use 4. I. I. edited by R. o. removes doubt when two courses are possible. Meyer. 95. . I9. Occasionally a text which does not occur in the great Vedic collections is already at a comparatively early date styled a mantra: Maitri-upanisad 6. 3 Meyer. 53. also Satap.) Nitivakyamrta.

I8. They were to invoke and to praise (i. to dedicate the oblations. by means of these texts which proved effective for his ancestors. 3 R. Leiden 1893.. in fact.g. Thus mantras were an absolutely essential element in the Vedic ritual. 7. the ultimate and most fundamental principle. AV. e.. Sayana's commentary on Pafic. such as RV. The priest is believed to know how to invite. Jaiminiya-br. Amsterdam 2 See. The formulas uttered during it have regard to life 1 G. II. Ait Br. Compare. I. The mantra is in ?atap. Benares I949.. and none of its elements might be altered or omitted.The Indian Mantra 257 5 explicitly identified with 14. Io. Die altindischen Toten. In ancient Egypt the destiny of the departed depended on the correctness of the recital. Caland.D. With the ancient Romans a carmen was required for all services of prayer and dedication. At the end of a funeral ceremony authorities prescribe the so-called Santikarma or pacificatory rites for the wellbeing of the living 6. 5 For a complete description of the Vedic funeral rites and the mantras used Oriens i6 I7 . Stuttgart I960. with Vedic mantras. 5. 14. the same. A socio-religious study of the Hindu sacra- in performing them see W. A mantra has first been 'seen' by eminent persons or beings (cf. Religion manifestation. 422 ff. Br.e. 8. 8. I. The term is also regarded as synonymous with veda-. I. gebrduche. 155 ff.g. Pandey. to express the meaning and functions of the ritual acts and thereby to give them their specific character. 26. to be 4 performed. brahman. For instance. all 'Sacraments' (Samskaras)3 from the conception to the cremation are.e. 2. the gods and to attract their invisible presences into the sacrificial area. A ItindischerA hnenkult.. I93). the power immanent in the words 1. van der Leeuw. i6. p. as it were. and in other religions also the liturgy is. 8. Almost universally in law and religion the formula holds together. Hindu Samskaras. Manu. B. ments. 4 Women are not allowed to hear the Veda. van der Leeuw. a carmen enjoying at least to some extent. I8. Wegen en Grenzen 2. compelling power 2. to exert influence on the powers. III Words acquire a condensed power when they assume a fixed form. strengthen) the gods. in essence and I948. I-45. p. Br.g. Veda und alterer Hinduismus. a phrase definite in the sound and rhythm of its terms. The funeral ceremonies are for instance accompaniedby mantras which are mostly taken from Vedic funeral hymns. i6. 23. I33. London I938. 3. according to the ancient Indian authorities. 6 I refer to Die Religionen Indiens.und BestattungsAmsterdam Academy 1896. DharmaSastra (? 200 A. a formula. e. see. for male members of the three Aryan classes of society.) 2. to avert evil.

I. That the mantras belong to those 'entities' which were already at an early date considered manifestations or representatives of the One or of the Lord may appear also from Maitri Up. p. on a variety of occasions. I6 "the offerer and the enjoyer (of the sacrifice). Baudh. -the Mantra. it has filled heaven. so the performanceof ritual acts depends on mantras. but the mantras are still pronounced. Sharma.258 J. Agni. . mantras. I (cf. According to the dharma texts it is part of the daily observances of an ascetic to mutter. in the ritual. He does so while pronouncing mantras which are an exact description of the ritual act and a formulation of his intentions: "I place these stones for the living . I and I. Bloomfield. I is likewise dedicated to the Sun: "The face of the gods has arisen brightly. the eye of Mitra. Contributions to the history of brdhmanical asceticism. effective measures being taken to ward off evil and to return to the ordinaryway of life. to sanctify and 'ratify' the ritual acts. the other way etc. I8. DhS. Gonda and averting of death. 2 See M. a fire is kindled and those present are requested to sit down on the hide of a bullock of a red colour. 2: as the mantras are dependent on living creatures. A Vedic concordance. driving death away from this heap". Poona I939. Varuna. before partaking of begged food he should place it on the ground and announce it with RV. Prajapati. meanwhile those present touch a red bull.. I-Io. it runs as follows: "There his rays lift up the god Jatavedas (Fire and Light). I. On the departure of the last man the priest should place a circle of stones behind him to prevent death from following those who are returning home. 4. two stanzas which are. etc. The relatives by blood assemble. may we live a hundred years. Siirya is the 'soul' of the moving creation and of the stationary". O Death. 40 f. RV. Go. Visnu. 6.. I. I. everyone whatsoever is the lord. as you wish to live to a decrepit old age . The sacramental power of mantras is no doubt referred to in the Chandogya Up. forms part of the Sfirya (Sun) hymn. 7. P. For instance. 115. which is of very frequent occurrenceand manifold application 2. 369. The first stanza. . mantras are to accompany. permeating them with the transcendent power of the 1 H. 115. 1. worship. 4-15). Io. the witness who shines in yonder orb (the sun)". Harvard I906. the oblation.. Io. earth and atmosphere. frequently prescribed to accompany gifts and oblations." In modern times the women are no longer required in the rite and the hide is no longer utilized. 2. after bathing he should announce it to Brahman with TA. while pronouncing the following mantras: "ascend on this life-giving skin. RV. Io. As already stated. D. that the whole universe will see the sun". 50. 50.

The japa should (ibid.. particularly the Gayatri (RV. 21) that a brahman attains the highest perfection by japa alone. p. 6 The counting could be done by means of a rosary: see W. 4 Kane. e.. This consecratory function manifests itself in a large number of cases in which modern men would not expect it. Kirfel.The Indian Mantra 259 divine Word 1. 90). II. 213) lays down rules for the number of times a mantra should be repeated (the 'special' numbers Io8 or Ioo8 are obligatory). he strokes her three times as the hair lies. 62. 99 prescribe japa. 685 ff.. I957. lord of vows! I will observe my vow (. The term japamdli "Gebetskranz" occurs only in comparativelyrecent manuscripts. 184.e. 64. Let Tvastar (the god who makes the implements of the gods etc. Io) and the Purusasfikta (io. 45. History.) shape the (various) forms! Let Prajapati (the deity presiding over creation) pour in etc. Der Rosenkranz. II. may I accomplish it. may it be successful for me)" which. I. 3 See further on. V. P. Walldorf-Hessen I949. History of Dharmas'istra. 5) was to be 1 Cf. i) among the rules and formulas of the "impregnation-rite" 2. p. The authoritative texts on dharmasuch as Yjniiavalkya I. i. Poona I94I. From the number of those Vedic mantras which remained in use for over twenty centuries I mention the formula agne vratapate vratam carisydmi "0 Agni (the god of fire). occurring. 3.. 201 ff. I0-25). Up. as the principal part of the morning and evening adoration 4. 25.g. 25. 55. It is even taught (Visnu DhS. 3 and 5) as parts of a text which is to accompany a rite for successful conception and in the Grhyasuitra (a ritual handbook rites of Hiranyakesin directions for domestic and ceremonies) containing (I. 33. 92 ff. e. these verses and some which are to follow being mantras and constituting an almost literal quotation of Rgveda Io. as there is nothing superior to these. 36-39) comprise very sacred texts. in the Vajasaneyisamhita of the White Yajurveda (I. Der Glaubeund die heiligenSchriftenderInder. "Then he spreads her thighs apart. By pronouncing the proper mantra the sexual act is for instance raised to the rank of a rite resuscitating and wielding that particular part of the universal and omnipresent creative force which is active in the creation of new human life: Brhadar. also W.". muttering of the Gayatri 3 and other Vedic mantras.Olten See also P. 2 Eidlitz. saying: "Let Visnu make the womb prepared. 28. Kane. 6. Japa without counting the number is fruitless 5. By reciting these verses a man becomes pure (Vasistha DhS. 313. Two stanzas occur also in the Atharvaveda (5. i. After having inserted his member in her and joined mouth with mouth. A Hinduistic text (Vrddhaharita6. 2I. 4. . Heaven and Earth" (identification with the cosmic and mythic prototype). 613. saying: "Spread yourself apart.g.

p. every domestic sacrament was performedwithout mantras in the case of girls (Asvalayana-grhyasfutra I.. Danil6ou. if one is ill or otherwise unable to undergo the regular daily bath or ablution one may resort to the mantrasndna-(lit. 10. E. Dasgupta. and therefore the brahmans are our gods 3. Bh. passim.g. The same mantra was in the second half of the XVIth century A. are used.. 3 L. in a variety of functions and applications.procurevigour for us that we may see great delight. 124. 4 See. 22 ff. S. Whereas the three Aryan or twice-born classes are entitled to formulas from the Vedas. These circumstances have no doubt contributed much to the increasing use of non-Vedic mantras and the replacement of old Vedic stanzas and formulas by socalled Hinduist formulas which may be considered to be at least in part of younger. The significance of mantras in Indian religions can indeed hardly be over-estimated 2.. make us participate in your most auspicious juice . There even is a Hindu saying that the whole world is subject to the gods. still prescribed by the author of the Prayascittapraksa 1 in cases when somebody wished to undertake a vow or penance. also A. 501 ff. IV. Arthur . e. Satapathabrahmana I. I90. 2 Popular Hinduism. London 1912. 1960. 1 See Kane. with the exception marriage ceremony. History. 9. Omens and superstitions of Southern India. p.g. e. 66). Manu 2.g. e. "the mantra-bathing") which consists in sprinkling water with the stanzas RV. e.texts from younger works. also Sh.. Gonda spoken by a sacrificerwho together with his wife was about to take the prescribed vow of abstinence during the performance of religious ceremonies (see.. Io. p. and in part of older extra-Vedic origin. S.g. 2). O'Malley. Aspects of Indian religious thought. Calcutta 1957. for the conglomerationof the lower classes.. collectively known as Midras. I5. the puranas. In Hinduistic texts 4 it is taught that whereas formerly the Vedic See. that a mantra possesses the same kind of creative force which was present at the creation of the universe. Cambridge I935. The recitation of mantras may also serve as a substitute for definite religious duties. that the brahmans are a manifestation of the fundamental powerconcept Brahman and.D. the mantras to the brahman. I. until the present day. the gods to the mantras. p.260 J. This belief becomes more understandable if we remember first.. Thurston. you quicken us and make us live (anew)". Thus. Le polytheisme hindou.. Because the Veda was forbidden to women as strictly as to uiidras a of the result was that. I. in the second place. I-3 "ye waters are indeed refreshing. They are one of those elements of the Indian culture which existed already before the dawn of history and survive.

but also in such 'handbooks' as the Rgvidhana 2. When for instance Visnu had to fight the two demons Madhu and Kaitabha who had stolen the Vedas and thus created great confusion. Madras I929. p. the twice-born who wilfully or negligently omits to recite this fundamental mantra makes himself so to say lower than a foreigner. Calcutta I957. Principles of Tantra 2. passim. The superiority of the power inherent in mantras is. passim. Calcutta I946. from ten times as the minimum. C. Shakti and Shakta 3. to that of light from wood through friction. diseases. Diehl. Tibetan Yoga and secret doctrines 2. so much importance was attached to the words of the Veda that numerous hymns of the Rgveda are prescribed for the removal of sins. Bhattacharyya. An introduction to Buddhist esoterism. misfortune. When no particular hymns are prescribedfor the removal of sins Vedic mantras are powerful and become purifiers if accompanied by tapas ('asceticism') and the verses from the Samaveda may. S. 22 ff. EvansWentz. unworthy of taking the name of God. Utrecht I95I. "That demon will not be able to destroy my son. he was unsuccessful as long as he relied on his physical energies. in the present age. One should. because that which makes a brahman by its presence and a foreigner by its absence is the great eternal and universal mantra power. when. the same. he had resorted to his "mantra energy"he ultimately destroyed them (Jayakhya-samhita). Oxford I958. adopt. p. Bh. illustrated by many mythical and legendary tales. Oxford 1932. Lund 1956. to that of cream produced in milk etc. B.. "What is the use of many mantras and the performance of Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe). Dasgupta. in Hinduism. G. be repeated for the same purpose (Samavidhana-brahmanaI. 14). thoroughly versed in mantras and energetic" (Mbh. W. 55 if. nevertheless. Madras 1952. In the Srisamputika (quoted by S. II9) the actual presentation of the desired object through the 'power of attraction' stimulated by the right use of a mantra is compared to the production of juice from sugarcanes through pressure. 2). p. Y. Bh. however. Instrument and purpose. 5. it is in the present Kali age not possible to worship according to that method. IV and ch. Dasgupta. I6I. I. XXIV. for he is a hero.The Indian Mantra 26I method of worship comprising inter alia the muttering of the Gayatri could suffice. etc. XI. In order to illustrate the efficacy 1 attributed to mantras in postVedic times some quotations from various texts may be subjoined here. Of course.. 2 See my English translation of the Rgvidhana. Not only in the texts belonging to the Atharvaveda. Aspects of Indian religious thought. ch. studies on rites and rituals in South India. and the Gayatri is a mass of radiant mantra energy (tejas). Obscure religious cults as background of Bengali literature. the conquest of enemies etc. ch. other mantras which are to stimulate one's faculties with divine radiant energy. . 1 Sometimes a simile or comparison may help us in forming an idea of the process supposed to take place when a mantra produces the effect desired.

