SECTION – I
The whole subject of spiritual pursuit can be broadly divided into two stages. The stage of acquiring knowledge and the stage of transforming knowledge into wisdom. In the Gītā parlance, the former is called the approach of Sānkhya and the latter is called the approach Karma-Yoga.. Acquiring knowledge expands the consciousness whereas transforming the acquired knowledge to wisdom evolves the consciousness. The two are necessary for any progress to be made in any science.
The whole of human knowledge accumulated since the dawn of time is divided into many branches. But the wisdom obtained from each branch is the same – it is the wisdom of “I AM”. Is there anyone who can say that the goal of their branch of knowledge is different from understanding the “I AM”? No. Whether is it microcosm or macrocosm, the ultimate aim is to find the ONE substratum via the variegated manifold manifestations. Based on many human temperaments, many branches of approach originated in the ancient cultures that have been handed to the modern man from generation to generation. As Swami Vivekananda aptly suggests, the many cultures and traditions are like many rivers that culminate in the great ocean of TRUTH.
Broadly speaking, the many spiritual traditions of the land of Bhārat can be categorized into three categories :
1. The Veda
2. The Tantra
3. The Yoga
These three, though developed into fairly independent paths, at the root level, they are interdependent. This is because the core of their root principle is the absolute Universal Truth. But the approach and style of lifestyle adhered to in respective paths differ. So it is foolish to compare and rank the three divisions in terms of their antiquity or personal prejudices. All the three have been in vogue for thousands of years. So, instead, one should take those aspects which suit their temperament from all the three and pursue their path sincerely in a self-tailored way (under the guidance of a competent Guru). One is sure to reach the grand TRUTH one day.
Each of these three divisions has THE WORD at its base. For example,
Veda is often uttered aloud (udgīta upāsana). It suggests the way of utterance of the hymn and meditating on the sound and meaning while uttering it.
Tantra is synonymous to Mantra śāstra and mantra is a repetitive utterance (whether vocal or mental) of a potentized set of syllables.
In the Yoga sutrās, Patñjali says “Tasya Vācakaḥ Praṇavaḥ” i.e., That which you utter (and hear) and that which is making you utter (and hear) is verily Praṇava (AUM). Gītā also affirms the same by saying “Om ityekākṣaraṁ Brahma” i.e. AUM is verily the imperishable BRAHMAN.
In this way, no matter the path, THE WORD is the sublime principle one cannot escape from understanding and utilising!
What this Vāk is and all, we will explore in-depth in the upcoming modules. First, we try to understand an overview of the three divisions mentioned above. The better we understand this overview, the stronger the base we will have in regards to estimating the grandeur of universality of the concept of The WORD.
Veda literally means wisdom. Wisdom of what? Wisdom of oneness of manifold creation. When a baby is born, it utters the first cry which lets us know of its entry into the world of life. This trill in the vocals is called “Rig Veda” – the Veda of the utterance of the WORD. The cry is periodically uttered by the baby. To do this, respiration is initiated in its system. The fundamental principle behind this respiration is called Prāṇa. This is called “Sāma Veda” – the wisdom of the pulsating principle of the WORD. The mind of GOD condenses into the mind of the baby in order to carry out many functions of life – including voluntary and involuntary actions. This is called “Yajur Veda” – the wisdom of the WORD’s plan of action. If these three Vedas are the upper jaw of the supreme Lord, the practical application of the wisdom in these Vedas acts as the lower jaw. That is called “Atharvaṇa Veda” – the wisdom of practical utility of the WORD.
To understand the Vedas, there are 5 tools that came into being under the guidance of the ancient seers. They are,
1. Saṁhita: Just like Mathematics is different from a math textbook, VEDA is different from a Vedic Book. The Veda saṁhita is a collection of literary syllables which aim at pointing our consciousness in the direction of the true wisdom as mentioned before.
2. Brāhmaṇa: The art of training in expanding the consciousness in order to fit in the multi-dimensional concepts explored by the Vedas. They elaborately explain the core principles.
3. Araṇyaka: To convert the horizontal being in us into the vertical being i.e., to awaken the sleeping consciousness, the fire of spirit is to be ignited using matter and force. This art is known as “Araṇi Vidya” which is given in detail here.
