This excerpt is from one of my favorite healing bibles ‘The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine’ by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad
There are two levels of healing in Ayurveda: the physical and the mental. The basic means of healing on the physical level is through herbs. The basic means of healing on the mental or psychological level is through mantras. Mantras are special seed syllables like Om which reflect the cosmic creative vibration. The plant transmits the seed-energy of nature into the body; the mantra transmits the seed-energy of the spirit into the mind.
These two levels of healing are always related. Plants have their effects upon the mind, and mantras change our physiology. Both work on the Prana or life-force – one from without, the other from within. The human being, as mentioned earlier, is the essence of plants. The essence of the human being is speech, the essence of which is the mantra. In harmony with the plant as the word of nature is the mantra, the word of the spirit. Between these stands the human being.
The mind is refined through plants. In the mantra it is perfected. Hence, the right use of herbs and a vegetarian diet serve as catalysts for the mantric development of consciousness. This is the beauty of Ayurveda – that it is not limited to the “normal” idea of physical health, but shows us how to incorporate healing into the practice of yoga and the liberation of the spirit. In doing this, the mantra becomes the means of directing the healing energy of plants to the mind. It gives herbs a power of psychological healing and spiritual integration. It brings the universal intelligence of nature into harmony with the individual.
All plants and all healing processes have certain mantric affinities. All plants, all life is a manifestation of the mantra, which is the structuring power of the cosmic mind. Through the mantra all things are empowered.
Without the use of mantra, which means the right energization of the mind, any healing process remains outward and superficial. With the right use of the mantra, which means the giving of right attention (my note: intention), the healing process becomes a conscious act, and thereby a means of healing consciousness.
Mantra is not merely a matter of mechanically repeating various powerful sounds. Mantra also implies meditation. Meditation (dhyana), means receptivity, passive awareness, in which there is the unity of the seer and the seen (my note: read Eckhart Tolle’s teachings for a western perspective on this). It means understanding, the attitude of openness in which there is space for the inner truth to manifest itself. This inner truth that comes from all things in meditation is itself the mantra. The true power of mantra appears in meditation. The right use of mantra implies establishing the healing space of meditation.
Plants meditate. The earth meditates. The sun vibrates the great mantra Om as it moves in the sky. All of nature is the creative meditation of the cosmic spirit. The basic silence and peace of nature is meditation.
It is much too complicated here to discuss specific mantras, which relate to specific therapies, but there is one great mantra through which all herbal preparations can be energized. It is the great mantra of the Goddess.
The Goddess (Devi) is the Skakti, the divine energy working in nature, through which all healing, integration and evolution proceed. She, the Divine Mother (my note: mother earth), prepares the right food and medicine for all life forms. It is only through her that our food and medicine has nourishing and healing power. Therefore, giving power to her in the mantra energizes all things accordingly.
This mantra is
(pronounced om aim hreem kling chamoondayee vichay)
It is the mantra to the Goddess Chamunda, who integrates within herself the three great Goddesses of Saraswati, Durga and Kali, along with their three elements of air, fire, and water (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), and their three centers of the head, the navel, and the base of the spine.
(my note: for Christians, monotheists and scientists it is very important to understand this process in its historic context…these healing modalities were developed before the technologies of literal tradition…oral tradition was the technology to classify, teach and understand data/information with regards to healing and working with the laws of nature…the personification of God’s and Goddesses in a pantheistic array of words and stories was a colorful and imaginative way to classify and imprint this data on the collective minds without a pen and paper…)
Doing this mantra 108 times while preparing herbal medicines, or upon taking them, will give them a greatly increased potency. Originally, Ayurvedic medicines were prepared with a mantra. Just as food should be prepared with love to be really nourishing, so herbs should be prepared with a mantra. It is not (only) what we prepare, but how we prepare it. All healing practices should flow from the love and the awareness of a mantra. (my note: modern physics is now validating that all matter is influenced and manifest at the vibration level)
Along with mantra comes yantra. Mantra is the seed-syllable of the cosmic creative vibration; yantra is the pattern it creates, its energy field. Mantra is the name of the diety; yantra is the subtle form. Yantras are mystic diagrams, geometrical designs that manifest cosmic law (which, in more complicated designs, become mandalas).
Yantras are drawn on silk, on the bark of certain trees, on copper and on gold (copper is usually best for most purposes). Ayurvedic medicines are often prepared with yantras or in the presence of a yantra. Yantras, which are largely comosed of triangular or pyramid shapes, serve to draw in the cosmic life force and establish a space for healing to occur. With the mantra they purify the astral aura and cleanse the psychic environment, which is always impure or stagnant in the case of disease.
Yantras can also be used to purify food or water, to potentize (increase the power and depth of penetration) medicines, as well as to purify the treatment room. They can be placed on certain parts of the body, like the chakras, to release blockages. In this regard they can be used in conjunction with crystals and gem-stones.
We have illustrated (above) the Shri Yantra, which is the king of the yantras, the great yantra of the goddess that represents and contains within itself the entire universe. This yantra goes with the mantra to the goddess and can be used generally for all forms of healing and preparation of herbs.
to be continued