18 सितंबर 2011

Mantra: mode for self discovery Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Mantra: mode  for self discovery
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
given at the Dublin Convention on Sept. 22nd 1979

For thousands of years, you and your ancestors have been working on mind control, and most have either failed or slipped into a state of hypnosis. The mental process is an involuntary process and you cannot cut through it at any point you like. Even if you can stop the thoughts, you can't stop the process. Mind, thought and consciousness maintain their level. You only have the satisfaction of knowing that you have created a vacuum in your mind- shoonya, void, a thought free mental area. But that's all delusion; man can never be free from the thought process.
You not only think on the conscious plane - you think even though you are unconscious. When you are extrovert and preoccupied, an unseen, eternal, unbroken and protracted process of thought movement continues behind the mental curtain. You don't see anything but there is constant movement.

Mind is not a homogeneous substance- mind is a replica of proto-matter, universal mind. You talk about controlling the mind, but what are you talking about? You can definitely streamline and channelize your emotions, the pattern of your thinking and the structure of your ambition- the social mind. But the real mind is invincible and is completely indomitable. Therefore, intelligent people must realise that in order to understand and control the thought process you have to go into the deeper spheres of your mind. That is the science of mantra.
The process
Mantra is not the name of a god or goddess or of a person. It is not a holy word or part of a hymn.
Mantra is not sacred, nor is it a tool for concentration. It is a vehicle for expansion of mind and liberation of energy.
The sounds which you receive and the sounds you make, create resonant waves in the depths and surface of the mind. These sound waves have various forms known as mandalas which go deep and hit the depths of the mind. If you take a pebble and throw it into a pool- circles, waves or ripples are generated. Deep freeze the whole pool immediately and then look at it- follow the ripples and find the point where the pebble hit the water.
The process of mantra is very similar. First of all fix your mind on the nose tip or one of the centres. This is very important, because when the eyeballs move, the rhythms of the brain are affected and shadows move- the level of consciousness does not become steady. For that reason the eyes have to be absolutely steady. In order to create steadiness, you have to find one centre, the nose tip, close the eyes, and fix your mind there. That is point one. Secondly, the nose is directly connected with the perineum, which is the seat of the most important centre in the body- mooladhara chakra. When you concentrate on the nose tip the impulses keep moving from the nose tip right down to the perineum.

After you have been concentrating on the nose tip, become aware of the breath, the natural breath which moves at the speed of fifteen rounds per minute. The breath has to be felt at the nose tip, flowing through both the nasal orifices. Then synchronise your mantra with the natural stream of the breath, either one mantra with inspiration and one with expiration, or more than one mantra with inspiration. That all depends upon the length of your mantra and on your personal choice.
Unlocking Pandora's box
What happens when you are practising mantra ? More and more thoughts express themselves. Mind becomes wild. As long as you are occupied, you are quiet; your mind is peaceful. But when you begin to concentrate on the mantra, everything comes out from the depths. Does this mean that you are not progressing? Is it a negative symptom? No- during the period when you practise mantra, the wilder the mind becomes, the better it is for you. It is not clarity, tranquillity or passivity of mind that is required. The most important thing is to face the mind- to see the entire process.
Thinking is not a process- it is a panorama. Mind does not move, mind does not walk, mind does not run. It is just a thing. But you see the mind in parts, therefore you think it is moving, just as you see the sun moving but the earth not. This is one of the most important things that all of us must understand. This idea is very important in yoga. It influences the whole mental condition, the state of being. You feel thoughts moving, emotions running wild, passions assailing you. But that's your experience, your feeling- that's not a fact. You see the whole thing, part by part, and therefore you feel that the mind is moving from past into present and from present into future, from future into past and from past into future. But it is not like that. Universal mind is a homogeneity; it cannot be separated by time and space. Time and space are in its womb.

Therefore, when you are practising mantra, you should be happy when your mind is developing the areas concerning the past, present and future. When evil and criminal thoughts are awakened in your mind, or when you have thoughts of God and compassion-it is all the same. If you want to crush the evil idea, you must crush the good idea as well. This is a very important point, and it is here that the whole process of life, of evolution, is stuck. Those people who have been able to transcend the barriers of life, have done it only after realising this.

You expect the mind to be calm like a moonlit night, free from clouds and thunder. That's not expecting something which is possible. When you practise your mantra, please remember that you are not practising it to stop this eternal process; to crush the basis of your faculties, your knowledge, your enlightenment. To crush the mind is to kill life. To suppress an emotion is to destroy the very base of your ambition and desire. Man cannot be anything unless he has the whole mind to work from. The greatest discoveries in history, the greatest victories, the greatest paintings, compositions, and realizations-what are they, but products of the mind.
Therefore, when you practise mantra, please be aware of whatever comes to your mind. Do not put things into categories and compartments: 'Very nice thoughts I had today, thank God.' Or, 'Today my meditation was very bad; throughout the practice I have been having horrible thoughts.' No, this is where we are making a great mistake. When you fix your mind on the nose tip, on the breath, and on the mantra - the deeper you go the greater will be the manifestation of the whole mind.

Forget about control
The mind has infinite experiences, pictures, realisations and ideas. Therefore, I cannot agree with those people who say: 'Close your eyes, control your mind and practise mantra. You will come to the light.' I have practised not for one or two years, but for a whole lifetime, and I know this is not the way.
By trying to control the mind, you are creating a split in your personality. Who are you and whom are you trying to control? As you practise mantra, every time a bad thought comes, you set it aside. Who is doing this, and with whom? Who is the controller, who is controlled and who controls the controlling process? It's all you - one mind, myself, and two perceptions. You are creating a conflict between the two perceptions that have arisen in you. That's why the whole civilisation has become schizophrenic and neurotic. For that, you are responsible; your religion, your system of spiritual life, is responsible.

Man does not live by faith or belief. Man lives by an absolutely cruel sense of discovery, and great things have come out of it. Faith and belief have their limitations, but discovery has no limitations. You can explore into eternity, into infinity and keep on going as far as you will. That's discovery, that's adventure. But once you stop and say, 'I have found it', that is faith or belief, and that is setting limitations to your capacity, to your potentialities.
So when you practise mantra, the deeper you go, the greater areas of the mind you explore. You will not only see the passions, ambitions, dreams, and compassions; you will see horrible fears, thoughts which you could never think on the mental, psychic or para-psychological planes. There is not one moment in the life of a practitioner when the mind is totally vacant.
People come to me every day saying, 'Swamiji, my mind is very restless and I am not able to concentrate. Kindly give me a mantra.' I have to tell them, 'This is not possible. I don't teach mantra for this purpose. But if you want your unconscious to be exploded, if you want the great treasure to reveal itself, then, I can give you a mantra.'
The science of mantra is not a branch of hatha yoga; it is a part of tantra. In tantra it is said that mantras can influence the totality of human consciousness and destiny. Therefore, when we set out to practise mantra, we should forget one point, control of mind.

Mantra can be practised at any part of the body, not only the nose tip. You can practise mantra awareness at the navel, the centre of the heart, the eyebrow centre, or even sahasrara chakra - the crown lotus on top of the head.
There are four ways in which mantra can be practised: (i) baikhari - aloud, with the mouth; (ii) upanshu - whispering, with movement of the lips; (iii) manasik - silently in the mind, with no movement of the lips or tongue, no stir in the throat; (iv) ajapa japa - spontaneously with the breath.
When the sound is produced in these four different forms, it has different types of waves. When you chant Om aloud or in a whisper, it creates a standing wave. When you repeat it silently in the mind, it produces a resonant wave. Spontaneous mantra synchronised with the breath creates a continuous, rhythmic wave which has a long range of vibration. When you chant the mantra with your mouth or lips, it has a short range of vibration, a very quick rest period.

