Every single thing in the universe has a constant state of vibration. And within all human beings, there is a core sound. In the beginning of everything that ever came into being, there was a sound. There was vibration. Mantra is an instrument of the mind – a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation.
I had to travel almost 7000 kilometers from my home before I discovered chanting, mantras and meditation. It came to me during my stay in India, studying at Paramanand Institute of Yoga science & research. One can define chanting in many ways, but I would say that it is a rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds. The Sanskrit word ‘Mantra’ comprises two words. ‘Man’ means ‘to think’ and ‘Tra’ means ‘expansion’ or ‘to protect’ or ‘free from bondages’ or ‘merging’.
One of the very first days at my stay at Paramanand, we had a meditation class led by Dr. Omanand (Guruji) where we were chanting the Sanskrit word ‘Shanti’. ‘Shanti’ means ‘peace’. I had never done any meditation before, and since we were to chant all of us together, I had to concentrate. I didn’t think of anything but to chant the word ‘Shanti’. And the combination of the beautiful word and all of us chanting together took me into my very first meditative state.
When I came back, I had the feeling that I had found something that I have been searching for my entire life. Meditation. A state of mind where you are free of thoughts. I didn’t even know that I needed this. That everybody needs this. Even if you logically have never been there before, when you tap into it, there is a sweet remembrance of coming home within.
Meditation is a necessity for the soul, a technique for withdrawing the mind so that the spirit can rest and rejuvenate. By practicing meditation, we set in motion a process that leads to the restoration of our well-being: physical, mental and spiritual.
During the next days and weeks staying in India, I was craving for more meditation. But even so, I had problems during our mediation classes because my mind was continuously talking. So one day I decided to chant during my self meditation practice. And I almost immediately went into meditation. I realized that the chanting took me into deep concentration. So what I needed to do when we had our meditation classes, was to concentrate more (have discipline). This has helped me a lot, but I am still struggling sometimes. But I know that with practice, it will come.
Mantras can give great effects not only to enter meditation, but also in life. Mantras are capable of changing and transforming one’s life.
Through all stresses and conditions, we put out layers and barriers. And the beauty of chanting is that it clears the blockages, so that we can actually access that freedom, that liberation from feeling trapped by that constant thinking that’s telling us that we are not good enough, that we are afraid or anxious, or that there is something more we should be. Chanting just washes all of that away so that you can do whatever you do with peace.
One of my favorite mantra right now, is one that Sunita Ma at the ashram introduced to us the other day, it is called ‘Gayatri Mantra’. This mantra is regarded as the remover of all sins and the bestowed of all desired things. The sage Vishwamitra brought Mother Gayatri to earth. It goes like this:
⎸⎸Om Bhuh Bhuvah Svah Tat Saviturvarenyam
Bhargodevasya Dhimahi Dhiyoyonah Prachodayat ⎸⎸
‘Om, contemplate on the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross, subtle and casual. You are infinite power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence. We pray to you for the divine light to illumine us.’
Find the melody. Listen to it. Then chant it. You will feel a difference in you.
I have fallen in love with meditation and mantras. The great sages and saints of the East have said for centuries that the self, the great self, and the inner self, has already been attained. There is nowhere to get to. We are already there, we just need to realize it.