Mantra Understood

Problems are usual. Financial, career, deteriorating health, a relationship gone bad. A friend writes, ‘Period seems to be bad, how do I ward off the evil effects of the planets, what is the remedy?’

There is repeated request for instant remedy. Most have heard of Mantra being the most potent and effective remedial measure, they have even ‘true’ stories to swear by. Is mantra a magic wand? Some kind of witchcraft? Can repetition and incantation of certain letters salvage a relationship going on rocks, or save my stocks from getting a beating by a bad economy?

Many of the Mantra definition tend to make it shrouded in mystery.

  • Mantra signifies the mystical sound.
  • By knowing Mantra 
         Nothing else remains to be known.
  • Mantra represents the Supreme Reality.
  • Mantra is capable of accomplishing all desires.
  • Mantra is the Brahman

Doesn't this sound too vague, magical, abstract, mysterious and ambiguous? 

Letters & Words 

Since Mantra has so much to do with letters and words so let us begin our story with this word :   

This word literally means MATTER

Padartha means matter. We know what matter is.

There is this computer, the furniture in my study, the mug and the coffee, the walls of the room, the stereo playing Lata, the window ' and outside a car passing by, a tree standing in the quietness, the grass, the road ' this is all MATTER, the objects. Padartha. What ever we see around us, even the distant galaxies, are all matter or objects. Padartha.

Let us further investigate the word 'Padartha'.






This literally means 'Word'


This literally means 
'The Meaning'


This brings us to something very interesting, which is :

Matter = Words + Meaning    

This is what the word Padartha seems to be suggesting!!!! Matter = Words + Meaning.

All matter being merely an expression of word + meaning. For example, we see a tree and immediately the words 'tall, green, thick, brown etc' starts formulating in our mind with their associated meaning. In a way, we really cant think without language. The moment we see an object and a language starts formulating in our mind.

Notwithstanding, matter being as word + meaning still sounds unconvincing, leaves too many unanswered questions. Sounds too weird and far fetched. We have known and proved in lab that matter is reducible to all those fundamental particles, and we have known the entire physics associated with it, and we have countless experiments. And we have a whole technology to support that. So matter being as word + meaning sounds too outlandish.

The Yogi and the Scientist

Actually I should have started with what is called as the Yogic perception of the outer manifested world ' the world of objects and matter. Since the Science of Mantra is coming from a different stage of perception and experience, we need to discuss how the manifested world appear at this stage to a Yogi. Let us elevate (at least intellectually) to that stage and see how this outer manifested world with all its matter appear from a Yogic perception. How this mundane world which we see and feel and touch and smell appear in a Yogic experience.

So how the phenomenal world manifests itself to a Yogic perception?

It appears like a dream. Time and again scriptures have described that at this stage of meditation the outer manifested world appears to be dream like. This is one of the most common and popular analogy that have been used by Rishis. The manifested world appearing like a dream.

We all know what a dream is. But there are several questions that, perhaps, we don't ask about it.

So here is a dream...

An average dream, but here are some questions we should be curious about..

I was merely sleeping all the time, my eyes closed and senses withdrawn. So how this tree with all its colors, shape and size was constructed? I didn't drink the coffee, but it 'smelled' good and the 'taste' was so real. I could 'feel' the keys on my lousy keyboard. There was no stereo playing, but I still 'heard' Lata singing. I even 'felt' enchanting. There was a car moving, so where was this movement happening? 

Where was this 'space' being created? It all appeared so real!!

When you wake up you have to ask these questions. Where has all this happened? The feelings, touch, smell, hearing, movement, space, time? The entire dream has happened 'inside'. And scriptures time and again love to emphasis that Yogic experience of meditation makes the outer manifested world appear dream like.

From a Yogic perception the entire manifested world with all its activities is happening inside and is experienced like a dream. Almost the way a dream is projected in our mind. Only difference is you are sleeping and the dream is projected unconsciously, but the Yogi is awakened and conscious.

Let us come back to the word Padartha ' words + meaning and recap the difference between a scientific observation and a Yogic experience.

To a scientific inquiry the matter appears as a play of fundamental particles.

  This inquiry is essentially directed outwards  

To a Yogi the material word is experienced as dream-like and matter is seen as play of Dhvani (Sound) and Shabda (Words)

  This experience is essentially happening inwards

Therefore the word for matter is Padartha ' Word + Meaning. We have often heard and read the world being called as NaamRoopatmak (Naam +Roopatmak). This word literally means Names + Forms. When they say that material world is merely Names + Forms they are again emphasizing the importance of Shabda (Word).

Words as Alphabets, Alphabets as patterns of sound

All words are sequence of sound. When we speak a word we actually produce a sound (dhvani). There is a movement of lips, tongue and the vocal cord. Even when you are thinking or dreaming, there is an activity going inside, which in turn is producing patterns of sound. Each alphabet of Sanskrit language represents a particular pattern of dhvani (sound). Actually the emphasis is more on dhavni but we are so used to seeing word as a written alphabet. The entire alphabet table of Sanskrit is table of dhvanis i.e patters of sound.

