Karma bears a heavy burden
Past actions can weigh heavily on your progress in your current life. Such is the rule of the universe.
However, God has provided a mechanism to alleviate the strain – karma can be burned away or dissolved by a variety of methods; most of which are good actions toward your fellow man and the Gods.
This blog is focused on the benefits of mantra. One such mantra for effective and powerful karma burn is to chant Rama nama – or the name of Rama. I have previously covered the merits of Rama nama in prior posts.
But as anyone knows from experience – karma can be thick and stubborn, taking time to eliminate before one can move on. How can one make time to steadily burn karma in our busy lifestyles?
The art of Tapas
Tapas is the practice of intense austerities with a singular goal in mind – to raise one’s consciousness (or put another way, build one’s spiritual power) to extent to which the Gods take notice and provide one with a boon. When one thinks of boons, our thoughts are coloured by visions of grand (and implausible) requests for immortality and invulnerability from various divine weaponry – as happens frequently (!) in the Mahabharata and other popular epics.
In reality, the practice of any sadhana, if performed correctly and with sincerity, will often result in unseen benefits, or a big step toward your stated goal – be it getting over past karmas, praying for happiness, or a resolution of an ongoing problem.
There is a simple way of performing tapas – by turning work into prayer, and prayer into meditation.
Banish idle thought to focus the mind
Have you noticed during the course of the day how many times idle thoughts enter your stream of consciousness and interrupt your work? This is the precious spare time in which one can refocus the mind on God and dissolve karma!
Use every moment of idle thought or pause during the work day to your advantage and chant the Rama nama silently in your mind, praying for the forgiveness of the Lord for yourself and all of your colleagues and loved ones.
In office work, there are a multitude of ‘brainless’ tasks that happen daily which are ripe to reclaim to useful thought! Such as: when you commute to work daily; when you ride the elevator to your floor (or between departments); photocopying; typing inane emails…the list is endless!
Never lose a moment! Focus your mind on Rama and let him remove your burdens!
Push toward subconscious prayer
As detailed in prior posts the subconscious mind is actually a more powerful tool for focus and deep thought than the conscious mind at times. Chanting Rama nama continuously in the mind during idle periods for weeks at a time will undoubtedly seed the mind with this potent idea. Once the conscious mind continues its focus on work, one will find that the subsconcious mind will continue and direct you back to Rama nama in your idle moments. What a mechanism! The mind is truly wonderful in this way.
This is the path to continuous karma burn and turning every duty into pure, fruitful tapas. Burn karma to move forward!
Do you have a problem with timing?
Modern life is undoubtedly tough. When you live around a tight timeline every day, ever moment counts – whether you work in the corporate world or not.
In this context, being late is unacceptable. But once a schedule is upset, its incredibly difficult to get back into the routine, is it not?
Pray to Ganesha to restore balance…
One sure-fire way one can avoid being late for any situation is to pray to the Lord of Beginnings – Ganesha.
Through my experimentation with mantras, I have found that reciting any Guru-initiated Ganesha mantra no less than 1,008x DAILY without fail, one will ALWAYS be on time. This is one of the earliest Siddhis one gains from praying to Ganesha – who is the Lord of Siddhis. It quickly appears and when it does, it revolutionises your timekeeping!
…even when you think a situation is insurmountable!
As one perfects the practice of a Ganesha mantra, it extends to cover even the most impossible situations. In fact, this miraculous siddhi will extend to situations where you actually believe you are late – you will in fact still be just in time! Some twist of fate will inevitably work in your favour – if not in the short term, the long term.
Put your faith in the Lord of Obstacles to destroy all hurdles in your way; He is never wrong and always works in your favour.
If effort is proportional to benefit, certainty is proportional to speed
Faith is something the that grows with time and experience. The greater number of answered prayers, blessings and small mercies, the greater the faith of a person.
