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Māheśvara Sūtras as ‘Ḍamaru’: Vāk-Yoga Technique of Vedic Mindfulness


Buddhism and Jainism have inherited Yoga-Meditation-Mindfulness techniques from Vedic teachings. In the current period, there are several models of ‘Mindfulness Meditations’ presented at various religious/ non-religious institutions, Yoga schools, and Healing Service Providers. Many of these teachings trace their anchor, antiquity, and authenticity of teaching and practice models to Buddhist and Jain sources, and variants in historic Hindu-Yoga practices coming under the tags of Tantra, Brahminical rituals, and the like. Almost all these practices are traceable and connected to Vedic traditions. They are derivable subsets of the universal model of ṚgVedic Yoga-meditation mindfulness guidance.

Origins of mindfulness are traced to Zen Buddhism. The word ‘Zen’, (the Japanese form for the word dhyāna) took various forms such as Ch’an in China, Thien in Vietnam (Thich Nhat Hanh is the Vietnamese teacher of Thien to Kabat-Zinn), Seon in Korea (Seungsahn Haengwon is the Korean teacher of Seon to Kabat-Zinn).  Dhyāna-centric Buddhism is said to have gone out of India through a Master Siddha named Bodhidharma through China. Zen Buddhism or dhyāna-centric Buddhism is a strand of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The earliest textual evidence of ‘mahāyāna’ comes from sūtras originating around the beginning of the Common Era.

Modern Buddhist Drumming Meditation and Vipassana Mindfulness Meditation techniques are derivative variants of Vedic teachings, more specifically the ‘Ḍamaru-Vāk-Yoga Meditation’ of using sounds from ‘Mahēśvara sūtras’ of VedāṅgaVyākaraṇa (vāk-Yoga/vāk-nirukti), the teachings from Pāṇini-Patañjali-Yāska; appropriated into Buddhism.This indebtedness of Buddhist Yoga-teachings to Vedic roots and traditions needs to be duly and sufficiently recognized and acknowledged in teaching schools.

Yoga-Meditation-Mindfulness techniques as Vedic inheritance to Buddhism and Jainism

Vedic resources are the common pool of Yoga-meditation techniques, tapped by Jainism and Buddhism, over millennia. Following are pre-Buddha period Vedic resources on Yoga-meditation teaching: ten major upaniṣads (circa7000 BCE or earlier), mokṣadharma teachings in Mahābhārata (circa 3100 BCE), Bhagavadgītā as a primer and consolidation of all Vedic Yogas (circa 3100BCE), Tantra works, Bhāgavatapurāṇa, Āgamas, Dharmaśāstras, Vēdāṅga works (more specifically Śikṣās and Prātiśākhyas). Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa and Vyasa’s Mahābhārata as epic narratives provide a different perspective of Vedic Yogas through the characters -narratives- symbolism.

The ten avatāras of Viṣṇu, starting with matsya (fish) incarnation are a different religion model narrative of Vedic Yogas. The concept of ‘dhyāna’ occurs in Vedic resources and Bhagavadgītā. The elaborate analysis of Vedic mindfulness meditation is mentioned in Aitarēya Brāhmaṇa (3-1 to 4), several other places in the Vedic texts, more specifically in Taittirīya Upaniṣad, Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad and Kaṭha Upaniṣad (1-3-13). The technical concept and expanded deliberation of vāk and manas in Vedas go beyond simplistic translations as speech and mind. The term ‘vāk‘ is used in Bhagavadgītā [1] and by Kālidāsa [2] in the ṚgVedic sense of the term.

The vāk-manas unification (Yoga) is the technical basis of ‘chitta-vṛtti’ [3] analytics in Pātañjala Yogasūtras. This orientation of Yogasūtras to explore consciousness in relation to vāk and manas. This is clearly endorsed in several sūtras, more specifically in the last sūtra [4].  The graded techniques to use vāk for this exploration is provided chapter wise in Yogasūtras [5]. The highest level of this instruction is ‘mantra-Yoga’ [6].  In Yogasūtras, mantra and āśiṣ [7] refer to Vedas. The term chitta in Yogasūtras is used in the same connotation and technicality of Bhagavadgītā [8]. Bhagavadgītā is ‘consolidated compendium of Vedic Yogas’ [9].

Post- Buddhist works of significance for Vedic Yoga’s are: Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī (700 BCE circa), Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya (200 BCE circa), Yogasūtras (200 BCE circa), Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra, Yogopaniṣads (between 200 BCE till 1000 CE). These provide a well documented continuity and customization of Vedic technique in the time line of several millennia.

Chronicled records in Jainism and Buddhism confirm that Mahāvīra and Gautama Buddha practiced many Yoga techniques and interacted with many yogis of their time. The Vedic teachings seem to have found an osmosis in to the Buddhist and Jaina Yoga practices. Buddha and Mahāvīra are acknowledged advanced Yoga practitioners. The twenty-four tīrthakaras are described as yogis of arhat and siddha order. Jainism and Buddhism recognize many yoginīs (female Yoga practitioners with miraculous powers). The indebtedness of Buddhism and Jainism to Vedic Yoga traditions is acknowledged in classical Buddhist and Jain literature. When such osmosis of Yoga-practices takes place across different schools with distinct philosophies and religion-leaderships to achieve a social outreach benefit, the old terminologies and practices get a different word wrap.

Scholars have identified the historic timeline of cross religions osmosis and transitions of Yoga terms and practices. The terms dhyāna and samāhita (entering samādhi) appear in Upaniṣadic texts, which predate Buddhism. Indriya Bhāvanā Sutta in Majjhima Nikāya-152 contains derivatives of Yoga-practices from Upaniṣads [10]. The Pārāyana-vagga mentions Vedic Yoga instructions. The aphorism- passan na passati (Sanskrit: paśyan na paśyati) is drawn directly from Vedic resources Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.ii.23) – yadvai tanna paśyati, paśyanvai tanna paśyati. This is also proximate to Bhagavadgītā (13-28) – samaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu, tiṣṭhantaṁ parameśvaram, vinaśyatsvavinaśyantaṁ, yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati.

Like Buddhism, Jainism also has adapted modified formats of Vedic Yoga-meditation techniques with Jain philosophical frame work. E.g. Śukladhyāna, kāyotsarga, prekṣādhyāna, anuvratas, twelve bhāvanā-dhyānas, etc. Ācārāṅga Sūtra (500 BCE), Kundakunda’s Samayasāra (100 BCE), Haribhadra’s Yogadṛṣṭi-samuccaya (800ACE) are some of the Jain works in which we find documented evidence for this.

Yoga researchers have explored the timeline of concept evolution and adaptation of ṚgVedic root-thoughts in to Jain and Buddhist Yoga teachings. The Vedic Yoga- meditation techniques have acquired new avatāra in different disciplines; and acquired context specific practical formats and terminologies in Vedic tradition related āgama, tantra, purāṇas, Śrīvidyā, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Śaktism and Vēdānta.The polestar benefits of Vedic mindfulness meditation practices are self-realization, visioning total truth, total wellness and peace.( Ātmadarśana, Satya-dharma-dṛṣṭi, Sampūrṇa-saukhya-śānti). The incidental secondary benefits are healing, stress relief and relaxation. The body-mind related healing solutions can be sought by a localization and customization of Vedic Yogas in current period. Chanting of Māheśvarasūtras with ḍamaru is one such derivative of Vedic Yoga-meditation technique for mindfulness.This comes from the Pāṇini-Patañjali tradition of vāk-Yoga, the Vēdāṅga Vyākaraṇa, Yoga way of teaching-learning-practicing Sanskrit.

