mantra
    japa

    "Focus on the emergence or disappearance of a sound, then reach a space
    of indescribable fullness."   Vigyana Bhairava Tantra

    "That meditation that has no mantra
    is like a body with no soul."

    "In the beginning, there was sound, and the sound was with God, and the
    sound was God."

    "You know, amongst different expressions, the expression of sound is the
    subtlest, subtler even than light . . . By dint of sa'dhana', in the last phase you
    will hear the sound, the onm'ka'ra -- oonnn."   Sarkar


    What a beautiful and valuable topic!  Let's look at MANTRA as a practice to be done in
    activity --  whether moving about, or "rolling the beads"  or with deep yoga breathing  or chanted
    in a group.  Mantra for deep meditation is covered in How to Meditate.

    MAN-TRA means "mind transporting". They are specific word-syllables who take us back to
    Source. Their sound vibration and ideation make them conducive for this. In other words, Mantras
    can bring us out of the hot sun of the relative, constantly changing levels of thought and action
    and give us a dip in the refreshing pool within at the source of thought. After that, we grow inner
    peace and freedom while being able to better express the energy and love and creativity of our
    inner nature.

    MANTRAS exist in many traditional cultures. They often refer to nature and divinity. But essentially
    they all come  from and refer back to, the same Inner Source -- even though they be in different  
    languages.  That Source is none other than the Source of Thought from which all words emerge
    in the precess of thinking them, just as all spoken words in turn emerge from thought words.
    Nothing mysterious.

    MANTRAS can vary from incantations that are recited to shorter forms that are sung over
    repeatedly in a meditative way to short ones that are used in soft voice or mentally even while
    active to their use at a very subtle level to facilitate transcending into Source consciousness..

    MANTRA JAPA means the "repetition of mantra". This is a highly enjoyable practice that anyone
    can do. It can be done out loud, sung, whispered, mentally or very subtly.  It should be done in a
    rythym and tone that is natural and pleasing and with no ulterior motive.  MANTRA  JAPA is said to
    be the best practice for this age when humans have  little capacity for more austere practices.





    My experience with MANTRA JAPA is summarized in the following
    points:   

  • A favorite mantra can become like a friend that is always there.

  • Doing mantra is as good as listening to music.  I don't need an I-Pod or a car
    radio.

  • When I do it in the morning it starts a current for the whole day.

  • When done from time to time during the day it brings renewed serenity and power.

  • Sometimes I do it mentally, sometimes before meditation with deeper  breathing,
    sometimes sung or chanted -- as and when it feels right.  Variety keeps it fresh.

  • Mantra seems to be going on by itself at some deeper level.

  • I like mantras from different traditions, but have my favorites and my regular one.

  • Japa is best done when the mind is free -- walking, riding the bus, eating, going to
    sleep,  during any break in one's activity. When I need full engagement in some
    activity -- like driving in heavy traffic or working -- I drop it.

  • Mantra Japa and deep silent meditation support each other.  Japa can pull one
    right into meditation when it is that time.

  • When Japa is done just for the enjoyment of it -- it is so satisfying!  The moment it
    feels burdensome or forced, drop it. Just be. That also is mantra!

  • Japa can go with the rhythm of the breath, moving, walking or with Yoga.

  • Sometimes I feel to do it out loud, other times silently.

  • Japa should be done "soulfully", not in a rote mechanical way. Just even one
    repetition may be enuf to launch you into meditation!



    What I learned from the masters.

  • EMPOWERING A MANTRA   A mantra can become empowered  just by  using it
    with devotion. This Baba Hari Das told me personally.  Thank God!  Because  
    traditionalists usually say that a mantra is a "live mantra"  only when received  from
    an  enlightened guru.  Have you seen any lately -- around Miami?

  • RULES FOR JAPA   When japa is done for the love of it there are no rules --
    Any person is qualified, at any time, doing it in any way. (Always with respect,
    purity and a spirit of humility.)  You do not have to be born into a certain race,
    dress like something you are not, engage in all kinds of complicated
    preparations, or need to get it only from some special person. If you do it , it
    is yours!   


  • WHAT MANTRA   Any mantra used with sincerity can bring good results.
    Because, as I said,  all mantras emerge from the "matrika shakti"  -- the "mother
    energy" at the  inner Source of thoughts and words. Therefore they can all invoke
    lead us back to that Source. It's good to become familiar with mantras, prayers,
    affirmations, power words from the different cultures so as to develop a more
    universal understanding.  Crosscultural Education it is called.

  • Yogic texts say: the power of Japa increases from the gross (out loud),  to
    the  mental, to the subtle AND FINALLY TO THE SILENT LEVEL.  This is
    parallel to  what  science says about the levels of  matter; it goes from gross,
    to molecular, to atomic, to subatomic and finally to the Quantum Field of
    unmanifest pure potential.

