Thursday, 7 April 2016

On mantra in The Battle for Sanskrit

astitva DIN 2072000013 B

by Sati Shankar

Recently on Bharatiya Vidvat Parishat, a Google Group, Shri Shatavadhani Ganesh made some comments on The Battle of Sanskrit by Mr. Rajiv Malhotra.!topic/bvparishat/e4i_jHilp98

Topic:- [The following quotation of Sri Shatavadhani Ganesh]
Appendix B. Untenable Arguments
       [Sri Rajiv Malhotra says----]
    Meditation mantras…produce effects which ordinary sounds do not.” (p. 21; also see pp. 32, 11)

Sri Satavadhani Ganesh's comments on this as follows---

[1]           "This is at best a theological argument of a mimAmsaka. "

Worth noting is the use of the term "Theological" in the context of mimAnsa. We have become so accustomed to Christian vocabulary that we start it using  even while discussing the Bharatiya Tradition, which is in itself so  holistic, that a possibility of  risk of misinterpretation  can not be denied even in using the word " integral" for it and seeking grounds on which on one facet of samyaka in our holistic tradition is alleged to laugh on the other.Here deva or devi of mimansa are not exactly the "God" of theology so conceptual superimposition is mistaken. "Theology translates into English from the Greek theologia  which derived from Theos , meaning "God," and -logia , meaning "utterances, sayings, or oracles" (a word related to logos , meaning "word, discourse, account, or reasoning") which had passed into Latin as theologia and into French as théologie. The English equivalent "theology" (Theologie, Teologye) had evolved by 1362 CE. The sense the word has in English depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired in Patristic and medieval Christian usage, though the English term has now spread beyond Christian contexts."  Richard Hooker defined "theology" in English as "the science of "things" divine". ,  for further see and

Let us consider our own tradition;
In our Sanatan tradition, we consider "devatA", "devi", or whatever we perceive the form and name it, nAma -  rUpa, is realised in our tradition as vishvam ekam, (RV. 3.54.8), the many are the One  and the One that is manifold, vishvam satyam, (RV. 2.24.12); the manifold truth,and vishvam .....garbham (RV. 10.121.7). therefore, if asked, "Is He One or many?", our tradition says,"One and many", The general principle is ,the devah is every where of one and the same form. (RV.8.11.8)., that is, "Even as he seems, so is he named" RV. 5.44.6., the way being anurUpah, pratirUpah, (JBU.I.27). Here, He, Prajapati, manifests in "Himself", so this universe, idam sarvam, pecieved according to anurUpam, pratirUpam,to be declared " One and many", there by clarifying that the translation of the NasadIya Sukta, the Manifestation Hymn, as the "Creation Hymn", signifies the error interpretation and naming by the Indologists had in their minds the "Creationist presuppositions" of Christianity. Therefore, using the "God" for the  "Self Manifested", idam sarvam, is like limiting Him and equally makes "theology" a term unfit to proceed for brahma jijnAsA of our tradition.PrajApti, thus manifested in Himself, idam sarvam,selforganizes in dharma by his own  multifarious sva-bhAva, such that in Him are all beings, idam sarvam, manas, prAnah, nAma-rUpa, are within, as coincident; " sent by Him onto him, and born of Him into him, it is in Him that all this universe is stabilised, that is how our tradition invokes for shAnti, ... sarve devAh shAntih, nakshatrh shAntih, vanaspatayah shantih.....aum shAntih, shAntih, shAntih... to keep the equilibrium  in idam sarvam intact, for welfare of the cosmos. Our scriptures teach,"idam sarvam brahm" and therefore, being a manifestation within,   Aham brahmAsmi  since we ,aikik and samyaka are this "idam sarvam", well connected in such a way that a chance deviation at any level, be it microcosm or macrocosm, does not leave unaffected within. These are just examples within the limits of this forum. Note Ayurveda follows the same when it  takes up nidAna, which we will see below.

So a sweeping authoritative generalization like "This is at best a theological argument of a mimAmsaka. " is clearly a mistake as we commit most often, especially when we approach our texts through translations by Western authors or by Indians who have /had their Gurus in them. I hope with these highly compressed lines I have brought the reader to a place from where we can venture in to the second part of the issue, where we can examine if the mantra has any bearing upon us, or really got laughed at itself and discarded in Ayurveda. manas (=Prajapati) and the chariot, contained in idam sarvam, in simple words, our sthUl body has to have manas to be in svabhAva. Further, manifestation in self appears with vAk co-existing with dhvani. Below we will have an opportunity to see how this dhvani affects us and modern science and technologies are striving hard to catch the core. But before that we need the ground to see "whom" and with what svabhAva  the Ayurveda aims to treat only then we will be able to know if vAk, dhvani, shabd, have any capability to make impact. For music (= vAk, dhvani, shabda (semantics) we are taught that,

Swaranti Twa Sute Naro Vaso Nireka Uktina¡’ (RV 8.33.2).
‘O! Disciple, you have come to me with the sacred desire of the enlightening the inner self.
Let me tell you the ways of reaching thy-light.
If you call thou through your sentiments accompanied by pure music,
thy shall illuminate your inner heart with divine love’.
Having established the significance of sound energy, let us take up the other issue raised...

The second comment by Sri Shatavadhani Ganesh was:

[2] "If mantras truly had healing effects, why did our tradition evolve from the daiva-vyapasraya of the Atharva Veda (which believed that certain chants and spells could cure a disease)  into the yukti-vyapasraya of Ayurveda  (which relies completely on observation; it doesn’t speak about even the healing effects of yogAsanas, let alone mantra)? In fact, Vagbhata laughs at people who seek proof for medicines in mantras."

Ayurveda is a complete way of life, and this system improves not only a person’s health, but also their well being, behavior and state of mind. My purpose here solely is to connect the real semantics so that any union or disjunction or nullity of intersection can be characterized clearly. While explaining Ayurveda, characterises clearly the "Ayuh" in Ayurveda.

SharIrendriysatvAtmsanyogo,dhAri jIvitam
nitygschanubandhsch paryairAyuruchchyte.

(Charak SamhitA, sutrasthAnam,42) says clearly that our body(sthUla sharIra) is made up of five elements, being the seat of AtmA,comprising bhautika indriya (organs)manas (satva),chetna seer, enjoyer, jIva, and Ishvara, all combined together is Ayuh.
Moreover, tatrAyuschetnAnuvrittihjIvitmanubandho dhArichetyekorthah, (it is Susrut)
sarvadA sarvabhAvAnAm sAmAnyam vriddhikAraNam
hrAsheturviSeshasch pravrittirubhayastu tu. (Charak SamhitA, sutrasthAnam,44)

In all the conditions, only the state of equilibrium, sAmAnya sthiti, is the true state of dharma
(of idam sarvam ~ both micro and macrocosm...) any deviation warrants attention, nidAna.

Let us come to the second issue of this thread where mantra are said to be laughed at by the Ayurvedika yukti. Mantras are Vedic in origin. It is considered that it is capable of transformation. Their use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. Mantra is intrinsically related to sound and sound is reverberating in everything in this universe .“Mantra Meditation” from /Mantra_meditation.htm.  A Mantra is a sound repeated over and over until it integrates into our consciousness - frees the mind from its constant doing, and elevates us to an altered state of awareness. The Sanskrit word mantra combines the root man (to think) with the suffix tra instrument or tool). Therefore, mantra means literally tool for thinking. [Accessed on: 25/05/2012 . The relation between speech and sound with the psychic state and happiness, cannot be denied.
If we suppose, rather bluntly (which I do not support ), that mantra were meaningless syllables assigned certain phonetic attributes meant for rituals, if I am allowed to use the language of eighteenth century translators in the West, and if suppose that I am saying all this to one who has special faculty, no intent to go AdhyAtmika to transcend the phenomenal, we cannot deny that in our daily life music (of one's choice)  carries one away from his or her then state to a state of relaxation if not peace of mind. This establishes clearly the impact of sound energy,suitable pitches, on our psychological and mental states, which are part of the Ayu, as defined above, so a subject matter of Ayurveda.This signifies a dimension whare one can not denay the impact of sound on a living being. Sound and music has been very much a tool to cure not only our mind and body but also to transcend this phenomenal.

Our scripture says,‘Swaranti Tva Sute Naro Vaso Nireka Uktina¡’ (RV 8.33.2).

‘O! Disciple, you have come to me with the sacred desire of the enlightening
the inner self. Let me tell you the ways of reaching
thy-light. If you call thou through your sentiments accompanied by pure music,
thy shall illuminate your inner heart with divine love’.

