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July 2018
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

happy celebration of the soul

Question: What are the mantras in yoga and what is the purpose of singing mantras and meditating on mantras?

Swami Tirtha: Well, what is mantra? Mantra is an auditive way of meditation. There are three types of meditation: one is visual, the other is by exercise and the third is by listening, by voice, auditive. So the first one, the visual meditations, the visual instruments for meditation are the mandalas and the yantras. They help us to concentrate more and more by visual forms. Then the second type of meditation is the tantra, tantra means action; you should not mix it with the sex mysticism. So tantra means certain limited rules, regulations and practices that should be followed in order to reach a higher state of consciousness. This is meditation by action. And the third one is the mantra, which is an auditive instrument of meditation, and by chanting the mantras and vibrating these sounds, by the resonance you can change, you can have better feelings. You can heal your body, you can pacify your mind and you can connect your soul to the Supreme. And as the body is a construction of different levels of resonance and energy system, on the different levels of energy are the chakras All these chakras, all these centers have their own mantras. And by chanting these mula (root) mantras, you activate your chakras. That means you can raise your energy to a higher and higher level. In this way by chanting and by meditating, by sound you can activate different centers of your body.

Otherwise the meaning of the mantra is to liberate the mind. The ultimate goal of the mantras is to liberate the mind. And this is our individual practice. But if we search for the meaning of the mantras generally, actually for example om is the mantra of creation. It is said that it was the first sound in the Universe. Just like in the Greek philosophy this is the Logos, in the Bible this is the Word. So this is an active divine sound vibration, which creates a cosmos from the chaos.

So sound is very powerful. And in the creation of the world according to the Indian sources there are seventy million basic mantras plus variations. Practically all the Veda verses are mantras – so it’s quite a complicated system – but the goal ultimately is to liberate the human consciousness from all material conditionings. So if you chant the mantras, first of all you activate and pacify your body-mind complex, then you can establish contact with the Supreme. And if you chant mantras that glorify for example Divinities, then it is an act of worship also. What we cannot express by words, it is very easy to express by song and chanting mantras.

Question: So mantras can be used for private meditation and for congregational singing?

Swami Tirtha: Correct.

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