This doesn't mean to say that you should not chant aloud, but this is the lower form. Feeling the mantra spontaneously is the higher form. For the best results, mantra should be practised in the following sequence: First chant aloud, producing the sound with your mouth. After a few months, just whisper it on the lips, without producing any vibration. Then later, after a year or so, fix a point at the eyebrow centre, nose tip, or in the heart, and repeat your mantra silently there, synchronising it with the pulse beat. Finally, practise spontaneous awareness of the mantra with the rhythm of the breath. This is the most important form. If the mantra is to penetrate the inner consciousness, to reach the point where thoughts originate, where consciousness emanates and evolution begins, then this last form of spontaneous mantra awareness, ajapa japa, must be practised.

Acceptance of the mind is a very important attitude, especially during the practice of mantra. To live with our own thoughts and feelings is very difficult. People suffer from inferiority and guilt due to their own mind, their own mental behaviour. If you can come out of this by understanding and accepting the mind, many people will want to receive guidance from you. It doesn't matter how long you can sit in the lotus position. You can hold your mala for fifteen years and still be wrestling with the mind. What matters is that you learn to live with the mind, to understand the mind, and to utilise the perceptions that it is projecting before you. Whenever the mind is disturbed, you must find out what is the cause of the disturbance - the sound, the individual, the situation. Try to become a witness of all that is happening- this is the attitude that must be developed in the practice of mantra. Finally, when you have finished the practice, put your mala down and stop the mantra. Fix your mind on one point, for example, the nose tip or eyebrow centre, for five minutes and visualise the symbol of your mantra there.
If you continue this practice regularly you will treat your own mental problems, and correct your abnormal mental behaviour. You will be your own mental doctor. As well as this, you will develop an intimate friendship with the mind, and all of its fantastic faculties will open up to you. This mind is telepathic, clairvoyant, psycho-telekinetic This mind has infinite qualities- it can create a poem and make you a Milton. It can decide your future and make you a warrior, a soldier, a statesman or a saint. But we must know how to make use of this mind.

Tranquillity is not necessary when you practise mantra, nor is it the aim. If you want to get rid of hypertension, blood pressure or coronary stress, and you are trying to make the mind tranquil, you can expect another heart attack. Tranquillity is an ideal. Man has to learn to live with reality. Nature is living with stress. The universe is living with stress. How long do you want to be like soft butter? Learn to live with stress. That is the ultimate aim. Stress is struggle; struggle is life, and life is progress.

The tantric approach
Why did the tantric tradition give us mantra? In the tantric texts it says that even a person who can't walk, talk, see, or hear, who is absolutely destitute, with everybody against him, can practise mantra and become enlightened.
Mantra eliminates sickness and madness, not by controlling the mind but by letting the mind open itself. The more you practise mantra, the more you see on the beautiful television before you. You will have endless thoughts, dreams and visions. The practice of mantra lets all the wild animals out of the cage. You may think this is not at all necessary, but I have found that before you can get peace of mind, before you can transcend the mind, you must be able to face all the disturbances of the mind.
If I have a problem and am unable to sleep for three days, I don't care that my mind is agitated. I believe that the mind must face truth honestly. If I am up against the agony of death, I must face it and experience it. If I am feeling the turbulence of passion, I must face it and experience it.
The purpose of mantra is not to make the brain inactive to these things, but to increase its sensitivity and awareness. This is the tantric system and it teaches you to face facts, with your eyes open. We don't want people to be like ostriches. Are you ready to unlock the mind and face its manifestations, or do you still want to put a cover over them? If you want to put a cover over them, then you have the hypnotic aspect of mantra meditation. But if you are willing to face them and work them out, then you have the tantric aspect, and mantra is the way.
Satsang on Mantra
I have tried many mantras and have become confused. How do I know which one I should persist with?
Well, the question could be put in a different way, 'I have married so many times and nothing has succeeded.' You see, the first thing is to stay with one mantra and continue it. Don't go on changing the mantra. Don't go on jumping from guru to guru. There is only one secret of success- stick to something. Even if you are stuck to a very ineffective system it does not matter. Maybe you will reach the goal a little later, but you will reach it. Don't get fed up with the practice. If you are practising my system stick to it, and if you are practising some other system stick to that. One guru, one mantra - that is called spiritual chastity.
Remember the words 'spiritual chastity'. Don't go on with your old habits of flirting, or at least don't project them into your spiritual life. In material life you may go from this husband to that husband, from this wife to that wife, from this job to that job, from this flat to that flat, from this country to another, and it may all work out all right. But in spiritual life only one thing will work- one-pointed chastity of spiritual purpose.

What is the difference between a personal mantra and a general mantra?
Up to the point of initiation, you can practise any general mantra, but once you have been initiated into a mantra, this becomes your personal mantra and it should not be changed.
There are also special mantras which can be utilised for specific purposes such as influencing your destiny, or to overcome a specific problem. These mantras are discontinued as soon as they have fulfilled their purpose, and are then classified along with the general mantras.

If you already have a guru, is it possible to receive a mantra from another guru?
According to my understanding, the guru has to be properly defined. If you have learned yoga from someone, he is your yoga guru. If you have learned the Gita or the Bible, he is your Gita or Bible guru. If you have been going to him for a long time and learning about spiritual life, then he is your spiritual guru. If he is a spiritually illumined person and you have great respect for him, he is also your guru. Accordingly, one can have many gurus, and the person who gives you a mantra is your mantra guru. So if you have a spiritual master, a Gita or Bible master, a raja yoga or tantra yoga master, you can also have a mantra master. Guru has two aspects :(i) he teaches you; (ii) he can help you to illumine your consciousness. So you can have these two aspects in one person or in many persons.

What is the benefit of receiving a mantra directly from the guru?
When the mantra is heard from the guru, it is registered by your atman. Then it becomes the seed which grows as you practise your sadhana.
What is the difference between a tantric mantra and a vedic mantra?
Tantric mantras are those which influence the deeper nature of the universe. They are also intended to fulfil certain desires of man. Tantric mantras are very powerful and when you practise them, they create a great force in the atmosphere.
Vedic mantras are intended for worship of the divine and for self-realization. They change the nature of a person and make him more devotional.

Is it necessary to pronounce the mantra correctly?      
If you make a mistake in pronouncing the vedic mantras there is no harm. For example, if you are repeating the mantra Om Namah Shivaya and you say Om Nomoh Shivaya, it won't make much difference. But the tantric mantras must be pronounced absolutely precisely and correctly.
I have found that anyone who listens with awareness can produce the correct sound of the mantra. At first you may not be able to repeat the correct sound aloud, but you can perceive it. After hearing a melody several times, you can think it in your mind, even though you may not be able to sing it. In the same way, if you listen to the pronunciation of the mantra, even if you do not repeat it aloud, you will conceive the correct sound in your mind, and this is enough.

Is the intellectual meaning of mantra important?
The mantra is a combination or assembly of powerful sound waves. As such, the intellectual understanding of the mantra is not at all necessary. It is not the meaning, but the sound waves created by the mantra which influence the cosmos in the brain and outside. There are some mantras which don't even have a meaning.
The mantra has two basic aspects: sound and form. For example, when you chant Om, it is a sound; when you write Om in script, it is a form. So every mantra has a sound and a form, but the most powerful aspect is the sound. All educated people have a concept of script in their mind. If you are not educated and have no concept of script in your mind, then you will conceive Om as sound only. The problem is- you are not able to separate the sound from the script. If you repeat the sound Om, it is not only the sound, but also the script which follows it. When you are practising a mantra, gradually try to leave the idea of script and follow the sound.

