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Mantras and shanti kriya are the points of dispute. There are prayers in every religion. Muslims gather in masses and conduct prayers for the rain. Christians conduct mass healing prayers. Large number of miracles through such prayer meetings are from Philippines. A committee consisting of qualified doctors as well as missionaries conducted investigation and found that not all 1000 miracles did happen. It is not that all of them were faked but they found medical explanations. There was no concrete proof that prayers work. In an experiment one group was let known that they were being prayed for. These people showed speedy recovery. In the other group the patients participated in such prayers and the recovery rate was even good. In the third group there was no recovery at all - though they too were being prayed for! This means the person for whom the prayers (shanti, worship, pooja etc.,) are conducted should be able to receive the benefits. By prayers what we seek is a miracle - a concession. It is up to Him either to grant or not. Even after putting our wish list to God, we better give Him a free hand - Thy will be done. In Hindu worship, the pooja ends with ". श्रीमन्नारायणेति समर्पयामि" We do not put a demand but surrender to God.
Did I see success with my clients, that is to say, did God answer my prayers when I did several thousand recitations. Yes and No. There were astounding success - the man did not die, marriage did not end up in divorce, the couple were blessed with a child. There were miserable failures: one man did not get a good job nor he got married! But all the shantis were conducted in the same fashion with ardent faith, devotion, without mistakes and with great concern. I am not an agent of God. I pray only when I am told. Other than that when I do pooja I (and all the worshippers) pray for the whole world दैवीस्स्वस्तिरस्तुनः। स्वस्तिर्मानुषेभ्यः। ऊर्ध्वं जिगातु भेषजं। शं न्नो अस्तु द्विपदे। शं चतुष्पदे। ओं शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः॥ and चतुस्सागर पर्यंतं गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभं भवतु।
All Hindus do the same in all temples with mantra pushpa. Many Brothers and Pastors drive out evils in the name of Jesus. Muslims saints drive away Shaitan in the name of Bismillah. God works through me and it does not mean I can recommend your case to God. I pray on your behalf. John, the Baptist said of his contemporary Jesus that he was fit enough to touch Jesus' feet. When the disciples told Jesus that the disciples of John were driving away devils in the same fashion, Jesus said that they were doing good deeds and they should not be troubled! They are several others who do shanti pooja and I do not claim any superiority over them.
Being a well wisher or a paid servant is different. It is always good for the person himself to do these things. This should be first priority. I get a handful of coins if I pursue you to have shanti conducted by me alone! But my purpose of life will be defeated. I should make you independent. You should do these remedial measures yourself. You should be able to pray, you should be your well wisher, you should try to improve your life. That is why I tell my clients to search for a person in the locality, in a nearby temple so that they can participate in such pooja, shanti etc., If it is not possible for them to find a person then only I will take up shanti kriya for them. These are done for the particular person. Just like in a registered document, the sankalpa (decision) before the recitation/pooja declares that on this day, for this purpose, on behalf of such a person born in such a gotra, by name and star etc, No photograph is required. On the days when the remedial measures are being done, (it would be nearly one week) you should participate. That means you too should be reciting any mantra of your choice or do pooja and abstain from meat, drinks, parties etc., Why only purohits, why shanti by certain mumbo- jumbo mantras in a dead language, some will ask. I should say, go to the top of your house, look around, you will see rituals in far away Brazil, in ancient Egypt, and in all sects and religions since 75000 years. The world is highly democratic (and also volatile), you can talk anything against Hindus and get away with it! Did I say 75000 years? Discovery of a caveman in Siberia during March 2013, has revised age of mankind from 40,000 to 75,000.
Hinduism is very ancient and highly evolved religion. Our ancients found that the rhythm in mantras are equally important. One research scholar in former Soviet Union subjected his patients to 12th chapter of Bhagawad geeta and without informing his patients fed directly to the brain with electrodes. They never heard anything nor did they know what it was. Yet, they showed speedy recovery! I do not refer to pseudo-scientific papers or hearsays. After some years, in the same university the speedy curing was attributed to the rhythm in the music and same effects were achieved by recitation of numbers! In another recorded experiment in the US, the patients were divided into three groups - one group was of non-believers, the other two groups were of believers. Only one group of believers was told that they were being prayed for, they too participated in prayers by some 100 people in the nearby local church, while one group of believers and the non-believers were told that they were being prayed for. There was no speedy recovery in the group of believers who were not told of prayers and the non-believers. There was remarkable speed in recovery process in case of believers who participated in prayers. Belief in Almighty adds to you strength and gives the entry to the other dimension. If you believe in God, you are saved.
