Day 6 of Kandha Sashti
Today is the final day of Kandha Sashti, when Skanda succeeded in finally defeating Padmasura, allowing the return of peace across the universe.
Hopefully, you have used the time productively and pro-actively to kick start any new ventures or as a period of intense introspection and meditation to neutralise your own inner ‘demons’.
The Subramanya/Shanmugha Gayatri Mantra
You can continue to worship Skanda even after Kandha Sashti using the following Gayatri Mantra.
“Om Tat Purushaya vidmahe,
Tanno Shanmugha prachodayat”
“We know that being (man)
We meditate on the Supreme Commander
May the Six-faced one inspire us.”
- Powerful leadership qualities
- Relief from a malefic Mars in horoscope (Mangal dosha)
- Enthusiasm, energy, drive and ambition
- Devotion to Skanda
- Hastens marriage
- Hastens conception of a baby
The mind and body are related
Scientists have begun to explore the concept of the mind-body connection. This means that one’s actions and the positioning of one’s physical body has a direct influence on your mental state. Very simply, if you act depressed, you will feel depressed. If you act enthusiastic and full of energy, you will feel that way.
The idea is known as physiology.
How can we leverage this with mantras?
I have already written on pranayama – click here to read the prior article. This is to control the breath in order to rein-in the mind.
Let us take this idea one step further: given the linkage between mind and body, any mental sadhana can also be accompanied by a physical one.
This is powerful idea. Increasing levels of mental discipline will also self-perpetuate physical discipline and vice versa. Think about it!
A new 40 day challenge
I am hopeful that many of you at least attempted to maintain some idea of longer-term sadhana post Navaratri. It is an important discipline to maintain.
Those of you who benefited will undoubtedly want more! Now I propose that those readers interested in gaining a big boost to their physical vitality combine a mantra sadhana with a physical one: hit the gym or run, or do some exercise in direct proportion to the time you spend meditating.
As your physical strength and endurance grows, so will your concentration and determination to do more toward your spiritual path. The reverse is also true.
Even the ancient Rishis knew this! Many of them are well known for their epic travels across India and abroad – they knew the value of movement and physical exercise. Those that did not undoubtedly practised physical forms of yoga. A healthy body is directly conducive to a healthy mind!
Is there really a downside to this??
The downside is of course that you sacrifice your time in order to do so. It will require you to sacrifice sleep to wake up that 15-30mins earlier in order to work out or exercise before bathing and beginning your sadhana. But is this really a sacrifice given the benefits?
In the modern era, everyone knows that consistent exercise can stave off a great many illnesses and ailments. Over time, it is undoubted that your lifespan will increase due to the dedicated effort to exercise in earlier periods.
Do not miss this opportunity; start now and try it for 40 days!
Is the spirit willing but the flesh weak? Mantras can help!
For those interested but lacking motivation, I would recommend reading my prior post on using the four Agni devatas to generate the passion and enthusiasm you are looking for! Click here.
Day 3 of Kandha Sashti
In the prior posts, mantras and potential sadhanas were presented to the reader.
But what are the benefits and attributes of praying to Lord Skanda over the Kandha Sashti period?
There are 6 main boons provided by Skanda:
1. Wisdom and Intelligence. The young Skanda is said to have initiated his own father Shiva into the secrets of the Pranava mantra – Om! You can be blessed with such spiritual wisdom and intelligence when praying to Him.
2. Powers of Attraction. Along with Sri Krishna, Skanda is known as an extremely attractive and charismatic God to His devotees. Praying to him as the all attracting one will allow one to gain the blessings of a magnetic personality.
3. Courage and strength. Skanda is known as the God of War – a fierce warrior ready to do battles against the demons within and without. Pray to Him for courage in your day to day life and help in making big bold decisions.
4. Peace. Peace is a scarce commodity in these days and times. Allow yourself to become a channel of Skanda’s peace.
5. Self-control. One cannot lead without setting an example to your co-workers and subordinates. Master yourself and gain discipline by praying to Skanda for help.
6. Moksha. Skanda is known as a deity with the full authority of Heaven to deliver aspirants to Moksha (release from birth and death). The true spiritual aspirant will have this as the ultimate goal and sole purpose of their prayers.
Day 1 of Kandha Sashti
There are many ways to benefit from Skanda’s grace during Kandha Sashti, including fasting and japa.
Japa is the focus of this blog. In starting a coherent plan of action for Kandha Sashti, two paths are suggested (which are in reality not mutually exclusive).
1. Recite the Kandha Sashti Kavach 36x per day for 6 days. A lighter version of this sadhana is to recite it 6 times per day, totalling 36x by Sashti.
2. Chant malas of Om Saravanabhavaya Namaha. Attempt at Laghu Anusthan – ie 27,000 counts. This is equivalent to 4,500 times per day or about 42 malas.
There are many meditations on Skanda
One take time over Kandha Sashti to meditate on the various attributes of Skanda – the contrasting themes of his extreme benevolence to devotees and playful nature relative to his reputation as the God of War and master strategist.
