The word “Mantra” has become quite popular in the western world. But unfortunately although most people use the word, they often do not understand what a mantra actually is.
In our experience in talking with people we have found that many people consider a mantra to be some type of affirmation. For example a person might make up a so-called mantra then look in the mirror and say “ I am beautiful, or i am motivated, or i am intelligent” etc. but this is a mistaken idea of what a mantra is.
The word mantra can be broken down into two. “Man” comes from the word “manah” which is a sanskrit word for “the mind”, and “tra” means to “draw away, to deliver, or to free”. So, the yogis since time immemorial have meditated on mantras because the mantra has the power to draw the mind away and to free it from the miseries of the world.
One may say that meditation means to focus the mind on a particular object. And in one sense we can say that that is true. We often offer meditation classes to people and they sometimes reply with, “its ok Im already meditating”…and in once sense we cannot argue that point as every person and animal in this world has their mind onto something, they are thinking about something or someone. So they are meditating in a sense. The difference is not that he is meditating and the yogi is not. The difference lies in the subject of meditation.
The surfer, for example, is always meditating on the waves. Sometimes, when the waves are good this brings some happiness and excitement to his mind. Other times, like when the waves are small and the winds are on shore, this same meditation brings him a sense of frustration or disappointment. The business man has his mind on money, very much wanting money. Sometimes he succeeds in business and makes money and this pleases his mind. At other times he loses money or fails in his business and this causes frustration or stress etc. We are also always meditating on relationships in this world. Sometimes the girl thinks of the boy and this pleases her mind, later on she might be engaging in meditating on the same object (her boyfriend) and this same meditation might bring her great sadness and torment.
Practically every person in this world has some desire they are trying to fulfill and sometimes there is success and other times there is failure. So in this world there are always these ups and downs. This is the nature of this world.
So we can understand that successes and failures in the outside world are out of our control. With any success we are always dependent on so many factors that are out of our control. For example, the surfer cannot win the surf contest if another surfer performs better than he does, or if the judges conspire against him, if the ocean does not provide him with any waves, or if he gets bit by a shark during his heat etc. The girl, whos meditation and source of happiness is her boyfriend. Doesn’t have any control if he chooses to go with a different girl, loses attraction for her, or if he meets an untimely death. There are so many factors involved that we do not have control over. Sometimes things go in our favor and at other times they don’t.
The problem is that due to our constant meditation on the external world is that we become attached to the ups and downs of this world. This is an inherently a very dangerous position to be in because things will always go up and down, It is like attaching yourself to a crazy roller coaster that you cannot control. Life then becomes very stressful and uncertain. When people do not have an inner life, an inner happiness that is not dependent on the external world then they will automatically be attached to the ups and downs of this world. So their existence then becomes like a perpetual roller coaster ride and therefore they can never have peace. There is always anxiety because what happens externally is totally out of my control.
So whether things are going good in this world or going bad, the yogi’s happiness is not affected either way because he has another life, an inner life. This inner life is a source of unimaginable happiness. The temporary happiness of this world pales in comparison. So when things are going good in this world, he notices, but its no big deal, he knows its passing. When things are going bad in this world, he notices as well, but he is not really affected by it because it is this eternal inner world that he is concerned with, not the passing, ever changing external world. Instead of focusing his mind on the ups and downs of the external world, the yogi focus on his inner life. And the easiest way to develop this inner life is to focus on a mantra.
A mantra is a transcendental sound. This sound is not of this world. It has descended from the spiritual dimension into this world to give us access to the transcendental world. There is no need to go to particular geographical location as this sound brings the spiritual world into our minds and hearts. A world of no anxiety, of real unconditional love and of unlimited happiness. All a person needs to do to access this world is regularly hear and repeat this transcendental sound, and gradually we enter into this inner world which is our natural and eternal home, which is free from material happiness and distress. In other words, the mantra is the means by which to develop this inner life.
When we water a little plant and take care of it it grows into a big beautiful tree, So by practicing mantra meditation regularly our inner life and happiness will grow and grow.
So the mantra is not some type of affirmation, its a completely transcendental sound. It is the soul’s connection with her natural home, It cannot be comprehended with the mind, to understand it is to experience it. There is no preliminary qualification to begin to practice mantra meditation. A person does not need to join anything, quit anything, or believe in anything. You can simply begin practicing and start to experience the wonder of it for yourself!
Join us Saturday afternoons 4.00 – 5.00 pm for a donation based (suggested $5) meditation class with Ananta commencing September 3rd.
For more information on this regular mantra meditation class or to book your meditation cushion please visit us here