Incidentally, recent statistics in April, 2013 showed that mental illness in religious persons are more! The followers of cults and modern schools showed traits of mental illness but the followers of well established religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism or Buddhism etc., did not show this tendency. The conventional religions have many clusters of ideas and are able to support you when you are in distress, which is not the case with the modern schools. They are half baked, raw and ill formed, they simply put a pyramid, a Buddha some air into your spiritual yearning. You have lived for long time, successfully and they teach you 'Heart of Living' than the Heart of Loving! Did not He run away from cyclone hit area, afraid of his own life that one more cyclone was on its way? (it is just a gossip). Due to our firm faith to the God incarnate ('there is glow of innocence in his eyes'), we refuse to believe the reports of PTI and UNI news agencies. Even those who read these things, simply bury the current affairs into old history sheets! The more Sri Mad Acharya constructs palatial buildings on leased or grabbed lands (it does not matter), the more funds he gets to grow, even from the UN! Keep away from such schools and also from the babas who claim to solve your problems in 48 hours with some ashes or those mathematicians who swallowed silver Ganesh idol in their young age, still stuck up in their guts!
Like human beings the religions are also subjected to evolution. Hinduism practiced untouchability towards another sect born in the same nation while cows, monkeys and snakes were their Gods. They did not see God in the fellow human being. Mahatma Gandhi brought dignity to lower classes and put an end to this horrible religious practice, as Buddhism stopped slaughtering of animals in yagas. In India women were second class citizens - though every Brahmin recites Gayatri mantra. Thanks to British, they brought democracy and equal rights to India. Abraham Lincoln who abolished slavery is not a Brahmin. The established religions are also riddled with paradoxes yet, in individual plane they are far more better than modern cults. उद्धारेत् आत्मन्त्मानां | As the great thinker Sri Jiddu Krishna Murti puts it - discover your own religion based on all religious thoughts. The mantras related to planets can be classified broadly into four groups. Some are recited only once. Some can be recited any time, any where. Some are used in pooja procedures and some are used for conducting japa shanti. Kavacha, Stotra, Asttottara shatanama stotra, Navagraha sukta are recited only once, but regularly. Navagraha sukta involves pronunciation pattern and should have to be learnt personally from a guru. Out of these, kavacha are short and easy ones. These should recited in particular dress in the morning after bath. Peedahara and Namaskara mantra / stotra are easy to recite. These mantra are also used to do pradakshina in navagraha temple. These can be recited while traveling. There are no strict rules for these set of mantras. Doing pooja invoking the particular planet is a separate procedure and those who already know shodashopachara pooja method can take up this. The particular graha is invoked reciting navagraha sukta as aavahana mantra. The archana is done using asttottara shatanamavali.
For doing shanti, beeja mantras are used. These are abbreviated mantra forms and one should be careful in pronunciation. Not a single should go wrong. These mantra are recited for a particular number of times. For instance for shani, it is recited 19,000 times. One can also recite in terms of 10, 28,108, or 1008 times for a mandala (28 days) or 56 days. Austerity measures like strict vegetarian food, celibacy (even though married), abstinence from alcoholics, not eating food outside, having only one meals a day etc., are required. These are recited in the morning in pooja vastra (separate dress which is exclusive for the purpose). These mantra are preferred by those who have good concentration. Gayatri mantra for planets can be recited for shanti purpose if one is already initiated in moola gayatri manta (given at the time of Upanayana). This involves 3 lines in specific pronunciation pattern and can be learnt personally under the able guidance of a guru. Priests who do not have much concentration prefer this mantra to conduct shanti in the similar manner as in beeja mantra japa.
Moola Gayatri mantra is: ओं भूर्भुवस्सुवः। ओं तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गोदेवस्य धीमहि। धियो योनः प्रचोदयात्॥ "oṃ bhūrbhuvassuvaḥ| oṃ tatsaviturvareṇyaṃ bhargodevasya dhīmahi| dhiyo yonaḥ pracodayāt|| ". In the sound file presented here, this mantra is repeated thrice word-by-word with sufficient pauses for your practice. Meditation of Gayatri mantra is known an Sandhya vandana - prayers at junction periods. These prayers are done thrice - morning, mid day and evening. There would slight variation of mantra s. A session will take 25-30 minutes. Whatever mantra or stotra you select kindly see it is easy for you to recite. Engaging a priest to do shanti will not absolve you from doing your own bit as remedial measure. If you have time and inclination, you should recite graha japa sankalpa, which is easy to follow and is very impressive.
Graha japa / Pooja sankalpa
Mantras for Ravi
Mantras for Rahu
Mantras for Shani
Mantras for Kuja
Mantras for Ketu
Mantras for Shukra
Mantras for Chandra
Mantras for Budha
Mantras for Guru