Mantra as an Energy Force

Mantra as an Energy Force


We can proceed a little further. The entire universe is run no matter how small it is, some form of energy is transmitted from the disciple to the recipient. In the Brhadaranyak Upanishad, dated circa 14th century BC, we can read about a list of teachers of a particular lineage, giving details of each teacher having taught whom. Thus a list of 68 generations of teachers is given, with the first one being Svyambhu Brahman, the self-existent Supreme Being. “ Pay Homage to that self-existent Supreme Being,” says the Upanishad. So mantras include sounds, thoughts , words – given as revelation within the consciousness of the ancient rihis (sages) – in the highest state of Samadhi, the ultimate meditation. The mantras are awakened within the soul as a revelation before they are passed down the line from guru to the disciple, the initiate.

There are different mantras for different people. How does this work? Here we shall talk a little about the history of the yoga tradition. Sometimes people ask, “What is transcendental meditation (TM)? Where does TM fit into the yoga tradition?

The word ‘transcendental’ is a modern expression. It is certainly not a Sanskrit word; it is a translation of something else.

Some people wonder, “How about Zen meditation? How does it compare with yoga meditation?

Around 3000 BC, India was a country of pioneers, similar to what America was in the 1800s. People, migrating from many directions, felled trees in the wild forests, that covered the earth’s surface, and settled down to establish cities and religions. But some, who were deeply philosophical, withdrew from all this to set up hermitages deep in forests and caves in the mountains. They took to the path of self-conquest, self-exploration. When men grew tired of the life in village and cities and desired peace of mind, they decided to visit these hermit-teachers, the great masters, and would sit at their feet in the hope of receiving some peace of mind, a sense of direction and wisdom, before returning to their towns and village to resume their normal worldly life. Some of these hermitages became great universities. For example, Alexander of Macedonia, who invaded India in the 4th century BC, came very close to the area near the University of Takshashila, which had over 20,000 students in residence a that time. Here learning was not divorced from spirituality. It invariably involved building the student’s character. During student life (the brahmacharya satge), pupils were taught to conduct themselves in a manner that would render them useful to society and enable them to evolve spiritually.

The great masters of the Himalayas, who were founders of the yoga system and through whose intuitive knowledge and wisdom the teaching was and is still being spread, were experimental. We already know that the nature of our thoughts creates our personality. Usually we neither hold on to any ‘single thought’ nor do we think consistently. Our thoughts tend to run haphazardly. The practice of mantra involves the practice of focusing on a thought and dwelling on it consistently till it leaves a certain impact on the mind.

The great masters of the yoga traditions might say, “Son, you do not have enough fire in you. We’ll give you a fire-mantra. Sit by a flame, a candle flame, and stare at it while holding your breath. Try to remember, or listen to, this particular fire-mantra. The six months’ time, some changes will occur in your personality and these will be very positive.” Another student might be told, “All you lack is the coolness and flow of water; so we’ll give you the water-mantra to recite while you sit and meditate by the flowing waters.” Over a period of time, that visual impress as well as that one thought which is remembered consistently with concentration, may bring very subtle changes in the student’s personality.

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