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Thread: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

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    Question Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Namaste:

    As a new and "caucasian" Hindu I am seeking seeking and devouring (I might add!) as much information as I can to learn how to practice Sanatana Dharma. As you all know, there is sooo much out there! And it is hard to know what is and what isn't valid when you're new and not blessed with anyone around you practicing or Hindu background...
    I am very focused and earnest to pray and mediate properly and practice my religion in the most traditional way I can, within the confines of the United States, at least for now...pilgrimage is in the future
    The amount of mantra information is enormous and it is virtually impossible to know what is true and what isn't.
    My question is this: there are so many types and purposes of mantra; there also are almost just as many westernized versions of mantra that I would rather stay away from (unless they are respected and allowed as valid prayer). Western Hindu priests market mantra for finding love and wealth or as an aside, faith.
    Even though mantra is treated in this way, can they be learned from these western Hindu priests at least as a starting point to begin learning mantras?
    I hope my question is understood, this is very important to me!

    Peace
    ThouArt

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    Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThouArt
    Namaste:

    As a new and "caucasian" Hindu I am seeking seeking and devouring (I might add!) as much information as I can to learn how to practice Sanatana Dharma. As you all know, there is sooo much out there! And it is hard to know what is and what isn't valid when you're new and not blessed with anyone around you practicing or Hindu background...
    I am very focused and earnest to pray and mediate properly and practice my religion in the most traditional way I can, within the confines of the United States, at least for now...pilgrimage is in the future
    The amount of mantra information is enormous and it is virtually impossible to know what is true and what isn't.
    My question is this: there are so many types and purposes of mantra; there also are almost just as many westernized versions of mantra that I would rather stay away from (unless they are respected and allowed as valid prayer). Western Hindu priests market mantra for finding love and wealth or as an aside, faith.
    Even though mantra is treated in this way, can they be learned from these western Hindu priests at least as a starting point to begin learning mantras?
    I hope my question is understood, this is very important to me!

    Peace
    ThouArt
    Namaste,

    Mantras are not supposed to be learned from priests. Either one orders a ritual that priests do for certain deity or prays with his own words, which is better. Or both.

    Mantra is associated with INITIATION into specific Hindu lineage and has to be acquired from a Guru. Without initiation (say without being a Hindu) any mantra taken from book or heard from a priest is of no value.

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    Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjuna
    Namaste,

    Mantras are not supposed to be learned from priests. Either one orders a ritual that priests do for certain deity or prays with his own words, which is better. Or both.

    Mantra is associated with INITIATION into specific Hindu lineage and has to be acquired from a Guru. Without initiation (say without being a Hindu) any mantra taken from book or heard from a priest is of no value.
    Namaste,
    That's not entirely correct. Anyone can chant the maha mantra, panchakshra mantra and many other mantras without being initiated by a guru. Normally, for an indian hindu the mantra could be passed from an elder in the family but what about a non-indian? I think the non indians can simply chant a mantra read in a book. Why can't they and how come it has no value in your opinion?
    satay

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    Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    I have come across several recordings, online, which any may hear if they choose to listen.

    Perhaps consider partaking of this, rather than attempt mimicry and risk debasement?


    ZN
    yaireva patanaM dravyaiH siddhistaireva choditA .
    shrI kauladarshane chApi bhairaveNa mahAtmanA .

    It is revealed in the sacred doctrine of Kula and by the great Bhairava, that the perfection is achieved by that very means by which fall occurs.

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    Post Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Namaste Satay,

    Anyone can chant anything they like, but what is the spiritual value? Certain mantras have certain powers, but the greatest power is revealed ONLY when the mantra is received directly from someone who has realized that power (and so on back to the source).

    Sanatana Dharma requires direct contact with a living Guru.

    The only difference between a mahamantra and any other mantra is its power of salvation, but ALL mantras require some initiation or diksha in order to even have the possibility of full realization!

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    Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Namaste Sarabhanga,

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarabhanga
    The only difference between a mahamantra and any other mantra is its power of salvation, but ALL mantras require some initiation or diksha in order to even have the possibility of full realization!
    Since the term mahamantra is freely used, please add more clarity:

    1. Are Aum and the Gayatri the mahamantras you refer to? What are the other mahamantras that can be chanted without initiation? Are the mahavAkyAs the same as mahamantras?

    2. Does the pancakshara mantra (aum namah shivaya) or the mantra aum namo narayana require initiation?

    3. Does any spiritual benefit accrue by continuously listening to a recorded mantra? In this case, after a few initial moments, the minds starts to repeat what is heard.

    4. In any case, I think, the bija mantras are strictly NOT to be chanted without initiation, but then there are some puja mantras that does involve chanting some bija mantras during a puja.

    5. A person receiving a diksha from a Guru receives a personal mantra. Can he chant other mantras in addition to the personal mantra?

    6. Swami J says that so-ham is a very good mantra for meditating on. What other mantras can be meditated on without initiation?

    7. The Gayatri mantra these days is chanted by several men and women cutting across religion and creed. Many of our gurus also support this popular action. What is your opinion on this?

