What Is a Mantra and How Does It Work

A Selection from Healing Mantras

A saying from the Vedas claims that "Speech is the essence of humanity." All of what humanity thinks and ultimately becomes is determined by the expression of ideas and actions through speech and its derivative, writing. Everything, the Vedas maintain, comes into being through speech. Ideas remain unactualized until they are created through the power of speech. Similarly, The New Testament, Gospel of John, starts "In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God..."

In mainstream Vedic practices, most Buddhist techniques and classical Hinduism, mantra is viewed as a necessity for spiritual advancement and high attainment. In The Kalachakra Tantra, by the Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, the Dalai Lama states, "Therefore, without depending upon mantra...Buddhahood cannot be attained."

Clearly, there is a reason why such widely divergent sources of religious wisdom as the Vedas, the New Testament and the Dalai Lama speak in common ideas. Here are some important ideas about mantra which will enable you to begin a practical understanding of what mantra is and what it can do.

Definition # 1: Mantras are energy-based sounds.

Saying any word produces an actual physical vibration. Over time, if we know what the effect of that vibration is, then the word may come to have meaning associated with the effect of saying that vibration or word. This is one level of energy basis for words.

Another level is intent. If the actual physical vibration is coupled with a mental intention, the vibration then contains an additional mental component which influences the result of saying it. The sound is the carrier wave and the intent is overlaid upon the wave form, just as a colored gel influences the appearance and effect of a white light.

In either instance, the word is based upon energy. Nowhere is this idea more true than for Sanskrit mantra. For although there is a general meaning which comes to be associated with mantras, the only lasting definition is the result or effect of saying the mantra.

Definition #2: Mantras create thought-energy waves.

The human consciousness is really a collection of states of consciousness which distributively exist throughout the physical and subtle bodies. Each organ has a primitive consciousness of its own. That primitive consciousness allows it to perform functions specific to it. Then come the various systems. The cardio-vascular system, the reproductive system and other systems have various organs or body parts working at slightly different stages of a single process. Like the organs, there is a primitive consciousness also associated with each system. And these are just within the physical body. Similar functions and states of consciousness exist within the subtle body as well. So individual organ consciousness is overlaid by system consciousness, overlaid again by subtle body counterparts and consciousness, and so ad infinitum.

The ego with its self-defined "I" ness assumes a pre-eminent state among the subtle din of random, semi-conscious thoughts which pulse through our organism. And of course, our organism can "pick up" the vibration of other organisms nearby. The result is that there are myriad vibrations riding in and through the subconscious mind at any given time.

Mantras start a powerful vibration which corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and a state of consciousness in seed form. Over time, the mantra process begins to override all of the other smaller vibrations, which eventually become absorbed by the mantra. After a length of time which varies from individual to individual, the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Ultimately, the mantra produces a state where the organism vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy and spiritual state represented by and contained within the mantra.

At this point, a change of state occurs in the organism. The organism becomes subtly different. Just as a laser is light which is coherent in a new way, the person who becomes one with the state produced by the mantra is also coherent in a way which did not exist prior to the conscious undertaking of repetition of the mantra.

Definition #3: Mantras are tools of power and tools for power.

They are formidable. They are ancient. They work. The word "mantra" is derived from two Sanskrit words. The first is "manas" or "mind," which provides the "man" syllable. The second syllable is drawn from the Sanskrit word "trai" meaning to "protect" or to "free from." Therefore, the word mantra in its most literal sense means "to free from the mind." Mantra is, at its core, a tool used by the mind which eventually frees one from the vagaries of the mind.

But the journey from mantra to freedom is a wondrous one. The mind expands, deepens and widens and eventually dips into the essence of cosmic existence. On its journey, the mind comes to understand much about the essence of the vibration of things. And knowledge, as we all know, is power. In the case of mantra, this power is tangible and wieldable.

Statements About Mantra

  1. Mantras have close, approximate one-to-one direct language-based translation.

If we warn a young child that it should not touch a hot stove, we try to explain that it will burn the child. However, language is insufficient to convey the experience. Only the act of touching the stove and being burned will adequately define the words "hot" and "burn" in the context of "stove." Essentially, there is no real direct translation of the experience of being burned.

Similarly, there is no word which is the exact equivalent of the experience of sticking one's finger into an electrical socket. When we stick our hand into the socket, only then do we have a context for the word "shock." But shock is really a definition of the result of the action of sticking our hand into the socket.

It is the same with mantras. The only true definition is the experience which it ultimately creates in the sayer. Over thousands of years, many sayers have had common experiences and passed them on to the next generation. Through this tradition, a context of experiential definition has been created.

  1. Definitions of mantras are oriented toward either the results of repeating the mantra or of the intentions of the original framers and testers of the mantra.

In Sanskrit, sounds which have no direct translation but which contain great power which can be "grown" from it are called "seed mantras." Seed in Sanskrit is called "Bijam" in the singular and "Bija" in the plural form. Please refer to the pronunciation guide on page 126 for more information on pronunciation of mantras.

Let's take an example. The mantra "Shrim" or Shreem is the seed sound for the principle of abundance (Lakshmi, in the Hindu Pantheon.) If one says "shrim" a hundred times, a certain increase in the potentiality of the sayer to accumulate abundance is achieved. If one says "shrim" a thousand times or a million, the result is correspondingly greater.

But abundance can take many forms. There is prosperity, to be sure, but there is also peace as abundance, health as wealth, friends as wealth, enough food to eat as wealth, and a host of other kinds and types of abundance which may vary from individual to individual and culture to culture. It is at this point that the intention of the sayer begins to influence the degree of the kind of capacity for accumulating wealth which may accrue.

  1. Mantras have been tested and/or verified by their original framers or users.

Each mantra is associated with an actual sage or historical person who once lived. Although the oral tradition predates written speech by centuries, those earliest oral records annotated on palm leaves discussed earlier clearly designate a specific sage as the "seer" of the mantra. This means that the mantra was probably arrived at through some form of meditation or intuition and subsequently tested by the person who first encountered it.

  1. Sanskrit mantras are composed of letters which correspond to certain petals or spokes of chakras in the subtle body.

As discussed in Chapter 2, there is a direct relationship between the mantra sound, either vocalized or subvocalized, and the chakras located throughout the body.

  1. Mantras are energy which can be likened to fire.

You can use fire either to cook your lunch or to burn down the forest. It is the same fire. Similarly, mantra can bring a positive and beneficial result, or it can produce an energy meltdown when misused or practiced without some guidance. There are certain mantra formulas which are so exact, so specific and so powerful that they must be learned and practiced under careful supervision by a qualified teacher.

Fortunately, most of the mantras widely used in the West and certainly those contained in this volume are perfectly safe to use on a daily basis, even with some intensity.

  1. Mantra energizes prana.

"Prana" is a Sanskrit term for a form of life energy which can be transferred from individual to individual. Prana may or may not produce an instant dramatic effect upon transfer. There can be heat or coolness as a result of the transfer.

Some healers operate through transfer of prana. A massage therapist can transfer prana with beneficial effect. Even self-healing can be accomplished by concentrating prana in certain organs, the result of which can be a clearing of the difficulty or condition. For instance, by saying a certain mantra while visualizing an internal organ bathed in light, the specific power of the mantra can become concentrated there with great beneficial effect.

  1. Mantras eventually quiet the mind.

At a deep level, subconscious mind is a collective consciousness of all the forms of primitive consciousnesses which exist throughout the physical and subtle bodies. The dedicated use of mantra can dig into subconscious crystallized thoughts stored in the organs and glands and transform these bodily parts into repositories of peace.



Mantra is a Sanskrit word. The mantras come from the Vedas and were written 5,000 years ago. The Vedas are thought to be much older, having been given to us 25,000 years ago. It is believed that Enlightened Beings wrote the Vedas, and these are the source of mantras.

"Man" means mind and "tra" means instrument or tool, so "mantra" literally means instrument of the mind. Mantra Yoga means "union by voice or sound," and refers to the rhythmic repetition of mantras. Mantras are tools for focusing — a taxicab to take you where you want to go. When the mind is focused on a mantra, it becomes quiet, and this takes us to the soul. Eventually, the sound merges with God, and only the meditation or fixation of the mind remains. This is the way in which the mantra is used as an instrument of the mind.

Every religion has songs or chants. While they may not have the vibratory quality of the Vedic mantras, they are mantras nonetheless. The name and object are inseparable, so when you think of the name of Christ or Krishna, the image comes to mind with the sound. There are mantras for Tibetans, Buddhists, Hindus, and Christians. Sanskrit is a vibration language. This means that contained in any Sanskrit sound is the potential to manifest into form. The vibratory patterns that are created by chanting mantras alter the physicality of our world. These vibratory patterns are called "Sakti." If a group of people begins to meditate and chant OM, and there is a dish of sugar or salt, then the salt or sugar will take on the shape of that sound — not the symbol of OM, which looks like a three (3), and not the letters, but the symbolic representation of the meaning. It would form a yantra or mandala.

a mantra has six parts. The first is Rishi, the person to whom it was revealed and who gave the mantra to the world.