4. Upanishad: The word itself literally means “to take nearer”. Nearer to where? To the TRUTH of the Veda. These Upaniśads are also sometimes called Vedanta i.e., the culmination of the Vedas, as they contain the quintessence of the Vedic essence in the most sublime philosophical style possible. They help the seeker to narrow down the wide application of the Vedic knowledge into focusing on self-realization.
5. Purāṇa, Itihāsa, etc:
Knowledge is usually concealed from the profane in the form of some encoding mechanism by the seers. They applied 6-locks onto the aforementioned knowledge bank. The keys pertaining to the 6 locks, along with the 7th key which is your-self, opens the door into the vast vistas of knowledge pertaining to the Cosmic divine drama. The six-keys are called the 6-limbs of the Veda:
1. Siksha: The key of intonation
2. Vyakarana: The key of grammar
3. Jyotisha: The key of astrology and astronomy
4. Nirukta: The key of etymology
5. Kalpa: The key of rituals
6. Chandas: The key of Metrics
Another branch of wisdom-path discovered by human stalwarts was Tantra. This is as old as the Veda. Tantra is defined as “Tanyate vistāryate jñānaṁ iti tantraḥ” – that which expands the knowledge and protects the aspirant. It also has another definition. “Tantu” in Sanskrit means a weaved string. The cosmos is a garment of existence/reality weaved using space-time fabric. The space-time matrix itself is composed of divine omnipresence. The wisdom-path which makes us understand this garment and its substratum, and through this knowledge which protects us from getting entangled into the web of events of Karma is TANTRA.
What is the approach taken in Tantra? Mostly the Tantra (Śākteya form – which I am more familiar with) classifies the universe we live in as the product of cosmic dance of supreme lord Śiva and his consort Śakti. The state before the manifestation of the Universe is the ONE-ness and the manifested Universe has the active (Śakti) and passive (Śiva) principles which are inseparable from each other. The Tantra teaches us to either start our journey by worshiping the active principle or the passive principle and leads us into the wisdom that both are indeed the same and part of Universal ONE (Parā+Śakti or Parā+Śiva). The mode of worship involves purification of the bodily vehicles – of physical as well as of subtle vehicles; energizing the vehicles to sustain the dawn of new states of consciousness; respecting other beings and seeing divinity within them, awakening the dormant kuṇḍalinī (evolutionary energy) and completing the circuit by connecting it to the crown-lotus; etc. So, many many sub divisions of Tantra originated based on the taste of the palate of different souls over the course of their spiral evolution. But the core is the same – discovering and establishing the divinity within and without!
The Tantra has two main parts which are synonymous to each other and yet form specific channels for training our consciousness into the light of core principles of Tantra.
1. Yantra – The form aspect of Tantra is called Yantra. A yantra is a specifically structured physical object on which the spiritual thought of an aspirant can cling on as a support and get a diving thrust into the world of deity of worship. The deity of the tantric practice is usually thought of as a human form in preliminary stages. But when the devotee breaks the shell of mundane human limitation, he sees the geometrical beauty that lies in the Universe. Thus beauty personified in perceivable terms is the Yantra and hence is one and the same as the deity of the pursuit. But the Yantra not only has the qualitative aspects of the human-form of deity, but now has the geometrical aspect also (i.e.,mathematical beauty) which can awaken and tap into the hidden potential of the aspirant’s consciousness. No one knows what a number is but everyone knows how to work with them. One can think that math is the absolute science in which God speaks to us! This language is better understood without much technical jargon by the art of worshiping the Universal deity via the designated YANTRA. Thus, a Yantra has dots, lines, triangles, etc. as its elements. There are many secrets in the number of dots, lines, triangles, the nature of these elements, etc. These secrets encode the fundamentals and formulas of Tantric practices and are to be known from a Guru. A guru will decide when to reveal the secrets depending on the ability and sincerity of the student’s grasp. All in all, a Yantra is the deity understood in the form of “divine-visible-pattern”.