How should the practice of mantra be integrated into the daily routine?
Practise for ten minutes early in the morning before everyone gets up, and again at night just before you go to bed. Also try to remember the mantra and repeat it mentally throughout the day, when you are at work or just sitting.
How important is regularity?
Mantra is so powerful that it can change your destiny, economic situation, physical structure, etc. If you want the mantra to change the whole structure of your life, you must practise it regularly, every morning and evening.
Why is it recommended to chant mantra aloud in the beginning?
Unless your mind is steady and one-pointed, mental repetition of mantra can bring more dissipation.
What is the purpose of chanting Om in groups?
Om chanting is done in groups to raise everyone at the same time. There are two types of Om chanting used for this purpose. One practice is where everybody chants aloud together O-o-m-m-m-m- The other is where everybody chants silently Om, Om, Om. The latter is a relaxed way of chanting used for chakra work. It allows you to be independent. When the group is chanting Om aloud together, they have to keep their minds on each other, but when you are practising silently, you can chant freely in your own rhythm. Om is a combination of three sounds 'A', 'U' and 'M'. These three can be pronounced in different ways according to grammatical rules. Generally, however, the combination of 'A' and 'U' becomes 'O'. Thus the pronunciation is really O-o-m-m-m-m'
 How does a mantra act scientifically?
Every sound and form has a different archetype inside the brain. The process of knowledge takes place through these archetypes. As I am talking to you, knowledge simultaneously takes place inside you, but this process is not based on the actual sounds I am pronouncing. As soon as the sound goes into the brain, it changes its waves and assumes various geometrical patterns. These patterns are the archetypes. Now, in science, the principle is that perception and cognition take place inside through the intermediary archetypes, and what we perceive is not exactly as it was outside.
There are infinite archetypal patterns. In yoga they are known as mandalas and yantras. Scientists have found that by producing certain sounds, certain flower-like shapes were formed. When certain mantras were chanted, they found that they created the archetype of a lotus flower. That is why the lotus is so common in spiritual literature. In the same way, different forms can be created by different mantras.

Sound is a force, and this force affects a certain part of the universe and creates ripples in the vast ocean of the cosmos, just as the electromagnetic or radio waves can't be heard even though they pass through the atmosphere. In the same way, a mantra has its own field by which it travels. In this universe which we see around us, there are thousands of channels of waves. We call them layers or zones. In one layer radioactivity travels, in another layer electromagnetic waves, in the third layer thought waves.
When you produce a sound it attains a certain frequency. If your mind is dissipated then the frequency is low. If your mind is one-pointed, then the frequency is high. Your mind is a part of the cosmic mind. When you are in concentration, you are a part of the cosmic mind, but when your mind is not concentrated, then you are not in communication with the cosmic mind.

Are the vedic gods created by the archetype of mantra?
Yes, in fact the gods and goddesses that we hear about in religion are only archetypes. Gods and goddesses like Shiva and Parvati are divine archetypes. In Sanskrit, these vedic deities are known as deva, meaning illumination. When your mind is illumined, you can see so many things inside. Within this cosmos there are infinite forms. The human brain is a miniature universe, and whatever you see in the whole cosmos is contained inside. If you can illumine the inside then you can know all about the outside.

What is anusthana and how is it practised?
Anusthana is a traditional practice in which a particular mantra is chanted. There are many kinds of anusthana but the two most important are sadharana anusthana and purashcharana anusthana. Sadharana anusthana is done on all nine days of Navaratri. During this time, simple, bland food is taken and no work is done. Purascharana is a long anusthana in which the mantra is repeated as many hundreds of thousands of times as the number of matras or letters it contains. For example, if the mantra is Om Namah Shivaya, it must be repeated 500,000 times- this means 5000 malas. This can be completed in a short period of time or over a long period at your convenience. If you do not want to undertake the full number, then you can do only half or one quarter. Anusthana is initiated on an auspicious day, for example, the day of an eclipse, when the number of mantras, and perhaps the duration of time, is fixed and a sankalpa or vow is made to complete them. After many years of practice, the sound waves awaken the causal body. We call this mantra siddhi, the perfection of the power of mantra.

17 सितंबर 2011

Osho – To know God is totally different than knowing about God

Osho – To know God is totally different than knowing about God

question – i wish i could know more about god. can you help me, beloved master?
osho – There is no way to know more about God. You can know God, but you cannot know more about God. Knowing more about God is not knowing God. Knowing more is knowledge; knowing God is a totally different dimension. Knowing about is knowledge – you can go on, about and about and about, but you will never reach to God. To know God is totally different than knowing about God.
You can know much about love without knowing love at all. You can go to the libraries and you can consult the encyclopedias and you can collect all knowledge possible about love — but if love has not happened to you, if that fire has not happened to you, you will not know what love is. You can collect all the stories about love — Laila and Majnu, Shiri and Farhad — you can collect stories about all the lovers of the world; that too won’t help. Love has to happen to you; you have to fall into love. You have to take the risk, you have to gamble — only then will you know.
You say, “I wish I could know more about God.” So, first thing: knowing more will not be of much help. That’s how a person becomes a pundit, a scholar-knowledge. I am not here to help you become more knowledgeable; you already have too much knowledge. I am here to destroy your knowledge, to take it away from you. You have to learn how to unlearn.
And then you say, “I wish.” Wish is a very very weak thing. Just by wishing, nobody can move towards God. More urgency, more deep desire is needed… desire which becomes a flame in you. Hunger is needed; wishing won’t help. Thirst is needed… as if you are lost in the Sahara desert, and for miles all around just sand and sand and the burning sun, and not a drop of water with you and you cannot see any greenery anywhere, and you are thirsty, and your whole being is at stake — any moment you can die — and the thirst goes on and on and you become a flame… in that thirst, God is possible.

Become thirsty. Wishing is not enough; wishing is too weak. I have heard…
A hungry-looking tramp stopped at a farmhouse and asked for some food. The housewife brought him some and he sat on the back step enjoying all she had set before him. As he sat there, a little red hen dashed by, being chased by a rooster. The tramp threw the rooster a piece of his bread. It stopped dead in its tracks and greedily swallowed the bread whole.
“Gee!” said the tramp. “I hope I’ll never be that hungry.”
You have to be tremendously hungry. It is not just a curiosity. God cannot be an object of your wish. God is not a wish-fulfillment, God is not your dream. God has to go like a flame into your guts. When you start feeling that nothing else matters, when God is the first priority and you are ready to sacrifice everything. When God becomes such an absorbing, urgent desire that even life is not meaningful any more without God-only then. And then there is no need for anybody to help you, your desire will do the work.
In that urgent thirst, in that intensity, all that is darkness in you disappears. In that flame, all that is useless burns down. You come out as pure gold. God is your reality as much as it is my reality. God is as much your reality as it was Jesus Christ’s or Gautam Buddha’s. The difference is, you have not yet been able to sort out the chaff from the wheat; the wheat is in you, but too much chaff is there. In a tremendous desire to know, to be, the chaff burns down — and there is no other way.
When you go to a master, he in fact does not help you to reach to God, he helps you to become more and more thirsty. He helps you to become more and more intensely hungry. He gives you thirst and hunger; he gives you a mad passion for the impossible. One man came to Buddha and asked, “If I come and follow you, will I be able to know truth?” Buddha said: That is not certain. I cannot guarantee. I can guarantee only one thing, that I will make you more and more thirsty. Then everything depends on you. I can transfer my thirst to you and if you are ready to allow that much thirst… because it is painful. The journey is painful; all growth is painful. If you allow me to create that much pain in you, that very pain will purify. Pain is a purifying process.