The mantra also has a meter, or Chhandas. This is the inflection or the tone of the voice, and it comes naturally as the mantra is repeated over and over. The voice finds it tone.The Devata, or supernatural being, gives its power of informing or identifying energy. The Bija is the seed. This is the important word or series of words that conveys a special power to the mantra. The Sakti is the vibratory energy pattern.

Finally, there is the Kilaka, or pin. When the pin is taken from the mantra, the hidden energy or secret to consciousness is revealed.*

Mantras quieten the mind. All the thoughts that we repeat in our mind have vibrations, even though we are not hearing them out loud. Thoughts have an effect, and this effect is not necessarily always positive, but when we repeat a mantra, it teaches the mind to calm down and let go. You go beyond the mind and into silence. When the mind wanders, the mantra brings it back. And as the mantra teaches the mind to distance itself from distraction, the distractions become smaller and less frequent. First, one thought dissolves, then another. And you learn to hold that consciousness. When you learn to hold the consciousness, you begin to remember who you truly are. A mantra is like a new, more powerful antenna on your television. By using the mantra, you are tuning to a channel you could not access before.

A major change is that we focus on the inner self. We learn to forget about the outer self and just be. An analogy is to think of the waves in a great ocean. When there is a storm, the waves are huge. The ocean forgets that it is an ocean. It thinks it is the huge, angry, dramatic waves. When the storm is over, the ocean is calm. It is beautiful and smooth. Then the ocean feels its wholeness. All of its parts feel at one. This is what meditation with mantras does to our consciousness. We think we are the waves of fear or anger or jealousy that assault our minds. When we can quiet the mind, we become like the ocean experiencing the beauty and serenity of itself. We become our souls. Then we are the ocean.

There are many mantras that may be used for many things. Intention, or thinking of what you want while meditating, is really the key. Your intention will bring you to what you want.

Divine words are encased within the sound of the mantra. The names of the deities can be used to bring about a manifestation of the energies associated with that deity. This creates a sound form that holds the God energies as the mantra is repeated. The power comes through sounds contained in the mantra.
Some mantras come from the names of the specific deities. These include Lord Shiva and his wife, Shakti. He represents potential, and she represents creativity. The goddess Lakshmi is for abundance or money.
The names of deities may be used in chants. A chant for peace and love using Lord Shiva's name is "Om Namah Shivaya." Any of the other deities' names could be substituted.

There are different seed mantras for each chakra. The seed mantras balance the energy of the chakras. One way of viewing this is to think of a room of clocks. When a room is full of clocks, the clocks automatically synchronize themselves and tick together. This is what the seed mantras do for the chakras. All of these mantras work for different outcomes, if that's how you want to focus. There are different energies for each chakra, and you can focus on the particular energy you want in your life. You can concentrate on any of these seed mantras, but the Heart is the one you should work on if you have only a little time. The Heart acts as the balance for the entire body and system. Really, everything comes from the Heart. The Heart connects all of the chakras.
It takes a minimum of five minutes of chanting per chakra to bring it into balance. Here are mantras for each of them:

  1. Root chakra: Red, Center of Physical Vitality, Stability — LAM.


  1. Seat of the soul: Orange Personal Energy & Sex — VAM.


  1. Solar plexus: Yellow, Personal Power — RAM.


  1. Heart: Green, Love, Compassion — YUM.


  1. Throat: Blue, Creative Consciousness — HUM.


  1. Third Eye: Violet, Intuition — OM.


  1. Crown: White, Reception of God's Energy — AUM.

The mantras should be chanted for fifteen minutes twice each day. We repeat mantras during the day because it is like dyeing a cloth. You dip the cloth in bright yellow dye, but after you wash it a few times, it gets pale. So you dip it back in the dye, and now it's brightly colored again.

This is like our consciousness. We meditate for a while, and our consciousness becomes clear. The thoughts cease. But then seven or eight hours later, the clarity of consciousness has faded and the thoughts have begun to reassert themselves.

The sounds set up a vibration when spoken aloud, but they also set up the vibration in the mind when spoken silently. The mind is restless, so it is useful to repeat the mantra verbally or in a whisper. But whether it's verbal or whispered or silent, the mantra should be spoken with feeling.

Primordial Sound Meditation
Primordial Sound Meditation is an ancient mantra meditation that was revived by Dr. Deepak Chopra. If you can think a thought, you can meditate. Meditation should be easy and not forced or arduous. The mantras we use in the Primordial Sound Meditation course are thousands of years old and have their own pathway helping us to transcend past thoughts and intellect and into the level of the soul. At this level there is no fear, anxiety, addiction, jealousy or anger. Only pure love exists at the level of the soul. When you visit this level of your being on a daily basis with meditation, you begin to live your full potential.