Vedic origin of technique: Ṛveda Śākalasaṁhitā, Aitarēya Brāhmaṇa (3-1 to 4) provides clear articulate reference to Vedic Yoga-meditation mindfulness (guidance and techniques).  The key part of Vedic mantra reads: Om vāṅ me manasi pratiṣṭhitā, mano me vāci pratiṣṭhitam. The summary translation reads: I see my vāk (speech) established in my manas (mind); my manas (mind) is united with my vāk (speech)! Self-luminous Brahman, reveal thyself to me. May my vāk and manas (speech and mind) enable me to envision, grasp, and articulate the total truth. Let me not suffer scripture-dementias! Let me study all through day and night! I shall think, practice, and stay with truth; I will always speak, and be established in truth. May truth protect me. The truth shall protect my mentor and master. The truth shall protect us and our togetherness. Aum. Peace! Peace! Peace! This śāntimantra is recited at the beginning and end of chanting of each sūkta of Ṛgveda.

Purpose: The Ṛgveda document, sets the polestar goal of Vedic mindfulness Yoga- meditation. The goal is to explore higher states of consciousness. The checklist to review the progress is achievement of four universal benefits: total peace-total wellness- total truth- self realization (Śānti-saukhya-satya-ātmadarśana; in short a singular term for all this is Pūrṇa-brahma-yoga). The intention is to provide a practical practice guidance for everyone to become and be a ‘(vāk)-yogi’ to enjoy the total benefits of Yoga-meditation. This text provides instructions for Yoga-meditation for mindfulness, the practice of unification of speech sounds with mind and consciousness. The guidance is for engagements with and explorations of final frontiersof consciousness. This text also provides the Vēdānta axiom of consciousness: consciousness is supreme, sacred, universal substratum. This passage is also the overarching peace chant (śāntimantra) for the entire Veda.

Scope of technique: The Ṛgvedic statement covers all aspects of the theory, technique, social and spiritual benefits from practice of Vedic mindfulness Yoga-meditation technique. The statement provides clear scope and directives for localization, personalization, contextualized customization of the teaching for needs of professions and accommodate faith-philosophy diversity. The desire is to use Yoga as a tool to explore frontiers of consciousness.

Practice format: The practice instruction emerging from this Vedic sūkta are: (i) to connect and unify vāk and manas (ii) to consciously explore-engage-experience the frontiers of consciousness. The Vedic technique guides practitioner through the practice steps: (i) Connect vāk (speech) and manas (mind, psyche). Vāk is articulate manifestation of thought. (ii) Expand, explore, and unify the natural connection of vāk and manas. (iii) Use vākmanas together to investigate the frontiers of consciousness.

The technicality of the term ‘ pratiṣṭhitā’ ‘ provides a plurality of instructions and Yoga-practice modalities in this context. The proximate statement in the same text prajñānaṁ brahma suggests: The fullness (pūrṇatā) of mind is attained by conscious meditative engagement of manas using vāk as tool of exploration. The Upaniṣad details sixteen intermediary and perspective meditative states of experiencing consciousness in this vākmanas unification. The progress is audited with reference to experiential stabilization of four values: Total peace -Total wellness- Total truth- Self realization. This basic technique is practice of unification of speech sounds with mind and consciousness.

To fully decode the significance of this practice instructions, the Yoga-masters use several distributed passages from other Vedas, Upavedas and Vedāṅga resources. The full significance of the instruction opens up only when all the distributed details and instructions in language: Sanskrit, spread across four Upavedas and six Vedāṅgas are properly unified and put to practice. The pointers to the perspectives of vāk-yoga teaching, taking in to account the elements of vāk as universal eternal sacred alphabets (varṇa-akṣara), units made of voiced varṇa-akṣaras for use in a sentence (uccaritavarṇa-ākṛti, śabda in vākya), the universal transcendental thread that passes through all the varṇa-akṣaras (nāda) come under the broad umbrella of ‘brahma-yoga-jijñāsā’ in Brahmasūtras and Bhagavadgītā. The technique is described as ‘vāgartha-sampṛkti/ pratipatti’. 

The Vedic-Yoga instructions are classified in to three groups. (i) Yoga directives related to vāk: vāk-yoga (ii) Yoga directives related to manas (mano-yoga, chitta yoga) (iii) advance directives for unification of Yogas of vāk and manas (vaṅ-mano-yoga, mantra-yoga, pūrṇa-yoga). The authenticity for this line of interpretation comes from sixteen perspectives provided in Aitarēya Brāhmaṇa with specific terms [11]. These terms are connotative of the processes and dynamic transformations that take place in vāk -manas- engaged exploration of consciousness (brahma). The sixteen specific terms provide clarity on validation and articulation of mindfulness experience of consciousness in progress of meditation. The detailing covers perspectives of memory (smṛti), desire (kāma), higher intellect (dhī), creativity (pratibhā), visioning (darśana), intention (saṅkalpa). All these perspectives, techniques, and technicalities are coded in Pātañjala Yogasūtras. This is not an isolated sporadic discussion. These are connected continuations of several Yoga-meditation for mindfulness discussions centering on ‘vāk‘ in Vedas. The Ṛgveda sūktas addressing ‘vāk-devatā, Sarasvatī, Brahmaṇaspati’ [12] show the vast and diverse nature of vāk-manas-mantra unification in Vedas.

Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya invokes the authority of Ṛgveda (10-71-2) ‘saktumiva titavuna punanto, yatra dhīrā manasā vāchamakrata’, to explain the Yoga connection of vāk in language: Sanskrit. Other terms for Sanskrit in Vedic disciplines are Vāk-yoga, Śabdānuśāsana, Vēdāṅga Vyākaraṇa. The Vedic mantra ‘satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi’ (Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa 1-1-1) connects [13]: ‘Dhī (the contemplative wisdom) with the origin of the visioned truth, manifested as realized expression (vācham)’. The carrier of such expression is the enlightened manas (mind). The practical of expression ‘dhīmahi‘ in Gāyatrī mantra is Vedic vākyoga mindfulness meditation technique. The term ‘pracodayāt’ is the instruction for conscious engagement in the process of vāk-manas unification. The term ‘pracodayāt’ (inspire us, guide us) is practice, instruction, action way of endorsing the intention embedded in the term ‘pratiṣṭhitā’ (established, anchored to) in earlier reference. This is the term for making a statement of factual status, the expression of experience. This technique and technicality for experiencing mindfulness is endorsed once again in Gāyatrī mantra and [14] in Bhagavadgītā (3-42) and (17-15).

Buddhism takes only segments of this Vedic ‘practice technique’; disconnects ‘Vedic roots, Yoga- frame work and language of text: Sanskrit and goes ahead to substitutes Vedic framework with a different philosophical framework and language pedagogy. The new model of Yoga-meditation teaching for mindfulness is addressed to a different novice Yoga-audience and for healing benefits!

Vedic techniques redefined in Upavedas and Vedāṅgas:

Traditional schools advocate the use of six Vedāṅgas to understand Vedic text in langauge: Sanskrit, containing coded formulae of Yoga directives. Four Upavedas are to be used to make practical applications of the teaching to get four benefits of Yoga. Four Upavedas and six Vedāṅgas present Ṛgvedic Yoga-directive as appropriate for their discipline detailing. 

Four Upaveda disciplines are: Āyurveda, Dhanurveda, Gāndharvaveda and Vāstuveda. These disciplines cover Yoga applications and solutions for human needs of healthy longevity (dīrghāyu through Āyurveda), security by defense and offense (yajña-astra-śāstra through Dhanurveda), ethical entertainment for balanced togetherness and emotionally harmonious relations (rasa-bhāva-sāhitya, saṅgīta-nāṭya-kalā Yoga through Gāndharvaveda), material technology sciences for comfortable community living Vāstu-padārthaveda).