Now in such a samyak, integrated state where equilibrium is the ideal state, antecedent and consequent are bound to be a complex network and if we resort to the condition, what we call, ceteris paribus, cannot be considered to be a justified. That is why treatment in Ayurveda is not mere curing of sthUla SarIra, but it includes mana, vyavhAra, in short, it includes correction of psychological and behavioural aspects also.
Some of our esteemed members have already noted in other threads of theis group Vagbhata (Ashtanga Hridaya, Chikitsa-sthana, 1-177), which recommends the use of Mantras to heal diseases.
Therefore, even if we confine to our ancient texts dis-junction or rather rejection of Mantra cannot be justified as claimed by the commentator above. Situation becomes more interesting when we look at our current scientific activities to explore relation, and hence impact of sound energies, both, overt and covert, on our psyche and well being, what our Ayurveda, being an integral part of our "Veda" aims at. Although mantra, mani and aushadhi  being the basic forms of treatment in Ayurveda, Mantra treatment is given first preference as it is believed that it is Daivi (divine) form of treatment. . Following a survey article, MANTRA (INCANTATIONS) - DIVINE REMEDIAL IN AYURVEDA by Aparna Pravin Deshpande*, Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci., Vol.3, No.3 (2014) Pages 61 - 72 we can find numerous references emphasizing Mantra recitation in Ayurveda texts especially in Caraka Samhita.

(1)           In Jaatakarma that is the reciting of mantras in the newborn's right ear, requesting the                           Gods to protect    the newborn from evil spirits. (Caraka samhita, Part-1 (Carakacandrika                   Hindi commentary).   Brahmananda Tripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors.              1st ed.                   Varanasi: Chaukhambha Surbharati       Prakashana; 2009. Sharirasthana, 8/46.p.967.)

(2)           In the treatment of Jwara (fever), Charaka recommends chanting Vishnu Sahasra nama
                ( Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi Hindi commentary). Harishchandrasinha                                            Kushavaha,editor. 1st ed Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientaliya; 2009. Chikitsasthana,                           3/312,313.  p.134.)

(3)           In the treatment of poisoning (Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi Hindi commentary).                               Harishchandrasinha Kushavaha, editor. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientaliya; 2009.                  Chikitsasthana, 23/61.p.589 )

(4)           In Unmada (Insanity) and Apasmara (Epilepsy) (Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi Hindi                       commentary).   Harishchandrasinha Kushavaha, editor. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha                     Orientaliya; 2009.  Chikitsasthana, 9/89. p.262. )

(5)           In treatment of aagantuja shopha (exogenous oedema) (Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi                Hindi      commentary). Harishchandra sinha Kushavaha, editor. 1st ed. Varanasi:                                 Chaukhambha    Orientaliya;  2009. Chikitsasthana, 10/53.p.271.)

(6)           In Vishachikitsa (Treatment of Poisoning) (Sushruta Samhita, Vol. 3. Sharma PV, editor.                 1st ed. Varanasi:  Chaukhambha Visvabharati Prakashana; 2001. Kalpasthana, 5/10. p.47.)

(7)           During the labour (Prasuti) (Caraka samhita, Part-1, (Carakacandrika Hindi commentary).                  Brahmananda Tripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha                          Surbharati Prakashana; 2009. Sutrasthana, 18/5. p.366.30. )

(8)           Before collection of herbal drugs (Caraka samhita, Part-1, (Carakacandrika Hindi                                 commentary). Brahmananda Tripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors. 1st ed. Varanasi:                           Chaukhambha Surbharati  Prakashana; 2009. Sharirsthana, 8/39. p.961.)

(9)           Before the procedure like jatakarma                            

(10)         In the treatment of snake bites, antidotes are prepared while chanting specific mantras to                       increase the efficacy of the medicine

(11)         Aapo hi stha mentioned in Sadvritta (Code of conduct)of Ayurveda is originally from                          Rig-Veda

In this way the role of mantra is better described and well defined in many places. Other than this, it is described
(12)         in Vamana (Emesis) and Virecana (Purgation)  (Caraka samhita, Part-1 (Caraka candrika                     Hindi  commentary). BrahmanandaTripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors. 1st ed. Varanasi:                ChaukhambhaSurbharatiPrakashana; 2009. Sutra sthana, 8/ 28.p.205.

Space bounds me to not to include use of mantra in Yogic practices, but id a disjunction is calimed between yoga and mantra, that will be as a mistake as was  claimed in issue herein above between AyurvedA and mantra. Further can be explored through, for example, " Towards Ayurvedic Biology - Indian Academy of Sciences; A decadal vision Document 2006"; Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. Retrieved from: [Accessed on:25/05/2013]

Hope this clears some suffocation and some illusion.

astitva DIN 2072000013 B