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Mantra Meditation Techniques

Mantra meditation techniques are an ancient set of techniques used to practice meditation, extensively used in Tibet and India. Mantra meditation techniques involve the repetition of a sound, set of words or syllables that have a phonetic significance as well as a meaning.

A mantra is no ordinary combination of letters, but a powerful means to reach the divine. Every mantra has its own power, its own significance and its own vibration. They each have their own effect on the human mind. Mantra meditation techniques are based on concentration on the sound-body of God. The name of God is not different from God; it is God in the form of sound.

(In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  New Testament, John1:1-2). In the scriptures, it has been described how God manifested first as sound and then created the universe. Mantra meditation techniques involve the use of sound to move to a level closer to God.

Mantra is deeply related to sound. The gurgling of a brook is a mantra. The rustling of leaves is a mantra. Even the breathing in and out of air forms a mantra. According to ancient Indian belief, sound reverberated in the beginning as 'Om' and from this everything came into existence. Accordingly, the majority of Indian mantras start with the sound – Om.

In the Bhagavad Gita, lord Krishna says, "Among rituals, I am the ritual of mantra repetition". This means that mantra meditation techniques are the foremost of the techniques to attain the divine. Mantra is the very being of God.

Modern science has affirmed that sound influences the chemistry of body and mind. Mantra meditation techniques are not some weird new age concept, but a powerful alchemy of body and mind. Mantra meditation uses sound to open up the heart and mind. You do not need to be a religious person to practice mantra meditation. You also do not need to chant in Sanskrit – the ancient language of India.

Some commonly used powerful mantras are –

Om – The Primordial Sound.
Om Tat Sat – Om, that is the truth.
So Hum - I am that.
Sat Nam – True Name.
Om Namah Shivaya – I offer the love of my self to the primordial lord.

Some common mantras in English are

I am.
Peace to all.

Repeating mantras, with or without a rosary is also called Japa. This repetition of mantras should be done with a clean body and mind. Try to have a bath before the chanting.

There are three types of japa
1)         Vaikhar Japa – This is the most basic of the mantra meditation techniques. It involves chanting out loud.
2)         Upamsu Japa – This is the intermediate level Japa technique. It involves chanting in whispers so that only you can hear.
3)         Manasika Japa – This is the highest level Japa technique. It involves chanting with one's inner voice.

As you practice Japa, you start with chanting out loud. As you go deeper the chanting becomes softer until it is just a whisper and then you begin chanting in your mind. The progression through these mantra meditation techniques brings composure and peace and lets us deal with life in the right spirit.

By Christopher Knox

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