Six Vedāṅgas are 1. Śikṣā 2. Vyākaraṇa 3. Chandas 4. Nirukta 5. Kalpa 6. Jyotiṣ. These disciplines cover Yoga applications and solutions for human needs of communication, timing and procedures for action. Six Vedāṅga disciplines are iconically presented as six parts of human body. This is a symbolic way of telling that the disciplines are organic whole. They are not isolated dismembered disconnected pars for assembly as one prefers! The modeling of six disciplines are 1. Śikṣā (like nose, function to breathe, to nasalize speech sounds, to smell): science of articulation of Vedic alphabets, Vedic phonetics, phonology, pronunciation. This auxiliary discipline is focused on the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, accent, quantity, stress, melody and rules of euphonic combination. The Veda specific works in this category are called prātiśākhyas. 2. Vyākaraṇa (entirety of face which holds the eyes, ears, nose, head and front-of face, the skull which serves as holder and protection of brain): This is grammar and linguistic analysis. The rules to process Vedic words are different from the rules to process non-Vedic langauge: Sanskrit words. 3. Chandas (feet, which enables walking, to carry, to support): prosody, is focused on the poetic meters. 4. Nirukta (Ears to hear): etymology, explanation of words, in Vedic context, meaning extraction as appropriate for level of consciousness. 5. Kalpa (hands for action): yajña-Yoga ritual instructions. 6. Jyotiṣ (eyes to see, vision): The science of time-energy measure needed in advanced vak-mano Yoga. 

Four benefits of Yoga-practice listed in Bhagavadgītā are: Yoga is a solution for stress and suffering (duḥkhahā), a practice guidance for fostering skill excellence (kauśalam), a therapeutic technique to remedy imbalances and inequality, a professional solution to  restore health, harmony, equanimity and balance (samatvam, sāmyam), Yoga as spiritual science directive providing holistic methods and systems to objectively explore the final frontiers of consciousness, in a healthy, ethical, cultured, conscientious way. (yogena ātmadarśanam, Yoga-dhyāna, Yoga-vijñāna, Yoga-sūtra, Yoga-śāstra, Yoga-anushāsana, Yoga-abhyāsa).

Vedic techniques redefined in Upaveda Nāṭyaśāstra (Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra)

Nāṭyaśāstra is Gāndharvaveda, an Upaveda. This discipline picks up the vāk-manas Yoga of Ṛgveda in the manas-part. The Ṛgvedic vāk-manas Yoga is presented as vāk-artha -sampṛkta-rasa Yoga, rasātmaka vākya Yoga. Nāṭyaśāstra is associated with ‘Nandī’ the vehicle of Śiva. Nāṭyaśāstra makes association of ‘Nandī and Bhṛṅgī’ as divine drummers and dance accomplices for Naṭarāja performing cosmic dance. The joyful meditative sounding of drums and ḍamaru (cf: mṛdaṅga) during Śiva’s dance (nartana) is well represented in many South Indian temples and art descriptions. This icon of Naṭarāja-rāja (universal consciousness, caitanya) as divine Yogī dancing and sounding the ḍamaru, yielding fourteen Māheśvarasūtras to Siddha vāk-yogi’s like Sanaka, Pāṇini needs a better understanding in the light of Ṛgveda mantra above.

In Nāṭyaśāstra perspective, stage craft (Nāṭya-gīta-kalā) makes artist’s body (naṭa) as the vehicle and platform to outreach Yoga benefits to commoner in society (prekṣaka). Artist is called a kalā-yogī. Art pursuit and practice is Yoga-abhyāsa, Yoga sādhanā. Stage (raṅga) is the outside platform of inner heart and mind (anta-raṅga). Stage-craft regulating rules are called Nāṭya (Yoga-yajña) sūtra, naṭa-(rāja)-sūtra. Stage is the platform where poet (kavi) presents vāk as kāvya (aesthetic vākya). The vāk-mano-Yoga of Veda becomes social deliverable stage craft where artist presents aesthetic literature (kāvyarasa; vākya-yoga) to the connoisseur (sahṛdaya). The total engagement is called kavi-sahṛdaya tattva, sarasvatī-tattva.

Here we see manas outputting its bhāvanā through the expressions of ‘vāk‘- vākya to become kāvya. Literature, music, poetry, drama are considered manifestation of Vedic vāk-mano-yoga in Upaveda formats, delivering rasa-bhāva-bhāvanā Yoga. The socio-cultural and religious community practices related to art form presentation of Rāmāyana, Mahābhārata, narratives of sacred storeis of purānas in theater as ‘sacred acts to please the gods, to spread the message of sanātana dharma’ substantiate this interpretation.

Vedic technique redefined in Vedāṅga Vyākaraṇa and Nirukta (Pāṇini-Patañjali-Yāska tradition)

Vyākaraṇa and Nirukta traditions of Vedāṅgas pick up the vāk-manas-yoga of Ṛgveda in the vāk-part and presents it as vāk-Yoga and vāk-artha-Yoga. In this perspective,’vāk‘ is ‘unitized -letters (varṇa-svara-akṣara) intentionally made to manifest as a meaningful word (prakṛti to pada), to be used as a part of communicative aesthetic (sundara) sentence (vākya), to deliver ‘rasa‘. The Vedic Yoga directive is appropriately presented in each discipline.  

The Vāk part of Ṛgvedic directive becomes vāk-yoga in Vedāṅga Vyākaraṇa, built around the anchor of fourteen Māheśvarasūtras, presenting fourty-three ‘varṇa-akṣara samāmnāya’ as ‘upadeśa‘. These atoms of vāk are common to vāk in Chandas and Bhāṣā part of langauge Sanskrit. These atoms are treated in Veda specifc way in prātishākhyas; and langauge specific way in langauges of Brāhmī family. 

The vāk-manas combine of Ṛgvedic directive becomes vāk-artha Yoga in Vedāṅga -Nirukta, built around the purpose oriented meaning extraction linked to the layers of consciousness. If Vyākaraṇa keeps its focus on word-structure and process of arriving at the word-form (pada-nirmiti, pada-prakriyā, pada-svarūpa), Nirukta keeps its focus on word-meaning, word-purpose (pada-artha-nirukti, pada-artha-prakriyā, pada-prayoga-viniyoga). In Vedāṅga Vyākaraṇa, the ‘vision’ of fourteen Māheśvarasūtras (Śivasūtrajāla) is associated with the dance of Śiva and sounding of the instrument ‘ḍamaru (ḍhakkā)’. The beneficiaries of these sūtras are advanced Siddha Yogīs like Sanaka. Pāṇini- Patañjali-Yāska tradition provides the Vedāṅga specific detailing of vāk-manas-Yoga techniques; and a way to unify different perspective of the teachings.The ‘ḍamaru‘-Yoga technique of Vedic mindfulness using Māheśvarasūtras is a startup practice in this line.     

Ḍamaru: use of percussion instrument in Yoga, meditation, dance, ritual, religion practices.

The percussion instrument ‘ḍamaru‘ is also known as ‘ḍhakkā’. It is one of the music instruments in the ‘drums’ class. Ḍamaru comes in many shapes and sizes. This is the instrument in the hand of dancing Śiva (Naṭarāja). This instrument is a part of instrumetns in dance, drama and music performances.This instrument is also used in rituals, religious ceremonies and community events.We see ḍamaru in Indus-Sarasvatī seals as a part of percussion instruments in community rituals and chorus singing practices. The iconic sculptures in many temples show the use of ‘ drumming, percussion instruments’ as a part of rituals and mantra chants. Musicologists inform that ḍamaru is a ‘laya’ instrument and not a conventional musical instrument. ‘Laya’ means a continuum of discontinuous equal parts of time.

Ḍamaru sounding helps to blend the quantum of time and space (tālakālamāna) between the flowing sound and silence of the beats. The construction of the ḍamaru is such that, it can be continuously percussed. The ḍamaru is indirectly percussed. The string of the ḍamaru rebounds when it makes contact with the diaphragm of the instrument, thus creating a plosive sound i.e. the time of contact of the string with the diaphragm tends to zero. By using antagonist set of muscles, in apposing harmony, it can be beaten continuously. The string of the ḍamaru likens to a pendulum in a clock. In this way, it carves equal intervals of time, thus equating the energy transferred through the muscles.

The use of drums as an aid for mindfulness meditation to focus attention is well established in Zen Buddhism; the wooden fish drum is a well-known device for marking time during sūtra chanting. In Korea and Japan, drumming performances by Buddhist monks have become an art form and a particularly intense form of meditation requiring near trance-like intensity and mindful focus.  

