Mantra Pañca Pallava (मन्त्र पञ्च पल्लव)

The word “pallava” in Sanskrit literally translates to “a shoot, extension etc”. Extensions to mantras are called “Pallava-s”. To accomplish various tantric rites such as the ṣaṭkarma-s (such as śānti - meaning Peaceful, productive etc., vaśya - meaning attraction, stambhana meaning halting or restraining or paralysing, vidveṣa - meaning aversion, uccāṭana - meaning expulsion and eradication, māraṇa - meaning destruction), the pallava-s are used. There are mainly five Pallava-s called Pañca Pallava –

1. ‘namaḥ (नमः)– means salutation. One offers salutations to the deity signified by the mantra.

2. ‘svāhā’ (स्वाहा) – signifies offerings or oblations to the deity through the mantra.

3. ‘vauṣaṭ/vaṣaṭ’ (वौषट्/वषट्) – signifes oblations offered in fire to the deity and mantra, seeking protection.

4. ‘huṃ’ (हुं)– is to drive away evil forces to protect oneself.

5. ‘phaṭ’ (फट्) – is the force to break all obstacles and dispel negativity.

Mantra pallava-s have been classified as Feminine, Masculine and Neutral.  

Feminine : The mantras ending with the pallava-s svāhā and vauṣaṭ/vaṣaṭ, are feminine

Masculine : The mantras ending with the pallava-s huṃ and phaṭ, are masculine.

Neutral: The pallava namaḥ is neutral.

The application of these mantras has to be synchronized with the flow of breath through the spiritual channels within the body, called nāḍi-s. There are three nāḍi-s, which are the left iḍa, the right piṅgala and the central suṣumna representing the spinal cord. The primordial energy called kuṇḍalini deposited at the bottom of the root mūlādhāra cakra, traverses through these channels. The feminine mantras should be synchronized with the iḍa nāḍi connected to the left nostril. The mantra should be started with the breath inhalation through the left nostril. Likewise, for the masculine mantras, the breath should be initiated from the right nostril to synchronize with the piṅgala nāḍi. The neutral mantras should be recited, with both nostrils active for inhalation and exhalation of the mantra. The masculine mantras are meant for seeking protection and driving away negativity and the feminine mantras are for pacification purposes. The neutral mantras can be used for immobilization purposes.

Nyasa and Pallavas: Mantra sādhana includes a process called nyāsa, which literally means introducing or placing the parts of the root mūla mantra, or the six forms of the seed syllable(s) (bīja-s) of the mantra, upon various parts of the body.

Kara Nyasa: The Kara nyāsa performed on the fingers of the hand, utilising the neutral pallava - namaḥ, signifies binding all the fingers to the mantra japa alone, as well as cessation of all other activities.

Anga Nyasa: The aṅga nyāsa, which includes all the five Pañca Pallava-s, denotes the activation of various cakras.

Starting with namaḥ, signifying the binding of the devata/deity or part of the mantra in the heart anāhata cakra.

Followed by svāhā on the head, burning all our doubts and ego and dissolving our consciousness into the infinite super-consciousness on the crown of the head sahasrāra cakra.

Vaṣaṭ on the tuft of the head in the medula oblongata area, signifies the activation of the back side of the third-eye ājñā cakra, where all the nāḍi-s meet. This is the awakening of the individual consciousness and realizing its existence as an indivisible part of the Whole.

The pallava huṃ, drives away all the fears and induces courage in us, with the activation of the maṇipūra naval cakra.

Vauṣaṭ on the eyes, signifies opening up our vision to the true spiritual reality and the disappearance of the virtual reality called māya, that is generally perceived as the material reality coupled with worldly pleasures.

Finally, all the obstacles that may come in the path of mantra sādhana and the goals of the devotee, are broken up with the pallava phaṭ, with the prayer to the mantra/deity, to utilize any weapon necessary to accomplish the result.

This article is written by Krishna Vallapareddy and can be contacted at