The Power Of Mantra

By Rudra Shivananda

It is said that a mantra possesses power to transform, manifest, destroy or protect depending on its purpose. Where does this power come from?



A mantra is dormant or in seed form until it is first born from being drawn into the universe by the power or shakti of a rishi (a yogi who is also a “seer” of a mantra.) The seers of vedic mantras are usually known and should be invoked before the repetition of the mantras. These would include the famous mantras such as the Gayatri from Vishvamitra and the Mahamryutanjaya from Markandeya. The rishi has instilled his own shakti energy into the mantra in order to give it life and so the power of the mantra initially derives from the seer. This model is distinct from that in which the mantra has always existed and the seer in a raised consciousness plays a passive role of “seeing the mantra.”

There are also mantras in the puranas and some of them are attributed to a rishi also, such as the puranic mrutanjaya mantra from Kakbushandh. It is instructive to know that some of the major vedic or puranic mantras have some story associated with their genesis as well.

Tantric mantras are shrouded in mystery and there is generally less information about their antecedents, since until recent times they were transmitted secretly from Master to disciple only, but the principle still holds that the Master who created the mantra in the first place must have breathed his awakened kundalini life-force into the mantra itself.

Therefore the foundation power of the mantra depends on its originator. As time goes by and more and more people repeat the mantra, it grows in power, just as a person acquires lifeforce in growing up while eating and breathing. However, the basic power is
still dependent on the foundation power of the rishi just as a person is born with a certain amount of birth prana.

When someone is initiated into a mantra, the initiator must also infuse his kundalini shakti into it for the disciple to benefit from it. The initiator himself must have access to the foundation power of the mantra through another Master and so on up the chain of transmission and has subsequently realized its true essence. The disciple in the beginning is drawing on the initiation power and slowly coming to realize the foundation power over a period of time.Only when the disciple has realized the foundation power of the mantra is he a master of it. The initiation power helps to jumpstart the student’s access to the mantra. If the student uses up the initiation power and has not connected with the foundation power, then the mantra is dead within him and he will need to be re-initiated.

It is important to understand where a mantra comes from and its originator if possible. Mantras cannot be created by just anyone. There is a misconception that someone in a heightened awareness can make up some syllables that appeal to him and it’s a mantra – that is simply not true. Such “mantras” may have some feel-good effect just as any well-written jingle, popular song or poem can have, but cannot have the transformative power of a true mantra because it would lack the foundation power of the awakened kundalini.

Secondly, only one who has internalized and gained accessed to the foundation power as well as have his kundalini shakti awakened can initiate another person into the mantra. Being initiated into a mantra by a well-meaning teacher is not sufficient to ensure the promised benefit. It is a misconception that anyone can initiate into a mantra if they have learned it, can pronounce it or have repeated it a certain number of times.

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