Mantra and Meditation: Fact and Fancy
by Sri Goswami Kriyananda from Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga
What is Mantra?
A mantra is a genuine sound vibration that exists in the casual and astral universes. These sounds are not nonsense syllables. They are well-known to all gurus. A mantric sound, when properly given and utilized, leads to stillness and induces a state of mediation.
How Many Mantras Are There?
The Vedas point out there are an infinite number of mantras. However, only a few are genuinely suitable for meditation purposes. Mantras can run from 32 syllables down to a single syllable, mantra or biia. Bijas contain great energies and are to be used only after a person has advanced in the study and practice of yoga.
Where Do Mantras Come From?
The great mantras come from ancient sages who have recorded them in the great texts. Mantras can also be composed especially for an individual, by wise souls who studied the hora-shastras. It takes from 12 to 24 years of study before one becomes a maker of mantras (mantra-kara). Although the science of composing and creating mantras contains many deep secrets, the sounds are all found in the ancient texts. Now, whether the mantra is given by a person who found it in a text, or by a guru who found it in the Vedas, or by a sage who created it by discovering astral sounds, the importance of any mantra is whether it has adhi-kara.
What is Adhikara?
If a sage utilizes a mantra to attain illumination and then gives that particular mantra to another person, the mantra contains his vibration of illumination called adhikara. It contains the mind of the giver of the mantra (adhikara). It contains within it, his living, consciousness which empowers the mantra (adhi-kara). In short, adhikara is the transference of the illuminative state from the giver of the mantra to its receiver. This illuminative state impinges itself into the mantra. Consequently, when a sage gives a mantra, the illuminative state is transferred into the consciousness of the receiver, awaiting a time when it will blossom forth. If there is no illuminative state in the consciousness of the giver, no transference can take place. There is no adhi-kara.
Who Can Initiate Mantra?
Only a spiritual guru can initiate mantra. That is, only a person who has reached the illuminative state can meaningfully give a mantra, whereby the adhikara is transferred to the receiver. Without the adhikara, the mantra has lost most of its mystical power. They still have some mental value.
It should be quite obvious; some people bestowing mantras do not have adhikara. They do not have the insight to determine which mantras are individually suitable for a particular student. They have not learned the horashastras. They have simply concocted nonsensical sounds, giving these sounds to specific sociological types, i.e., students, housewives, businessmen, etc. They are not specifically created for individuals.
Are Mantra and Meditation the Same as Relaxation?
Psychological experiments have shown that the repetition of any meaningless sounds will lower the breathing rate and blood pressure, and produce a state of relaxation. As a matter of fact, putting your attention on the ticking of a clock or on dripping water will produce the same results. However, the point is that relaxation is not meditation; nor is meditation a passive state. This was clearly shown many years ago when professor Einstein, along with a number of students, was placed on an electroencephalogram (yes, they had them way back then) in which brain wave activity was recorded. The students and Einstein were both induced into a relaxed state as shown by the alpha waves. But, when the students were given a simple problem to solve, the electronic instruments immediately reflected that their minds had moved out of the passive state. However, when Einstein was asked to solve the problem, he was able to remain in this passive state. In short, the students were in a relaxed state; Einstein was in a meditative state. They were in an inactive semiconscious state incapable of being utilized to solve problems. On the other hand, Einstein was in a rue meditative state, capable of being utilized to solve problems. Have I communicated this important idea to you?
That which is only a process of relaxation, some people call meditation. Relaxation is relaxation, but meditation is meditation. Proponents of this type of relaxation, which they call meditation, talk about the benefits of its energization. They say people doing their 20-minute meditation technique come out of the state raring to go, rushing forth to accomplish their goals. This energization is your angular (emotional) energy. Meditation is not a way of energizing your vehicle so you can get ahead in the world. Rather, it is a deep, mystical process by which you de-energize and balance the mind and desires. Meditation is a way of eliminating excessive energies. It is not a way of re-energizing your vehicle. It is usually this energization that enmeshes us in karma.
The oldest and most scientific method of meditation is that expounded by Patanjali, in his Kriya Yoga Sutras. This method is a steady, continuous discipline based upon creative thinking, proper physical exercise, proper breathing, proper sense-withdrawal and concentration. These practices combined are the only means to produce the deep inturned state of meditation. Meditation produces a spiritual way of life that creates and generates an influx of wisdom, not relaxation and energization.
It should be pointed out that all meditation is transcendental, for in all meditation, the lower emotions are transcended and the meditator experiences a unity of self with Life, thus, there is a transcendence of body consciousness.
Techniques of Meditation
Also, there are many types of meditation, each type leading to a different goal.
- Some techniques lead only to mindfulness;
- Other techniques lead to fuller consciousness;
- Others reach one-pointedness;
- Still others lead to ecstasy or bliss; and
- A select few techniques lead all the way to the final 15th stage of Samadhi: kaivalya or God-consciousness.
Copyright © 2012 Goswami Kriyananda