Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part Four

In this concluding post of the series, Ganapati Muni’s commentary elucidates the forms of Skanda and Indra which bear the mantra’s sound-wave, Sabda Brahman, seeing them realised in his spiritual brother and mentor, Ramana Maharshi of Arunachala.  See also the three preceding posts, and search “Puranas” on this blog for a racy account of the Skanda mythology.

Note: the god Skanda is also known as Kumara, Murugan (or Subrahmanya) and Krtikkai.

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the Muni on tiger skin photo xerox copy

Third Chapter:  The Vedic Mantra of Guha
by Ganapati Muni

We have commented upon the two Tantric Mantras of the master Ramana. Yet his Mantras are found even in the Veda. Amongst them, here is a clear cut Mantra of Bhagavan:

“Vrsa jajana vrsanam ranaya
tamu cinnari naryam sasuva.
Prayah senanir adha nrbhyo astinah
satva gavesanah sa dhrsruh.”

  • The seer is Vasishtha. The Deity is Indra and the metre is Trishtubh.
  • vrsa is “Rudra who is of the form of Sabda Brahman”. He is vrsa because “he pours down (varsati) the special knowledge”;
    vrsanam “the God who showers down flames ranavya for battle”.
    To wage war brings forth the meaning vrsa jajana – (Rudra)
  • Tamu –  the way God, u, is indeclinable (without inflexions) – suggests the loftiness of the Name with which it is closely associated
  • nari cit is the divine Force: cit is indeclinable, used to denote the indescribable.
    If nari is derived from nara, men, then the word nari (feminine) means the Kundalini sakti hidden in man. (*)
  • sasuva“is produced”. In what way ? Naryam“born amongst men” – are the leaders, or perfected beings.
FOOTNOTE -
* Nari is feminine (nari-kundalini)

SITA 2 of lotuses

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THIS IS THE TRANSLATION IN ESSENCE:

“Kundalini sakti in the body of perfected man produces for ‘battle’
Indra’s form within the fire of astra from Sabda Brahman.”

God, taking birth, “becomes the commander – senanih – of the armies of the Gods”.
The third and fourth lines of the verse conclude:

  • adha nrbhvo asti“and a helper to their leaders”
  • inah (means) svami“the Master”,  
  • satva “is the possessor of sat, of Truth”
  • gavesanah “seeking out”
  • sa “the acclaimed God”
  • dhrsruh, “assailer of all foes.”
Arunachala, inner path

Arunachala, inner path

To read here that Indra is being referred to and not Subrahmanya (Skanda), presents no problem. The ‘ordinary’ name for the fire of astra is Indra, and Kumara (Skanda) is the special name.

In what way ordinary? or special?   For instance, the common name for the sun is Light, but his special or personal name is Surya.

Indra denotes broadly, all ideas of multi-faceted strength.(18)

According to a thing’s true nature, each facet of it has separate specific or ‘special’ names.   In the Veda and the Brahmana it is well-known that Indra is the god of strength. The fire of astra is a powerful and mighty concept, for which, combined with supreme Lordship,  Indra’s name (as the ‘ordinary’) is appropriate. The commanding fire of astra is described specifically as Kumara.   There exists another reason beyond all this, which we shall submit later.

FOOTNOTE:
18 Indra denotes the strong lord, as in Mahendra, Kavindra, 
Munindra, etc.
Sacred India Tarot - Indra and Garuda

Sacred India Tarot – Indra and Garuda

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WHERE ‘ITIHASA’ IS APPROPRIATE

When the world was afflicted by powerful Asuras, the Gods begged and prayed to Brahma the Creative power for relief.   Brahma replied the young Kumara (Skanda) born of Rudra from Gauri would destroy the Asuras. Later Kama the god of lust was sent by the Gods to incline ascetic Rudra towards the idea of progeny. Kama was burnt up (by one look from Rudra’s third eye). Thereupon, the young Gauri did tapas. Attracted to the severity of her tapas (spiritual effort) Rudra married her. Uniting with her, he ejected his seed upwards. The seed took shelter successively in the fire, in the water and in the stalk of sara grass, and finally became the young one, Kumara.

Parvati(Gauri) and Siva with Ganapati and Skanda

Parvati(Gauri) and Siva with Bull Nandi and their children Ganapati and Skanda. Ganapati’s vehicle is the rat, and Skanda’s is the peacock.

In other words:   All human means were futile to conquer the Asura race (of demons) who devastated the world by the strength of their maya.   Here we should take the Asura race as a specific, or special human type; in the world of men the Kingdom of Asuras became perpetual.  (A problem cannot be solved with itself; the higher octave has to be called in.) The Gods gave astra, wisdom (*) to the seers, in order to destroy the Asuras. With the destruction of the Asuras, the Kingdom of the devotees of God became once more established on earth.

Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

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Sacred India Tarot - Siva tests Parvati with a Mask - Version 3

This story is related by Itihasa in a covert manner. When the jiva does tapas, firstly kama, desire, is burnt by the glory of tapas.   We should not forget the fact, that the state of  tapas is  poised in the effulgence of Sabda Brahman.   Though desire is burnt up in its gross form, it prevails in the seed form, and impels the Kundalini sakti, called Gauri (or Parvati), to perform tapas.   About Kundalini being called Gauri, it is said in the Upanishad: “pita bhasatyanupama.” (19)     Gauri’s form of Kundalini is fairly wellknown in the Tantra. By her tapas, the Sabda Brahman manifests.

The whole purport is that the form of the Supreme Vak (pronunciation, divine speech) becomes capable of experiencing.   When Kundalini herself, reunited with Sabda Brahman, performs tapas, the sound vibration (energy) manifests.   It impels the energised sound in the sky, and becomes the astra.

The seed of Sabda Brahman is cultured in the fire of muladhara (root) and the nectar of the head (sahasrara) – these are said to be its consecutive sojourns in Agni and in Ganga. (20)

The manifestation in the stalk of sara grass has been described in the Second Chapter.

We have to take the Asuras as belonging to all times, not as born in a particular period.   Itihasa’s aim is to propound an all time truth.

FOOTNOTES: 
* - or Awareness

19 - Gauri, lit. "of golden yellow colour." The Narayana 
Upanishad says "Yellow, like an atom, she shines."

20 - In the subtle body, the centre at the base of the spine 
is muladhara and the centre at the top of the head is 
sahasrara. Muladhara is the seat of Fire, while sahasrara 
is the seat of the moon wherefrom the nectar flows.
 
As Ganga is the celestial river, she symbolises the nectar 
in sahasrara while Agni is the element in muladhara. The seed 
of the Sabda Brahman passes from muladhara to sahasrara, and 
has its sojourn in both centres before it manifests. 

This is the meaning of the Puranic story that Skanda is 
born from Agni as well as from the Ganga.
Gauri - Parvati - being pestered by sages

Gauri – Parvati – being pestered by sages

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WHO IS THE ASURA TARAKA?

Well, is it not to destroyTaraka that Skanda is born? Is Taraka a historical personage?

No. Yet, Tarakasura represents a truth. Taraka is death, one who (as the ferryman) takes across –   tarati – all men. (20A)   In both ways, Guha (in heart’s cave) conquers Death. By granting Self knowledge, he conquers death, the lack of awareness which causes samsara.   By the strength of the astra, he conquers death, the desire of his foes.   It is said in the Puranas that the Tripura Asuras are sons of this same Taraka.   The Tripura Asuras are none other than the three bonds. (21) Their father is lack of awareness.   That is, we fall from the Self into the body – into the idea (of being separate), of considering it as the self.

FOOTNOTE:
20A See also tara, goddess of time

21 The Three Bonds are the three pasas from which release is 
sought from Varuna by the Vedic Rishi. In the later Tantra, 
these take the form of the three granthi knots in the subtle 
body: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Asura Lord (Demonic)

Asura Lord (Demonic)

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COMMANDER OF ARMIES

How do the words commander of armies in the Mantra signify ‘commander of armies of the gods?’   Indra, the King of Gods, becomes in this context their commander. This is made clear in another Mantra:

“Indra asem neta brha spatir      Let Indra be the leader. Let Brhaspati
dakshina yajnah pura etu somah           go in front, Dakshina, the sacrifice, and Soma
Devasenanam abhibhanjatinam     Let the Maruts march in the forefront
jayantinam maruto yatvagram.”    of the army of the Gods that demolish and conquer

Rig Veda X.103.8

This Mantra is mentioned in the chapter on astra. Also, the word ina in the Mantra became later on in the common parlance the word svami, (22) Master.

“Vavrajasim anadatir adabdha     He moved all round the seven mighty ones
divo yahvir avasana anagnah     of Heaven; undevouring, inviolate.
Sana yatra yuvatayah, sa yonir        neither were they clothed, nor were they naked;
Ekam garbham dadhire sapta vanih.”   here, young and eternal in one native land
the seven Voices held in their womb the one Child

Rig Veda III.1.6. (Sri Aurobindo’s translation)

Sapta vanih are the Seven metres* in Sanskrit poetry.   The birth of Agni as this Mantra is nothing other than the fire of astra.   This is revealed in the hymn of Agni in the sense of burning: but not with the idea of physical fire.

FOOTNOTES:
22 - Svami is one of the principle names of Skanda.

* - The seven metres represent also seven stars in the 
Pleiades constellation, the 'natural mothers' of the child 
Skanda.

