Planting a Healing Mantra … chapter 11

Planting a Healing Mantra


The following Monday, the day of Shiva, which falls on every Moon-day, my instruction began in a mantra that could save Hari Puri Baba’s life. I showed up half an hour early as Amar Puri instructed, so we would have time for puja, yajna, our rituals and meditation, and perhaps a chillam or two, before the mantra diksha. A diksha is a little initiation, a showing the way. We sat opposite each other. Amar Puri closed his eyes and hummed mantras until he was out of breath, then took another deep breath and continued. Finally, he grasped my head, and blew the mantra into each ear.

Then Amar Puri smiled and told me that he had planted the mantra inside me. Now I needed to nurture it by first memorizing the syllables. He sounded each syllable and I repeated it after him but his smile faded as I continued to make mistakes. I wanted to write it down but he wouldn’t allow it. Not that it shouldn’t be written or even published, for it is an elixir of life for all humanity, but I understood that this was not “book” knowledge, even if it was my own notebook. He persisted with his oral transmission, and eventually I managed to get it right.

Dr. Rathor shook his head despairingly when I asked him what I could do to help Hari Puri. “Okay, massage his fingers and toes, if you need to keep yourself occupied,” he said. I repeated the mantra silently while I worked on my baba, although I was afraid that this wasn’t its appropriate use. The Higher Powers will understand, I thought.

On the following morning Amar Puri repeated the ritual and blew additional seed mantras into my ears. He explained to me that the more the mantra is repeated, the more it unfolds. There are elements in the mantra such as compression and mnemonics that self-extract. It’s not a question of interpretation, but one of use. It’s not what a mantra means, but what it does. Least important of all is translation, which is always without context and is ahistorical. Critical to the use of the mantra is an articulation coupled with a particular mental association, neither of which I yet possessed. I would have to go deeper into the tradition of sound to taste the nectar of the mantra and for its fruit to be known.