According to Lord Patanjali the obstacles to experiencing yoga are: Confusion, egoism, depression, physical pain, lethargy, exhaustion, skepticism, a lack of interest, over attachment to sensuality, delusional perception, failure to reach the state of unity and the inability to remain there once you have experienced it. These are all considered to be obstacles to the state of yoga. However, the greatest obstacle is the mistaken belief that you are the body and mind and nothing more. This misunderstanding creates the field known as avidya. Avidya is lack of knowledge about the real nature of one’s self. From avidya, the field of suffering, the five kleshas, evolve.
How do Sanskrit mantras remove the obstacles?
Firstly, mantras combat the primary misunderstanding, i.e., the feeling of being the body and mind and nothing more, by bringing you into a state of energization. The Sanskrit language is highly resonant. The alphabet itself is predominantly made up of vibration sounds. For example, out of the 49 sounds that make up the Sanskrit Alphabet, 35 of them are highly resonant. Why is this important? Because sounds that have resonance are more vibrational in nature, which means that they produce more energy and heat. When you chant in a language that has more vibration and heat you feel energy more directly. And the more you feel energy the more you feel your self as energy. There’s something about Sanskrit mantras … when you chant them and then remain still, you discover your agitated, nervousness, lethargy, achy, distracted etc. get replaced by a feeling of clarified tranquility.
Mantras bring clarity
Mantras remove mental restlessness and styana, confusion. Sanskrit possesses an extensive grammar. For centuries scholars have lauded the beauty of Sanskrit grammar. When you chant a mantra, you are not only working with its spiritual meaning, you also are connecting with its grammar. And that grammar underlies that meaning allowing it to be expressed. Even on the level of the alphabet Sanskrit sounds are structured in a clear and organized manner. There are five mouth positions in Sanskrit and every letter extends out of one of these five locations. It’s useful to think of a mouth position as a channel of energy and light that ancient yogis discovered as a way to express thought, ideas and communication. When you chant a mantra, both the resonant echo and grammatical precision join together to create a peaceful effect on the mind and heart of the listener and speaker. The effect is that your mind becomes quieter and you feel peace. But this calm is not a lethargic or checked out tranquility, it’s a peace accompanied by inner precision. When grammar and vibration come together, you experience a rise of internal clarity which then extends outward.
Sanskrit Studies Method Exercise: The next time you feel nervous, agitated or tired, sit and chant the Sanskrit mantra below. Chant it for a solid 3 minutes then watch what happens afterwards. You’ll notice your anxiety and tiredness have abated considerably or have simply dissolved.
Sanskrit Studies Mantra Practice:
OM Namah Śivāya
Reverence to the peaceful awakened light that exists within.
This month, bring the energy of the divine into your practice and work directly with Sanskrit mantras, which highlight the beauty and benevolence of the devas (gods) and devis (goddesses).
Evolve your chanting practice by working with Invoking the Gods and Goddesses with Manorama digital download
© 2015 Sanskrit Studies, Luminous Soul & Manorama