Vajra Fist

The TM rabbit hole

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30 minutes ago, steve said:

So true, actually.

When I really know how much of a dick I can be, it stings far less when others point it out!


Thankfully we can improve after self-revelation with guidance, support, and self-awareness.

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32 minutes ago, steve said:

So true, actually.

When I really know how much of a dick I can be, it stings far less when others point it out!

 

Apologies if I've been a dick or an ass on this thread. Feel free to delete it or pit it if it doesn't serve any purpose. 

 

Just thought I'd share what I've learned digging into the weird world of TM this past month.

 

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6 minutes ago, Vajra Fist said:

 

Apologies if I've been a dick or an ass on this thread. Feel free to delete it or pit it if it doesn't serve any purpose. 

 

Just thought I'd share what I've learned digging into the weird world of TM this past month.

 


You have not been at all. Pleasant contributions.

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45 minutes ago, Vajra Fist said:

 

Apologies if I've been a dick or an ass on this thread. Feel free to delete it or pit it if it doesn't serve any purpose. 

 

Just thought I'd share what I've learned digging into the weird world of TM this past month.

 

I hope you don’t think I was implying that about you, I was speaking only for myself.

 

38 minutes ago, Earl Grey said:


You have not been at all. Pleasant contributions.

Strongly agree!

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1 hour ago, steve said:

 

That is assuming that a brain scan tells the whole story.

Saw this video clip recently about Brain scan 

 

 

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Paying dearly for Mantra or similar things can be good for the person.  Let say Earl Grey provides a mantra, no one is going to pay attention to him.  But if he charges Usd1000, everyone will be interested.  The person who actually pays him will remember the mantra and probably use it from time to time, and may even have good results.

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4 minutes ago, Master Logray said:

Paying dearly for Mantra or similar things can be good for the person.  Let say Earl Grey provides a mantra, no one is going to pay attention to him.  But if he charges Usd1000, everyone will be interested.  The person who actually pays him will remember the mantra and probably use it from time to time, and may even have good results.

 

Reminds me of this with Banksy when nobody knew or believed it was really him: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-24518315

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Just now, steve said:

Or expensive wine and stereo equipment…

 

Yes, Beats by Dre was a ridiculous example of ornamental branding, where he could charge a lot for an inferior product that one could get more value and use from with Monster headphones, or just by being a little clever and going to Radio Shack to put something together. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, steve said:

 

Yes, so many of us want are conditioned to believe there is someone who knows what we need, something magical “out there,” something inaccessible without a special relationship… And it’s so easy for people to take advantage of that. How much truth is there to such notions? 

 

From the relative perspective, our side, it is very real and true. From the absolute perspective, the side we are trying to grasp, nothing is needed and no one can give us what we already, always are. It’s a frustrating and wonderful paradox.

 

You make a good point.  Interestingly, TWR spoke to this issue of generic vs traditional objects of focus during the Glidewing workshop on Zhine.  He said a student asked whether or not it would be ok to gaze at the English letter A instead of the Tibetan symbol for AH.  TWR answered (as I remember anyway) that from an absolute point of view there probably wasn´t any difference but that he still recommended using the Tibetan AH because that´s the symbol that´s traditionally been used for centuries now.

 

I don´t know anything about TM but wouldn´t be surprised to learn that higher-ups take advantage of people´s conditioned yearning for magical relationships for financial gain.  Unfortunately, that kind of thing happens.

 

On the other hand, I´ve found my own version of "guru yoga"  quite useful.  Before or after doing a practice I´ll often consciously connect with the lineage.  I begin by trying to generate some gratitude for the teachers who taught me whatever I´m doing and then imagine an unbroken chain of teachers and students going back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  To me, it feels like this brief contemplation adds extra oomph to my practice.  I like doing it and find it subjectively useful.  It´s also sorta nuts though.  Does the alledged ancientness of something really make it more valuable?  Is there something magic about teacher-student relationships of centuries past missing from modern-day spiritual education?  A person might say that I exoticize the past in a way that distorts reality, that I´m a big-time magical thinker.  That´s all true but I kinda like it.  At least my delusions, perhaps unlike those of TM devotees, are entirely free of cost.

