The Ancient Science of Mantras by Om Swami

I am born a Hindu; in an Arya Samaj family and for most of the time we were brought up in a bubble isolated from our own culture. I lack knowledge about Hindu mythology except for the limited lessons in CSBE text books. 

I do not know the reasons why I picked up this book. I think I was drawn towards it. And I must admit it was a fascinating read. It added to my limited knowledge about the Hindu mythology and the science of Mantras. 

I am a firm believer in Mantras, the importance of correct pronunciation while chanting them, the purity of mind and dedication of heart while practicing this meditative form. What I wasn’t aware was that there are numerous rituals associated with this Science.

Since I did not pick this book to learn the ways to practice Mantra Sadhna, so I took the liberty to read the chapters at random. Each chapter held my curiosity and endowned me with ample knowledge. The writing was simple, fluid and extremely informative. Each aspect of mantra sadhana was explained in detail.

I was fascinated to know that Mantra sadhana involves various hand mudras (gestures) while chanting the mantra. There are numerous ways in which the mantras are chanted: some silent, few loudly and others in a meditative state. The mantra sadhana involves tantric mantra (and practices) and some mantras are chanted near the funeral pyre too. All the mantras are not meant for every individual; there is a scientific way of selecting the right mantra. There is a method to invoke them and the material required while practicing them is also very specific. There is certain food to be consumed when an adept decides to walk this path. 

All this information and so much more…is given in this book. Om Swami writes about all the essentials and fundamentals of invoking the timeless mantras for material and spiritual fulfilment. He even asserts that in absence of a human guru, this book can work as a perfect guide (and a guru too!)

Since this is the first book I read about mantras, I am in no position to validate the information given but I enjoyed reading this book for its simplicity and the gyan.

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Zindagi ka taana-banna!!

Every patchwork bedspread I stitch holds a special place in my heart. It is a journey into the inner recesses of my mind. As I embark on the journey, I explore! I explore the colours, the fabrics, the textures, the patterns and more importantly the emotions they bring to the surface. The idea that appeals the most, takes the journey forward.

This time, it was a little different. I wanted to gather as many colours, hues and prints that I possibly could in a 70” x 70” space. The idea had been on my mind since a year or two. It kept nudging me and didn’t let me be at peace till I embarked on this colourful, vibrant journey to the unknown!!

In the past 2-3 years, I had collected few leftover pieces of cloth from various sewing projects. I started by cutting pieces of 2.5” x 3.5”. It was no easy task. During summer vacations, it took me three days just to cut those pieces. And as I started stitching them together I found they were not enough to make a bedspread. At this pace I would have to wait for another 4-5 years to finish the project. And…I had other doubts too!! 

I had never been so ‘bindass’ in my collection of colours. There were innumerable to start with. It seemed they didn’t fit in aesthetically. Moreover, I had not finalised any pattern for the bedspread. The journey had started on a whim and now I was left rudderless in the deep waters. That’s when my mosi came to my rescue. She gave me scraps from her collection. Fortunately, most of the scraps were from my old projects: from the frocks I stitched for Aamya as a toddler, pieces from baby sheets or shorts, pyjamas sewn in all these years, which I had happily donated to her. We worked to finalise the design too. So, this aspect was sorted.

Any patchwork project need time, physical labour and patience. It isn’t possible to pull it off during regular working days. Well! now I eagerly waited for the winter vacations to begin. July, August, September, October, November…and December was the most difficult to pass. And then arrived the most blessed times – the winter vacations. There was perfect sunshine to pep up my mood and I was ready to unleash my creativity. I entered into a state of meditative trance!!

Again, I spent 3-4 days just to cut the scraps and make the most of each piece of cloth even though it was just a scrap. Each piece had to be ironed to smooth out the creases before cutting it. Interestingly, while I was cutting the pieces for my project, I managed to trim squares of 5” and 4” for the upcoming projects. So the excitement continues. A single piece of leftover cloth has so much potential. If we do not throw it away, it can be of so much more use.

With every piece I stitched, the excitement grew. I could not wait for another day to pass to see the entire centre piece sewn together so I stitched with new vigour (and madness)! I stitched all day long!!

The centre piece was sewn and ready to be clicked by 8 pm. Needless to say that I was thrilled to the core. This piece though is just 66″ x 66″ but it has over 500 pieces from atleast 200 different clothes. It is a feat in itself. It looks fabulous, amazing and vibrant. Much better than the one work I had set out to make.

I am a perfectionist and this one is NOT the perfect piece I have sewn but it has taught me many life lessons. First and foremost, it is not important to be perfect everytime. Relax! An imperfect work has the ability to make you ecstatic too!

The completed project…the bedspread with more than 500 pieces from around 200 different clothes

This project has scraps of different textures. Each has it’s own characteristics and stretchability! Lesson two: with a little adjustments, things can fall into place. Infact the amalgamation of textures and patterns has given the piece its unique identity.

There are innumerable colours and hues, carelessly strewn all over the 66″ square. There is no scheme or pattern for the eye to follow. Lesson three: it is not important to have a colour specific palette or scheme always! The colours in life erupt randomly and make it picturesque!!

Lastly, it has taught me that if you become adventurous and embark on journeys into the unknown territories, you experience a gamut of emotions – thrill, fear, anxiety, joy, bliss which are woven together; they test you but enrich you as an individual!!

Apne ehsason se zindagi ko haseen banana...Yehi hai zindagi ka tanaa-banaa!!