So never ask about God as if it is your wish, and never ask that you would like to know more. God either is known or not known — more or less is not the question. You cannot divide God — “I know a little bit and somebody else knows a little more, and somebody almost half, and somebody a hundred percent.” God cannot be divided; either you know, or you don’t know. And the knowledge of God is not like any other knowledge. It is not like scientific knowledge, that you can go on knowing more and more and more, never ending, the procession continues. It is not a knowledge from the outside. The knowledge of God is not like knowledge, it is more like love. You disappear in your beloved — that is the only way to know. And the more you disappear in your beloved, the more you
know that “I don’t know.”
The greatest knowers of God always say they don’t know. They are like drops in the ocean — they have fallen into the ocean and disappeared, and the ocean has fallen into them and disappeared. Now, who is the knower and how is the known?
Kabir has said: I was searching and searching and searching, and then I got lost, and then happened the miracle of miracles. When I was not there you were standing before me. And when I was there and searching and searching, you were so far away — not even a glimpse. And now, look… I have disappeared. Searching, searching, I got lost, completely lost; my whole search absorbed me, destroyed me completely. Now I am no more… and my Lord, you are standing before me.
Kabir has said that the seeker never reaches to the sought. Man never confronts God — because unless you disappear he cannot appear, so there is no meeting-point. When you are, he is not; when he is, you are not — so how can you claim that “I know?” You are not — only then, he is. When the knower disappears, the knowledge appears; it cannot be just a wish-fulfillment.
I can help you to become a flame — thirsty, hungry, burning; I can give you the pain. Then everything else depends on you — how much you go into that pain, into that fire. You can take a jump, and God can happen in a sudden moment. There is no need to wait, there is no need to postpone. This very moment it can happen… if you are ready to go into that pain totally.
Source: Osho Book “The Divine Melody”

16 सितंबर 2011

Maha Mritunjaya Mantra: Swami Niranjananda Saraswati

Maha Mritunjaya Mantra: Swami Niranjananda Saraswati

Spoken In "Satyananda Yoga Ashram", Mangrove Mountain, Australia - Mahamrityunjaya mantra: Om tryambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushthivardhanam; Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan Mrityormuksheeya maamritaat. During the 1998 Sita Kalyanam function, Paramahamsaji (Swami Satyananda) recommended the Mahamrityunjaya mantra and the Gayatri mantra to everyone. Paramahamsaji said that those who wish for health and healing must chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra at least twenty-four times every day. He said, “I am giving you a guarantee that if you do it with intensity of focus, willpower, purity of heart and feeling, then there is no question that health and healing will be provided, whether for oneself or for others.” If you ask about the meaning of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, most people will say it is a mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva and give a definition according to the literal meaning of each word. But more important is the vibration you create. The combination of sounds in any mantra creates a specific vibration in the body. Our body also has a vibratory dimension. All the cells and atoms are vibrating in harmony with each other. The moment this harmony is broken at the vibratory level, destruction of the body takes place and we start to die. In death the pulsations of the body stop, the animation of the cells ceases and the life force leaves the body. The vibrations are the manifest symptoms of the life force. Symbolically, these vibrations are represented in the various chakras or psychic centres. So when we use a combination of mantras or sound syllables, we are activating and bringing forth the potential of these vibrations that are inherent in the body. Some vibrations, like Om, are used to go into a deep meditative state. The effect of Om internalizes the awareness. From a scientific viewpoint, Om increases the alpha waves and decreases the beta waves. Subjectively, internalization of awareness takes place; we become more focused, tranquil and peaceful. When we use a string of vibrations, as in the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, these vibrations realign the disturbances in the vibratory system. Disease and illness can be managed effectively with this mantra. In our ashrams we practise the Mahamrityunjaya mantra every Saturday night with a sankalpa, a feeling, to let the healing powers of this mantra heal our body and the bodies of those who are suffering or in pain. If we want to incorporate the practice of mantra into our routine in order to help others, we should also make the effort to chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra. Every Saturday do at least one mala; it only takes about thirty-five minutes. This is for your personal well-being and for the well-being of everyone around you. - Swami Niranjananda Saraswati ( Head of Bihar School of Yoga Ashram, Munger, Bihar, India)

15 सितंबर 2011


Satsang by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
There is a state or experience a little beyond the mind in which you can see a person or an object that you love very much. You can materialize them on your inner plane of awareness as clearly as reality. This happens when your consciousness is raised. Then the image appears and becomes clear, in this elevated state you can see the guru just as if you were sitting in front of him and he was talking to you.

The disciple should be able to develop this awareness. Then he does not need the Guru physically at all. There is no difference between that state of awareness and physical contact. It is exactly the same. In fact, that state of awareness may even be more tangible than the ordinary one. If you can visualize or feel me in moments of solitude, that is far more fulfilling and satisfying than communicating with this physical form. You can try.

Develop this awareness by practising a little everyday, for half an hour to an hour. Once in a month, once in a week or once in a day, practise this. Develop the inner awareness. Have communion with your guru, inner communion. That is more potent and real than the outer one. You will know it after practising a few times. It is not unreal. Perhaps this seems real and that unreal, but it is only because that is a higher awareness.

You must understand that physical distance is not mental distance. Mental distance is not emotional distance and emotional distance is not spiritual distance. What is 60,000 kilometres physically may be nothing in the mind. The mind does not work through the physical plane; it has another mode of travelling. The mental distance is called a field, just as there is an electromagnetic field or radioactive field. In yoga it is called a loka.

There is another principle that must be understood: guru and disciple may appear to be two, but in truth they are one. The duality is only an illusion. There is one energy flowing in guru and disciple. The bodies are two, but the energy is one. And if guru and disciple are one, where is the difficulty in communication? This is the principle and philosophy which one has to realize. In quantum physics they don't even accept that there are two bodies. They say that the difference is an illusion, the experience that you are having is not true; it is only an experience.

So disciples should first of all understand the true philosophy of their relationship with the guru. You must come to the conclusion: 'I and my guru are one'. When you practise higher spiritual practices, this truth must be ingrained in your mind. Duality is a path, non-duality is the only truth. Guru and disciple do live in their bodies, but .the energy in them is the same; therefore, distances do not matter at all. My disciples can always communicate with me, they only need to dial.

The relationship between guru and disciple is very difficult to explain. You may go to a teacher and learn yoga from him; that is one kind of discipleship. It is an academic relationship. You may receive a mantra from somebody and become his disciple, and that ends the matter. Or you may receive sannyasa from somebody, he becomes your guru and you are his disciple, and that ends the matter. But when you want to tread the spiritual path and amplify your spiritual consciousness, when you want to see the inner light, then you must have a definite relationship with a guru and that relationship is very, very intense. Cold or lukewarm relationships will not do on this path. There has to be intensity, more intensity than the relationship between mother and child, more intensity than the relationship between two passionate beings. The awareness has to be total; just a little awareness is not enough. By the intensity of your relationship with guru, a link is formed between you and him. Go to your office and the guru is with you. You sleep at night, he is there. You eat and he is there. He is always with you. That is the relationship between guru and disciple.

To experience this relationship, first of all you must completely accept your guru and know that you are to be controlled by him at every moment. Sometimes he may get angry and abuse you, kick you or put you out the gate; all these things must be accepted too. The disciple is one who is always controlled by the guru, otherwise even if you work very hard in spiritual life and develop some experiences, you may return to the normal state afterwards. If the guru asks you not to sleep, to keep quiet, not to argue, you must obey without a thought or hesitation. With guru, the sadhaka disciple should have no personality; only then he can be helped. You must establish a relationship in such a way that whatever the guru says is final. There is no second word on it, no argument, analysis, judgement or afterthought. What the guru says, the disciple has to follow quietly, whether it is right or wrong. It does not matter if you make certain mistakes in your area of work because of what the guru has asked you to do. If you are working in the kitchen and he says, "Keep the wheat outside", and then ten bags of wheat are destroyed by rain, it does not matter. It may be a material loss, but it is a spiritual gain because you obeyed the guru. Until such a relationship is established, the disciple should not attempt higher sadhana, otherwise he may be misguided in the inner realms.

