Sunday 26 February 2023

Shaiva Tantra's Guide To Know The Bija Mantra of A Deity

The Bija Mantra ( Seed Mantra ) refers to the one-syllabled sound which serves as the geometry to a deity. This sound is in some ways, literally the deity itself. Tantra is impossible without the use of bija mantras.

In Shaiva Tantra, the bija mantras are used elaborately to invoke, consecrate or worship a deity.

In the Kamika Agama, a tantric scripture describing Shaiva temple management, a chapter speaks about worship of retinue deities ( parivara devatas ). 

Retinue deities are deities who accompany the main lord in a temple. 

Quoting Kamika Agama, Purva Pada, Chapter 73, verses 1 & 2

परिवारार्चनं वक्ष्ये श्रूयतां मुनिपुङ्गवाः ।

आदौ प्रणवयुक्स्वस्ववर्णो विष्णु समन्वितः॥

बिन्दुनाद समायुक्तश्चतुर्थ्यन्तस् सनामकः।

नमस्कारादि संयुक्तः परिवारार्चने मनुः॥

parivārārcanaṃ vakṣye śrūyatāṃ munipuṅgavāḥ । 

ādau praṇavayuksvasvavarṇo viṣṇu samanvitaḥ॥

bindunāda samāyuktaścaturthyantas sanāmakaḥ।

namaskārādi saṃyuktaḥ parivārārcane manuḥ॥


(1) Start with 'OM'.

This is a very crucial point.

In the Taittiriya Upanishad, a guideline has been given to the priests who conduct a ceremony. They are to instruct their assistants to utter 'OM' as an invocation to the deities. As per this Upanishat, the deities know that an offering ( as ahuti into a yaaga ) is ready when they hear the utterance of this 'OM'.

The Kularnava Tantra also asserts the importance of reciting OM before any mantra. A mantra has no potency without the pranava.

(2) Add the first letter of the deity's name followed by an anusvara ( mm )

(3) Apply the anusvara sandhi

(4) Add the name of the deity at the end

(5) The mantra formed is to be used with the right terminal sound like 'namaH', 'svaahaa' etc.


Let us take the example of Lord Varuna.

First we start with OM. Next, the deity's name begins with 'va'. So we formulate the bija mantra with 'va' and end it with the anusvara 'mm'. We have 'vam' now.

So to make it simple, oM vaM varuNaaya namaHa / svaaHa.

If we apply the anusvara sandhi, it becomes ov vav varuNaaya namaHa / svaaHa.

So this is how it is done. Know you know why the bija 'vaM' is elaborately used during Shaiva  puṇyāhavācana and bhuta shuddhi.

The details on anusvara sandhi is attached in an article at the end of this article.

This is how the Shaiva tantra guides us to form the right bija mantra for retinue deities. Remember that this rule is not universally applicable. This is specific to shaiva puja.

Read More:

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1 comment:

  1. Which mantra is good for healing from terminal illness?