June 14, 2017
“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”
Emily Dickenson, 19th century poet
With spiritual practices like yoga and meditation becoming more popular, it seems like everyone is talking about mantras. But what exactly is a mantra and how are you supposed to use it?
In our westernized, modern-day spiritual practices the word “mantra” has become as mainstream as “intention.” But the two are actually quite different. The word mantra can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle. In other words, a mantra is an instrument of the mind—a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation.
What is Mantra?
Mantra or divine sounds or words is a condensed form of spiritual energy. It is a short prayer or means to communicate with the absolute reality. According to yogis or mystics, the mantras accompany the mediator even after death by enlightening the path in the realm where the rays of sun and light of moon cannot reach.
People with a pure heart and a one-pointed mind acquire the vision of mantra. The seers or the Sages have the power of mantra, and it is manifested spontaneously in their actions and speech. The revelation of these mantras illuminates the path of sincere seekers.
There are mantras meant for a meditative purpose only. Such mantras consist of a syllable or some syllables. The phonemes are arranged in such a way that the words formed by them are not found in any common language. In short, these mantras do not carry any contemplative meaning.
Working with the breath is the best way to practice mantra. The sound of the breath is easily recognizable inner sound. Sit in a quiet place and pay attention to the flow of your breath, you can hear the sound “so . . .” when you inhale and the sound “hum . . .” when you exhale.
Following a systematic approach to meditation, the practitioner quiets and balances the physical body. While doing this, you learn how to make the breath serene, and cultivate a comfortable, stable sitting or posture. In the next step, you withdraw the mind from external affairs and practice breath awareness. This practice creates a feeling of tranquility and controls the mind.
Most of the holy scriptures persuade the seekers to avoid blind faith and skepticism. To obtain initiation, you must possess a pure heart and a sharp intellect. It is important to understand your real motives and seek guidance in the form of initiation.
Have you experienced enthusiasm after reading an inspiring article or attending an interesting lecture? Initiation happens when you listen to the cry of your soul. When your longing becomes intense, it becomes painful to wait. This intense yearning draws you closer to the master, and you will experience the fulfillment of the scriptural promise; “Seek and ye shall find; knock, and the door will be opened.”
As humans, the more we know, the more we wish to know, and feel, that is when we realize how little we know. It is essential that we have the desire to know and search for the resources to experience the “Word.” Just like the sages we may also hear, receive and keep the Word. We all look forward to the divine light to descend in our lives and help us conquer the absolute truth.
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