In the Mahāyāna tradition, drums and bells are regularly used to announce the daily meditation or to make offerings. Drums, bells, and gongs are used to accompany sūtra recitation—to focus the mind, to give thanks, and to purify. Combination of percussion and chanting as a group activity is common in many Buddhist meditation practices. The drum is most often used in temples in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, The United States (mostly in Zen temples) when reciting sūtra. In Indian context, ḍamaru (and similar models) with multitude of instruments-percussion, plucked, stringed and airblowing are used as a regular part of worship and community events.

The drum serves as a rhythmic time keeping unit, a percussion instrument in music and dance. Drum has been central to many religious and cultures, from shamanism to medieval Catholic rituals. For the last 2,500 years, drums have been an important component of Buddhist temples and monasteries, where they are used to this day, for the most mundane purpose of time-keeping to esoteric meditation over sūtra chanting with time-marking tasks which facilitate deep meditative practice.

Drumming is a religious practice, a meditative tool, a therapeutic aid, or as simple time keeping meditative entertainment. The selection of drum has a relation to keep the wakeful state of mind, the mind in an alert, active attentive focused state. The technique for combining one or more language sounds with the sound of percussion instrument, like drum, depends upon the guidance. The other sound could be a single sound, a select sound, a cluster of sounds.

The technique of meditation may be instruction  to listen and focus on two sounds unification, vocie to be in tune with the instrument, sound the instrument with vocal articulation, focus on sound differential between two kinds of sounds, observe the shifts between two kinds of sounds, consciously balance the articulate voiced sound with sound from percussion instrument, observe the void between sounds, flow conscious awareness with the flow of energy of silence that wraps around the sound, focus on the emptiness, alternate awareness and observation from silence to sounds cyclically.

The teaching terms could be like observe the sound, be with the silence, be with the flow, pure consciousness  cognition, sound visualization, mantra experience,  go beyond breath focus to sound flow awareness, shift state of consciousness. The select sound may be associated with a quality of sacredness, mysticism, and uniqueness. In extended long hours of practice of such techniques, the mediator would notice that sound travels, apparently on forever, in a wrapper of conscious-silence, penetrating all of the illusion of name – form – meaning associations, and through all intentional cognition, leading to state of silent witness, an internal neutral spectator (sthitaprajña, draṣṭā, sākṣī, cetā, kevala) of flow. The mantras, sūtras and meditation all merge. Based on Lotus sūtra– chapter 7, percussion sounds are integral part of meditation in the Mahāyāna tradition based Nichiren Shu School. In Vajrayāna Buddhism, the drum and bell are also symbols potent with significance. The scientists say that this is a practice which induces theta waves in brain for sound visualization; a signature tune of neurophysiologic experience of mindfulness Yoga-meditation.

ḌamaruMāheśvarasūtras (Śivasūtras)

Tradition provides references of three traditional frames of ḍamaru connection with Śiva:  Śivasūtras (langauge vāk -sounds), dancer (Naṭarāja), Śiva with Śakti (yogī in union). Vedāṅga Vyākaraṇa uses langauge connection. Vedāṅga Vyākaraṇa uses Māheśvarasūtras (Śivasūtras) in the model of fourteen formulae of atoms of vāk, the special set sequence and cluster of fourty-three sounds of language Sanskrit. Here, ḍamaru is the emanating point of Māheśvarasūtras.

Upaveda Nāṭyaśāstra uses dance -yoga connection of Śiva. Here Śivasūtra is vākartharasa sūtras. Ḍamaru is a part of the total performance in stage craft involving dance, drama, music, literature, religious music. Ḍamaru is an integral part of ritual. Ḍamaru is a percussion instrument for ‘laya’, experience of ‘kāvyarasa’, the experience and expression of  emotions transforming to rasa’.  Siddhānta tradition uses Śiva with Śakti (yogi in union) model. Here, maheswara (Śiva) sūtras go the model as provided in tantra, aagama of kashmir school by vasubandhu. In this school, ḍamaru is a sacred instrument and integral part of religion-ritual. Vāk is a combination of Śiva-Śakti, vāk-artha. The engagement is with layers of vāk as Śakti-artha-yuktatā perspective of vāk-manas Yoga. This is a complement of Bharata and PāṇiniPatañjali-Yāska school.

The traditional narrative of Māheśvarasūtras ‘ revelation to Pāṇini is connected to ‘ḍamaru‘ and ‘dance’. Śiva, sounded the hand held percussion instrument ḍhakkā (ḍamaru) at the closing of his cosmic dance, with a desire to reveal an uplifting advanced Yoga technique to advanced Siddhas like Sanaka. The sounds that emanated from the instrument were captured by Pāṇini and other ‘ Siddhavākyogīs. This revelation is said to be the fourteen Māheśvarasūtras, or Śivasūtras.The Vedic mindfulness Yoga guidance connecting ‘human speech sound units’ with the sounds of ‘ḍamaru‘ percussion instrument used in dance, for active Yoga- meditation  is inspired by this traditional narrative.

Māheśvarasūtras are also known as ‘Śivasūtrajāla’,’upadeśa’. This may be conceptualized and explained as  ‘conscious, auspicious, formulae of  human language sounds (svara- varṇa -akṣara samāmnāya), presented as a weave and web of ‘atoms of vāk’, originated from percussion instrument (drum – ḍhakkā, ḍamaru), sounded  by Naṭarāja-rāja (Māheśvara Śiva), at the end of his cosmic dance. The intention being, to provide a vāk-Yoga meditation technique to uplift (uddhartu-kāmaḥ) the advanced Siddhayogīs like Sanaka. In Pāṇinian tradition, this is a set of fourteen clusters of svara- varṇa -akṣara samāmnāya, reorganizing the atoms of vāk in a special sequence. The fourty-three units of langauge sounds in Śivasūtra are as follows:

१. अ इ उ ण् । २. ऋ ऌ क् । ३. ए ओ ङ् । ४. ऐ औ च् । ५. ह य व र ट् । ६. ल ण् । ७. ञ म ङ ण न म् । ८. झ भ ञ्। ९. घ ढ ध ष् । १०. ज ब ग ड द श् । ११. ख फ छ ठ थ च ट त व् ।  १२. क प य् । १३. श ष स र् । १४. ह ल् ।

(  1. a i u Ṇ 2. ṛ ḷ K 3. e o Ṅ 4. ai au C 5. ha ya va ra Ṭ 6. la Ṇ 7. ña ma ṅa ṇa na M 8. jha bha Ñ 9. gha ḍha dha Ṣ 10. ja ba ga ḍa da Ś  11. kha pha cha ṭha tha ca ṭa ta V 12. ka pa Y 13. śa ṣa sa R 14. ha L)

This organization of Sanskrit alphabets are grouped by plosive sounds according to their place of articulation from back to front: from guttural (throat), palatal (palate), retroflex (behind the teeth), dental (between the teeth) to labial (at the lips). The nasalization of sounds, the variant tonal pronunciations as a process outcome of articulation and individual are all taken in to account in this unique organization. The fourteen Mahēśvarasūtras are integral part of Vēdāṅga Vyākarana. They provide the ‘fourteen Yoga-alphabet clusters, set and sequence of fourty-three sounds’ of ‘vāk‘.  ‘Mahēśvarasūtras are special arrangement of the atoms of vāk, the ‘Vedic svara-varṇa-akṣaras’. Mahēśvarasūtras are the foundation for design of grammar rules for Sanskrit.

The pedagogy and purpose of Vedāṅga and Siddhānta traditions in using the ‘atoms of vāk‘ and ‘ḍamaru association’ in Śivasūtra are different. Pāṇinian tradition uses Śivasūtras to build ‘sañjñā‘-technical formulae to build the word (pada) units of sentence (vākya). In Vasubandhu tradition, Śivasūtra units are called mātṛkās (mother-seeds, with a finite measure), Śakti bīja-akṣaras (potent atoms of cosmic energy). In Vedic mindfulness Yoga-meditation techniques, the sound-sequence structures from Māheśvarasūtras are utilized, with understanding as appropriate from each school. In Bharata tradition, the atoms of vāk– are used to work with patterns of ‘tālaāvarta’ (cyclic patterns of laya) in percussion instruments like ḍamaru. The teaching-practice techniques of ḍamaru Yoga meditation with sounds of Māheśvarasūtras comes from Vedāṅga Vyākaraṇa (vāk-Yoga) tradition. The elemental unit sounds in Māheśvarasūtras are prescribed as ‘seed sounds’ (bīja akṣaras) for ‘varṇaākṛtidhyāna’ Yoga-meditation technique, leading to Vedic mindfulness.

