The word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words – ‘man’ meaning mind, and ‘tra’ meaning tool. Mantra meditation is used to protect practitioners from a constant onslaught of unhealthy and repetitive thoughts. A purified intellect reflecting the Atmic light confers true wisdom. When the intellect is full of God, naturally one will follow the correct path and experience Peace and Bliss. If the mind follows the senses, one is ruined. Hence, meditation is of use.
Once there was a young cowherd boy named Madhukar. One day as he was grazing his cows beside a river, he saw a brahmin repeating, “Om Narayana Namaha” while doing pranayama in order to control his mind. After some time the boy went up to him and asked him what he was doing. The brahmin explained that when one utters “Soham,” he is declaring, “I am God.” “So” (God) is uttered during inhalation and “ham ” (I am) is uttered during exhalation. This is done in order to control the mind. The boy had full faith in the brahmin and because he wanted to experience God he immediately put into practice the teaching. He put the cows on one side and sat down to begin pranayama (breathing exercises). He wondered, “How does God really look? In paintings I have seen Lord Shiva on a bull, and Lord Vishnu on an eagle.”
The boy had full faith in the words of the brahmin and began repeating the mantra, “Soham.” He was ready to shed even his body for God. Where there is steady faith, there is success. One should care only for God. As the boy had this attitude, Narayana manifested Himself. The boy asked Him, “Who are You?” He replied, “I am Vishnu.” The boy said, “I am not certain as I have never seen You before. I’ll ask the brahmin to come to identify You.” This boy was very innocent. He feared that Vishnu might run away so he tied Him up and went to fetch the brahmin. The Lord was very pleased with this boy’s devotion. However the brahmin could not believe the boy’s story as he doubted how Vishnu could appear to a mere boy. The brahmin’s faith was artificial whereas the boy’s was heartful. Both went to the spot where Vishnu was tied up whereupon the boy exclaimed, “See, there He is.” Unfortunately only the boy could see Lord Vishnu, not the brahmin. The boy asked Vishnu, “Why can he not see the Lord?” The Lord replied that the brahmin’s inability to see was due to his polluted mind and impure heart. The boy then requested the Lord, “At least for my sake, appear to the brahmin. ” As God was pleased with his selfless attitude. He also manifested to the brahmin. This story illustrates the role of the Guru to show the way to God, and the effort of the devotee to develop faith and devotion.
What is a mantra? The word mantra can be split into man-tra; “man” is “mind” and “tra” means change. The function of a mantra is to transform one’s mind. What we repeatedly think is mantra.
Napoleon had some spiritual development. In order to conquer the remaining countries during the war, he had to first conquer his sleep and hunger. He trained himself to sleep and wake at any appointed time. Once when Napoleon was wounded with arrows in the war, and the doctors wished to operate, he refused saying that he would first meditate. He allowed the doctors to remove the arrows only during meditation in the evening without an anaesthetic. Napoleon had full control over his mind and thus was able to transcend it.
For the body, one’s mind is the master; for the mind, one’s intellect is the master; for the intellect, Atma is the Master. So the Master of life is the Atma. If we merge the intellect in God, all the senses would be subjugated. Mahatma Gandhi prayed that all should have a good intellect- “Sab ko sanmati do Bhagavan.” A purified intellect reflecting the Atmic light confers true wisdom. When the intellect is full of God, naturally one will follow the correct path and experience Peace and Bliss. If the mind follows the senses, one is ruined.
Fight to the end;
Face the Devil;
Finish the game.
Who is the Master? Your conscience is the Master, so follow the conscience. To face the devil means to avoid bad company, thoughts and actions. To fight to the end means to work to subdue the unruly senses. Say, “O bad senses, don’t go there, go only toward God; eyes, see only God; ears, listen only to God’s glories, etc.”
Hear no evil; hear what is good.
Think no evil; think what is good.
Talk no evil; talk what is good.
Do no evil: do what is good.
This is the way to God.
The word “good” has two zeros. One zero stands for the world. If you remove this one zero (the world), only God will remain. So see good, do good, and be good to merge with God