Masters of Health Magazine March 2019 - Page 94

The derivation of word mantra

The word mantra comes from two Sanskrit verbal roots: man meaning ‘to think’; and tra from the verbal root trai meaning ‘to protect’, or ‘to free’. Some believe that the word mantra is connected also to the Sanskrit root tṛ meaning ‘to cross’.

From this verbal root tṛ we get the Sankrit noun trāṇa which means ‘the means of, or the instrument” and in English tra as the prefix to many words, indicates a change of place, plane, or a modification of something, or a ‘release’ from one place to another. For example:, transit, transport, transmitter, transplant, travel, transcend, transpose, transmigrate, etc.

From the root man we get the word ‘man’ (a being that thinks). From this derivation we get several definitions of the word mantra.

“A mantra is mystical energy encased in a sound structure”, (or in simple language – energy that is contained within a special sound).

Swami Vishnu-devananda

A mantra is a word full of power which has the capacity to release us from the cyclical existence, or the clutches of the phenomenal world (samsara).

“A mantra generates the creative force and bestows eternal Bliss. A mantra when constantly repeated awakens the consciousness.”

Swami Sivananda

Mananāt Trāyate iti Mantra

That which saves or protects, or releases a person from the rounds of births and deaths, through manana (constant thinking, recollection or reflection) is mantra.

A mantra is a word of power and light that comes from the overmind inspiration or from a very high plane of intuition. A mantra is thus inspired and intuitive and rhythmic utterance, a revealed seeing. It comes out of the realization of some inmost truth of God and self and man and Nature and cosmos and life, and thing and thought and experience and deed.

Through the repetition of the mantra the latent power of the mantra becomes manifest. The subconscious layers of the mind of the person are also awakened. The mantra, through its repetition, leads to perfection in due course of time. The constant repetition of a mantra transforms the very life of the aspirant.

The negative qualities of the aspirant are gradually removed and divine qualities take their place; rajas (restlessness, passion) and tamas (inertia) are transmuted into sattva (pure state of mind).

To produce the designed effect, the mantra must be intoned in the proper way, according to both sound (varṇa) and rhythm or intonation (svara). For these reasons, a mantra when translated ceases to be such, and becomes a mere word or sentence.

Every mantra contains within its vibrations a certain power. When we concentrate and repeat a mantra, its energy is elicited and takes form.

The seers of the mantras

Mantras were discovered by great seers called rishis in their deep meditative states. As they were coming out of the deepest state of consciousness they perceived an energy that was just like a thread or a ladder, coming down to the normal or ordinary state of consciousness.