How to practice Mantra Meditation
Chant and Be Happy
This lense is about making your life even happier. Meditation is food for the soul, an essential part of life. We both lived in an ashrama (holy place to live in celebacy and meditate) where we learned from the teachings of a real sadhu, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, how to do mantra meditation according to the ancient Vedic texts from India. In this lense we would love to share with you what we learned. Try it and you will see stress and anxiety fade away from your life.
In this lense you will learn private meditation techniques through the chanting of mantras on meditation beads.
A personal soft chanting of sacred mantras on meditation beads which brings forth the ancient yogic tradition of spiritual sound as an illuminating path to self discovery.
Mantras are sacred sound vibrations composed of transcendental syllables containing great spiritual power or shakti (energy). The proper vibration of these mantras enables us to concentrate and focus this spiritual energy enabling us to experience the wonderful beneficial effects listed below.
The official name of this form of meditation is jappa meditation. By this lense you will be fully competent to practice transcendental meditation in your own home after the ways of the great yogis and rishis. Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. Prepare yourself for an "out of this world" experience.
Some benefits of mantra meditation
1) Relieves stress and anxiety
2) Promotes inner peace & tranquility
3) Fosters good health and well being
4) Increases ability to focus, concentrate & improves learning skills
5) Enhances vitality and increases energy levels
6) Balances the life airs & opens up the cakras
7) Awakens our spirituality & connects us with the Divine.
Srila Prabhupada's Japa - See a great holy man, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, doing Japa meditation
Get Your Meditation Beads
This is a japa mala (meditation mala) with 108 beads and one Krishna-bead for your personal meditation practice (sadhana).
The Perfection of Mantra Meditation
This verses from the Bhagavad Gita As It Is describe the perfection one can attain through practicing mantra meditation
"In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, one's mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one's ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact." Bhagavad-gita As It Is 6.20-23
Using Japa Mala Beads (Rosary) For Meditation
A japa mala is a string of 108 beads with one bead as the summit bead called the "Krishna-bead"
It is a tool used to keep your mind on the meditation practice. Malas are generally made from different materials such as tulsi (basil) wood, sandal wood, rudraksh seeds or crystal. Each type of material has certain properties which subtly affect the subconscious mind of the practitioner.
Why use the Mala?
Meditation can be quite a tricky practice because the mind is like a naughty child. By its very nature, the mind tends to wander off during the meditation practice. If ones energy is low at the time of meditation, falling asleep can result. If the energy is too high, fantasy and distraction become the barriers. At such times, the mala provides the much needed anchor.
The japa beads are moved in rhythm with the breath and the mantra, so that both-sleep as well as excessive mental distraction-are prevented by this action upon the beads.
For wearing: A personal mala is a wonderful accessory to meditation, which when used regularly with a personal mantra, absorbs the vibrations of the practice. It becomes like a close friend or a comfortable piece of clothing!
How to Use a Meditation Mala (Japa beads)?
Step by Step
The mala is traditionally held in the right hand and used in two ways -
In one method, the mala is hanging between the thumb and the ring (third) finger. The middle (second) finger is used to rotate the mala by one bead towards oneself with each repetition of the mantra.
Mala is hanging between the thumb and the ring Finger is used to rotate the mala by one bead towards oneself with each repetition of the mantra.
In the other method, the mala is hanging on the middle finger, with the thumb used to rotate the mala just as explained - one bead at a time.
Either way, the index finger is never used to touch the mala.
The mala may be used with the hand concealed in the Mala Bag.
The practice begins at the summit bead (Krishna-bead) and continues around the loop until the summit is reached again. The Krishna-bead bead is never passed over. So if you plan to do more than 1 round, the mala is turned around to proceed again in the reverse direction.
Whenever the mala is taken up, it automatically conditions the mind to the meditative state. The mala that you use for Mantra Japa meditation should not be exhibited and is best kept privately in a special Mala Bag.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama Rama Rama, Hare Hare
The Maha-Mantra (the great mantra of liberation)
What is the Hare Krishna chant? - chant the Hare Krishna mantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
- because the Vedas refer to it as the maha - mantra or "Great Mantra, the Mantra of Liberation". This sixteen-word mantra is especially recommended as the easiest method for self-realization in the present age.
Krishna is a Sanskrit name of God meaning "all attractive", and Rama is another name meaning "reservoir of pleasure". The divine energy of God is addressed as Hare. Vedic knowledge teaches that since we are all constitutionally servants of God, the chanting of His names is not an artificial imposition on the mind but is as natural as a child calling for its mother. There are two ways to chant the maha mantra: group chanting (kirtan) and softly saying the mantra to oneself (japa). The latter is done by using a string of 108 wooden prayer beads to enhance concentration. In both methods there are no hard and fast rules, and anyone can chant with good results.
Srila Prabhupada explains the meaning of the Hare Krsna mantra. - The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsn
As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya, or illusion. Maya means "that which is not."
And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, he is said to be in illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krsna consciousness.
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original, pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey.
Krsna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original, natural energy of the living entity. When we hear this transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method of meditation is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum.
In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification, as if we were in the lower, animal stage. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find out the supreme cause of all causes-within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind, and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness-namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It is automatic, coming from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offenses on the grounds of spiritual understanding.
But there is no doubt that chanting takes one immediately to the spiritual platform, and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When the mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved.
The word Hara is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krsna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krsna and Rama mean "the supreme pleasure," and Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to Hare in the vocative. The supreme pleasure energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.
The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. And we, the living entities, are the marginal energy of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.
These three words, namely Hare, Krsna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the Supreme Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.
No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the chanting of the maha-mantra:
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna,
Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama Hare Hare.