OTHERS

Efficacy of Lord's Names, Mantras

CHENNAI, JULY 13. Devout aspirants who yearn to realise God, should know the difference between His ``Names'' which are numerous and the ``Mantras'' which require the guidance of spiritual teachers. The ``Names'' are effective and are vehicles for the devotees to submit their prayers to the Almighty and the latter will grant them their needs. Anyone can choose any one from the plethora of these Names which extol His mercy and other traits. The ``Mantras'' are for the selective few and require certain restrictions. These Mantras reveal the experiences of a devotee who visualises God seated within him and when He is meditated upon. They convey the Bliss of such devotees to others.

In one of his greatest hymns, ``Kumarasthavam'', Pamban Swamigal, who lived amongst us recently, has incorporated several Mantras to involve the grace of Subramania, his personal God. Each one of these divine formulas, bring out the compassion that the Lord showers. A scholar of outstanding merit, Kachiappa Sivacharya, has spelt out the qualifications of devotees who chant the ``Mantras'' taught to them. He has also explained how by intense religious training, a devotee can meditate upon a formless God and one with a form. One of the Mantras in ``Kumarasthavam'' broadly describes the Lord as the repository of the Vedas.

In his lecture, Prof. V. Rathinasabapathy, analysing the contents of one of the particular glorious Mantras, said the term ``Veda'' has its origin in the root ``to know''. While the Vedas are reckoned as the fountainhead of Indian religious tradition, the Saivites, those who worship Siva as the Supreme, rely on the ``Agamas''. There is a difference of opinion about the applicability of these two sources in respect of their respective spiritual exercises. The Mantra mentioned above refers to the divine knowledge that God gives to a devotee to approach Him. This spiritual knowledge is granted according to the capacity of an aspirant and by stages.

A currency note in a child's possession may be a plaything while as it grows into an adult, its value will be indescribable and to a family man, it will be a boon to meet his household expenses. Some felt that Thirugnanasambandar when he appeared in the world was a divine gift. Later, he was hailed as the Lord's messenger. Both groups had knowledge but the depth of the intensity varied. Lord Subramania is the embodiment of knowledge and He imparts it to those who cling to His feet. With this gift of spiritual wisdom, one devotee can praise God in idols in totality while another, who is on a higher plane, can admire each part and wonder what the various poses and gestures symbolise.