Brahmanya or spiritual superiority cannot be maintained without appropriateSamskaras. “By birth a man is but a Sudra; Samskarasmake him a Dvija (twice-born) by inducing in him spiritual vision. By the study of the Vedas, he grows to be a Vipra, and a Brahmana he becomes when he attains to the knowledge of Brahman”.
जन्मनाजायतेशूद्रः संस्कारात् द्विज उच्यते ।
वेदपाठी भवेद्विप्रः ब्रह्म जानाति ब्राह्मणः ।। (शंकरदिग्विजय)
Many Kshatriya tribes, who went forth and colonized the other parts of the world, neglected the Samskaras, and deteriorated into the condition of the Sudras; and this circumstance Manu mentions in the Tenth Chapter of hisSmriti. Says he :- “By ignoring the Kriyas or sacred rites, and by ceasing to have intercourse with the Brahmanas, the following tribes of Kshatriyas have gradually sunk into the state of Vrishalas or outcastes, viz., Poundrakas, Odhras, Dravidas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas, Paradas, Pahlavas, Chinas, Kiratas,Daradas, and Khasas”. When there are no Samskaras, deterioration there must be.
शनकैस्तुक्रियालोपादिमाः क्षत्रियजातयः ।
वृष्लत्वंगतालोके ब्राह्मणदर्शनेनच ।।
पौंड्रकाश्चौढ्रद्रमिडाः कांभोजायवनाश्श्काः ।
पारदाः पल्लवाश्चीनाः किरातादरदाः खशाः ।। (मनुस्मृति. अ. १०)
The Sakaswere the ancient Sacae. The Pahlavaswere the Medes speaking Pahlavi or the ancient Persian. The Cambojaswere the inhabitants of Kambojaor Cambodia; the Yavanas, as is well known, were the Greeks. The Dravidsmay be the Druids of Great Britain. Kiratas were the inhabitants of Baluchistan, Daradas of Dardastan in the Chinese territory. The Khasas were probably some people in Eastern Europe.
This law is universal, and no escape from it is possible. “As the outline of a picture is lighted up slowly with the careful filling in of many colours, even so is Brahmanya with Samskarasconducted with appropriate Mantras”.
Samskara is a training, discipline, or Siksha, physical, mental, moral, and spiritual: its importance cannot be under-estimated. It affects all the Koshas or Sheaths. Its uses are:-
To help the Jiva to conquer and purify his Sheaths;
To bring to his aid Superior Intelligences, such as the Devas and the Rishis;
To improve the atmosphere around him so as to make it easier for him to steady and concentrate his mind.
To these ends there are used material objects, gestures, postures, and Mantra, all carefully arranged to bring about the results aimed at.
The material objects used are chosen for their magnetic properties, and they help in establishing a link between the object of meditation and the worshipper.
Gestures and postures
Gestures and postures, for the most part, affect the Pranas – the sub-divisions of the life-breath that circulate in the body; some prevent the magnetism of the body from escaping into the surrounding atmosphere, and force its currents to move in a way suitable for calm and quiet thought.
Mantras are succession of sounds, a definite sequence, and the sounds being arranged in a certain order; if the sounds are changed, the vibrations are changed, and the results are changed as well. That is why a Mantra cannot be translated. A translated Mantra is like a sentence in which all the letters of the words are jumbled up, and so convey no meaning.
Mantrasareused for all the three purposes mentioned above. It gives rise to vibrations, and as these vibrations are regular and even, they make the vibration of the SukshmaSarira – which are very sensitive and easily affected – regular and even also. When these vibrations of the SukshmaSarira are made regular, the Jiva is much helped in steadiness of thought and devotion.
Sounds of a suitable kind attract the attention of the Rishis and Devas to the person uttering the sounds, and they help him. Further, suitable sounds drive away hostile Intelligences and bad magnetic influences, and thereby improve surroundings of the speaker.
Vibrations of the Mantras
There is another thing to remember about Mantras; if the man who utters a Mantra is not trying to lead a good life, the vibrations of Mantra will do him harm, not good. For, as they work on his SukshmaSarira, they bring to bear on it a force antagonistic to evil desire and evil thoughts, and shake it very violently, and may even wound and tear it, as his evil resolves make it vibrate in one way and the vibrations of the Mantras force it into another. If his resolves are good, then they work with the Mantras, and cause no conflict; however weak they may be, they aid and do not hinder.
A Mantra need not be spoken aloud, and their silent repetition is, indeed, more powerful than audible recitation. They affect the subtler kinds of matter more than the denser.
What is the difference between a man that has the Samskara and another that has it not? The difference is great. The man that has the Samskara and practises it with diligence, grows spiritually, begets increasingly Sattvic progeny, and becomes an ornament to the world, while the man that has it not declines spiritually, begets increasingly rajasic or tamasic progeny, and becomes a curse to the world.
The process is a gradual one, and Karma never ceases to act. It is neither the lip-repetition nor the intellectual appreciation, but the actual living of the life indicated by the Mantra, that constitutes the core of the Samskara.
A man may repeat every day for year without Sraddha and trikaranasuddhi, the Mantra of the Sandhyavandana, and may understand the meanings too, but he will not be profited, if he will not live the life indicated by the Mantra. The test of the proper performance of the Sandhyavandana is the increase of ojas and tejas, and the uniform maintenance of vigorous health and strength.
The test of VivahaSamskara is the excellence of the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual development of the husband and the wife, and the corresponding character of the progeny they bring forth. When the life indicated is actually lived, the birth of malformed, tamasic progeny becomes an utter impossibility.
There may be, and there are, Samskaraswithout Mantras. Physical exercise, deep breathing, etc., are instances in point, and they produce their own good effects on the body. Mantras affect the inner bodies. Samskaraswith appropriate Mantras are more efficacious, and produce results more rapidly than those without them.