Siva Sankalpa Suktam
The Shiva Sankalpa Sukta is a powerful six-verse hymn from the Rig Veda that entreats the mind “to dwell on the auspicious will of the Divine,” and helps cultivate conscious resolve in alignment with one’s purpose and most benevolent life. The cadence of this particular recording follows the style of Swami Veda Bharati, a successor of Swami Rama and former spiritual head of the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, the Himalayan Tradition’s ashram in Rishikesh.
The Siva Sankalpa Suktam comes from the Yajur Veda and is a Mantra or Vow (vrata) for developing calm clear thoughts, alignment to dharmic living and for strengthening resolve. It also powerfully rewires the brain and nourishes the subtle tissues to be more in harmony with the light of one’s Soul and one’s unique purpose in the Web of Nature. When we are lost, confused, in doubt, fear or despair…this mantra is a beautiful balm.
Shiva means: auspicious; meditative; Godly; divine mind; benevolent; beneficent. Sankalpa is resolve.
Swami Veda Bharati of the Himalayan Sage Tradition taught that the entire 6 verse Mantra could be remembered in its last phrase,
Tan me manaha siva sankalpam astu
and that this phrase especially, is very useful during the day when in a pause, rest or transition from one thing to the next. It is also best chanted before bedtime, as in sleep our minds return from “traveling far and wide (with the senses), back to the peace, the innermost dweller, the light of the Soul (Vs 1). Much healing & refinement of the mind can occur in our sleeping hours after chanting this ancient prayer. Not only does it harness thoughts and brings them into one pointed focus, but cultivates a sattvic mind (purity, harmony) and strengthens one’s relationship to their mind.
This Mantra/vow also is a powerful aid in supporting one’s practice, or sadhana because it is the will that gets us onto our cushion or mat and once there, a pure, focused and clear mind to reach that juicy nectar of “the perfect practice” “the most delicious meditation” or…samadhi.
This Mantra is also a prayer. It is praying to the subtle tissues of the mind and the deity of Mind for organization, benevolence and resolve. In this prayer one invokes alignment to dharmic living instead of being caught in the swirl of adharmic living (Vs. 2) “This is a prayer for the mind’s purification & pacification
The fact that SSS creates a strong relationship between the practitioner and his/her own mind is very important for advanced tantric practices such as the Rudra Yaga, a powerful fire ritual that invokes the forces of Nature for deeply powerful karmic healing & transformation. If you wish to learn more about this connection, check out this article by Rolf Sovic: Fire Ritual: Awaken the Subtle Forces of Life.
How SSS Relates to the Yoga Sutras
A teaching from the yoga sutras is that without an organized, clear mind, life is challenging, confusing, distracting and perceived in pieces. The “reality” is broken into bits and we feel lost confused disconnected from our source. The ancients teach that the subtle power of mind is necessary to be in alignment with our soul and hearts desire in order to be happy and fulfilled. Sankalpa shakti is the power of will/resolve that is more subtle than mind but as such is also more capable (powerful when accessed) of being able to direct the mind. Setting intentions, setting goals, persevering… create a strength that harnesses a focus of the mind stuff… The vrittis. This mantra is our ally in doing that. (Bs from reading Panditji’s intro & also a teaching from Swami Rama)
Cool Supportive Facts:
According to Swami Rama, the ancient forest dweller yogis did not have the same access to the variety of physical objects traditionally used for rituals. “Their way of worship was symbolic and internal, so were their methods of meditation. Their methods of worship were lifted to the mental level and then finally, to the spiritual level.” -SR Wisdom of the Ancient Sages
Swami Veda Bharati Articles
Ashram Manual from AHYMSA
Jon Janaka (PDF translation)