A guru does not exploit the disciple. If the disciple has great devotion, the guru can never exploit him. Only if the disciple is selfish, can the guru exploit him. Many people say that the guru exploits disciples, but it is my experience that the guru can never exploit an unselfish disciple. The guru can only exploit a selfish disciple. An unselfish disciple, a sadhaka, never loses anything no matter what the guru asks of him because he goes on developing his higher consciousness.

The relationship between guru and disciple is not a social or religious relationship; it is a spiritual relationship. For the body you have bodily relationships; for the mind you have mental relationships; for the emotions you have emotional relationships. You have fraternal, paternal, maternal, emotional and sexual relationships. These are the bonds that keep people together and maintain a constant flow of energy between them. These relationships belong to this world. They belong to the mind, emotions and body, but what about the spirit? What about your deeper consciousness? You must have a relative with whom your spirit is linked. Guru is such a relative with whom your spirit, your inner consciousness is linked.

The relationship between guru and disciple is man's higher, ultimate and spiritual need, without which he cannot experience spiritual fulfilment. In the normal course of life, you have your experience and I have mine, but the relationship between guru and disciple is always spiritual, even if you are discussing accounts or money. Wherever you go or whatever you do, this awareness must be maintained.

14 सितंबर 2011

Prepration for initiation:swami niranjan

Preparation for initiation
Many people ask for initiation into jigyasu sannyasa without knowing what it is. You have to be sincere in answering this question. If you went to a Christian monastery would you want to adopt their robes without knowing about the tradition or the discipline? Many people who ask for initiation have never been to an ashram before. They do not know about the sannyasa tradition or discipline. Just because something is freely available, they want it. I am not willing to give any form of sannyasa to such people. You may be prepared but the decision to give is mine, not yours. You have to be sure because there is also a negative aspect. If you do not adhere to the disciplines of this tradition of sannyasa, then you will suffer a lot psychically. I will not be responsible for your suffering.
Establish a solid base of yogic sadhana
There are two experiences of sannyasa. One is positive which you can attain after you have practised your mantra for a long time. For example, some people who were given a mantra yesterday have asked for jigyasu today. That is not permitted. You should practise your mantra for a minimum period of one year and only then apply for jigyasu. Not mantra today, jigyasu tomorrow, karma sannyasa the day after and poorna sannyasa the day after that, and then go back to your old way of life with all your hangups, fears and insecurities. If you cannot do this then sannyasa is definitely not going to make any difference to you.
Practising your mantra for a minimum of one year will help you to settle your nature and mind. Then you can ask me, “Am I ready for jigyasu?” If I feel that you are ready then I will give it to you. If I feel that you are not ready for jigyasu, then you will need to continue with the mantra practice for another year. This is the method you need to follow to receive the maximum benefit. Only then will your energies be released in a positive and harmonious way.
There is a negative aspect of sannyasa. Without a base of sadhana, a base of personal mind discipline, a feeling of commitment for the tradition, for the truth which you perceive to be dear to yourself, psychically there is going to be a lot of suffering. Maybe your whole world will fall apart. Maybe you will go into a depression and go crazy. Your whole life will shatter because you are not ready. You are trying to bring a current of 11,000 volts into a wire which can only conduct 220 volts. What happens? The wire will fuse, it will burn, and once the wire of life is burnt and fused there is no way it can be replaced. You will have to take another birth and just pray to be saved, otherwise eternal damnation. It is not a joke. I am telling you bluntly what can happen, and I trust in your good judgement to accept what is right for you.
If you wish to adopt sannyasa lifestyle, then it should be an experience of happiness and joy, not one of suffering, depression and anxiety. Therefore, before asking for jigyasu you should practise your mantra for a minimum period of one year, combined with a proper yogic sadhana, consisting of asanas to harmonize the flow of energies in the body, pranayama to change and awaken the pranas, relaxation to release nervous, emotional and mental states of tension, and meditation and concentration to come closer to your inner being. You must study the yogic tradition. You must also study the tradition of sannyasa, what the aims are, and whether you will be able to fulfil the basic requirements of sannyasa or not. Only when you have understood and developed a respect for the tradition can you come and ask me for initiation. Then it will be my pleasure and honour to initiate you into the lifestyle of a sannyasin, but not before that.
Establish a link with the guru
Another important point if you want to adopt sannyasa in any form is the link, the connection which must be established between the disciple and the guru. Without that link one cannot progress. It is not a rational or intellectual link, it is psychic. And once that link is created you are always guided by the wisdom, by the power, by the force, by the inspiration that a guru can provide you with. So, firstly, develop a solid base in your own spiritual and yoga practices. Secondly, try to develop a connection, a link with the guru, preferably the unmanifest guru, unmanifest meaning God, because in reality the guru is within. The external person simply acts as a catalyst.
During the Sat Chandi Maha Yajna we lit the ceremonial fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together. Fire is inherent in wood, but it can't be seen. The rubbing causes friction, the friction causes heat and the heat generates smoke and fire. In the same way, the real guru is inside, but at present all of you are damp, wet wood. No matter how much you rub two pieces together, no spark, no smoke is going to come out. So dry yourself and develop that connection.
So, initiation will only be given after you have practised your mantra regularly for a minimum period of one year, until you have a base of yoga sadhana which you have become adept at and can do without too much effort. When you feel stable internally, when you feel that inspiration you can ask for jigyasu, not because your friend is taking it or because you have not been in India for a long time and do not know when you will return. That should not be the attitude or approach. Otherwise people can be affected emotionally or in their social lives. They can't adjust; the husband and wife begin fighting, the children are neglected and the family breaks up.
These things have happened because, externally, initiation may look very simple and you might feel happy wearing a flashy robe and identifying with somebody or some tradition. But if you are not ready then the psychic transformation can be negative. This can happen in every process of yoga. For example, Gopi Krishna practised yoga to awaken his kundalini, but the kundalini ascended on the wrong path and he nearly died. Luckily, he was able to control it, but are you of the same calibre? We can't control our fears, our anxieties, our agitations of emotion and mind, not to speak of psychic events. That is way beyond our capacity.
Examination of truth, conviction and faith
So please think about it very carefully. You are all welcome to take initiation but at the right time. Don't rush. Prepare yourselves first. It doesn't even matter if you don't take it. I have seen many people who have taken initiation who are not ready; for example, not adjusting with their own guru brothers and sisters, not supporting or assisting each other, going off in different directions without a conscious aim, feeling jealousy and anger towards each other. While you are trying to show people a balanced and harmonious path to walk, you can't even adjust with other initiates, you can't give each other moral support. What is the use of that form of sannyasa? It doesn't do anything for anyone.
In sannyasa one should be able to commit oneself wholeheartedly to whatever one does. Wholeheartedly does not mean twenty-four hours a day, it means that whenever you do your yoga or spiritual practice, even if it is for half an hour or an hour, do it wholeheartedly.
There is a trend that people want to become prophets overnight for profit. If God comes down during the day of judgement, he will label us all as false sadhakas. Would you want to be labelled as a false sadhaka? I would not. At least I can try to be true to my God, if not true to others. And if I try to be true to my God then I should also be true to myself. So it is an examination of truth, conviction and faith that you have to face during sannyasa. If you fail, don't worry, more opportunities will come. If you pass, well and good.

