The MANTRA is a mystic formula - a sound, a syllable, a word or phrase containing special powers, they are chanted aloud to create force fields or repeated within to quieten and harmonise the mind. The inner bodies are calmed and purified through the powerful subtle emanations of the inner mantra.
The mantra is bestowed by an Initiated Master who has been entrusted with the responsibilities and powerful mysteries which must be performed when bestowing such a mantra, given otherwise the mantra has no power and is useless.
There are only a few mantras in the world the power and selection of the mantra are chosen by the bestower, who works in accordance with the Universal Laws and cannot and will not go against these laws.
Usually when one comes forward for initiation a lot of work and energy goes on behind the scenes, actually the bestower must work within the Laws of Karma to modify the vibration of the aspirant so that they are able to receive 'the vibration of the mantra' in what I call embryo form. The vibration is different for all aspirants although the mantra or words may be the same. When the aspirant's vibration is ready the mantra is bestowed at an initiation ceremony.
The mantra should be repeated along with the inhalation and exhalation of the breath. The most used and famous mantra is one you were born with, it is your heritage to assist you in your physical life it is 'SO HAM'.
I would like you to stop reading for a moment and listen to your breath. Now concentrate on the inhalation and exhalation. I believe that you were not aware of your breathing before you begun to concentrate on it, but you would have heard the sound it makes.
On the inward breath it was sucked in and the sound was SO, as you exhaled you relaxed and the sound was HAM. At the time you were concentrating on your breath you were not thinking of anything else. 'Think about that' you had become and attained what yogis call one pointed concentration.
One pointed concentration is the requirement necessary for the soul to gain control of the physical mind and body, which is Self Realisation a point where the soul or your higher consciousness is in control. You will no longer act and react through the primordial faculty of instinct, but with a mature instinctive understanding of the world around you and its requirements both on a Karmic and Spiritual level.
The mantra may be used in different ways, aloud as Japa, quietly with the breath to enhance and if necessary change the vibration of the breath to allow the body, mind and deeper conscious levels to come into harmony so that the soul state can begin to wake up and take control. It is known as the vehicle to meditation, repeated prior and during meditation it balances the vibration. Only then can the ego begin to mature allowing the essence of the ego the 'I NESS' to develop bringing you into a different mind set, your discerning faculty becomes stronger, you will also begin to think and act within the sphere of your higher consciousness.
It's not today the Mantra tomorrow I am realized, it takes many years and a lot of work. Perseverance, self discipline and humility are required but the rewards mentally and spiritually are enormous.
Many branches of Lineage Yoga use the mantra 'SO HAM' only, and have reported that no other mantra is necessary for Self Realisation, with that in mind you should begin now. 'SO HAM' translated means I AM, the SO meaning 'that' or God / Universal Consciousness, HAM meaning 'me' signifying the union between you and your Creator.
Yogis believe the breath is the closest physical vibration to the Universal Consciousness as it contains the essential vibrational building ingredients of the universe. As you inhale you draw in positive life force containing the vibration of Akasha (the memory vibration of all that was, is and will be). The repeated mantra 'SO HAM' is asking you to remember you 'the breather' are only the physical body the 'I' is your soul, and the 'I NESS' is the Godhead.
There are some who believe that the mantra above should be repeated as 'HAM SO', pronounced Hum Za, but I believe that this is too hard in sound, giving it a somewhat negative vibration. If you stop reading and repeat the mantra 'HAM SO' then you will understand the vibrational difference, then try repeating the 'SO HAM' mantra as I have already described you will understand the difference. 'SO HAM' is much softer in vibration, the subtle emanations from this mantra are able to help you transcend the bonds of Samsara, the continual cycle of birth and death.
Find a place where you can sit quietly, make it your refuge, make sure you will be comfortable and your spine is erect. Don't lie down unless you can't sit comfortably as the supine position will make you sleepy. You may sit in a comfortable chair but have your shoes off.
Now begin on the inward breath and repeat the words 'SO' then as you breathe out release the breath with the sound 'HAM'. Very soon you will relax, letting go of your physical mind and slowly as your meditation deepens it will allow you to join with the Universal Consciousness. At this moment you will understand that you have overcome duality of your God being outside of you, finally you will have joined that God and you have become I AM THAT - THAT I AM.
Swami Durgananda - Spiritual leader of Samata Yoga and gifted healer has been teaching yoga, meditation and philosophy around the world for over 40yrs. Swami has a profound understanding of the universe and the human condition through her articles and books she shares her knowledge with compassion and humour teaching us how to bring balance and harmony into our lives. Visit http://samatayoga.com/ for more about Swami Durgananda and Samata Yoga.