  • NOTE: For specific purposes there is a specialized mantra science.    For
    example, to offset a bad planetary transit or to improve one's luck.  There are
    specific rules to be followed. This is not to be confused with what I am presenting
    here.

    I feel that all mystic teachings are the heritage of all of humanity.  They belong to
    whoever uses them with sincerity.  Nobody has the right to tell you that you  
    cannot do some practice because you are not born as "one of the chosen.  I have
    had  past lives in many diverse cultures, and so have you!   The global space from
    which  all emerges is MONOPOLY FREE TERRITORY!

    To fulfill mantra we have to transcend mantra.  

    Those teachings that keep people on the external levels of speech and thought --
    without transcending that inner  space -- usually results in a horrible fanaticism.
    This is the realm of close-minded belief systems. The daily news on TV tells the
    story.     "Allah Akbar" and off with your head.  On the contrary, when you get back
    to the Inner Source a real sense of universal brotherhood comes.  If humanity as a
    whole ever gets back to its Self, fanaticism will be finished.


    Mantra as Therapy  

    A free and effective therapy, for the emotions and the body both.. MANTRA JAPA  
    can even be substituted for meditation, in case one has too much discomfort to sit
    silently.  

    Hear the recommendations of Zen Master Seung Sahn to a Vietnam War Vet:

    "The only way to fix your consciousness is through strong practicing.  Two
    kinds of practicing are important: bowing and mantra. First, every day do
    bowing practice.  Slow, slow bowing.  Next is mantra ... Doing bowing and
    mantra practice doesn't have "I, my or me."  Inside and outside become one
    boom!"   

    Q. At some times I feel happy but at other times I feel sad. What can I do to
    feel happy and keep my heart open?
    A. You must do japa more regularly.


    Some Mantras

    OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

    This is a mantra that anyone can use.  You just listen to it and then do it!  It
    has a mysterious healing vibration.  You can hear it in the wind in the trees,
    in the waves crashing and hissing on the shore.  After you have done it a lot
    it will continuously vibrate in the heart -- and then they say that no other
    yogas will be required.  Click to hear it chanted or as an art form.

  • The mystic meaning is "I bow to or honor the Self".  
  • The root word SHIV means "auspicious, helpful, friendly".  
  • The 5 syllables NA-MA-SHI-VA-YA arepurify and revitalize the 5
    elements and our 5 bodies.  
  • There is a silent final syllable which is the Self.

    "This Om Namah Shivaya is like nectar; feed everyone with this nectar. Sri
    Mahaprabhuji (the speaker) wishes that all words would disappear from this world,
    except for three - Om Namah Shivaya. This is the original mantra. When
    Primordial Energy first appeared, the first mantra that She uttered from Her Holy
    mouth was Om Namah Shivaya"


    "I do not want japa to be a pretext for idleness.  Do japa with your work and be
    liberated ... I do not want the name of the Supreme to be like stagnant, muddy
    water, but like sparkling running water.  Work and be light.”  


    Mythologically, SHIVA, the the Supreme Self, is the god of meditation sitting in the
    thousand-petalled chakra in the crown of the head.  SHAKTI, meaning Supreme
    Energy, is Shiva's consort who is sleeping or dormant in the root chakra.  Shiva's
    name awakens her and she rises up through the chakras to unite with her consort
    -- and liberation is attained!   This figurative image symbolizes a real and
    extraordinary process.


    OM, AUM

    OM is not usually used for MANTA JAPA by itself.  It's more like the essence of all
    mantras -- one underlying, pure, undifferentiated vibration.   Thus, it symbolizes
    the "WORD that was in the beginning" -- And the beginning is happening now! --
    Life is continually manifesting from the inner Source.  Even science is verifying this
    as the Quantum Ground State.

      OM is called the "Mantra of Prana".  Why?  PRANA means "universal life force".  
    OM is the sound, extremely subtle, of the Prana.  Thus, OM is going on all the
    time in our breath and body! Thus, thru it we can bring Mind, Breathe, Body and
    Spirit into union.

    OM is added many mantras. All mantras dissove into OM and Divine Silence.  
    Variations of OM include AH, HUM, UMA.  In Africa and the Middle East OM is
    known as AMEN.  
     
    OM can best be used internally, as the greatest masters have told:

    "Draw the OM sound inside with the breath just as you draw water from a
    well.  And like dropping the bucket for a refill, release the exhalation with OM."

    "Devotion, reflection, power all merge and become OM. The ego melts into
    the OM sound like camphor melts in fire ... Place the mind in the higher mind
    like a child placed in the cradle and rocked. Know who you are."   Nityananda

    "O Bhairavî, sing OM, the mantra of the love union of Shiva and Shakti,
    slowly and consciously.  Enter the sound and when it fades away, slip into
    freedom of being."    Vigyana Bairava Tantra

    "After OM JAPA, let the yogi engage in meditation, after meditation then do
    japa.  When OM JAPA and meditation mature the Supreme Self shines
    forth."   Vyasa, on the Yoga Sutras


    "One really has only two ways to live: either wisely and ardently to seek the
    realization of Aum, or to lie in a coffin like a log, self-centered and
    impoverished in spirit."  

    "Truly, all actions must be infused with purifying one's fiery striving."    
    Helena Roerich


    OM HRIM SHRIM KLIM  ARAHUM HAM SAH

    I learned this mantra from a Jain monk I met briefly.  He told me it was
    "purifying". As he led the chanting in a small meeting, I saw the mantras
    coming out of him saturated with transcendental light and bliss.
     
    Each of the "seed syllables" in this have their own potency.  For example,
    HRIM is said to dispel illusion and thus help reveal the Reality. These seed
    syllables can be used independently for deep meditation.  

    The pronunciation is "HREENG  SHREENG  KLEENG  ARAHUNG  HONG-
    SAH".  


    "Remain still, maintain silence,
    fall into a state of meditation
    and dissolve yourself."    Jain Monk


    RAAM NAAM

    You can find variations of the Rama mantra in different permutations from
    Africa to India.  Notice when you say RAAM the tongue goes up to the roof
    of the mouth.  Notice that it contains the OM sound.

    RAAM alone is used for deep meditation.  In elaborated forms it is used for
    Japa.

    RAAM means "supreme bliss".
    NAAM  means the "transcendental name, sound and light".

    RA is masculine solar energy.  MA is feminine and cooling.
    RA is also the seed syllable for fire -- which can mean the yogic fire of
    purification.

  • RAMA was the name given to a divine king of ancient India.

  • RAHM means "supreme love" in the Aramaic language of Yeshua (Jesus).  

  • AMEN is NAMA backwards.  In the Yoruba language of Africa AMEN refers
    to the "unseen divine realities".  Then, in ancient Egypt AMEN RA was the
    name of the Supreme.



    Some very good quotes


    ~ Visualize a syllable, let yourself be filled by its radiance.  With open
    awareness, enter first the sonority of the sound, then a subtler and subtler
    sensation.  When the sound dissolves into space, be free.    Vigyana
    Bhairava Tantra
     

    ~If you really believe that "Coca Cola" is the greatest mantra and practice
    it diligently, it will work for you.
     
    ~ Q:  Isn't there a danger of hypnotizing oneself with a mantra, of putting
    oneself into a sleepy state?
    ~ A:  Yes.  So it is important to ask "Why am I practicing this mantra? " ...
    Only mantra has no direction. However, "Who is doing the mantra?"
    means having a direction.   SS


    ~ In fact you can easily see the difference between those who have a
    mantra and those who don't.  With those who have no mantra, even if they
    have a strong habit of meditation or concentration, something around them
    remains hazy and vague.  Whereas the japa imparts a kind of precision, a
    kind of solidity, an armature.  They become galvanized as it were."     
    Mother Mira



    Question : I am taught that MANTRA JAPA is very potent in practice.

    Ramana: The Self is the greatest of all mantras - it goes on automatically and
    eternally. If you are not aware of this internal mantra, you should take to it
    consciously as Japa, which is attended with effort, to ward off all other thoughts.
    By constant attention to it, you will eventually become aware of the internal mantra
    which is the state of realization and is effortless

    When the syllables of the mantra become one with the PRANA [subtle vital
    energy}, it is termed DHYANA, and when dhyana becomes deep and firm it leads
    to sahaja sthiti [the natural state].

    Question : I have received a mantra. People frighten me by saying that it may have
    unforeseen results if repeated. It is only pranava (OM). So I seek advice. May I
    repeat it? I have considerable faith in it.

    Ramana: Certainly, it should be repeated with faith.

    Question : Can anyone get any benefit by repeating mantras picked up casually?

    Ramana: No. He must be competent and initiated in such mantras.






    Q: Is it necessary to wait for a guru to give a mantra or may one find a mantra on one’s own?

    MM: Whichever mantra comes to you easily and spontaneously is the one you should do. It
    should give a strong feeling and be like music flowing from the heart.


    Q: I don’t have a fixed japa. At different times different forms of the Divine – such as Shiva
    or Krishna – come into my mind, and I sing the appropriate mantra. Is doing this all right?

    MM: Yes, whatever appeals at the moment is all right. One doesn’t have to have a fixed
    mantra.


    Q: What is the best technique of meditation?

    MM: There are so many techniques. Generally they confuse people. Quite often they increase
    people’s spiritual pride instead of destroying it. The proud man is far from God. You have to
    be very careful. The best way is to remember the Divine in everything and to offer everything
    to the Divine.

    Mother Meera




    "Regardless of the number of beads of the mala it is important that if a
    mala is used to count mantras it must be with done devotion. Japa or
    chanting into the sound current creates Tapa the spiritual heat. It becomes
    Dharma, which leads to the path of God. Mala beads can be used in any
    religion or spiritual tradition."  Anon

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