It is with this strong faith that one must approach japa and more importantly, their sankalpa. Sankalpa means resolution. At the beginning of each japa one chants the sanskrit verses pertaining to the correct sankalpa for their goals.
Most people believe that sankalpa simply declares the japa mantra that one is about to chant – but it is much more than that. It is a powerful invocation of the divine through a declaration of total commitment and absolute resolution to accomplish what one sets out to achieve!
Don’t doubt the power of sankalpa
Such a powerful resolve is what causes ordinary men and women to ascend to greatness.
It allows the athlete to push him/herself to the pinnacle of physical and mental perfection. It is the method by which insurmountable battles are won. It is the last minute inspiration. It is the strength that one summons in times of great despair.
In truth it is the point at which one begins to tap into their divinity to change the course of fate itself.
Use the power of sankalpa to unfold a mantra
We have previously touched upon the concept that one must unfold a mantra with the help of a guru to gain the full understand of its method, its essence and power. The final component to unlock the immediate and full effect of a mantra is the power of sankalpa: absolute determination that what one prays for, one will achieve.
The secret behind sankalpa
There is a saying amongst the spiritual communities in India: don’t sit under a mango tree praying for a mango to fall! Why? Because its far better to climb it and take whats yours.
The relevance of this charming anecdote is to help the aspirant understand that there are two components to sankalpa – a mental one and physical one.
The mental aspect is relatively obvious – one clearly states their goal with firm determination to succeed. However, the physical manifests in two forms: the first is that the japa that one states he or she will complete daily will be done on time and without fail. The second is the secret: while the metaphysical world can be bent to one’s will to align fate in your favour, you MUST act in the physical world – i.e. climb that tree!
The most pertinent example and lesson is for students – don’t simply sit at the last minute praying for divine intervention in your studies and exams! Unyielding commitment to study day and night is necessary to reach your goal. The mantras simply remove the obstacles and distractions along the way.
Let us never forget that doors open for those who knock.
Time is the most precious commodity
It is virtually indisputable that of the rare commodities a person could waste, time is the most precious. A sadhak living the lifestyle of a busy student or corporate persona must indeed carefully ration their time.
In this regard, I would like to present a modest help for those practising mantra yogis who find it difficult to incorporate a fixed time for japa in an unpredictable routine.
The ‘Easy’ Thousand
There is a short cut which is prescribed in scripture – if one cannot complete a full 1000 recitations of any mantra during an ongoing daily routine, then one is permitted to chant exactly 333 as an equivalent. This is known as the Easy Thousand.
Why does this work? First, like a teacher excusing a student from a rare indiscretion, know that for Vedic mantras and practices, the Devas are all-knowing and merciful in excusing the dedicated aspirant from exceptional circumstances. Secondly, it is noteworthy that 333 sums to 9 – a symbolic figure for infinity (read the prior post on Why 108? for more information). Therefore, it may be considered a sanctified count. In practical terms, it is a shade below half-way; thus freeing up more than enough time from meditation practices for the sadhak to complete whatever extraordinary duty they may have to.
When, where and how
Remember: this technique should be used on that rare occasion when one interrupts their usual nityakarmas due to some one-off time management difficulty. Straight after japa one should mentally prostrate themselves before the deity of the mantra and apologise for taking such a shortcut.
On the other hand, for a beginner of mantra japa moving to an intermediate level and looking to increase their count beyond 108x to a new plateau, chanting 333x daily is an easy stepping stone to 1000x later on.
Secrets of Aditya Hridayam: Part 2
This is the second part of a series on the powerful stotra: the Aditya Hridayam.
In the first part of this series, the circumstances under which the Aditya Hridayam was imparted to Rama were explored.
Rama was confused and depressed as nothing was going his way on the battle front. Ravana remained alive and elusive to his tactics and weapons.
In the midst of this, Maharishi Agastya appears and begins to initiate Rama into the Aditya Hridayam.
