The Kargil war between Bharat and Pakistan was in full swing. The enemy had gained an advantage by occupying high hills and dominating peaks stealthily. The Indian Army had brought in heavy howitzers and field guns, besides crack infantry units to dislodge the Pakis. In the pre-attack tete-a-tete with commanders of lower formations, the date and time of opening the blistering attack on the Paki enemy was to be decided. The commanding general, an enlightened man, set a date. Other officers demurred. It happened to be a Saturday. The next day was 13th of the month, not auspicious either said some. The General had a Vedic background. He knew that Saturday or shanivar was based on the word Shanaishchar which was indeed Parmatma's Vedic name and it taught men and women to inculcate patience. The ill-omen associated with the word was a bye- product of a superstitious belief. He, therefore, ordered the battle to begin on that Saturday. The Indian troops fought well, beat the Pa! kistanis and won the battle. The mantra about Shanaishchar had motivated the commanding general to keep superstition at bay and vanquish the foe. In the first chapter of the Satyarth Prakash , Swami Dayanand Saraswati has dealt with the subject at length. It is indeed helpful in motivating a man to act correctly. A mantra, recited and meditated upon, raises morale of military men sky high. A mantra motivates military men to go in for decisive action. Gaurav Sawant, formerly a print journalist and now an electronic media man, had the privilege of being in the Kargil war for its entire duration of 9 weeks in 1999. He has mentioned in his book, Dateline Kargil that before launching a frontal attack the soldiers prayed in makeshift temples and priests recited mantras from the Vedas and shlokas from the Bhagvad Gita to motivate them , raise their morale and instil in them a burning desire to WIN. Yogeshwar Shri Krishna was quoted time and again : Tasmad Uttishth kaunteya Yudhaya Krit Nishchayah , was the bottom line of sermons. It worked wonders. India won the war defeating Pakistan decisively. Indeed mantras motivated. When an army unit or a formation goes into battle, it has to win. Be a winner, a winner throughout. There is no prize, what to say of a trophy, for a runners up in a battle. A soldier who has no mental make up for a victory must be weeded out of the army lest he makes the will to win of other soldiers weak. A bad sheep infests the whole flock, so goes an old adage. It is as true today as it was in days of yore. No wonder commanders at all levels and at all times take suitable steps to raise morale of men sky high. Factors impeding building of a high degree of morale are eliminated ruthlessly. There is never a compromise on this issue because all commanders wish to win. No prize for losers, never! A mantra, in the form a talk or a recitation or a community singing is the biggest single factor in raising morale of men and winning battles. The word Mantra has passed into the English lexicon and is used across the seven seas. Napoleon, Emperor of France and a great strategist , said : Morale is three times as important as physical numbers. It steels the will to win. Pray, tell me who would not like to win. Indeed there is a tremendous stress , both mental and physical, among officers and men when they are in a theatre of war. Before a battle is joined in, there is a waiting period. That is the time of tremendous stress on minds of men. Here priests and purohits, besides officers at various levels, come into picture. They have to recite mantras, explain meaning and encourage greenhorns to meditate to make morale as uncrackable as finest steel. Indeed, a well delivered sermon on our soul being unperishable and that the soul is Anadi as well as Anant, motivates a martial man to make the supreme sacrifice for the noble cause he is fighting for. The motivation mantra lies in the lines of the poet when he wrote : How else can a man die better than facing fearful odds For the ashes of his forefathers and temples of his gods. Isn't that the finest form of mantra motivation? Indeed it is. FEAR is the greatest enemy of a fighting man. Fear of the unknown demotivates. Fear lowers the morale to such an extent that highly trained soldiers turn their tales when the battle is joined. In the 1962 India-China war in the NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh), many a battle hardened infantry units and senior officers just ran away from the battlefield. There was no Mantra motivation. No one had disabused minds of men of the element of unknown fear. No one had recited the relevant mantra, what to say of meditation, of the Yajurveda which runs thus : Abhayam Mitradabhayam Amitradabhayam Gyatadabhayam Parokshat, Abhayam naktambhayam Diva Nah Sarva Asha mum Mitram Bhavantu. May God make us strong enough not to be afraid of a friend or a foe. May we not be afraid of the known and the unknown . May we be fearless by day and by night. May we all make friends with one and all. Indeed many a man who knows this mantra and meditates on it certainly swears by its efficacy. This mantra motivates both in war and in peace. This mantra will motivate men and women of all age groups in all walks of life to be Fearless and develop a highly motivated personality. Cohesion is another important factor helpful in winning a war, what to say of a battle. The second mantra of the last sukta of the Rigveda comes in handy in building cohesion. It is effective in the civil life too. While on an Akashvani sponsored mission to do a five-part feature in Hindi for broadcast I found the batch of pilgrims a divided lot. The sangathan sukta mantra was given to all ladies and gentlemen on pilgrimage. They recited it before beginning the day's walking tour. Within a week or so all members were on talking terms with one another. They also shared the goodies that they had brought from their hometowns. Such is the motivating power of the mantra. Indeed, seeing is believing. Long years ago while on active service in the Army in Ladakh, My soldier friends and I were stuck on a makeshift road along the Pangong Tso, one of the biggest fresh water lakes in high altitude, on account of a sudden snowfall. Again the famous Yajurved mantra, so dear to Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, was taken recourse to. Aum Vishwani Dev Saviturduritani Parasuv, Yad Bhadram Tann Asuva motivated us to act. The" durit" or the impediment in our path was removed and thereafter the patrolling was just smooth sailing. It was a personal experience of the efficacy of mantra motivation in the military.
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM