By Swami Harshananda
Mantrasanskāra literally means ‘refining of the mantra'.
Definition of Mantrasanskāra
The tantras are a highly specialized literature dealing exclusively and exhaustively with the mantras of the various deities of the Hindu pantheon. Before these mantras are used for any purpose, sacred or secular, they have to be purified ceremonially. This is called ‘mantra-sanskāra’.
Rituals of Mantrasanskāra
Mantrasarṅskāra comprises ten rituals. They are:
- Janana - extraction of the letters of the mantra through a specially drawn drawing called mātṛkāyantra
- Jīvana - writing the letters of the mantra got from the process of janana, in the prescribed order and doing japa of each letter preceded by Oiṅ, to infill it with life
- Tāḍana - striking each letter with sandal-water, repeating ‘yarn’
- Bodhana - beating the letters of the mantra with red oleander flowers Nesium odorum to the accompaniment of the syllable ‘rarii’
- Abhiṣeka - bathing the same letters of the mantra written on a metal plate as prescribed with water using an aśvattha leaf Ficus religiosa and the syllable ‘rarii’
- Vimalīkaraṇa - purifying the mantra with the special formula ‘oiṅ hraum’ while contemplating on it
- Āpyāyana - satiating the letters of the mantra in water in which kuśa grass or a flower is immersed, using the same mantra, oiṅ hraum, which is called ‘jyotirmantra’
- Tarpaṇa - offering libations of water to the mantra to the accompaniment of the same jyotirmantra
- Dīpana - illuminating the mantra with the formula, ‘oiṅ hrīrṅ śrīm’
- Gupti - keeping the mantra as a great secret thus protecting its power
These all are highly esoteric in nature and should be done under the expert guidance of a competent guru.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore