Talk: Mantra and Meditation – Br. Shankara

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Talk: Mantra & Meditation

Speaker: Br. Shankara

July 29, 2018

Click for PDF of Notes and Quotes from this talk.

July is a month for study of Raja Yoga, a spiritual path often called the yoga of meditation. As a raja yogi, you use ancient, proven spiritual techniques to quiet your mind and gain control of your attention. Regular daily practice of Raja Yoga increases your ability to concentrate, and may lead to meditation. This can unite you with the Divine Presence, the source of your being, and liberate you from the cycle of rebirth and death.

In this talk we define what a mantra is, explore the relationship between a mantra and concentration, and describe how concentration evolves into meditation.

Swami Vivekananda said:

Repeating the names of God (japam) has wonderful power …You must go on with your japam whatever direction the mind takes. — from Swamiji’s Complete Works, Vol 6

Swami Prabhavananda
Swami Prabhavananda

Swami Prabhavananda added:

Make japam: mantra contains the revealing power of the Word (OM) and other … names of God/Goddess and the Incarnations of God. — from “How to Know God”

What is meant by this revealing power, and how does that power help you “overcome the world?”

The following is from “Realizing God” by Sw. Prabhavananda —

When (you) receive a mantra, the sacred word — whatever the chosen ideal — the word OM is added to it to show that this chosen ideal represents the eternal Reality, the unchangeable, imperishable Brahman. (Yet, we) do not insist that you cannot realize God without the help of the word OM. ‘Various are Thy names, O Lord, in each and every name Thy power resides.’ We must remember that the name and the chosen ideal are identical. In other words, the moment you chant the name of the Lord, the presence of the Lord is there. (Emphasis added)

From there, we explore what the Sage Patajali says about how japam leads to concentration, and how concentration matures into meditation.

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