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A Christian Meditation Mantra

by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati 
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"Come Lord"

Maranatha Mantra: The teachings of Yoga Meditation are universal and non-sectarian, as is my personal orientation. However, being of Western birth, I mostly meet people who were born into Christian families, since Christianity is the dominant religion of the culture where I live. For those who follow Christianity, it is very useful to be aware of the Maranatha Mantra, an ancient mantra of Christian tradition. (See also the article Yoga and Christianity)

Diversity of mantras: Mantra is a very useful practice in Yoga Meditation. While many, possibly most, of the practitioners of Yoga Meditation who use a mantra use Sanskrit mantras, the science of Yoga Meditation itself does not tell you what mantras to use. The mantra might be in Sanskrit or any other language, either one's native tongue or the language of one's chosen religion. Some of the more brief meditation mantras are simply sound vibrations that are not from any particular language, though being root sounds of languages. These are called seed or bija mantras. Often the mantra is prescribed by one's teacher or lineage, or is practiced in accordance with one's religious affiliation. Or it might be a universal mantra such as the Soham mantra. The Himalayan tradition uses a diversity of mantras for meditation, and also encourages people to follow the teachings, traditions, and mantras of their own religion.

Maranatha is the final instruction: To many people the use of mantra or sacred word appears to be an Eastern practice, often associated with Buddhism or Hinduism. However, there is a Christian meditation mantra that has been used for a very long time by the early monks, though it is little known publicly as a mantra practice. It is the mantra Maranatha. The word Maranatha is the final instruction of St. Paul's teachings to the Corinthians, and is St. John's final instruction in the Book of Revelations. Thus, the last word, the final teaching of the entire Christian Bible is "Maranatha," which is Aramaic and means, "Come Lord."

Mara-natha and Maran-atha: One meditation teacher explains he was taught in seminary that when the word Maranatha is parsed (broken into parts) as "mara-natha" or "maran-atha," it has two different meanings:

As "mara-natha," it  means "Come Lord," or "Lord Come."
As "maran-atha," it means "Lord is Here" or "Lord has Come." 

"Atha" is in Maranatha and Yoga Sutras: Note that in the latter parsing the phrase "atha" is the same as the first word of the Yoga Sutras (Yoga Sutra 1.1), which says, "atha yoga anushasanam," meaning, "now begins yoga." The word "atha" means "now," and this particular usage of "atha" implies prior preparation has been done, making one ready for these practices.

Pronouncing the mantra: The Maranatha Mantra is pronounced with "a" as in "car" or "far" (Ma-Ra-Na-Tha). Allow it to arise rhythmically in the mind field at whatever speed comes naturally, whether fast or slow, though you will probably find it will slow down on its own. Allow yourself to feel the meaning of the mantra, in whatever way matches your own spiritual or religious predisposition. Or simply feel the calmness that comes from the gentle repetition. The feeling is more subtle when remembered in the silence of the mind rather than spoken aloud. All of the general guidelines on using mantra that are in the article Mantra and 13 tips on their use also apply to the Maranatha Mantra.

Positioning the mantra: While remembering the mantra, it is best to allow the mind to gently rest in one physical location rather than allowing it to wander here or there (after preliminary steps of Yoga Meditation).

Heart center: One of the most ideal places is the space between the breasts, the heart center, the home of emotions and feelings, as well as what some call the spiritual heart. Imagine it to be a space about the size of the palm of your hand, allowing the attention to rest within that space, in the cave of the still, silent heart, feeling the coming and going of the mantra.

Eyebrow center: You might feel more drawn to the space between the eyebrows, the third-eye, or the field of mind. Once again, just allow your attention to rest in that space, neither wandering left nor right, nor up or down. It need not be a pin-point spot, but a small field, such as a circular area in that space, where the attention rests. Gradually the mantra will lead you to the spiritual stillness and silence from which it arose.

