“The mantra becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal. Each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
A long time ago when I was in school, I had a friend who used to have a tally counter.
If you don’t know what that is, it’s a simple counter that you can press a button and well it counts. So he would be reciting his mantras and every time he finished one he would press a button. He had to repeat the mantra for a set amount of times.
At that point of time I found it funny, what difference would it make if you say it, are you hoping for God’s blessings?
Well that incident was embedded in my subconscious mind and it surfaced when I was reading the “Bhagavad Gita for daily living” by Eknath Easwaran where he talks about Mantras.
According to Eknath, “Mantras are powerful spiritual formula that when repeated silently in the mind, have the capacity to transform consciousness.”
He covers points about how all religions have Mantras – the Catholics have the Rosary where they repeat the Hail Mary’s, the common Buddhist Mantra is ‘Om mani padme hum’ that refers to the jewel in the lotus of the heart.’ While Muslims repeat the name of Allah or Allahu Akbar, ‘God is Great’.
While Hinduism has a range of mantras to choose from, personally the one that resonates with me is the “Gayatri Mantra.”
The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra, based on a Vedic Sanskrit verse from a hymn of the Rigveda. Here’s a rough translation of the Gayatri Mantra:
“We meditate upon the spiritual effulgence of that adorable supreme divine reality. Who is the source of the physical, the astral and the heavenly spheres of existence. May that supreme divine being enlighten our intellect, so that we may realize the supreme truth.”
Eknath puts us up to a test, he tells us that there is nothing magical when it comes to the transformation of consciousness. His advice it to repeat any Mantra we choose and to stick with it, then you repeat it silently at every moment you have, waiting for a bus, going for a walk, while doing mechanical chores like washing the dishes and especially when you are falling asleep.
You will find that it’s not mindless repetition; the mantra will help keep you relaxed and alert. Whenever you are angry or afraid, nervous or worried or resentful, repeat the mantra until the agitation subsides.
The mantra works to steady the mind and all these emotions are power running against you which the mantra can harness and put to work.
From, the Autobiography of a Yogi, “The infinite potencies of sound derive from the Creative Word, Aum, the cosmic vibratory power behind all atomic energies. Any word spoken with clear realization and deep concentration has a materializing value.
Loud or silent repetition of inspiring words has been found effective in various systems of psychotherapy; the secret lies in stepping up of the mind’s vibratory rate.”