Edited by liminal_luke
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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Master Logray said:

Paying dearly for Mantra or similar things can be good for the person.  Let say Earl Grey provides a mantra, no one is going to pay attention to him.  But if he charges Usd1000, everyone will be interested.  The person who actually pays him will remember the mantra and probably use it from time to time, and may even have good results.

 

Sometimes its not just about the price, but the deeply ingrained impressions and fascinations of mystical & mysterious faraway places in stories read to us as toddlers, and then we read ourselves later on that lead us by the nose towards similar fascinations as adults. Some of these mantric gurus, and *spiritual* teachers in general, they know this. As an example, the Bacon Guy's "We make em, you eat em" could well be accepted as a mantra should it be taught in some obscure non-English speaking village in Laos.

 

Anyway, for mantras to be efficacious, I believe there are a few important factors to take into consideration other than the mere chanting of such. Personally, I think affinity (with a particular mantra) plays a crucial role. Intention is another one. And it needs the integration of visualizations too, afaik.

Edited by C T
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23 hours ago, Vajra Fist said:

I'm curious what the Bums take on TM is.

 

It seems like everything else, results vary. A lot of people don't seem to get anything out of it. Robert KC Foreman seems to have gotten quite a bit out of it, and based an academic career on it. I remember at one point also being impressed by Jerry Freeman's descriptions. 

 

15 hours ago, Vajra Fist said:

While that is certainly true in some traditions, I hesitate to believe it is so in TM. Mantras are chosen based on the person's age and gender from the list above. 

 

What I've learned about mantras in Tibetan and Shaivite contexts comports with what Dwai has said--- the mantra needs to be "living," usually meaning the person who gives it has accomplished it. 

 

13 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

he still recommended using the Tibetan AH because that´s the symbol that´s traditionally been used for centuries now.

 

I've also heard that traditional methods contain a type of power to them that is lost. One teacher likened it to directions in a jungle. It is easier to go down a path if some one else has chopped the underbrush.  

 

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I bought my TM mantra back in the late 80s for $250 after spending a few years longing after it.  I was the typical westerner who reacted affirmatively to the savvy marketing of TM that Maharishi was noted for, as he wanted to break open the western market.  I practiced it for a few years, culminating in my eventual move to Fairfield, Iowa, home of Maharishi International University, MIU as it was known, ground zero for the TM movement in America.  What appealed to me was the idea of getting an undergrad education, eating wholesome, organic food, and taking classes on the block system - one class at a time for 4-6 weeks, getting deeply immersed in the subject and then moving onto the next. Meditating with five hundred other people every day seemed like a unifying experience. 

 

I lasted six months.  It was perhaps the biggest disappointment in my life at that time, to see such potential mired in so much human dysfunction, cult-like behavior,  and magical thinking.  The place had a huge block of students from the Eastern bloc, an area where TMers recruited aggressively.  They had less than $35/mo of discetionary spending and despite getting an education many were profoundly confused and unhappy.  

 

I apparently got there after the real vitality had simmered off.  Years earlier there was tremendous enthusiasm for the taking the core courses, with genuine scholars teaching classes that were always defined in terms of their expressions as underlying consciousness, i.e., becoming conscious mathematically, athletically, biologically, musically, etc.  I loved the galvanizing model; it's what brought me out there in the first place. 

 

Their entire notion of enlightenment was untenable to me and thousands of others, I am sure.  It's not simply removing stress, or burning off your stress that counts, although eliminating stress does occur on the path to higher consciousness.   The most often asked question you got at MIU was "How long have you been meditating?"  Ostensibly, one could calculate the arrival of enlightenment based on how long you've been reciting your mantra.  Enlightenment is so much more than that. 

 

I moved back to the SF Bay Area, enrolled in my local community college, and took meditation instruction from the Berkeley Zen Center. 

