'Mananaat traayate iti mantrah' is what the term 'Mantra' means. That which helps the mind to transcend, and saves one from repetitiveness is a mantra. A repetitive thought is a worry. Mantras helps to free us from worries. I attended ' Mantra Sadhana Seminar' conducted by Prof V. Shastry, a Sanskrit Scholar, a Pries,t as well as a Professor of Engineering in Halifax,Canada. We were a bunch of assorted people; some who had background in Sanskrit, some who just heard about Mantras, some who knew the meanings, some who knew only the benefits, some who were chanting it for the first time. A place were all backgrounds and religions became one, with the intention of 'Learning'.
I belong to the category of people who knew some of the Mantras, and also chanting came easily for me. Sastryji says, "When chanting Mantra without knowing the meaning, the feeling does not come." I could not grasp the power of this sentence until the first day of the Course. The first day began with chants which I more or less knew. But when we began chanting them with the background of meaning, history of the Chant, and proper intonation, it blew me away. Each day made in-roads to a blissful component of oneself, and mind you, just by chanting. Meditations became effortless and also the daily life became a rhythmic activity.
The Course began at 6:30 PM. Most of them were professionals and by evening energy-battery is dipping down. Indeed I too used to be so tired and wonder, how am I going to chant today. Lo Behold! with the first chant itself the energy would go so high. By 9:30 PM, there would be 30 energetic individuals talking and having fun, as well as connected to the Ancient Tradition, which has been passed on to us through many generations.
Shastryji also mentioned, how many such knowledge and traditions are dying due to the absence of knowledge transmission. I see it in my family too. My grandparents passed on many of the daily Mantras, Sahasranams to my parents. My parents regularly chant, and I learnt them in the absence of the meanings. So I would be able to pass on only the Mantras without the meanings. But thanks to Mantra Sadhana Seminar, we know what we are chanting, when to chant, how to chant, what effect it has on our minds as well as the consciousness around us.
Another profound point I noticed and also Sastry ji spoke on, was about the presence of GURU-SHISYA bond.The 5 days were like in a Gurukul, with the Guru, who taught us mostly through repetition and SMRITI (Memorizing). I had learnt Laitha Sahasranamam through a book and listening to the CD. But when he taught us, the experience was just 'out of the world'.
I am glad that I have taken a step to be proud of my roots and culture which is millions of years young and applicable in today's world of ours.