13 सितंबर 2011

Meaning of shanti paath: swami niranjan

 swami shivanand

Meaning of shanti paath: swami niranjan
Shanti Path has two meanings. One is as a mantra for peace and prosperity, which is traditionally said at the end of every yogic or spiritual session to infuse the body and mind with positive feelings and vibrations. This is the main purpose of the Shanti Path. It also helps to remind the psychic personality, the personality which is influenced by vibrations, of a spiritual aim.
The yogis have always envisioned the human being as a spiritual being too. This is not just a concept; they say the spiritual being is experienced in the form of a body, and the mental being is experienced in the form of a body, in the same way as the physical being is experienced and perceived as the body. Whether you are Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Australian, no matter who you may be, the body is the same. Two arms, two legs, one head, two eyes; it is like a stamp of God which has been put all over the place. The height might be different, the colour might be different, there may be certain variations here and there, such as a bit more on the waist side, a bit more on the shoulder side.
In the same way the mind is also seen as having a body, and the eccentricities of the mind, the fatness or thinness, the tallness or the short stature of the mind is the individual personality. But mind also definitely has a shape unperceivable to us at present. In the same way, the atma, the spiritual body, also has a shape unknown to us at present. Just as we deal with intellect in the gross plane, the manifest plane, the spiritual body or atma interacts in terms of vibration, in the form of vibration. It understands vibration. In order to communicate externally, we use Hindi or English or any other language, but internally, in order to communicate, there is the language of vibrations, which is universal. Many people have felt it, too. In day-to-day life we may get a nice feeling from somebody, or a horrible feeling from another person, without speaking, just through the interaction of vibrations.
Mantras tend to influence and awaken the psychic vibratory field. Whether you understand them rationally, logically, or not is irrelevant. By chanting and repeating a mantra, some form of internal change is brought about which may not be experienced on the outer level immediately.
Each mantra awakens a particular centre. Apart from the chakras there are many psychic centres around the chakras which we understand in the form of chakra patterns. Each mantra can and does stimulate one of the minor centres and a combination of various sounds can influence, alter and induce a change in the total performance of the chakras.
So when we do the shanti mantras at the end of any yogic or spiritual session, a few things happen. After a session of yoga, after some discussion, satsang or kirtan, there is some change in the atmosphere around the body, within the body, around the mind, in the structure of the emotions and in the structure of spirit. At that moment, when we create a vibration it affects the spiritual body directly. One example can be given to roughly explain this state. If you are totally involved in some kind of activity and another person comes and asks you something totally different, you have to think for a few seconds. You have to divert the attention, divert the mind from one topic and start thinking of the next. For a few seconds you have to break the previous mould and start thinking along the other line. So when we do our meditation or asanas or pranayama or kriyas or satsang, kirtan, the mind is distracted from its natural pattern of behaviour and is attentive towards another pattern of behaviour and action. At that moment the mantra comes in, creates certain ripples, and then it dies down. Another session of yoga, again that same state, the mantra comes in, creates another sensation, and again it dies down. It's like sweeping a very dirty carpet. At first you don't get much dirt but as you keep on going over the same place again and again, even the most subtle dust right at the bottom is pulled up. So the Shanti Path is just a method of hitting the vibratory aspect of our personality again and again, over and over again. Eventually the vibrations or the sounds awaken those psychic centres which correspond with that vibration.
Of course, the translation of the mantra itself is quite nice if people can follow it and understand it: Lead me from unreal to real-Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality. May there be happiness, peace, well-being and contentment everywhere. You don't only say it externally, but you also feel it internally, and that is the purpose of Shanti Path.

12 सितंबर 2011

Mantra yoga :swami satyanand saraswati

Mantra yoga :swami satyanand saraswati

Today I want to explain to you a little about the science of mantra yoga. The mantra shastra is a very deep and great science which, if understood correctly, can give you victory over your lower nature. Mantra shastra is very ancient, and in previous ages people knew this science well. Recently, however, the people's faith in mantra shastra has lessened and gradually this knowledge has become hidden to such an extent that nowadays anything is said in the name of mantra.

Mankind's most ancient scriptures are the tantra shastras and after the tantras, the Vedas took birth. From the tantras, the mantra shastra has come. The mantra shastra was not written like any ordinary type of book. There were ancient rishis, munis and sages, who had the actual realization of mantra. In meditation, when the rishis were able to transcend the material consciousness, rising to a very high level, those sounds heard by them in that highest state were called mantra. This does not mean that if you make up some syllables in your mind and repeat them, it is mantra. Those whose souls are purified and through meditation established their consciousness at a very high level beyond the mind, the sounds perceived by them, in that state, are called mantra.

The rishis had the experience of mantra at three different levels or planes of consciousness. When the consciousness passes from the gross body into the subtle body, the sound per­ceived at that time makes one collection. The mantras heard in the subtle body form another group, and when the conscious­ness enters from the subtle or second body into the third body, certain mantras realized at that time form a third group.

First, I want you to understand what is meant here by first body, second body and third body. When I say body, I do not mean only the body form, rather I mean body consciousness, that body through which your consciousness if functioning. When the body consciousness is realized through the medium of five gross senses, that is called the gross body consciousness, the first body where your mind, intellect and memory are working.

What is the second body? When you practise meditation, your awareness travels deep inside, and in that inner meditation you begin to see beautiful visions and dreams. That which is called the second body is, therefore, not something tangible. It is the subtle or astral body, the sukshma sharira, the psychic consciousness, or the subconscious body. That is the second plane of consciousness.

What is known as the third body? When meditation becomes deeper and deeper, the state of void or shoonya comes. There is no awareness of external, or internal. It is the experience of the dark night of the soul, like midnight, formless, sightless, where there is no awareness of 'I'. That is called the third body, the causal body, the karana sharira, or the unconscious body. In the Vedas it has been called hiranyagarbha, the golden womb.

There is also a fourth level of consciousness which is transcendental. In the third and fourth levels of consciousness, the awareness of the external world is absent. There is no awareness of my oId name, my oId form, but there is the experience of the eternal self, akhanda swaroop. This is the fourth level of consciousness called samadhi or turiya.

All these different levels of consciousness have been indicated in the Gayatri mantra: Om Bhur, Om Bhuvaha, Om Swaha, Om Maha, Om Janaha, Om Tapaha, Om Satyam, Om Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayat. Om Bhur that is the first body, bhur loka or the material plane; Om Bhuvaha, the second body, the intermediate or astral plane; Om Swaha, the third body, the heavenly or divine plane. After this the following mantras come in the fourth body - maha loka, jano loka, tapo loka and satya loka. I do not mean material worlds, but rather the planes of consciousness.

As the rishis sat in meditation, at higher levels, they received these sounds, mantra. For this reason, mantras are not a creation of the human mind, not made by any man; rather they were received from higher sources. Just as in the religion of Islam, it is said that the Koran was revealed by God. This means that whoever received the Koran had attained a very high yogic state.

In the same way the Christians speak of the Bible as a revealed scripture. Our own Sanatana dharma, the eternal system of the vedic civilization, is understood as having been revealed to mankind. The Vedas were not written by man. This does not mean that the pen which wrote them was held in God's hand, it only means that they were revealed to the rishis in the transcendental state.

Of all the types of mantra, the first and the highest is Om. Om is the seed or bija mantra of all mantras. The rishis realized this cosmic Om in the very highest planes of consciousness, in the state of self-realization. All the mantras in existence have come from Om. It is composed of three sounds, A, U and M. This Om is found in all societies and in all religions, in one form of another, whether Christian or Muslim. Om is the foremost of mantras.

First comes Om and after it the mantras of Gayatri. The twenty-four syllables of Gayatri plus Om should be known as the original Gayatri mantra. The vedic rishis who received this mantra were also established at a very high level of consciousness.