Gauri Siva's bride was the daughter of the Himalaya. She is
also known as Parvati in the Puranic cycle. The river
Ganga, lit by the seven stars and the moon,"poured down"/
descended through Siva's matted dreadlocks in their love-play.
As stated earlier, neither the fire (Agni) nor the water 
(Ganga) could receive his seed. It finally came to rest
in the stalk of the mantric sara grass. From the mythology
we gain some idea of the elemental power of mantra. 
See previous post - Part Three.

Skanda as Muruganar and Krttikai (pleiades)

Skanda as Muruganar and Krttikai (pleiades

Another version of this tale is Siva's seduction of the 
wives of seven Rishis (seers) in the forest. Entering 
the heart of the fire (Agni) to which the women came to 
warm themselves,Siva impregnated them through their hair 
follicles, causing chaos in the ashram. The seed could
not be held by them, or by fire or by water, until it 
came to rest in the grass; then Gauri's breasts filled,
and the world rejoiced, unknowing as yet where the 
divine child with six heads lay.

skanda_upanishad

Ganapati Muni saw in his spiritual brother Ramana 
Maharshi, the effulgence of Skanda the warrior of light who
delivered us from Taraka. Ramana taught Self-enquiry which 
dismantles the mind and quests consciousness:  the "I ... I".
(J.A.)
 

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Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

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COMMENTARY CONTINUED: ENQUIRY INTO THE PERSONALITY

Now we must say a word about the individualised Personality of the maya (23) form of Brahman with attributes, which is known as Subrahmanya.

We say that Indra alone is Guha’s form pertaining to the Gods. This is because Agni, the energy of sound-vibration is in the middle region; and Indra is the Lord of the middle region. This is proven in the Aranyaka when, referring to Indra, it closes with the words, Subrahmanyam, Subramanyam.

Indra’s Vedic fame as the War God, lends additional support.

What is Siva’s form among the Gods? It is Indra only. If it is said, that as father and son they are one and the same, this is correct. The only difference to note, is regarding the hidden Sabda Brahman and the manifest sound vibration. The relationship of father and son is mentioned to specify Siva and Subrahmanya (Skanda).

What is Ganapati’s form among the Gods? It is Indra only. If it is said, that as brothers Ganapati and Subrahmanya are one and the same, this is correct. The only difference to note, is that regarding the perfected mantra within, and the astra Agni impelled by it. The fraternal relationship demonstrates that first the mantra is born from Sabda Brahman; then the astra Agni.     Through the concept of Ganapati, we explain Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati. (24)

What is lightning’s form pertaining to the Gods?   It is Indra only.   Here he has a unique quality. Indra is named as the deity of Lightning.

storm in devon:daily mail

There are other great conceptual facets in the middle region, with Indra as their deity. They are not mentioned here, as we would have to go into a lot of detail.

FOOTNOTES:
23 Maya - form - the form that we measure out of the 
immeasurable

24 Ganapati, Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati - all three names 
denote the same Godhead in the Veda of the famous Rik 
"Gananam tva ganapatim lawamake ..." 

Brishaspati - Lord of the letters; Brahmanaspati - Lord of 
the Mantras. Brahma means both letter and mantra in the veda. 
Ganapati Lord of tantra, and these two names, denote the 
same Godhead.

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doorstep pattern tiru j&d7

Doorstep chalk pattern at dawn in Tiruvannamalai

 

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THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE DIFFERENT DESCENTS

By means of whichever portion of energy the Lord Indra descends into awareness, the descent bears that specific or personal Name.  

Indra’s descent as a portion of the lightning bears his own name. His descent as a portion of Sabda Brahman is named Rudra. His descent as the force of Tantra is known by the name Ganapati, and his descent as a portion of sound vibration is called Skanda. Ganapati and Subrahmanya (Skanda) are brothers, and they are interdependent.

We have briefly interpreted the three great Mantras of the Master. We shall develop the conceptual truth of Skanda in our Devata mimamsa. (25)

FOOTNOTES
25 - Another of Vasishtha Ganapati Muni's works, where he 
unravels the significances of the Deities

Thus Ends the Third Chapter.

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Thus ends the Commentary on the Mantras of the Master,
a work of Ganapati Vasishtha, son of Narasimha
and disciple of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

shankara gives the vedas copy

The Closing Verse

“Munina srimukhe simhe dive suryendusangame
Suryoparagasamaye bhasyam etadudiritam.”

“In the month Sravana of the year Srimukha
on a new Moon day, at the time of Solar eclipse,
this Commentary was given out by the Muni.”

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Muni & family copy 2

APPENDIX TO THE COMMENTARY

1).   Subrahmanya is the one who is born of the auspicious Brahman, that is, Sabda Brahman.

2).   By this we have explained the name Brahma garbha (from the womb of Brahma)

Vide Amara: “Subrahmanya brahma-garbha svami saravanodbhavah”.

