When one is young one has immense dynamism, potential and ambition to make the most of life. And at the same time this is the period when one needs guidance to make the right choices. This is where the determined and dedicated practice of mantra chanting can be of great help as it channelizes one’s abundant energy in a positive direction. It is so because when you recite a mantra, sound vibrations are generated that can bring about immense transformation.
Let’s understand the word itself - the word ‘mantra’ is a combination of two words i.e. ‘mann’ (mind) and ‘antar’ (within), meaning that which turns the mind inward. Mantras are not fictitious juxtaposed words created by rishis, but potent sound vibrations which have direct impact on the body, mind and complete personality of the individual. As in the case of gallstones, powerful laser rays can break them apart, similarly sound vibrations of the mantra produce tremendous force and energy which have a powerful effect on the brain.
It is recommended to choose the mantra in which you have faith and devotion. So as to consolidate your attention, in the initial stages, one could create an outer ambiance –burning incense sticks or keeping beautiful flowers on the altar where you might have kept picture of your master or deity you love. This preparation gives you the right attitude and facilitates the practice in the beginning. Then in the later stages, once your mind is attuned to the mantra, you would realise when to relinquish external support.
Begin your practice by chanting the mantra in hushed tone, awarefully. Then be silent and bring mantra in breath. Slowly it will percolate deeper and deeper till mind, breath and mantra become one. And at the appropriate time mind will be in absolute oneness with inner joy, leaving silence in its wake. This may happen within few years of practice but can’t be generalized.
Kabir has said, “While turning the beads of my rosary, my mind has sunk deep, as if it will never come out.” He further says, “I am happy that my rosary has broken, now I am free even from this bondage.” He is talking about the stage when even the need to do mantra chanting falls away. While chanting the mantra (mantrajapa) when the mind goes silent, drowned in inner joy, this means that now is the time to let go of the mantra - this is the beginning of Brahmananda, cosmic joy.
Keep in mind that you do not leave the mantra on your own. As when the time comes the mantra or the method of meditation drops off - that is the right moment. Actually this moment alone can be called the moment of true meditation - when there aren’t any methods, symbols, or mantras left - sheer quietude, deep stillness, a totally unruffled state of mind prevails.
Now man is a corrupt animal - he manipulates and gives meaning to mystic sayings to justify his ignorant actions. Kabir Sahib is not saying that he left the turning of rosary beads because he willed to do so; it just happened. So do not take the liberty of saying that because we are followers of Kabir Sahib, we too will leave the rosary even before it simply drops off on its own. In essence, Kabir didn’t leave the rosary beads, they simply dropped off.
I would like to mention categorically that don’t wait anxiously for something to happen, because if there is such expectancy on your part, then you are not meditating. Such is the beauty of persistent practice that you may do it your whole life, yet every time it is going to be a fresh new experience.