Mantra And Meditation:
The Essence Of Yoga
An offering at the Holy Lotus Feet
Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj
Pujya Swami Venkatesanandaji Maharaj
Pujya Swami Chidanandaji
A Mantra is a mystical sound formula comprised of letters, syllable(s),words or phrases which, when
repeated mentally or aloud, has occult benefits and effects.
Age-old Occult Science
The sacred science of sound has always been known to the masters and their
initiates. In ancient Indo-Aryan-Egyptian writings and hieroglyphics we find reference to the
‘Sound of the Light’ and the Light of the Sound, just as we do in the Nazarene writing, ‘Prologue
to the Gospel of Saint John” - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God...That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the
Essential to Yoga
repetition of a mantra - is an essential part of Yoga. It is a stipulated requirement for
discipleship of a guru, and at the Sivananda School of Yoga we teach and recommend it to all.
Even the novice knows the benefits of singing and chanting, and the joy they bring. The touch of
the soul by beautiful, melodious, rhythmic music is experienced as emotion, and its healing
power has been known from time immemorial.
Secret Science of
Some mantras, called bija (seed)
mantras, have no apparent meaning, but it is - believed that their effects are always
understood by the soul. They act on the nadis - the reticulation system in the subtle
body which corresponds to the nervous system and energy meridians in the physical vehicle.
Bija mantras also vibrate in the chakras (‘wheels’ - energy vortices), and clear the way
for kundalini shakti. Because of their power and effects, and risks to novices who might
apply them incorrectly, most bija mantras like, for example, the Sri Vidya, are better, left
Japa and Physical Health
In any event, every yogi should learn and habitually repeat
mantra(s). Hatha practitioners repeat them while holding asanas. In association with purity of diet
and the other requirements of yoga, mantras strengthen the immune system, stimulate circulation,
purify the blood, eliminate toxins and promote healing. They invigorate the heart, balance
endocrine functions, relieve problems of the uro-genital & reproductive system, and improve
digestion, assimilation, metabolism and elimination. There is increased resistance to disease and a
better prognosis when treatment is necessary. In particular, mantras promote health of mind, which
is the prerequisite for all of the above.
Japa and Healing
Mantras are also used psychically to benefit others. By a simple, easy procedure,
explained and mastered within a few minutes, the yoga makes a regular practice of attuning for
persons in distress, visualising and naming them, one by one, while allowing healing
energy to flow through his/her hands. Mantra aids the power-flow.
Although many of your fellow yogis have a guru at the Sivananda
School of Yoga or the Divine Life Society of India, you do not have to be initiated to have your
own mantra. Any teacher can help you to choose one, and tell you everything necessary to do with
Mantra Diksa refers to initiation into the guru-disciple
relationship, during which the complete meditation technique is revealed, and the guru gives the
candidate his/her own special secret words of power.
Without Mantra and Meditation there is no Yoga
“A virtuous life only prepares the mind as a
fit instrument for meditation. It is meditation that eventually leads to Self-realisation.”
“Withdraw the senses from their objects. Direct the mind towards the Ajna Chakra and fix it
The headquarters of the
soul is in the head, at the Third Eye Center, at the border of the mind and a higher consciousness.
At the Eye Center we gather our scattered attention before there contacting the Satguru, who will
take us higher. In each region of the body a different quality of consciousness is predominant.
When our awareness is centered at the level of the physical faculties and senses in the head, it is
immersed in, at one with, and unable to distinguish itself from, the quality known as the mind. The
mind, in turn pervades the body, and has its attention drawn outwards by the senses. Unless we know
the secret of reversing this excursive tendency, we cannot go within and be drawn upwards by the
Satguru into qualities of consciousness higher than the mind.
The sacred meditation technique includes prayer and contemplation but, in particular, a way of
immersing the attention in the divine emanation which the meditating yogi perceives as Sound (The
Word) and/or Light, and being attracted inward thereby.
Eventually, regular practice leads to Samadhi and receptivity to
mystically enlightening flashes of cosmic consciousness and direct perception. The yogi becomes
ever more intuitive and ever less inclined to unenlightened conduct and attitudes. Thus, values
change, attachments dissolve, binding karma is shed faster than it is incurred, and the yogi is on
the path to moksha (liberation).
Meditation is the essence of Tantra, Yoga’s inner sadhana (spiritual
curriculum), for which a guru is necessary. Nevertheless, we will guide any sincere, suitable
aspirant into the following practice, which includes most of the sacred technique:
How to Meditate
Asana: Sit erect. Tuck your
chin in just enough to tilt your face forward slightly. Close your eyes. Relax your legs, shoulders
and face. Stay absolutely still.
Pranayama: Keep your
breathing even, and as comfortably slow as possible.
Pratyhara: Pray, briefly
and silently, for whoever you know to be ill or distressed. Then keep your attention centred at the
Ajna Chakra - a little way behind the point between your eyebrows.
Dharana: Do mental japa
(silent mantra-repetition) and simultaneously visualise - the face of your guru; or of Swami
Sivananda; or a religious symbol; or small flame; or star. Hold the image steady and unchanging.
Dharana - focus of attention - is the longest phase of meditation for all except advanced
meditators, and could take about twenty minutes of a half-hour session (initiates meditate for up
to an hour per session).
Don‘t meditate if you are depressed. Pray instead.
The foundations of
our sadhana are:
Ahimsa, Seva, Brahmacharya, Prayer, Japa and