A mala is a powerful tool for accessing the Divine.
It is a storage unit for spiritual power and must be treated with an appropriate degree of reverence. It is a deeply personal artifact which must be kept away from others’ touch and investigation.
It much more than a decorative piece of jewellery! If you are wearing it, ensure that it is in direct contact with the skin and not worn over clothing.
Whilst I make no judgement on anyone’s lifestyle choices, it must not be worn to unspiritual places (clubs, bars, etc), lest the power within it dissipate. In fact, I would personally not even wear it into a restroom.
Those who worship certain ishta devatas may have certain preferences but in reality, a mala is a mala is a mala! There are actually no real restrictions on who uses which type.
- Tulsi mala. The Tulsi is the favoured plant of Vishnu and worshipped in its own right. Vaishnavites may prefer to use such a mala.
- Rudraskha mala. The Rudraksha comes in many forms with a different number of ‘faces’ (natural divisions). It is the favoured mala of Shaivites.
- Spatika mala. Spatika is crystal. Crystal has long been known to store subtle vibrations produced when mantras are chanted. It is this type of mala that should be worn to the temple, at yagnyas and during japa to build and preserve spiritual power. It can also be placed directly on to a deity’s idol or picture to build such power. One can do japa for another on such a mala then gift it as an extra karmic booster!
What motivates us?
What motivates a person? Love/hate, pain/pleasure, future gains and past failures? Perhaps all of the above, but what has always struck me is the incredible power of a persons dreams in motivating change, often within ourselves, and bringing out the greatest personal achievements and deepest changes in society.
The Power of Dreams
Dreams are powerful constructs of the human mind. Psychologists say dreams manifest subconscious longings and desires, help resolve emotional traumas and defeat our internal demons.
No matter how creative the individual in their daily pastimes, untethered from the realities of day to day living, the human mind is capable of establishing incredible visions and fresh priorities well beyond the normal conception of a waking man or woman.
Beyond the mundane, great historical figures have often seen a brighter, more promising and better future. When such noble dreams are unleashed on the world, it steps back and must take notice – such as powerful speech of Dr Martin Luther King in presenting his universal views of equalities and peace between people of all races. In others, such as Mahatma Gandhi, it can enact great social change and sow the seeds toward toppling entire empires.
Returning our lives to the Dreamworld
Whatever the rhyme or reason for our dreams, they are undoubtedly powerful. It is every person’s right to attempt to live our their noble dreams. Oftentimes we struggle to gain traction in our efforts to move toward our dreams. We become stuck in daily routines and a slow grind to make ends meet.
How do we break out of such a rut and recapture the enthusiasm, dynamism and optimism of our youth? It is arguable that Will Power, Creativity, Leadership and Energy are the necessary pre-requisites. This article series will investigate all the above and the mantra yoga necessary to manifest such abilities within oneself.
But it all starts with a vision – a Dream.
The Dream Drive
A powerful method of visualisation that I have had personal success with in this modern, computer-led society is to use the Dream Drive, Dream Folder or Dream Drawer.
The method is simple, yet incredibly effective. In an environment where we spend most of our lives in from of a computer screen, this forms an ideal technique to break out of an unhealthy routine and refocus on what our core needs are.
There is only step: Create a new folder somewhere on your computer drive, desktop, inbox, or in your actual desk draw and fill it with your dreams! I’ll describe in more detail assuming you will be creating a folder on your computer desktop. In essence, you want to:
- Run through a list of every area of your life you want to change, are unsatisfied with, or have specific goals for
- and find a picture, a quote, a file, a newspaper clipping – anything that has deep personal meaning and resonates emotionally
- and place it in the drive.
- An example is: I have always wanted to drive a sports car. I will then find clippings of my favourite cars. Money should be no limitation when choosing your ideals! I’d rip out pages from magazines with adverts, print pictures from the net and take photos of cars that you spot on the street that match your specifications, then place them in the folder.
Why is this so important? Why not just make a list? The point is ultimately to bring your thoughts, your emotions and all of your senses in line with what you want. Choose objects that are important to you that bring out the feelings you’d feel when you think about having that car, or house, or anything else that you are aiming for.
Every day, look through your folder, examining each item in turn. Day by day you will feel a gradual transformation take place in your thought patterns –
- Your subconscious mind will begin to find ways to help you reach your goal
- You will become much more motivated toward reaching the goal
- You will move far beyond what you thought your capabilities were in your efforts to achieve this goal
More than Self Management: Divinise your Goals
Now the steps above should help you form a solid foundation to develop clarity and hunger to improving many aspects of your material life where you feel you are lacking.
What if this is taken to the next level? What if you set goals for the betterment of others, your own spiritual development or charity? You divinise your goal: your ego is sacrificed; your goals take a higher purpose and you attract divine aid. In streams of Vedanta, setting unselfish, higher goals are the milestones on the path to the divine.
In the next few articles we will address the mantras related to the other pre-requisites (Will Power, Creativity, Leadership and Energy) to help you toward achieving your dreams.