BA PART III : PAPER 5.21
MANTRA VARNAMALA 3
While discussing ka I mentioned that human thoughts are
sometimes guided by a'sha' vrtti, sometimes by cinta' vrtti.
The acoustic root of a 'sha ' vrtti is ka, and that of cinta ' vrtti
[the propensity of worry] is kha. Suppose the train you are
travelling by from Krishnanagar to Dignagar is running late.
In that case you will not only think about the train being late,
but of the probable inconveniences caused as a result, notably
the inconvenience you wilt cause your host in Dignagar if you
arrive at his house late and expect him to serve you food. So
you decide to eat your supper somewhere near the station
before proceeding to your host's house. All thoughts such as
these are symbolized by the acoustic root kha.
Suppose you are traveling from Krishnanagar to Matiyari.
The thought passes through your mind that at one time
Matiyari had an important brassware industry, which today
is on the verge of collapse, resulting in thousands of its
employees losing their jobs. You wonder whether it might be
possible to revive the industry. But as you are not personally
affected by the collapse of the industry, you are not a direct
player in your own thoughts. Impersonal thoughts such as
these are symbolized by the acoustic root kha.
Kha means "sky", but kha is not the acoustic root of the
sky. The acoustic root of the sky is ha. Kha also means
"heaven", but it is not the acoustic root of all of heaven, either.
The crude aspects of heaven are represented by kha, whereas
the sphere of heaven which transcends the crude is repre-
sented by ks'a.
Ka is the acoustic root otKa'rya Brahma. First comes ka,
Ka 'rya Brahma, and then follows the rest of creation. That is
why ka is the first consonant. And as ka plus ha equals kha,
ka is immediately followed by kha in the Indo-Aryan alpha-
Every entity, whether animate or inanimate, has the poten-
tiality of expression. An animate entity can arouse that dor-
mant potentiality through both external and internal means,
whereas an inanimate entity acquires impetus through exter-
nal means. Suppose poetic genius lies dormant in a certain
person. If he arouses that latent genius by applying his will-
force, he can become a renowned poet. But if he fails to do
that due to lethargy or for some other reason, his poetic genius
will remain unexpressed. The effort made to arouse one's
dormant potentiality is called ces't'a'. Ces't'a' is one of the
psychic vrttis [propensities] and is the main cause of mundane
development and spiritual elevation. So its value in the mun-
dane and supramundane spheres is immense.
Ga, being the acoustic root of ces't'a' vrtti, plays an
important role in the physical, psychic and spiritual spheres
of human life.
Mamata ', the vrtti of love and attachment of human beings
and all other creatures, is related to time, space and individu-
ality. It is not unusual for people to praise even the goods of
the poorest quality manufactured in their own country and
criticize the best-quality goods made in other countries. This
occurs due to their irrational attachment for a certain place. It
is a kind of psychic disease. The same sort of thing occurs in
individuals as well. The mother who feels so much love and
affection for her child that she sacrifices everything in life for
its comfort and welfare, mercilessly slices young kai fish
[walking fish] into pieces without the slightest emotional
feeling. The young kai fish cry out in the agony of death, but
the cruel heart of the human mother does not melt. Mamata'
vrtti is also related to the time factor. The same mother cow
who so lovingly suckles her calves and licks them clean today
kicks them away when they grow up tomorrow.
Thus mamata' vrtti is limited by the relative factors. Only
human beings can make mamata ' vrtti transcend the bounda-
ries of time, space and individuality, after persistent and
intense efforts. This is something impossible for other beings.
Gha is the acoustic root ofnwmata' vrttL
Una is the acoustic root of dambha vrtti [the propensity of
vanity]. The popularstory goes that the great sage Vashis't'ha
traveled to. China to learn the Chinese school of Tantra. In
China he learnt the use of ana in the utterance of Tantric
mantras, and introduced it in India on his return. Una is used
extensively in all the dialects of the Indo-Chinese languages,
even in Tibetan, Laddaki, Sherpa, Manpa, etc. It is said that
Vashis't'ha learned that una is the acoustic root of vanity. It
is also said that he first learned the Ta'ra' cult of the Buddhist
Va'ma'ca'ra Tantra from China. Since then in Buddhist
Tantra, the Ta'ra' cult has been trifurcated: Ugra Ta'ra' or
Vajra Ta'ra' is worshipped in India; Niila Ta'ra', or Niila
Sarasvatii, is worshipped in Kim'purus'avars'a (Tibet), and
Bhra'marii Ta'ra' (Krs'n'a Ta'ra') is worshipped in China.
