Repeating sacred sounds soulfully has many spiritual benefits, including increasing one’s peace, poise and life-energy. So what is a mantra? Sri Chinmoy explains that
“a mantra is a syllable divinely surcharged with power.”
In another book, he adds,
“A mantra is an incantation. The repetition of a mantra is a process for going deep within or accelerating one’s spiritual progress. It can be a syllable, a word, a few words or a sentence. By repeating a mantra we can either invoke the presence of a particular god or bring to the fore our own inner divinity.” Sri Chinmoy, My Meditation-Service at the United Nations for 25 Years, Agni Press, 1995
Repeating mantras or sacred sounds many times is called japa. From time immemorial, chanting mantras and doing japa have offered countless benefits to seekers who sincerely try to practise this type of meditation.
Mantras can help increase our inner peace, specially when repeated very softly, slowly and soulfully. For Sri Chinmoy, the mantra Supreme is one of the most effective mantras we can repeat. That was also his most favourite way of addressing God, full of sweetness and intimacy.
Another most effective mantra is the Sanskrit word Shanti, which means peace. Repeating Shanti again and again, slowly and with a sacred feeling, is a very effective way to invoke peace inside your entire being.
Mantras can also help us increase our purity, which is of great importance in our spiritual life. Sri Chinmoy writes:
“If you repeat the mantra out loud, you will get physical purity. If you repeat the mantra in silence, you will get purity in your inner existence. Without inner purity, you will make no spiritual progress…So it is better to practise japa in silence. When you do, try to feel that there is somebody inside you, your inner being, who is repeating the word on your behalf. Just by repeating your mantra devotedly and soulfully you can have purity in your heart and in your mind, and from purity you can get everything — the Highest, the Supreme.” Sri Chinmoy, My Meditation-Service at the United Nations for 25 Years, Agni Press, 1995
At times of great danger or fear, mantras can come to our rescue. Many seekers have been faced with extremely dangerous situations and by repeating very quickly and loudly again and again, “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!” they have been saved.
Again, repeating Supreme rapidly is a most effective way to overcome lethargy. Someone once asked Sri Chinmoy, “What is the quickest way to overcome lethargy permanently?
“The quickest way is by repeating Supreme as fast as possible. You do not have to shout at the top of your lungs, but you have to be able to hear it; do not do it in silence. You can be seated in your room or walking in a silent place where nobody is going to hear you, but you should not do it while lying down… Each time you say ‘Supreme’, chanting as fast as possible, try to feel that the Power of the Supreme, the Life of the Supreme and the Divinity of the Supreme are entering into you.”
“Each divine thought
Is my only breath-mantra.”
Mantra benefits page by Agraha Levine