A Progressive Mantra Yoga Program

By Rudra Shivananda

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The obstacles to an effective or successful mantra yoga practice that can lead to Self-realization in one life-time are:

1. Unpreparedness of the student whose mind is not trained – refer to previous article in this issue.

2. A qualified teacher who can give the mantra (s)

3. Getting a right mantra at the right time – this is particularly neglected because there is an assumption that a mantra that works well with one person will work well with others. Unfortunately, this is very much untrue. It is possible to have negative effects from an otherwise perfectly fantastic and powerful mantra because each person has different karmic blocks and tendencies which can lead to mantra allergy. In the best case, the mantra will simply not work but in the worst case, mental instability can occur. Also, a mantra that might be suitable at a certain time of one’s life might not be suitable with the passage of time and the arising of hidden karmic patterns. Great caution is advised – ignorant seekers go where even angels fear to tread – picking up mantras like grocery from the supermarket is unwise.

To address the first obstacle and partially, the third as well, I recommend a progressive mantra yoga program for those who wish to pursue the mantric path:

1. Level 1 – Harmony: In this spiritual practice, the mantras given are meant to transform the mixed-up and conflicted mind into a more harmonious and peaceful state. A set of mantras are given which are properly termed stotras which invoke the planetary, solar, and divine powers in reverence and proper sequence for different times of the day. This practice overcomes mental and emotional problems as well as removes obstacles in one’s life path. These stotras have been declared safe and effective for all persons by generations of sages.

2. Level 2 – Unity: This is an advanced sadhana requiring a harmonious mind and strong concentration. It consists of a sandhya – that is a spiritual practice performed at certain transitional times of the day such as dawn or sunset. This sandhya is a universal one suitable for all men or women, regardless of religious affiliations as it invokes the power of Cosmic Consciousness, to transform the mind into unity consciousness or samadhi state.

3. Level 3 – Divinity: In this practice, the sincere seeker who has been able to transform his or her mind and achieve some level of samadhi consciousness is now initiated into his or her individual ishta mantra – the unique mantra that will lead to Self-realization. The teacher will need to perceive the correct mantra to give to the student.

Such a progressive program as outlined is consistent with the traditional and effective mantra yoga, reflecting the training that was in place in the past.

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