2004-08-04 17:38:56 UTC
A phoneme or a quasi-phoneme?
The Pranava, cited by Sage Patanjali in Yoga Sutras, is a phoneme or a
quasi-phoneme which is first mentioned in Mandukya Upanishad 1.1, and
was commented on by Gaudapadacharya, the author of Mandukhya Karika, and
the root Guru of the Adi Shankaracharya, the author of Mandukhya Bhasya.
Sri Gaudapadacharya postulated a fourth state of unity conciousness
based on this Upanishad, and employed the transcendental meditation
technique of Shakya the Muni as its applied science practicum.
In Chandogya 2.23 the origin of language is attributed to Prajapati,
from whose transcendental meditation came the threefold knowledge, i.e.
the three Vedas; from his transcendental meditation on the three Vedas
came the syllables bhur, bhuva, and svar, indicating earth, atmosphere,
and sky; and from his transcendental meditation on the three syllables
came the Pranava.
The Pranava is that indicator which makes human cognition coherent, and
thus represents the totality of knowledge structured in conciousness.
In Adwaita, the Pranava is the sound-current or Shabd indicating Atman,
as it is written in Maitri Upanishad 6.5., that is, liberation or
Moksha. However, the mantric sounds, or any other bija mantras, are not
found in the Rig Veda.
According to Swami Agenanada Bharati, the syllable 'OM' is a bija
mantra by courtesy only, and becomes a true mantra only when imparted by
one preceptor to one disciple in accordance with a prescribed ritual,
that is, through diksha, initiation. However, I suspect that the reason
why Maharishiji does not prescribe this mantra is because it is not,
strictly, a non-ideational device at all, due to it's association with
conceptual notions of creation and indentification.
This reservation may be justified, because apparently, the entire
Tibetan mantra 'OM Mani Padme Hum', which this fellow once overheard at
a Camp-meet, is nothing more than a pious attempt to formulate a prayer
to the Goddess Laksmi, and is not Buddhist at all, not to mention
non-ideational, and this phrase is not found in any Veda, Buddhist
Pitaka or Sutra.
Thus one can only conclude that tantric bija mantras are non-Vedic in
origin, and probably originated in Bengal during the time of the
Eighty-four Maha-siddhas, adept freelance precursors to the Buddhist
Vajrayana School of 'Conciousness Only' the Yogacara founded by Vasubandhu.
It should be noted that Maharishiji only uses traditional, tantric,
householder bija mantras, with the exception of 'svaha' which as every
Siddha knows, denotes the hit-sound 'crack' as in 'phata phata' of a
three-wheeled motorcycle rickshaw, a common sound heard in Indian cities.