Vedic linguists use Pāṇini-Patañjali-Yāska teachings as Vēdāṅga tradition to work with Māheśvarasūtras to develop teaching-practice techniques leading to the conclusions stated as Vedānta. Upaveda linguists use Vasubandhu– prātishākhya part of Vedic śikṣāa- to develop teaching-practice techniques in the frame of Siddha-Yoga tradition to work with  Śivasūtras as Śakti-artha sūtras. This approach provides scope to develop several variants of root Vedic mindfulness Yoga-meditation technique used in nigama-āgama (temple deployed Vedic worship), purāṇa (devatā related Yoga worship), yogopaniṣads (which bridge the uplifting path from devatā to  parā-devatā, supreme divine and power, parabrahma)  and tantra  schools (Śrīvidyā and daśa-mahā-vidyā). These are called siddhānta approved practices. These teachings endorse and complement Vedānta teachings. Buddhist and Jain schools have appropriated teachings-practices from these resources to develop their versions of Yoga-meditation worship techniques, with unique nomenclatures.

When a teaching comes from Śiva, the mahā-yogī, the teaching cannot be anything else than Yoga. Yoga means unification. The scope of unification operates as long as there is a scope for unifying, the presence of a duality and competence by status and processes.  The benefit of unification is achievement of fullness, wholeness, integrity (pūrṇatā, samagratā).  Vāk-mano Yoga is an ascending order of Yoga-meditation demonstrating how aṅgas (auxiliaries) of Veda (knowledge) unify  to become full.

In Śivasūtra school, we see three Vedāṅgas (Śikṣā, Vyākaraṇa, Nirukta) unification. This is varṇa -pada-artha-vākya unification to learn-practice Sanskrit as vāk-Yoga. The guidance is to learn and practice samskrutham for ‘true total communication (satya vāk) and total communion (shabda-brahma sākṣātkāra). The focus is on ‘word formation’ (pada-nirmiti). The rule book is called ‘pada prakriyā sūtra/ śāstra’. The foundation of Vyākaraṇa (language grammar) is śikṣā (language phonetic); the output of Vyākaraṇa goes in to Nirukta ( word -etymology in a given language and usage context).

In Śivasūtra– Vasubandhu-Prātiśākhya school, we see the raise of bar for unification of Vedāṅgas to Siddhānta-Vedānta unification. This is vāk-artha-Yoga, vākya- mantra tātparya-artha -viniyoga unification. It is guidance to learn-practice Sanskrit as vāk-artha Śakti padārtha Yoga for śuddhi (purification) and siddhi (miracle powers). Sanskrit, in this sense is Yoga processes unifying name-form-processes (nāma-rūpa prakriyā) of Yoga. The related technical terms are mantra-yantra- devatā rūpa- ṛṣi -devatā-candas -japa viniyoga. The focus is on ‘name to form transformation (nāma- rūpa vivarta prakriyā for vāgartha pratipatti, Śiva-Śakti sākṣātkāra).The rule book is called ‘mantra-Yoga- viniyoga shāstra, tantra shāstra’. The foundation of mantra-yoga-vyākaraṇa (grammar of vāk-artha -pratipatti Yoga) is mantra bīja-akṣara nirukti (mystic phonetic); the output of pada -vākya  goes in to padārtha – vākyartha (word – sentence to matter-meaning materialization). More details are in texts of Kaula traditions.

ḌamaruMāheśvarasūtras chanting meditation technique (Learning Yoga-articulation of vāk -elements: Sanskrit varṇamālā

Ḍamaru meditation with Māheśvarasūtras training is intended to train student learn proper articulation of Sanskrit varṇamālā. This ‘śuddhauccāraṇa’ Yoga appropriate articulation of vāk-atoms, has an important bearing on proper chanting of vedas and mantras. When one articulates a sentence (vākya), there is a flow of human language sounds and silence between the letters (varṇa -akṣara) and words (pada) in the overall structure of sentence (vākya). A close observation and analysis of this vāk /vākya process is engagement of manas with vāk, to cognize the vākya -prakriyā, the total process of atoms of vāk, the svaraakṣaras and their processes in intentional manifestation, flow of consciousness, transformation of life energy (prāṇa) in architecting a sentence in the space of ākāśa tattva and kāla (time). The same directions are made for observation of flow and processes of percussion instrument sounds in a rhythm (tāla-cycle) formation. These percussion sounds are merge- mapped over to the flow of voiced sounds and rhythms, intentionally. Thus, two streams and modalities of sounds come under active engagement and observation for unification. In ḍamaru meditation, the mahēśvara sūtra sounds are unified with the sounds of ḍamaru, for meditative observation and unifying.

When one recites the Māheśvarasūtras in conjunction with playing the ḍamaru, the plosive sound of the ḍamaru synchronizes with the recitation of the Māheśvarasūtras. This indirectly equates the effort invested to voice each letter. Thus each Sanskrit letter is voiced with equal internal effort (ābhyantara prayatna).The Māheśvarasūtras are recited without adding svaras, meaning without adding vowels or intonation. All letters are voiced short, except for the long vowels viz., e, ai, o, and au.  The reason being that, e, ai, o, and au are never voiced short in Sanskrit. The short and the long vowels are not subjective approximations in Sanskrit. They are objective, on account of them being standardized with the beats of the ḍamaru. While reciting the Māheśvarasūtras , all letters are voiced from their respective place positions. That they be so voiced, is the instruction. Therefore the Māheśvarasūtras are also called as the samāmnāya (equalized, balanced and measured articulation, sam-ā-mnāya) i.e. they voice articulation aligns to the standards set for Vedic chanting.

Basic technique- ḌamaruMāheśvarasūtras chanting meditation:

When one practices the Māheśvarasūtras along with the ḍamaru over a period of time, one naturally becomes aware of the effort, both internal and external (ābhyantara prayatnabāhya prayatna) invested to recite each letter in the sūtras. It is then possible for one to locate the exact point of contact of the articulatory location in voice organs. The process then enables one to voice the plosive and non-plosive consonants, as also to observe the shape of the tongue while voicing vowels.

On the articulation of a plosive, built up pressure is released by a sudden release of air. In Sanskrit, plosives are ideally pronounced sonant and aspirated from guttural (k,kh,g,gh), palatal (c,ch,j,jh), retroflex (ṭ,ṭh,ḍ,ḍh), and dental (t,th,d,dh) to labial (p,ph,b,bh).The Sanskrit alphabet groups the plosive sounds according to their place of articulation from back to front: from guttural (throat),palatal (palate), retroflex (behind the teeth), dental (between the teeth),to labial (at the lips). Gutturals are produced deep down at the back of the oral cavity, at the bridge of the soft palate and the throat. In Sanskrit, there are guttural vowels (a / ā), plosives (k,kh,g,gh), nasals (ṅ) and fricatives (ḥ). There is no guttural semivowel.

In this process, in due course of time, the practitioners can observe in vitro, the points of contact of the consonants. The recitation of the Māheśvarasūtras is an in-vivo exercise, because the letters are recited in predetermined sequence, as is in the case of words. That is, the Māheśvarasūtras are voiced contiguously. While reciting the Māheśvarasūtras in laya, one has to compulsorily voice the letters with the help of the diaphragmatic air expulsion mechanism starting from naval (nābhi prayatna).In the Pāṇinīyaśikṣā it is said that the letters rise from the naval (nābhi).The awareness is drawn and focused internally to the body and sounds flow.

