Peace, purity and pleasure – The benefits of mantra meditation (World Holy Name Week Special)
Question: What is the benefit of mantra meditation?
Answer Summary: Its principal benefits can be summarized as three ‘p’s: peace, purity and pleasure.
Sonic spirituality – or approaching the spiritual level of reality through sanctified sound – is an integral part of most world traditions. The Vedic wisdom-tradition takes sonic spirituality to the level of a sophisticated science involving theoretical analysis and experimental experiences that center on empowered sound vibrations known as mantras.
The most potent mantras comprise the names of God. Chanting such mantras connects us with God, thereby yielding extraordinary benefits. Let’s look at three benefits:
Peace (Immediate benefit):
Just as the relentless waves in an ocean keep a boat restless, the relentless waves of worldly dualities – honor-dishonor, pleasure-pain, victory-defeat – keep our mind restless. Just as an anchor steadies the boat, the mantra acts as an anchor that steadies the mind. When we chant a mantra attentively, it invokes God’s supremely stable presence, thereby bringing profound peace. This benefit, though immediate, may not always be instantaneous. Just as anchoring a boat caught in stormy waves may require some persistent effort, anchoring a mind caught in extreme reactions to events may require some persistent effort. But peace surely comes.
Purity (Intermediate benefit):
We are plagued internally by many impurities – selfishness, arrogance, pessimism, cynicism and lethargy, for example. These impurities impel us to actions that hurt others and even ourselves.
God is supremely pure, so connection with him frees us from impurities, just as an effective medicine frees us from germs. As inner impurities have long afflicted us, cleansing ourselves from them takes time, just as recovering from a chronic disease takes time. But it’s worth the wait. Just as the recovery of health brings physical energy, the recovery of purity brings inner energy, thereby enabling us to do justice to our God-given abilities and contribute constructively to the world.
Pleasure (Ultimate benefit):
Among all pleasures, the pleasure of love is most fulfilling. Love brings lasting fulfillment when it is directed towards an eternal object – God. We are all related to God as his children, but we have forgotten that relationship due to spiritual amnesia. Mantras act as potent sonic stimuli that revive our lost memory and activate our dormant love for God. Thereafter, just as speaking the name of a loved one brings joy to our heart, reciting the names of the supreme beloved bring the supreme joy to our heart. We chant selflessly, to express our love for God, and joy arises spontaneously. Indeed, so great is this joy that saints compare it to an endless ocean of nectar – an ocean whose currents can flood our heart with happiness and through us similarly flood the hearts of many others.
As God is the parent of all, loving him enables us to see all living beings as our family members. This vision of a universal family fosters peace and harmony. Thus the benefits of our mantra meditation radiate outwards from the individual to the global – every mantra we chant helps shape a better world.