It is believed that in the post-Buddhist period Vajra Ta'ra'
or Ugra Ta'ra' was accepted as the Ta'ra' deity in
Varn'a'shrama Dharma [medieval Hinduism]. Today names
such as Ta'ra' Da's, Ta'ra'pada, Ta'ra' Kumar, etc., are quite
common. It is generally accepted that the Niila Ta'ra', or Niila
Sarasvatii, of Tibet was later converted into the [Hindu]
goddess Sarasvatii by the supporters of Varn'a'shrama
The acoustic root of Vajra Ta'ra' of India and Niila Ta'ra'
of Tibet is aern'. The black-coloured Bhra'marii Ta'ra' of
China is accepted as the goddess Ka'lii in Varn'a'shrama
Dharma. Their acoustic root is the same, kriim ' (ka symbol-
izing Ka'rya Brahma plus ra symbolizing the luminous
Ca is the acoustic root ofviveka [conscience].
Cha is the acoustic root of vikalata 'h vrtti [nervous break-
down]. A nervous breakdown occurs when one's mind, which
had previously been functioning properly, either starts mal-
functioning or stops functioning altogether.
Una is the acoustic root oidambha vrtti [the propensity of
vanity]; ja is the acoustic root otaham'ka'ra vrtti (ego). The
ego becomes inflated when one allows one's "I" feeling to
take a predominant role. "Since I was there, I was able to
control the situation. But I wonderwhat would have happened
in my absence. I'm sure that had I not been there the world
would have met its final destruction." So spoke Aurangzeb,
the last powerful Mughal emperor of India. It is an expression
of aham 'ka 'ra vi-'yi.
Jha is the acoustic root of lolupata', lobha [greed] and
lolata' [avarice] vrttis. The Bengali word nola' [the greedy
fascination of a cat or a dog] is derived from tola or lolata'.
Ina is the acoustic root of kapat'ata.' vrtti [hypocrisy].
Another Sanskrit word for''hypocrite" ispa's'an'd'a, which
was more widely used in the past. In Hindi a hypocrite is
called pa'khan'd'ii. Hypocrisy can take many forms, but we
are mainly acquainted with the following three: (1) getting
one's purpose served by exploiting or cheating others; (2)
unnecessarily dominating somebody to conceal one's own
ignorance or weakness; (3) pretending to be moral by criti-
cizing the sins of others, which one secretly commits oneself.
T'a is the acoustic root of vitarka vrtti [overstating one's
case]. Many people think that vitarka means a type of debat-
ing, but this is only partially true. It also means overstating
one's case to the point of garrulousness. Vitarka is a combi-
nation of a bad temper and garrulousness. It is in no way
synonymous with kas'a'ya vrtti [speaking harshly to hurt
others]. The following is an example ofvitarka vrtti.
Suppose a person arrives at the Howrah railway station in
Calcutta a tittle late and asks a well-dressed gentleman,
"Excuse me, sir, has the Uluberia local train departed yet?"
The gentleman snaps angrily, "Is it my duty to keep informa-
tion about the Uluberia local train? Am I a railway timetable?
How idiotic! People like you make life hell for others. This
is the reason the country is going to the dogs. What do you
think I am, an enquiry office?" Another gentleman standing
nearby says helpfully, "Were you asking about the Uluberia
local? The train will leave from platform eleven in five
minutes. If you hurry you'll catch it."
The first gentleman has an uncontrolled vitarka vrtti
whereas the second gentleman has utteiedpramita va 'k [bal-
anced statements]. Inpramita va'k only relevant words are
T'ha is the acoustic root oianuta 'pa vrtti [repentance]. One
is seized by a feeling of repentance when one realizes (either
from within or with the help of a second person) the impro-
priety of one's action. In northern India anuta'pa is called
pascha 'tta 'pa. Both ana andpascha 't mean "later" or "after";
ta'pa means "heat".
