Mantras and Meditation
A question which is often asked is whether mantras help in meditation. The response I usually give is to try it out for yourself and examine the theory. Swamiji and many Gurus of the past have always told us not to accept anything blindly. Even mantra chanting though it is well established that it helps one attain vibrational balance during meditation, I always say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Sit down and try it. Whichever mantra you decide to chant — it has to be chanted rhythmically — when you do that it creates what is known as a neuro-linguistic effect. According to scientists such an effect occurs even if the meaning of the mantra is not known! Chants create thought-energy waves and the person chanting it vibrates in tune with the energy and spiritual appeal of the chant. As a child I used to find great solace in ‘Om Namaha Shivaya’ — this actually used to help me go to sleep whenever I felt afraid of the dark and helped get rid of the fear after watching some particularly scary television!
Once you attend Guru-purnima and you are bestowed with the Guru-mantra, that mantra has tremendous vibrations and helps you enormously while meditating. Chanting the Guru-mantra is like watering the seed of spirituality which has been placed within you by your Guru — with consistent and regular chanting the seed takes root very subtly and grows into a divine tree.
Once the mantra takes root, you can literally hear the chant within you, it is like the cells within you are vibrating with that chant. It is an amazing feeling when you can hear the chant in the silence of your own being. The language of vibrations is something which our sages, rishis in the Himalayas knew — they would communicate through vibrations over distances which were miles apart. One needs to reach that elevated state, merge with nature and then be in a position to communicate at that level.
Mantras actually help you focus on your inner self during meditation. After a period of time the mantra is internalised and the chant just goes on within without your doing anything. When this happens then you really don’t need to chant the mantra while meditating — this is the sign that your meditation has helped you go within… the mantra chanting has helped you progress in your inner journey. You now meditate far more easily, the focus has moved from mentally chanting the mantra to just sitting in silence and enjoying the vibrations of the mantra which has been internalised.