Following this are the mantras pertaining to the third body, the unconscious body, which are also known as bija mantras. We call them potential mantras, because they contain dormant, potential energy of different forces. Each of the powers or forces in the world has its own bija mantra, such as Aim for Saraswati, Shreem for Laxmi, Kleem, Kreem, Hreem and so on. All the short, seemingly meaningless mantras which you might have heard, are called bija mantras.

Those bija mantras are just like little bombs, the type of time bomb which explodes just at the right moment. Just as you plant a seed in the earth and from that a giant tree grows up, giving thousands of fruits, such is the power of the bija mantra. With the practice of anushthana, prolonged mantra repetition for a fixed period of time and number of malas, and regular sadhana, the power of the mantra is awakened. When that power is awakened, the consciousness takes the form of the mantra and then the real work of the mantra begins.

Please, remember one thing. Shakti, energy, is not only of one type. It has innumerable forms. Although the primal shakti, the root shakti, is one, its manifestations are endless. That is why we worship Devi in so many different forms. The same principle is also found in science. When electricity is flowing from one central circuit, the amplifier, tape recorder and all the appliances are working. The same energy which gives heat from the heater, gives coolness from the fan. These are the varied manifestations of one energy. The truth is that shakti is not just of one kind. Intellect is one shakti, memory is another shakti. Speech, prana, knowledge, are all shaktis, without which we cannot exist. So there are different bija mantras for the awakening of these different powers.

For example, take vidya shakti, the power of knowledge. It is in the form of Saraswati. I am not talking of the goddess Saraswati whose idol is worshipped in the temple, but I mean that energy, that shakti which is within us in the form of vidya or Saraswati. What is the way to awaken this energy? Of all the methods given, the best is to take the bija mantra of that shakti and to awaken its sleeping potential.

There are many other types of shaktis pertaining to the body, to disease, even to snake poison, and so on. In many diseases, if japa anushthana of Mrityunjaya mantra is perfomed, the power of the mantra is awakened internally, giving the desired result. By the practice of mantra japa, the aspirant's conscious will is awakened and through the willpower everything is accomplished.
All the bija mantras must be practised strictly according to certain rules and regulations. They should not be practised just by reading them out of a book. Anushthana should only be undertaken after understanding the purpose and necessity of the bija mantras well. On this subject, it is explained in the tantra shastras that firstly a yantra or mystic diagram, should be made and within that yantra the bija mantra should be written. For example, the mantra Sri, the mantra of Laxmi, you will often find carved on crystal or on copper. This is called Sri chakra.

Next comes the group of mantras pertaining to the second body, like Om Namah Shivaya, Sri Ram, Hari Krishna. Anyone with faith may practise japa of these mantras.

Different mantras have different benefits. All those who practise japa of Gayatri mantra will find it very beneficial for the health and intellect. For skin diseases or iron deficiency, anushthana of the Surya or Sun mantras is beneficial if practised properly. Through mantra one can remove disease, sorrow and restlessness. Mantra is so powerful that within a moment one can change bad habits also. It is important for people to study and understand this science in the correct way.

In my childhood I had an experience which I will tell you about. It was in Allahabad, when I was very young, only seven or eight years old. I happened to see two Muslims playing with a snake. Just as I was passing, I saw one man make a circle on the ground with a stick. In that circle was a first class snake, a big cobra. The cobra belonged to the snake charmer and there was some kind of argument between him and the other man.

Being young I could not follow their words completely. It was all mantra-tantra business. The other man said, "Now I will see how your snake will get out!" And taking a stick he drew one or two more lines, then the snake just sat there. It came up just to the line then turned back again. I was just watching all this, not understanding anything, so I asked him what was happening. He told me, I have thrown mantras on all four sides of the snake, so now it cannot come out." I saw them fighting together. One wanted to throw grains of rice or dal on the other, but he didn't throw them for fear the other man would also throw some rice on him. Rice is one medium through which mantra is thrown. So they circled each other trying to throw the rice for about ten or fifteen minutes. At last a big crowd gathered bringing their tantric battle to an end. This incident stuck in my mind for many days.

Many years later I came to my guru's ashram in Rishikesh. I am speaking about the Rishikesh ashram of many years ago in 1942-43 on the banks of the Ganga River, surrounded on all sides by dense jungle, where at night your step might fall on a scorpion. An American family came to stay at the ashram. One day, the small girl was stung so severely by a scorpion that it seemed she would be dead within ten minutes.

Just next to the ashram was a police station and from there somebody brought a constable. He brought a small knife with him and with that knife he removed the poison within five minutes. In another five minutes the girl was completely normal. I asked, "What mantra have you used?" He said, "Kali Calcutta wali". The goddess Kali is the patron deity of Calcutta. I was amazed. I was raised by Arya Samajis, a sect which does not accept the concept of personal gods and goddesses. I was educated at a convent school with Christians and many close relatives at home were Muslims. When I heard the name of Kali Calcutta wali, my entire faith was shaken. I said, "Oh, I know Kali Calcutta wali. Kali is just a name and Calcutta is a place, so how could poison be removed just by repeating those words?"

Gradually my attention was caught. I asked many people and started to read books about tantra and to practise mantra anushthana myself. Since then, I have had so many experi­ences, so many wonderful benefits, that it is not even possible to relate them. What I want to explain is that those words, Kali Calcutta wali, may seem completely simple and ordinary to us, but for the man who has realized them, they are not ordinary at all. Those sounds which the rishis realized are not only simple words but syllables full of power. That is why we say shabda, sound, is Brahma, supreme consciousness. There is power in the mantra and to awaken this power, everyone should find a method within himself.

Everyone should have his own mantra and practise japa ­with complete regularity for fifteen minutes or half an hour daily. Concentration is not necessary for japa. Understand this properly. At the time of mantra japa, concentration of the mind is not important, but what is important is faith and belief. If your faith is weak and your concentration is strong, you will not attain the power of the mantra. If your concentration is weak, your mind running here and there, but your faith and devotion unshakeable, the mantra will awaken soon within you. For this reason, a lot of emphasis is placed on faith and devotion in mantra shastra.

There are two forces, two powers in the mantra. One is the power of consciousness, Shiva or what is called purusha. The other is the force of nature, matter or prakriti. Through sadhana, these two forces are awakened and after awakening they will continue to help you for the whole of your life.

11 सितंबर 2011

Three mantras : swami niranajan

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Three mantras are beneficial for all aspects of life: the Mahamrityunjaya mantra for health and well-being, the Gayatri mantra for mental tranquillity and wisdom, and the pranava mantra, Om, for peace and spiritual awakening.

Mahamrityunjaya mantra

During the 1998 Sita Kalyanam function, Paramahamsaji recommended the Mahamrityunjaya mantra and the Gayatri mantra to everyone. Paramahamsaji said that those who wish for health and healing must chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra at least twenty-four times every day. He said, I am giving you a guarantee that if you do it with intensity of focus, willpower, purity of heart and feeling, then there is no question that health and healing will be provided, whether for oneself or for others.
If you ask about the meaning of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, most people will say it is a mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva and give a definition according to the literal meaning of each word. But more important is the vibration you create. The combination of sounds in any mantra creates a specific vibration in the body. Our body also has a vibratory dimension. All the cells and atoms are vibrating in harmony with each other. The moment this harmony is broken at the vibratory level, destruction of the body takes place and we start to die. In death the pulsations of the body stop, the animation of the cells ceases and the life force leaves the body. The vibrations are the manifest symptoms of the life force.

Symbolically, these vibrations are represented in the various chakras or psychic centres. So when we use a combination of mantras or sound syllables, we are activating and bringing forth the potential of these vibrations that are inherent in the body. Some vibrations, like Om, are used to go into a deep meditative state. The effect of Om internalizes the awareness. From a scientific viewpoint, Om increases the alpha waves and decreases the beta waves. Subjectively, internalization of awareness takes place; we become more focused, tranquil and peaceful. When we use a string of vibrations, as in the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, these vibrations realign the disturbances in the vibratory system. Disease and illness can be managed effectively with this mantra.

In our ashrams we practise the Mahamrityunjaya mantra every Saturday night with a sankalpa, a feeling, to let the healing powers of this mantra heal our body and the bodies of those who are suffering or in pain. If we want to incorporate the practice of mantra into our routine in order to help others, we should also make the effort to chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra. Every Saturday do at least one mala; it only takes about thirty-five minutes. This is for your personal well-being and for the well-being of everyone around you.

Gayatri mantra:

The other mantra that Paramahamsaji recommended everyone to practise daily is the Gayatri mantra. Traditionally, the Gayatri mantra is used to develop intelligence, knowledge and wisdom, and to expand the consciousness. Gayatri is taught to children at the age of eight, when they enter the period of academic education. Perception and attention are sharpened, retention and memory power are enhanced, and there is growth in intelligence. In order to develop awareness, wisdom and understanding, practise the Gayatri mantra twenty-four times every day.

Paramahamsaji also said not to underestimate the power of mantras. It is not necessary to understand the meaning of the mantra, but to connect with the vibration that is being created by the mantra chanting. If you are able to connect with the vibration, then in the course of time you can also learn about the points you need to concentrate on during the chanting of different mantras. Then it will become a very valuable tool for your spiritual growth and development.

Mantra repetition

The third important mantra is Om. Om is the synthesis of all mantras, leading to an enlightened state of consciousness. The tradition describes three methods of mantra repetition. The first is verbal, the second is whispering and the third is mental. Mental repetition is the most potent, provided we are able to steady our minds and there are no distractions to divert our attention from the mantra repetition, and provided we do not doze off as the mind becomes internalized, which is very common when practising the mantra mentally.

Although emphasis is given to mental repetition, the tradition also says that if you find the mind is drifting off and losing consciousness of the mantra, and if you find yourself dozing off, then in order to maintain awareness start to whisper the mantra. The whisper is a simple movement of the lips and should be audible only to yourself and nobody else. If you are still unable to control the introversion of the mind, and sleep comes, then begin to chant the mantra verbally. Even with verbal repetition some people cannot hold their mind steady or at one point. So in order to focus the attention a visual symbol is used.

Psychic symbol:

Paramahamsaji used to give us the example of a bird flying over the ocean looking for somewhere to rest. It finds a piece of wood floating on the water and lands there. After resting, the bird flies off again, but remembers the location of the piece of wood for next time. This example relates to the use of mantra and yantra in the form of a psychic symbol. The psychic symbol can be anything. It is a point, a figure, an image on which we are able to concentrate and hold our attention, because generally mantra is practised mentally.

A symbol can be our ishta devata, which has the quality of God or divinity. It can be an image which has a feeling of closeness and affinity, or a symbol which does not denote either a negative or a positive state of mind, but is neutral. At the same time it can also unconsciously inspire the psyche, the mind, to realize the potential of consciousness. Powerful symbols are the sun or the figure of the mantra Om, or even a yantra, whether it be a triangle, interlaced triangles, a circle, a point or a complex geometrical figure. It can be the image of the guru who represents the source of inspiration. It can be the image of Jesus, a saint, or the image of different incarnations of God in the form of Rama, Krishna, Buddha and so on. It can be anything, but it should not have a personal emotional content.

Some people may imagine a family member, but then there is a selfish emotional association which should not be present. Therefore, it is recommended that one uses the image of saints, gurus and avatars, or the image of yantras or simple images like the sun, moon and stars. Each person has a specific symbol to concentrate on along with the mantra.

The mantra becomes the mind and the mind is represented as a bird flying over the ocean. The ocean becomes the consciousness, and in the vast expanse of the ocean or consciousness a point of support is needed, a basis which is away from sensorial interactions. The yantra becomes like a piece of wood floating on the ocean. When the mind becomes tired of going off in unknown directions, it can alight on the piece of floating wood, rest there for a while, then fly off again. This is the concept of mantra and yantra.

Just mental repetition or even verbal repetition of mantra is not enough. The mantra should be given a task, a purpose. The power of the mantra has to be channelled towards a goal, not straight into the environment because it will dissipate. When light is focused, it transforms itself into a laser beam. It is the same with mantra. There has to be one aim when practising mantra sadhana. Traditionally, different purposes have been assigned to different mantras, such as health and well-being to Mahamrityunjaya mantra, and intelligence and wisdom to Gayatri mantra.
Peace the basis of spiritual growth

The chanting of Om is the easiest and simplest of the mantras because it only has one sound, Om. The purpose of pranava sadhana is to transcend body consciousness, to connect with cosmic consciousness and to realize our spiritual potential. While the chanting is going on, we should have the feeling and awareness of spiritual advancement.

In order to understand the process of spiritual advancement we start with peace, shanti. The state of peace is the foundation of spiritual experience. In the absence of personal peace there can be no spiritual growth or development. That is the reality. The purpose of Om is to awaken the state of inner peace. This awakening of peace has to happen at various levels of our nature, personality and mind.
It will be impossible to identify the different aspects of mind, but it becomes possible to identify symbols that represent various states of mind. These symbols are the chakras or psychic centres. Whenever we chant Om, we need to focus our attention on the different psychic centres. When we chant Om three times at the beginning of any activity, generally the instruction is to concentrate at the eyebrow centre. However, for those aspirants who wish to go deeper into the practice of sadhana, there are three places where one needs to concentrate with each chanting of Om. These three places are the three granthis that exist in our body.

Om sadhana

Students often ask why we chant Om three times at the beginning and end of a class and I have heard teachers give different answers. Some say for peace in the physical dimension, the mental dimension and the spiritual dimension. Others say something else, but the real reason is concentration on the granthis. The word granthi means 'knot'. The yogic system recognizes three granthis or knots in our bodies.
The first is Brahma granthi, the knot of Brahma, the creator, at mooladhara chakra. When you chant Om the first time, always have your awareness at mooladhara. Mooladhara is responsible for creation. Our consciousness is stuck in mooladhara, in the world of matter. The second knot is Vishnu granthi at manipura chakra. When you chant Om the second time, bring your attention from mooladhara to manipura. The third is Rudra granthi, the knot of Rudra, the transformer, the destroyer, the re-emergence of consciousness, rising of the phoenix from the ashes to ajna chakra, rebirth. When you chant Om the third time, bring your attention to ajna chakra, the eyebrow centre.
This is one addition to our practice of three Oms, and teachers should also remember it. Stop for at least five seconds at each of the three chakras and become aware of light there. In time the quality of your experience will change. It may take a week or a month, but you will notice a great difference.
When we chant Om seven times, the general instruction for novices is to focus at ajna. But for mantra sadhakas each chanting of Om can be visualized in all the seven chakras, with a five second pause in between each one. There are different ways to chant Om. Normally people just use the word Om, the sounds 'o' and 'm'. It gives one effect. Some people practise with 'A-u-m'. When we practise three times in mooladhara, manipura and ajna, it is 'O-m'. When we practise seven times, it is 'A-u-m'. In kriya yoga, there is another version of Om chanting, which is an explosive 'O' followed by a long 'm-m-m'. These little things make a big difference to our practice and the quality of our experience.

So these are the three mantras: Mahamrityunjaya for healing, Gayatri for wisdom, and Om for peace. They are important practices and very beneficial for all aspects of lifea