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oh yeah... the most important part - 

the TM bureacracy exploited the members of the movement by convincing them to buy all of the supplements "necessary" for enlightenment. The members ofthe Movement worked for literally nothing as they kept the University running, while the upper echelons of the Movement bathed in conspicuous luxury.  They told themselves that to be a positive force for good in the world they would have to become powerful financially in order to effect changes.  How's that for a rationalization? 

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19 hours ago, Vajra Fist said:

Om is a good one, but the word 'one' is likely to be just as effective

I would venture to say it’s not so. Om is not just a mantra, it is the primordial seed sound, a reverberation of the absolute itself. There is a lot of nuance to “om” and an entire meditation practice is based on simply chanting and meditating on this “sound”. 
 

Om comprises of 4 parts - “A” (like the sound aaaaa), “U” (oooo) and “M” (mmmm), followed by an equal measure of silence.

 

When one meditates on Om in the vedantic way, one is performing a sacrificial ritual of sorts, into silence and stillness. 
 

A represents the waking state and the waking world. U represents dream state and the dreaming world, M represents the silence of deep sleep and absence of phenomena therein. In the chanting of Om one goes from the manifest world to the unmanifest. The silence is that which in which the waking,  Dreaming and deep sleep states arise and fall. When you articulate Om as AUM, you can see how it correlates to going from the manifest to unmanifest. It is the power of three lineages/ancient traditions of the world  - Hindu, Buddhist and Jain. So no, “One” is not as effective as Om in my humble opinion :) 
 

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5 hours ago, dwai said:

I would venture to say it’s not so. Om is not just a mantra, it is the primordial seed sound, a reverberation of the absolute itself. There is a lot of nuance to “om” and an entire meditation practice is based on simply chanting and meditating on this “sound”. 
 

Om comprises of 4 parts - “A” (like the sound aaaaa), “U” (oooo) and “M” (mmmm), followed by an equal measure of silence.

 

When one meditates on Om in the vedantic way, one is performing a sacrificial ritual of sorts, into silence and stillness. 
 

A represents the waking state and the waking world. U represents dream state and the dreaming world, M represents the silence of deep sleep and absence of phenomena therein. In the chanting of Om one goes from the manifest world to the unmanifest. The silence is that which in which the waking,  Dreaming and deep sleep states arise and fall. When you articulate Om as AUM, you can see how it correlates to going from the manifest to unmanifest. It is the power of three lineages/ancient traditions of the world  - Hindu, Buddhist and Jain. So no, “One” is not as effective as Om in my humble opinion :) 
 

 

Thanks, fascinating stuff. I know some modern daoist teachers use AUM too in certain practices.

 

I always thought the chanting of this particular mantra should be vocalised though, in that the power of it comes from its vibration. For instance in Kriya Yoga where the external sense organs are sealed and the vibration is felt internally. 

 

Are there practices within the tradition that Maharishi comes from where Om is a silent meditation object, in the same way as common TM mantras are? 

 

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6 hours ago, Encephalon said:

I bought my TM mantra back in the late 80s for $250 after spending a few years longing after it.  I was the typical westerner who reacted affirmatively to the savvy marketing of TM that Maharishi was noted for, as he wanted to break open the western market.  I practiced it for a few years, culminating in my eventual move to Fairfield, Iowa, home of Maharishi International University, MIU as it was known, ground zero for the TM movement in America.  What appealed to me was the idea of getting an undergrad education, eating wholesome, organic food, and taking classes on the block system - one class at a time for 4-6 weeks, getting deeply immersed in the subject and then moving onto the next. Meditating with five hundred other people every day seemed like a unifying experience. 

 

I lasted six months.  It was perhaps the biggest disappointment in my life at that time, to see such potential mired in so much human dysfunction, cult-like behavior,  and magical thinking.  The place had a huge block of students from the Eastern bloc, an area where TMers recruited aggressively.  They had less than $35/mo of discetionary spending and despite getting an education many were profoundly confused and unhappy.  

