Mantra Playing Cards

This playing cards project piqued my interest quite a fair bit because the images on the royal court cards are Hindu inspired. I may not be a Hindu but I grew up with a Hindu temple that is located 200 steps in front of my childhood home. Hence, I am a little bit familiar with imagery of Hindu deities, sculpting of the deities onto the temple walls and on the “spires” of the entrance to the temples.

1024px-Sri_Siva_Durga_Temple.JPG

Of course the chanting of mantras. The temple will begin to hit the bell and chant mantras usually with burning incense. I fondly remember the sleepless nights when the temple begins their hours long chanting into the wee hours of the dark morning during religious festivals and celebrations.

I am not going to write about Hindu religion and I shall leave you dear readers to do your own research if you like to.

Roman Kotiv is the brain child behind Mantra Playing Cards. What is mantra? Why chant anything at all? First of all there are various types of mantras and their purposes are different depending on what the person wants to achieve or depending on the ceremony being observed. I am not an expert on this but I will quote from Roman:

A “Mantra” is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. A mantra may or may not have syntactic structure or literal meaning.

The Shanti Mantras or “Peace Mantras” are Hindu prayers for Peace (Shanti) found in Upanishads. Generally they are recited at the beginning and end of religious rituals and discourses. Shanti Mantras are invoked in the beginning of some topics of Upanishads. They are supposed to calm the mind of the reciter and environment around him/her. Reciting them is also believed to be removing any obstacles for the task being started. Shanti Mantras always end with three utterances of word “Shanti” which means “Peace”. The Reason for uttering three times is for calming and removing obstacles in three realms.

Some words of the quote above are bold because they are the inspiration of the playing cards. From what I read on his project page and from chakras.net, I gathered that the three realms are:

  • Adhibhautika – are the various disturbances from the external world that stem from nature or living beings. To this belong influences from heat, cold, noise, natural phenomenon such as floods, whirlwinds and earthquakes, as well as attacks by wild animals, violent people, etc. Roman refers this as the physical realm.
  • Adhidaivika – are disturbing influences from astral forces and beings. For example, these can be the cause of sudden accidents, psychic disturbances, fears and depression. Since it is related to astral forces and beings, Roman refers this as this divine realm.
  • Adhyaatmika – are influences from the vibrational plane of the TATTVAS (the elements). Amongst other things, these are able to trigger off physical illnesses or mental disturbances. Roman refers this as internal realm as the effects happen within one’s body and mind.

In Mantra playing cards, three realms are being mentioned hence, three different editions of the playing cards will be available in this project. Enough of text reading since pictures paint more than a thousand words. I present to you Adhi-Bhautika. The back of the deck is bright with yellow and red colour.

The structured of Adhi-Bhautika royal court cards follows the modern playing cards royal courts where there are portraits both top and bottom which are an inverse reflection of each other.

Next, the Adhi-Daivika edition which has a darker tone to the card back. The design of the royal court portraits are the same as Adhi-Bhautika with one difference. All royal court portraits are full length.

With a larger image, it is easier to appreciate the details of the design and colouring.

Mantra DAI QOS Close up

Besides the difference in the royal court portraits, there is also a difference in the design of the Aces. We will do a comparison of the Spade court for your convenience.

Lastly, the Adhyaatmika edition which is the limited edition in this project. No efforts have been spared in designing this deck in terms of design of the cards and tuck box. Take a look below and observe the tuck box in the centre and compare to the ones beside it.

MAN Tuck Boxes

For people who are familiar with the aum tattoo or hindu related sanskrit lettering, you might find a trace of such a symbol in the design of the Adhyaatmika tuck box. Below is a bigger image for your scrutiny.

Mantra ADH Tuck box art

Let us show you the card designs and they are different from Adhi-Bhautika and Adhi-Daivika decks. The designs are more eerie and it gives off a visual sensation that they belong in another world, the nether realms. The colour inks on the cards are gold for Diamonds and Hearts while silver for Clubs and Spades.

In my opinion, the Adhyaatmika deck stands out on its own entirely. It feels like a separate project from the other two decks due to the complete departure in design. That is both the selling point and a weakness in an ironic way. Because the approach in the artwork is so distinct, it is difficult to put an Adhyaatmika deck beside Adhi-Bhautika or Adhi-Daivika deck and say they belong in the same project. Apart from that, if you pledged for this project, I strongly recommend you to get at least one Adhyaatmika deck purely to add a highly unique design playing cards to your collection.

After reading such a lengthy article, let us share the features of Mantra Playing Cards:

  • Printed And Fulfilled By The Noir Arts Playing Cards Company (NPCC)
  • Premium Card stock and Coating
  • Custom Shape Seals As Stretch Goal ($5,000)
  • Numbered seals (Adhyaatmika deck)
  • Metallic golden and silver inks for Adhyaatmika deck (Limited deck)
  • Premium black soft touch cardstock for Adhyaatmika tuck (Limited deck)
  • Embossing of Adhyaatmika deck Tuck
  • Gold Foil For Adhyaatmika deck Tuck
  • Custom Interior As Stretch Goal ($6,500)
  • Embossing for Adhi-Bhautika and Adhi-Daivika tucks ($7,500)
  • Foils for Adhi-Bhautika and Adhi-Daivika tucks ($8,500)

The last three points are still stretch goals and I have included the amount required to unlock that stretch goals. Right now, the project has only raised $6,152 and still have some way to go before unlocking the first goal. If my article has convinced you that this is a deck to add to your collection, pledge for this project if you have yet to do so. If you had pledged for this project, get more Adhyaatmika decks.

Last but certainly not the least, I’ll like to quote the following disclaimer from Roman.

Mantra Playing cards decks has no intentions for to carry a religious message, or to promote any type of religious belief. All characters are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual / specific Hindi deities is purely coincidental.

 


Sources

Sri Siva Durga temple entrance

Roman Kotiv (Facebook)

Mantra Playing Cards (Kickstarter Project page)

Chakras.net

Aum (Wikipedia)

Noir Arts Playing Cards Company

 

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