Post by ajna
I read this thread about mantras. I don't have much experience or
knowledge on this and few questions rised in my mind.
What's the difference between chanting mantra loud making sound, and
not making sound?
What's the difference between mantra that guru gives in initiation and
a "mantra" that you choose yourself some other way?
The difference is that a mantra you have concocted yourself or
received from dubious sources, which means if you have to pay a large
sum of money for it, you can't be sure of the result. A mantra
received in an authorized disciplic succession is guaranteed the
According to the classical yoga techniques the way to meditate is to
focus the mind on one single point. To concentrate on one point is
very difficult with the endless flow of thoughts constantly entering
The idea is to subdue all thoughts, and not to just let them space out
as they like in the mind. Yoga means to control the mind, and break
the condition then mind has over one's pure knowledge.
Thus to quiet down the mind, to make it still, you need a mantra, a
word, to concentrate on. The word mantra comes from Sanskrit -
mana-trayate - that which frees or protects the mind.
Then the idea is to make the breathing slow.
This is done the following way.
You sit in a comfortable position, with the back, neck, and head
alined in an erect position. You should sit as far below on your
buttocks as possible. Don't place the seat near the place where the
spine joins your pelvis.
Then pretend being a bottle. You now fill the bottle - your torso -
very slowly with air. Breathe through the nose, and slowly fill in air
beginning from the lowest point in the abdomen all the way up to the
neck. Take your time, and don't use any breast muscles in the
breathing process. Use your abdomen. And breathe only through the
nose, both inhaling and exhaling.
Then when you are full of air, hold it for a short while, 5-10
seconds, and gradually, very slowly, release the air, controlling the
out going breath with the abdomen. Release the air as slowly as
possible, by keeping it back and sort of let it seep out. In this way
you can train yourself up, and gradually prolong your breathing cycles
to the point where you can almost stop breathing and sit in trance. It
may take a few hundred years to become that good.
Then when you have gotten the breathing together you can introduce a
mantra, which is always a name of God. The real purpose of meditation
is actually to connect with God, by concentrating on the sound of His
name. Usually, for internal meditation, the mantra Om or AUM is
befitting. It is pronounced "aauum", and it is good because you can
fit it to the sound of the in going and outgoing breath. In effect you
prolong the sound aum to match one in going breath, then a new aum for
the holding of the breath, and finally one aum for the outgoing
If you can sit every day for 30 minutes and breathe in cycles of, say,
one minute, and concentrate your thoughts on the syllable "om" - which
is the sound representation of God, that usually addresses His
impersonal aspect, it will have an enormous, beneficial effect on your
mental and physical well being.
Now, the thing is, that according to the sages, the classical astanga
yoga system is not recommended in the age of Kali, for the simple fat
that in this age of strife and hypocrisy it is not possible for
ordinary human beings to perform this stringent method. To be
successful in this process requires the observance of complete
celibacy for many many years or even for many lifetimes.
But by the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the means of deliverance has
become very easy, in this fallen age, where the general mass of people
have lost all their inherent spiritual powers, for simply by chanting
the Hare Krishna maha-mantra one can very easily attain the goal
sought by all yogis - reunion with the Supreme.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The goal of meditation is to focus on God. In the japa-meditation
technique one repeats swiftly the mantra softly to oneself, usually
counting the mantras on a japa-mala - a string of prayer beads like a
You block out all thoughts of the mind by concentrating on hearing the
sound of the mantra. You should only hear the sound of God's names,
and nothing else. Every time the mind flickers or wavers, one must
bring it back under controll and fix it on the mantra. To chant the
names of God on a regular daily basis, is the recommended process of
meditation or religion for this age.
It is stated in the Vedas, the ancient Sanskrit literatures that are
the basis of all knowledge there is originally to be found on the
subject matter of yoga, karma, reincarnation, meditation, chakras, and
what do you have, that the method of meditation recommended for this
age - the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy, called Kali-yuga - is
to repeat God's names.
This method can be applied within any religious tradition and is thus
You might want to take note that the Sanskrit word "yoga" is
equivalent to the Latin word "religion" or re-ligio, which means to
reconnect. Yoga means to connect.
So meditation is a way of focusing one's mind on God, and in this way
connect with Him and feel His love. Since we don't know God, we focus
on Him through His name. Since God is absolute there is no difference
between Him and His name. He is present fully in His name. As we
progress on the path of meditation we shall realize this more and
The technique is to softly and swiftly repeat the Hare Krishna mantra
to oneself. One can also do it purely mentally, but the sages state
that it is more effective to chant softly.
Meditation means to concentrate and focus, so therefore one should not
allow any other thoughts to enter the mind. One should concentrate
fully on hearing the mantra and nothing else. One can make this a
daily process and experience great relief from the burden of one's
karma. This process of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is said to be
the only effective way of meditating in the age of Kali. The below
mantra is the mantra said to be authorized for all living entities in
"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The above mantra, consisting of 16 words and 32 syllables, is the only
way by which to counteract the evil influence of Kali-yuga. After
having searched through all the Vedas, one will find no more sublime
method of religion than the chanting of the holy name."
Please also refer to the address in my sig. It has all the info you
are looking for, presented and authorized by the disciplic succession.