Mindfulness is characterized by deep rhythmic breathing with the help of the nābhi.  When a person is in the grip of emotion or is in a disturbed state of mind the breathing is done with the help of pulmonic egressive mechanism. When a person achieves reciting the maheshwar sūtras as expected the whole body is set into coordination with the internal rhythm. This coordination helps a person achieve stability thus sponsoring mindfulness.  An overall change in the breathing pattern ensures a steady mind.    

In ḍamaru meditation, the Māheśvarasūtra sounds are unified with the sounds of ḍamaru, for meditative observation and unifying. In the new designs of appropriated Vedic Yoga-meditation techniques of mindfulness, the choice of instrument has varied from drum, ḍamaru to wooden fish drum, bells, cymbals, gong, blowing conch shells, horns, trumpets, bamboo sticks, simple clapping and the like. The selection of the sound is based on its quality to stimulate and induce a state of trance-like effect. Mindfulness meditation technique with blending of voiced sounds of human language and percussion instrument generated sounds is a variant of Vedic basic technique.

The new design of Vedic vak-Yoga mindfulness meditation practices have taken the basic design of Vedic mindfulness techniques and provided a new practice guidance. The feature of the new technique is unifying an articulate human language sound for blending it with the sound of a percussion instrument, like ḍamaru. The inspiration is from the ‘mythical story of Māheśvarasūtras as human language sounds emanating from percussion instrument ‘ḍamaru‘ held by dancing Śivas. This basic technique is in tune with the Vedic mantra reference instructed by Patañjali in Mahābhāṣya, invoking the use of the term ‘vākyoga’. This points to the benefits of ‘vākyoga’ in real world, here and now.

The reference reads: yastu prayuṅktē kuśalaḥ śabdān yathāvat vyavahārakālē, sonantamāpnoti jayam paratra vāgyōgavit duśyati nāpaśabdaiḥ. The standard of Yoga-Sanskrit pronunciation, comes out of this Vedic mantra. The skilled speaker (kuśalaḥ) who uses (yastu prayuṅktē) the ‘ shabda’ (śabdān atoms of vāk and their evolutes), as they are (yathāvat) in cosmos, resonating with their universal frequency and resonance, in the real world of action (vyavahārakālē ), that speaker will achieve unfailing glorious victory (so-anantam- jayam -āpnoti) at all times and places; the expert in ‘vākyoga’ will never suffer the stress of inappropriate and bad communication.

This mantra gets enhanced explanation provided with the invocation of two more Vedic mantras and mystic spiritual processes mentioned there in: saptahastaḥ catuḥśṛṅgaḥ… (Linked to the modeling of seven vibhaktis) and four layers of vāk (catvāri vāk parimitā padāni). This basic technique is applied at the atoms level of vāk. This recitation of alphabets continuously is a part of the technique. The next level is blending the voiced recitation of the alphabets with the sounds from the percussion instrument. The variant is change in the set-sequence of recitation of the alphabets. The variant can be Māheśvarasūtras or any other sūtras.

This variant of technique gets the name ‘akṣara śloka‘ with ‘ḍamaru meditation’. The advanced phase of this akṣara śloka technique is called the ‘dīrgha praṇava-nāda’, popularly known as ‘elongated chant of sacred sound ‘aum’, with the stretch of three unit svaras – ‘a-u-m’ and unifying them to a single sound. This is the yogic way of chanting ‘aum‘ to explore manas and consciousness. Bhagavadgītā points to this in (17-23 to 24): Om tat-saditi nirdeśo brāhmaṇaḥ trividhaḥ smṛtaḥ, brāhmaṇas tena vedas ca, yajñas ca vihitaḥ purā tasmad om ityudāhṛtya, yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-kriyaḥ, pravartante vidhānoktaḥ satataṁ brahma-vādinam (17-24). The same is endorsed in Patañjali’s Yogasūtra 1-27: Tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ.

In Tantra-dīkṣā, the advanced method of mantra initiation, the Guru selects a blend of personalized compilation of seed mantras (bīja akṣaras), the long statement with the name of deity and the benefit words (mālā mantra), deity visualization (devatā dhyāna śloka), and related ritualistic details, timing of meditation, the auspicious time and place, the numeric count of repetitions and many other related details. The complete process is shrouded in mystic secrecy. More technical details are available in Yogopaniṣads: NādaBindūpaniṣad, Akṣaropaniṣad, Mantropaniṣad and tantra works – Mālinīvijayottaratantra, Kulārṇavatantra, and Mahānirvāṇatantra.

For words (pada) to carry the intended meaning (artha) it is necessary that each of the letters in a word be properly voiced (uccārita). The basic technique of ḍamaru Māheśvarasūtras meditation facilitates total focus on proper articulation of atoms of vāk. The advanced mantrayoga meditation technique keeps focus on construction of meaningful, purposive ‘vākya‘ from the atoms of vāk. The unification of all this helps to create experience of meaningful mindfulness through Yoga-engagement of vāk and manas.

The percussion instrument based laya teaching tradition in classical Indian music is the Śiva-nāṭya-yoga’ guidance’ from Bharata‘s Nāṭyaśāstra, an Upaveda. The term ‘bha-ra-ta’ is an acronym- for Yoga guidance to unify emotion-music- time beat: bhāva-rāga -tāla. ‘Tāla’ is integrally connected to ‘laya‘. Tāla is defined as measure of timed beats – tālah kāla-kriyā-mānam. The measure of resonance reference, generated through percussion instruments is an external input, outside of meditator’s body.

About the appropriation of Vedic technique in to Buddhism

Mindfulness meditation technique with blending of voiced sounds of human language and percussion instrument generated sounds is a variant of Vedic basic technique. This variant of Vedic Yoga tradition is appropriated in Buddhism as sūtra chanting with drumming sounds. We see this format in recitation of Mañjuśrī mantra (Om Arapacana Dhih) and the Japanese Iroha Poem [15]. Mañjuśrī is visualized as a Bodhisattva deity, wielding the flaming sword of discernment and a volume of scriptures resting on a lotus, associated with transcendent wisdom. The mantra is formed by the first five syllables of the A-ra-pa-ca-na [16] writing system.

The observed models of ‘mindfulness meditation in various religion and  Yoga schools, are derivable subsets of the universal model given in Ṛgveda, for a narrowed down contextual  benefit of healing, a relief of stress and suffering at the physiological functional level, a superficial temporary experience of peace’, a little relief from ‘mind-traffic jam’! Many modern schools of mindfulness meditation trace their teaching and practice models to religion schools of Buddhist and Jain Yogas, and variant historic Hindu-Yoga practices under the tags of tantra, brahminical rituals and the like. The acknowledgement of the Vedic roots of all these practices is not sufficiently made aware of and acknowledged.

The polestar benefits of Vedic mindfulness meditation practices are self-realization, total wellness and peace. The incidental secondary benefits are healing, stress relief and relaxation. The body-mind related healing solutions can be sought by a localization and customization of Vedic Yogas in current period. Chanting of Māheśvarasūtras with ḍamaru‘ is one such derivative of Vedic Yoga-meditation technique for mindfulness. The Yoga way of Samskruth studies and use for Yoga benefits (Yoga-Samskrutham) is an effort to restore and restart the Vedic model of exploring spiritual linguistic dimension of Sanskrit studies, the root pedagogic methods and systems of Vedic language, established in Vedic grammatical tradition.

Vāk-Yoga dimension of using ‘Māheśvarasūtras’ for Yoga meditation benefit of Vedic mindfulness has fallen out of Sanskrit academic studies, where Pāṇinian grammar is a ‘resource for study of a language, a language of a  historical society, community, religions and literatures’. The corruption of the ‘vāk-atoms’ of Sanskrit gets reflected in the incorrect articulation of mantra-prayers which provide the language -code of healing and wellness and fullness given in dhama traditions and their religion-languages. The root tradition is sidelined, dismembered, distorted, diluted, discredited and disengaged in the colonial model of Samskruth language academic studies. The social consequence of this is misrepresentation of ‘spiritual, cultural, historic identities’ emanating from ‘Sanātana Dharma Texts, teachings and practices and the language of these resources’.