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    Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Quote Originally Posted by satay
    Namaste,
    That's not entirely correct. Anyone can chant the maha mantra, panchakshra mantra and many other mantras without being initiated by a guru. Normally, for an indian hindu the mantra could be passed from an elder in the family but what about a non-indian? I think the non indians can simply chant a mantra read in a book. Why can't they and how come it has no value in your opinion?
    Sarabhanga already had explained the situation perfectly. I subscribe to what he said.

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    Guru and Mantra

    A mantra must be ideally received from a fully enlightened master.

    If not possible, it must be received from a guru who has completed axara laxa of the specified mantra. ( that is one who has repeated the mantra laxam times the number of syllables, for Gayatri it is 24 lakh)

    If not possible, it must be recived from a guru who has done axara laxa of the Gayatri Mantra, which is the king of all mantras.

    If not possible, it must be recieved from a practioner of the mantra or a regular practitioner of the Gayatri mantra.

    If not possible, one can learn it from a medium and accept God as the guru for the time being, and obtain regular initiation as soon as available.

    Guru not only transmits the mantra, but divine energy along with it - it is not the same as learning from a book. The distinction must always be remembered. One mantra should be sufficient for anybody if the sole aim is the final goal and all time should be devoted on it, instead of chanting several mantras at random. ( it also depends on the specific practice, some forms of Yoga require different mantras at different levels or plexuses)
    Guard your Dharma, Burn the Myth, Promote the Truth, Crush the superstition.

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    Arrow Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    1. Are Aum and the Gayatri the mahamantras you refer to? What are the other mahamantras that can be chanted without initiation? Are the mahavAkyAs the same as mahamantras?
    Pranava & Gayatri are strictly for Dvijas alone. No one can use them without a proper initiation.

    Some Scriptures prescribe for non-Brahmanas usage of auM (chaturdasha svara) or hrIM as the Pranava. Mantras with OM, svAhA and shrIM are strictly prohibited for shudras.

    Mahavakyas are statements from Shruti which are meant for apperception and NOT for chanting.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    2. Does the pancakshara mantra (aum namah shivaya) or the mantra aum namo narayana require initiation?
    All vidyas of Narayana absolutely require diksha.

    Shiva-panchakshari (and NOT Shadakshari with Pranava) may be chanted even without initiation, though it is highly recommended to have it from Guru or jangama.
    Shiva's grace is so great that just be coming in touch with any of the 8 avaranas one gets His blessing. That is why even a shudra can worship Shivalinga, chant Panchakshari and wear rudraksha.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    3. Does any spiritual benefit accrue by continuously listening to a recorded mantra? In this case, after a few initial moments, the minds starts to repeat what is heard.
    This solely depends on bhAva. There is no benefit of listening per se, but if done with bhakti to God it brings blessing.
    In any case, shravana (devotional listening) is totally different from japa.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    4. In any case, I think, the bija mantras are strictly NOT to be chanted without initiation, but then there are some puja mantras that does involve chanting some bija mantras during a puja.
    Ritual puja is to be done ONLY by priests and those who have authority from a Guru or acharya.
    Common people can order puja from priests and themselves worship God in a simple manner without any mantras. As Krishna said in Gita, "offer me a leaf or a flower."

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    5. A person receiving a diksha from a Guru receives a personal mantra. Can he chant other mantras in addition to the personal mantra?
    There is no general rule. Depends upon Guru and tradition.

    There are some dikshas that give the right to use ANY mantras. However even then it is suggested to use mantras only of that deity with which one is specifically connected.

    But for nitya-japa only those mantras are used which are given by Guru. Or the Deity.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    6. Swami J says that so-ham is a very good mantra for meditating on. What other mantras can be meditated on without initiation?
    Again, ajapa-vidya also requires an upadesha from a Guru or a Yogi for its practice.

    ANY MANTRA HAS SENSE ONLY WHEN IT IS ACQUIRED FROM THE GURU.
    Without initiation one may and is supposed to pray and meditate. And seek guidance from acharyas.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo
    7. The Gayatri mantra these days is chanted by several men and women cutting across religion and creed. Many of our gurus also support this popular action. What is your opinion on this?
    Gayatri must not be used in such a way.

    Mahanirvana-tantra gives Brahma-gayatri which is allowed for anyone (after an upadesha or diksha):

    parameshvarAya vidmahe.
    paratattvAya dhImahi.
    tanno brahma pracodayAt..

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    Re: Mantra- what's real what isn't?

    But considering ThouArt's post...what exactly a non-indian hindu to do? Should he/she not recite any mantra during meditation unless it is received directly by a guru that is connected to the source?

    I agree with what sarabhanga and arjuna are saying but what about those who have no access to a guru that is connected to the source? Should they not meditate at all?

    Isn't Just reciting the syllable OM a mantra? why can't one just chant OM while meditating? will that have no value if not recieved from a guru?

    Maybe we are using the term 'mantra' too loosley? e.g. I recite some mantra that I never received from the elders in the family or from a guru. Is it correct that then reciting these mantras have no spiritual value?
    satay

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