Yantras are geometric drawings that make visible the patterns of sound energy in a mantra. They are the pictorial, geometric representations of the energies of mantras. Each yantra has its own visible power pattern, and when combined with mantra, it builds form. Eventually, one transcends the yantra-mantra and perceives the energy behind it. "Yan" refers to conceptualizing, so the yantra is a mental and somewhat physical representation of energy.


Mantra is a combination of sacred syllables which spiritual energy.

The sages of ancient time and even today knew the healing power of mantras, and passed on the knowledge to their disciples orally. The scientific use of mantra is very potent, and can be used to heal most chronic diseases

Mantras recited in the right tone can give a resonant sonic vibration to the various chakras in our body. In modern time, we have just realized that Light and Sound is the greatest tool available to mankind for the purpose of self-healing

Sounds are vibration, which gives rise to definite forms. The repeated chanting of the name of the Lord gradually builds up the form or special manifestation of the deity worshipped (the Devata), acts as a focus to concentrate this influence, which then penetrates, and become the center of consciousness of the worshiper.

Each Mantra has a Bija or seed. This is the essence of the Mantra and gives it special power – self-generating power. Just as within a seed is hidden a tree, so the energy in the Mantra is the seed from which will grow a beautiful spiritual being.

Every mantra has six aspects, a Seer, a melody, a presiding deity, a seed sound, power and pillar.

The seers, through their intuitive perception, opened themselves to the revelation of the Mantras and were able to recognize their own effectiveness as channels for the flow of grace, knowledge and power of the Divine. These ancient seers understood their powers were intended to be used in the service of others, as a guide to humanity.

The Mantras were transmitted from generation to generation from Guru to disciple, and in this process, the power of the Mantras was greatly increased.

{With Para-Tan Sound healing, we use 'Bija'-mantras (short core mantras like Om) due to is strong resonant sonic vibration it work at the deepest level, directly with your 'cellular memory' thus helping you clear long held emotional and physical blocks. This can be experienced either in One-to-One sessions or in a safe and loving group of people: a Healing Circle. Through reciting the mantras, we create a loving space to channel the higher energies that provide healing on all levels - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.}

How it works

Generally, by following Hatha Yoga and performing Laya Karma, and asanas, or postures, accompanied with meditation, mantra chanting, and visualization techniques, one is able to activate the latent energy that works with the autonomic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. This are linked with the ganglia constituting the main plexus. The dormant energy is directed towards the highest place, the seventh chakra, which is known as the set of consciousness.

Nadis are linked to the chakras, and the central channel, Sushuma plays a vital role in Yoga and Tantric practice. The nadis becomes the channel for the Mantra Sounds to travel on their pathway to different parts of the body. According to Tantric treatise Shiva Samhita, there are fourteen principle nadis of these Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are considered the most important, and the first 10 are connected to the 10 gates or opening of the body, Sound and energy also uses this gates to nourish the body.

1st Sushumna the fontanel, 2nd Ida the left nostril, 3rd Pingala the right nostril, 4th Gandhari the left eye 5th Hastajihva the right eye 6th Yashasvini the left ear 7th Pusha the right ear, 8th Alambusha the mouth 9th Kuhu the genitals, 10th Shankhini the anus. There is the 11th gate which is seldom spoken about, and that is the Navel, the main gate to our soul, from cradle to the grave.

That is the general rule, but with us, we move the energy from the 6th chakra to the 2nd, clearing the pathway, and then travel up from the 2nd to the 6th, moving the dormant energy upwards in a very safe and gentle manner. During this process, the energy and vibration produced by the Mantra frees the receiver from being potential victim off old memories. These memories can than manifest in the body as illnesses, or even a Tumor, breast cancer in women and prostrate cancer in men, chronic fatigue, depression, menstrual disorder, disorder in the productive organ in a woman, which is quite common these days even with young women. The healing effect is felt by all who form the circle, as long and the intend and focus is there.

This healing process acts on two fronts, on one hand it heals, on the other hand it also help you to evolve spiritually, without having to spend years of asanas, accompanied with meditation, mantra chanting, and visualization techniques.


