Etymologically speaking the word Sabar has originated from the name of the river Sabarmati in the western state of Gujrat in India. It is said that the mantras were first formed and used by the yogis who lived here. The word is written as Shabar, as well as Sabar. It is also said that the word Shabar means indigenous. The exact origin of the system is not absolutely clear but among the Vaishnav, the Nath Sadhus, and the Aghori sadhus, the Udaseen sadhus these mantras have been used since ages. They have been used by other spiritual groups and communities as well. All mantras that are not written in Sanskrit have come to be termed as Shabar Mantras, however, this is a general term and within the stream of Shabar mantras are sets of many other mantras belonging to specific streams of knowledge mostly for fulfilling a specific need or for a siddhi (perfection). Also one finds many Shabar mantras that incorporate Sanskrit words as well.
The Rishis were the original seers of the mantras and Vidyas. At a subsequently later period, the Rishis, Siddhas, Yogis who were able to foresee into the future of humankind, saw the attitude of future generations to these Sanskrit mantras and other Vidyas. They saw these mantras open to gross misuse. The uninitiated could cause great harm to themselves and others. So they had later deliberately; so to say ‘nailed’ (Keelan) or caused an obstruction in these Sanskrit mantras. Usually either a word had been removed or added or changed or a change had been effected in the mantras. There is more than one reason for this obstruction. There is a secrecy associated with many practices. There was a wish to restrict this knowledge to a limited circle. It was also to protect this knowledge from misuse as well as from falling into the hands of persons who were unfit to receive this divine knowledge. This is one reason, from among others, why it is important to receive a mantra from the tradition, because when one receives it from the tradition it is the traditional and correct mantra.
All mantras have a limit under which they function. The word ‘Cchanda’ is used to denote the way a mantra is to be sung in Sanskrit, but at another level it also denotes the limit or the operating radius of the mantra. These operating levels and radii are at subtle levels and are only understood by perfected masters. Shabar mantras on one hand, resulted in unlocking some of these mantras or vidyas, but, with their own limitations. So, in simple words these mantras bypass the obstruction caused by the deliberate imperfection in the Sanskrit mantras. On the other hand, most of the Shabar mantras are used for fulfilling a specific desire. This is commonly termed as ‘Kamya Prayog’ or an experiment to fulfil a desire. These mantras thus used, in part, can show very quick results. Whereas the original Sanskrit mantras were used to perfect one form of divinity and the perfections (siddhis) associated with it, and therefore took a long time to perfect; however, most Shabar mantras became limited to only a specific use and Shabar mantras take very little time to perfect. Some of the Shabar mantras are also used to attain perfection or moksha but there are few such mantras.
Shabar mantras owe their perfection to the perfection of the Siddha or perfected master who wrote these mantras. As with all mantras, these mantras too, flow through the person who wrote them or gave them as the word of God. Often as is the practice in India, a devotee (bhakt) would serve his Guru with loving devotion. More often than not, he would be a simple person, a farmer or a worker, who was not educated. When, such a devotee was faced with a problem, he would approach his guru for a solution. As the need arose, the guru, well knowing that this person was uneducated, would give him a mantra in the local language, to fulfil his need or solve his problem. This was the basis for the Shabar Mantra system and remains so to this day. Shabar mantras should in great part be seen as the direct word of a spiritually advanced person.
The Mantras of the Shabar system have numerous advantages over other mantras.
- One of the advantages is that the mantras in this system are perfected (Mantra Siddhi) very quickly.
- Another advantage of these mantras is that even if one were to commit a mistake in the pronunciation, yet the mantras function well, usually without any negative effects. In Sanskrit mantras, a mistake in pronunciation becomes a very grave error. It can entirely change the effect of the mantra. Sometimes these mistakes can give very severe negative effects. Since people make pronunciation mistakes, especially uneducated persons, so it is easier to teach Shabar mantras, a mistake causes no harm to the practitioner. The mantra, despite the mistake, remains effective.
