How to Perform Mantra Meditation
“Mantra Meditation” consists of two parts: mantra and meditation itself. Mantra means pure God’s consciousness and meditation means giving due respect to the God. The technique taught here is that of the Vaishnava tradition of Bengal, India.
- Take good rest before sleep. This is needed for sound sleep and to wake up fresh.
- Don’t sleep too much or too little. The people who always go to sleep with sunset and get up with the sunrise have an easier time meditating. Ideally sleep must become meditation but never opposite.
- Get up in brahma-muhurta. This period starts before sunrise. This is time of predominant sattva (goodness) which is roughly from 2am to 6 am. This helps to go even further and touch with transcendental world full of bliss, knowledge and eternity, which, is still not formless.
- Set God (Krishna) as your object of meditation. Our eternal position is a servant of God. Thus meditation 24 hours a day is best. If person meets death in meditation he has more chances to get out of circle of birth and death. Still, even if one is doing meditation nonstop, but knots within his heart are still not eliminated, he is probable to fall down and get low birth like animal in next life. Thus one must be very sincere and serious. God is your best friend and well-wisher.
- Take bath in holy river. If you live in city without holy river, go outside to closest water-source for pure water. Never use water from water tap as it brings dangerous karma related with animal-slaughter.
- Go to the holy place of God and saints past times. If you live in place which is not figuring in list of Holy places, go to the best temple around. Alternatively you must have God’s room with altar at home and do your mantra meditation only there – it helps in concentration on eternal purpose on precious human life. Never chant mantra in your bedroom or at least make wet wash in your bedroom after sleep.
- Be ready to do yama/niyama/hatha-yoga/pranayama/pratyahara. You must follow non-violence, perfect behaviour, keep your body flexible, have a clear breathing and control your body from wanting to do something different from meditation. Only then you concentrate and meditate – dharana and dyana stages. Result would be samadhi – coming back home to Godhead in the spiritual world.
- Utilize music instruments and singing. Senses are always distracted from service to God. Thus the only way is to utilize them all in service – nice dress, nice music, nice songs. God is not satisfied if you are afraid of His power – He is your best friend and well-wisher. ma sucah – don’t be afraid. yoga-kṣemaḿ vahāmy aham – God would preserve whatever you have and would give whatever you lack. Still, if you don’t have all these, you can simply chant or sing the mantras even if you don’t have anything. But slowly God would support. śaśvac-chāntiḿ nigacchati – You would attain supreme happiness without doubt!
- Use clean chanting beads (a.k.a., japa-mala). In Bengali Vaishnavism, Tulsi (a.k.a., Tulasi) beads are preferable, due to their connection with Krishna. If these are not preferred, other beads, such as Buddhist beads, Rosaries, Rudraksha beads, or even the crease-lines and finger tips of your hands (counting them with the tips of your thumbs, you can chant 16 mantras on one hand, and count sets of 16 by engaging the other hand) can be used. If you wish to make your own beads, the traditional method is to use 109 beads, including one larger bead (the head bead, which marks the ’rounds’ or full sets). Further, it is good to make a knot between each bead to hold them in place, so that if a bead breaks off, it will be detected as missing. The head bead lets you know how many mantras you have chanted. Bengali Vaishnavas generally chant between 16 and 64 rounds a day. This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 8 hours! But whatever your level, try to keep to a minimum, even if it is only one or two rounds a day. You can always increase later as you feel necessary or ready.
- Count from the first bead 108 mantras. Listen attentively. A.C. Bhaktivedanta, one of the world’s leading exponents of mantra meditation, says, “chanting is thinking”. Hearing the sound with submissive aural reception will produce the desired effect.
- Gently bring your mind back to the sound of the mantra.. Do not be surprised or discouraged if your mind wanders. Training the mind is hard work, but will deliver palpable results if you possess determination, enthusiasm, and patience.
- Have a wonderful day. Performing this early meditation helps set one’s mind and focus, and can enable one to achieve more in six hours than most people achieve in twelve hours.
- Repeat. The very best meditators are steady in their practice, and do it every day without exception. Consider yourself in training for the mental olympics. If you manage to do this every day for three months, you will already be on the track to a steady, focused life of increased possibilities.
- Seek out peers and mentors in the process. Regular mantra meditation becomes much easier when you are engaging in the process in a socially reinforced environment.
- Remember, meditation is never a wasted endeavor. Even if you cannot practice according to the ideal conditions, the endeavor itself will help you to refine your life-style in favorable ways. Eventually, you will find a completely favorable situation if you just keep at it without losing hope.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
- There are a multitude of good mantras to chant. Some of the most effective:
- “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. Sometimes referred to as the “Hare-Krishna Maha-mantra”, this is considered by Bengali Vaishavas, to be the supreme mantra of all mantras. This is spoken in the Vocative, so one is calling out to the names of Vishnu or Radha-Krishna (the all-attractive Supreme Divine Couple) Hare is the vocative of Haraa, the feminine divine or supreme energy/possibilities, whilst “Krishna” and “Rama” are vocative of the masculine divine or the very form of supreme existence, wisdom, and bliss. A web image search for images of Radha-Krishna, or Rama, turns up many blissful, divine icons to help in meditation, though in mantra meditation, it is generally considered best to just listen rather than look.
- “Haum Mani-Padme Om” This is a popular Buddhist mantra. It can be taken as asking the Buddha (the divine) for favorable life conditions or enlightenment, i.e., the extirpation of material desires.
- “Jay Shree Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityaananda, Shree Adwaita, Gadaadhar, Shreevasaadi Gaura-bhakta-vrinda”: This mantra invokes the compassion of God in five forms, and is good for developing a devotional attitude toward the personalities of Godhead. In Bengali Vaishnavism, this is chanted once at the beginning of each 108 mantras (and does not count toward the total number of mantras chanted) in order to evoke auspicious conditions for the mantra chanting. It is like chanting for the sake of good chanting.
- “Kyrie Eleison”. This is a popular Russian Orthodox mantra, also used by Catholic monks. It means “Lord Have Mercy”, and can be quite a purifying chant.
- Pay submissive attention to the sounds. Proper submissive reception to the sounds will cause rapid revelation of their transcendental character. Be patient if it doesn’t happen right away. Break the mind of its learned habits of wandering, and teach it to focus. If you are determined, enthusiastic, and patient, results will almost automatically follow.
- Do not expect, be attached to, or even contemplate immediate results. Doing so will likely lead to frustration and loss of determination. The desired results come as a product of proper exectution of the method, and this most often takes practice. Meditation of any kind is a long-term process. It can take from years to decades to refine. Anything worth having is worth making an investment in. Nonetheless, if one is engaging in the method correctly, there will be some sense of progress, even short-term. If one is not experiencing this, go back over this how to. Try and see if there is some facet of the process you could improve on.
Things You’ll Need
- Chanting beads
- A quiet, dimly-lit area.
- A good mantra or instruction
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