Everyone is worried about how to pronounce the mantras properly. It’s not important at all.
“What!?!?” they cry, “there are so many tales in the scripture of mantras mispronounced giving disastrous opposite effects!”
Yes. That was then. This is now.
This is Kali Yuga.
You see universal time is very, very long. There are four aeons (“ages”) which last for huge spans of time. Hundreds of thousands of years. We are in the fourth age, the final age of the endless cycle. It is like the winter of the universe, devoid of living power.
If we think that Vedic rituals and the related mantras have independent power in the age of Kali we are wrong. Period, end of story. Nor is there any way to “unlock” their power in this age. The only thing which has truly mystical power in this age is the all-powerful name of god. Specifically the 16 word, 32 syllable formation of the names of God as Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. The pramana for this is opulently abundant in the sastra. Here is a good list: http://www.salagram.net/Yuga-Dharma-The.html
Vedic pujas and mantras have no magic power in this age. Only the Hari Nama (names of God) has power. Therefore any samskara – marriage, conception, etc. – which is not accompianied by Hari Nama Sankirtana is merely a hocus pocus. The same is true of any astrological rememdy, puja, mantra, etc. In fact the entirety of the ritual can be thrown into the ocean with neglect and distaste; so long as Hari Nama sankirtana is there the “ritual” is a perfect success. The bells and whistles of the ritual are only there to get the attention and respect of less educated people so they pay attention when the Hari-Nama Sankirtana comes along in the function.
The mystical power of the mantras and pujas is gone, period. Why do you think there are no flying castles in NYC? Does this strike you as an age of true magic? Do you see flying carpets on the freeway? No. The magic is drained from kali yuga. There is no magical power available, no mystic potency. Therefore rituals and incantations (mantras) don’t work anymore – regardless if they are performed and pronounced flawlessly or not.
Although we can deride something as “hocus pocus” – hocus pocus itself does have some power and use. The forms of the old magical incantations and rituals STILL DO have a psychological impression (“samskara”). Although they have no supernatural power anymore, they do have natural power, and that, in this weak wintery age, is relatively powerful in and of itself.
Therefore I stand before you all boldly and declare loudly that it makes no difference if you get the details of the ritual or the pronunciation right or wrong – so long as you get the essence of the psychological connection to the meaning of the ritual and mantra. And in an even more confident voice I say to you, “If you want something with true mystic power – take the blessed names of Sri Krsna to your lips without cessation.”
– Vic DiCara