Mantra with breath: While the mantra may be done completely in the mind field, it also coordinates nicely with the breath when remembered silently as Ma-Ra-Na-Tha, with each of the four parts remembered separately:

  • "Ma" with inhalation

  • "Ra" with exhalation

  • "Na" with inhalation

  • "Tha" with exhalation

When coordinating the mantra with the breath, let the breath be smooth, slow, and quiet, with no pauses between the breaths. Be sure that the syllables of the mantra are only in the mind, and not disturbing the flow of the breath in the lungs, throat, or nasal passages. Allow your attention to gently rest either on the diaphragm area, in a palm sized space just below the breast bone, at the upper abdomen, or on the feel of the air at the bridge of the nostrils, using the cognitive sense of touch.

Remembering the mantra: The mantra may be remembered in the mind with no association with breath. The entire "Ma-Ra-Na-Tha" simply rolls through the silence of the inner mind field, being a pleasant, rhythmic companion, affirmation, and prayer.

Follow the mantra to silence: After remembering the mantra for some period of time, whether or not you count the repetitions, a time will come when the mantra will lead your attention to complete silence in the physical space in which you are remembering it (heart or eyebrow center). Allow this to happen naturally, going into complete inner silence, while holding the deeper meaning and feeling in awareness. Although repetition of the mantra is quite useful in stabilizing a noisy mind (without repressing thoughts or emotions), this leading quality is a more valuable spiritual aspect of mantra meditation.

Maranatha Mantra and the Mustard Seed: Mantra eventually merges into silence at a point, which is called Bindu in Sanskrit. This is sometimes experientially described as seeing light at the end of a tunnel. After seeing that point of light, one eventually travels up or into the tunnel, encounters the source of the light, and then goes beyond it. This process involves traversing the subtle stream of consciousness that is called Sushumna in Sanskrit, the last section of which is called Brahma Nadi. This subtle stream is considered by some to be the Silver Cord referred to in Ecclesiastes and some of the mystical Christian traditions (See Kundalini Awakening for descriptions of Sushumna). The Bindu, or point of light is then encountered at the end of the tunnel, stream, Sushumna, Brahma Nadi or Silver Cord. Bindu may also be viewed by the esoteric, mystical or yogic practitioner as a subtler meaning of the instructions: "Seek first the kingdom..." (Matthew) and "The kingdom of heaven is like a Mustard Seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest..." (Matthew). By following the Maranatha Mantra to its silent source, one may eventually encounter and pierce the Bindu, transcending the Mustard Seed and moving through to the kingdom.

See also the article:
Bindu: Pinnacle of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra

Counting the mantra: While it is not essential, you might want to count the repetitions. This can give the mind a focus, and a sense of beginning and end to your practice time. This can be done with a set of mala beads or some other means of counting. A typical mala has 108 beads, and the practice will take as little as 3-5 minutes at a faster, pulsing rate within the mind, or as long as 20-30 minutes if done slower, such as with the breath. Whether or not you count, or use a mala, it is important to not allow the mantra to become mere parrot-like repetition. Allow the awareness of the meaning, the feeling, and the calmness to be there. To develop stability in your mantra practice, it can be useful to do an intentional practice of one mala (or other number) per day for a period of 40 days, or perhaps one year, starting and ending on some significant date.

WCCM: The Maranatha Mantra has been taught extensively by Father John Main and Father Laurence Freeman through their organization, the World Community for Christian Meditation. Here is link to their website, which then links to the many locations around the world, as well as other links describing Maranatha Mantra from within the website: 

Recovering a tradition of the early Christian monks: According to the WCCM website, Father John Main 

"... recovered a simple tradition of silent, contemplative prayer in the teachings of the early Christian monks, the Desert Fathers. It became clear to him that this tradition had relevance today not only for monks ... though he also saw it as a way of monastic renewal ... but for all people."

The wonder of meditation: Father John Main is quoted as describing: 

"Just imagine for a moment a vast, dark, empty hall. Each time you say your mantra it is like lighting a small weak candle. And I think so often it seems to us that just as we light one, a previous one gets blown out. But very gradually the dawn comes and you begin to realize that the whole hall is flooded with light. The wonder of meditation is that this revelation that the light has conquered the darkness and that Jesus is the light becomes universal in your experience. Everything and everyone is now flooded, illuminated with this light."



This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.