“श” के मंत्र

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In a recent post I mentioned some about stilling the outside of a person and also stilling the mind and how these relate to the progressive development of a person. In that post I also briefly mentioned a fancy little mantra I’d been made aware of by a friend who’d received it from one of his own friends.

Before I share that, I want to make very clear that this isn’t a “real” mantra. In any established tradition that employs mantras, it’s very rare to find the absence of specifics that dictate things like: what a mantra is made of, how it can be used, how often it should be used, the effect it is meant to have, risks associated with its misuse. And many other stipulations.

In my opinion, those varied rules are a really mixed bag of legitimacy and bullshit. In some cases they serve as safeguards and in other cases they don’t seem to be good for much more than unnecessary policing meant primarily to shuffle devotees into one line or another (a subtle form of crowd control, which religion is terribly good at but which spirituality rejects).

None of that really matters in the case of this particular “mantra,” though. One of the first benefits experienced by anyone employing a mantra is a developing single-pointed-ness of the mind. And it’s in this aspect that we’re able to relate this mantra to the aforementioned post. Are you ready for the mantra?

Here it is: Shhh.

That’s it. It was mentioned so basically by my friend that at first I only smiled a little and then allowed our conversation to move on quite easily. However, like many other humans, I am sometimes prone to recycling negative energy through the emotions attached to certain stories of what I have experienced. I’ll mentally review a circumstance I found myself in and how I was wronged by someone or how I wronged someone or what I should and would have said if my tongue were a little quicker on the go. (If you care to learn more about this kind of nonsense, read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)

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Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh.

I’m using my mind (mental recitation here, not with your actual mouth!) to literally tell my mind to shut it. It’s that simple. I like this because it’s such a direct form of communication, which is a style of communicating that I’m known for using. And in my experience, it hasn’t mattered whether you’re very upset in the moment or whether this is used as part of the daily sadhana. You needn’t slow your breath, either. The message of “Shhh” is fantastic because, at least for English speakers, the message is inherent. You likely won’t be thinking of what “Shhh” technically communicates because you’ll be busy feeling it and experiencing it. The breaths in and breaths out, the duration of the mantra, the space in between all of these – will all lengthen naturally as this “mantra’s” effect begins taking.

I wouldn’t bank on this to scrub your karmas or develop siddhis of any sort. But if you simply wish to go deeper than you might otherwise and carry with you a relatively clean mental or emotional slate as you dive, if you wish to settle down after a tumultuous moment, if you only seek to know a very simple stillness that you might otherwise not have known – then this might just be where you could start.

Shhh.

Try it sometime. I dare you.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

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Yantra Yatra

Everyone who reads Sthapati knows already that I don’t consider myself much of a “bhakt,” although I readily acknowledge the value it brings to one’s spirituality and I can often recognize the influence of the bhakti marg in my life.

Sporadically, I’ll feel creative AND devotional and will attempt to marry the two modes until they are sufficed in my system. What you see below is a progression of this kind of expression. I located some images online of the yantra ( sacred geometry ) associated with my ishtadevata and then began sketching. I took photos with my phone along the way and of the final product.

I hope you enjoy!

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

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A Study

By far, Hinduism is the only organized religion on the globe that offeres a believer (and nobelievers!) so many ways to access God, or our Source. An obvious way this happens is in the artistic forms of the murtis through which we worship. For those who are prone either to make excessive noise, or interestingly make no noise, japa mantra is an option. This involves recognizing the Source through means of a divine Name and employing Rememberance as we repeat the Name.

Another interesting and abstract way in which Hindus reach within to God is the use of a mandala. For lack of better words, a mandala is sacred geometry. Just like a holy Name, it’s a means of recognizing a way of connecting within. Many cultures and religions employ the concept of a mandala. In Hinduism, the shape of teh mandala as well as what it’s made from or inscribed upon all play a role in the efficacy or “power” of the mandala. Aside from anh hand-drawn manadalas, most of the ones I own are inscribed with red “ink” on gold-plated copper plates.

A recent post by Ek Akshara, from whom I’ve shared before in the recent past, pertained to mandalas. I thought to bring that info here as well.

1.1. What is a maNDala?

The mandala, Hindu in origin, is a graphic depiction of the spiritual universe and its myriad realms and deities much later, first in Tibet [Wylie: dkyil ‘khor or dkyil-vkhor] and China [Màntúluó] then Japan and Korea [Mandara]. The mandala was adopted as a powerful religious icon among practitioners. मण्डल is a Sanskrit term which simply translates to the circle. During the rites, the deity is invoked in the mandala via the mantras. In India mandalas are also on the level of folk art, known as rangoli, alpana, kolam, which was basically influenced by Yantra and mandala.

Unlike maNDala, a Yantra is kept under the deity that is been installed in the temple. Sriyantra is installed in Sringeri. In Nepal it decorates the roof of the temple. Many texts use maNDala and Yantra as synonyms even sometimes words like pitha is used in synonymous to maNDala

1.2. Mandala’s can be broadly divided into two categories – 1] mandala for initiation 2] mandala for siddhi. There are various types of mandala and many scholars tried their best to interpret the inner significance of the mandala. There is the limited surface mandala which is used as pitha for the divine. There is the rajomandala which is nothing but a temporary mandala using powders. Then comes the vastupurusha mandala – a mandala employed in construction and buildings. Ancient temples used the vastupurusha mandala in the construction plans. Varahamihira Brihat Samitha contains a detailed account of vastupurusha mandala which dates back to 6th century.

1.3. The designs employed in the mandala are again varied. The common ones are the Lotus design. The lotus is symbolic of water and can either have one ring of petal or several rings of petals. Normally an asthadala padma and are found in various diagrams, on thresholds of houses and so on. Then there is another nine-petaled lotus arranged in a group of three. There is the grid form of the mandala known as the bhadramandala used in the smarta rituals.

1.4. Ganesapurvatapaniya Upanishad gives an account of the yantra of Ganesha. He sits on the Astadala Padma. The yantras innermost Asthadala is considered to be astabeeja gayatri. The 12 petals adjacent round is the 12 adityas and vowels. Then comes the 16 petals, Purusha which is synonymous to the kala [ 16 parts] and consonants.

1.5. Vishnu Samhita equates a lotus mandala with the heart of the deity and the five colors used in the mandala with the five elements.

Om Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Om Shanti