Mantra yoga is an exact science. "Mananaat traayate iti mantrah". By the constant thinking or repetition of which one is released from the cycles of birth and death. A mantra is a mass of radiant condensed energy in a sound form. Japa is the repetition of any mantra or the name of the Lord with bhava and feeling. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says"Yagnyanam Japayagnyosmi" (BG Ch 10, Sl-25). Among all forms of yagnyas (spiritualrituals) I am Japa yagnya.
The repetition of a mantra brings about the following benefits:
Removes the impurities of the mind such as lust, anger or greed.
It destroys sins, brings peace, bliss, prosperity and immortality.
It produces harmony and awakens higher states of consciousness.
It transforms the nature of the mind. It fills the mind with Sattva. It calms and
strengthens the mind. It makes the mind introspective.
Annihilates attachments. Roots out worldly desires.
Develops prema (Divine love).
Sound and Image
Sounds are vibrations. They give rise to definite forms. Each sound produces a form in space (akash) and combination of sounds creates complicated shapes. The Hindu books on music tells us that the various musical tunes, ‘Ragas and Raginis' have each a particular shape for example Megha-Raga is said to have a majestic figure seated on an elephant. The Vasanta- Raga is described as a beautiful youth decked with flowers. The repetition of the mantra,
‘Om Namah Shivaya' produces the form of Lord Shiva. The repetition of ‘Om Namo Narayanaya' produces the form of Lord Vishnu. In the astral world all sounds are accompanied by colors that gives rise to many - hued shapes. In the same way colors are accompanied by sounds.
Four fundamental states of sound
|Vaikhari ||- ||It is dense, audible sound. Sound in its grossest form. |
|Madhyama ||- ||It is an inner, subtle state inaudible to the physical ears. |
|Pashyanti ||- ||It is a still higher, inner, more subtle state of sound. |
|Para ||- ||It is sound in its undifferentiated, subtlest form. The Para sound is not like vaikhari different in different languages. It is the unchanging, primal substratum of them all. |
Name and Form
Name (Naam) and Form (Rupa) are inseparable. When you think of the name of any object the form of the object appears before the mental eye, and vice versa. So repetition of the name of God will bring the form of God appear in the mind. Meditating on the form the mind takes on the form and becomes that form.