The mysteries of mantra and its capacity for mental, physical and spiritual healing are little known in the Western world. Although we are all familiar with the faerytale magicians words of power (those secret syllables which when uttered usually unlock hidden doorways into the earth, revealing a cave of treasure) we are generally unaware of the esoteric significance of such stories. They are in fact folkloric references to the sacred subtle sounds used by mantric adepts, which open the cave of the heart (to Universal Love) and reveal the treasure of the Spirit.
Mantra is a profound and practical method of self-awakening, opening and self-transcendence. It is a form of yoga which speaks to the deep organic roots of mans being by the use of vocalised and mental sound-currents of both audible and inaudible frequencies. These subtle vibrations awaken dormant centres of the brain (most of which are as yet unused in the average being) attuning the psychological, physiological and spiritual faculties to the primordial and sustaining vibration of creation. When we come into harmony with the vibratory rate of sub-atomic pulsation in consciousness (as in deep meditation) we hold the key to universal knowledge and self-healing.
Among a great many western practitioners of yoga, one finds that the major focus of interest rarely goes beyond that of the physical aspect. While every effort is made to perfect the basic developmental postures of Hatha Yoga, scant attention is paid to the higher forms of practice. Hatha Yoga is the necessary springboard which allows one to dive into deeper consciousness-evolving practices. Most practitioners however, seem content with simply bouncing on the board and never jumping off.
Yet all the great yogic texts firstly enumerate the most important asanas (or postures) and then the pranayamas (breath-expansion and control exercises), pratyahara (withdrawal of consciousness from the external world) followed by the Raja (Kingly) Yoga exercises of a psychological nature. The teachings then lead on to the higher experiences of Laya Yoga (the Yoga of Transformation) through the practice of Mantra (sacred mystic syllable repetition) and Nada (the Yoga of Subtle Sound.)
In order to bring the body, mind and soul into harmonious balance, all these other higher forms of self-development need to be cultivated at the same time. This is generally the case in a truly integral yoga practice after an initial period of Hatha Yoga discipline only. If this is not done, it is equivalent to building a house and forgetting to put in the plumbing and the electrical circuits at the same time. It can of course be done later, but its a lot less efficient.
The postures of Hatha Yoga are extremely beneficial in preparing the subtle nervous system for higher voltages of energy. These subtle circuits might be termed the para-physical wiring-system of the subtle body which sheathes the physical body with an energy-field in a similar way as a magnetic field occurs around a magnet. The conduits of the psychic nervous system are known as nadis or channels and have been mapped as meticulously as their counterparts in the physical nervous system, by thousands of generations of clairvoyant yogis. And like the meridians of Chinese acupuncture (though not always concurrent with them) the nadis are conductors of subtle energy throughout the body.
This energy is diffused and distributed into the physical nervous system via six major vortices situated along the length of the spinal column and a seventh at the crown of the head. The vortices are known as chakras (wheels) in Sanskrit and are the Seven Seals (of the human Book of Knowledge) in Christian terminology. Chakras are actually meta-physical transformers through which higher frequency psychic energy activates the physical body. Music and chant activate these channels, but it is an extremely rare occurrence for physical exercise alone to switch on the current. The word mantra itself means that which protects consciousness. The first syllable man comes from the Sanskrit term manasthought, consciousness, and the suffix trathat which protects. Thus the use of mantra is that which protects us from the constant mental flow of thoughts, fears, apprehensions and negativities and all the useless flotsam of over-thinking. In short, it protects us from our own minds and and frees us from the pollution of our thoughts. With constant practice, mantra repetition activates the psychic energies in the nadi system and vitalises the pineal gland, which awakens intuitive faculties (and often ecstatic joy) in the practitioner.
Since the Vedic period of India (at the dawn of recorded history) mantra repetition has been a scientifically replicable practice, which when persevered in, unfailingly led meditators to communion with the Absolute. The subtle harmonic vibrations of chanted mantras, both mental and vocal, act as a cleansing and purifying agent on consciousness. The yoga-rishis (seers) discovered that certain sounds brought them joy and ecstasy, some illumined the consciousness, some brought tremendous psychic powers, profound tranquillity or boundless energy, freedom from fear, or mental and physical healing.
