mantra, vibration & transformation

an exploration of sound & consciousness

photo courtesy yasodhara ashram

Mantra chanting is a way to transform powerful emotions into finer feelings to fill the heart. The vibration of sound fluctuates from the influence of the emotions. When refined emotions enter the heart, the rate of vibration differs again. The vibrations of the heart change the rate of vibration of your entire being. With recitation of mantra comes the feeling and the desire to create for this incredible power a place to reside. The heart lotus is the natural place. The heart, when filled with transcendent feelings, is the best place to experience the pulsation and vibration of the Light.

Mantra is the most profound speech, sound at its highest, because it takes us away from the egos selfishness and self-importance. It lifts us beyond all other existence. When that supreme sound really becomes sovereign, it can move the world, change lives, actions and thinking. It can turn us into completely new beings. It is like being clothed in a new cloth of thought and sound. We hear ourselves speak, no longer the speech of self-importance in which the mind continuously engages, but the sound of our innermost being.

Think of the vibration that your words create outside your human body. The sound that has been released with the breath does it fade, die out or continue the journey? When you chant the mantra, where will the vibrations of the mantra go? Will they reach the walls? Will they penetrate the walls or bounce off? Will the vibrations die? What space and time will it take for the mantra to emanate into the distance?

When I practised five hours of mantra a day, I became keenly aware that sounds have images. I have seen the sounds of Hari Om like soap bubbles, each one having only one colour, and that colour vibrating strongly. Some were tiny bubbles and some were very big, almost big enough to travel on. I just have to jump on and see where the sound goes. It inspired me to ask: Once a sound is released, where does it go?

The luminosity experienced in mantra practice arises from sounds of a high frequency that affect the brain but are seldom remembered in waking consciousness. This experience is also connected to the heart lotus and is symbolized as a sprinting antelope, indicating that before the mind grasps it, it is already gone. It often takes a long time before the mind lets us into that hidden place, to which waking consciousness has no access.

Mantra practice is like shooting at a target. To aim at a target requires concentration, motionlessness. Both body and mind need to be under control. The training of spiritual practice, after the first wave of enthusiasm is over, often leaves some people feeling bored. If they chant a mantra, it can become a dry, meaningless repetition. However, I found that when the mechanicalness is overcome, the body and a certain portion of the mind settle down. The body comes more under control, which later proves very helpful in meditation.

By meditation, I mean not simply sitting and closing the eyes and seeing what happens. Its very difficult to put into words, because the words imply a greater activity inwardly than there actually is. Meditation is a condition that makes us conducive to coming into a greater expectation. A conviction develops that something is going to take place, so one sits in this expectation now that the body has become more responsive to it.

The mantra will eventually become something creative in us. It will reveal itself through the practice, but it takes quite some time to reach that point. This takes place without interference from that level of mental activity that likes to engage and interfere. This part of the mind may have a certain impression of what is going on, but not the understanding. The mantra reveals itself by the creative force that is within it. It is important not to demand answers, while it is all right to pose the questions. The experience itself will answer in a way that is far more precise and detailed than can be expressed in words.

The exploration of sound and consciousness can lead to a whole different understanding of the world we live in and the world we create. At some point we may recognize that each human being is in essence a mantra, a very unique yet cosmic mantra. When we have this perception about ourselves, we cannot help but let go of old patterns and obstacles and enjoy the wonder of being part of the cosmic symphony.

Kundalini is the Sound of God (Shabda Brahman). Mantras are Kundalini herself, for She is all language.
A pioneer in bringing yoga to the West, Swami Sivananda Radha is the author of 10 classic books on yoga, including Kundalini Yoga for the West and Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language. Her teachings focus on developing awareness and quality in life.


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