2. Mantra – Mantra is a sub-part of our lecture series. Mantra is defined as “Mananān trāyate iti mantraḥ” – that which protects the utterer is Mantra. Mantra is also synonymous to the deity that is being worshiped. Here the sound-form or audible pattern of the divine plan is explored. God not only speaks via the geometrical patterns but he also speaks via the melodies of sound. Sound and light are intimately related to number i.e, wavelength and frequencies! This aspect was discovered by the ancient seers who forged its potential into the science of Mantra. So mantra is a specific set of syllables of human utterances which orient the mind and via the mind, the consciousness, along that path which can lead us into the kingdom of the supreme GOD. Whenever one is at the start of this path, there is always the triangle of utterer-uttered- utterance. This is the primary triangle depicted in the form-aspect (yantra). The goal of Mantra śāstra is to dissolve this triangle into what is known as unit-existence. The utterer, utterance and uttered become one and the aspirant finds himself in the state of universal oneness. This is possible because, when the aspirant starts to utter a mantra and repeat it many particular number of times in a specified frequency, the mind slowly turns towards the deity’s form and qualitative aspect. But after some practice, the mind does not exist but the deity exists in place of the mind as the sound potency of the Mantra that is being recited. Previously the aspirant was reciting the mantra whereas now the mantra will begin to be recited through him. This change in polarity of ownership of mantra utterance is what is called the process of realization. In its culmination of the path, the aspirant becomes the source of the deity itself – the supreme LORD.
Thus, Mantra & Yantra form an inseparable unit in the path of Tantra tradition.
Yoga is widely known in the world today – better than the other two paths of wisdom. But unfortunately, the word is misunderstood not only by the westerners but also by the inhabitants of that land in which it originated. The moment we utter the word Yoga, that which comes to a regular person’s mind is “bodily postures or breathing exercises”. These may form part of Yogic path but they do not comprise YOGA. To understand what yoga is, one needs to go to proper sources and competent gurus. Yoga is best defined in two major works: Patañjali Yoga sutrās and Bhagavad Gita. Patañjali defines Yoga as “Yogaśca Cittavr̥tti Nirodha” – The state of being when the vrttis (modifications) of Cittaṁ (consciousness) are neutralised is called Yoga (the divine union). Supreme lord Krishna defines Yoga in his song celestial as “Yogaḥ Karmasu Kauśalaṁ” – Dexterity in action is Yoga. What do we understand from these two definitions? The path of wisdom which helps us to live in our everyday life in such a way that none of our actions (karma) affect our being, that is the path of Yoga. So there is no escape into forests or escape from our duties. While discharging our duties and mingling with all, we can still lead the way of Yogic life! Yoga is not an achievement but an attitude says my Guru Master E K.
Just like any wisdom branch, even the path of yoga which is as old as the other two condensed into many different concrete pathways based on humanity’s needs. They are,
1. Bhakti Yoga: The yogic path of devotion which directly opens the door of the heart center which is the sanctum sanctorum of the supreme God.
2. Karma Yoga: The yogic path of action which trains one to dexterously enact without entangling one’s self into the web of Karma.
3. Jñāna Yoga: The yogic path of fiery knowledge which burns the ignorance in an aspirant and guides him on the path of salvation.
4. Haṭha Yoga: The yogic path of bodily purification which lets one’s vehicles to channel and sustain the purest of the divine energies and thus submerge every atom of their existence in the ocean of supreme radiance.
5. Kriya & Raja Yoga: The grand union of the aforementioned yogic paths having the best and most suited elements for modern day humanity.
In all the aforementioned yogic paths, the core of utterance and meditating on the breath stands as crown-jewel. The reason is, breath is the one element that links us to the inner being. Through breath-regulation, one regulates the bodily currents (prāṇa) and thus enter into the wisdom of AUM which is respiring through them. This is what Patañjali calls “Tasya Vācakaḥ Praṇavaḥ” – The key word that connects you to the inner-God is AUM as well as his call unto you is also AUM! This is The WORD of GOD which we are going to explore in depth in this course.
SECTION – II
In this module, first we enter into the world of The Word and understand it from the lens of modern science as well as ancient scriptures. Then we learn certain key symbols that are necessary to understand the language of nature. Finally we explore the 4 modes of existence of the WORD. This gives us a holistic view of what WORD means and the evolutionary power that it is inherent with. This module also gives us the clues pertaining to utilization of the knowledge of the WORD in evolving ourselves. It forms a thorough foundation to the core concept of Mantra Śāstrā.
Science of Vibrations
Sound is often understood in a limited sense of its association with the sound perceived by sense organ ear. But Sound has much more depth to its fundamental existence. The origin of the Universe itself is named Big-Bang – i.e., based on the primordial sound (bang). But, some scientists do not agree that sound could have existed as big-bang was the origin of the Universe and it required a medium to travel. But, they could not find any alternate name that fits their theory. This is because they are trying to see Nature via their lens rather than the lens provided by nature – intuition! That’s why they are close to understanding the Universe at every step and yet they go far away from it by another step due to prejudiced perceptions. One who knows the sound beyond material existence will understand that Big-Bang is indeed a great name, for, the primordial sound is an impulsive loud CRY emitting the worlds into being! This is what is symbolized as Rudra’s cry in the Indian mythologies. Rudra got his name as he cried the moment he was created and from him the sound property emerged. He is said to be lord of Rodaśi – the space! There are 11 rudras in total to suggest the 11-dimensional space as suggested by string-theory. Without going too deep into that arena yet, let us explore the science of vibration as explored by one of the very prominent scientists of recent times.
One of the very few original scientists of recent times Dr. Hans Jenny could see through the lens of intuition. He studied extensively the effect of sound waves on matter. He theorized that the Universal forms are resultant of primordial sound imprinted on matter, in different modes.
Is this not what Tantra calls Śabda Brahman – the ground basis of all existence and forms? Yes, indeed! So, Hans Jenny’s theories were long back hypothesized and proved by the seers of the ancient world. They even mastered and discovered the art of training in affecting mind-matter via sound vibrations. This branch was called Mantra Śastra.
At any rate, let us view another context where modern science has data but is not ready to venture into claims of spirituality. ——- Video of NASA ——–
This video suggests that When Electro-magnetic waves are modulated to sound vibrations, everything in this Universe vibrates at a particular frequency and it emits a sound. This sound is characteristic of it. Does this not tally with sound as a fundamental quantity in the Universe? It Does! In fact, light and sound have the same measures – Wavelength and frequency – except that they differ in manifestation. That is why Sanskrit calls both light (color) and sound (letter) as “VARṆA”. There is a very unique statement in one of the ancient passages which translates to “See the sound and hear the light!”.
Therefore we see that the cosmos is a dynamic interplay of energy = vibration + waves.
Scriptures on the WORD
The seers’ intuition goes deeper and beyond what Cymatics could see. When there is a synchronization of realizations obtained by seers all over the world at different eras, we can easily understand that the TRUTH that is being extolled is absolute truth. The previous statements are utterances of absolute truth about the WORD. It seems,
1. It is GOD
2. Creation is an out-breathing of GOD as the uttered word.
3. This Vāk created the aspects of creation.
Patañjali affirms that “Tasya Vācakaḥ Praṇava” – whatever we utter and that which makes us utter is the ultimate WORD – AUM. This word or AUM is the first dynamic aspect called LOGOS…………………..Let us look at the scriptural theories of creation:
1. Initially ONE alone exists.
2. A stir occurs in this oneness.
3. This creates a wave in the ocean of existence.
4. The wave is called Śakti and the background existence is called Śiva.
5. In another angle, Śakti is Kālī – the grand TIME and Śiva is Rudra – The grand Space (Rodaśi).
6. The Matrix of space-time is the fabric of the Universe!
7. Subsequent universe is an outcome of their cosmic dance i.e., their interplay of time and space as WORD.
Have you ever wondered as to why scriptures speak of the creation of the Universe in terms of “voice”?
1. Genesis: God SAID let there be light
2. Tantric books are SPOKEN by Śiva to Śakti or vice versa
To give our approach the flavor of the importance of WORD in the creation.
Key-Symbolism of the Word
To protect the wisdom from the profane and encapsulate large amounts of data in small combinations of syllables, coding mechanism was used by the ancients. To unlock the code we need a key and these keys exist as a set of symbols scattered in the same scripture. A symbol should have following characteristics:
1. Best suited to the context.
2. A unique relation to the spiritual concept that it conceals and the physical object that it associates itself with.
3. Multi-dimensional utility should be possible without changing the structure of the symbol.
For the WORD, goddess Sarasvati is given as an embodiment-symbol. Understanding her gives us a clue as to what Word is.
