The mantra is a unique achievement of Indian poetry. It encompasses in itself, in theory and practice, articulation and understanding, the Indic civilization. It is our darshana, yoga, esthetics and psychology, all brought to the summit of realization. It is vyavharik tantra and Vedanta, sankhya and bhakti, the meaning of the Vedas and Upanishads. The mantra is the highest possibility of poetry.

Poetry, says Harold Bloom, is figurative language, concentrated so that its form is both expressive and evocative. The mantra takes to wing with inspired rhythms and harmony and a seeing that pierces the veils of human mind and appearance and ascends higher farther. And with its oceanic harmonies caught in the instant, it can transform the consciousness of the hearer.

But there is a whole art to the mantra. How to approach it, with stillness and self-gathering, how to receive it and perform its uccharan! And this we must practice again, I feel, to reach our own highest possibilities.

DH Lawrence said that great literature changes your blood. He was right. The mantra is transformative to the mind, the heart, the vital and the DNA. Truly, it is a journey towards self-awareness and a total experience. Not just feelings artistically explored. Nor thoughts strung in meter. Nor even visions articulated with creativity and imagination.

It is the sound of the syllables and the words, the rhythm and the harmonies, and the music in the background, the sound behind the sound. One needs to listen to it with utmost attention, silence, not with the physical ear, but in a deeper listening, srotrasya srotram. Let it vibrate through the marrow, be heard with the diaphragm, resonate layer by layer down to the toes and into the ground, and reverberate into space, endlessly. As if it is eternal, which, in reality, it is.

It is said that our ragas came from the mantra. With even a couple of words, a few beej sounds, it can shatter our edifice of mind, it can liberate prior to the meaning coming through, almost like a mathematical formula. The highest fusion of sound and vision and meaning, of form and content, it is a dhyana and a sadhana.

That is why when we read a shloka from the Upanishads or the Gita, we should realize that each line is the sound-body of the kavi, the one who can see, and who can hear the sruti. It is the tatva of the rishi still present to us, as the nectar they have left us. So we may return to it again and again, and accelerate our growth.

It is as if Sri Krishna came and touched us. It is for us now, whether to ignore him or hug him in return with fullest gratitude and adoration.

The mantra is not fast food. We need to slow down and imbibe it drop by drop, note by note. For each drop is the sea, each note is nada brahman.

Sri Aurobindo expresses this far more radiantly, ‚ÄúThe word is a sound expressive of the idea. In the supra-physical plane when an idea has to be realised, one can by repeating the word-expression of it, produce vibrations which prepare the mind for the realisation of the idea. That is the principle of the Mantra and of japa. One repeats the name of the Divine and the vibrations created in the consciousness prepare the realisation of the Divine. It is the same idea that is expressed in the Bible, ‚ÄúGod said, Let there be Light, and there was Light.‚Ä̬† It is creation by the Word.‚ÄĚ

And he adds, ‚Äúthe mantra in poetry, that rhythmic speech which, as the Veda puts it, rises at once from the heart of the seer and from the distant home of the Truth, ‚ÄĒ the discovery of the word, the divine movement, the form of thought proper to the reality which, as Mr. Cousins excellently says, ‚Äúlies in the apprehension of a something stable behind the instability of word and deed, something that is a reflection of the fundamental passion of humanity for something beyond itself, something that is a dim shadowing of the divine urge which is prompting all creation to unfold itself and to rise out of its limitations towards its Godlike possibilities.‚ÄĚ Poetry in the past has done that in moments of supreme elevation.‚ÄĚ

No better description of the mantra has been given, itself sounding like a mantra. It was his hope and fervent aspiration that the poetry of the future once again reach its inevitability, the fullest perfection that is the mantra.

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