The first sound that emerged during the evolution is the most sacred 'Om'. It is the first sound with three letters, A U M. Om is the most potential of all the Mantras or hymns. It is the most powerful Beejakshara.The Vedas also describe how the universe came into existence. The evolution of the universe is described in the most beautiful and interesting manner in these sacred works. The universe emerged with the coming together of the two powerful units, Purusha and Prakruthi. During this creation, vibrations that arose became the most powerful resonance. Even music and art is attributed to this basic principle of vibration. It is this nada which produced the alphabets. It is this rhythmic sound which keeps life going in the set pattern. The correct chanting of these Mantras can lead the utterer to derive his objective. Correct chanting is a must for setting a correct rhythmic pattern, nada. Like Om, there are other Beejaksharas, which are very potent and powerful, the silent recitation and meditation on which can result in different powers. The seven such Beejaksharas represent the seven Matrkas or Saptha Matrkas (seven young maidens). They represent goddesses like Lalitha, Mahalakshmi, and Saraswathi. They also represent the seven colours. Similarly, there are 24 letters in the Gayathri Mantra. The Panchadakshari has 15 letters.These are similar to other Beejaksharas or group of words, which are potent with powers and hence sacred. They represent various tatwas. The seven swaras in the classical Indian music are known as Saptha Swaras. The seven letters, Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni form the core of Indian music. They create the Nada Brahma. They are the creators of Nada. The 24 houses in the classical and ancient Indian musical instrument Veena, represent the powers of the Saptha Matrkas or the seven goddesses. The recitation of such Beejaksharas leads to Mokasha, liberation from the cycle of life and death. Nada has the power to liberate man from the worldly attachments and enable him to obtain enlightenment, evolve himself into an elevated human being.

Mantras can lead to both spiritual realization or material benefits. It can help in the process of achieving enlightenment. Regular recitation, constant repetition will help soothen the troublesome mind. One should understand the meaning and significance of the sacred words, before venturing into their recitation, before using them for contemplation or meditation. He should choose the appropriate Mantra for achieving his desired objective. But there are common set of Mantras which can be generally used by the ordinary. By their usage, the disturbed mind can be brought under control. It can ease tensions, help relax body and mind, and thus improve the health of the reciter. Mantras are word powers. Either they could be used spiritual realisation or material desires. They could be used for one's own welfare or destruction. It is like atomic energy. The energy from the atom can be either used for production of more energy (power), for good or destruction. Its creative or destructive power depends upon the devotion of the man who uses it. One can find Mantras not only in Hinduism, but in various other religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Islam though they have different names. They are corresponding words to Mantras.Find a Guru, have Mantropadesha from him and discover the potency in you by constant practice.

A fresh look at Mantra Yoga

The whole universe is Consciousness vibrating at different frequencies. All the varying techniques of yoga (union) and meditation are based on the underlying principles of resonance and sympathetic vibration.

Through atunement with a particular state of consciousness we become it. Atunement means aligning our variables so that they correspond with the state we are trying to attain.

What are the variables which we have to work with? They are such things as posture, colour, our actions and the words that we intone.

Sacred alphabets such as Sanskrit are said to embody the complete spectrum of universal forces. By utilizing the science of mantra we may harness this awesome power- this power of vibration which is the basis for the whole of Creation.

It has often gone unrecognized however that the power of mantra yoga affects us all whether we are aware of it or not.

When ever we speak silently to ourselves or out loud we are influenced by the quality of the vibrations which we are giving out.

Imagine that you heard two people arguing in a foreign language which you could not understand. You would be able to get a feel for what was been said by the actual quality of the sound being produced.

It is not then necessary to know the ins and outs of the exact nature of sacred alphabets nor to be empowered by a Guru in order to benefit from the science of mantra.

By being mindful of the quality of our speech we will be making an important contribution to our well being.

If you ever catch yourself talking harshly, with unkindness or moaning in a victim like way know that you are actually intoning a negative although weak mantra.

With this awareness, relax and uplift the quality of your speech. Imagine the ideal: rich, confident and compassionate tones and aim for that. An understanding of the virtues is useful in imagining the ideal. Be sure then to study "Inner Medicine" for a deeper appreciation of the virtues.

One of the reasons for the differences in national character is because of the particular language habitually used. Even same language regional differences in character and accent have a mutual effect on each other.

It can be useful to see your own character and speech in the context of regional influences so as not to be restrained by them.

Whilst it is true that general speech is important, there can be no doubt that more advanced mantra practices are far more powerful. Why is this?

Well as stated earlier atunement is connected with optimizing variables. By sitting in the correct posture, by wearing natural loose fitting clothing of a particular colour, by gazing at a sacred image at the same time as reciting the mantra with conscious intent and understanding its meaning then we are harnessing far more of the variables available to us: thus having a correspondingly greater effect.

Where as the letters vocalized in everyday speech have a more or less random(or certainly unintentional) effect a true Mantra is constructed specifically with a goal in mind. This means that the intention energy is much more focused. It also means that the letters are chosen for their innate and non-arbitrary vibrational effect.

