merely vibrate and actually have no literal meaning. Mantras operate at
a level deeper than its meaning in words; a mantra has its effect
because of its qualities of sound and vibration. Imagine that you are
standing on the bank of a river and you hear the current as it flows. If
you follow the river upstream, you will come to its origin. There, you
will find that there is no sound. In the same way, a mantra leads the
mind to the silence within. That state is called “soundless sound.”
The seven sounds, or mantras, of the chakras, if magnified, create a
form. Each mantra will make a different form. But magnifying sound in
the external world is not going to help you. You have to go to the
source within, from which that sound comes. This form gives you a
knowledge of the sound, and the sound gives you a knowledge of the
silence from which all sounds come. You have to learn to go to the
silence, both physically and mentally.
There is a science deeper than the science of chakras, though it is not
explained in any manual. It is what the gurus impart to their disciples,
not through books or words, but only through silence. Gurus impart the
best of their knowledge in silence. When you are in silence, they
communicate with you through silence, and in silence. For the student
whose mind is in tune, that teaching is the finest of teachings. This
silent communication can happen no matter where you are physically,
whether you are 10,000 miles away or very close.
It is not due to the meaning of the words that the mantra has its
impact. It is the effect of the sound that helps the mind to become
still and eventually go beyond sound, to experience the silence within.
Sounds arise from silence. For example, the sound created at the root
chakra is “lam.” Now, “lam” is, itself, a magnified sound. It arises
from silence. When the potential energy of that silence becomes
manifested at the root center, it forms the bija mantra “lam.” Knowing
that sound in this magnified form does not really help you. If you want
to go to the subtler aspect of the mantra, then you, like the sages,
must go to the state of silence. From the silence flow all the rivers
that create the great nada, and the ocean makes great sound and motion.
This motion is going and coming, like a wave comes and goes. There, in
silence, you will find out what the mantra really means. Out of silence
comes sound, and out of sound comes form.
A mantra has four bodies, sheaths, or koshas. First, as a word, it has a
meaning; another more subtle form is its feeling; still more subtle is a
deep intense and constant awareness or presence, and the fourth or most
subtle level of the mantra is soundless sound. Many students continue
repeating or muttering their mantra throughout life, but they never
attain a state of ajapa japa—that state of constant awareness without
any effort. Such a student strengthens his awareness, but meditates on
the gross level only.
The mantras that are used for meditation in silence are special sets of
sounds that do not obstruct and disturb the flow of breath, but help
regulate the breath and lead to sushumna awakening, in which the breath
flows through both nostrils equally. This creates a joyous state of mind
and the mind is voluntarily disconnected from the senses.
Then, the student has to deal with the thoughts coming forward from the
unconscious. The conscious mind has the habit of recalling memories from
the deep levels of the unconscious mind. The mantra helps one to go
beyond this process. Mantra creates a new groove in the mind and the
mind then begins to spontaneously flow into the groove created by
mantra. When the mind becomes concentrated, one-pointed, and inward, it
peers into the latent part of the unconscious and there, sooner or
later, finds a glittering light.
The only time our minds usually become somewhat still is in deep,
dreamless sleep. The rest of the time the mind tends to drift like a
boat without an anchor. One of the goals of mantra is to quiet the mind
by giving it one focus of attention. This concentration does not imply
effort, tension or mental strain—it simply means “focused attention.”
This focused attention is in contrast to a scattered, distracted state
of mind. It is an alert, yet relaxed focus of attention, and if you are
relaxed and comfortable, this should not be difficult.
The mantra should not be repeated without understanding its meaning.
Before repeating the mantra, the student should be fully convinced of
its importance. It should be repeated with meaning and feeling.
Parrot-like repetition is not of much use. Repeating the mantra merely
with the rosary and the tongue is a very inferior practice. It won’t do
merely to complete a given count. The purpose of japa, or repetition of
the mantra is to lead the mind to the higher dimensions and to rungs of
Eventually, the mantra becomes a part and parcel of life which infuses
awareness at all times. The meaning and spirit of the mantra should so
intertwine with every in-coming and out-going breath, that in whatever
circumstances the aspirant might be, he or she is always conscious of
it. As the mind grows one-pointed by thus uttering the mantra and
concentrating on it, interest in sadhana deepens. When japa is thus
carried on in the midst of worldly activities, it is called meditation
The mind often has thoughts and feelings which seem to “pop up” in our
minds. In meditation, one should focus attention on the mantra, and
allow the mental noise to still itself. However, sometimes when other
thoughts come to mind, your awareness will actually shift to those other
issues. When this occurs, you should allow yourself to witness or
observe the thoughts and associations in your mind, and gently bring
your awareness back to the mantra. It is important to not create a
tug-of-war about this process, engage in mental arguments, or become
angry or judgmental with ourselves about these mental distractions.
Thoughts will continue to arise, but most will dissipate if you witness
them in a neutral way, without creating an internal conflict.
When…questions that are pending in my mind come to me, I say to them,
‘Okay, come.’ What you do, when such thoughts come, is try to think of
your mantra. This means that you try to use your mantra to avoid and
escape from certain situations. Then, when you have done your mantra for
a while, your mind again goes back to the same worry. That is not
helpful; instead, let everything come before you for a decision—just
In my practice, when all the thoughts have gone through the mind, then I
sit down and start to remember my mantra. Usually you try to remember
your mantra from the very beginning, and there are those thoughts
waiting for your consultation, but you do not pay attention to them.
