Mantra repetition is perhaps the most simple ways of inducing higher states of meditation and consciousness. A mantra or sacred syllables are specific vibrations of sound that effects the consciousness of the one reciting the mantra. These vibrations give rise to forms, therefore each mantra has a form and a certain type of consciousness in it. Which when properly recited by the practitioner will reap the benefits of that particular mantra.
The basic two requirements for mantra/japa mediation are :
- A Mantra Mala
- A Mantra
Before beginning the practice of mantra meditation. It is necessary that you have a brief understanding of Mantra yoga. At the end of the article you will find two simple and powerful techniques for Mantra/Japa Meditation.
Importance of Mantra / Japa Meditation Mala
A Mantra Japa Mala ( preferably Rudraksha mala) is highly recommended during mantra repetition. A mala usually contains 108 beads as shown in the picture above, there will be a small gap between each bead, which helps to rotate and keep count. There will be one extra bead that will be a little displaced from the other beads, this indicates the end of 108 repetitions (One round/mala) and is called the Meru/Guru bead. Also brings the awareness of the practitioner back to the technique.
How to use the mala effectively?
- Preferably use the Middle finger and the thumb of the right hand to roll the beads
- If you use a mala as the one shown above. After 108 repetitions, do not cross the meru bead. Instead turn back the mala and continue with the practice. Watch this Video for a demonstration.
- Keep the mala clean and keep it covered when you are not using it.
- When the mind starts to wander, recite the mantra aloud. When the mind attains a deep meditative state you may stop the repetition of the mantra and meditate.
Choose a Mantra
Choose a Mantra that you are drawn to, if not given by a spiritual master. The mantra you choose should be close to your heart, its meaning/form/feeling should come to you with every recitation. Like how the form appears in your mind when you hear a persons name.
Here is a list of a fer commonly used mantras.
- Om Soham
- Om Tat Tvam Asi
- Om Aham Brahma Asmi
- Om Shanti
- Om Namah Shivaya
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Different techniques of Mantra Repetition
- Vaikhari/Audible Repetition: This method is suitable for beginners and those who find it very difficult to control their mind. After a few weeks of practice the mind calms down.
- Upanshu/Whispering Repetition: In this method, the mantras are whispered with almost no sound and with lip moment.
- Manasik/Mental Repetition: Mental repetition of mantras is powerful, for those who have a steady mind.
- Likhit/ Written Repetition: Writing a mantra down in a note book can improve your concentration. During the practice you must remain in complete silence. Maintain a separate book for mantra writing. Any language can be used for mantra writing. The letters should be small, the smaller they are, the more the concentration.
You can use all the above methods and divide your practice according. The mind likes variety, so you can shift from one technique to the other and practice for longer duration.
Benefits of Mantra Meditation
- Prepares the mind for higher stages of Meditation.
- Purifies the mind of past impressions and emotional blockages. Important for progress in spiritual practice.
- Concentration of the mind is improved.
- Continuous recitation of the mantra helps one detach from worldly stress and thoughts.
- As you advance in this practice, you can attain peace of mind almost instantly by repetition of the mantra.
Mantra Meditation technique
You can practice Japa/ Mantra meditation anywhere anytime. But during the normal routine when you practice regularly everyday follow the following rules.
- Sit in any comfortable posture. Use the same place, and preferably the same time to practice every day.
- Maintain a Steady Pose throughout the practice.
- Keep in mind the goal to complete a certain number of repetitions.
- While repeating a mantra, DO NOT do it for the sake of repetition. Repeat each mantra with uttermost feel and awareness.
- Pronounce the mantra accurately. Maintain a steady speed, increase when the mind wanders.
- Associate the Mantra with the breath, and know the meaning of the mantra with each repetition.
- Repeat your mantra anywhere from 108 to 1,080 times daily, that is 10 malas.