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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mantras and Modern Science

The poorna huti of the seven-day long yagnam conducted in the Poorna Chandra auditorium in Prasanthi Nilayam as part of the Dasara celebrations happened, I should say gloriously, yesterday morning (Oct 24, 2012); the hall was overflowing and so too were emotions of thousands who had gathered to be touched by those vibrations.

Frankly for me, being in that ambience, sitting inside this huge hall suffused, or rather charged, with those riveting mantras was quite an uplifting experience. Just like the joy of receiving a beautiful little toddler's innocent smile can never be expressed enough through literature or the fragrance of a jasmine described in words or the peace of being seated in front of the Samadhi in Prasanthi measured by any complex algorithms, the sublime and subtle yet potent feeling of being present in the vicinity of this vedic sacrifice cannot be articulated to your heart's content.

How can lighting a fire and generously pouring ghee into it contribute to world peace? Many may think.

Imagine a tribal from the Amazon forest seeing a television box for the first time in his life and someone tells him that in that man-made contraption he is actually watching something which is happening thousands of miles away. The aboriginal would either think this is definitely a miracle or pure rubbish.

Same with the mantras. At times just because we do not apparently see or know as of now how these sacred hymns work or how can they really contribute to our welfare or society's well-being or Nature's productivity, we too like this tribal may tend to think this is some mumbo-jumbo going on from centuries and we just have to carry it forward, sometimes with little choice, thinking that this is not going to sustain for long in these modern times.

The second alternative – considering this as a miracle, something which is doing wonders beyond our understanding. But this might sound especially to some of the current generation quite preposterous.

Referring to this, Baba in a discourse in 1992, said, “Is it unbelievable that Krishna was able to similarly appear in the homes of gopikas simultaneously? If a yantra (machine like TV) could achieve such a result, how much more power should be attributed to Mantra? The electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere can preserve sounds and forms for all time. The power of the Spirit is incredible.”

[If you like Mathematics, the Fibonacci sequence of numbers which explain the beautiful design of the sunflower or the fins of a dolphin or the count of bones on our fingers or even the cosmic artwork of a spiral galaxy – all of this is connected to the Gayathri Mantra; just like this hymn has 24 principal syllables, the compressed fibonacci sequence too gives you an infinitely repeating sequence of 24. It explains the number 108 too which is considered sacred, but that's the topic for another blog].

Other day I met an old friend who said the Gayathri Mantra in the recent past has saved him from atleast 15 accidents, minor and major, in the busy streets of Bangalore.

Ranganath Raju, an alumnus of Baba's university, prayed to Baba intensely to give him a simpler explanation of the Gayathri Mantra and Baba in his dream said:

“It simply means – O God! Please bless me with darshan, sparshan and sambhasan or equivalent of this. Please Lord, grant me this opportunity and illumine my intellect.”

And he says after he received this 'secret' from Baba, he tried it and it worked almost every time. Even after graduating from Baba's university, whenever he used to come to Prasanthi, he would sit in the Sai Kulwant Hall and begin chanting this mantra and more often than not, Swami would suddenly notice him and start a conversation.

Hari Shankar, who now works in the office of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, one day started chanting this Mantra sitting in the Sai Kulwant Hall hoping and praying that as he finished doing this 108 times Baba should in some way bless him, and as he recited the 108th time, Baba came out of the interview room, and said, “Aye boy, what's your name?”

The beauty of some of the things of our ancient culture is that they are inexplicable and that’s why so fascinating!