External link: Yashodhara Ashram
Excerpts from the book I just finished reading.
Every Mantra has six aspects: a rishi or seer, a raga or melody, the Devata or presiding deity, a bija or seed sound, the Sakti or power and kilaka or pillar. The chanting or the recitation of the Mantras activates and accelerates the creative spiritual force promoting harmony in all parts of the human being. The devotee is gradually converted into a living center of spiritual vibration which is attuned to some other center of vibration vastly more powerful. This energy can be appropriated and directed for the benefit of the one who uses it and for that of others.
Chanting a Mantra with devotion and concentration attunes the individual through divine melody and has a harmonious influence over the whole body and mind. It is important to use the correct raga (melody) always, since precise rules govern the interrelation and sequences of sound. Each raga, which is a particular combination of sound, is claimed to reflect the laws of the universe and to be in perfect harmony with the universe at the time it is sounded. Since sound results from the union of the breath and intellect of a human being, the one who chants will be brought to harmony also.
Through constant repetition of the Mantra one becomes like a magnet attracting the spiritual power of the Mantra to oneself and becoming aware of the Self. This repetition gradually awakens the higher faculties in person and raises the consciousness towards the level of the mantric resonance. According to the Vedic teaching, “A Mantra has the power of releasing the Cosmic and Supra cosmic Consciousness” and it bestows freedom, ultimate illumination and immortality.
By reciting the Mantra you carry its force and power, and this will be a blessing for all those you meet. At times the mantric power may take over so that it will not even be necessary to speak.
At times during your Mantra practice, you may get in touch with emotions you did not know you had. Tears may arise that may have been held back since childhood. These tears are nothing to be ashamed of. They may be years of self pity or of regret at having wasted so many years. Sometimes they are a rejuvenating force that can refresh by washing away an accumulation of sadness. Fainting may also occur particularly in prolonged group chanting because the atomic structure of the brain has to be changed to adjust to the new vibration to which it is being exposed. This is a genuine response to the power of the Mantra, and it will manifest as a noticeable change in the personality of the individual. There will be a tendency to rethink many concepts and new ideals will be established. there will be a growing desire to break free from limitations and a conscious striving to be on the spiritual path.
The student must learn how to control this energy when it arises. The method for doing so is very simple. It is necessary only to feel the feet placed firmly on the floor and to remind oneself that one is here, now in the physical world. Human beings are the bridge between two worlds, the world of the physical, material body and the unseen world.
At a later date in your spiritual practice you may be faced with the temptation of siddhis, the powers of extra sensory perception. These powers may be used for good purposes, but too often they are only a temptation to the ego. If you give in to this temptation you may fall even further from your spiritual goal than you were before you started the practice of chanting Mantra.
Benefits of using the Mantra
One of the results that comes quickly with the practice of Mantra is control of the breath which is the means by which we can develop the ability to control the emotions. In chanting we can give all our emotions to the Mantra, to the deity of the Mantra and ask that deity to help us gain control. Continued chanting will lead to greater awareness and the replacing of negative feelings with positive affirmations.
when emotions are purified they develop into love, which is an important step in the awakening of further levels of consciousness and the influence of the Mantra becomes very subtle. The Mantra is like a shield against all that is negative and disturbing. In chanting out the emotions from the ugliest to the most exalted, and giving them back to the One who gave them to you in the first place, you learn to accept both parts of yourself, the good and the bad, and to transcend the pairs of opposites.
Attention and therefore energy will be withdrawn from the old thought patterns which like tapes on a tape recorder, play over and over. These mental background back ground noises keep us tied to the past and future, to fearful imaginings and senseless fantasies, which cause our self created sufferings. The energy will now be channeled to the Most High, to a positive affirmation of one’s innermost Self.
Learning to surrender to the Mantra and to the energy of the Mantra puts in motion the process of purification of the Self, facing up to and eliminating selfishness, self glorification, self justification, and self gratification.
Through the use of the Mantra, a greater sensitivity, a refinement of the senses, comes about which may eventually bring you to the point where you can see with the inner eye and hear with the inner ear. When the inner ear is developed, the music of the spheres may be heard, music of such exquisite beauty as no instrument, no human voice is able to produce. The most important goal in chanting, however is Realization of the Self.
Mantra and healing
Mantras can have a healing effect by releasing the motions and bringing out a state of calmness and deep relaxation both in the chanter and in anyone listening. With the mind relaxed, the source of the disease and the hidden roots of conflict may come to the surface where they can be dealt with.
When you chant or recite a Mantra for someone, visualize that person well and healthy. Do not picture the individual in a sick state, as such an image has remarkable power. Instead invoke the image of Tara or Krishna or Siva or Jesus and, in full expectation, see the person standing in the radiance of Light. Let the healing force flow through you, never from you, and think of the energy of the Mantra as that healing Light. Wrap the individual in a spiral of Light so that he or she becomes barely visible and let the image of the spiral move to the source of all Light. Now focus your attention on the chanting.
If you have spoken negatively of someone you can undo the negativity by quickly chanting a Mantra and surrounding the person with Light and with the power of the Mantra. Ask that your weakness not affect the person and ask to be forgiven. You can also use Mantra to help people you dont know. When you hear a fire or ambulance siren, for example say “Om Namah Shivaya, Somebody is in need. Let there be help.” If you see pictures in magazines or on television of people killed or injured in war zones, put them in the Light with Mantra.
When you chant for others, be sure that you are acting out of compassion and not just sympathy. Be aware of any desire to influence the outcome of any strong emotional response. You must keep your own will out of the way, surrendering to the power of the Mantra.
When we chant a Mantra, we definitely change the sick person’s state of mind. We can relax the person and gently probe into the depths of the soul or the mind to find out what resistance we may have to deal with. We can try to help lift the person’s burdens. Perhaps we can point out the the Divine can be trusted, that we have many good reasons for his trust.