It is also said that by using a mantra given to us by a genuine realized soul the blessings are greater still. Firstly such a realized soul, being aware of our imbalances etc, can prescribe us with a mantra/medicine ideally suited to our temperament. Secondly it is said that such a mantra is empowered by the blessings of the teacher. These blessings are partly due to morphic resonance and partly intelligent spiritual intervention at subtle levels.

If you really want to understand mantra yoga then you must study the sacred alphabets, the different types of letter and so on. Study many different schools of thought on the subject and try to get to the deeper meanings below the rubbish which inevitably creeps into these subjects.

All religious disciplines are calculated to give man, the necessary concentration on the divine and ultimately take him to the goal. They cleanse and intensify the faculties of his mind- knowing, feeling, and willing.

A mantra is a sacred word or words. It is a mystic sound symbol of god. Mantra is so called because it is achieved by mental process. man- in mantra is for manana- ie thinking and tra is for trana, ie liberation from the bondages of the phenomenal world. It was discovered by the saints of ancient India.

Mantras are letters arranged in a definite sequence of sounds of which the letters are the representative signs. The mantra of any devatha [ form of god] is that letter or combination of letters which reveals that devatha to the consciousness of the devotee who has evoked him, by the power of his spiritual practise. Sound precedes the manifestation of form in creation. Since from certain sounds certain forms evolve, every sound is responsible for a particular form.

Mantras are vibrations which posses both constructive and destructive power.For example:

- Gayathri Mantra is used for spiritual up liftenement.
- Sudarhana is used for protection from negative energies.
- Sree Sooktham for wealth.
- Dhanwanthary Mantra for healing and so on.

Every mantra must be intoned and uttered in the proper sound and rhythm.

How Mantras Work

There are different chakras in our energy body. Out of these, 7 chakras are major chakras, because all of them come under the route of Kundalini. Each chakra is associated with certain sounds. We know that every sound produces a corresponding vibration in the energy field. When a person constantly chant a mantra, that sound will continuously produce a vibration in his energy field. Before a sound comes out through our throat, it was there in the nadis(energy channels) and in nerves. So we can say that a sound first manifest in the energy body and then comes out through the physical body.

The continuous japa (chanting) of a mantra will invoke the corresponding letters in each chakra. The pattern of letters and sound in a Sanskrit mantra can thus create a very similar movement in the chakras. Such a continuous vibration will affect the Kundalini. So by the constant use of a Sanskrit mantra the kundalini energy will start moving and this gives power and the required condition for the person who used it.


The Characteristics of a Mantra

by Avadhutika Ananda Mitra Acarya

The mantra is like a rocket engine that propels the mind beyond the "gravitational fields" of the lower levels of consciousness, through all the turbulence of the subconscious mind, to the superconscious – and beyond. Thus, a correct process of meditation involves the generation of immense psychic energy through intense concentration on the mantra.

Some systems of meditation which involve internal repetition of certain sounds, advise the meditators not to concentrate on them. Such techniques are quite relaxing and refreshing, but for spiritual elevation, concentration is essential – the intense effort to focus the mind on the mantra. Like the farmer whose mind was concentrated on his sick son, or the chemist concentrated on his research, or the medium concentrated on her crystal ball – the fixed attention of the mind on any object of thought will produce the necessary internal energy to elevate the mind to subtler levels. Experiments on Ananda Marga meditators whose process begins with concentration have shown that, rather than being asleep or passively relaxed, their bodies and minds are in a state of intense physiological activation: more energy, rather than less, is flowing through them.

Three Qualities of a Mantra:


What is the special effect of the mantra, that by focusing the mind on it, one can transcend the ignorance and illusions of the lower mind?
A mantra must have three qualities to hold the restless mind steady, to energize it, and to transport it to subtler realms. It must be pulsative, incantative and ideative.

First, it must be pulsative. It must be of two syllables so that it can flow rhythmically with the breathing, for the breathing has a profound effect upon the state of one's consciousness. You may have noticed that whenever you are angry or upset, your breathing is fast and short; but when you are absorbed in any task, you naturally breathe slowly and deeply.

The functioning of breathing is closely associated with the flow of vital energy in the body, called prana, which in turn greatly affects the mind. If the breathing is fast and irregular, the prana becomes unsteady and agitated; the mind becomes disturbed and perception and thinking are unclear. Thus control of breathing pranayama is an important part of yoga training. The more the breathing is slowed and regulated, the greater the composure in the prana, and the greater the concentration and control of the mind.