Summing up the above narrative, the authors conclude the following:

1) Ṛgveda mantra ‘vāṅ-me’, is the ancient most Sanskrit document, the universal mother seed providing root technique of Vedic mindfulness Yoga-meditation.  The goal is to provide a practical practice guidance for everyone to become and be a ‘vāk-yogī’ [17] and enjoy the total benefits of Yoga-meditation.

2) The Ṛgedic statement covers all aspects of the theory, technique, social and spiritual benefit listing of Vedic mindfulness Yoga-meditation technique.[18]

3) The Ṛgveda document, sets the polestar goal of Vedic mindfulness Yoga- meditation to explore higher state of consciousness and checklist to review the progress, using achievement of four universal benefits: Total peace -Total Wellness- Total Truth- Self Realization (śānti-saukhya-satya-ātma darśana).

4)  ‘Vākyoga is the Yoga pedagogy of language: Sanskrit. [19] This sets the Yoga standard and benefits from Sanskrit studies.

5) Māheśvarasūtras are the vāk-Yoga Vēdāṅga mantra Yoga foundation of Sanskrit. The fourteen sūtras provide the fourty-three universal elemental voice-atoms of  ‘vāk’.

6) The legend of ‘ḍamaru‘ as the origin of ‘fourteen sūtras’ is the basis for developing ḍamaruMāheśvarasūtras as vākyoga technique of Vedic mindfulness.

7) The observed models of ‘mindfulness meditation in various religion and Yoga schools, are derivable subsets of the universal model given in Ṛgveda, for a narrowed down contextual  benefit of healing, a relief of stress and suffering at the physiological functional level, a superficial temporary experience of peace’ , a little relief from ‘mind-traffic jam’!

8) ‘Ḍamaru Māheśvarasūtra – meditation’ is a basic template and customized startup vāk-Yoga practice [20] in the grammatical lineage, derived from the root model in Ṛgveda.

9) It is important to understand the transitions of technical meaning of Vedic terms in Sanskrit that have contributed to the masking of the true intentnions and instructions of Vedic text. The Vedic term manas does not translate and map to modern concepts of mind! [21]

10) This revival of Vedic tradition opens up new avenue of research in Yoga and Vedic sciences, which connect to modern studies of cognitive science research, consciousness studies, cosmology and alternate healing systems. [22]

11) This is an effort to restore and restart the exploration of spiritual linguistic dimension of Sanskrit studies [23] in the grammatical tradition; the root pedagogy, methods and systems of studying Vedic language for Yoga benefits.



[1] Bhagavadgītā 17-15: vaṅmayaṁ tapaḥ; also see gita 10.34 kīrtiḥ, śrīḥ, vak ca nārīnām.

[2] Raghuvaṁśa I.1: Vāgarthāviva sampṛktau.

[3] Pātañjalayogasūtra I.2: Yōgaścittavṛttinirōdhaḥ

[4] Puruṣārtha – śūnyānāṁ – guṇānāṁ prati-prasavaḥ, kaivalyaṁ svarūpa- pratiṣṭhā vā citiśaktiriti || 4.34||

[5] Pātañjalayogasūtra I.9 śabdajñānānupātī vastuśūnyō vikalpaḥ ||

I.42 tatra śabdārtha- jñāna- vikalpaiḥ saṁkīrṇā savitarkā samāpattiḥ ||

III.17 śabdārtha-pratyayānām-itarētarādhyāsāt-saṅkarastatpravibhāga-saṁyamāt sarvabhūta – rutajñānam ||

This covers all its aspects of speech-mind related activities. These are like: manifestation (janma), transformation (parinama, vivarta), control and blocking (nirodha, pravrutti, nirodha), finiteness (sānta, vruta, āvruta), cyclicity (āvrutti), internal state (swa-anta), intentional action (vivākshita-artha-pravrutti karma), inner propensity ( guna-karma, Śakti), natural emotional composition (swa-bhāva).

[6] Pātañjalayogasūtra IV.1 janmauṣadhi-mantra- tapaḥ-samādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ ||

[7] Patanjali Yoga Sūtra janmauṣadhimantratapaḥsamādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ || 4.1||

Pātañjalayogasūtra IV.10 tāsāmanāditvaṁ ca- āśiṣō nityatvāt ||

[8] Bhagavadgītā 6.35 – sri-bhagavan uvaca, asamsayam maha-baho, mano durnigraham calam abhyasena tu kaunteya, vairagyena ca grhyate  ;  Bhagavadgītā  12.9 atha cittaṁ samādhātuṁ na śaknōṣi mayi sthiram| abhyāsayōgēna tatō māmicchāptuṁ dhanañjaya||

[9] Bhagavadgītā 15.15 sarvasya cāhaṁ hr̥di sanniviṣṭō mattaḥ smr̥tirjñānamapōhanaṁ ca| vēdaiśca sarvairahamēva vēdyō vēdāntakr̥dvēdavidēva cāham||

The other references of significance are: Bhagavadgītā 17-15: vangmayam tapah. ; Chapter 6-15:  yunjann evam sada-atmanam, yogi niyatamanasah, santim nirvana-paramam mat-samstham adhigacchati; Bhagavadgītā chapter-2:  Sthita prajnasya kaa bhashā ; Bhagavadgītā (12-9)- atha chittam samaadhaatum, na shaknoshi mayi sthiraam, abhyasa yogena tato maam, icchaptum dhananjya:  Taittiriya upanishad– mano brahmeti ; Maitrayani upanishad (2nd century BCE- :6-20)- 20. And thus it has been said elsewhere: There is the superior fixed attention (dharana) for him, viz. if he presses the tip of the tongue down the palate and restrains voice, mind, and breath, he sees Brahman by discrimination (tarka). And when, after the cessation of mind, he sees his own Self, smaller than small, and shining, as the Highest Self, then having seen his Self as the Self, he becomes Self-less, and because he is Self-less, he is without limit, without cause, absorbed in thought. This is the highest mystery, viz. final liberation.


[11] Aitareya Brāhmaṇa (3: 1 to4). The original text reads:  Om ko’yamātmeti vayamupāsmahe kataraḥ sa ātmā  yena vā paśyati yena vā śṛṇoti yena vā gaṃdhānājighrati yena vā ̃ vācaṃ vyākaroti yena vā svādu cāsvādu ca vijānāti  1 yadetaddhṛdayaṃ manaścaitat  saṃjñānamājñānaṃ vijñānaṃ prajñānaṃ medhā  dṛṣṭirdhṛtimatirmanīṣā jūtiḥ smṛtiḥ saṃkalpaḥ kraturasuḥ kāmo vaśa iti sarvāṇyevaitāni prajñānasya nāmadheyāni bhavaṃti  2 yacca sthāvaraṃ sarvaṃ tatprajñānetraṃ prajñāne pratiṣṭhitaṃ prajñānetro lokaḥ prajñā pratiṣṭhā prajñānaṃ brahma 3  

[12] gveda 10-71-2.

[13] Part of this translation of this mantra is from

[14] The Gāyatrī mantra, also known as the Sāvitrī mantra, is a highly revered mantra from the Ṛgveda 3.62.10.  The term prachodayāt occurs in this. The term ‘pratishthitā’ is rich in its technical connotation. This term instructs how and in how many ways the connection of vāk and manas need to be explored. This guidance is to be (a) connected to the totality of the sūkta as a ‘peace chant’. (b) Instructional clarity for expanded deliberation in connection with sixteen specific terms related to consciousness and memory in the text (c) leading to the mahāvākya: prajnanam brahma in the same text. The term prajnanam is multiply interpreted: Excellence of knowledge (pra-jnanam), highest awareness (prakrushtam jnānam), total absence of knowledge and awareness, with stress on ‘na’ as negation ( pra-jna- na,).  Each explanation leads to a different frame of philosophy and teaching technique.


[16] The explanation of mantra reads as follows:

A is a door to the insight that all dharmas are unproduced from the very beginning. RA is a door to the insight that all dharmas are without dirt. PA is a door to the insight that all dharmas have been expounded in the ultimate sense. CA is a door to the insight that the decrease or rebirth of any dharma cannot be apprehended, because all dharmas do not decrease, nor are they reborn. NA is a door to the insight that the names of all dharmas have vanished; the essential nature behind names cannot be gained or lost.

