Question: “Amma, long ago, a spiritual master would put a potential disciple through rigorous tests before giving him a mantra. Amma, You don’t do that. Why do you give us mantras without first testing our competency?”
Amma: “Simply because Amma loves you! How can a mother not want to help her children! However incompetent her children may be, a mother can only be compassionate towards them. Children, you are Amma’s own, and Amma wants all Her children to reach the ultimate goal. This is why She gives you a mantra. You don’t need to analyse the reason; just make use of the mantra by constantly chanting it, and it will take you to the state of realisation.”
“Children, do not forget to always repeat your mantra. In the beginning japa should be done in a low voice. Later it can be done moving the lips slightly. Finally it should be done mentally. Thus japa should be practised constantly with each breath. Then japa will go on even if we don’t attend to it, even in sleep.”
“The period of sadhana is like climbing a high mountain. You need a lot of strength and energy. Mountain climbers use a rope to pull themselves up. For you, the only rope is japa. Therefore, children, try to repeat your mantra constantly. Once you reach the peak, you can relax and rest forever.
“It is always advisable to obtain a mantra from a Self-realized master. Until then we may use one of the mantras of our beloved deity like ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’, ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’, ‘Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare’, ‘Hari Om’, ‘Om Parashaktyai Namaha’, ‘Om Shivashaktyaikya Rupinyai Namaha’ or even the names of Christ, Allah or Buddha.
“Deciding to chant the mantra a certain number of times daily will help foster the japa habit. We should always keep a mala (rosary) with us for doing japa. A rosary can be made of 108, 54, 27, or 18 beads of rudraksha, tulasi, crystals, sandal, gems, etc., with one Guru (main) bead. We should resolve to chant a certain number of rosaries daily. Children, we should always chant the mantra in our minds while walking, travelling or working.
Be Committed to Your Mantra
“When Amma gives you a mantra, She sows a seed of spirituality within you. She transmits a part of Herself into your heart. But you have to nurture that seed by meditating, praying and chanting your mantra regularly, without fail. You have to be totally committed. The natural way to get yoghurt is by adding a spoonful of yoghurt to warm milk. Having added the culture, you let it stand for some time, and thus, all the milk is transformed into yoghurt. In the same way, Amma has transmitted part of Herself into you. Now you have to let the milk stand; you have to attain a state of inward stillness by constantly repeating your mantra and doing other spiritual practices. Your entire being will thus be transformed and you will then realise your divine nature.
“First of all, all of us must have love and respect for our mantra, the mantra that was given to us by our master. Always repeat the mantra that was given to you wherever you are, whatever work you are doing irrespective of time and place. Without talking unnecessarily, chant your mantra. Have love for your mantra. These mantras will help us to purify the mind and are vehicles to take us to the Supreme.
“Children, don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results in spite of all your effort. Each chant of the mantra has an effect. You are just not aware of it. Even if you are not achieving one-pointed concentration, you will still benefit by meditating at a regular time. Through constant japa, the impurities in your mind will disappear, without you even being aware of it, and your concentration will increase during meditation.
Write the Mantra Daily
“It is a good practice to write at least one page of mantra daily. Many people get better concentration by writing than by chanting. Try also to inculcate in children the habit of chanting and neatly writing the mantra. This will help to improve their handwriting, too. The book in which the mantra is written should not be thrown around; it should be carefully kept in our meditation or shrine room. Perform Mantra Japa with Alertness, never Mechanically
“Do japa with alertness, never mechanically. Each repetition should be like savouring a sweet. In the end, you will reach a state where even if you let go of the mantra, the mantra won’t let go of you.
“The mantra should be chanted with great attention. Focus either on the sound of the mantra or on the meaning; or you can visualise each syllable of the mantra as you chant. You can also visualise the form of your beloved deity while chanting. Decide the total number of times you will chant the mantra each day. This will help you to do japa with determination. But do not chant heedlessly, just to reach a certain target number. The most important thing is that your mind is one-pointed. Using a mala will help you to count and also to maintain your concentration.
The Power of Mantra Japa
Question: “Mother, is it beneficial if one chants mantras even without knowing the meaning?”
Amma: “If you chant your mantra without knowing its meaning, it has its own power. Even then, it is better if it is chanted with shraddha (loving faith) and love. Concentration also is necessary. A mantra will have a special power if it is received from a Satguru, rather than choosing it oneself. Once you get into a bus or train, it will take you to the destination even if you don’t know who the driver is or which company manufactured the bus or train or from where the spare parts are available. It will drop you at the nearest bus or railway station, and from there it will be only a short distance to your home. Similarly, a mantra will carry you to the threshold of God-realization. From there you can easily reach the ultimate goal.”