How is mantra meditation different from other forms of meditation?
Transcription by: Sriman (Dr) Suresh Gupta Prabhu (Muzaffarnagar)
Question: How is mantra meditation different from other forms of meditation?
Answer: Firstly, any form of meditation is beneficial in terms of deepening our thinking, understanding and appreciation of the nature of things. The word “meditation” is typically used in two different ways – (i) general (ii) technical. In a general sense, often meditation refers to any form of deep thinking, e.g. a person may read a book and may get lost in it. Later he would refer to his experience as, “I was meditating on the book”. However, if we consider spirituality, then meditation does not have a general sense but a technical sense. Just like the word “energy” can have a general sense and a technical sense, e.g. a scientist performs an experiment in the laboratory which requires thermal or chemical energy. If the energy source gets exhausted, the scientist may say, “Oh, I have run out of energy”. Later, after a long day’s work, when the scientist comes back home tired, he may exclaim, “Oh, I have run out of energy”. Here, the same word “energy” is used but in two different senses. In the lab, the scientist uses word “energy” in a technical sense whereas at home it is referred in a general sense.
Similarly, meditation in general sense can refer to any form of deep thinking but in a spiritual context, meditation has a technical meaning which refers to the process by which we shift our consciousness from the changing material to the unchanging spiritual. We draw our mind away from material things and focus on spiritual things. For starting this journey, many different objects may be used. Some people may start meditating on the candle or some natural scenery, some source of light or a spot on the wall. In such forms of meditation, one’s capacity to concentrate depends primarily on one’s own will power. Since the mind is extremely restless, such meditation often becomes a demanding task especially if it needs to be sustained for long period of time.
Meditation is a process which take our consciousness from material to spiritual reality where it elevates our consciousness upwards. The various forms of meditation (other than mantra meditation) are like climbing the stairs to go up in a multi-storey building. The stairs take us up, but it requires effort. On the other hand, mantra meditation is like entering an elevator. When we chant mantras, specifically the mantras that invoke the supreme consciousness, for example, the Hare Krishna mahamantra, this connects us with the Absolute Truth. When we prayerfully, reverentially, attentively utter the sound vibration of holy names then the infinite power of the infinite consciousness is invoked and that power aids us in raising our consciousness upwards. Just as in an elevator there is a power (the electric power) other than ours which raises us up, easily and swiftly, similarly, when we practice mantra meditation then the omnipotence of infinite consciousness raises our consciousness upwards easily and rapidly. That is why, mantra meditation is considered to be the most joyful and efficacious form of meditation among all because it gives us a tool, i.e. spiritual sound, which acts like an elevator enabling the ascent of consciousness. Hence, by chanting mantras we connect with the Absolute Truth, experience joy along with elevation of consciousness and experience it all very quickly and effectively.
Endo of transcription.