The Principle Behind Mantra and Japa

Everything we experience is based on vibrations that impinge upon us and bring about a response in the substance of our being. All matter is created by energy, which consists of vibratory waves. All energy is created by consciousness, which provides the specific impulse of vibration to be created. This principle is recognised throughout the world. The New Testament of the Bible starts with a statement to this effect: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Succinctly put, this recognises the essential nature and power of vibration.

The use of Mantra and Japa is based on this principle; namely, by tuning oneself to and repeating the “sound-body” of anything, we change the mental, vital and physical complex to vibrate in tune with that particular sound. Thus, repetition of a Mantra, particularly if we hold its meaning in our awareness, can create in us the state of consciousness that is the essential nature of the name, word or chant chosen.

Practitioners of yoga have found that repetition of a mantra can help align the vibratory patterns of the mind and life energy in such a way as to overpower and eliminate contrary forces and to bring about a state of calm, focused awareness and receptivity. A state of coherence is developed. This has been validated through scientific study of the effect of vibration, words and sounds on water, by Masaru Emoto, reported in his book Hidden Messages in Water. He subjected water to various sounds, vibrations, mantras and photographed the patterns of the water when frozen. Harsh and disharmonious sounds yielded very disorganized patterns, but sounds that represented higher vibratory states created incredibly well-organized, complex and beautiful patterns. Similar work has been done by recording the aura of individuals chanting various mantras. The aura took on a well defined and energetic pattern when recorded during these sessions. Similarly, rocks that had been in temples were compared to rocks found somewhere in nature. Those rocks subjected to years of constant prayer, uplifting song and mantra in the temples exhibited a strong and organized energetic radiation, while rocks that were not subjected to these sounds were dull without energetic radiation in evidence.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The word is a sound expression of the idea. In the supraphysical plane when an idea has to be realised, one can by repeating the word-expression of it, produce vibrations which prepare the mind for the realisation of the idea. That is the principle of the Mantras and of Japa. One repeats the name of the Divine and the vibrations created in the consciousness prepare the realisation of the Divine. It is the same idea that is expressed in the Bible: ‘God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light’. It is creation by the Word.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Love and Devotion, Mantra and Japa, pp. 165-167

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