sit steady with that deity as thou wast wont to do with (the mythical fire-priest) Anigiras ."). (Matsya Pur. 140 2 Cf. who had shown respectful devotion to him. Brahma-mantrasare to be pronounced in consecrating the image of Brahma etc. Gonda religious observances (vratas)". being made of earth. the five mantras used in establishing a five-faced image of Siva are equivalent to these five faces which represent the god's Isana. a mantra by means of which she might have a child by any god she pleased to invoke. A few references may suffice to give an idea of the importance of mantras in connection with the erection of a temple 1. share in the nature of earth. which. the mother of the epic heroes..the Pandavas.262 J. Thus Rudra-mantras are to be muttered in establishing an image of Rudra. 39). Vamadeva and Sadyojata aspects. Before constructing a 'fireplace' for the Vedic sacrificial fire the expert "goes through the whole prescribedprocess of construction imagining all the while that he is placing every brick in its proper place with the mantra that belongs to it" 2 S. that the building will be the house of God and his concrete manifestation. Kramrisch. University of Calcutta I946. Baudhayana Sulva Sitra 2. Through the fire in which they are baked the sacrificial essence remains burnt into the brick. not an object filled with the divine essence. etc. Among the substances to be used in building a sanctuary are bricks. 53 "thou formest a layer. The formulas to be pronounced run for instance as follows: "I establish the Sun-god who holds a lotus in the hand and who has long arms". She called upon the Sun-god and became by him and without any detriment to her virginity the mother of the hero Karna (Mahabharata i. . 62 ff. Without the special consecratory mantras a temple or the image of a god remains a mere building or a 'profane' image.. The mantras are identical with the god. 6). which is earth. 136. "when the mantra Om namo Nadryanaya is capable of securing all desired objects ?" According to tradition. Visnu-mantras in consecrating an image of Visnu. in its substance. When the bricks are laid other 'rhythmic formulas' (mantras)are recited to ensure that they lie steady and firm. the rsi Durvasa had given to Kunti. Tatpurusa. At another moment formulas are pronounced to ensure that the bricks and the other parts of the structure will function well. They are settled with the settling (sddanam) mantra which makes them lie steady and firmly established (Vajasaneyi Samhita I2. worthy of worship. the author of the Visnuite Nrsimhapurana exclaims (63. I04. p. Aghora. IIi). 266. for instance. capable of helping the devout in their attempts to reach their higher goals. The Hindu Temple.

which are set up by women desiring children in honour of snakedivinities. 0 Rudra.e.e. 2. mind. When for instance bathing in the sacred pool belonging to the temple of Siva in Benares which according to the tradition (Brahmapurana56. worship the god with the so-called milamantra. hearing. 9. one.. After welcoming the goddess ("hast thou had a good journey?") . O Sarva. is-to mention another instancedescribedas follows (Mahanirvanatantra 6. sr.. being represented by the image. Samh. the other. senseless. Again reciting the five mantras one should say: 'speech. i. Afterwards one should recite twice the mantra 'may the prdna (vital breaths) of the goddess come here and live happily for ever. hr. Afterwardshe must go to the temple.. to all these (manifestations) in all respects" 1 and a mantra 1 In this form the mantra occurs in the Mahanarayana Upan. Bathing when done with the proper mantras washes away all sins. Next one should recite the five mantras and pronounce (the formula): 'may jzva (the individual soul) of the goddess be in this image and may the image have all the senses of the goddess'.e. 'coarse'. sight. 0 enemy of Tripura. mantras. one should recite the principal (mila) mantra for purifying her image and sprinkle it thrice with sacred water. for instance votive stones known as ndgakals. i. svdhd'. i.The Indian Mantra 263 The ceremony of bringing the goddess Kali into an image. 'subtle'. adoration to Siva". one should exclaim: 'let the life of this deity be here' etc..viz. the principal or fundamental mantra of his religion.m and svdhd. Om namah Sivdya "Om. one should worship her". 72 f.. . Then . 70 ff.) was built by Markandeya the devotee has to dip his head three times.m. to the (manifestations)which are (at the same time) reassuringand terrific. of transforming the mere statue of carved stone into a sacred object by inducing the divinity to live in it. 282. etc. and to the terrific ones. to utter a mantra "Save me who am immersed in the sea of mundane existence. sarva sarvebhyonamas te 'stu rudra rupebhyah"Om. be there adoration to thy reassuring manifestations. smell. are likewise consecrated with a special ritual and sacred formulae.Objects of minor cults. swallowed by evil. by the mantra. 0 thou who art the destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga. krm. touch be unto it'. It should in this connection be remembered that the aspect of divinity is twofold.): "Having thus invoked the goddess into the 'figure' one should install her vital breath into it by means of the 'Foundation' (Pratistha) mantra: Having first recited (the mantras) aum. See also . with the Vedic Aghora sarvatah mantra (om aghorebhyo'tha ghorebhyoaghoraghoratarebhyah. Maitr. . homage to thee!".. o1.

W. 372 f. the famous scholar Vedantadesika(? I380) wrote a considerablenumber of theological works in explanation of the mantras which. 41). Among the mantras to be imparted to those who are initiated into the Sri-Vaisnava school of thought and devotion is also the so-called caramagloka.e. Madras 1931.i. Cf. Helen Rowlands.S. O thou who art diversely-eyed. p. be not grieved". The great teacher of an ecstatic Visnuist devotionalism Caitanya (? I485-I533) "fut protege au moment de sa naissance par deux mantra dit Visnuraksa et Deviraksa. Paris Leipzig 1912... and the ritual presentationto the image of the god 1. (the goddess) Sita (who presides over the furrow and agriculture) must always prosper in respect to seeds and wealth' " (2. while sowing seeds. Of Caitanya'swife 1 K. I am taking refugein Thee' (Ahirbudhnya-Samhita. 66 "Abandoning all duties. 35 f. for instance: "0 three-eyed One. Bhagavadgita I8. e. IIo.. in Bull. In his Arthasastra Kautilya instructed that there should not be any sowing without the appropriate mantras: "Always.e. N. a handful of seed bathed in water with a piece of gold shall be sown first and the following mantra recited: 'Adorationto god Prajapati Kasyapa. 24. Madras Govt. 2 J.g. together with some other texts. it appears that the crop on the fields were watched by mdntrikas.). Gen. Rajatarafigini (XIIth cent. the mantras.. adoration to thee".37). I shall release thee from all evils. were considered to be of fundamental significance. One of his successors. Gonda belonging to the category taught in the puranas. 234). I930. On croyait que la recitation de ces deux mantra empechait les mauvais esprits de nuire a l'enfant.i. The Sri Vaisnava Brahmanas. a religious name. . great god. adoration to thee. Der Qaiva- Siddhdnta. adoration and meditation (Nityagrantha) but is also related to have conferred the five sacraments on his disciples who desired to be initiated: a branded disc and shell (Visnuist 'symbols') on the shoulders (tdpa). the large body of Hinduistic religiousliterature. 0 thou who bearest the (half-)moon as an ornament. save me. Rangachari. p.264 J. Schomerus. 2. the mark of the religious community on the front. guards who exercizedtheir function by means of mantras (I. Mus. p. Sect. He is not only the author of a special work on the daily rites connected with purification. From other texts. That even great philosopherstook an interest in mantras may appear from Ramanuja's (+ IIoo) attitude to them. Such prayer-likemantras are far from rare: "0 Lord who art invincible through the all-conqueringthousand spokes (of thy discus). also H. II. On les repetait en faisant a l'exterieur le tour de la chambrenatale" 2. come to Me alone for protection.. La femme bengalie dans la litterature du moyen-dge.

e. Spiritualite hindoue. can bind her! Go. 2 E. J. Ethnologie du Bengale. Religion and folklore of Northern India. and a passionate love for Krsna as the only means of salvation.. Majumdar. l'autre dtait vide. like their predecessors in the Atharvaveda. which every exorcist learns. Compare. A. The History and Culture of the Indian people. 4 See. etc. witch. 3 W. In Bengal whenever a person suffers from an illness presenting any unusual features. passim. to realize final emancipation. also B. Pusalker.The Indian Mantra 265 it is told that "elle ne mangeait que du riz sans sel. Oxford I926. regulated by mantras. Paris I947. Bonnerjea. elevated the simple recitation of God's names to the level of a high spiritual discipline as a sacred mantra.Shillong I892. to 1 Ibidem. the disciple of the teacher. C. I34. to communicate with the gods. 209 f. VI. often invoke divine beings. which have no less than sixteen different functions: they enable the devotee. a modern Indian author holds. to conjure snakes (Rajatarafigini 5.. it is attributed to possession. and the remedy is sought. to win the favour of girls or women or to find them a husband." 1. It is needless to dwell on the existence of mantras which counteract the influence of enemies or of less potent mantras. which cause or avert death. Cf. p. C. Elle rdpdtait seize fois le mantra de Hari (Visnu) en tenant un grain de riz: puis elle pla~ait le grain dans le pot vide. sincere zeal and devotion. To give an instance 3: "Bind the Evil Eye! Bind the fist! Bind the spell! Bind the Bhit or the Churel (the spirit of a woman who has died in child-birth)! Bind the witch's hands and feet! Who can bind her? The teacher can bind her! I. Bombay I960. D. also R. p. Principles of Tantra. e. K. Majumdar and A. and usually keeps secret. and by means of mantras he forces his own familiar spirit to drive away the one which is causing the trouble" 2.g. 568. The control of such 'evil spirits' is indeed assured by the use of certain mantras. for instance the ape-deity Hanuman and noted 'witches' to assist in the ceremony. 38. p. by his precept and example. inspire love or hatred.. but in exorcism. The whole existence of an Indian prince or 5 peasant is. not in medicine. 5 B. Crooke.. Gait. Elle continuait ainsi jusqu' a midi. CensusReport. in R. Majumdar. I02). I35. Elle s'asseyait devant deux pots d'argile: l'un contenait du riz. p. The master himself who laid down. to honour the minor deities. 132. Thesis Paris 1927. Elle ne mangeait jamais que ce qu'elle avait consacr6 de cette fa9on . to thy shrine wherever it may be! Sit there and quit the afflicted person!" These modern exorcists. unless he to his son or his imparts-sometimes only on his death-bed-them successor in office. prevent thieves from entering a house. p. to worship the manifested forms of the divine. enable a man to cross rivers or to overcome other difficulties 4. "The exorcist or ojha is believed to have in his power a bhit (evil spirit). Herbert. .g.

The mantras were generally recited or chanted in accompaniment of the rites 4. p. Madras I93I. to prepare officinal water. to destroy living beings. The verbal declaration of the donations is made in the words: "I shall make gifts for the attainment of heaven (for the removal of all sins)". 28. 59. Gorakhnath and the Kdnphata Yogis. Calcutta 1951. to feed the gods and the deceased ancestors. to have control over men. 2 See. Dasgupta. Mastery over spells (mantravidya)came therefore to be consideredas a creditable qualification of teachers and spiritual guides 2. 2 For the esoteric character of mantras see also S. to communicate with the dead. with spirits etc. to exorcize demons. Oxford 1932. At the time of making the gifts a number of non-Vedic mantras are to be recited.. ed. M. Briggs. Jainism in South India. seeing to it that they do not mistake the right deity and choosing the one who may be in spiritual attunement with the neophyte 3. animals. The ?ri Vaisnava brahmans. W. 6 See Kane. see also B. G. B. Generally speaking the guru (religious teacher or spiritual mentor). Sholapur 1957. regards as rites a large number of acts which in our modern view would be classified as social or economic. Cambridge I940.. 4 The number of Vedic mantras included in the ritual handbooks for the performance of the domestic rites (Grhyasutras) comes.e. . A history of Indian philosophy. p.. p. "expiations" or "rites of atonement".266 J. 1 See. In assigning a particular mantra to a disciple the Hinduist gurus are generally speaking very punctilious. P. to cure men of diseases.g. was moreover jealously guarded.g. however. An introduction to Buddhist esoterism. For instance when a person is about to pass away his relatives should. p. Hinduism. p. to purify one's body. The sacramental force of a mantra is apparent from its use as an initiatory formula. In order to 'live' and to be efficacious a mantra must have been handed down orally from the very first 'seer' who 'saw' it in a suprasensualway and be pronounced by a person who believes in it. to exert influence on thoughts and deeds of other people. Monier-Williams. p. 70. Hinduism. Desai. for instance at the ceremony of receiving a new member in a religious order 1. i. which are not rarely composed in an enigmatic language. I877. 74. IV. III. The accuracy of the mantras. to counteract the strength of poison. initiates the adept into the mysteries of the sacred words. like Vedism. land. spirits etc. History. Rangachari. 22.. gold etc. to avert evil influences. I82. approximately to 2500. The so-called prayascittas. according to medieval authorities 5.. hygienic or utilitarian actions or performances. for instance. e. I02. Bhattacharyya. It is 'the power of the mind which makes it efficacious'. e. p. K. Oxford I938. Gonda acquire supranormal abilities. 32. make him give a gift of cows.

as a dispeller of all evil. 259. or rubbed and beaten with magically potent objects. casters of the evil eye etc. Formulas written on 1 See W. letters which bring good luck to those who know or 'possess' them and evil to their enemies. Holy names occurring in them are sovereign means of preventing the evil influences from finding flaws in the material. thou art the king of corn. I78. diseases. Briggs. or swallowed. so commonin Lamaism. Prague 2 I939. the ink in which they are written is sometimes drunk. sounds. spirits. I78. purify me of all evil. attached to walls. one's own hair as a preliminary to a (symbolical) voluntary death in fire one has to pronounce the words: "I sacrifice my hair to Death. wood or metal. . I65. design or consecration of these protective objects. and so on". and carried about in amulets 4. They are efficacious also when written. 8) 2. to which the evil powers cannot offer resistance. we can be sure. p. thou belongest to Varuna . 4 See. p. when in order to atone for a crime or a transgression of a rule a special porridge should be prepared. 244. they are also freed from the 'spirits' by a continuous recitation of mantras. Gampert. As charms these mantras need not always be spoken. Gorakhnathand the K2nphata Yogis. of any sin I have committed.. e. p. For instance. Islam in India. Under certain circumstances the mantras are to be muttered three times. serve as prdyascittas (Samavidhana-brahmana I.The charmswritten on prayerflags. Patients are not only rubbed with consecrated oil. or the mantras themselves are kept in metal cases or inscribed on metal to serve as talismans. Oxford I92I. io8.. Thus until the present day mantras both written and pronounced. a series of formulas was to be pronounced over it. I87. 3. are held a very powerful protection against witchcraft. I clothe Death with my hair". 251. "because the gods are three times in accordancewith truth" (Maitrayanisamhita I. 59. thou art nectar. Die Siihnezeremonien in der altindischen Rechtsliteratur. demons.g. Special potent mantras could. When inscribed on paper... Erscheinungsformen. beginning with: "thou art barley. 3 Ja'far Sharif. 5. evil spirits.The Indian Mantra 267 are likewise performed to the accompaniment of appropriate mantras 1. 4. For the 'liturgical' three see also Heiler. words. produce a 'prayer' at every separate flutter of the cloth. transmitted as a means of purification . 22I etc. when accompanied by ascetic behaviour. 2). wrapped in cloth. Not infrequently the mantra expresses the speaker's intentions very accurately: thus in sacrificing by way of expiation. p. inscribed on plates of stone.. also in the unwritten tradition of earlier times-the concept of mantra covers also all potent (so-called 'magical') forms of texts. Thus in the religious practice of the Hinduist period-and.

Sayana. and so forth". Even in modern times many a one believes that a considerable variety of magical acts may be performed. by mantra man is saved.. p. Sometimes a great divine guru is said to produce something wonderful: one of the pupils seems to learn all the mantras and incantations by intuition or revelation. 3 5). even nowadays.. 32 f. a view rejected by Sayana because of the extreme heterogeneity of the 1 2 As. by mantra in the initiation . by mantra a kind of union with the physical sakti... Amulets as agents in the prevention of disease in Bengal. Memoirs As. by mantra the sacrificial fire may and. Sir John Woodroffe3 observed with regard to the usages and opinions prevalent in Tantrist circles. there is such a transferenceof power from the guru to the disciple that the latter swoons under the impulse of it. In times of epidemics villages may be protected by bamboo posts to which flags or other powerful prophylactic devices are attached.268 J.provided the adept has found the proper mantra 2. the former are-e. . should be lighted. "Mantra is a power (mantrasakti-)which lends itself impartially to any use.-defined as "texts indicating things connected with the performance of actions". Soc. i (Calcutta I906). bhuimika. "There is nothing necessarily holy or prayerful about a mantra".g. accordingto ideal conditions. of Bengal i I906). or Kurukh. p. IV No unanimity existed among the ancient Indian authorities with regard to the definition of mantra 4. Dehon. p. (Calcutta 3 4 A. A brief survey of opinions is presented by K. A mantra may therefore be described as a power (sakti-) in the form of formulated and expressed thought. a whole night in learning mantras and purificatory or apotropaeic rites. The Veda consisting of mantras and brahmanas (see. The serpent power. hung on the door in order to secure a house against the entry of evil 'spirits'. Pupils spend. Gonda palm leaf are. Religion and customs of the Uraons. 227 ff. Revelation and reason in Advaita Vedanta. texts from the Koran. 6 Poona edition. a Dravidian agricultural tribe of Chota Nagpur. Moberly. Among those communities where the belief in mantras is still widely spread are the Oraons. Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe). Soc. I76 ff. e.gvedabhasya. p. R. Waltair-New York I959. as they are called in their own language. I. in Jaimini's Mimamsadar?ana 2. A man may be injured or killed by mantra. Satchidananda Murty. of Bengal. 83 f. Memoirs P. every week. furnished with tantric mantras-or in Moslim milieus.is by some said to be effected. in Orissa and elsewhere.g. Madras I950. N. written with ink or the blood of moles or bats 1.

yad ihdsti tad anyatra. mantrakarta) is occasionally given to these inspired poets (kavih). ibid. in their heart and mind. e.g. p.g. in Mahabharata 3. in this connection.This infallible. in ZDMG 38...g. 3). 328. this term should not create the misunderstanding that the mantras are products of human effort.. the god of fire and light) transmit them. Agni. "reveals the means of obtaining the transcendent goal of man" (Sayana. Although the term "makers of mantras" (mantrakrt. which is not in it is nowhere" (Mbh.. 33 P. 3 f. Now. Holtzmann. bhuim. p. I. 50) the Self-existent. by the supranormal way of inspiration to those exalted men called rsi.. 3. 62.. to the Sun (Surya).. I88. 1 See. which coming from the Unseen enables the man who knows how to use and to recite them to wield extraordinary influence. . all-embracing and omniscient corpus-"that which is in it is elsewhere. 's-Gravenhage I963. to be Brahman in the special form of Word . however. p. especially those connected with light (e..e. According to others mantras throw light on the things and the deities of the rituals (Madhusfidana Sarasvati.The Indian Mantra 269 mantras. given the somewhat deceptive title of "maker of the Veda" (vedakartd)-a term which for instance when attributed. it is the only source of knowledge of dharma and brahman (RIVbh. Upodghata. to strengthen by means of powerful eulogies) the gods (stutyartham iha devdndm veddh srstdh svayambhuva). I9. p. Visnu) emits the Veda as he does all else at the beginning of every new aeon. into the rhythmical sacred speech. eternal and omnipresent Principle.. or "makes known the transcendent means of obtaining the desirable and avoiding the undesirable" (the same. to come for his benefit into contact with the Unseen. Brahman.nitydni chanddmsi). p.. 22). It has been formulated and 'exhaled' by deities who are. according to the traditional theory of the Indians the Veda is eternal truth: "the sacred metrical texts of the Veda are not made. into sacred texts. Gonda.e. the fundamental. 2). W. Prasthanabheda. i. The vision of the Vedic poets. hymn by hymn. The Veda. Samh. according to the formulation of the Mahabharata (12. that is to say. who created the Veda in order to praise (i. they are eternal" (na hi chanddmsikriyante. God (e. who being gifted with the power of vision (dhih) 'see' the words of the Veda. J. and particular divinities. I ff. Hopkins.. p. and transform them. E. in etudes v6diques et panin6ennes 6. the receivers of the eternal truth. The great epic of India. 24). in the later epic. Renou. A. is coupled with veddiigah "auxiliary part of the Veda preserving the whole and serving its proper understanding and employment) and vedavdhanah "bringing the Veda". Paris I960. New York I902. It is. yan nehdsti na tat kvacit)-is traditionally considered to have emanated from Brahman. That is to say. on the Taitt. p.

Non-Rgvedic mantras in the marriage ceremonies. The linguistic speculations of the Hindus. A. Prabhatchandra Chakravarti. I. The maintenance of this principle was however also necessary to prevent the Vedic verses i.the current or spoken language. from being affected by distortions and corruptions. Another point of dispute was. The Karma-Mimamsd London 1921. e. perception. I933. as all things human and sublunary. juridical. strongly believed that these formulas.. is changeable. Calcutta 4 However. Philadelphia 1930. There is no denying that the fixed form serves to differentiate them also from the bhdsd.. which. The large metrical parts of the Vedic literature consisting of mantras it is small wonder that their nature and composition were also made a subject of those philosophers who applied themselves especially to linguistic problems. of the text-units which in many cases are used by more than one Vedic 'school' it is estimated that about Io. Narayana Pillai.. the validity of the Veda. Vedic variants. 2 See. Edgerton.. Trivandrum 1958. 11). soul. if properly pronounced with strictly 1 A recent study is P.g.e.g. in practice the mantras have generally speaking proved to be far from invariable. 15) 3: a doctrine which is in conformity with the 'orthodox' view that the mantras are eternal. vested with a capacity beyond human understanding.To repeat a mantra incorrectly was a sin. e. Bloomfield and F.ooo show variations (M. sacramental formulas or authoritative texts of other more or less traditional communities. I. 103. It was taught that the fixed combination of words marked by a definite and rigid syntactical order did not allow any alteration whatsoever (Nirukta. Gonda The Vedic verses being used as liturgical and sacramental texts and formulas for sacrifices.270 J. One of its other objects was to demonstrate and establish the nature of the mantras themselves and to prepare by means of speculations with regard to word. and is. . 3 Cf. the use to which a definite text might be applied as a mantra. The Vedic mantras have their reputed unchangeabilityin common with comparablereligious. differences of opinion arose with regard to the relation of words in a sentence or their relative importance with reference to the general tenor of the utterance.. It was. It was the so-called philosophic 2 which founded a systematized code of school of the Puirvamimamsa the to which Vedic mantras could be interpreted for principles according ritual purposes. because many Vedic verses and stanzas were used in connection with a considerable variety of ritual acts 1 and the relations between text and action often were far from evident. Keith. B. p. K. for instance. a rational ground for its doctrine of mantras and their practical utility. the mantras. p. etc. The use of synonyms was-to mention only this-not permitted 4.

2 See. 332. Hence the existRamanujacariyan. must be recited Ioo8 times if there are difficulties to be overcome. . P. A mantra which under ordinary circumstances is to be read Io8 times. enjoyment of heaven. It is for instance taught that praising Visnu with a thousand names removes sins and gives good things for this life and the life to come 4. no sign of fatigue may be perceptible. and movement of hands. 4 Visnu-Sahasra-Nama-Stotra... for instance of influencing the higher powers. p. It is. have the capacity of achieving the result desired. e. SrZence and popularity of treatises such as Sivasahasranama-stotra "Praise of the thousand (ioo8) names of Siva" (e. 263. and by the aid of which he acquires the fruit of his fourfold endeavour (i. Avalon. 8I ff. be added that there were also milieus in which the greatest efficacy was attached to meditation in which there is no 1 Gayatri Tantra. The effect is assured only if the number is complete. also S. Sen. 3 W. quoted by A. Hence the unmistakable predilection for 'homage' consisting of a large number ("thousand") of names. p. See also the same (Sir John Woodroffe). Introduction to Tantra Shastra 2 Madras I952. 179. o. Cf. and liberations. however. Eidlitz.)" 1 The psychical attitude in which mantras are to be recited is far from being indifferent. of working miracles. Les noms vddiques de Visnu. Principles of Tantra 2.e. p. subsistence etc. Ch. In the practice of praising the gods the number of mantras is therefore an instrument of power. Pondich6ry 1959. in general. concentrate one's thought firmly on the god whose power is contained in the formula. 17). "That is called mantra by the [evocative] meditation (manana-) upon which the soul in the living being (jiva-) acquires freedom from sin. the more a worshipper advances in his japa the more does he partake of the nature of the deity he worships and the sooner will he effect his salvation. deemed necessary that in studying and reciting mantras a large number of very intricate directions are observed. Preface. and of making the deities invoked active. accent.. It should. the recitation must not take place before a definite state of mental concentration has been reached.g.g. While pronouncing them one must. Chaitanya and his companions. Mahdbhdrata 13.Olten I955. Reports speak of brahmans muttering the name of the god Subramanyan 5 x o00 x Ioo8 times while showering flowers over his image 5. D.The Indian Mantra 27I enjoined rhythm. however. The mind of the adept should be completely calm and purified. 5 Diehl. intonations.c. Die indische Gottesliebe. Calcutta I917. The disciples of the famous preacher of the KrsnaRadha faith Caitanya (1485-1533) 2 for instance formulated elaborate rules with regard to the mood in which Krsna's name and the mantras of their community should be recited and meditated upon 3. Moreover. religious obligations. Siauve. Madras 1952..

e. 257. but not in the smarta-rites. Gonda muttering at all. I75 (J. In this connection passing mention must be made of the remarkable doctrine. e. Sakti or divine power. Aspects of Indian religious thought. . is almost always incomprehensible. Introduction tothe Piicaratra. 4 It is not even always considered necessary that a brahman should understand the meaning of the formula he utters. Or they have. 6 See. 87 ff. Chakravarti. IV. According to the belief rationalized and systematized by the philosophers of the Mimamsaschool.. S. According to some authorities (see P. couched in words of a dead language.e. Dasgupta. The Vedic mantras exist eternally. the sound produced in pronouncing a word is eternal and a soundrepresentative of an eternal principle 6. Paris 1959. according to the Ahirbudhnya-Samhita. Ch. Calcutta I957. p. Contributions a l'histoire 3 As appears from the mantras quoted in this article they often express a perfectly clear exoterical sense (not rarely homage or praise). 22 ff. but also found in the Mimamsasiutras as the order in which they occur are traditionally fixed or determined. E. namely from the different standpoints of various religious systems. They often have no ordinary meaning at all 5. Sudhendu Kumar Das. "(Everything) limited (mitam) is threaded (otam) (on Him)" (gross sense). i. V. I4I. en tant qu'elle fixe leur forme et rend impossible la transf6rence grammaticale et lexicale par des modifications de position et des substitutions de mots suivant le sens qu'on voudrait exprimer. a 'subtle sense' which may be explained in different ways. S.g. and for those who hear them the exact meaning. It is even generally admitted that they exert extraordinary power with which they are vested not so much through expressing that sense 3 as through their 'sound-vibrations' 4. i. in addition to a 'gross sense'. Poona I953. Indiens. 5I ff. The philosophy of Sanskrit grammar. those of the traditional Hinduistic orthodoxy who did no longer perform the ?rauta-rites (Die Religionen (i. 27). C'est d'ailleurs uniquement en raison de sa forme determin6e que le mantra possede une valeur rituelle" (D. p. also F. Schrader. Poona 2 I933. though it may have a mnemonic value. esp.e. Abbott and Pandit Narhar R. 217). p. 1 Cf.. p. Visnu and Siva etc. and that also among those who considered the personal intimate devotion called bhakti the best religious attitude mantras were not always considered a necessity 1.. Calcutta I930.272 J.g. As implied in the above part of this article the function of mantras does not end in conveying an ordinary sense 2. Ruegg. History of Dharmasdstra. or Brahman. p. Bhaktivijaya I5.. I43. This doctrine must however not be misunderstood. Adyar I916. See. p. That is why experts were particularly fastidious with regard to the right pronunciation of mantras. but from the esoterical point of view this sense is not necessarily connected with the true value. For instance. P. Bh. p. 2. 32): the mantras do not convey a meaning at all because the words as well de la philosophie linguistique indienne. Calcutta I934. O. O(ta) m(ita). attributed to an ancient authority. Kane. 5I) it is necessary to understand the meaning of Vedic rites in the great Vedic ?rauta-rites. 6 I. "La determination de la parole est d'une importance capitale dans les mantra et l'emporte sur leur sens litt6ral. Kautsa. the Vedic syllable Om means... Godbole) I. (subtle sense).

Religion in essence and manifestation. being devoid of all succession in time. Oriens 16 18 of India. This state presupposes the still subtler form (pasyantz). We cannot enter into a detailed discussion of this remarkable theory which foreshadowed one of the most fruitful discoveries of modern linguistics and must limit ourselves to some casual references to its import in connection with the belief in mantras. Chand. but are articulated as mental processes. in general B. The living traditions of the Indian people. see.e. and self-existent bearer of the word sense which is not created or constituted by the sounds of an enunciation. van der Leeuw. i.. the non-manifested. II.. Oxford I920. the substance of which is all mantras. qualified or saguntabrahman). Thesis Groningen I952. The doctrine of mantras is therefore closely connected with the theory of the eternal Word 2 which is the subtle link between concept and utterance and which in the Hinduist Sakta system of soteriologic thought is identified with God's Sakti or creative power-in a personal form represented as His spouse.e. The Eternal brahman exists in its form as the sound-brahman (sabda-brahman.e. N.The Indian Mantra 273 representing principles which are co-existent with the very cosmic process and they are even to survive that process. London 1938. Essers. Sphota which bears a permanent relation to the things signified is so to say the essence of the sounds used in language which produces the cognition of things. in the embodied souls (jIvdtman).g. p. Farquhar. J.-a category intermediate between God. These ideas came to be linguistically and philosophically founded on the theory of sphota.. who is pure consciousness. 7. producing the knowledge of the meaning. 201. but being inherent in them exists over and above them. it presupposes a subtle form (madhyama). exists only in pure consciousness or in spiritual contact with the basis and essence of our being). eternal. Physical theory of sound and its origin in Indian thought.. p. 1 Hence also the doctrine that in the highest stage in which speech is believed . Allahabad University studies. Macnicol. p.i. the imperishable. i and 2 and. and Matter. Vac. which is unconscious. Up. For a better understanding it may be recalled to mind that according to the Indian philosophers of grammar the sound of a word is only the outward manifestation of that word (vaikhari form). London I934. See also N. They are aspects of the eternal truth revealed to worthy men in the form of sound 1. I926. On alphabet and power see also G. It is from this sabda-brahman that the whole universe Umesha Misra. transcendent stage which. 70. Behind this potential state is the state called para. e. the above-mentioned highest state. An outline of the religious literature to exist (i. in which the words are not articulated as aerial vibrations. which is in religious practice closely associated with 'mystical'. in which the word and the concept for which it stands lie inseparable as a potency like the seed of a tree before sprouting. 435. 2 The high importance of human speech was early understood and made the object of speculative thought. speech is also called mdntri vdk "mantric speech". psychological and mythological concepts and lines of thought.

i. 9. 7. at the service of the initiate 4. no power other than that of the mantras. If this sakti genesis of the mantras is lost sight of. while he was absorbed in deep meditation. each of them being represented by a special mantra.e. A.. in the later Trika school of thought (i.) even argued that there does not exist any real difference between a mantra-which is the mind-energy of the devotee-and the Supreme Principle of Divine energy 3. according to the teachers whose views are reproduced in this paragraph. e. in its turn. For instance.. who is also identified with each 3 4 1 Sir John Woodroffe. "This is the meaning of the statement that the goddess (devi) (i. Oxford I933.g. Every mantra being a divine creation or emanation the whole body of them is identical with the Sakti 5. I8 f. The philosopher Ksemaraja (XIth cent. creating by doing so the first human language. Every sound of a language is therefore instinct with the power of God's Sakti. they will be as futile as the autumnal clouds which give forth thunders but seldom pour down rain. . Cf. According to the tradition the patriarch Manu was the first to perceive the mental formulas which are the subtile forms or 'body' of things and ideas and to explain them to men. i. 6 According to the authors of the brahmanas the Vedas with all the mantras are the thousand-fold progeny of Vak (Speech). The Sdktas. the Tantric schools of thought hold 2. which. 1929. e. the primordial speech of mankind. 5.. 453. p. Shakti and Shdkta 3. 5 See. the 'mystic' syllable Omoriginally a 'numinous primeval sound' which is still uttered with the utmost reverence-is throughout many centuries regarded as a positive emblem of the Supreme.e. to the idea of the Matrkd Sakti (maternal power) of Para Vak (the Highest Speech). in which the deity has revealed one of its particular aspects. I.. Gonda proceeds in the form of sound (sabda) and the objects (artha) denoted by sound or words. the sakti) and the universe are composed of the signs for the sounds which denote all that is" 1. the most authentic derivative of which is Sanskrit. and mantras framed from them are omnipotent formulas.g.-and the gods have. the language of the sacred formulas. Io. I76.. 25 ff. One may also say that-as already observed in a former part of this article-the power of a divine being resides in its name or formula which therefore is a means of establishing connections between the divinity 2 It is my intention to devote a separate article to this point. See also S. p. of the Vedic metres (cf. became the mother of the Veda's 6. the Kashmirian Sivaism). 5. Payne. replete with unconceivable power. also E. the so-called pranava.. It unfolded itself in the form of the Gayatri. It is said to have flashed forth in the heart of Brahma. p. Madras For particulars see S. K. The mantras relating to the gods represent their essence-they are in a sense identifiable with them. 3. This idea of Vak bringing forth the mantras gave rise. K. Das. also RV. PBr.274 J. TaittS. 125. I). Das.e. p.

. They enable man to transgress the limits of his phenomenal existence 3. and the only work his service. I76 ff.. Each being. When we use them we come into touch with the very nature of the idea it represents. 502. Grundlagen tibetischer Mystik. If this be known and formulated as sound in a mantra and if it be used expertly it is considered capable of disintegrating the object with which it is in vibratory accord. the first to give a systematic exposition of the atomistic pluralism and philosophy of distinctions. explicitly teaches that it is Vedic "works". Wiesbaden I959. The mantras are in this trend of thought eternal and indestructible 'prototypes' from which the phenomenal forms can always be derived. S. That is to say. Evans-Wentz. The sabda or sound of a mantra is conceived as a 'spiritual' sound. Danielou. n. from his 'wordseed' " 2. According to the Visnuist philosopher Vallabha the only God is Krsna-Visnu. human and super-human) and with each phenomenal object or element. dem Wissen. Prahlada. "Kraft und Wirkung eines Mantra sind abhangig von der geistigen Haltung. p. Tibet's great yogi Milarepa 2. or of impelling deities to emit their divine influence. the scientific and analytic Vaisesika (see. e. I960. A mantra is from this point of view a syllable or series of syllables. and the muttering of mantras which lead to the unseen mysterious virtue through which the desired object will be achieved. produced by the worshipper's mind heard by the heart and understandable only by the initiated. To know the mantra of any deity is therefore to know how to set up psychic communication with that deity 5. retired forest life. Realization of 1 See P. Le polytheisme hindou.). II. such as holy ablutions. p. a means also of conjuring up any divine being. "The body of god proceeds from his mental formula. 37. I59. Hacker. London I923 (5I948). p. there is associated with each organic creature (sub-human. a particular rate of vibration. p. of the same frequency as the (usually invisible) being to which it appertains. 5 2 Yamala-tantra. Y. in all states of existence. also W. Oxford I95I. the mantras only are his name. e. the same. 25. Indian philosophy.. The TibetanBook of theDead 2. Thus it becomes clear that for instance the name Krsna is in the Narasimhapurana called a mantra granting all bliss 1.. lectual leaders who founded the great schools of thought it may be observed that Kanada. p.. and each inanimate object possesses a bodily form attuned to a certain frequency of vibration. I6 f. sacrifice. by knowing it one is able to command the elements and phenomena of the universe. quoted by A. der Verantwortlichkeit und der seelischen Reife des Individuums" 4.g. In employing mantras one is therefore to concentrate one's mind upon the mystic process of the transmutation which is to result. fasting.g. 4 Lama Anagarika Govinda. Radhakrishnan. 3 In order to illustrate the importance attached to mantras also by those intel- For particulars see. Zurich-Stuttgart 1947. Oxford I949. 220 ff.The Indian Mantra 275 and its worshippers. 2.

an infallible means to liberation... Ndda (vibration) and jndna (illumination) are two parallel manifestations of Sakti . like our own soul-and-body only a manifesta2 1 Lama Anagarika Govinda. der Durchbruch zum 'Absoluten'. p. however. L'enseignement 4 The reader may. B. Herbert. Sie sind das Horbare. p.. p..and prdna (breath). Paris 1949. 282. I40. Mantra is concentrated thought of great power.. o. By involving this mantra the breathing process adds effectively to its own definitive superfluity. Endpunkte-oder richtiger Stationen-unendlicher Erlebnisreihen. die in eine ebenso unvorstellbar ferne Zukunft tasten. Grundlagen tibetischer Mystik. 575. unvorstellbarerVergangenheitin die Gegenwart hineinreichen und ihrerseits Ausgangspunkte zu neuen unendlichen Reihen werden. ndda (resonance). synonymous of cosmic energy. mantras are credited with an unlimited power4. breathing. not even the final emancipation from mundane existence. Ziirich 1957. . das am Unhorbaren haftet.. So mantra. das Gedachte und das Denkbare.the so-called unmuttered gdyatri (ajapagdyatrz). Bhattacharyya. "Special emphasis is put upon mantra. 6 Cf.die aus fernster.g. Govinda. in general. viz..c. 3 Briggs. Baroda I928. generate vibrations of ndda as soul of the universe. I9I. Goraknath and the Kdnphata Yogis.g. japa. which are. hamsa-which as a noun meaning "goose" or "swan" is a name for the 'soul' or spirit. the identity of oneself with the great cosmic powers. e. be consulted with some caution. die Befreiung vom Ichsein. In gross form ndda supports the things of the universe as their soul. p. "Worte sind Siegel des Geistes. das aus dem Undenkbaren wachst" 1.. Lama A. Nothing. becomes a mantra. In those Hinduistic circles which being characterizedby sacral magic based on the conviction that there is a consistent connection and correspondence between the (psychical) microcosmos and the (physical) macrocosmos are known as tantristic. It is built upon sabda (sound). is considered impossible if one knows how to recite a particular mantra in accordance with the fixed rules 5 and how to realize. Cf. 31. p. e. by means of these mantras. de Ramakrishna 9. Gonda a mantra (occurrenceof mantra-caitanya) is the union of the consciousness of the sddhakawith that consciousness which manifests in the form of the mantra. be referred to the many books by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe). also J. "Omin seinem dynamischen Aspekt ist der Durchbruchdes individuellen zum iiberindividuellen Bewusstsein. in subtle form it is represented by the Absolute Goddess. 3. Sadhanamala." 3. von der Ich-Illusion" 2.276 J. p. . The subtle form is realized in the gross one. which should. It is this union which makes the mantra 'work'. ed. . Some schools of yogis went so far as to assume that the 'sounds' produced by the process of breathing ('ha' + 'sa').

The man who knows the power which is inherent in this mantra is blessed. p. a state of absolute safety be acquired without delay. The formula which gives a perfect rdsume of the essence of brahman. his family has become ritually pure. I6 and 17. yoga. generally associated with man. The first manifestation of this power can only be perceived by the great yogins. Om sac cid ekam brahmalit. History of Indian philosophy. bhakti.e.. deals not only with cult. but also with mantrasdstra. be mastered without study. The meditation and worship of these may consequently be expected to bring these objective powers under control of the man who knows how to deal with mantras. The evolution of this objective power is the third stage. the next is the identity of a name and the object or objective power denoted by it. 2 Cf. Together with the evolution of every sound of the language there is also the evolution of the objective power of which it is the counterpart 3. ."to think" and tra(i). liberate" so as to suggest that it is that which liberates when properly meditated upon and ritually pronounced. The complete attainment of anything from purely mundane affairs such as success in love to achievements on the highest spiritual level may be realized by means of a special mantra. Whereas the energy of the vowels is transformedinto audible sounds 4. An assemblage of some of the sounds stands therefore for an assemblage of types of energy. which again are regarded as 'symbols' of different deities or superintendents of energy. Dasgupta.was. III. "Om (absolute) being. I. for complex power. ch."to rescue. Cambridge I940. p. a kind of 'mystic and esoteric linguistics' applying itself to the secret sense of mantras in order to exercize power over the potencies manifesting themselves in them. 3 See especially Ahirbudhnya-samhita. the Paficaratras have 1 In tantric literature the term mantra. The literature of Paficaratra Visnuism which though constituting a group of Hinduistic systems partly based on Tantrism is not without starting-point in the Vedic tradition 2. one is brahma" secures not only final emancipation but also success in worldly affairs. (absolute) consciousness. by way of popular etymology (see above). safety against evil and dangers etc.i. 247 f. etc. 58. dharma. "While the Vedic Aryans subject themselves to severe punishments and self-torture to atone for the crimes committed. ceremonies. Die Religionen Indiens. through them. the consonant sounds are considered to be the prototypes of different manifestations of world-energy.The Indian Mantra 277 tion of brahman 1. The Pinicaratrins believe in the esoteric nature of the mantras which are regarded as the energy of God (Visnu) as pure consciousness. A definite mantra called lokandthaenables the man who knows how to use it to obtain remission of mortal sins. Branches of science may. 4 For particulars see also S.

Whatever heinous crimes a Vaisnava may commit. a Paficaratra Vaisnava who is guilty of this great sin is. To this basic theory is attached the whole doctrine of mantras. self-control. Sakti or divine power. which is unconscious. p. he is sure to be free from sin. ritualistic worship etc. She is.. This text (which is dated about 450 A. but even final emancipation (mukti-). Studies in the Puranic records on Hindu rites and customs.-The importance of mantras may also appear from the fact that in the texts of this religion separate chapters were devoted to this subject beside others which deal with images. 2 I refer to Sudhendu Kumar Das. 220 f. Whereas for instance in the case of adultery with the wife of one's guru the ancient authorities prescribesuch punishments as lying on a heated bed of iron or embracing the iron image of a woman glowing with heat.D. to mutter the Nrsimhamantra. according to the Jayakhyasamhita (25. within the sounds-and the symbols used for these sounds in writing-of the mantras 2.) is permeated by such a strong belief in mantras that it is asserted that they are not only capable of conferring enjoyment (bhukti-). according to the Paficaratras. by muttering a sectarian mantra. God as pure consciousness. these formulas etc. however. Here also the esoteric aspect of mantras and 1 R. It is also the Jayakhya-samhita which maintains that of the two ways to realize samddhi (the intensive meditative concentration which leads to final emancipation) the method of the practice of (concentration on) mantras is more efficacious than that which proceeds through absorptive emotions. Calcutta 1934.278 J. Gonda recourse. also the eternal Word and the subtle link between concept and utterance. Hazra. C. initiation. An important tenet of the Sivaist school of philosophic thought which flourishedin Kashmir was the idea of para Sakti (Highest Potence) assuming the form of energy residing. every sound of the language being instinct with her power. meditation. 3I ff. the number of mutterings varying as the crime is voluntary or otherwise. in a latent condition. the whole body of which is identical with God's Sakti. Dacca I940. for purificationin all cases. p.and Matter. because the former does not fail to remove all obstacles to self-realization. that there are also chapters dealing with the chanting of. . to the magic power of the sectarian mantras. to reveal the ultimate reality. that is. the peculiarity being that the nature of the mantra and the number of mutterings differ with the nature of the crime" 1. so deep-rooted their belief in these mantras is.). or meditation on. I6I. this Sakti is not only the creative force but also the cause of bondage and release. In the Sivaist Sakta systems Siva's sakti (creative power) is a category intermediate between Siva. Mythologically his spouse.

The importance of a special mantra may for instance be illustrated by the tradition that Narahari Sarkar. Oxford 1913. also R. of India. C. Sen. indeed. The use of this famous formula was not confined to this community. 97 . p. The crown of Hinduism. Thus a special spiritual value is not rarely attached to the mere utterance of the name of the god one adores or of the repetition of the mantra of the religious community which in this connection has been called its 'watch-word' 1: the idea contained in the mantra is. The doctrine that God's Creative Power is incarnate in sound led to the conviction that the mantra expressing the highest religious belief is not only a bearer of supranormal power. did not only write the first hymns devoted to him but prepared also the code and the mantra for his worship 3. as follows: Sri-Krsna saranam mama "the holy Krsna is my refuge"-those of Siva (namah Sivdya) have only five. According to puranic authorities those who meditate on that "mantra of twelve syllables" ("O. "the spiritual food which has to be assimilated by the soul". a diagram. I02 f. the same text gives also directions for the making. p. 2 See. The opposition between Visnuists and Sivaists being ritual and sociological in nature rather than 1 J. or to express the same thought otherwise: being the deity itself it expresses an aspect of his being. Studies in the puranic records on Hindu rites and customs. N. C.g. p. lit. by means of this formula and other famous Visnuite mantras. a yantra. but also expounded in the Ahirbudhnya-Samhitd of the Panicaratrins.. a friend and follower of Caitanya who was the first to preach the worship of this XVIth century Bengal Visnuite spiritual guide. is considered a potent amulet (Farquhar. A mantra is identical with the aspect of the god which is invoked with or by means of it. oo.. Oxford 1920. Chaitanya and his companions. Calcutta I9I7. e. i. 449. thus among religious communities of Visnu worshippers Om namo ndrdyanaya or Om namo bhagavate vdsudevdya 2.. e. Hence also the aversion of the adherents of a particular religion to mantras belonging to another religious community. Hazra.g.madoration to the venerable V.. The number of the syllables is significant.e. An outline of the rel.-To add another instance: the chief mantra of the Visnuite Narasimha religion is glorified in an Upanisad called the Nrsimhapirvatapaniya by 'mystic' identifications and interpretations. = Krsna-Visnu") do not return to the cycle of births and deaths. Each religious group has indeed its own special adoration-mantra. when the mantra-power is awakened the deity is revealed. 3 D. which worn on the neck etc. whereas Visnu's mantras consist of eight or twelve syllables-that of the followers of Vallabha running.The Indian Mantra 279 the spiritual exercises performed with them were considerably developed together with philosophical doctrines. "the sum of all spiritual truth". p. but also the concentrated essence of all divine truth. I89). Farquhar. .

p. that there is an inseparable relationship between these-the Visnuists going even so far as to consider the deity and his name coincident or identical-they describe the mantras. Yoga. Kabir and his followers. A mantra is therefore considered to be the ripa (form) of the deity. Paris I947. Gonda dogmatic or philosophical.g. . These beliefs.. Cf. Herbert. Eliade. Among the followers of Ramanuja. A. P. p. Paris 1960. 503 ff. p. Thus. Oxford I936. "sources" or "primary principles") are potent syllables believed to form the essential part of definite mantras which express the special power of a deity or a degree of 'holiness' and are correlated with the very essence of that god or state. p. the former were not allowed to perform Sivaist rites or to pronounce Sivaist mantras 1. 214. e. Pandit. provides for the teaching of the mantra Om namo ndrdyanaya to all classes of people. Le polytheisme hindou. J.e. 366 ff. Madras I959. See. being more liberal. Essai sur les origines de la mystique indienne. van der Leeuw. Kundalini Yoga. as living representatives of deities. i. the spiritual background of their worship is primarily an effort to awaken the power ('consciousness')of the mantra in order to visualize the deity from inside. Dani6lou. Paris I940. of powers. 32 ff.. Even the cosmos itself is 1 Hacker. E. but in the Chattisgarh section two mantras are given at the time of initiation. The efficacy of mantras constituting their cardinal tenet. Keay. Paris Spiritualite hindoue. Basing themselves on the naive belief that there is a natural connection between a name and the object so named.. This is why at the time of muttering (japa) 4 an adept (sddhaka)is required to ponder over the elements of the mantras and to call to mind the person of the deity presiding over it.. Any modification is significant. M. See also F. What are called bizamantras ("seed-mantras"or basic mantras) are thus names and subtle forms of deities.e. while the Northern school omits the syllable Om when the formula is taught to non-Brahmans.280 J. I53. I936. Even the mantras used in different sections of the same religious community may be different. which are full of potentiality. in the Chaurasection of the followers of Kabir there is only one mantra. being indicative of a special mental structure 2 and which are in substance characteristic of many human communities at a certain stage of cultural development. 2 3 4 See G. were systematized and made a corner-stoneof their doctrines by the Tantrists 3. According to Hinduist belief the so-called bijas ("germs". L'homme primitif et la religion. the 'Southern School'. i. also M. I72. p. if the adherents of the Sri-Vaisnava faith add the name Sri to their mantra Omnamo ndrdyanayathey wish to indicate the importance of the divine grace and the effort of the spiritual aspirant. Prahlida. p.

86). (Satap. furnishing. Br. The muttering of the divine name is even a special system of japa. Kane. who is the Supreme Being. . Among those who followed the famous weaver-saint Kabir (? I4401518). Pondich6ry I959. L'incantation Om aide donc l'adorateur a trouver le salut. who while being influenced by ancient tantric and yogic traditions made them develop into elements of really deep spiritual significance. I. 82-85. I f. In that case the name-the sound-symbol pregnant with all the potentialities of the Supreme Being-is accompanied by a bzia. on the other hand. The bijamantra klim associated with the principal mantra enables the initiate to exert influence on the universe in its entirety because it grants the fulfilment of all desires. The mayamantra (hrtm) puts him in a position to be as small. .The Indian Mantra structured and supported by potent formulas of this category 1. and the Sarasvati (the Indian Minerva) mantra (aim) grants him the highest degree of intelligence 2. I) 3. Each deity has his or her own bija. Combination of 'basic mantras' may help to express 'complicated ideas'. That is to say. Mantras were for instance io8 or Ioo8 times repeated. In the opinions of some authorities ndma-japa must be executed along with meditating over the meaning of the name (artha-bhdvand). ce n'est que par le bijamantra de la p6riode v6dique qu'il peut etre trouv6" (R. V.).. p. the word hin means 'breath' . as he wants. thus krzm belongs to Kali. elle remonte a la p6riode v6dique. 2 Trailokyasammohanatantra. the idea of mantra grew. Naturellement Om est 6galement un bijamantra. History of Dharmasastra II. Joshi.. . Aucun bijamantra cr66 a la p6riode tantrique ne sert a l'obtention du salut. which is believed to produce great effect because the name and its bearer are identical. "they sang praises with (ibid. "mais en meme temps il est tres int6ressant de d6couvrir que l'incantation Om utilisee avec l'incantation principale peut detruire toutes les actions pr6ecdentes qui pouvaient constituer des obstacles sur le chemin de la liberation definitive (Haribhaktivilasa 17. the name of Krsna one must feel that the god. p. "The sacrifice is not (correctly) performed without the Saman (chant). is constantly attracting one's whole being towards Himself. because there cannot be an effective mantra without a bija. 38). quoted in Haribhaktivilasa I6. It may be added that monosyllabic and in themselves senseless words played already an important part in the chant of the Vedic Saman hymns. V. 3 Generally speaking all bijamantras are tantric in origin. 2. the gayatri-stanza without the hii" 4. light. 4. great etc. 685 ff. for instance. mais au lieu d'avoir son origine dans la tradition tantrique. I. in repeating. Le rituel de la devotion Krsnaite. and the Saman is not chanted without " having uttered hin . the key to 1 Some particulars on japa are mentioned by P. Poona 194I. ran to Agni etc. through him. to become the inspired message of the spiritual teacher. 2.

282 J. must be muttered. It is not logos. which is itself the unutterable uttered. van Gulik. p. The word (sabda) is. I. Nagpur I956. this syllable which represents and evokes the force of the life-breath within him. 27. The artist must produce in clay. the substance of which is consciousness. Macnicol. Gauri I. "Everything connected with the three worlds is contained in the fifty-two letters" (Adi Granth. stone or metal the exact external counterpart of the inward vision of the god which he has 'seen' in yoga. the hidden manifested" 1. Stuttgart 1957. and as such. life-breath. But this truth was especially understood in connection with the name of God.e. n. 1 N. "but speech was obviously a mediation of the unknown. but rather the testimony of him who knows. the mysterious utterance of speech which conveys knowledge of the unknown and makes wise unto salvation.. Seckel. moreover. Pour comprendre l'art hindou. K. accomplishing in this way a means of guiding a process of visualization and identification on the part of the devotee who will use the image. 2). so that that force is infused into the flowers. which is yain. That is to say. New York 1955. Coomaraswamy.. Next. H. and bibliography. Buddhistische Kunst Ostasiens. Zimmer. p. 318 ff. . i. R.-an ancient thought of which these simple people were fully conscious. "The devotee" the Gandharva-tantra teaches. the effulgent energy of the consciousness within is to be conducted without by means of the mystic. he must mentally establish the identity of the internal and the external image". "having controlled his breath and taken up a handful of flowers. D. when that unknown was God. or reason. p. magic bijasyllable denoting wind. As we now know the image of an Indian deity must conform strictly to the traditionally correct vision of the deity 2. Siddham. passim. however he may have come to know-and that remains obscure-or again it is the name of God. Otherwise it would be useless for the purposes of worship. I40 f. Oxford 1915. should then meditate on the deity in his heart. Kabir was no philosopher. 257. and beholding there by his grace that image. The art of Indian Asia. A. Paris 1926. Gonda the meaning of the universe. When fashioning an image the must be a member of one of the upper attitude of the artist-who classes-is to be the same as that of the devotee (bhaktah) who while contemplating it in daily worship endeavours to realize his identity with the god he worships and whose presence is sustained by the image. These flowers then function as a vehicle to bring the initiate's life-breath into the external image of the god so as to establish its identity with the essence of the god. Indian 2 See also H. Theism. the Satndm ("the name of the one truth and reality"). mystic and wonderful.

i. according to the plan of the mandala. 2 1 Cf. London 1961 (esp.. 47 f. thus renewing the primordial drama. The two supplement and complete each other. complex arrangements of patterns or pictures used in tantrist Hinduism and Buddhism. in Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art II (1934). instead of such images. i.e. he will see the syllable [mantra] him light up and from its incandescence he will see emanating the infinite number of divine forms which place themselves round about him.. They then reabsorb themselves in Him. H. and compare Anagarika Brahmacari Govinda.. presents the mantras or germinal formulae of the Universal Essence" 3. I04 f. 23 f. New York I95I. 3 Tucci. in its process of emanation and of reabsorption. "If this concentration is not interrupted. Mantra and mudra presupposethe theory and practice of the yantras or mandalas2. is transported outside time at that moment. yantras " 'mystic' figures" and p. in the mantras which are to evoke and conjure these powers into manifestation. e. as known to mind and ear. so the mantras are to all contain the the of supposed secrecy potency of sound. The theory and practice of the Mandala.The Indian Mantra 283 Whereas the images represent the superhuman force of some divinity or divine saviour these powers or powerful beings are believed to exist not only in visual forms-which should be visualized in dhydna. He can then substitute for these visualized forms the more subtle structure of the mandala.g. Like mantras. consecrated areas to be kept pure for ritual and liturgical ends. in the centre of his own heart. The mantras constitute the spiritual body. because they are parallelrevelations of the selfsame divine essence which essentially is beyond both spheres 1.).. which. protecting themselves from disintegrating forces. The mystic. and-what is more-a representation of the cosmos. Philosophies of India. Some aspects of stipa symbolism. As the mudrds are believed to contain all the secrecy of touch as associated with the potency attributed to the physiological (microcosmical)-macrocosmical system. concentratedmeditation-but also in oral and written forms. in religious ceremonies it is in a very complex liturgy used as a means of reintegration into the One that is All: the meditator has for that purpose to identify himself with the Supreme Essence or Principle represented by the graphic symbol. as it develops from the one essential Principle.e. The theory and practice of mantras is also closely associated with that of gestures (mudrds). See G. Zimmer. The muttering of the right mantras in a silent and continuous repetition of its powerful elements (japa) steadies the mind bent on visualizing a divinity and invites the presence of the same. p.. .c. p. Tucci. whereas the tangible and visible image is the manifestationfor touch and sight. specifically. the matrix of all things that can be created. 87 ff. o. consubstantiated with the One Being. p.

tended to keep alive also the memory of the Sun-god 4. 4 For the worship of Suiryasee my Veda und altererHinduismus (= Die Religionen 2 1 See also F.e. nay to represent or incarnate the one pure and infinite Subject. p. but mostly in the morning. The Gayatri is an instance of a 'prayer' which need not necessarily be accompanied by a sacrifice. V From the above it may be clear that a mantra is not a prayer.) and in the evening3. Language of the self. offered two. or which are prayers from no point of view. This most famous stanza Rgveda 3. That is why with the aid of the divine name or with references to the deeds and qualities of the divine the spirit which has gone astray and feels separated so to say recollects that it is pure 'self'. 62. Gonda mudras "gestures" play a role as outward means in the aspiration of a being towards the One and universal with the object of obtaining an inward illumination.. as a so-called sandhyd2. which are to be transformed into mantras)". from remote times to the present day. Principles of Tantra 2. the pure subject. tat savitur varenyam bhargodevasya dhimahi/ dhiyo yo nah pracodaydt "that we obtain that desirable (excellent) radiance of god Savitar who is to impel our 'visions' (intuitions. . offering of somajuice or other sacrificial rite accompanies it when it is. the eternal source of life and inspiration. The mantras and the other devices are accessory supports of the inward act. Madras 1959. Religious acts performed by members of the three highest classes of society at the junctures of the divisions of the day. not to contend that there are no mantras which may be used as prayers. the universal ground.This is. p.Nowadays it is said at any one convenient time. Its muttering forms. pure 'subject'. leading the spirit lost in the labyrinth of objectivation back to the One. at noon.284 J. by objectivizing it. The sacred formula or sequence of words may therefore be said to 'symbolize'. They are believed to have as their effect the production of rhythmic vibrations causing a repercussionthroughout the indefinite series of states of the being. 270 f. IO composed in the Gayatri metre and dedicated to the Sun (Savitar. No oblation. daily repeated by the twice-born. a vital part of a brahman's daily worship. or sometimes three times a day -in the morning (. "pure light and consciousness". the divine stimulator conceived of as the divine vivifying power of the sun) is in itself most evidently a prayer for illumination or inspiration. i. however. In addition to some examples already given in the preceding pages. 3 For some particulars see Avalon. I5 ff. Schuon. Being addressed to Savitar it is also called Sdvitrf. the Gdyatri may be quoted as an instance. This mantra. pure 'consciousness' .

p. I. so that he impels (prasauti) the performers of the rite...c. Strassburg I897.. it must have the form of a tristubhstanza. RV. According to some authorities on Vedic ritual 3 the Savitri into which a brahman youth was to be initiated must be the Gayatri stanza. Br. 6 (= Sat. After that ceremony the boy is permitted to participate in the rites and to recite verses of the Veda 2. I-3. the Gayatri etc. i..-for S. viz. A member of the third class (vaiSya) must be initiated by means of a jagati stanza. exempt from age and death" (Manu2. I. viz.. 2. causing them to rest. 9. . and J. guests etc. 3. when bringing darkness. Indiens I) Stuttgart I960. 39 "Then follows the verse dedicated to Savitar. I48).".. and thus all his (i. 30. P. (savitrprasitd eva) .The Indian Mantra 285 The authoritieson Vedic ritual prescribethe instruction in the Gayatri as part of the upanayana ceremony: a boy is to be taught and initiated by a spiritual guide (guru) who invests him with the sacred thread. "That birth which a teacher acquainted with the whole Veda in accordance with the rules procures for him through the Savitri is real.e. 4. 6. 8. in which Savitar is described as moving between heaven and earth and warding off diseases 4. as sun. SAnkhayanagrhyasutra 2. have to leave the room. a ceremony and incantation for 1 See A. 3 I refer to Hillebrandt. p. 54. Stevenson.) or I. looking at world and creatures and. Ritual-Literatur. 40. 4.. 7. Formerly this ceremony preceded a long period of education during which the boy was also initiated into the Veda 1. io). 94 f. 9. II) combining this mantra with other formulas already pre- scribes its use in an elaborated rite. is the impeller (prasavita)of the gods. Br. I51 ff. p. the Brhadaranyaka-Upanisad 6. 35. Farquhar. teaches him.. N. An outline of the religious literature of India. Hindu Religion. I. ritual and domestic fire etc. e. in a very elaborate and ceremonial way. imparts him his second or spiritualbirth. the sacrificer's) wishes (kdmdh) are fulfilled (samrdhyante). 3. is said to please or propitiate (prindti) the god Savitar. 5. 4-7. Thomas.g. Whereas in I3. i. e. Hillebrandt. 5 (which praises Agni. p.g. 9 the recitation of the stanzas VS. For the application of the Savitri one might refer to SatapathaBrahmana 2. RV. 27 if. 14. p. I. one of which is the Savitri. For a ksatriya. however. Cf. in which Savitar is said to approach on a golden chariot. The ceremony itself makes the youth a dvija. Oxford I920. 35. impelled as they are by S. 2. The rites of the Twice-born. 89 f.. Bombay. atmospheric. 53 f. In more recent times the Gayatri is whispered three times into the boy's ear and the latter has to repeat it as many times. p. As the mantra is not repeated in the presence of others. London 1920. 4 A long article could be written on the 'mysticism' of the metres. 2 For a somewhat detailed description of the ceremony as performed in moder times see M. 3. customs and manners. o. 2. The gdyatri "the smallest metre" is for instance said to have. carried off the Soma from heaven (Satap.e. as a falcon.

: "we meditate on the strength of the god". p. 3 R. stating that according to the brahmavddinah the sun. be signalized with regard to RV. Hume. 238 f.e. Dacca 1940. by Radhakrishnan. The last line is explained as follows: buddhayo vai dhiyas td yo 'smdkam pracodaydt "thoughts are meditations. III: "l'eclat 4 See e. Upan. The thirteen principal Upanishads. the yogins are freed from all sins and demerit (Goraksasataka 44). of the Atman in the form of the sun the stanza is used MaiUp. and he will stimulate these for us". Goraknath (who may have flourished about the beginning of the XIIIth century5) for instance taught that by the mere desire to recite the Gayatri which is the giver of final emancipation. .. 5. As such she is Savitri. Hazra. in Hinduism she became the object of worship 2. p. p. "Because Savitar is God (devah) I meditate (cintaydmi. Farquhar. i.g. Similar reinterpretations-and until the present day differences in translating-may. 253. 2. "knowledge and insight 1 See. e. "the mother of the Veda" 4. Senart. consid6rons-le". 0 Earth. The same tendency is obvious in the case of individual spiritual leaders and founders of so-called sects (which in some cases are. Brhad-dranyaka-upanisad. 268 ff. Oxford I934. is to be sought by one desirous of the Atman. the last quarter quoted in ChUp. 82. For worship of the sun. 2 For particulars Avalon. p. I21. Gonda the attainment of a great wish: sipping from a definite mixed potion one should pronounce the Savitri together with the Sweet-verses while pronouncing the wish: "May I become all this.. Studies in the puranic records on Hindu rites and customs. E.g. to attract the public to their study by holding out a prospect of omniscience to those who read them and to win more respect for the Savitri. explication of dhzmahi) upon that which is called his light (bhargah)". could find no time to attend a sacrifice instituted by her husband! In the puranas stories are not wanting the underlying motive of which is to raise the position of the Vedas. 7 is translated by R. It may be added that the two names of the mantra give rise to two female figures: according to the puranic mythological tale 3 Gayatri was procured by the god Indra to Brahma as a substitute for Savitri who. Principles of Tantra. Hazra. p. rather. 230 "the Giver's strength may we attain!". Oxford I920. also E.286 J. I turam bhagasya dhimahi. religions). Atmosphere..g. Savitar. e. 7. p. An outline of the religious literature of India. the wife of Brahma. N. o. p. being engaged in managing household affairs.. 5 J. du dieu. and Sky!" The traditional translation of the verb dhzmahi is here also "let us meditate" 1. 5. 6. C. It is small wonder that the Savitri like so many other important concepts in Indian thought could be represented as a person.c.. Paris 1934. 425 f. Princ.

What. which in its turn rests on truth. the visible. heaven" (bhumirantariksamdiyauh) makes eight syllables.e. He wins. however. in a similar way. Those whom he judged to be weaker vessels were merely ordered to write the name of Rama on bits of paper and to throw these into the river. as much as breathes in this world. but here. M. with lustre and glory.the 'self' or 'soul' ": it protects (trd)the gaydh. Cambridge I935. 's-Gravenhage I957. said to be possessed of all that which there is in the threefold knowledge of the Veda. which again is based on life-breath. literally "the house..g. 14) the sacred Gayatri mantra is esoterically explained. S. O'Malley. moreover.The Indian Mantra 287 like this neither was nor shall be". household". Sircar. Hindu mysticism according to the Upanisads. i. I98 f. The man who knows that foot to be thus glows. the Sun. which is above-the-darksome. e. for the sake of this 'etymological' explanation. In order to give an idea of the severe self-discipline involved in the practices of the Indian ascetics O'Malley1 quotes the case of a teacher who ordered those who resorted to him the repetition of the Gayatri until the total of a million times had been reached. S. There is. That man is. 6I ff. however. At this point of the argument the conclusion is drawn that the Gayatri mantra protects the life-breath of the man who learns it. visible foot. p. moreover. in the brahmanas. the yajimrsi (Yajurveda) are to accompany the sacrificial acts. As is well known etymologies or pseudo-etymologies are. London I934. van Gelder. each time that it was repeated the disciple had to meditate on its meaning.e. interpreted as "the life-breaths"4. The long passage begins with the observation that the formula "earth. again.. yajimsi. 2 . the sdmdni (Samaveda) are sung. because the words rcas. because the formula is "thus founded with regard to the dtman. "He who knows the 'foot' of the Gayatri to be such wins as much as there is in these three 'worlds' ". eight syllables. The first foot of the 1 L. 3 The rcas (Rgveda) are to be recited. Among the subjects developed in the later Tantric speculations is also the doctrine already found in the Upanisads that the metres have an important influence on life. there exists a relation between the specific character of the metre and the specific spiritual oscillations in our being (see also M. my article in the periodical Lingua 5 (I955). one "foot" (part) of the gayatri metre (which consists of three times eight syllables) 2. p. p. Being credited with a special psychological significance they correspond with our emotions. 4 This passage has recently been discussed also by Dr. In the Brhadaranyakaupanisad (5. Der Atman in der Grossen-Wald-Geheimlehre. 25I). sdmdni (the names of the three categories of mantras contained in the three Vedas 3 make. i. atmosphere. J.. See. that is. deserves our special attention is that this famous and important mantra had already at an early moment become the object of esoterical speculation and 'mystic' explanation. a fourth 'foot'. often used as arguments. Popular Hinduism. The Gayatri is based upon that fourth. like the Sun.

