Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mantras for Meditation

Meditation is the most effective way to be refreshed and get rid of stress of our busy life schedule. Now there is various procedure of meditation, based on different cultures, amongst them repeating a mantra is one of the perfect as well as easily adoptable process of meditation.

Mantra is described in Sanskrit as “Manana trayate iti mantra” and mantra is the principle thing to pursue any Hindu ritualistic practices. Also there are certain directions to chant these mantras, such as sitting in some specific meditative postures (Asana) and forming various hand-gestures (Mudra).

Meditation is the process to train the mind for persuading a state of consciousness, to simply acknowledge the contents without being identified with them. This helps one to conclude any situation neutrally with generosity and forgiveness, without being diverted by compassion, love, patience, anger, hatred etc. or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena.

Now we can find these attributes in any of the sages or priest belongs with any religion, described in the ancient scriptures. Now as per Hindu belief the sages used to poses a state of “dhyana” (Meditation) with a chosen mantra based on their suitability, to realize union of one’s self or Atma with the omnipresent and non-dual cosmic energy, i.e. Paramatma, and to reach the supreme goal of Samadhi, which is the ultimate objective of meditation.

Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as "being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself."

And to obtain this state of mind – effortlessly sustained meditation is the single way. Meditation is a practice of single-pointed concentration following some techniques in order to promote relaxation and build internal energy or life force (Prana). The earliest clear references to meditation in Hindu literature are in the middle Upanishads and the Mahabharata, the latter of which includes the Bhagabat Gita. According to Gavin Flood, the earlier Brihadaranyaka Upanishad refers to meditation when it states that “having become calm and concentrated, one perceives the self (atma) within oneself".
“Within Patañjali's Ashtanga yoga practice there are eight limbs leading to kaivalya "aloneness." These are ethical discipline or 'yamas', rules or 'niyamas', physical postures or 'āsanas', breath control or 'prānāyama', withdrawal from the senses or 'pratyāhāra', one-pointedness of mind or 'dhāranā', meditation or 'dhyāna', and finally 'samādhi', which is often described as the realization of the identity of the Self or 'ātman' with the omnipresent or 'brahman', and is the ultimate aim of all Hindu yogis.”

Yoga is generally done to prepare for meditation, especially from the physical aspect and for that different sitting positions are used, such as the full-lotus, half-lotus and Burmese positions. Also these positions (asana) are taken up while chanting mantras according to Hindu and Buddhist tradition, cross legged sitting helps create a stable base for meditation, it is said that the spinal column must be kept "straight," that is, the individual should sit erect but relaxed, by balancing the torso such that the spinal column supports it in a natural way. If practiced routinely and done correctly, full-lotus is easy to maintain for long periods of time without discomfort, as muscular effort is used only keep the spine balanced, and not to support the weight of the torso. The eyes are kept half-closed and half-open, looking slightly downward. These traditions are related to Kundalini Yoga.

Also repeating a mantra is a flawless process of breathing control (Pranayam) during meditation, as by the specific rhythm of mantra and repeating it for a number of times, the breathing automatically done smoothly with certain time gap between in taking and expelling the air from lungs, no special attention is required to pursue the process. Mantras set the right kind of ambiance within this physiological, psychological framework and also in the atmosphere.

Mantra is a sound created by certain utterance of various syllables that conducts reverberations of energy from different levels of vibrations. Mantras are mainly based on Sanskrit language, which are very sound sensitive and here the sound and vibration are important not the meaning. Also from the reference of the Nada Yoga (the yoga of sound), we can find the utility of different sound waves during meditation.
Gayetri mantra, Mahamritunjaya mantra, Tandava stotram, Hanuman chalisa etc. are mostly used for mantra meditation under Vedic tradition, also the central practice of the Gaudiya Vaishnava faith tradition and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) are based on mantra meditation, with the use of a japa mala and especially with focus on the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, which is also known as the Hare Krishna movement.

During mantra-meditation different mudras (hand-gesture) are used, mainly for their symbolic meaning, in some cases to help counting. According to Yogic philosophy the mudras affect consciousness, mood and energy. While as per modern studies “each finger is associated with a different sensitivity and that the finger endings, lock into mudras, create subtle energy shifts due to these different energy circuit connections, pressing on finger endings also stimulates brain sections relating to different qualities.” These meditation techniques combined with yogic practices can ensure good health and a calm mind.

Everyone has experienced a meditative state in moments of deep joy, or when completely engrossed in an activity, when just for a moment the mind becomes so light and at ease. The clear utterance of mantras clarifies us from inside, which is mentioned as ‘abhyantarin suddhi’ in the Bhagabat Gita and repeating a mantra helps our mind to concentrate at a single point absent deflection, with a systematic breathing procedure. Hence by this process directed by ancient scriptures are so useful even now a day, everyone should learn as well as follow to pursue a better life, i.e. a fresh mind and a fit body and by culturing the system one maintains the peace, energy and expanded awareness throughout the day.

Thanks and regards,

Milan Chatterjee

PS: Improper utterance of mantras can cause damage, also improper sitting may be harmful and the cause behind the pain of “meditator’s knee”.
Also in some tradition drugs are used as supportive agents of meditation, where members use to consume intoxicants, but these can’t be authentic, because meditation is to raise the power of inner-self and that can’t be done absent concentration.
Source: The Art of Living Foundation, Wikipedia, Google.
© Milan Chatterjee

1 comment:

  1. Through meditation, we can learn to make our mind calmer and peaceful.
    Meditation Laguna Beach