This article explains the method by which one’s ātma bīja is arrived at. This article gives only a broad idea to formulate ātma bīja. Right ātma bīja can be formulated only if one knows the nature of various akṣara-s of Sanskrit. The ātma bīja can be fine tuned by having one’s birth chart as well.
The above cakra is known as akathaha cakra अकथह चक्र (it is called so because of the four letters (a ka tha ha) in square 1. There are 49 Sanskrit alphabets in this cakra. Different views prevail on the number of alphabets in Sanskrit. Assuming that the alphabets are 52, then three alphabets are not included in this cakra and they are ḻa, kṣa, jña (ळ, क्ष, ज्ञ).
To begin with, the name of the person is to be written in Sanskrit. Name here means the name by which the concerned person is often called. Here is an example. Name of a person is Ashish Kumar. He is generally called as Kumar and not as Ashish. Then his name should be taken as Kumar and not Ashish Kumar. In case he is often called as Ashish, then his name should be taken as Ashish. Frequently used or called name alone should be taken for finding out one’s ātma bīja. If Kumar is the often used name for him, then Kumar should be written in Sanskrit as कुमार् (kumār). Though the first letter is कु (ku), it consist of two letters क and उ, only क should be taken as the first letter of his name, Kumar.
In akathaha cakra there are sixteen squares numbered from 1 to 16. There are four columns A, B, C and D. There are four rows I, II, III and IV. Each column and each row has four squares each. Column A has rows I, II, III and IV and similarly column B has also I, II, III and IV as rows, etc. Row I has columns A, B, C and D, etc. Thus there are 16 small squares and each square has three letters except square 1, where there are four alphabets. Thus there are 49 alphabets (16 x 3 = 48 + 1 = 49) in akathaha cakra.
There are several ways for arriving ātma bīja. The simplest way is discussed here. There should be more than one alphabet which can make a powerful bīja. Difference between an akṣara and a bīja is significant. Akṣara is only an alphabet. For example क (ka) is an akṣara. Akṣara with some modifications become a bīja, which forms a part of a mantra. For example klīṁ (क्लीं) is a bīja, which contains more than one akṣara (ka la ī - क ल ई - and a bindu). Bīja-s are the seeds of a mantra and several bīja-s form a mantra. Bālā mantra consists of three bīja-s - aiṁ - klīṁ - sauḥ (ऐं - क्लीं - सौः). The first bīja consists of an akṣara ai (ऐ) and a bindu, which is a dot above the alphabet. In the case of second bīja klīṁ (क्लीं), it is the combination of - ka – la – ī and a bindu (क – ल – ई and a bindu). Therefore, every bīja is a combination of more than one akṣara.
Generally it is the practice to find out whether a particular mantra is suitable for a person or not,akathaha cakra is used. This is applicable only to a particular mantra as the suitability of a mantra is tested with the first letter of his name. But if a person is initiated into more than one mantra, suitability for all the mantras is to be checked. In order to avoid this, an ātma bīja can be chosen usingakathaha cakra, which can be prefixed to all the mantras, so that there is no need to check the suitability of all the mantras. It would be still better to place ātma bīja both at the beginning and at the end of a mantra. This is called sampuṭīkaraṇa, where a mantra is encased between ātma bīja-s. If this is done, the potency of the mantra is said to remain with the soul or ātma of the person concerened. However, one’s Guru alone can decide on such important matters. There are a few mantras for which no suitability check is needed.
As said earlier, there are certain akṣara-s that make a very good bīja. The most important of such akṣara-s come from vowels i.e a to aḥ (अ to अः) and a few akṣara-s from consonants such as ka, ba, bha, ma, ra, va, śa, sa, ha, etc (क ब भ म र व श स ह). Any of these akṣara-s can be chosen to formulate an ātma bīja in conjunction with other akṣara-s. The akṣara- can be chosen from the natal horoscope of the disciple. If the lagna (ascendant) lord is very powerful (having high ṣaḍbala), well placed, not combust and not debilitated, then the concerned bījākṣara of lagna lord can be used as the base for formulating ātma bīja. If langa lord is not well placed, or weak or malefic, then bījākṣara of pūrṇa yogakārakā (occupying a kona and a kendra) planet, if any in the horoscope can be used. If none of these are available, then any of the akṣara-s mentioned above (given only as examples) can be chosen to form ātma bīja.
Now, let us understand how the ātma bīja for Kumar is derived. Guru of Kumar decides to use akṣarara (र) to formulate ātma bīja for him. There are two methods by which this can be done. र is placed in D-IV (square 16), whereas the first akṣara of Kumar क is placed in A-1 (square 1). Now count the number of columns from A-1 to D-16, which is in the fourth column. Similarly, count the number of rows from A-1 to D-16, which is also in the fourth row. Both fourth column and the fourth row is an enemy (ari) square and the alphabets therein cannot be considered for ātma bīja. Therefore, any bīja with र as the akṣara cannot be the ātma bīja for Kumar.
Since र is not suitable, his Guru decides to use the akṣara म (ma), which is in the second column as well as the second row from क. Second row and second column is sādhya square, which means that all the three akṣara-s (ऌ, झ, म) in that square is highly suitable for Kumar. An akṣara alone cannot form a bīja and therefore म is to be made as a bīja. Before his Guru decides on Kumar’s ātma bīja, he will have a look at the other two bīja-s ऌ, झ. Each bīja has certain characteristics and based on the characters they do either good or bad to the person concerend. In the present case akṣara ऌ is not auspicious and should not be used to form an ātma bīja. Therefore, either झ or म can be used. Between these two, म is more auspicious and this alone should be used to form an ātma bīja. Having decided to choose म, this has to be converted into a bīja by adding रीं (rīṁ). रीं is chosen because र is a very auspicious as well as a powerful akṣara and belongs to Agni and (ईं ) īṁ is kāmakalā. Thus म+ र + ईं = म्रीं (mrīṁ) becomes the ātma bīja of Kumar. In the foregoing discussion, the decision was not made on his horoscope, but only the first letter of his name.
It is always better to choose the square that falls in the second row and second column or third row and third column from the name square. However, third column and third row from the name square is the most beneficial which is known as susiddha square (the efficacious and having superhuman powers). As said earlier that each letter has got certain qualities and before determining the ātma bīja, the nature and quality of the akṣara is to be ascertained. However, the fourth column and fourth row are to be totally avoided.
Once ātma bīja is arrived, his Guru should initiate this to his disciple. The disciple should be asked to test its efficacy by reciting the ātma bīja for a few days. This is necessary to avoid any unnoticed and overlooked human errors while computing the bīja. If the disciple feels the positive vibration from the ātma bīja, then it perfectly suits him. On the contrary, if the disciple faces some difficulties during this period, this ātma bīja should be discontinued and another one should be chosen. Once the ātma bīja suits the disciple, his Guru will advise him how to use this while reciting various mantras. Generally ātma bīja can be prefixed and suffixed to a mantra. Alternatively, his Guru may advise him to recite only ātma bīja. This is applicable in the case of advanced disciples who practice more meditation. Ātma bīja should be aligned with one’s breath for quick results. If one mentally recites the right ātma bīja, attaining siddhi is possible in a short time say a month or two at the maximum.