- They are well used in fulfilling a need or solving a problem. They are used for healing, for defence against various problems, for solving problems related to beings from subtle worlds, for finding a suitable partner, for increasing business, for finding jobs and the list is really endless.
- Possibly this is one of the most important uses, these Shabar mantras act as a good supplementary spiritual practice to many people who are on the spiritual path. Usually, it takes a long time and many thousands of repetitions of mantras to establish a particular energy in the mind of a mantra yogi; however through Shabar mantras one can establish a part of this energy faster. But it must be pointed out that these mantras, in fact all mantras, need, that an aspirant has some initial spiritual power to make the mantras effective and the other short cut is to receive the mantra from a qualified spiritual Guru and mantra yogi.
- Most mantra yogis when asked for a favour by a devotee try to avoid using their main base mantra practice to solve somebody’s problem. It is considered by mantra yogis as a waste of their spiritual energy to use their main Vidya (knowledge) for petty uses since most mantra yogis aim for enlightenment and liberation. Shabar mantras here easily fulfil this need. The main spiritual practice in the meantime remains secure allowing the sadhak to achieve perfection.
Here it is important to clarify another point for some readers. Mantras cannot be picked up from a book and used. They have to be received from a conscious vehicle, from a real Sadhak (practitioner). In my experience, I have recognised that whenever I personally have received a mantra through the tradition it has always been extremely effective. It produces an effect more quickly as well as I can feel the blessings of the Guru and the tradition. As I have already pointed out most mantras have an inbuilt error, but even if one does find the correct mantra, yet without proper initiation the effect will be different. To start with, it may not work, even if the mantra works, it may not give full or proper results, it may give different results than those needed, or it may give negative results and even bring harm to the practitioner. There are also numerous mantras that invoke an extremely ferocious and aggressive energy that is usually used for protection. Only a few Sadhaks in the world can tolerate such energies. Therefore self prescribed practices can be worse than self prescribed medications.
Without complete comprehension people start doing some spiritual practice. Too many of us believe that god will protect me, nothing bad can happen to me. With mantras this is not so. Neither so with Pranayam. Mistakes in either can sometimes give disastrous results. Tantra and Yoga are very exact sciences; they are the sciences of the mind and beyond. Without proper technique one does not achieve the goal. One must receive spiritual practices from a Master.
Within both the Nath and Vaishnav Sadhus is a special spiritual practice that was said to be given by Lord Dattatreya. It is possibly more Nath than Vaishnav. This practice is of the Goddess called Shabari Devi and is a Veer Sadhana. The word ‘Veer’ means brave and ‘sadhana’ means spiritual practice. Veer also refers to a being from the subtle world, but here the reference of this term is not in this context. Veer sadhana is a group of special practices that are of the ‘Do or Die’ spirit. When one does these practices perfectly, the aspirant attains siddhi or perfection but if they are done incorrectly they cause enormous harm to the sadhak. This particular practice of Shabari Devi is like a key for all Shabar Mantras. It awakens all the Shabar mantras completely. This practice needs very specific instructions to be followed for its completion. Along with it, another specific practice is done to provide protection for the sadhak. It must be done in a lonely place ideally the forest. It must be done ONLY under the guidance of the Guru, someone who has done it and can help in controlling this energy or Shakti.
There is also another Goddess by the name of Asavari Devi. Her name is associated with the Shabar mantra system too. The practice of her mantra by some is considered to be the key to unlocking Shabar Mantras.
Possibly the biggest body of work in Shabar Mantras exists in the Vaishnav tradition. These are the Ramcharitramanas which is the story of Lord Ram and is an entire thick Scripture composed of Shabar mantras and has numerous experiments known to Vaishnavs as well as the Hanuman chalisa, Sankatmochan Hanuman, Hanuman Satika, etc. These are held in enormous reverence by most Hindus. Even many little children know the Hanuman Chalisa by heart. There are almost over a hundred different types of Chalisas as well as an equal number of Aartis. People know more Shabar mantras than they know about any other form of mantras. Generally, most people do not know that these mantras and texts are known as Shabar.
The Nath Sadhus too have numerous Shabar mantras. These are from sitting on the Asan, to starting the Dhuni, Praise for the Guru, for the Chimta, the Kamandal, for prayers to various forms of divinity as well as ‘Kamya Prayog’.
In much the same way, the Aghori’s too have their own traditional Shabar mantras.
Extreme Shabar Practices:
The next section is written by the author only with a view to provide information that such practices exist. Also these are neither the common practices of Tantra Shastra nor are they often encountered. Please be warned that such a path is not a sattvik path and is therefore best left to a rare few sadhaks.
The Nath Shabar mantras are further sub-divided into three parts. These are called a) Shabar ; b) Babhar; and c) Baratti. Of these Baratti siddhi is considered as close to Aghori siddhi, actually it is in some ways close to Bhoot Damar Tantra. Baratti siddhi is the lower form of worship of the Shabar system and it is Tamasi by nature. Baratti siddhi consists of the perfection of 52 forms of subtle beings known as Veer. All Veers are of male form. Baratti Siddhi is further sub-divided into two parts. The right path and the left path. One path has practices that perfect 31 Veers and the other path that perfects 21 Veers. Some say that right path has 31 veers and the left 21, but some others say vice-versa. In reality both these practices are Veer Sadhana and are extremely terrifying as the veer is a terrifying subtle being. Unless one has a Death wish and probably even death is cheap, only then should one think of performing these practices. These practices should be done ONLY under the guidance of a Sadhak of very high standing who can protect the practitioner. One tantric Sadhak of an extremely high standing likened the practices of the Veer with trying to fire a canon ball from a canon placed on one’s shoulder. These veers are used for fulfilling various tasks and serve the practitioner. There are very few sadhaks left in the world who even dare to perform such practices.
A list of the names of 21 Veers is given below:
- Tanttya Veer
- Hanuman Veer
- Shaamri Veer
- Kanhoyra Veer
- Memja Veer
- Narsingh Veer
- Sangnna Veer
- Chaudhary Veer
- Jayatmal Veer
- Bakku Veer
- Taatya Veer
- Shansar Veer
- Kaal Veer
- Bhairav Veer
- Sona Veer
- Garud Veer
- Gagna Veer
- Nagarjun Veer
- Vaishnav Veer
- Chamri Veer
- Mahishasur Veer
Some Meanings of Words used in Sabar Mantras:
Typically in the mantras of the Nath Sadhus, some special words and phrases are used in Shabar mantras. Some are as follows:
- The word ‘Adesh’ normally translated means ‘order’ but in Sabar mantras is used in the sentence ‘Om Namo Adesh Guru Ko’ means ‘Om, I salute the Guru’.
- ‘Sat nam Guru ka’. The name of the Guru is the absolute truth or is God.
- ‘Sat nam, adesh Guru Ko’. Let the mantra become effective, in the name of the Guru (I salute the Guru).
- ‘Guru ki Shakti, meri bhakti, phuro mantra, eshwaro vacha’. This means ‘By the power of the Guru and my devotion, let the mantra flow as the word of God’.
- ‘Shabd sacha, Pind Kacha. Phuro Mantra, Eshwarovacha. Sat Nam Adesh Guru Ka’. This means ‘The word is true (or the truth), the body is weak. Let the mantra flow, as the word of god. Let the word (mantra) be true, as the command of the Guru.
Sub-Divisions of Shabar Mantras in Bihar:
In Bihar the Shabar mantras have six sub divisions. These are:
- Saivya : These Shabar Mantras are rarely found.
- Adaiya : These Shabar Mantras are often found in northern and southern Bihar.
- Jhumri : These type of Shabar mantras are found in central Bihar.
- Yamraj : These Shabar Mantras are rarely found.
- Garuda : These type of Shabar mantras are found in central Bihar.
- Gopal : These type of Shabar mantras are found in central Bihar.