Once there was a minister who had greatly displeased his king. As punishment, the king ordered him imprisoned in the top of a very high tower, and the minister was left there to perish. That night, the minister's faithful wife came to the tower, crying, to see if there was any way she could help him escape. He told her to return to the tower the following night, bringing with her a long rope, some string, some silken thread, a beetle, and a pot of honey. Wondering at this strange command, the wife obeyed, and the next night brought him the desired articles. The minister directed her to tie the silken thread firmly around the beetle's leg, then to smear its feelers with a drop of honey and place it on the tower wall, with its head pointing upward. Attracted by the scent of the honey, the beetle crawled slowly up the wall, drawing the silken thread behind it. Hours later, it reached the top, and the minister caught it and untied the silken thread. Then he told his wife to tie the other end of the thread, dangling on the ground, to the long string. The minister then pulled up the thread until he could grasp the end of the string. Next he instructed her to tie the rope to the other end of the string, and pulling up the string, he grabbed the rope and tied it to the tower window – and slid down to freedom.

The silken thread is the motion of breathing the string is the prana or vital energy, and the rope is the mind. By controlling the motion of breathing, we can gain control over the prana; by controlling the prana, we can control the mind. Then we attain liberation from all bondages.

Thus the mantra must be of two syllables so that its slow and rhythmic internal chanting will serve to slow the breathing, steady the prana, and calm and control the restless wandering of the mind.

The Second Quality of a Mantra: Incantative

The second quality is incantative. The mantra must have a certain sound, a certain vibrational pattern so that when it is chanted internally, it will elevate the individual's own vibration, or "entitative rhythm".

Each entity of this creation has its own particular entitative rhythm, its own note in the universal harmony. From pulsing quasars to oscillating electrons – from the ultrasonic melody of mountain ranges to the ceaseless reverberation of the creatures, singing and drumming, whirring and clicking, laughing and crying – all the notes are orchestrated in a vast cosmic concert.

The source of this ceaseless rhythmic movement is the Infinite Consciousness, soundless and still, the ocean of peace. Undisturbed by any vibration, it flows in an infinite straight line through eternity.

The ancient sages, who had merged their minds in this sea of unexpressed Consciousness, realised that the universe is a vibrational play of varied waves with different wavelengths. By their intutional powers, they came to understand the laws of universal harmonics governing this vibrational flow, and they developed a subtle science of sound to affect the rhythms of creation – without any mechanical apparatus.

Indian music, developed by the great yoga master, Shiva, over seven thousand years ago, was one branch of that science. The classical ra'gas, or musical scales, are so subtly attuned to the rhythms of nature that each raga is to be played or sung only in a certain season and at a certain time of the day, to produce a specific emotional effect in the musician and audience. One raga is played only at dawn in the spring, to evoke the mood of universal love, another is sung only during the evening in summer, to arouse compassion; still another only during midday in the rainy season, to summon courage.

It is said that the masters of music had control over not only human emotions, but all natural manifestations as well they could produce heat and rainfall at will, and the vibrations of their voices alone would cause finely-tuned musical instruments to resonate in accompaniment! Historical documents describe the remarkable powers possessed by Tansen, the 16th Century court musician of Akbar the Great. Commanded by the Emperor to sing a night raga while the sun was overhead, Tansen's vibrational song instantly caused the whole palace to become enveloped in darkness.

But the subtlest of all these sciences of sound was the science of mantra. The masters knew that each individual's entitative rhythm vibrates at a particular frequency. Like many instruments in a symphony playing in harmony, the combination of all the various "bio-rhythms" of mind and body (psychic waves, heart beat, metabolic rate, etc.) produces the individual's particular "melody". If this individual melody is raised to subtler and slower frequencies, it ultimately becomes infinite – and the mind merges in boundless Cosmic Consciousness.

Through long inner experimentation, the yogis developed a series of powerful sounds or mantras which, when chanted internally, resonate with the individual's entitative rhythm and gradually transform it into the infinite straight line of Supreme Peace.

These sounds originated from inside their own bodies, and were systematised into the oldest alphabet and language on earth – Sanskrit.

Sanskrit: The Human Body's Eternal Song

Close your eyes for a moment and just listen.

What did you hear? Even when we are in a "quiet" environment, so many sounds bombard our ears : the dull drone of machines, distant voices carried on the wind, birdsongs, telephones, construction noises, traffic it seems impossible to escape external noise in this modern world.

But if we can withdraw our minds from these external sounds, we will hear much subtler, inner vibrations. In the absolute stillness of soundproof chambers in scientific laboratories, insulated from all external noise, some people have been able to hear some of these intemal sounds : a high-pitched resonance, and a deep throbbing the vibrations of their own nervous system, and the pulsing of their blood.

