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Workshop Day 3 – What Is Special About The Maha-Mantra

Here we go, guys! Yeeeaah! This Mantra we have been chanting is part of an ancient and beautiful culture, acclaimed by great thinkers throughout the world. It’s found within a body of classic philosophical literature, called the Vedas. Veda means knowledge and this knowledge has been drawn upon by many great thinkers. Emerson, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, all studied elements of the Vedas, especially its core text, the Bhagavad-gita. Emerson said while reading the Gita: “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”

So this Vedic culture is extremely rich and contains many Mantras and jewels of wisdom. Within the Vedas, the maha-mantra is emphasized for its power to restore awareness. It’s described to be like a sound key that unlocks the doors standing in the way of our self-perception and helps us see the world, as it really is. The energy of the Mantra actively helps to tame and transform the mind and cultivate the strength to open our heart. This transformative element of the maha-mantra meditation is why having the right mood while chanting, is so important. We’re used to doing something toward a goal, adopting a means to get some certain end…like many of us have followed a temporary diet, but then once we’ve lost a few pounds, the diet ends. But this chanting isn’t simply a tool towards a particular goal or experience, it’s actually the experience itself.

As modern science is beginning to observe, the Veda describes everything to be made up of vibration, and our personal experience in life depends on the level of vibration we’re connecting with. The Veda describes the special element of the maha-mantra, which connects directly to the fundamental part of our being. The essence of who we are gets reawakened by hearing these simple sounds, almost like an alarm clock for the spirit.

So if you haven’t already, try increasing your chanting to 10 minutes a session and see if you can really apply the tips from the previous days and this time try to listen not only with your mind, but with your heart.

Okay, I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

From today’s lesson, you’ve learned more about the special quality of the maha-mantra. Try beginning your session today, reflecting on the power of the Mantra to help your meditation.

Let’s increase a bit more today, up to ten minutes. You can do this with a timer, or to enhance your meditation you can try chanting along with the guided meditation below. This is a special recording made by Srila Prabhupada during the early days of the Hare Krishna meditation movement. It goes for 108 mantras, about 11 minutes.

You can also review the chanting tips below:

  1. Pick a good place.  Yes its possible to meditate anywhere, even at a rock concert.. but it’s easier if you’re in a quiet place where you won’t be bothered and meditation can be your focus for the few minutes you’ll be practicing.
  2. It’s better to meditate earlier in the morning when you are fresh and alert.  The more you let your day go before meditating, the more distractions to deal with.  And the earlier you start the more you get to live the rest of your day with the clarity that came during your practice.
  3. Use a timer on your phone to count down so you’re not looking at the time.
  4. Early morning is best but it’s no big deal to chant later in the day so long as you’re staying consistent with the length of time.
  5. Sit or stand comfortably with your back and neck as straight as you can.
  6. You can keep your eyes open, closed or half closed, whatever helps you stay attentive and not sleepy.
  7. When you’re ready to meditate, take a moment and remind yourself your focus only needs to be with the meditation for the next few minutes.
  8. Don’t worry when your mind wanders. Just let go of those thoughts and bring your focus back to the sound of the mantra.
  9. Remember, this is your time for meditation and nothing else.

Additional Material

  • Chanting with Srila Prabhupada