All patters of sound originate and are reducible to the fundamental, primordial sound OM or AUM. Rest of the dhavnis are merely various distortions in the Primordial sound OM. Let us quickly illustrate how this is technically illustrated in Mantra science.

OM as the Primordial Sound

Stages of Sound (Dhvani) : 
From subtle to gross





Extremely subtle stage of sound

Is less subtle. Interestingly Pashyanti literally means 'one that is seen' so the sound at this stage is seen by the Yogi!

Sound becoming gross here

Total gross form appearing as word (Varna)

Each of these stages are again classified into several divisions, and the whole description becomes so complex and mind boggling we better leave it for later discussions.

Who said, 'First, there was Word?'

According to Tantra, first there was Dhvani (sound) and out of that words were formed. This is the reason why Sanskrit is highly phonetic in its discipline and structure. The entire alphabet table of Sanskrit is table of Dhvanis i.e. patters of sound.   

The 'distortion' in the primordial sound gives rise to certain number of sound frequencies (dhvanis). These dhvanis (sound patterns) are depicted as Varna or the alphabet in Sanskrit grammar.

OM or the AUM is said to be the primordial sound.

(AUM cannot be pronounced. The word AUM as we hear it is not even a close approximation of the Primordial sound. AUM is only 'heard' in meditation, and there is no way it can be pronounced.)

We have often read that Sanskrit is a Divine Language, that nobody wrote it. True, because its more like recording of Yogic experience rather than construed of any discipline or thinking. For example, let us look at the FIRST and the LAST alphabet of Sanskrit.

(Aa) First alphabet of Sanskrit

(Ha) Last alphabet of Sanskrit

Look how these two alphabets come together to form this meaningful word.

means 'I'

The Dot or the Bindu which made the two alphabets come together in a meaningful union represents the principle of Shakti or the Consciousness.

To impress upon why this word is meaningful, let us use this word:



Literally this word means Structure (Akar) of Me (Aham)


Aham (I)

Akar (Structure)

Normally we think Ahamkar () means being boastful, hot headed or being full of pride.


This word is very profound. Coming together of the first and the last alphabet is very significant. 
All words you think or speak ought to come from between  and 

This word indicates how the alphabets (with their associated Dhvani and Artha) come together on the playground of consciousness to give existence to the faculty of 'I'. The Structure of Me. 

We saw how letters, words, dhvani (Sound) come together to define the structure of matter and objects ' the Padartha. And we saw how Mantra Science suggests that letters, words, dhvani (Sound) come together to define the structure of 'Me'  

Dhvani, Shabda
 and Artha creates the material world as in  (Padartha)

Dhvani, Shabda and Artha creates the faculty of 'I' as in  (Ahamkar) 

This realization, this perception, coming face to face with this experience can be truly overwhelming. So no wonder we have expressions such as Shabda Brahman, Akshar Purusha, Nada Brahman. Bhakti poetry is full of words such as Shabda or Sabad. And in Yoga you have branches such as Japa Yoga, Ajapa Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Nada Yoga, Swara Yoga. All these words (Shabda, Akshar, Sabad, Japa, Ajapa, Laya, Nada, Swara) have a literal meaning related to Dhvani (Sound) orShabda (Word)

From Ignorance to Knowledge : What it means? 

We have seen how from a Yogic perspective dhvani and shabda is responsible for creating this mundane world around us, the various matters, objects, things of desire, the feelings, the senses and even the faculty of 'I'. This whole peripheral existence created out of interplay of dhvani and shabda is called by the Yogis as the realm of : 


Normally we think that this word means ignorance. Actually 'ignorance' doesn't convey the Yogic meaning. Look at this word more thoughtfully.

This alphabet being the first alphabet symbolically represents the whole mechanism of dhavani, shabdaand artha that creates the material plane.


Gyan means Knowledge

Therefore when the mechanism of  clouds the state of  - the resultant stage is called Agyan or the stage of ignorance. 

So long this world of names and forms, this world of words + meaning looks real, palpable and true to you, you are said to be under the domain of Agyan or ignorance. 


You might be a scholar with lot of credentials.
You might be an acknowledged physicist or an acclaimed best selling author. 
You might be a Noble laureate.
You might have walked away with all ' Who wants to be a millionaire'
Or, you might be just an average, semi-illiterate, or totally illiterate.

It doesn't really matter.

So long you haven't seen, felt, experienced and realized how the Dhvani, Shabda andVarna creates this outer manifested world, you are deemed by Mantra Science to be in a state of Agyan (Ignorance).

So how do I transcend this state of Agyan?


Remove the mechanism of  (Aa) and what is left is  (Knowledge).
This is often called as   (Kaivalya Gyan), or sometime simply as (Kaivalya).

   Literally means 'ONLY'.
    means ONLY KNOWLEDGE (exists now)

When the mechanism of Sound and Words, Dhvani and Shabda drops..

What is left behind is Gyan '
The Knowledge

This is what the purpose of Mantra is.

Therefore the literal meaning of the word MANTRA is - liberation from the spell of Dhavani, Shabda and Artha. Once the mechanism of this spell is understood, realized and finally transcended, what is experienced is Knowledge.


More by :  K.K

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