Faith

The Ashtakshara mantra

The Vaishnava tradition speaks of the greatness of the Narayana Mantra, also known as the Ashtakshara and the Moola Mantra, as all can utter it to attain salvation. The term Narayana is a compound of two words, ‘Nara’ meaning all sentient and non-sentient objects, and ‘Ayana’ meaning the abode of all. It is shown that the word reflects two interesting aspects, namely, that the Lord being the abode of all is the supporter of the entire universe, and also that all sentient and non-sentient objects are His abode. He reigns supreme existing in all even as all exist in Him.

Meditation on this mantra helps to reveal the atma swaroopa clearly and to dispel illusions and delusions commonly experienced by people, pointed out Asuri Sri Madhavachariar in a discourse. The delusion in the jivatma arises owing to his belief that he is an independent entity in his embodied state being endowed with the senses, mind and intellect. He therefore does not realise that he is subservient to the Lord. The truth is that the atma within each being is the very essence of jnana or self effulgent consciousness. It is therefore known as ‘chit’, ‘chetana,’ meaning sentient, while the body in every jivatma has no jnana and it is known as ‘achit’ and ‘achetana’. The atma’s inherent jnana is known as Dharma-buta-jnana and it is the cause for all jivatmas to know and recognise not only the self or the atma within them but also perceive and understand the world around and its objects. This self effulgence is always in fullness in the Lord, the Nityatmas and the muktatmas, but not so in the case of the jivatmas because they are bound by samsara. Moreover it varies according to each one’s individual karma. Once the jivatma attains moksha, this jnana attains fullness.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:46:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-ashtakshara-mantra/article33291433.ece

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