Then, the thoughts are coming and going in your mind and you are trying
to repeat your mantra, and the more the thoughts come, the more you
repeat your mantra, and the result is an internal battle. That is not
helpful; you do not need that.
My way of using the mantra is different from yours, because I do not
want to fool around with the process. I sit down, and I observe my whole
being listening to the mantra. I do not remember the mantra or repeat
the mantra mentally, because then the mind repeats many things. Instead
I make my whole being an ear to hear the mantra, and the mantra is
coming from everywhere. This will not happen to you immediately in
meditation, but when you have attained or accomplished something, then
this will happen to you. Then, even if you do not want to do your
mantra, it is not possible to avoid it. Even if you decide that you do
not want to remember the mantra, it will not be possible. Finally, even
the mantra does not exist; only the purpose for which you repeat the
mantra is there; you are There. The mantra might still be there, but it
exists as an experience that overwhelms your whole being, and is not
separate from you.
In the process of meditation we must learn to explore our minds so that
the mantra may be used effectively. The first stage of meditation is to
clear the mind. It is essential to observe the thinking process and
witness the contents of our minds. Thoughts will appear and disappear,
but always learn to be a witness. Do not identify with thoughts, images
and symbols. In this way we will learn which of our thinking processes
are helpful and which are harmful. Always recall that our train of
thoughts is our own product; it is our own direct creation and that is
why it affects us. It is at this point in meditation training that a
mantra becomes invaluable. The mantra is like a seed, and we are like
the soil. The mantra needs time to grow. The mantra must be nourished.
Persevere in repeating it mentally and silently within and slowly a new
object will grow and come to occupy the mind. Eventually instead of
watching our thoughts we will begin to watch ourselves repeating our
Above all else, remember this one thing: it is easy to meet that
Infinity within—to attain this awareness, you just have to be silent and
quiet. When you calm your mind and make it one-pointed, it can penetrate
those fields of the mind that are not ordinarily penetrated by human
beings, and then you will perceive the Reality within. Remember, you go
to the silence, you go to the silence, you go to the silence.
You are busy listening to mere sounds that are useless or meaningless,
and which have adverse effects on your mind. Learn to put yourself into
silence. Your normal habit, your training, and your education is to go
to the ocean of the external world and become lost in the sounds. Learn
instead to go back to the Source of silence; this is the method of
meditation, the inward journey.
In the Kathopanishad, the King of Death describes the process by which
the aspirant can realize the true Self. He says, “Merge the words into
thoughts.” By words he means the power of speech. The words that are
uttered by us are the expressions of our thoughts. No word is uttered
without a thought behind it. In fact, words and thoughts are one and the
same, but thoughts are finer and subtler, while words are gross.
[Swami Rama writes that when he used to sing, compose a poem, or paint,
his master objected. He advised him to avoid such diversions and to
practice silence. He would say,] “The voice of silence is supreme. It is
beyond all levels of consciousness and all methods of communication.
Learn to listen to the voice of silence. Rather than discussing
scriptures and arguing with sages, just enjoy their presence. You are on
a journey; don’t stop for long at one place and get attached to
anything. Silence will give you what the world can never give you.”
Sometimes a great teacher teaches his students through silence. The best
and deepest of the teachings is not communicated through books, speech
or actions, but through silence. That special teaching is understood
only when you are silent. The language of that silence sometimes comes
to you and that is called sandhya bhava, the emotion of joy and
equilibrium. Sandhya is the wedding between the day and night, the time
when the day weds night, and night weds day. A teacher may ask a
student, “Have you done your sandhya,” which means, “Have you united all
this and attained a state of equilibrium and joy before you meditate?
Have you studied the behavior of your breath?”
Mantra leads you not to the external world, but to the source of
silence. The mantra leads your mind to the state of silence. Mind does
not want to go into silence—it has many desires to fulfill. When you
create a new groove, the mind stops flowing into the past grooves and
starts flowing in the new grooves that you have consciously created.
These new grooves lead you to silence. Your aim in meditation is to go
into the silence from where wisdom flows with all its majesty.
Meditation is a good thing to do; it is a great solace.
When your mind starts going inside you will hear millions of types of
sounds. All sounds originate from silence. A moment of real silence is
enough for one year. [Swami Rama says of silence,] “If someone offers me
one year’s pleasures or one moment of absolute silence, I will take one
moment of silence, and you can keep my year of pleasure. If you put
yourself into absolute silence, you will understand whatever you want.”
The final step of meditation is to remain in silence. This silence
cannot be described; it is inexplicable. This silence opens the door of
intuitive knowledge, and then the past, present, and future are revealed
to the student. Beyond body, breath, and mind lies this silence. From
Silence emanate peace, happiness, and bliss. The meditator makes that
silence his or her personal abode; that is the final goal of meditation.
If you do your practice, it is not possible that you will fail to make
progress, although you often do not see the subtle progress at deeper
levels. The gurus impart the best of their knowledge, the heart of their
teachings, in silence. And when you are in silence within, they
communicate with you at that level. Do your practices if you want to
The teacher in the external world has his responsibility. That
responsibility is over when he leads his student to the path of silence,
from which everyone receives knowl¬edge.
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