1. She is dressed in pure white — Consciousness as the fabric of existence.
2. Vīṇa – A symbol of human cerebro-spinal system along with many channels that carry life energies.
3. Four arms
4. Two palms playing the Vīṇa – She plays and we act the melody that we call LIFE.
5. One palm has rosary māla – the regulative aspect of mind.
6. One arm has the scriptures – the wisdom of Cosmos.
7. Swan – The vehicle of word as Breath.
8. Lotus – Her precedence over evolution of consciousness
9. She is daughter-wife of Brahma – Quality of inseparability of WORD from the GOD.
Meditating everyday on these subtle symbols helps one to unlock the secrets of their utterance and pushes them closer to the truth.
—- Go lil deep into each of the above symbols ——————————-
We just saw one symbol of Sarasvati. Like this, many symbols exist at each and every turn of the journey of our spiritual explorations. They are made for our own benefit! So utilize it well by meditating on the import behind than the mundane structure outside.
4 modes of the Word
Let us observe in how many modes a statement that we utter manifests outward from inward.
Before utterance, “I AM” alone exists. In it a causal stress occurs. This is called Parā Vāk – impulse to speak. The stress creates a polarity difference in the ONE state of existence. This polarity difference exists as a cloudy idea in us separate from the original state of oneness. This is called Paśyantī Vāk. The cloud vibrates and slowly condenses and forms into a mental blueprint, called Madhyamā Vāk. This is finally transformed into a physical vocal utterance called Vaikharī Vāk.
Old Testaments — 4th day of creation
Tantric cosmogenesis also occurs in similar structure –
1. ONE existence -Parā
2. Śiva and Śakti – Paśyantī (to see)
3. Cosmic dance creating ripples of blueprints – Madhyamā
4. Physical manifestation of the ripples – Vaikharī
The modes of descent of word/creation conceals a secret called the law of ¾-¼. As you can see from the above discussion, the first three modes are immortal and imperceptible. But the final mode is mortal, perishable and perceptible.
1. Consider world of Math – We have a point -> Line -> triangle -> pyramid
2. Consider human birth – 9months inside the womb (¾ of a year).
So, we are uttered the Word of Brahman and we need to utter him back as our WORD – only then can we dissolve and be as TAT!
——- Secret of 3 x 7 = 21 —–
Not only the word comes down in 4 modes, the uttered Vaikharī Vāk has
1. 7 stages – 7 musical notes Saptasvarās
2. Each stage has 3 levels (sthāyī/pitch), Mandra – Body, Madhya – Mind and Tara – Soul
So, one should not think that physical word, as it is perishable, cannot help us in attaining the world of God. It is the only link we have! The stages and levels in association with Nāda Yoga does indeed suggest a beautiful link between the Vaikharī Vāk and the three planes of Cosmos. One has to learn to utilize this WORD to enter the domains imperceptible to the mundane eye. That is why WORD (vaikharī) is often called “Kalpa Vr̥kśa or Kāma Dhēnu” – a term similar to philosopher’s stone. By utilizing the WORD in the right way, we can get any desire fulfilled! If the desire is to realize GOD, then the utility has the highest fulfillment.
Hints to connect to other Tantric paths:
1. Prakāśa (self luminous), Vimarśa (luminosity by reflection) and Nāda (the causal vibrations) — 3 modes beyond parā state form ONE existence.
2. Bindu – Parā mode – evolves into Śrī Cakra
3. The first triangle is the rest of the 3 modes.
These basics should give you a wide scope of the wisdom branches of Ancient India. In each of these branches, as you have seen, “the utterance of the WORD” has a major role to play. Therefore, understanding the WORD helps you to link up many systems of knowledge and harmoniously synthesize your own plan for your own life’s spiritual purpose. The aim of this course is to exactly offer this guidance – shed light onto the concept of the WORD in its manifold beauties and hint about its fundamental nature in almost all of the human endeavors. To know this much or to even get a small glass of water to quench our thirst, we are utilizing the mundane form of the WORD in everyday life! What more to say about the grandeur of the spiritual WORD which would quench the thirst of the soul?!