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A mantra concentrates the mind, bringing all the diffused rays of the mind together.
By chanting a mantra one gathers power; there is no doubt about this.
You can make up your own mantra if you want to; the words in a mantra have no significance at all. Words and meanings are not what mantras are about; the whole purpose of the mantra is to concentrate your mind. So, any ordinary phrase, any meaningless word, can serve as a mantra.
Whatever mantra you use, it makes no difference, because the whole purpose of the mantra is to concentrate your mind.
Let us understand what a mantra does.
When you chant a mantra, all the energy used in your thoughts is released to flow into the mantra. Only the mantra remains in your mind; all other avenues of thought are closed, all other outlets for your mental energy are shut off; there is nowhere else for it to flow.
Normally, when you are thinking, your energy flows in countless different currents; one thought travels North, another South, another East, another West. When you think, you travel in many different directions. You are not one, you are not a unity; you are divided. But, when you chant a mantra, all the energy begins to flow in one direction.
If we use a lens to converge the rays of the sun, fire can be created. The fire is hidden in the sun rays, but when they are separate, at the most some heat can be created, not fire. It is when they are concentrated together that the fire appears. In just the same way there is a great fire hidden in your mind, but as long as the rays of the mind are separate, only a little heat is there. Mantra is a method to concentrate the rays of your mind together. The moment this happens great heat and tremendous amount of energy is created.
If you consistently practice a mantra, many phenomena relating to energy and power will begin to happen in your life, and they will provide great nourishment to your ego. Whatever you predict will come true, whatever you describe will happen exactly as you have said; if you curse it will come to pass; if you grant a wish it will come true, because so much energy and power is concentrated in you that your statements begin to materialise. The only reason for their materialisation is that when a person can invest great power in the things s/he says, his/her words enter directly into the unconscious of the listener – the arrow flies straight to the other’s heart. And, when anything reaches the heart it starts taking effect.
Once your words begin to come true, your confidence will grow and you will feel ever more powerful. The more your words come true, the more you will feel yourself to be full of some divine power, some siddhi – the power to do miracles. This confidence will strengthen your mantra, and the mantra will increase your confidence; slowly you will come to experience many powers. Yoga has named these experiences of power as siddhis.
These siddhis are the greatest obstacle on the way to realisation. Patanjali has mentioned them in the Yoga Sutras, so that one can keep clear of them. Never move in that direction; if you have, then come back – the sooner the better, because all the time spent in their company is time wasted, and every time you travel further in that direction, the coming back becomes more and more difficult.
My own point is that the world means the search for power, the search for siddhis; godliness means the search for peace, the search for emptiness – and, in this search you slowly disappear and dissolve. But, in pursuit of siddhis you will still be there in the end, and there will be no trace of godliness. In pursuit of peace, in the end, you will not remain; only godliness will remain. It is out of necessity that one of the two has to disappear, the two cannot exist simultaneously.
Yes, the power-trip into siddhis will strengthen you, and this is why those who practice the use of mantras seem to be so full of ego. The ego of the rich man does not even compare, nor that of the politician who prides himself on his position. And, there is a good reason for this. Money can be snatched away, money can be stolen; what is the value of money? And, one cannot rely too much on a political post. It is here today, tomorrow it may not be. But, the power of a mantra is more reliable. No thief can steal it, no public opinion can change its status. The power of the mantra depends solely on your own mind, not on anyone else. So, you can feel more powerful, more self-reliant, standing on your own two feet.
A seeker after siddhis has already gone astray, though there is going to be much in it to interest him/her – the ego is always ready to be fascinated by such matters. An ant was coming towards you, and through willpower you altered its course; the ego is highly impressed by such feats, even though the act in itself is of no importance at all.
Mantras are a source of power, and it is true that all the religions have devised mantras, because all religions fall from the search for peace to search for power. So, I don’t give you any mantra – nor do I have any to give you, because a mantra is given when the search is for siddhis, for power and prosperity. I am not going to strengthen your mind; I am going to dissolve it. I will cut into it, and then wait for the layers to peel off one by one. Just as the layers of an onion are peeled off, so the layers of your mind will gradually drop away until finally the whole onion has disappeared. Nothing of the mind will remain, and you will have attained the emptiness.
How to dissolve you – this is the great mantra. Concentration will make you more solid, meditation will dissolve you.