More than the Solar Orb
Agastya’s introduction to the AH is key to understanding the stotra’s main themes. He mentions that the Sun is:
- The Ruler of the worlds and Lord of the universe
- That which is revered by the Devas and Asuras alike
- The embodiment of all the Gods
- The nourisher and energiser
- The embodiment of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and other key deities
By the end of the description the Sun is effectively extolled as the Parambrahman; there is nothing that the Sun cannot or doesn’t do to regulate the universe.
The point that is conveyed is that when pray to the Sun with the AH, you are in fact praying to the greatest deity.
In the next part we will look at the benefits of chanting the Aditya Hridayam.
Coming soon: Part 3
Secrets of Aditya Hridayam: Part 1
This is the first part of a series on the powerful stotra: the Aditya Hridayam.
You’re on your knees…
There are moments in everyone’s lives where disaster has struck you or your loved ones with such incredible force that nothing is right, your confidence is lost, the odds appear insurmountable and the battle unwinnable.
It is rare to find people who thrive under such conditions. For most of us, the pressure can cause enthusiasm to wane and all hope to fade.
…but all is not lost
One of the most famous incidents in our scripture is the final battle of the Ramayana. Rama had begun the battle with Ravana but after ceaseless combat was unable to even come close to killing him.
At this point, with his physical energy drained, Ramachandra’s thoughts began to wander and the spectre of doubt began to creep into his conscious mind. Doubt is the greatest enemy of any warrior without a second. Once you begin to second-guess your strategies and actions in combat, you are as good as dead.
The Devas noticed. Congregating in the sky above the battle ground they decided to dispatch Maharishi Agastya to his aid – one of the greatest, most pioneering and accomplished of the Saptarishis. The intervention of Agastya was the ‘Game-Changing’ event of the battle.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Rishi Agastya initiated Rama into the profound secrets of Sun worship: he taught Rama the Aditya Hridayam Stotra (the Heart of the Sun Hymn).
In the second part we will further explore the hymn’s secrets and benefits.
Coming soon: Part 2
Worship Rudra, the God of the Storm
In the centre of the Krsna Yajur Veda, there is a hymn called the Rudra (also called the Rudram or Rudraprasna). It is a powerful invocation of Lord Shiva in the fierce form of Rudra. Rudra is the God of the Wind, Storm and the Hunt. He is accompanied by his fearsome entourage of the Maruts, the Gods of the Storm and Hunt and is known as the God of Thieves.
Translating from Sanskrit, Rudra means “the Howling One”, “the Terrible One”, “the Roaring One”, or “the Wild One”.
Tap into the essence of the Veda
Each verse is filled with incredible potency and extremely beneficial to the health and spiritual development of any sincere aspirant.
The Rudra is split into two parts – the Namaka and the Chamaka. The Namaka is so named because most lines end with ‘namo’ (prostrations) and similarly, the Chamaka’s verses each end in ‘chame’ (give me).
One of the reasons why the hymn is so powerful is because the Panchakshari mantra – Nama Shivaya – occurs in its very centre. The Panchakshari Mantra is the very essence of Shiva, constituting the power of the universe, the 5 elements, and directly stimulates chakras in the body of the sadhak.
Method of chanting
The Rudra can be chanted from start to finish for a one-off recitation, or can be structured in a specific way for multiple rounds.
The number eleven is auspicious to Shiva. To chant the Rudra 11x is called a Laghu Rudra, or an Ekadasa Rudra. The Namaka is chanted 11x, each time combined with a part of the Chamaka.
Taking this further, 11 Ekadasa Rudras constitute a Maharudra. 11 Maharudras constitute an Adi Rudra – the ultimate invocation of Shiva. The last time such a high profile event occured was in the presence of Sri Sathya Said Baba.
A yagnya usually accompanies the chanting, followed by abishek of panchamrita (the 5 components of the nectar of the Gods) – which is made up of five precious liquids, including water from a sacred river, milk, honey, ghee, yoghurt and the juice of a sugar-cane.
