A Mantra is a mystical energy encased in a sound structure. Every Mantra contains within its vibrations a certain power. Upon concentration and repetition of a given Mantra, its energy is elicited and takes form. Japa, or Mantra Yoga, is that practice by which the power contained within Mantras is applied for specific purposes.

Each mantra is constructed from a combination of sounds derived from the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. Sanskrit is also known as Devanagari, or language of the gods. The ancient sages, who were attuned to higher levels of consciousness, were well aware of the inherent power contained in sound, and they utilized combinations of sounds to set up specific vibrations.

If possible, before attempting japa seek out a guru and receive Mantra initiation. Mantra initiation is the spark that ignites the dormant spiritual energy residing in every human heart. Once lit, the fire is kept going by daily japa meditation. At the time of initiation, the guru arouses the Mantra’s shakti, or power, in his consciousness and transmits it, along with his own energy, to the disciple. If the disciple is receptive, he receives the radiant mass of energy in his own heart and is immeasurably reinforced and strengthened.

Mantras cannot be concocted or tailor-made for the individual, despite some current claims. They have always existed in a latent state as sound energies. Mantras were revealed to the ancient masters. They have been codified in the scriptures and handed down from guru to disciple. Although it is customary for the guru when giving initiation to accept voluntary offerings of fruit, flowers or money, the selling of Mantras is strictly against all spiritual rules.

Once the deity and appropriate Mantra have been selected and the aspirant has received initiation, he works with the Mantra until reaching enlightenment. The Mantra becomes his theme song, so to speak. He makes its vibrations his own, and to the extent that he can do this, he is drawn closer to God.

Swami Vishnudevananda
Meditation and Mantras
Japa Meditation
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