Tradition: Bön

So Mama Ra Jo Dza

Bön

The mantra finishes the invocation to Yeshe Walmo, one of the major figures in the holy pantheon of Jundrung Bön. It is the oldest Tibetan spiritual tradition touching many areas from grammar, through medicine, astrology, logic to art. The Tibetans believe that its lineage has lasted for 18.000 years.

MEANING

May all the obstacles and bad issues disappear in space.
So – calling, trying to draw attention (something like: ‘Hey!’)
Mama – mum, mother
Ra Jo Dza – direct plea to Daikini for protection, providing shelter and safety

MESSAGE

Yeshe Walmo is a dangerous deity guarding the teachings and holy secrets of Bön. Summoned to help Daikini acts quickly, solving the problems of her practitioners. She helps them overcome difficulties and supports them, bringing them successful life.

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‘So Mama Ra Jo Dza’ mantra may be found at the end of the invocation to Yeshe Walmo – one of the main figures of Bön tradition pantheon. The system of Jundrung Bön (tib. བོན) is an old Tibetan spiritual tradition having its source in ancient pagan shamanism. It contains knowledge concerning several areas: from grammar and medicine, through astrology and logic, to arts and poetry. The complete lineage of Bön ends with so called Dzogchen (tib. རྫོགས་ཆེན་) which may be translated as The Great or Highest Perfection. The tradition, believed to be started about 18.000 years B.C., is considered by the Tibetans as the unbroken continued lineage of passing knowledge for more than 18.000 years, since the times of Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, the creator of Dzogchen line. He was one of three brothers living in heaven where they received their teachings. The heritage of Shenrab has been contained in three major cycles of teaching called: ‘Nine Ways’, ‘Four Doors and the Fifth, the Treasury’ and ‘Outer, Inner and Secret Precepts’. The last message is considered as the most important interpretation of Bön, including three crucial paths: the renunciation (system of Sutras), transformation (system of Tantras) and the path of self-liberation called Dzogchen.
When Buddhism has emerged in Tibet in the times of king Drigum Tsenpo, it was followed by the persecution of the followers of Bön, them being falsely accused so their tradition could not be reborn in Tibet in any form. During the second wave of persecution, at the times of king Songcen Gampo (6th century), the Tibetans were left with no choice: religious conversion meaning the merger of Bön and Buddhism or death, possibly exile. This is how the original Bön started taking its current Buddhist form.
Yeshe Walmo is a deity supposed to protect the safety and secrets of the original holy texts and ritual items hidden by the Lamas in the furthest mountains to save their heritage. Her duty is to keep the secrets and preserve then until the better and safer ages. Yeshe Walmo is being visualized in dark blue, standing on one leg, wearing peacock’s feathers symbolizing poison immunity. In her right hand she holds flaming thunderbolt sword made of meteoric iron, used to protect from ignorance and lack of knowledge. In her left hand she holds the vase full of water representing long life and giving her practitioners vital strength necessary to overcome all the obstacles. Tibetans believe that summoned to help Yeshe Walmo acts very quickly, solving health, personal or business issues for those, who recite her invocation. In the text she is called ‘the most powerful among all the guardians of knowledge’. The invocation to Yeshe Walmo ends with repeated phrase ‘So Mama Ra Jo Dza’, identified with the desire: ‘May all the obstacles and bad issues disappear in the space’. In the exact translation it means:
So – calling, trying to draw attention (something like: ‘Hey!’)
Mama – mum, mother
Ra Jo Dza – a plea for protection, providing shelter and safety.
In the abovementioned context (according to a Tibetan nun we have asked about the exact meaning of the words) we may attribute those words to children playing in the playground and calling their mother to protect them as they have just noticed some kind of threat.