The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Different kinds of mantras and their nomenclature which is chapter 293 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 293 - Different kinds of mantras and their nomenclature

Fire-god said:

1. Listen to me! I shall describe the science relating to the mystic formulas that would yield enjoyment and emancipation. O Brahmin! The mystic formulas containing more than twenty letters are known to be mālāmantras.

2. The mystic formulas having more than ten letters (and less than twenty) are designated as arvāgbījas. These yield results in the old age, while the mālāmantras in the youth.

3-5a. The formulas having more than five letters yield fruits always. The other formulas belonging to the group of mantras are of three kinds such as feminine, masculine and neuter. The feminine mantras end with (the term) Svāhā (consort of Fire). The neuter mantras end with (the term) obeisance. The rest are masculine. They are commended (to be used) in charms to subjugate and to drive away (evil). The feminine (mantras) (are used) to destroy diseases due to mean acts, while the neuter ones in other cases.

5b-7. Mantras (are also classified as) āgneya (fiery) and saumya (pleasing). They should be repeated at the beginning and end of the asterisms and the halves. The āgneya mantra is generally laid down as having the asterism at the end and the fire and the ether (in greater proportions). The rest (are said to be) saumya. The two (varieties of mantras) are commended to be used in cruel and good deeds (respectively). The āgneya mantra may perhaps be saumya by the addition of ‘obeisance’ at the end. Saumya mantra (would also) in the same way (be) āgneya by the addition of the syllable phaṭ.

8. A mantra would not accomplish (the result) if it is either asleep or awakened. The sleeping state (of a mantra) is when there is powerful (breath through the nostrils and the waking state when the breath) flows through the right (nostril).

9. By the inversion (of the letters) of an āgneya mantra one would get (the letters) of a saumya mantra. One should ascertain the waking state of both (the mantras) and the day for both.

10-14a. The mantras, whose letters are presided over by baneful asterisms and constellations, should be avoided. In order to acquire kingdom, the vowel letters which are inimical to the component letters of one’s name, should be first arranged in due order. “May you go and fill the abode of the king”. Thus the script is made ready. The vowels should be arranged in the different asterisms in order ending with the (asterism) Revatī. The chambers should be marked as the siddhas (successful, such as the ninth, the first and the fifth chamber), the sādhyas (successful in time, such as the sixth the tenth and the second chamber), the susiddhas (extremely successful, such as the third, the seventh and the eleventh chamber), and the ari (hostile, such as the fourth, the eighth and the twelfth chamber) and the character of each mantra in relation to the name of the individual to whom it should be imparted, should be calculated therefrom.

l4b-15. One accomplishes merely by the repetition of the siddha (mantra). The sādhya (mantra) (could accomplish) by the repetition, worship and making an oblation. The susiddha (mantra) would accomplish by mere contemplation. (The mantra known as) ari would destroy the votary. A mantra full of baneful letters of the alphabet is condemned by all.

16. After having been duly initiated ending with the ceremonial bathing and after having had the exposition of the tantra from the preceptor, one has to practise the desired mantra got from the preceptor.

17-18a. A person who is bold, competent, pure, devoted, bent on repetition, contemplation and the like, accomplished, who practises penance, is intelligent, knows the tantra, speaks the truth and is capable of restraining and blessing (the disciple) is said to be a preceptor.

18b-19. A disciple (should be) calm, restrained, clever, studied, celebate, and eating food fit for oblation. He should do service to the preceptor. He should be eager to accomplish. He (should be) instructed. He (should be) like a son, modest and capable of giving money.

20-21a. A mantra should be imparted by the preceptor. When it is accomplished the preceptor should repeat it a thousand times. A mantra that has been heard accidentally, or got by fraudulent means or by force or written on a leaf or (got) in the form of a gāthā (a verse) would not bear any fruit.

21b-23a. One who practises a mantra by means of several acts such as repetition, oblation, worship and the like, attains success by little practice. There is nothing which cannot be achieved by means of a mantra that has been perfectly practised. What to say about a person who has practised many mantras. He is really Śiva Himself.

23b-24a. A mantra (consisting) of a single letter bears fruit after repetition for ten lakh (a million) times. The repetition is reduced as the number of letters (in the mantra) is increased. In this way one has to flock together the other mantras.

24b-25. The mantras containing letters twice or thrice the bīja mantras should be repeated like a mālāmantra. A mantra should be repeated a hundred and eight or a thousand times if the number of their repetition has not been specified. It is known that the number of libations and anointments is in general a tenth part of the number of repetitions.

26. For one who is not able to repeat, ghee (would be the material) for libation, in all the cases, if the material has not been specified. The number of repetitions of the component (mantras) would be a tenth as that of the main mantra.