Thousands of years ago, yogis meditating in the utter silence of caves or mountains, were able to withdraw their minds not only from external sounds, but from the noises of the physical body as well. They could then focus their minds on centres of subtle energy inside them. Along the spine and in the brain, there are seven psychic energy centres or chakras which control the functioning ofmind and body. Most human beings are unaware of these chakras, but when the mind and body become more refined through meditation, these subtle energy centres can be perceived and controlled.

The chakras have been described by enlightened saints and mystics of all spiritual paths and cultures – by Buddhists, ancient Chinese, Hindus, Tantriks, Christian and Jewish mystics, Sufis, and Native American Indians. Recently, science has detected them as well. Sensitive instruments have measured energy emanations (beyond frequencies which are known to come from biochemical, anatomic systems), surging from the surface of the body at the exact locations of the chakras.

Those ancient yogis who directed their inner ear toward these energy centres, were able to hear the subtle vibrations emanating from each 9f them – 49 different vibrations in all. Then they spoke them aloud, and each of these subtle inner sounds became one letter of the Sanskrit alphabet

Thus, the Sanskrit language – sometimes called "the mother of all languages" – was developed from the externalised sounds of our subtle internal energies. It is the human body's eternal song.

Mantra Transforms the Entitative Rhythm

The yogis then combined these powerful sounds into mantras which are attuned to the universal rhythms of the cosmos. For thousands of years, these mantras were never written down, lest they be misused by unworthy power-seekers, but were passed down directly from guru to disciple. Even today, they must be learned personally from a qualified teacher of Ananda Marga; for different individuals, with different entitative rhythms, will receive different mantras for concentration. Thus, people of all nationalities, regardless of their language, will use Sanskrit mantras for meditation, because Sanskrit is the universal language for self-realisation.

The repeated chanting of the subtle inner music of the mantra (the "incantative rhythm") in meditation vibrates the chakras and stills the restlessness of the mind:

Gradually, the meditator's entitative rhythm slows down in resonance with the mantra

Finally, it is transformed into the straight line cosmic rhythm, and merges into the eternally still and serene sea of Cosmic Consciousness, the goal of all yoga practice.

The Third Quality of a Mantra: Ideative

The mantra is not only a vibratory, pulsating sound that harmonises all the rhythms of the mind arid body with the Supreme Rhythm. It has a specific expansive meaning as well.

Yogis have taught for centuries the simple truth : "As you think, so you become." It is now an accepted psychological fact that the mind becomes like its object of ideation. Many experiments have shown that our consciousness tends to merge or identify with any focus of attention that is maintained for a sufficient period. Thus visualizations and affirmations will gradually transform our minds according to their object of concentration.

Understanding that people are often limited by the negative or inferior ideas they have of themselves, psychologists attempt to change our "self-image" and thus to completely transform our personality. In one experiment, a man – sweating and straining as hard as he could – could only lift 150 kilos of weight. Then he was hypnotised, and the hypnotist repeated, "You are the strongest man in the world you have tremendous strength!" Under hypnosis, he lifted 200 kilos without the slightest strain or difficulty.

Today, the "power of positive thinking," positive affirmations and creative visualisations are being used by many people all over the world to become more successful, more popular, more wealthy. But the goal of yoga is not so narrow or limited as worldly success or wealth. It is nothing less than infinity – the infinite expansion of one's mind to merge with the Supreme Consciousness.

Thus, the process of meditation also employs a repeated affirmation – the meaning of the mantra "I am Infinite Consciousness" "I am one with That." Actually, this is the reality – on the highest levels of our being, we are infinite and we always have been; we only do not realize it because we identify with our small egos, with the limited lower levels of our minds.

So by daily practice, by the constant ideation, "I am That," we gradually lessen our false identification with our body and lower mind, and identify with the blissful Self within. As the mind gradually, imperceptibly expands through higher and higher layers, one glorious day we become completely free from all the bondages of ego and realise that we are not this body, we are not this mind, we are not this imperfect personality – we are infinite. We are the Supreme Consciousness. In that moment, we go beyond the mantra – beyond pulsation, beyond vibration, beyond ideation – and in breathless silence, we dissolve into ecstatic union with the origin of all.

Sooner or later, we will all experience it – it is the birthright of every human being. Each person is a channel for infinite power and energy and knowledge – a vessel to be filled with this never–ending bliss. The revelations of dreams, hypnosis, hallucinations, creative flashes, and intuitional foresight have given us some idea of the limitless resources of our inner spaces. Now we must check the external drift of our minds and turn our awareness in upon itself so we can explore the Kingdom of Light within.

"The Supreme Consciousness is inside you like butter in milk; churn your mind through meditation and He will appear – you will see that the resplendence of the Supreme Consciousness illumines your whole inner being. He is like a subterranean river in you. Remove the sands of mind and you will find the clear, cool waters within."