As the subconscious mind is progressively cleaned out and one makes headway in meditational practices, one is confronted by the enormity of the psyche and overwhelmed by incredible visions, premonitions of the future and many other things. Though one should watch these infinite numbers of psychic manifestations, it is so essential not to become too enraptured, enthralled and enslaved by them. Watch them by all means, but don't be distracted from going deeper into the more subtle realms. And it is possible to go deeper, much deeper than even the imagination dares penetrate.
Don't become attached to the psychic world. Watch, experience, but always try to remain a witness. Be detached ... be aware. This is the means of not becoming ensnared and distracted from going deeper into one's being. Of course, at this stage you may not be exploring the psyche, but you will in time, if you persevere. We give this warning so that you bear it in mind when you start to delve into the incredible realms of the psyche below the subconscious (or, perhaps beyond the subconscious is a better term). Don't be waylaid too long by the pleasant scenery, and it is really so beautiful, on your way back to the source. Always remember that the aim is to reach and experience the essence of your being. Don't get lost. In the previous lesson we gave an introduction to japa, together with a few practices'. In this topic we want to give a few more techniques.
The practice of japa can bring wonderful benefits if you reflect on the meaning of the mantra. This can be done during the actual practice or throughout the day. This nee d to know must come from the very depths of your heart. It will not bring results ifyou do it half heartedly. Each mantra has vast power which you have to unfold. You have to merge yourself with the mantra and experience everything that the mantra evokes. Each mantra represents something that cannot be spoken about. It has to be experienced. This is why we are not very interested in explaining the meaning of mantras. This is bound to be superficial. You must find out the meaning of a mantra for yourself. No person can ever explain the real meaning of a mantra to another person. Communication cannot bridge the chasm between verbal meaning and direct experience.
This process of reflection on the meaning of a mantra intensifies the whole process ofjapa sadhana. However it is really for people who have penetrating powers of enquiry and who have a one-pointed calm mind. You are not obliged to reflect on the meaning of a mantra during japa. Japa will give wonderful results without tbis reflection, but it can lead to the highest fruit of japa sadhana.
Devotion is another powerful method of intensifying the practice of japa. It is to be practised by those people who are naturally inclined towards worship. It is for those people who are notably emotional in character.
Each mantra is shakti, each mantra is a direct link to the divine. Therefore, when you chant your mantra, try to feel that you are communing with the divine essence. Feel love in your heart. Be aware of all the associations of the mantra. Let this welling-up of feeling (bhava) fill your whole being. Eventually the heart will recite the mantra spontaneously. This will intensify the whole process ofjapa.
'Fhe Sanskrit word sahita means 'together with', or 'combined with'. The word dhyana means 'meditation'. T his practice is a combination of lapa and awareness of an inner symbol (antar trataka)2.
If you chant the mantra Aum then you can use the corresponding symbol as a focus of attention. If you have a personal mantra and \ on know its symbol then you should use this, otherwise you can choose any other symbol in association with your mantra. If you have an ishta devata, then you can use this for trataka. If you are not too sure on this point contact a qualified teacher.
Incidentally, each mantra is inseparably associated with a definite symbol or form. Therefore, if your mind attains a deep state of relaxation and one-pointedness and receptivity, and if the whole mind is filled with the sound of the mantra, then the specific psychic symbol will spontaneously arise to conscious perception. In this way, you will find out the exact form or symbol of your mantra.
The method is basically the same as we have already described in the previous lesson1, but YOU must visualize your chosen symbol in front of your closed eyes. If so inclined, you can feel devotion or reflect on the meaning of the symbol and mantra.
If your mind is not one-pointed it is quite difficult to visualize a clear picture. Therefore, we recommend that you first of all calm clown your mind and remove distracting thoughts by practising methods 1 and 2 described in the previous lesson1. When the mind becomes concentrated, then you can start to practise japa sahita dhyana. This is a more difficult practice, but it is also more powerful. Your awareness must flow towards the mantra, the symbol and the j apa rotation. If you find it difficult to maintain a fixed inner image, practise the method previously explained1.
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