 

I apparently got there after the real vitality had simmered off.  Years earlier there was tremendous enthusiasm for the taking the core courses, with genuine scholars teaching classes that were always defined in terms of their expressions as underlying consciousness, i.e., becoming conscious mathematically, athletically, biologically, musically, etc.  I loved the galvanizing model; it's what brought me out there in the first place. 

 

Their entire notion of enlightenment was untenable to me and thousands of others, I am sure.  It's not simply removing stress, or burning off your stress that counts, although eliminating stress does occur on the path to higher consciousness.   The most often asked question you got at MIU was "How long have you been meditating?"  Ostensibly, one could calculate the arrival of enlightenment based on how long you've been reciting your mantra.  Enlightenment is so much more than that. 

 

I moved back to the SF Bay Area, enrolled in my local community college, and took meditation instruction from the Berkeley Zen Center. 

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I find this post-60s period of time in America utterly fascinating, in terms of how eastern spiritual movements changed as the initial flower power momentum fizzled out. 

 

To channel HST again. "Now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

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10 minutes ago, Vajra Fist said:

 

Thanks, fascinating stuff. I know some modern daoist teachers use AUM too in certain practices.

 

I always thought the chanting of this particular mantra should be vocalised though, in that the power of it comes from its vibration. For instance in Kriya Yoga where the external sense organs are sealed and the vibration is felt internally. 
 

actually the vocalized mantra is the lowest level practice. 

10 minutes ago, Vajra Fist said:

 

Are there practices within the tradition that Maharishi comes from where Om is a silent meditation object, in the same way as common TM mantras are? 

 

Yes. One method of Advaita Vedanta meditation involves silent meditation on prolonged Om chants. 

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What would be the difference between chanting Om and the mantra initiated for TM meditation? Wouldn't Om be a better choice with no fees attached to it?

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bhathen said:

What would be the difference between chanting Om and the mantra initiated for TM meditation? Wouldn't Om be a better choice with no fees attached to it?

 

 

Om is "safe" mantra, as are many others that might be called universal or useable by most anyone...while some are not universal and not meant to be given out to the public or for those dabbling with powers.  (thus could be dangerous if mis-applied or mis-used which also goes for lots of other spoken words or chants)

Edited by old3bob

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Bhathen said:

What would be the difference between chanting Om and the mantra initiated for TM meditation? Wouldn't Om be a better choice with no fees attached to it?

 

 

Interestingly, Maharaishi was against laymen chanting Om, saying it is used by monastics to destroy hs source of material attachments. Here's a quote from him. 

