From time immemorial, the idea of the Sacred Word of divine sound has been the source of wonder, excitement, and mystery. The Sacred Word and its power to illuminate and transform is the core of spirituality in the Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Sufi, and Islamic traditions. In the yogic tradition, sacred words are called mantra — literally “the word which protects by being repeated.” Through the Vedic and Tantric traditions of India, The Power of Mantra and the Mystery of Initiation explores the Sacred Word — mantra — and unveils the mystery of mantra initiation.
Making this 6,000 year old esoteric science both accessible and practical, Pandit Tigunait tells us how we can use mantra to bring about a sense of peace and total well-being, as well as to unfold our higher spiritual selves. Using stories drawn from his own experience and the lives of the great saints and sages, his explanations enable us to differentiate the ancient, enriching tradition of mantra science from the glitzy, new-age imitations that promise everything but deliver only disappointment.
Seekers from all times and traditions have completed the journey from individual to cosmic, from transitory pleasures to eternal joy, and from intellect to intuition through the science of mantra. This book is for anyone who longs to join them.
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D., is the Spiritual Head of the Himalayan Institute, a life-long practitioner of meditation, and a scholar of the ancient scriptures. He is a disciple of Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas, and has studied with various adepts and scholars in the ancient guru/disciple lineage. He is a regular contributor to Yoga International magazine and is the author of the books Seven Systems of Indian Philosophy, Yoga on War and Peace, The Tradition of the Himalayan Masters, Shakti Sadhana, and Inner Quest. He gives lectures and seminars throughout the United States and abroad.
This book was first conceived as a
spiritual diary, a mirror in which to see the reflection of my own mind and spiritual self. Initially it emerged in the form of a simple, but deep, contemplative thought as I saw fear, doubt, insecurity; and guilt in a student who visited me for mantra initiation in the fall of 1993.
This man had been coming to the Himalayan Institute, where I am a teacher, for several years. He took weekend courses on meditation, the science of breath, and hatha yoga, and finally he spent a month in residence. He asked for an appointment for mantra initiation only after a long debate with himself, as I found out later. So when the day came I initiated him into mantra meditation, following the instructions of my master. Afterwards, I invited him to come and see me if he had any questions after practicing the mantra. A few days later, he came and shared his experience with me. It was not a particularly uncommon experience, but somehow it released a flood of thought I had never experienced before.
The student reported that since receiving mantra initiation he had been experiencing a great sense of joy. His concentration was good, and as the sound of the mantra emerged in his mind his entire being was infused with peace. He realized that he had at last found the peace and tranquility he had been seeking for so long. But after a day or two, fear set in. He began thinking, “Is this a magical spell? It is too peaceful. Will I be able to enjoy life as I used to? How will I be able to relate to my friends, who live a wild life? This kind of joy might suck me into yoga completely. I want to be happy, but I do not want to lose my competitive edge in business or the kind of self I used to cherish.”
During our conversation this gentleman shared something else with me: He was scared of my master and the sages of our lineage. During the initiation I had said, “On behalf of my master, Sri Swami Rama, and the sages of the lineage this mantra is given to you.” This statement and the peace he experienced during and after the initiation led him to believe that Swamiji must be an unbelievably powerful person. His reasoning was that if Pandit Rajmani could do such things on his behalf;, what would happen if Swamiji himself initiated someone?
In addition to harboring these doubts and fears, he was also feeling guilty because he was attempting to find God in a domain that was not part of his background. I attempted to console him by reminding him of what Christ says in the fourth chapter of Mark: “The sower soweth the word. . . . but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”
“My friend,” I continued, “You were looking for peace, tranquility of mind, and one-pointedness. Through the grace of God you got them. Try not to lose them. Your fears, doubts, insecurities, and guilt are baseless. The seed of the word is there. Let it grow and blossom.
“Try to analyze the source of your fear. Isn’t it that you are afraid of being fearless, clear, one-pointed, and self-loving? Isn’t it that you are afraid of doubting your doubt or confronting your own negativity? Ask yourself, What’s wrong if I’m happy?’
“As far as your fear of spiritual teachers is concerned, please remember that a human being has no power. It is the might of the Almighty that manifests in the form of love, compassion, kindness, and knowledge in human hearts. These godly virtues can never have an adverse effect on us. No entity other than God has the power to exert any kind of influence on us—God alone is the power of all powers, the pooi of primordial divine energy. To be fearful of anyone is to block the flow of divine radiance.
“Therefore, I advise you to continue doing your mantra lovingly, respectfully, and faithfully. Please don’t let the Satan living in the unlit corner of your mind drag the idea of Sri Swamiji, other sages, or me into your spiritual crisis. Counsel the brighter part of your soul to emerge victorious in this inner baffle. Let the soul, not the mind—which is inflicted with fear, doubt, insecurity, and guilt—decide whether or not you follow the path of meditation.”
This gentlemen left a few days after our conversation. I do not know what path he chose, but this incident lingered in my mind. For some reason the feeling generated by this simple encounter continued to intensify. A tiny wave was turning into a tide, and the fact that Sri Swamiji was not in residence at the Institute was causing that tide to gain momentum.
It was at this time that Swamiji shifted his energy wholly to the Himalayan Institute Hospital, a charitable project in the foothills of the Himalayas. Never before in the twenty-five years he had worked in the West had he focused so one-pointedly on a project in India. This drastic change in his working style was a clear indication that he would be spending most of
his time in India and very little in any other part of the world. This unspoken decision was apparently affecting the minds and hearts of a large number of students in a fashion similar to the way the gentleman who had come for initiation had been affected. I watched as a cloud of fear, doubt, anger, and insecurity began swirling around.
One day, as I was walking home from my office, I found myself totally absorbed in the world of my own thoughts. “Are the manifestations of these tendencies necessary stages in our spiritual quest? What brings us to this path, and what causes us to leave it? What motivates us to become great seekers for a while, yet why do most of us eventually turn against that which we so dearly sought?”
With these questions turning in my mind, I began re-reading scriptures I had read many times in the past: the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Vasishtha, and the Upanishads. The questions I had been contemplating were so compelling that it seemed as I read that they were looking for answers on their own. And each time the answers manifested in the scriptures, I heard the affirming voices of Sri Swamiji and other great souls—Swami Krishnananda, Sadananda, and Chaitanya Prakashananda—who had in the past kindly and unconditionally guided me on the path.
I noticed that the answers to all my questions centered around two central themes. The first theme was to be careful of fear and doubt. Fear and doubt are like an army of termites chewing away at the foundation and causing the entire structure of spirituality to collapse. The second theme was that ego and selfishness are the greatest enemies. In fact they are the commanders—they organize anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, and the desire for revenge, commanding them to create both inner and outer turmoil.
Some people are disappointed and discouraged to find that the scriptures and the saints stress our negative qualities. At first it may seem that they had a pessimistic attitude toward spirituality, but as I thought about it I began to realize that this is not the case: the scriptures are neither pessimistic nor optimistic; they are neither negative nor positive—they are simply stating facts. If we know these facts, we can continue our journey without becoming discouraged.
A passage in the monumental work the Ramayana, by the medieval Indian saint Tulsidas, helped me to organize my thoughts and delve further into the subject of spirituality with an objective attitude.
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