D'a is the acoustic root of lajja' vrtti [the propensity of
Senseless, sadistic killing is calledpishunata ' vrtti. If meat-
eaters slaughter animals in the way that inflicts the least pain,
that is notpishunata '; but if they kill them slowly and cruelly,
first chopping off their legs, then their tails, then their heads,
it is definitely pishunata'. These days in many civilized
co~tries people are unable to give up meat-eating, but have
at least devised modern methods to kill the animals less
painfully. But remember, the killing of animals, no matter
h6w it is done, is contrary to the spirit of Neo-Humanism.
Once I saw a harrowing sight in a market place: part of a
live tortoise had just been chopped off and sold, but the poor
creature was not completely dead and was trying to crawl
away, leaving a stream of blood. Such cruel things should be
abolished altogether. The cruel slaughter of that innocent
tortoise is certainly a case ofpishunata'.
To kill human beings is totally undesirable, but if people
do want to eliminate their enemies, they should do so with a
minimum of torture. The kings of old used to kill criminals
by impaling them on spikes; or by half-burying them in the
ground, sprinkling salt over them, and letting the dogs eat
them. Sometimes people were flayed alive. These actions
certainly deserve universal condemnation. They are all exam-
N'a is the acoustic root of Urs'a' vrtti [the propensity of
Ta is the acoustic root of staticity, long sleep and deep
sleep. It is also the acoustic root of intellectual dullness and
spiritual inertness. That which brings about the cessation of
dullness and staticity is called Tantra - Tarn 'ja 'dya 't ta 'rayet
The root-verb ton means "to expand", if a person bound by
ropes manages to expand his body, the ropes will sna~,',
automatically. That which leads to liberation through tan,
expansion, is also Tantra - Tarn' vista'ren'a ta'rayetyastu
Tha is the acoustic root of vis'ada vrtti, of melancholy
Da is the acoustic root of peevishness. If one speaks in a
nice way to a peevish person, he or she reacts adversely; if
one speaks in a harsh way, he or she takes it calmly.
Dha is the acoustic root of thirst for acquisition. This
limitless craving for wealth, name, fame, power and prestige
is called trs 'n 'a in Sanskrit. Here trs 'n'a does not mean "thirst
for water". To divert all the pure and impure thoughts of the
mind towards Parama Purus'a is the only cure for limitless
Na is the acoustic root of moha vrtti [blind attachment or
infatuation]. This propensity of blind attachment is usually
divided into the four categories of time, space, idea and
individuality. When one loses one's rationality out of blind
attachment for one's country, it is called deshagata moha,
"geo-sentiment". People who live in a country where not even
a blade of grass grows, where people die of starvation, and
which imports huge quantities of food grains from other
countries, become so infatuated with their country that they
say it has an abundance of water, has a bountiful fruit harvest,
and is a net exporter of food to other countries.
Ka'lagata moha is blind attachment for a particular period
of time. One becomes so attached to a certain period of time
that one is unable to discern its positive or negative aspects.
Some people complain that the behaviour of the present
generation of children is disappointing. They say that when
they were young they could easily digest iron pans, but the
present generation has trouble digesting even water! They
lament the great misfortune that has befallen the present age.
When a particular idea has a strong impact on mind, the
mind rushes towards it again and again. Thieves, in the shock
of the moment, always make a quick getaway from the scene
of the crime. Later, however, they brood repeatedly about the
place, and often return, straight into the hands of the police!
A person who uses an object for a long time develops a
fascination for that object. This is called a'dha'ragata moha
[fascination for an object]. There are many rich people who
have a strange weakness for some old, battered object such
as a rickety chair with one arm broken off. I know a story
about how a pretty pot made of bell-metal was the cause of a
bitter quarrel among the daughters-in-law of a certain family,
so bitter that it led to the eventual break-up of the family. Na
is the acoustic root of moha vrtti.
The only way to free oneself from the clutches of infatu-
ation is to superimpose the ideation of indifference and divert
one's mental thoughts towards Parama Purus'a. It may be
possible to control this propensity of wild fascination tempo-
rarily by intimidation or by enacting laws, but only temporar-
ily. Those who believe in the equal distribution of the world's
wealth, naively underestimate the power of moha vrtti. The
human mind can be sublimated only by spiritual ideation, not
by any high-sounding philosophy. This Utopian idea has
proved ineffective in the past and in the present and will
continue to prove so in the future.