[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 33, Issue 23

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Wed Jan 25 00:44:01 CST 2006

Question by Mr. Santhosh:--

> I have a doubt about mantra recitiations. Some people say that if someone
> pronounces the words in a mantra incorrectly, it could bring adverse
> effects. Is this true? _____
> There is a famous verse which says that mistakes in chanting vedic mantras
> will lead to disastrous consequences. The verse is:--
> mantro hIna: svarato varNato va
> mithyAprayukto na tamarthamAha|
> sa vAgvajro yajamAnam. hinasti
> yathendraSatru: svarato' parAthAt||
> The meaning is:- Any deficiency in the pronunciation of a svara or a
> letter, or any mistake in the use of the mantra fails to convey the intended
> meaning. It is like a verbal thunderbolt. It harms the performer of the
> ritual, as it happened due to mistake in the svara in pronouncing the word
> "indraSatru:".
> There is an anecdote in bhAgavata (skandha VI, ch.9) relating to this.
> Once indra asked viSvarUpa, the son of tvashTA to perform a yAga for the
> gods. During the yAga, viSvarUpa gave some oblations to the asuras because
> his mother was an asura woman. This angered Indra and he killed viSvarUpa.
> tvashTa, the father of viSvarUpa wanted to take revenge on indra and so he
> performed a yAga for producing a person who would kill indra. While making
> the oblations into the fire he chanted, "indraSatro vivardhasva". The
> meaning he intended for this expression was, "O, slayer of indra, grow
> mighty". (The word Satru is used here in the sense of 'SAtayitA', killer,
> and not just 'enemy'. But he made a mistake in the svara of the word
> 'indraSatro'. So the meaning became "O, you whose killer is indra'. (By the
> change in the svara the word became a bahuvrIhi samAsa instead of a
> tatpurusha samAsa). As a result, vRtrAsura who emerged from the sacrificial
> fire was killed by indra in a fight.
> What is said above applies only to vedic mantras, which have svara such as
> udAtta, anudAtta and svarita and not to other stotras, etc. Even in respect
> of vedic mantras it is the opinion of vedic scholars that mistakes committed
> through inadvertence will not have adverse results as long as the person who
> chants does it with devotion and faith. In the case of tvashTa, the
> intention was evil and so he had to face the consequences.
> S.N.Sastri

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