 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, given in 1955, published in 'Beacon Light of the Himalayas', pp 66-67: “Obviously enough there are two ways of life, the way of the Sanyasi and the way of life of a householder. One is quite opposed to the other. A Sanyasi renounces everything of the world, whereas a householder needs and accumulates everything. Shastras declare both ways of life to be the paths of emancipation. Both are said to be the "Moksha Marga" 1 Nivarthi Marga 2 and 'Pravrithi Marga' 3 . The one realises, through renunciation and detachment, while the other goes through all attachments and accumulation of all that is needed for physical life. We have two different sets of Mantras to suit the two ways of life. Mantras for the Sanyasis have the effect of increasing the sense of detachment and renunciation and also have the power of destroying the objects of worldly affections, if there should survive any such objects for him. Quite contrary to this are the Mantras suitable for the householder which have the efficacy of harmonising and enriching the material aspect of life also. 1 Moksha = liberation, Marga = path, Moksha Marga = path of liberation. 2 Nivritti = negation, Nivritti Marga = path of turning away from activity. 3 Pravriitti = action, effort, Pravriitti Marga = path of active involvement in the world. The Mantras of the Sanyasi have a destructive effect in the material field of life, whereas the Mantras suited to the householder envisage constructive values also. "Om" is the Mantra for the Sanyasi. The Sanyasi repeats "Om" "Om" "Om". It is given to him at the time of 'Sanyas - Diksha', at the time when he has completely renounced attachment to the world. Renunciation and detachment increase with the repetition of 'Om'. 'Om' is chanted aloud by a Sanyasi to put on end to his desires. Desires are destroyed by loudly chanting the mantra 'Om'. And if there is any desire deeply rooted in the mind of a Sanyasi, the chanting of 'Om' will result in the destruction of the object of such desire in order to make the Sanyasi, wholly desireless. The Sanyasi thus attains Peace through the renunciation and destruction of desires, whereas the peace comes to the householder when his needs are satisfied, when his desires are fulfilled. The mantras for the householders have the effect of fulfilling the desires. If unfortunately, the householder begins to repeat the pranava Mantra viz. 'Om', 'Om' 'Om' he experiences destructive effects in his material life. The effect starts with monetary loss and then goes on to destroy objects of affection, one by one. Such a man, when he finds loss of money and separation from the dear ones, he is reduced to utter peacelessness and frustration. Where is the chance of spiritual development or experience of Peace and happiness for such a dejected soul? The path of peacelessness and misery in the world, cannot lead to Eternal happiness. If the man is proceeding towards Eternal happiness every day he should feel the increase of peace and happiness, and this alone will assure him that he is proceeding towards abiding peace and eternal happiness. If you walk towards the light you should be able to feel the increase of light at every step. If you are spending some time in devotion to God, you should feel peace and happiness in life. If you are not feeling peace and happiness you should be wise enough to doubt the correctness of your devotion, you should be wise enough to think that your method of devotion is wrong, that the Mantras that you are repeating do not suit you. The mantras that suit the Sanyasis can never suit the householders. Hundreds of God-loving and God-fearing families, have been ruined due to the destructive effects of Sanyasa Mantra viz. "Om". "Om" destroys desires and also destroys the objects of desires and therefore it produces calmness of mind and renunciation and detachment from material life only to Sanyasis when they repeat Om; to them it brings the experience of peace of mind and from this experience they generally recommend the chanting of 'Om' to their followers. But when a householder repeats 'Om', he experiences that as long as he is repeating 'Om' he feels peace of mind, but when he comes out to indulge in business or household work, he finds he finds that the air is against his desire and schemes. The silencing effect on the mind and destructive effects in material life, both are lived side by side. Some people say that we should ignore material life in regard to the devotional practices and Mantras. But this is a fool's ideology. Can you possibly ignore the considerations of material life, when the Mantras do affect it? Select a path which will make you happier in your material life also. Do not live in a fool's paradise. Do not think that your sufferings and miseries of today will work as reservations in the galleries of heaven for tomorrow. Be peaceful and happy in the present and try to make this state permanent. This is the path of Deliverance in Life Jeevan-Mukti, the most exalted state in human existence, the state of abiding Peace and Eternal Bliss. And this you are entitled to have through correct and suitable Sadhana. And because the Mantras play an important role in the field of Sadhana, you must be very very careful in the selection of the Mantra. The theory of Mantras is the theory of sound. It is most scientific and natural. Ladies should never repeat any Mantra beginning with Om. The pronunciation of Om is like fire to the ladies. This is the practical experience of many devoted ladies who repeated 'Om Namah Shivaya' or 'Om Namonarayanaya' or 'Om Namo Bhagawate Vasudevaya' or any such mantra beginning with Om. It cannot be God's wish that you should suffer in your devotion to him. Do not cling to the unhelpful Mantras. The moment you find you have got into the wrong train, it is wise to get down from it as soon as possible. It is foolish to stick on to the wrong train and go wherever it takes you.”

