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.
Focusing between the eyes is difficult
A common practice in mantra japa is to focus one’s inner vision on the space between the eyes on the forehead.
If accompanied by a physical focus, this may result in eyestrain for many aspirants.
There is an alternative
An alternative method of focusing one’s mind is to control your breathing. This process is known as the concept of pranayama.
There are 5 pranas in the body (vital forces). It is not necessary to go into too much detail on their function but in essence they are the energy flows throughout the body which regulate bodily functions. When controlled, they allow one to tap into your inner power and open the gates of the mind during meditation.
In fact, it is this heightened level of concentration which leads to powerful siddhis manifesting in the aspirant.
Many methods, one goal
A simple method of controlling one’s breathing is simply to watch and regulate it consciously.
1. Relax and take deep breaths to calm the mind initially.
2. Start Japa and establish a rhythm.
3. Then attempt to say one or two mantras mentally while inhaling and 1-2x more mantras exhaling. Your exhale is longer than the inhale and so you will naturally end up reciting more mantras.
4. Repeat until the mind stills and then delve deeper into more focused meditation.
This is just one way. You can vary this as you wish according to your own needs but the point is the same – control your breath to control the mind.
I would strongly suggest you learn more advanced techniques through a qualified yoga instructor or with the supervision of a practising Guru.
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.
Think hard to get big benefits!
The benefits you will receive from any mantra is directly proportional to the intensity with which you meditate on the mantra.
This is not only measured by the duration of your daily efforts to chant the mantra, but the level of mental energy you devote to the task.
If Cash is King, then Mental Energy is Maharaj!
In a very similar manner to the concept of the Law of Attraction, one spends mental energy on achieving goals and attracting things as one does cash on material possessions.
Things to bear in mind
Enter each meditation with: (1) an intense need and determination to receive or achieve what you are praying for; (2) with an absolute expectation that something will manifest in your life.
The Next Stage of Japa Yoga
For those that are no longer dabbling in Mantra Yoga and wish to move into more advanced territory, one should attempt to adhere to the five stages of Japa:
- Vaikhart. Chant the mantra out loud.
- Upamsu. Then repeat the mantra in a hushed whisper such that the person next to you could not distinguish the words.
- Madhyama. Now progress to mental Japa. Envision the mantra vibrating with the Heart Chakra, with its 108 flows of prana emanating from it.
- Pasyamti. Envision the mantra vibrating the Naval Chakra. It is not uncommon to see the mantra in words at this stage, once sufficiently advanced.
- Para. Now descend into perfect silence. The mind should now be calm, clear and completely empty. Merge into the silence of peace.
Will yourself to focus!
Chant slowly, clearly and feel each word of the mantra. Contemplate its meaning and will yourself to concentrate at first to cut through the whimsical movements of thought.
These steps allow the aspirant to move from beginner to intermediary very quickly.