Cittaṁ mantraḥ चित्तं मन्त्रः (sūtra II.1)
After having discussed Śāmbhavopāya in the first section, the second section consisting of ten aphorisms now deals with Śāktopāya.
Citta is unconditioned self awareness as opposed to ahaṃkāra (ego) that is conditioned by self-concern. Mantra in this context does not merely refer to mantra-s. Mantra is the essential tool to connect individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness. The general purpose of mantra is to establish his awareness firmly with the concerned deity. But, in this aphorism, Śiva says that mind itself is mantra. As far as this sūtra is concerned, citta cannot be simply explained as mind. It is the modification of the mind where the stage of supreme consciousness is attained by focusing within. This is the stage, where one’s awareness is disconnected from his senses. His mind at this point becomes devoid of sensory perceptions. Only if the mind becomes devoid of sensory perceptions, the higher level of consciousness can be reached. Only in the purest form of consciousness, Supreme Reality can be realised. Apart from delinking the mind from sensory perceptions, one has to get over sensory impressions also. Sensory impressions are more harmful than perceptions.
Mantra is one of the tools, by which one can control the wavering mind. The repeated recitation of any mantra makes a person to develop concentration. In the initial stages spiritual pursuits, it is not easy to control the mind. An effective control of the mind can be achieved only by persistent practice. Mantra’s main objective is to tune his mind to concentrate. As a byproduct, he is also protected from transgressing spiritual path. No mantra will fructify if proper alignment is not made between the practitioner, mantra and the deity. This is where consciousness assumes greater significance. Such alignment can happen only in the purest form of the mind. Purity of thought and mind is very important while pursuing spiritual path. That is why, mantra-s are recited mentally and not vocally.
There are two mantra-s that are referred here. The first one is prāsāda mantra and the second one ispraṇava mantra. Prāsāda mantra refers to bīja sauḥ (सौः). This is known as the heart seed of Śiva and encompasses all the thirty six tattva-s. If one understands the underlying significance of this mantra, he gets liberated, as he enters the arena of Śiva-Śaktī union, the sole cause for world process. This means that he is able to transcend world process and gets rid of the painful process of transmigration.
The second mantra that is referred here is praṇava. It is said that praṇava referred here is not the ॐ, but Śaiva praṇava huṁ हुं. It is also said that mere recitation of mantra-s does not give any benefits to the practitioner. The main purpose of recitation is to make a person to concentrate and be attentive on the Supreme Reality. No amount of mantra chanting is of any help without developing ability of concentrate. Mantra-s cited here are only examples.
This sūtra says, that mind is mantra because it signifies the importance of lucid mind where the mind becomes capable of realizing the Supreme Reality, the highest and purest level of one’s own consciousness, with the help of Śaktī. Though the highest level of consciousness is Śiva, He can be attained only with the help of Śaktī, who formulates the necessary principles that are to be followed to attain Him.