 

 

https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-side-effects-positive-or-negative-if-one-plays-the-Om-chanting-on-repeat-24-7

Edited by Vajra Fist
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Posted (edited)

Quoted from the traditional Hinduism teachings of the Kauai monastery, originally by By Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

(highlight and underline by me)

 

LESSON 60 FROM LIVING WITH SIVA

JAPA: RECITATION


Now we shall focus on japa, recitation of holy mantras, the ninth niyama. Here again, a guru is essential, unless only the simplest of mantras are recited. The simplest of mantras is Aum, pronounced "AA, OO, MMM." The AA balances the physical forces when pronounced separately from the OO and the MMM, as the OO balances the astral and mental bodies. The MMM brings the spiritual body into the foreground. And when pronounced all together, AA-OO-MMM, all three bodies are harmonized. Aum is a safe mantra which may be performed without a guru's guidance by anyone of any religious background living on this planet, as it is the primal sound of the universe itself. All sounds blended together make the sound "Aum." The overtone of the sounds of an entire city would be "Aum." In short, it harmonizes, purifies and uplifts the devotee.

One might ask why a guru is important to perform such a simple task as japa. It is the shakti of the guru, of the Gods and the devas that give power to the mantra. Two people, a civilian and a policeman, could say to a third person, "Stop in the name of the law." The third person would only obey one of them. The one who had no authority would not be listened to. In this example, the policeman had been initiated and had full authority. Therefore, his mantra, "Stop in the name of the law," seven words, had the desired effect. The person who had not been initiated said the same words, but nobody paid any attention to him. Now, this does not mean one can choose a guru, study with the guru, become accepted by the guru, feign humility, do all the right things and say all the right words, become initiated, receive the mantra and then be off into some kind of other activities or opt for a more liberal path. The guru's disdain would diminish if not cancel the benefits of the initiation, which obviously had been deceptively achieved. This is why siddhanta shravana (choosing your path carefully) and mati (choosing your guru carefully, being loyal to the sampradaya, to your guru and his successor or successors and training your children to be loyal to the sampradaya) are the foundation of character that the first fifteen restraints and practices are supposed to produce.

Mantra initiation is guru diksha. Traditionally, the family guru would give mantra diksha to the mother and the father and then to the young people, making the guru part of the family itself. There is no way that mantras can be sold and be effective. There is no way that the diksha of mantra initiation, which permits japa, could be effective for someone who was not striving to fulfill the first seventeen of the yamas and niyamas. Any wise guru would test the devotee on these before granting initiation. There is no way a mantra can be learned from a book and be effective. Therefore, approach the guru cautiously and with a full heart. When asked if you are restraining yourself according to the ten yamas, know that perfection is not expected, but effort is. And if you are practicing the first seven niyamas, know that perfection is not expected here either, but regular attentiveness to them is. You, the guru, your family and your friends will all know when you are on the threshold of mantra diksha, which when performed by an established guru is called guru diksha.

Edited by old3bob
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7 hours ago, Vajra Fist said:

Interestingly, Maharaishi was against laymen chanting Om, saying it is used by monastics to destroy hs source of material attachments. Here's a quote from him. 

 

Thanks for sharing. This teacher is a joke who only wishes to limit and control his prospective clients.

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As far as I understand it, there are three ways mantra work. And one ‘false’ way that still has some genuine benefits.

 

1) Through the vibrational quality of the sound. The key here is to understand the correct tones and pronunciations. AUM is an example of this type of mantra. The sound produced is not just the auditory tone but the internal vibration necessary for making this tone. Eventually you lose the auditory tone and continue with the vibration silently. Eventually the sound (and light) starts to be generated internally.

 

2) Through empowerment. The same mantra chanted by two different people in the same way will have profoundly different effects in one who has been given an empowerment or a transmission connected to the power behind this mantra.

 

3) Repetition through thousands of generations. By being repeated over and over in a devotional setting, a mantra can generate power over thousands of years just by the sheer momentum of the attention given to it by millions of sincere people.

 

4) The ‘false’ way. This works on the principle that repeating any sound over and over will produce a sort of hypnotic trance. This can be quite a relief to an overactive and stressed mind.

 

Most effective mantra work through all these aspects together. I had a teacher who used mantra a lot. He would sit with me for hours correcting the sounds, the tones and the inner vibration until I got it right. And the difference between getting it right and close was spectacular. 
 

Reading the the words and repeating them… or even having a mantra whispered to you in a TM class - how effective can these really be? This probably rests on how well you respond to trance and how stressed out your mind is.

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