the Sun. Then follows an exposition of the supposed mystic correlation of the three verses (pddas)of the mantra with three sets of fundamental entities of twelve each. 3 For this equation see also my The vision of the Vedic poets. woman. and pairs. From this we may infer. prosperity. and. Bloomfield. of which the Bhrgus and Afigirases (two mythical families of priests) are the eye. 2 Cf. . B. Strassburg 1899. Sun and heaven. as a gift. The warning is added that one should not teach a pupil the Savitri as an anustubhmetre. the brahman (masculine) and vow or observance. in the second place. keenly aware of the fact that speech may be reduced to a definite or systematic order by means of the metres. p.. ioI ff. Rajendralala Mitra. he should (while reciting the mantra) pronounce the words: "may his wish not prosper!" One of those upanisad-like texts which constitute a considerable part of the Gopathabrahmana1 is the interesting so-called Gayatri-upanisad (I. sacrifice and sacrificialgift etc. first that there existed already at an early moment (VIth cent. Thus both Savitar and the Savitri are explained as representing twelve 'cosmic pairs'. in which the complete universe is contained". both are considereda yoni. (ritual) work. that the Indians were. The Atharva-veda and the Gopatha-brahmana. the anustubh is equivalent to speech and in this way speech would be imparted to the pupil.288 J. Next Savitar. because. then already. and the Savitri are successively identified with a large number of entities. Agni and the earth. the Savitri with speech.C. which are declaredto be yonis. The words of the formula are made the object of an esoterical interpretation: the question as to what the inspired sages (kavayah) mean by savitur varenyam is answered thus: "the desirable of the sun" is the Vedas and their metrical text (veddmschanddmsi). offspring. religious devotion (vratam)which are successively "connected" or "brought together". In this treatise there is question of the study of "the Sdvitri gdyatri of twentyfour 'wombs' (yoni) and twelve pairs (mithuna). equivalent to the wealth of the threefold universe. for instance the sun is identified with manah ('mind'). 31-38) 2. the first with the earth. dhiyah as "works"3. Calcutta 1872. p. I. pair. and together they constitute a pair. esp. Towards the end of the chapter the author subjoins a 'magical' application: should the man who knows the Gayatri bear hatred towards anyone. Ino.) at least one variant of this famous strophe. Gonda stanza is. fire. truth.the "brilliant light of the god" is explained by the inspired sages as "food". chapter on dhZ-. according to some authorities. p. the second foot is equivalent to the threefold knowledge of the Vedas etc. Gopatha-Brahmanza. asceticism. I9 ff. the Rgveda verses. The man who knows this and who while knowing this recites the first verse of the 1 M. brahman(neuter).

5. In later times the much-used stanza has often been the subject of speculations and re-interpretations. God's splendour do I reflect". as to life and line of descendants.Savitri as "speech" (vdc))1. wind etc. the formulas of the Yajurveda. "He who understandsthe Savitri thus conquers repeated death. came in the course of time to be the subject. as a giver of success with regard to the four goals of life. and especially the Gayatri. The above translation was given by A. 33. I. 284. the formula is explained: the first verse (bhis tat savitur varenyam) refers to Fire. as the embodiment of all compassion and the destroyer of all hunger and confusion etc. the contents of the short Savitri Upan.g. Savitri with other entities.Other instances are found Mahdndr. . Moon which are desirable (varenyam) etc.m varenyam vidhapurusarthasiddhiprade atibale sarvadaydmurte bale sarvaksudbhravaraddtmike bhargo devasya dhimahi no ttmike jite pracuryah yd pracodayad dhiyo yo mopandsini hum phat svdhd. be secure from interruption.The Indian Mantra 289 Savitri will. I. 4. After some indications with a view to ritual application and meditation the author finally subjoins an extended version of the formula: hrim (a bija) bale mahddevihrim mahdbaleklim (a bija) caturtat savitur varaddtmike hr. so as to form pairs (e. 6. 6. Savitar's. The final member of each series is the vrata. that he may stimulate our prayers". 4): I914. Savitar as "mind" (manas). I.. as conferringall boons. not advisable to substitute this interpretation for the original one when translating older texts 2. Water. It is secondarily explained as "may we meditate" (yo 'sya bhargckhyas tam cintaydmi "upon that which is called his (the sun's. p. "He who knows thus has attained his purpose and will reside in the same heaven as the goddess Savitri". the sun etc. TS. The second verse correlates with the atmosphere. I). Keith (Taittirzya-Samhita. Hence frequent translations such as: "that excellent glory of Savitar. Harvard Oriens I6 . the third with heaven. Upan. however. It is. Maitri Up. 71 ff. The subject ends with holding out a prospect of prosperity to the man who reverently studies this text and identifies himself with its contents. After an introduction in which the Sun (Savitar) is identified with a number of entities which for the greater part are masculine.. The main reinterpretation-which. 75 (similarly. as already observed. II. I9 The Veda of the Black Yajus School. I. The text may also be applied when one wishes to avert hunger. 7concerns the verb dhimahi in the second stanza. may be summarized here. The inserted words are to invoke pranavasiraskdtmike the goddess as very powerful. however. In order to give an idea of the soteriological speculations of which much-used mantras. 2 1 This passage is similar to and in part identical with Gopatha-br. the god we meditate. the chant of the Samaveda. B.). occurs already in the Maitri Upan.

didhZ. . according to the second they mean: papdndm tdpakam tejomandalam dhimahi dhyeyatayd manasd dhdrayema. meditate on" the same commentator. as a present injunctive to the verb dhi-. destroying. Sfirya in this connection is he who matures and transformsall things. The term bhargah referring. however. maturing. Semantically speaking. Shakti and Shdkta 3. moksa) of all sentient beings. Time is of and in Him.. in the next lines. Identifying in this explanation the verb with a form of dhyd"to contemplate. p. with a false apprehension of its proper meaning" (W. That is to say. and who reveals all things by his light. D. 1 See J. and L. is regarded as the cause or producer of all that exists and of the state in which it exists. let us contemplate upon the Adorable Spirit of the Divine Creatorwho is in the form of the Sun. the Sun. Ravi Varma. in: The Cultural Heritage of India. ibidem. Madras-London I929. 6. but This translation. According to the later interpretation. Calcutta 1956. Brahman being the cause of all becomes visible as the great Eye of the world which reveals and vivifies all beings and all things. verb-forms. As is often the case. Whitney. it also dwells in our inner selves. Sayana's paraphrase: yah savitd devah nah asmakam dhiyah karmani dharmadi-visayd vd buddhihpracodayat prerayet tat tasya devasya savituh sarvdntarydmitayd prerakasya jagatsrastuh paramesvarasya varenyam sarvaih updsyatayd jneyatayd ca sambhajanzyam bhargah avidyatatkdryayor bharjandd bhargah svayamjyotih parabrahmatmakam tejah dhimahi vayam dhydyamah. 32.290 J. According to the first the words bhargo dhzmahi are to be commented upon by: kim tad ity apeksdydma. I. it is moreoverhe who will in his form of destructive fire destroy all things. Bhargahis. however "belongs here only as thus used later. Gonda Hence also such interpretations as: "Om. R. Venkataraman. p. subjoins several other interpretations. IV. 257. He is the deity from which the universe has emanated and into which it will be again absorbed. According to the explication the Self of all that exists in the three regions assumes a visible appearancein the form of the Sun-god. revealing and shining. kdma.in the eyes of these interpreters. Cf. e. of the Sanskrit language. not only the light in the sun.to the ideas of ripening. prevalent in Tantric circles. 83): compare. here also an etymological bhargah explication is added which not only is incompatible with the former.in the sense of "thinking. meditating".artha.g.. this explication of is an extravagance. however. Om" 1. By bhargahthe same interpreters mean the Adityadevata dwelling in the region of the sun in all his might and glory and being to the sun what the dtman ("soul") is to our body. may He direct our minds towards attainment of the four-fold aims (dharma. p. bhargah by annam. tasyddhdrabhita bhavemetyarthah. Woodroffe. that being whom the sddhakarealizes in the region of his heart is the sun in the firmament. quoting GopBr. he also proposes: yah savitd devo dhiyah procodayati tasya prasdddd bhargo 'nnadilaksanam phalam dhimahi dhdrayamah. Leipzig 1885. apart from exhibiting some less felicitous renderings of single words follows the tradition according to which dhimahi belongs. 460 f. Savitar. p.. Explaining. This form. A. also K. The roots. 457.

ch. 276 ff. das sich nur bei festen Formeln beruhigt.. 265. 265 if. Madras 1951. "Das biegsame. 4 Cf. 3 F. viz. see also p.p. . atmosphere.. komponiert oder doch prameditiert nach dem Muster anderer 1 See Sir John Woodroffe.. die als Traditionsgut weitergegeben wird. Heiler. Although the stanza does not expressly state so it is understood that the deity is hoped to direct the devotee along the above four-fold path 1. Sie besitzt eine ungeheuere Stabilitt ." 4. being a god. IV. is radiant and playful (lila): he is indeed in constant play with creation. however. There are. Cf. sakrosankt . eingegeben von dem Affekt des Augenblicks. 2 See Sir John Woodroffe. The Garland of Letters2. formlosen Affektausserungund der genau fixierten Formel. Das Gebet. "Die Gebetsformel ist streng verbindlich. existence. p. begiinstigenden Momente sind die haufige Wiederkehrdes Gebetsanlasseswie die enge Verbindung mit bestimmten Ritualhandlungen . 363. ihre Wortlaut ist unantastbar. sowie der Mangel selbstandiger Ausdrucksfahigkeit. sondern absichtlich verfasst. the light of these. Die diesen Erstarrungsprozessbedingenden bzw. atmosphere.. On the fixed form and stereotyped features assumed by a ritual prayer Heiler3 at the time made some remarks which-with some modifications in order to reduce their evolutionistic character-may be repeated here... das in freier Weise dem konkreten Augenblicksbediirfnis angepasst wird. elastische Schema. He should be adored and meditated upon (dhZmahi) that we may be relieved of the misery of birth and death. heaven" 2. ist das Bindeglied zwischen der spontanen. and destruction. The Garland of Letters2. also Heiler. p. Principles of Tantra. It may be noticed that among the interpretations given of the Savitri there is also a grammatically impossible one according to which the first word tat (= tesdm)refers to bhQrbhuvahsvah "earth. der zur Beniitzung von Formularen zwingt". 133 ff. "god" accordingto the same interpretations indicates that Sfirya. 'Die streng fixierte Gebetsformel' is not foreign to socalled primitive peoples. Miinchen I918. . "Am Feste der Erstlingsfriichte spricht der Buschmann-Hauptling ein Gebet. produces The deva term returning (ga). heaven" which are made to precede the ancient formula: "let us . "Diese sind jedoch keine freien Gebete. also ritual formulas which were made or composed with a view to definite aims. Das Gebet. by his playfulness (radiance) he pleases all. Als sekundare Momente kommen in Betracht ein wachsendes Gefiihl der Unsicherheit gegeniiber der Gottheit.The Indian Mantra 29I also untenable: bhargah would also indicate that the sun divides (bha)all the different colours (ra) and is constantly going and things.. p. das jahrlich in derselben Weise wiederholt wird" 3. earth.. also the same (A. Avalon).

Valmiki. "the same thought can be expressedotherwise. Erscheinungsformen. which was explained as "ISvara(Lord)Jagat (World)".e. like cases of reinterpretation. and that Brahman must 5 See also Heiler. the Tantras have a Gayatri of their own which does not show such exclusiveness. Such occurrenceshave no doubt facilitated the production of variants. I. then the Universe" 3. 2 Heiler. 3 See J. Luther. However. aksaras. instances of variation do. It runs as follows: paramegvardyavidmahe paratattvdyadhimahi. the 'author' of the Ramayana who received the name of Rdma-who was considered a manifestation of the god Visnu-as a mantra.. tan no brahma pracodaydtwhich is usually interpreted as "let us know the Supreme Lord. p. Das Gebet." 4. svaha etc.6. creeds.Sie sind meist das Elaborat bewusst schaffender Priester oder Beamten. was also taught the inverse order of this name: mara..292 J. for instance.e. Gonda Gebetsformeln.with more or less words" 2. not fail to occur 1. tantras): taking a mantra of a certain number of syllables (i. 325 ff. 293. Already in the Brhadaranyaka-upanisad. IV. by heaven" which are a frequent accompaniment of the Gayatri. London I938. For the power inherent in the alphabet see also G. atmosphere. 6. he observed. in praying the Lord's prayer did not keep close to the words of the text. 90.). van der Leeuw. p. homage to the syllable Om.i. Religion in essence and manifestation. i. hymns etc. the well-known Om namo bhagavateVdsudevdya ("Om homage to the reverend Vasudeva") one has to repeat each aksara according to the formula Omiomkdrdyanamah svdhd "Om. the worshippers of Brahmanare informedof the Brahma-Gayatri which confersthe successful fulfilment of all aims of life. . 435 ff. Die Fassung solcher Gebete muss strengen Anforderungen geniigen". 900 f.g. 270. p. Paris 1949. because. 62. 3. let us contemplate the Supreme Reality. There is in this connection room for the observation that in harmony with a principle of Vedic poetical technics (their 'formulaic' character) part of the elements of R.V. Herbert. p. IO9 ff. 4 The complete alphabet could in this way serve as a varied mantra (Kane. "first God.. In the Mahanirvanatantra3. Whereas the Vedic Gayatri is forbidden to ufdrasand women of all rank. 3. notwithstanding the marked predilection for fixed prayers. L'enseignement de Ramakrishna. three words bhir bhuvah suvah of the one (svar) "earth. 7 and 8. 6 the three verses of the famous mantra are separated from each other so as to combine with the three verses of RV. p. vowel + consonant) for a god-e. Another form of variation is frequently prescribed in Hinduist handbooks (puranas. 5 tad rddho adya savitur varenayam vayam devasya prasave mandmahe. I59. History. IO combine also elsewhere: cf. constituting Each stanza is followed in this way three stanzas of four lines (anustubh). final emancipation included.

