Faith

Mantras of the Goddess

We wear flowers because they give fragrance to our hair. In the past, men too wore flowers. But devotees of Ambal need no ornamentation for, they bear Her feet on their head. Abirami Bhattar emphasises this in verse six of his Abirami Andadi, said M.A. Manickavelu in a discourse. Appar said Lord Siva’s feet were like flowers on Appoodi Adigal’s head. Bhattar says that mantras about Abirami are always in his mind.

Mantras can be recited in three ways — vachika, upamsu and maanasa. In the vachika method, a mantra is recited audibly so that others can hear it. In upamsu, the person recites the mantra in a low voice, which cannot be heard by others. In maanasa japa, he recites the mantra in his mind. No one hears the mantra, not even the one reciting it. Mantras bring benefits to the one doing japa. Maanasa is said to be the best form of reciting a mantra, but it is difficult, because it requires intense concentration. If we utter the beejaksharas of the Goddess, we will receive Her blessings.

Mantras of the Goddess are of many kinds — ekakshari, panchakshari, navakshari and shodakshari. Each mantra has a dhyana sloka which must be recited first. Dhyana slokas have descriptions of the different forms of Shakti. When we recite a mantra, we must keep in mind the form described by the dhyana sloka of that mantra and focus on the form of the Goddess described in that particular dhyana sloka. Bhattar speaks of mantras in verse six, to show that he always keeps the form of Goddess Abirami in his mind. Bhattar talks of paddhati, which is a reference to Agamas. He also uses the word ‘pannudal,’ which means repeating. Kamban says of Hanuman, ‘pannuvan.’ This is because of Hanuman’s repetition of Rama nama.


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Printable version | Feb 20, 2022 1:14:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/mantras-of-the-goddess/article38340733.ece