By Arun Goel
Mantra is one of the simplest, yet a very powerful method to achieve meditation.
Mantra involves the rhythmic invocation of a sound. This provides a foundation for the aspirant so that his practice is just not "in the air". This anchor or foundation helps the mind to gradually disconnect with the external experiences provided through the 5 senses, which is the first step to successful meditation.
The Nature of Mantra
Although mantra has often been riled as a "religious thing" through invocation of the names of deities or Gods, it is not actually so. Mantra is a sound form. It is a Sanskrit word which etymologically means "by the repetition of which the mind becomes free of external experiences". That is how it is to be seen and experienced.
Sound has a form; sound has a color. Every sound creates patterns of forms and color in the mind. Vibrations of different frequency create different patterns. These patterns result in withdrawal from sensory experiences. As you proceed further successfully, they would result (transiently) in deeper experiences such as ESP, mystical experiences etc. Eventually, they will help the sincere practitioner to even surpass these inner experiences and distractions and move towards eternal bliss.
Now, sound of mantra is not to be seen in the context of the written word. In fact, the sound formed by following the written word could be severely limiting for higher experiences. The nature of mantra is that of a cosmic sound and should preferably be HEARD from a teacher. Mantra repetition could be done as 3 ways - audible, whisper or silent (in the thought). Each method of repetition has different frequencies, different forms and has different effects. The most powerful is the silent method, because it has the highest frequency. Louder the sound, greater is the velocity but lower is the frequency.
Preparations for Practice