Those followers of Caitanya whose main interest is a life of devotion may follow elaborate directions for the worship of the guru. the same (J. i.. in common with the famous Rgvedic stanza. I90. 55. p. on being Kamakhya. Oxford I925. 22 there occurs a similar and somewhat extended variant. In a more extended form and in accordancewith a traditional form the Gayatri runs also as follows 2: "This new and excellent praise of thee. in later times. May it guide our intellects. Thus it reads in the Garuda Purana 23. The Garlandof Letters2. The second part of these threefold ceremonies is characterized. many gods and religious movements possessing 1 See. T. all worlds be our protector. should be accompanied by the recitation of this mantra. In the puranic and tantric liturgies the ancient Gayatri was not rarely.The Indian Mantra 293 stimulate (direct) us" 1. See. p.g. occurringin the same place. in accordancewith this tantric model. Thus the Gayatri had. Thomas. It may be observed that apart from the general metrical form this formula has the words dhzmahi and pracodaydt. we solicit the gift of the splendid Sun (Savitar) with oblations and praise". be it worship or sacrifice. the text continues.Madras 1927. e. various developments.e. O splendid playful sun. while retaining its metre or rhythm and even part of the originalwords. I meditate on Visvambhar (= C.g.) be revealed unto me" 3. let us contemplate the purity of speech. Durga or Kali. may the knowledge of Gaur (= C. modified and adapted to the needs and requirements of a Hindu religion. approach this craving mind as a loving man seeks a woman. 32. Kennedy. bathing. In other cases it was made a model or standard to be followed and imitated by the worshippers of some Hindu god or the adepts of a soteriologic mysticism. The GreatLiberation. In the Kalika Purana. vdgvisuddhdya dhimahi/ tan no rudrah ". 2 3 M. and looks into. Thus the ancient formulawas. The Chaitanya movement. p. p. Be gratified by this speech of mine. Rudra (= Siva) must stimulate us with regard to that". enriched by new elements so as to be equal to new applications. Everything which is done. Woodroffe). 5 f. which means "we (let us) make the Great Lord the aim pracodaydt' of our knowledge. .inter alia. 267.. is offered by us to thee.). or eating. drinking.. "then he should mutter the Gayatri 'Om ham tam mahesdya vidmahe. Avalon. e. o. by a repeatedmuttering of the 'Gayatri'"I know Caitanya. Desirous of food. the stanza conca vidmahekdmesvaryai tu dhTmahi sisting of four quarters: kdmdkhydyai / the goddess to be meditated tatah kurydnmahddevitatas cdnupracodaydt. Let us meditate on the adorable light of the Divine Ruler. Caitanya and Krsna (with Radha). 66. A..c. May that Sun (Pisan) who contemplates.

.penances. i8.. Tajima. p. of Southern passim. CambridgeI932. then the last stage of soliciting the god's guidance and stimulation (pracodaydt). 20 particularlybe attached to this authoritative body. S. p. Dasgupta. VI It is easily intelligible that the Vedic mantras used for ritual or sacramental purposes though believed to be divinely inspired are by the great mass of the people often regarded as merely a spell or charm which will keep off evil and misfortune 3 or bring about supranormal effects 4.Die Entstehung des Vajraydna. Ward. 1 See R. R.. A historyof Indian philosophy. like the name of the mantra itself. inZDMGgo(1936). The above words are introduced by a formula containing the words vedamantra gdyatri 2. e. e. E. But also definite Buddhist schools of thought.with the treatment of diseasesby advising propitiatoryrites. London I912. which degenerated into magical formulas or charms used to assuage all pains or to preserve a man from calamity 5. 3 For the so-called Balinese Vedas see Goris. 5 See. S.Bijdragetotde kennisderOud-Javaansche en Balineesche Theologie. believe blindly in the great supranormal power of that concentrated form of transcendental truth and might that are the mantras: "what is there impossible for mantras to perform when applied according to the rules-which.g. I42.. i. Preserving an evident analogy with the original pattern these variations contain after a bija mantra. especially the Vajrayanists 6. von Glasenapp. Omens and superstitions India.fasting and mantras. I37. the statement of knowing or recognizing a particular deity (vidmahe). 4 Cf. the so-called "knowledgeof a full life-time" (Ayurveda)is closely connected with the Atharvaveda(see.g. and numerous-" (Sadhanamala. XIII): a physician should. it must be added.. 546 ff.II.. are strict. 6 See. H. II.g.g. p. p. Moreover. a Buddhist variety of Tantrism. The Atharvaveda. next the 'meditation' (dhimahi). the second verse of the Gayatri proper. 30. These variations. even found their way into Indonesia 1. Such is the fate of important Buddhist texts of great philosophical value.deals. 83. C. . offerings. 68 f.. consisting of texts mainly intended to counteractdiseasesand calamities.. Goris. the authorcontinues. 575). ch. barga dewo siadi mahi-found in a remarkable medley of mantras which are to be recited by the priest when putting on the sacrificial thread.Etudesur le Mahavairocanasitra. o.e. Gonda their own variation.. the words bhargo devasya dhtmahi are-it is true in a corrupted form. e. They are even considered to be a means of obtaining the status of a buddha or of washing away the five great sins. Paris 1936.294 J. 2 The speculations of the medical schools. e.c. 44 ff.purifications. minute. accordingto the Carakasamhita I. London 1952. Buddhism. p. Leiden I926. Thurston. H.

one of them leading to memory. came into existence .W. The famous philosopher Vasubandhu (IVth cent. acquiring. in the course of time. which incorporating not only numerous Hindu-Buddhist elements but also local. and a special form of Buddhist Tantrism. G. who by his miraculous power and by his infinite care and skill affords safety to those who are anxious. as far as we know. The famous Tibetan Omt mani padmehim is one of Avalokitesvara's most precious gifts to mankind. 272 ff. an exposition of the nature of the dharanisand a philosophical explanation for the utilization of mantras for the realization of the ultimate truth. A. perfect insight. The mantra-element seems to have been introduced in Mahayana Buddhism first in the form of the dhdran. from the IIIrd century A. Several classes of dharanis are distinguished.e. Special chapters on 'charms' came. U. and among the Buddhists from the VIIth century onward. the chief vehicle of salvation. This was especially the case when in Mahayanist Buddhism. potencies.) gave. As the ancient Vedic mantras were inspired by gods or 'seen' by rsis. Rosenkranz.. Stuttgart I960.D. onward to be added to important Buddhist texts. . generosity etc.The Indian Mantra 295 Whereas at first the mantras.D. non-Aryan and non-Indian cults.g. thus the Buddhist mantras were given to the devout by benevolent higher beings. in the course of time. were mainly used in magico-religiousrites. Bodhis. Der Weg des Buddha. another. e. the Mantrayana. in his Bodhisattvabhfimi. Vasubandhu. sovereignty over the world. p. They became in sections of the religious communities the device par excellence by which the spirit ascends toward the deity. In the eyes of those who believed in their omnipotence and infallibility they can confer even Buddhahood. the mantradhdra. proved to be very accessible to Tantric influences. (Tokyo). Thus the whole subject of mantras came to be treated as an elaborate 'science'. ended by becoming a great magician who owes his power to his mantras.. the very key to final emancipation. an ever-increasing use was made of them in order to prevent evil powers from interfering with the devotee's spiritual life. p.In a certain stage of development the outstanding figure of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. 91 ff.. As is indicated by its name its doctrines centred round the potent formulas. to perfection. What may interest us most is that Vasubandhu 2 adds a philosophical explanation of how the mantras enable the initiate to realize the very nature of the dharmas (i. a large number of general Indian rituals had been adopted. for the purpose of furtherance of wordly interests and protection from danger. atoms-of-being.n. or elements-of-existence which through the influence of karma combine 2 1 See. the 'mystic' syllable credited with the capacity of keeping up the spiritual life of the initiate.

Naturally enough. so that by pronouncing them one acquires merit without limits. Gonda so as to constitute the transient phenomena). e. understanding the significance of the phrases. in case of illness. enable the initiate to understand. Obscurereligious cults as background of Bengali Literature. how syllables paddni svdhd. After the contemplative recitation. and who while stressing esoteric religious doctrines and purely spiritual realization of the oneness with the Absolute. V. also S. Buddhism. the regulation of the breath in order to contemplate the mutual interpenetration of the devotee and the Buddha-there follows the recitation accompanied by offerings (flowersetc. Dasgupta. that the nature of the dharmas is meaningless and to bring about the revolution of a unique and immutable transcendental meaning which is the real nature of All 1. and disciplined. London I959. Bh. In their country mantras appear in 1 See. and annotated by . distinguishing the sounds of the elements. translated H.296 J. not only to be in harmony with the dharma. the relations between mantras and other supranormal power were susceptible to different interpretations. The Buddha has. The fact may indeed not be suppressed that a reaction came in the form of groups of spiritual leaders and yogins who revolted against this 'magical' belief in mantras. passim. but also to be able to grasp and understand what is meant by the mantras 3. but that the doctors claim that the drug is successful only through the formula which is their professional secret 2. Oxford I95I (1953). Guenther.g. 4) was of the opinion that the miraculous force residing in these formulas was due to the original vow of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.the meaninglessnessof which such as iti miti kiti bhiksdmti is expressly taught. p. the same Vasubandhu also observed sceptically that herbs rather than mantras are. 3 sGam. consecrated them and exerted upon them an inconceivable influence. I8I. by pure intuition. so to say. which has four aspects-reciting the mantra while contemplating their elements (the so-called 'heart enlightenment'). learned. According to the Tibetans it is in order to attain to an enlightened attitude even nowadays necessary. Calcutta I946. p. Conze. the curative agent.po.. Thus the author of the Mahavairocanasuitra (ch. However.pa. In order to appreciate the function of mantras in Tantric Buddhism the process of muttering (japa) according to the Mahavairocanasutra may be recalled to mind.) and the 'recitation of realization' which brings about the success (siddhi) desired. dispensed with these external means: "the truth is not to be muttered as a mantra". Jewel Ornament of Liberation. that is to say. rituals and ceremonies etc. II8. 2 E.

his Devi wife Sri were "Siva following walking once in the mountain Waralau. Vogel). London 1938 (1952). de Zoete and W. in: India Antiqua (Festschrift J. Dance and drama in Bali. a boy and a girl . p. . 464.. 1 Guenther.g. Thomas. thou who lookest around. In the medieval story of the witch Calon Arang the famous rsi Bharadah was unable to restore by means of a mantra a tree which had been burned to ashes by the strong glance of the witch. J. Tibet. peace.e." 2. Ph. in JRAS I906. .-For mantras in the island of Bali see also the Ganapatitattwa. e. Moved by the lovely beauty of the place Siva wanted to enjoy his wife. the priest had no choice but to ordain him 4. who bindest all evil and art thyself free from the fetters of Mara .. The god said mantras over them. Death representing the phenomenal world as opposed to Liberation) in order to make sure that no obstacles can arise: "Peace. p. let all the devilish impediments vanish" 1. The importance of mantras in Indonesian tradition-which in cult and belief has been strongly influenced by India-may appear from the and narratives. p. E. thou who wearest a garland of skulls. Boeles. When according to the well-known Indian tale Smara. the god of love. Spies. but Siva did not awake. thou resplendent one. 40. ? 28 (ed. p. She would not and while he strove with her two drops of sperma fell into a hollow of the mountain. New Dehli I958). Kama concentrating his thoughts so as to produce a mantra let this powerful spell enter Siva's mind with the result that the latter awoke 3. thou who lookest everywhere. In another story a child is made a demon by the mantras of a priest and when this man hid himself to listen to the priest's secret instruction and so heard the mantras. appeaser of enemies. 4 3 Ibidem. conqueror of Mara. 305. 105.c. and they became twins. I59. art pure and immaculate and removest all stains. p.. wished to disturb Siva's meditation in order to focus his attention on Parvati. J. on sitting down to expound and learn the dharma one should recite the mantra which overcomes the power of Mdra (i. Ibidem. Sudarshana Devi Singal. Indian Archipelago) see J. 324.. o.-For the reinterpretation of the well-known Tibetan mantra Om mani padme hum see. For instance.The Indian Mantra 297 Tibetanized Sanskrit. p. For the migration of the 'magic syllable' Om (India. 2 B. Leiden I947. . Further India. .

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