A summary on the Mantra-Yoga teaching
Philippe De Coster, DD; President, Gita Society of Belgium, Gent, Belgium
A mantra is an incantation. It can be a syllable, a word, a few words or sentence. When you repeat a mantra several times, it is called japa. A mantra represents a particular aspect of God, and each mantra has a special significance and inner power. If you cannot enter into your deepest meditation because you are tired, unwell or your mind is restless, this is an opportunity to utilise a mantra. I use a Hindu rosary with 108 grains to recite or sing “Gayatri Mantra”, mainly to be used by those twice born (the second birth is, conversion in Christianity, but a yielding henceforth to the Supreme Spirit). By the way, Catholics have a rosary with 55 grains (a complete rosary is 55 x 3), and Islam has a rosary with 99 grains, each representing an aspect of God. Buddhism has also its rosary. (All World religions have rosaries, and that does mean something very important.) A little experience of mine, when you are trying to cleanse your mind from all kind of worries, which may be called impurities, you should chant a mantra several times in faith, yielding to the Supreme Being, the Absolute. If you want to achieve overall purification of your nature, the japa can be most effective if you do it in a systematic way, step by step. On the path of spirituality “intention” (faith, confidence) is extremely important. Chanting a mantra can be done while driving a car or even walking along the streets or standing in a public place; A swami, some 30 years ago in my neighbourhood, said (I still remember): “the best place to be entirely on your own as the loneliest place is in the streets of New York along the high buildings and the crowd. Using mantras you are really increasing your inner strength and capacity.
The late Michael J. Eastcott, a dear friend of mine since 1970, who died almost two months ago, wrote: “The sacred word OM, which is much used in the East, can be effective in many ways. It may be sounded as a purifying agent, raising the vibration; sounded progressively, it integrates our various forces and helps to direct them beyond the form; it also aids concentration and the ‘recalling OM’ is used by many to recollect and refocus each time attention wanders. But one of its most-used functions is to channel and anchor, at the close of a meditation, the high energies that have been touched; on the wings of its sound these can be sent forth with power, to be shared by humanity. (page 179, in “The Story of the Self” (Rider and Company, London)
“OM” (AUM) is the real name of the Supreme Absolute, God. In the cosmic manifestation is OM (AUM); and, beyond the manifestation, farthest beyond is OM (AUM). The Gayatri Mantra is the divine magnetic needle, always pointing to the transcendental height of the Supreme Absolute. Here, the seeker, the yogi (meditator) does not miss his God in the existence, the consciousness, and in blessing.
The Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 7, 397, wrote: “… we stand with our soul suspended between formidable influences from within and from without, and somehow we must be fair to both. This we can do only after the measure of our individual capacities. Hence we must bethink ourselves not so much of what we “ought” to do as of what we can and must do.”
And, finally, the three soul-stirring words: AUM TAT SAT ( Gîtâ 17.23) “AUM” as above; “TAT” means ‘That’, the nameless Eternal, above all attributes and majestic ‘That’ stands. “Sat” means Reality, the Infinite Truth. Gîtâ quotations to ponder on: 10.25; 10.35; 17.24; 17.25; 17.26.
Use the Gîtâ mantras, and put them as ideas into your heart and life as forces to be accepted and worked out, and you will be surcharged with spiritual forces. The strength of mantras, generating the force and form proper to the mantra and imposes it in our substance of Mind, Life and Matter.
Let us terminate by reciting, the “Gayatri Mantra”:
Aum Bhűr Bhuvah Svah
Aum Tat Savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhîmahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayât
O, Creator of the universe
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light
May thou guide our intellect in the right direction
We meditate on the transcendental Glory
Of the deity Supreme, who is inside the
Heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky
And inside the soul of the Heaven. May He
Stimulate and illumine our minds.
A further reading on the Gayatri Mantra is found on the following web page: