This special mantra practice along with your daily meditation practice will be complemented by this Svadhyaya (self-study) practice that is being introduced for the Sangha members. The book we will use is “Mantra and Meditation“1 by our dear Swami Veda. Since it was published many years ago, you would already have it in your personal library, or are using a translated version in your language.
Each month you will have a theme or chapter to read, study and contemplate. Then you will test the principles in your meditation and apply them in your daily life.
Your homework for this coming month is:
After reading the forward and introduction read, study and contemplate upon the chapter 7 “Subtle origins of Sound”. Test these in your meditation, and then submit a sentence or two of your experiences and insights to me (SwamiRitavanBharati@gmail.com). Remember, if it is still a question, then you must test it, contemplate upon it, and resolve it until it becomes an insight for you.
Introducing our theme:
In the multitude of spoken words, in numerous Mother-tongues over millions of years, the source of language is traced to its origin in pure love.
Love is the language of the soul, and knowledge is the language of the mind.
Love that bursts forth the energy of light transforming pure knowledge into the thought becomes spoken words. The articulated speech, given meaning when heard, is limited in conveying understanding of the intention, and much more. When examination and judgement of the spoken word rests in an assignment of meaning to “words”, one is unable to grasp the language of the soul.
Throughout this year, our AHYMSIN Sangha will devote energies to studies and practices that awaken the light of love through experiences of meditation and meditation in action.
Each month our Full Moon Illuminations newsletter will share observations and insights from members across the globe.
Where does language come from?
Swami Veda, in his book – “Mantra and Meditation” explained a verse from the Shiksha of Panini, a 7th century B.C grammarian; and further interpreted it in the writings of Bhartṛhari in his Vakyapadiya:
atma buddhya sametyarthan mano yunkte viwksaya
manah kayagnimahanti sa prerayati marutam
marutas turasi caran mandram janyati svaram
“Atma, bringing together its purpose (intent) with the help of buddhi, gives a command to the mind by producing a desire (intent) to speak. The buddhi instills the desire (intention) to speak in the mind. The mind awakens the fire in the body from the navel center. That agni impels the prana and air. The air moves through the lungs and through the vocal cords, comes into the mouth and becomes a sound [that is articulated].” (pg.90-91, Mantra and Meditation)
Sankalpa and Intention for the Ganesha Gayatri Japa as the collective Sangha mantra for 2022
Collectively, as the Sangha, we vow towards a pillar like stability and stillness in mind and emotion, perseverance in asana, daily meditation (same time, same place), removal of obstacles and sadhana and in daily life and in relationships, purification of buddhi, resolved on enlightenment, harmony with Mother Earth with a resolute commitment to Ahimsa and non-violence (Mother Earth has suffered enough and we can play our part, even more so now), protection and security through freedom from all fears. Everyone is seeking security from the unknown, from the complex, from the animosities, the greed, the hatred. That protection, that security is necessary for us to feel grounded and stable, to be able to move into our higher realms of life, with relationships and our service to humanity.
Q & A on Mantra Japa
Question:If I am experienced in japa and have a standard and consistent daily practice, and I usually complete 4 malas in 40 minutes; can I count the amount of my japa to be the same when I do not use the mala beads?
Answer by Swami Ritavan Bharati:The mental level of speech or madhyama stage of japa has multiple levels. When an experienced meditator becomes adept at identifying those levels within the ekagra (one-pointed) state of mind, they will experience a rhythm and frequency of the japa that can be tested and measured. Using the mala, you remember the mantra 108 times with each bead, maintaining the same level of experience for the same duration of time.
For example, in your meditation, you can observe your japa on three different levels2:
You do a mala with the breath. Exhale the mantra, inhale the mantra, and watch how long that takes.
Then you do a mala with the ordinary repetition that you do; many people do it somewhere between the articulated word and its thought in the mind.
Then you do the mala at a deeper level, where mantra is like a heartbeat, the mantra arising deep in the mind like a pulse beat.
Work out how long it takes you to do the mala at those three levels over a long period of time. The experienced meditator is then adept at noting the level of japa in the mind and knowing the amount of japa within that period of time.
Try to be consistent with the same length of meditation and the same level of concentration during that period to gage your count of japa. Test yourself again, especially during moments of emotional ups and downs. When this is tested repeatedly as consistent, then you can infer the same number of japa even when not using the mala beads.
1. The book – Mantra and Meditation, was written by Swami Veda Bharati before he took Saṃnyāsa, when he was known as Pandit Usharbudh Arya. The book is available on Amazon and Amazon India. It may also be available at your local center and bookstores.