Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 117 - Finding a Mantra with no Meaning?
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 4:05pm
Q: Since all mantras have meanings attached to them, even Sanskrit ones, how do I find a mantra with no meaning?
A: Meaning or absence of meaning is in the way we use the sound. In the procedure of meditation the sound of the mantra is favored over thoughts that come up, including meanings, so the mantra has no meaning in that application of sound inside.
Take the sound, “AM.” Not only is it a word in English, but it appears in hundreds of other words — ham, lamb, sham, bam, cram, and so on, not to mention the innumerable meanings in other languages. Do we think of all these words and meanings when we think the sound, “AM?” No. It is a matter of context, a matter of what the situation is when we use the sound.
The mantra has a unique context of use. It is used in a specific way for going inward to stillness of mind. In this method of use, we let go of meaning. We don’t have to worry about pushing meaning out or anything like that. The method of meditation will take care of it for us. It is very simple. When we use the mantra we follow a particular mode of thinking, a procedure, which we develop into a habit that we use whenever we sit to meditate. Part of that procedure is easily favoring the sound of the mantra over any thoughts that come up. Once the habit is in place, meanings don’t come up when we sit to meditate. It is just the mantra. That is what we mean by the mantra having no meaning. Whatever particular sound we use as mantra in meditation has no meaning by virtue of the way it is being used.
For details on the procedure of meditation, see the series of lessons near the beginning of the archive.
The guru is in you.