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
This post continues from the prior article on Tratak – click here to read.
The benefits are many
The point of tratak is to ultimately still the mind and use the resulting concentration to access soul power within.
Aside from improved focus, mental acuity and memory, other notable benefits are:
- Precognition. One may experience such heightened levels of perception that your observation skills border on precognition. IE – you can almost read someone’s thoughts or know what they are about to say before they say it. This occurs because the mind is usually attempting to process more information from your 5 senses continuously than is usually possible. Most of the time it must ‘delete’ the majority of this information flowing in and just focus on the relevant details. With the practice of tratak, one starts to delete less and absorb more.
- Influence. Your powers of influence improve as you can no only ‘read’ people better, your added awareness and mental acuity give rise to greater levels of confidence. In combination these two factors allow you to improve your oration abilities, stick to the strength of your convictions and therefore much more easily influence others.
- Siddhis. The advanced practitioner of tratak can reach the stage where their cognitive abilities can access the subtle realms of existence and channel divine power to manifest siddhis (when used in conjunction with mantras); the easiest being clairvoyance, remote vision, psychic communication, etc.
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.
Mantra writing is one of my favourite methods of sadhana. It is a powerful technology for aligning one’s mind body and soul with one goal.
It is also extremely flexible – one can take up sadhana to write any mantra (unless of course expressly instructed not to for reasons of secrecy by one’s Guru).
Mantra writing…how many, how quickly?
I am frequently asked how many times one should write a mantra to attain a goal. The answer is identical to how many times they would chant it. Ideally, one should strive to complete a puruscharan over time. Of course it takes longer to write than chant, so aspirants often cut the number down to an anusthan.
The scriptures say that anyone writing a mantra 10 million times (1 crore) will attain anything they are looking for.
Start slow and build up
My personal advice is to begin slowly – write a page or 108x of a short mantra – preferably a bija. Rama is the absolute ideal as it has immense power to overcome all negativity, obstacles, karma and problems in your life.
Then once a routine is set, increase this by a page a day. If enthusiasm takes you, there is no harm in writing more! But try to keep a steady minimum for daily writing.
Motivation is key
Rama is preferred as the mantra is a perfect compromise between the abstract (like Om or Soham, Aham Brahmasmi etc) and the conceivable (picture Lord Rama and all his perfect qualities).
However, if this still plots a path which is beyond your near term requirements, then by all means focus your needs on mantras like Kleem or Shreem for material benefits.
In any case, divinising one’s goals or placing the fruit of your labour at the feet of the Guru will undoubtedly pull you quickly to your destination.
Aspire to the supernatural
Siddhis are the manifestation of supernatural abilities in the aspirant. They are naturally made available to spiritual masters through the course of their pursuit of perfection, but the determined sadhak (aspirant) may gain the same or similar powers through japa and tapas (chanting and penance).
Siddhi does not occur overnight. Does the aspiring athelete break world records overnight? Is every cricketer ever to step onto the pitch automatically as skilled as Tendulkar? No.
Distinguished athletes’ abilities come from a combination of natural talent and countless hours of practice. In a similar manner, the spiritual aspirant is either advantaged through birth (had attained or came very close to attaining siddhis in a prior lifetime) or has worked very hard to receive them.
However, one does not need to be a Himilayan Rishi to manifest some of the minor powers; they are surprisingly easy to attain.
Classifications of Siddhis
There are three broad classifications of siddhis: the 8 primary siddhis, 10 minor siddhis; and a number of ‘micro’ siddhis. This series will look at each of these sets in turn.
The legendary ashtasiddhis are known to virtually everyone: both adults through scripture and children through hearing puranic tales.
Here is a list
- 1 Anima – Decrease one’s body size to atomic level or manipulate density to pass through solid matter. Demonstrated by: Hanuman.
- 2 Maghima – The opposite of Anima – increase one’s body size. Demonstrated by: Sri Krishna, Hanuman, various demons.
- 3 Laghima – Become lighter than air and fly. Demonstrated by Hanuman.
- 4 Gharima – The power to become heavier than any mortal. Demonstrated by: Angatha in the court of Ravana.
- 5 Prapti – Bring objects to your hand through space. Demonstrated by: warriors who have received divine weapons. One can invoke them by calling them to hand.
- 6 Agamiyam – The ability to leave your body and enter that of another. This power costs two lifetimes’ worth of punya (positive karma) to use. Demonstrated by: Adi Shankaracharya.
- 7 Esathwam – All earthly beings bow before you and do your bidding. This siddhi is granted by Shiva himself. Only those who reach the rank of Maharishis, Celestial beings and Siddhas can use this power.
- 8 Vasithwam – Total control of all things everywhere. This is the sole privilege and attribute of God.
Understand that such powers are virtually impossible to attain
Please do not be under the delusion that any of the ashtasiddhis are available to ordinary mortals. They are powers of the highest calibre with such universe changing attributes that they are unobtainable by those below the level of Siddha.
To fully convey this point, understand that (1) only the greatest of great characters throughout history such as Hanuman, Adi Shankarcharya and Sri Krishna were said to have such powers; and (2) looking through scripture you will clearly see, such powers were only ever demonstrated at the direct command of God.
Coming soon: Part 2
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.
There are often complaints which come in from time to time to the Masters.
They include: ‘I have seen very little benefit from this mantra,’ or ‘I have been chanting for a long time and yet I still have these problems,’ etc.
There are two cardinal rules when it comes to mantras:
- Benefits are proportional to effort.
- Karma is the greatest influence on your success.
Benefits vs. effort
The idea has been put forward a number of times on this blog.
If you are not feeling that you are advancing, then redouble your efforts – literally! Start afresh from an auspicious day and double the amount of times you are chanting.
If time is really a constraint, then redouble your concentration over the allocated time for meditation. A greater level of intensity of your prayer will deliver benefits more quickly than japa for the sake of it.
That’s not to say japa without the emotion behind it will not help – the mantra itself will help you either by directing someone to teach you how to chant it or to explain where you are going wrong in your efforts. Either way, stick with it for a proper period before considering another route!
Once the benefits start to flow, you should steadily increase your japa to see a steep improvement in your life.
The Law of Karma
Karma is called a Law of the Universe for a reason: it is immutable. One must understand that the effects of past actions will inevitably catch up with you in one form or another.
However, God has given us a powerful method to cope with this: free will. Current and future actions also accrue positive Karma, which can be used to offset the negative and create beneficial future events for ourselves.
The offset of bad karma is key. One can steadily erode (but not completing diminish) the negative effects of karma through mantras. The most general prayers (often also the simplest) offering prostrations to the highest deities in the Hindu pantheon will have the greatest effect.
If you find you are making little progress in your sadhanas, then undertake some karma dissolving sadhana immediately before starting a new anusthan or puruscharan.
If all else fails, there is no harm or shame in considering other options. Some souls are not due to take the path of mantra japa and it is more appropriate for them to follow other paths of Yoga.
It is extremely difficult for anyone to be able to judge who should move on and when. That is for you with the help of your Guru to make such a decision. However, I would expect an aspirant to try any one method for a number of years before taking such a step.