The Greatness of ‘Arham’
THE GREATNESS OF “ARHAM”
Let the sound of ‘Arham’ vibrate day and night
In the mind—in speech, in action and in thought!
The ‘A’ of Arham stands for Amrit—the water of life;
‘R’ represents the fire element; the aspirate.
Doth awake the vital force within; the nasal sound
With whatever it combines, raises its power!
Mere repetition of words, however profound,
Brings no lasting joy—a meaningless ritual!
Charged with passion and mindfulness
‘Arham’ sets right everything!
Q. In your book Preksha-Sangan, you started with the sound of ‘Arham’. A preksha dhyana sadhak also starts his practice with the recitation of ‘Arham’. Do you lay stress on the practice of japa along with meditation? What do you think of japa?
Ans. There are two ways of achieving concentration of mind-japa (reiteration of the deity’s name) and dhyana (meditation). Man’s mind is fickle. It does not stay at any one point for long. Japa is used for concentrating the mind on one object, which. otherwise is confounded by many objects. Japa is simpler and easier than meditation. There is no special technique or practice required for doing japa. Any man can control the mind’s wanderings by means of recitation of the deity’s name. Many seed letters and incantatory terms are available for japa. Among these, ‘Aum’, ‘harin’, ‘shrin’, ‘klin’, etc. are seed letters (special vowels) and Arham, ‘ai’., ‘si’: ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘sa’ etc. are spell words. In the Tantra-Shastra, the repetition of these has been portrayed in the form of verse meditation.
That the seed letters and spell words are invested with great power, is not disputed. Because special kinds of sound-waves are produced by the articulation of a word. These sound vibrations have a great impact upon the mind. This impact can be good or bad. If an abusive word is hurled at an individual, he suddenly gets excited. Similarly, the use of gentle words can turn an enemy into a friend. Such incidents continually occur in a man’s life. Being sensible of the power of certain words, some people use. them deliberately to gain a particular end. This leads to the conclusion that the sound vibrations have a direct impact upon a man’s mind and conduct. In view of this, the question of denying the importance of japa does not arise.
Among the incantations employed for japa, ‘Arham’ has a powerful spell. It is made up of ‘A’, ‘r’, ‘h’ and the nasal ‘um’. ‘A’ occupies an important position in the alphabet at the head; the alphabet begins with ‘A’. ‘Aum’ is a prominent incantatory term, and the first letter of it is ‘A’. In the Vedic literature ‘A’ signifies Brahma, the Creator. Among creative elements, ‘A’ reigns supreme–its addition increases the power of the spell.
The second letter of ‘Arham’ is ‘r’, which signifies the fire element. It plays an outstanding role in awakening the power of bio-electricity. With the awakening of this power, all torpor ceases and the body throbs with a newfound vitality.
The third letter of ‘Arham’ is the aspirate—‘h’; it awakens the life-force. The incantation containing this letter grows very potent. In the Buddhist method of meditation, the recitation of the seed letter, ‘hun’ is much prevalent. In order to awaken the life-force this spell word is abundantly used—‘Hran’, ‘Hrin’, ‘Hru’, ‘Hron’, ‘Hram’, etc. are all made of the letters ‘h’ and ‘r’. Their recitation produces a typical kind of sound vibrations. The importance of ‘arham’ from the phonetic point of view is even greater than its structural importance.
The fourth letter of ‘Arham’ is the nasal dot. It has no independent existence, but it increases the power of the letter with which it combines. The pronunciation of ‘Arha’ lacks the harmonious rhythm which emanates from the enunciation of
“Arham”. The vibrations issuing from rhythmic harmony are more powerful; they serve to awaken many centers of consciousness and kindle the life-force. In the ancient literature dealing with incantation, there is detailed information available about various incantatory spell words and their uses.
Q. Some people practice the recitation of ‘Arham’ with colors. Is this experiment meant for achieving concentration or is some other result possible?
Ans. Colours are more related to meditation than to japa. In the perception of psychic colors (leshya dhyana), colour forms the fundamental basis of meditation. We shall talk about it at length when we come to discuss leshya dhyana. In the present context, it is worth noting that ‘Arham’ meditation is chiefly done with three colors-white, red and yellow. The recitation of ‘Arham’ with white color ensures health and imparts tranquillity. The white color is capable of driving away disease. A disease-free individual achieves mental health along with physical health. Mental health is the starting point of mental peace.
The red color is helpful in increasing one’s vitality. The color of the early rising sun is red. He who regularly and properly practices meditation or japa at that time, is successful in arousing his dormant powers.
The yellow color is the symbol of good fortune, intelligence and splendour. The use of this color yields wonderful results. Ill fortune is changed into good fortune, there is development of intellectual capacity and one’s aura becomes brighter. Of course, the practice of japa, undertaken with any color, is beneficial. Benefits derived from one color may also be transmitted to other colors. Still in the science of colors, particular colors, along with the method of their use, are prescribed. chiefly on the basis of a factual analysis.
Q. You just said that the recitation of incantatory – words like ‘Arham’ produces special kinds of sound vibrations, beneficial for the sadhak. Can this benefit be derived from sound vibrations alone, or is it necessary to combine with these vibrations mental concentration and deep feeling?
Ans. The sound vibrations have a virtue of their own; so has deep feeling. Sound vibrations, without feeling have a beneficial effect, but the results are not adequate. To derive full benefit, japa should be accompanied by both feeling and concentration of mind. It is a fact that a spell word has great power, but the explosion of this energy takes place only when the practitioner’s recitation of the mantra is charged with feeling. Feeling less verbal repetition may fall in the sphere of ritual, but it cannot yield lasting joy, peace or health.
Every medicine has a virtue of its own. But in order to increase its potency, it is treated and infused with various kinds of more potent medicines. This is the typical Ayurvedic technique. By using this technique, one and the same drug can be made to yield several kinds of medicines and their efficacy much improved. Just as a drug is charged with power, a man’s mind, too, can be charged with bhavana. A perfunctory recitation of a spell may be beneficial to some extent. But in the end it turns into a mere ritual. In view of this, the contribution of bhavana is very important.
A muni undertakes great vows. It is necessary for him to. observe five vows, which form the chief basis of his sadhana. And without the infusion of spirituality, these cannot be fulfilled. In view of this, every great vow has been assigned five principles to be practiced again and again (five bhavanas). Without assimilating these 25 principles associated with five great vows, no sadhak can reach the high point of sadhana.
A slight infusion enhances the efficacy of a medicine, and through bhavana great vows are fulfilled. Similarly, only japa mixed with bhavana, can yield appropriate results. Expressions such as, ‘with the whole mind’, ‘heart and soul’, ‘charged with devotion’, etc. underline the fact that the practice of japa and meditation is incomplete without concentration. If, while iterating a seed letter or a spell word, a person.is completely identified with it, he, at that time, becomes.inseparable from the activity he is engaged in, and no different from it. The whole of this process constitutes the consummation of feeling. In this, the recitation and the reciter, the practice of japa and the practitioner, are not two separate things but together constitute a single activity. One may practice the recitation of ‘Arham’ or some other spell word, but the full measure of its power manifests itself only in combination with bhavana and single-mindedness.