[17] Bhagavadgītā: 6-46: tasmat yogi bhava.

[18] The expansion of this statement with samskruth terms reads as follows: The statement provides clear directives for localization, personalization,  context, customization of the teaching for  professions  and faith-philosophy accommodativeness for four goals of Yoga: stress-suffering solution (dukhahā),  a practice guidance  for skill excellence (kaushalam), a therapeutic technique to remedy imbalance and inequality, a professional solution to  restore health, harmony and balance  (sāmyam), Yoga as spiritual science providing a holistic methods and systems to objectively explore the final frontiers of consciousness in a healthy, ethical, cultured and conscientious way(Yoga-dhyāna– vijnana-vidyāa, sūtra, śāstra, ādesha,upadesha, anushāsanam, abhyāsa) .

[19]   The expansion of this with samskruth terms reads as follows: The vāk-part of Vedic Yoga teachings of this Ṛgveda mantra is developed in panini-patanjali – yaska tradition. Vākyoga is the Vedic name of ‘language covered by paninian rules for word formation (pada nirmiti), elaborated in Patañjali’s gloss (pada-artha tātparya nirnaya,pada-vākya-artha samanvaya Yoga) and unified with meaningful word usage in sentence, as per Nirukta pedagogy provided in Yāska (pada-artha tātparya nirukti nirnaya, pada-vākya-artha prayoga- viniyoga samanvaya). The pedagogy of these disciplines is called Vedāṅga vāk-yoga, mantra-yoga tradition of samskruth language. Pāṇini explains why his work Śikṣā has been composed: Pāṇinīya Śikṣā:

Atha śikṣāṁ pravakṣyāmi pāṇinīyaṁ mataṁ yathā | śāstrānupūrvaṁ  tadvidādyathōktaṁ lōkavēdayōḥ ||1|| Prasiddhamapi śabdārthamavijñātamabuddhibhiḥ |  punarvyaktīkariṣyāmi vāca uccāraṇē vidhim || 2|| ātmā buddhyā samētyārthānmanō yuṅktē vivakṣayā| manaḥ kāyāgnimāhanti saḥ prērayati mārutam|| 6||

[20] The customization of Vedic technique of manasvāk unification, in ‘vākyoga’– Sanskrit becomes the technique of voicing Māheśvarasūtra order of ‘vāk-atoms’ unified with ‘rhythmic sounds of percussion instrument ḍamaru‘ and exploring the ‘consciousness roots and processes of vāk-elements and processes’. The philosophical roots of this is seen as exploring five cosmic elements (pañcabhūtas – a Yoga science research theme) and the most subtle vital element ‘ākāśa’ (poorly translated as space).

[21] Monier Williams – Sanskrit dictionary ( )  gives the meaning for the term manas: मनस्  mind (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers) , intellect , intelligence, understanding , perception , sense , conscience , will  (in phil. the internal organ of perception and cognition, the faculty or instrument through which thoughts enter or by which objects of sense affect the soul; in this sense मनस् is always regarded as distinct from आत्मन् and पुरुष ” -spirit or soul ” and belonging only to the body. [L=156777] the spirit or spiritual principle , the breath or living soul which escapes from the body at death (called असु in animals ; cf. above );  [p= 784,1] [p= 783,3] [L=156778] thought , imagination , excogitation, invention, reflection , opinion , intention , inclination , affection , desire , mood , temper , spirit ib.

The Vedic statement Mano brahmeti vyajānāt – (Taittirīya Upaniṣad) does not translate to ‘ mind is supreme Divinity. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad different dimensions of manaskāmaḥ saṁkalpō vicikitsā śraddhā aśraddhā dhr̥tiḥ adhr̥tiḥ dhīḥ bhīḥ ityētatsarvaṁ mana ēva’ (1-4-3). The Vedic Sankrit term is simply non-translatable.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad speaks of five ‘kośa model where peripheral layer is called annamaya, the next is  ‘pranic energy’, the third is  layer of manas, fourth is the layer of vijnana, and all encompassing layer is transcendental consciousness, the pure bliss –anadamaya kosha. गीता – “śarīravāṅ-manōbhiryat karma prārabhatē naraḥ”  (18’15).  This is from Taittirīya Upaniṣad: yato vacho nivartante, apraapya manasaa saha, tadeva brahma tvam viddhi, nedam yadidam upaasate.

Another important statement is   yacchedvāṅmanasī prājñastadyacchejjñāna ātmani | jñānamātmani mahati niyacchettadyacchecchānta ātmani || Katha upanishad -1-3-13 ||   Let the Yoga-practitioner unify speech into mind, lead it to merge in to intelligence; then, intelligence into the great aatman; and unify peacefully into the aatman.

[22] What is the right model to understand Yoga anda Vedic sciences? What is the right model of understanding vak deeply connected with   ‘aakasha’ Tattva?  Does space and time have consciousness? Do we postulate conscious-space and conscious-time? Is it possible to make a conscious unification of space and time? How do we explain the Vedic axioms – ākāsha shareeram brahma; shabda-gunakam ākāsham? How do we understand the connection of atoms of vak with the explanations in Śri vidya, as vagbhava koota ? What is the significance of  ākāsa beejakṣara in meditation rituals? What is the connection of consciousness, atma (soul), and aakaasha? What is the meaning of Vedic axiom- purushasya vāk rasah?

Clinical research on humans has documented a multitude of significant therapeutic benefits from drumming, from helping with memory loss, stress reduction, and boosting the immune system, to treating depression and as a supportive adjunct for cancer treatment. Among them:

  1. Reduced blood pressure and anxiety: a 2014 study published in Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine.
  2. Improved cognitive function and physical changes in the brain: a 2014 study published in Journal of Huntington’s Disease.
  3. Elevated pain tolerance: a 2012 study published in Evolutionary Psychology.
  4. Reduced stress and cortisol levels: a 2001 study published in the journal Plos One.
  5. Combined with shamanistic instruction, decreased heart rate and dreamlike experiences consistent with transcendental experiences: a 2014 study published in Plos One. Improved socio-emotional behavior in disadvantaged children: a 2001 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Ref:… (

[23] The Vedic Yoga techniques of mindfulness, like any other Yoga teaching in tradition, needs a personalization through the intervention of a competent teacher to get the right benefit. Self choices of meditation are as good or bad as self- prescription of medication. Yoga is a custom prescription after due diagnostics. In this paper, the terms of Sanskrit are profusely used, for the simple reason ‘they are not translatable’! The shade of meaning from the Sanskrit term for the specific context is provided along side in parenthesis. Sometimes the Sanskrit term is placed first and the translation terms are placed within parenthesis. Sometimes the English terms are placed first and the Sanskrit terms are placed within parenthesis. This is for convenience of presenting the flowing thought. Depending upon the context, there could be more than one Sanskrit or English term in the context of the text. The association of Sanskrit and English terms in the context is to facilitate the connection of Sanskrit-English terms as appropriate to the context. The paper plans to keeps a focus on presenting the theory part of Vedic mindfulness meditation technique. The practical technique and instruction needs a personalized prescription. It is beyond the scope of this paper to delve on this aspect. The personalization of Vedic mindfulness meditation requires Yoga-diagnostics using Vēdāṅga-analytics of individual information, before prescription.


(1) Unveiling the Atlantis of Sanskrit- Achyut Karve.



(4) The music of India/H.A. Popley and A. Coomaraswamy, New Delhi : Award Publishing House,1986.

(5)The music and musical instruments of Southern India and the Deccan/C. R. Day, B R. Publishing Corporation, 1974.

(6) Musical Instruments in Hoysala Sculpture (Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries)/ Deloche, Jean

Wynne, Alexander, 1974– The origin of Buddhist mediation/Alexander Wynne p. cm. (Routledge critical studies in Buddhism)

To view a YouTube video of the practical :

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