27. When the mantras are repeated according to their potency, the presiding deities of the mantras yield the desired (fruits). They get pleased with the contemplation, oblation and worship etc. of the votary.

28. The muttering of a mantra is ten times more meritorious than their loud repetition. Repetition with the tongue (within the mouth) is hundred times (meritorious). The mental (repetition) is known to be a thousand times (more meritorious).

29. One should begin the repetition of a mantra facing the east or looking downwards. All the mantras should begin with the praṇava (the syllable Oṃ). One should restrain from conversing and eat the prescribed food.

30. One has to repeat the mantras remaining seated. He should look at his preceptor and the (favourite) deity alike. The places (suited for the practice) are a solitary cottage, temples and (banks of) rivers and tanks.

31-34. One who wants to gain perfection (in a mantra), should live on rice-gruel, cakes, milk or haviṣya (that is to be offered to fire) food. The votary should worship the presiding deity of the mantra on the lunar days and week-days such as the eighth and fourteenth days of the dark fortnight and eclipses etc. Dasra (Aśvinī devatā), Yama (God of Death), the Fire-god, Dhātṛ (Brahmā), the Moon, Rudra, Jupiter, Diti, the serpents, the Pitṛs, Bhaga, Aryamā, the Sun, Tvaṣṭṛ, the Maruts, Indra, the Fire-god, Mitra, Indra, Nirṛti. the Water, Viśvedevas, Hṛṣīkeśa (name of Viṣṇu), the Winds, the god of water (Varuṇa), Ajaikapād (one of Rudras), Ahirbudhnya (one of the Rudras), Pūṣan are the deities of (the asterisms) Aśvinī and others.

35-36a. The fire-god, Dasra (Aśvinī devatā), Umā (consort of Śiva), Nighna (Vināyaka?), Nāga (serpent), the Moon (Candra), the Sun, the divine mothers, (goddess) Durgā, the presiding deities of the cardinal points, Kṛṣṇa, Vaivasvata (god of death), Śiva, the Moon (Śaśāṅka) and the Pitṛs are the presiding deities of the lunar days.

36b-40. Hara (Śiva), Durgā, Jupiter, Viṣṇu, Brahmā, Lakṣmī and Kubera are the presiding deities of the days of the week. I shall describe the assignment of the letters (on the different parts of the body). The letters constituting the five groups (of consonants such as ka, ca, ṭa, ta and pa), should be assigned on the tips of the grown up hair, eyes, the pair of ears, nose, cheeks, lips, teeth, head, mouth, arms, feet, joints, sides, back, navel and heart in order. The letters ya and others should be assigned on the heart. Skin, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen are the seven essential ingredients (of the body). The regent of the letters beginning with rasa (essential juice) and ending with payas (milk) should be written.

41-42. Śrīkaṇṭha, Ananta, Sūkṣma, Trimūrti, Amareśvara (Indra), Agnīśa, Bhāvabhūti, Tithīśa, Sthāṇuka, Hara, Daṇḍīśa, Bhautika, Sadyojāta, Anugraheśvara, Akrūra and Mahāsena are the presiding deities to be worshipped.

43-46. The deities Krodhīśa, Caṇḍa, Pañcāntaka, Śiva, Rudra, Kūrma, Trinetra, Caturānana, Ajeśa, Śarmā, Someśa, Lāṅgali, Dāruka, Ardhanārīśvara, Umā, Kānta, Āṣāḍhi, Daṇḍin, Atri, Mīna, Meṣa, Lohita, Śikhī, Chagalaṇḍa, Dviraṇḍa, Mahākāla, Bālin, Bhujaṅga, Pinākī, Khaḍgīśa, Baka, Śveta, Bhṛgu, Laguḍī, Īśākṣa, Kṣaya and Saṃvarta (are also to be assigned).

47. After having written (the names of) the Rudras together with their consorts at first, then ending with obeisance, they should be assigned in order. Then the aṅga-mantras should be located. All the mantras with their constituents are capable of yielding perfection.

48-51. These aṅga-mantras should be completed with the hṛllekhā and vyoma and located. Then the heart and other parts of the body should be associated with the aṅgamantras. ‘Obeisance' would be for the heart, svāhā (oblation) for the head, vaṣaṭ for the tuft, huṃ for the armour, vauṣaṭ for the eye and phaṭ for the weapon. Eye need not be included when the five aṅgas are uttered. Where there is no aṅgamantra (for a mantra), the location should be made in the self and repetition is made a million times. After having located in order the goddess Vāgīśī and the other gods mentioned, sesamum should be offered to the fire. The goddess of letters who bears the garland of letters, a pitcher, a book and a lotus would bestow the ability to compose poetry. One should do the assignment at the beginning of an act. All the mantras become spotless and yield perfection by (the grace of) the divine mothers even if one is not a poet.

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