The Power of Choosing the Right Mantra
I was once asked the following:
“People say that Mantras are different names of God. Not being particularly religious, I’m uncomfortable with that. Is it true that Mantras are all different names of God? When we meditate on a Mantra, are we being indoctrinated into some religious approach without even being told? I would find that offensive.”
To which I responded:
“The underlying basis of existence is called the unified field. It is the dynamic self-interacting foundation of existence. It is who and what everything and everyone is in their essence. As the unified field interacts with itself, it creates impulses that well up through all levels of life. Every impulse is an expression of that wholeness value. Each impulse has a corresponding sound. Those sounds are called Mantras. Mantras then, are sounds that are full expressions of, and in total harmony with, the underlying basis of everything. Those sounds then point in the direction of Oneness, wholeness. You could say they are different names for wholeness. This explanation can be viewed as a completely mechanical and scientific explanation of Mantras. That being the case, you could consider Mantras to be sounds that have no meaning. They are simply impulses that, when repeated, enliven the awareness and the entire physiology to that wholeness value. The word many people use for that wholeness value is “God.” So, in that regard, if you would like, you could think of them as names of God.”
The different Mantras can be viewed as different angles of approach to the same one thing. Similarly, there are different angles of approach to diving into the deep end of a swimming pool: swan dive, cannon ball, triple gainer with a back flip, or even a belly smacker. When it comes to Mantras, the proper Mantra is dependent upon the nature of the physiology and awareness of the individual. Some Mantras are right for one person, but not another. A small handful of Mantras are universally applicable to everyone.
As we go deeper into creation, technologies become more subtle. On the surface of life, a hammer of various sizes, weights, and proportions works fine. As you go deeper, the subtler technology of electronics requires just the right transistors and capacitors for the device to work. The subtlest technology of all is that of the unified field (the technology of Mantras).
Mantras are not just arbitrarily made up. They are inherent in the nature and structure of existence at the most fundamental level. The science of the implementation of that technology must not be underestimated.
The source of knowledge of Mantras is called Veda or Vedic texts. The Veda is not a philosophy, religion, or belief system. It is a record of those sounds and impulses that emerge from within the unified field. In ancient times, holy Sages, called Rishis, walked the earth. Their physiologies were so pure, that they were able to allow those subtle impulses that dwell at the very foundation of existence (the very foundation of their being) to well up through their physiology and emerge through their vocal cords as sounds. This process is known as Vedic cognition. Hearing those cognitions, people knew they were something quite magnificent, and so they memorized the sounds and passed them down through oral tradition from generation to generation. The custodians of those cognitions are called Vedic Pandits.
Once understood, those cognitions can be employed as powerful technologies to facilitate the health, healing, and evolution of all individuals and our entire planet. However, that knowledge is profoundly subtle. If it is not embraced with great adherence to the delicacy and subtlety of that knowledge, its power is not only greatly reduced, but can also be abused in a manner that brings disharmony to life.
If technologies are misused on the surface of life, it is not that big of a deal. If you misuse a hammer, your thumb may be black and blue for a few days. Chemistry is a more subtle field than carpentry. When chemistry is employed improperly, large structures can be destroyed. However, when used properly, the technology of chemistry is highly beneficial, providing everything from plastics to household detergents to your latest green drink. If you misuse the deeper technology of Mantras, the negative results can be far-reaching.
The knowledge of how to use Mantras properly is in the custody of many Vedic Pandits. It’s an extensive knowledge. Just as you would not ask a doctor to teach you to become a brain surgeon, you cannot expect to gain the knowledge of Mantras in a day, a month, or even a year. Unfortunately, in many spiritual arenas, the field of Mantra administration has become a free-for-all. People far too often consider themselves to be Pandits and masters of the field. The obvious question is, where do you go to find a competent authority? There is no simple answer to that question. This is a problem that plagues spirituality.
It has taken years for me to filter through the spiritual free-for-all to create a responsible source for Mantra administration. Society tends to overlook qualified individuals in preference to conventional norms or guru adoration. The authorities I have found tend to quietly exist in the background. When I created Mount Soma, I interviewed a number of Pandits for Sri Somesvara Temple. I remember the look of surprise and delight on their faces when I told them that we would adhere to the purity of their knowledge, and that we would not compromise that knowledge in any manner.
It may be easy to agree with that at first glance. However, when people are told that the Mantras they have been using since childhood or at the beginning of yoga class are not really appropriate, it is often met with resistance. People naturally gravitate toward the familiar or what they would like to believe, rather than looking deeper to discern what is actually true. Even at Mount Soma, we at times need to push back the waves of popular convention regarding not only Mantra usage, but spirituality in general.
The best you can do is to take your time to carefully choose wisely when finding a source for Mantras. Mantras have a power that is often overlooked or abused. As the Chinese proverb says, “It’s better to spend a long time looking for the right teacher than any time at all with the wrong one.”
Michael Mamas is the founder of The Center of Rational Spirituality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the integration of ancient spiritual wisdom with modern rational thought. From personal issues to global trends, Dr. Michael Mamas helps individuals and organizations develop a deeper understanding and more comprehensive outlook by providing a ‘bridge’ between the abstract and concrete, the Eastern and Western, and the ancient and modern. Michael Mamas has been teaching for over 35 years, offers free online Surya Ram Meditation instruction, and writes on a variety of subjects on his blogs, MichaelMamas.net, RationalSpirituality.org, and DrMichaelMamas.com.