These same mantras are still in use today. And they still evoke the same results in those who earnestly practice them. The movements of the soul we experience when listening to fine music or opera (the thrill up the spine at a certain note) is but a feeble echo of the deep nourishment engendered by these sounds. Mantras create a stable core in the centre of our beings, which vibrates in unison with the underlying life force. Thus mantra teaches us to transcend language and enter into the Universal Vibration, becoming one with the Omnipresence.
In India, it is not unusual for homeopathic doctors (as well as sages) to prescribe specific mantras instead of the usual remedies. This is not as amusing or simple as it may seem to the rational mind. For centuries witch-doctors in Africa have known that a certain frequency of drum-beat will serve to break a fever and have developed a repertoire of other rhythms to cure various physical and mental symptoms. Similar methods are used today by advanced radionic practitioners using sophisticated instruments. And even in allopathic circles, sound-therapy is beginning to be utilised in the treatment of both physical and mental problems.
It is only relatively recently in the Western world, that it has been discovered that certain music and sound-waves have the capacity to activate cellular healing when played to bodily wounds. And such sounds have been shown to promote a far speedier return to health than by orthodox methods. So it is that medical science begins to vindicate the findings of the sages of millennia ago.
What is an ordinary dose of allopathic medicine after all? It is no more than a substance composed of atomic particles in a dense state of vibration. Homeopathic medicine goes one step further. Its highly diluted remedies appear to contain nothing of the original substance, yet they are highly potentised and radiate a powerful frequency which can replicate the effects of the disease. This causes the body to throw off its illness without the effects of harmful drugs, simply by a sympathetic frequency. A sonic frequency works on a similar principle.
Musical and medical researchers Fabian Maman and Helen Grimal experimented on cancer cells in the laboratory of Jussieu University (Paris) and found that certain repetitive sounds played on musical instruments to cancer cells will gradually cause them to disintegrate. Eventually they discovered that the human voice pitched to the musical scale destroyed the cancer cells even quicker. This is a fascinating breakthrough, for all involved in sound-work. Over the past few years, having had several cancer patients in my workshops, I have begun to receive letters from those who have been able to avoid operations after the effects of a workshop. One lady who was due for a mastectomy soon after a mantra workshop found the malignant growth had diminished after the five days of chanting, so that the operation was deemed unnecessary. Many years later she is still chanting and whole. Another woman had cancer of the throat. She was barely able to speak, yet had a remission and stabilisation with improved ability to speak afterwards. Clearly something powerful is in operation here.
No wonder newspaper articles have trumpeted how singing in the bath has a positive effect on health! How much more effective the living sound of one's own voice using time-hallowed mantras can be in toning the cells with the repetitive vibration of healing. Mantra is known for its vibrant pulsation of subtle healing frequencies which purify both mind and body. Because of its capacity to resonate in consciousness, it is considered by the great sages as the most efficacious method of unburdening the subconscious and cleansing it of residual traumas. As many cancers can be traced back to unfelt feelings blocked in childhood, mantra (with its internal massage of rigid cellular structures) often allows such frozen pains and tears to be released. On occasion even traumas of previous lifetimes have been experienced following a mantra session, allowing students to relive and release past-life memories which previously created hidden tensions in the body.
Although it is helpful to have practised some form of yoga before beginning with mantra, it is by no means a prerequisite. Anyone can benefit from the vibrations. Less active newcomers to yoga generally take to it like ducks to water! While some find its spring-cleaning effect on the psyche allows their long-blocked feelings to arise and be dissolved in emotional release, others find in mantra an immediate sense of coming-home, of being cuddled by the universe, or a supportive joy in deep meditation. At the very least, it is a wondrous relief for the over-burdened mind.
Mantra has the blossoming of the heart as its central experience.
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