Chant the Rudra for Prosperity, Power and Peace
In general terms, aspirants pray to Shiva for the following benefits:
- Inviting auspiciousness into their lives
- Increased detachment and affinity for spirituality
- Incredible health and vitality; alleviating disease
- Greater efficiency and time management, overcoming procrastination
- Counteracting the malefic effects of the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn and Rahu
Needless to say, the worship of the Auspicious One also brings great peace to not only the aspirant and family, but extends as far as lokakshemam – ie peace for the entire plane. Click here for a prior article on peace.
His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswathi shed further light on the Rudra, outlining the following specific (and more tangible) benefits in proportion to the number of Rudras performed:
1 Rudra – Freedom from Bala graha (diseases common to children).
3 Rudra – Freedom from imminent difficulties with which one is faced.
5 Rudra – Freedom from the evil effects of certain planets occupying unfavourable positions.
7 Rudra – Freedom from great fear.
9 Rudra – The fruit of one Vajapeya sacrifice (one of the great public yagnyas of ancient times).
11 Rudra – Getting the favour of kings and great wealth.
33 Rudra – Attainment of wishes for objects and having no enemies.
77 Rudra – Enjoyment of great happiness.
99 Rudra – Attainment of son, grandson, wealth, grain, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and freedom from death.
1 Maharudra – Attainment of the favour of kings and becoming the Lord of great wealth.
3 Maharudra – Fulfilment of impossible tasks.
5 Maharudra – Acquirement of vast lands.
7 Maharudra – Attainment of the seven worlds.
9 Maharudra – Freedom from births and deaths.
1 Atirudra – Becoming God.
Is there any superior sacrifice in modern times?
In the modern day, the Rudra is considered one of the greatest yagnyas (fire sacrifices) possible and on par with the Aswamedha yagnyas etc of ancient times.
Chant or listen to the Rudra daily (click here for a link to the audio); Mondays in particular are auspicious to Shiva.
Have you ever been stuck?
We have all been there: a deadline, a pressured moment, a desperate need for a creative response from our brains – and nothing happens!
This is known as writer’s block (and perhaps also artistic temperament!). In any case, a lack of creativity can stifle a career in any of the arts.
Sometimes stepping back from the problem and refocusing after a break helps. Other times, we may feel that nothing can get us back on track. But do not despair!
Worship Brahma and Saraswathi
Whether you’re looking to hone your creative talent or add a ability to your skillset, pray to Brahma for inspiration. Brahma is the God of Creation and embodies the power of pure creative energy.
Here is His Gayatri Mantra:
“Om Chaturmukhaya Vidmahe
Hamsa rudhaya Dhimahi
Tanno Brahma Prachodayat”
“We know the four-faced one,
We meditate on the rider of the Swan,
May Brahma inspire us”
- Raw creative power
- The ability to architect and manage large-scale projects
- Greater efficiency and productivity
- Absorb vast amounts of knowledge
Worship Brahma on Thursdays for maximum benefits.
One may also worship Saraswathi alongside for a creative/scholastic combination.
There is life after marriage!
After a number of queries on the topic, I would like to make clear that all the mantras provided on this blog for attracting a partner also certainly work to enhance existing relationships.
Doubts are natural!
We have all had those immediate doubts appear in our minds after any big decision and marriage is certainly one of the biggest life changing decisions anyone can make.
After the honeymoon period, partners often begin to take each other for granted. Needless to say continuous work is needed to make any relationship work, and mantra can certainly help supplement understanding, flexibility and mutual respect in forging a lasting bond.
Improve your relationships with mantras
Please see my prior posts on the Kleem mantra and the Kamadeva Gayatri on powerful techniques to improve the attraction within a relationship.
A note of caution: don’t take anything for granted and work on your relationship when it is desperate need of repair! Start chanting these mantras daily to sustain and grow a bond with that special someone.