I was wondering if I chant a mantra to a planetary god (like Saturn / Shani) to mitigate some of the negative effects that planet might bring into my life, is this an offense to my main interest of worshiping God, especially by chanting God’s names in the mahamantra?
You have asked me a wonderful question, and I am lucky to receive it. I know there are many others with the same thoughts on their mind. I hope that somehow they find their way to this discussion.
For the mahamantra to be effective, it must be chanted intentionally by a person with pure devotion in their hearts, and without any of the 10 offenses. If purity lacks or if the name is chanted unintentionally, it is not the pure mantra (shuddha-nama) it is a reflection of the mantra (nama-abhasa). Truthfully, the reflection of the mahamantra is also EXTREMELY powerful and purifying and tends to lead soon towards the pure mantra. If one chants the mantra with offenses, s/he chants neither the pure mantra nor the reflection of the mantra, but chants only an offended shell of the mantra (nama-aparadha).
You are worried that chanting mantras for demigods, such as Saturn (“Shani”), might be an offense to the mahamantra. So, lets see what the offenses are.
There are 10. The essence of all of the offenses (aparadha) is not have, or especially to express, non-loving (apa-radha) feelings towards components of divine love.
1. Ill will towards saintly people (people who are chanting the mantra themselves)
2. Ill will towards guru (the one who gives the mantra and guides us on its proper application and use)
3. Ill will towards the gods (who are both saints and gurus for us, and who work on God’s behalf)
4. Ill will towards religious scriptures, (which gradually help people become saintly)
5. To feel that the glories of the mantra must be exaggerated
6. To interpret the mantra to mean something merely metaphorical
7. To willingly commit moral wrongs thinking the mantra exempts you from the consequences.
8. To think that the mahamantra is something to be used for material gain or personal liberation.
9. To push the mantra on people who do not deserve or desire to have it.
10. To hold fast in loving your false ego even after you hear the truth.
Now that we know the offenses, lets see if it is an offense to pray to a god like Shani / Saturn for good karma to come during it’s cycle in our lives.
It COULD be a violation of the 3rd offense – which is to consider that the gods are intrinsically different and distinct from the Supreme Personality. However if one respectfully worships the demigods knowing that their greatness comes as a result of their connection to the Supreme Personality – that is NOT an offense to the Supreme Personality nor to the divine name of the Supreme.
Moreover, it COULD be a violation of the 8th offense to chant the divine mahamantra for a mundane purpose!
If what you want is to be relieved of bad karma, you can
a) Chant to the demigod controlling that karma, knowing that s/he/it is authorized and empowered by the supreme to deal with this topic. This will not offend the demigod, nor the supreme.
b) Accept a higher truth that “all karma is good” and not worry about altering your karma at all, but rather give your attention to using all your karma to help mold yourself into something more pleasing towards the Supreme. For this, you can exclusively chant the Mahamantra.
– Vic DiCara