3).   Kumara, eternal child. He is born, finishes the work and again vanishes. Again manifests at the time of work. Therefore, he is called the eternal child. In the Veda, in the Hymn to Indra, is mentioned arbhako na kumarakah26 . Also,sadyo jajnano nirinati saturn’.27

4).   By this we have explained the name sanat kumara – sanat always; kumara, young one.

5).   Sanatsujatah also in the same way. sanat, always; sujatah, well born.

6).   Sanandana samanah equal nandanah, son (giver of happiness) to Rudra along with Ganapati.

7).   Sanakeh, eternal.

Thus these four names denote one and the same person. Perhaps because of their different manifestations, it appears they were mentioned as four (28) .

26 The youth like a little child

27 Born at once, he demolishes the foes.

28 The four disciples of Shiva as Dakshinamurti: Sanaka, 
Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. Etymologically they 
have the same meaning and denote one and the same principle.
(See also Sanatanadharma)

Muni on wall copy

Here the Commentary and Appendix by the Muni ends.

We express our grateful thanks to Sri K.Natesan of Ramanasramam for making this rare manuscript available to us, and for his help with the text.   Ganapati Muni’s Commentary on the Mantra of the Master, was recently published by Ramanasramam, along with the first translation into English of Kapali Sastri’s sanskrit Commentary on the Ramana Gita.   Material from this has been utilised for the present work.

For the benefit of English readers, the language and presentation of the Guru Mantra Bhashya text have been slightly adjusted, and translations of Vedic Mantras, that were provided as footnotes, are now incorporated in the text, for easier reference..

J.A. Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK 2002

Arunachala village children

Arunachala village children

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

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Portrait Gallery (2) of Ramana & Devotees

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Ramana on a walk

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… and when he was very old

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… and when he was very young

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… and rather frail with the Light that trembled in his lamp

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… and along comes Robert

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… and Catherine Ingram, whose Dharma Dialogues watch the storm in the clear sky.

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This is another sketch of Annamalai Swami. (See my earlier post, Visit to Arunachala 1993)

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… and here, Annamalai and Ramana are at work, building the Ashram.

Annamalai’s book Living by the Words of Bhagavan as told to David Godman, caused quite a stir, in 1994.  It describes, with a bricklayer’s honesty, the atmosphere of ferment around the sage, in those early days.   It brilliantly observes the psychology of Ashram – any Ashram – and contains some very beautiful teaching.

Now, some other builders:

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Skanda and Ganapati – Ramana and Ganapati Muni play their mythological roles as spiritual brothers in Siva’s lap …

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… and then enjoy themselves in the tank.

 Ganapati’s devotees called him “Nayana” – Little Father.  Ganapati Muni could breathe a mantra into a devotee’s whiskery ear, in such a way that it remained, unending, like the sea.  His Sanskrit poetry of Ramana’s teaching and early dialogues with devotees, became the “Ramana Gita”.

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Kapali Shastri – the Muni’s student, a great Tantric scholar and scribe, who lived at Aurobindo’s Ashram, and journeyed to and fro – writes it all down

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And here are the lineage holders – K Natesan and Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley).

The late K Natesan translated and preserved the Muni’s Sanskrit poetry, many of these works still unpublished.  The heritage combines Self-enquiry, Vedic wisdom, Ayurvedic medicine, Jyotish (the astrology of Light), Aurobindo’s teaching, meditation and yoga –  in every branch of life.   The disciplines are interwoven and integral.  It was the Muni’s burning desire to re-awaken India’s Vedic heritage, to cast off the abuses much of it had fallen into.

Vamadeva Shastri studied with Natesan and with M.P.Pandit (whose teacher was Kapali Shastri) and brought it back to New Mexico.  It thrives in his translations of the Vedic Hymns and on http://www.vedanet.com – the American Institute of Vedic Studies.  He published many books on Yoga and the roots of Mantra and the Vedic civilization.   A western acharya – a rarity, as recognized by the wisdom holders in India – he is one of those who help to restore the Sanatana Dharma.  Taking root, the oak in the acorn seed takes its time to grow.    It is interesting how the  pioneering initiative is and has been reflected back, by a Westerner.   Ramana lived in a cave, but became known through the quintessential comedy of east and west, within the well of Self-enquiry.

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Francis Lucille (2)

A French diplomat and musician:  his teacher was Jean Klein.  One day, the Gayatri Mantra opened the door …

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Papaji

Poonja (Papaji) traveled all over India as a yogi and stayed with Ramana.  He loved and played with Krishna also, round the other side of the Hill.  As he grew old, seekers from the west settled to him like bees to the flower.   In Lucknow, he took care of Osho’s children.   He said “Keep quiet” and “Let there be peace to all beings.”   With him, Catherine Ingram (above) released her Buddhist training into the meeting place of the Self.  The teaching is a flow of being, whatever the form.

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Ramana drinks wisdom

And here is Ramana on a hot day.

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.