Mantras are a phrase or word that is repeated over and over again during meditation. They are meant to assist the user in reaching a higher state of consciousness, especially as relates to the particular mantra being used. It is a very widely used technique, especially in Tibetan, Sufi, Hindu and Orthodox Christian traditions. Sogyal Rinpoche said in the book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, “Mantra is the essence of sound and the embodiment of the truth in the form of sound. Each syllable is impregnated with spiritual power, condenses a spiritual truth and vibrates with the blessing of the speech of the Buddha’s […] So, when you chant a mantra, you are charging your breath and energy with the energy of the mantra.”
The chanting of a mantra is believed to cleanse the negativity in the person chanting it. It is considered yoga for the mind. It also brings blessing to the chanter. It is also believed that sound waves travel from the person’s mouth and invoke powerful and particular cosmic forces, much the way a magic word like “abracadabra” did in fairy tales. The Sanskrit alphabet is believed to carry special properties in each of its fifty letters. In Tibetan Buddhism, certain sounds are believed to call particular deities to you. The word mantra comes from the Sanskrit “mantrana,” meaning advice or suggestion. A mantra suggests to the mind the meanings in the phrase and the mind responds to its interpretation of that meaning. Mantras that were used by followers of particular gurus were called mahamantras (great mantras) because it was believed that the mantra held an especially potent power to influence the mind of the user….
Mudras: Self-Healing In Our Own Hands
To pursue a path of peace and spiritual growth, one first must find the peace and inner strength that lies within one’s body and spirit. The techniques of Mudras, the ancient art that is yoga for the hands, are picture tools that identify the deeper meanings of pursuing such a path.
A mudra is a bodily posture or symbolic gesture. In any and all pictures and statues of Buddha, Jesus, Mahavir, Shiva, and any spiritual icon are shown with the hands and fingers curled in a specific posture. Portrayals of Moses show him using the mudras that symbolize blessing, divine protection, knowledge, and receiving guidance from the divine.
Yoga is an ancient art and systematic science. Its purpose is to facilitate the union of one’s will with God’s will. The central teaching of yoga is that man’s true nature is divine, perfect, and infinite. Yoga is a scientific method for making man realize his true nature, and for reuniting the individual soul with the Universal Spirit, thus bringing discipline into one’s life. The yoga for the hands, mudras, allows the practitioner to communicate specific intent within this context. Like Yoga, they align the spirit with that intent, but unlike yoga, mudras can be practiced anywhere at anytime, and can even be incorporated into one’s own lexicon of communication actions to bring spiritual dimension to one’s life.
Mudras are hand gestures that impart the expression of thought and emotion. The hand postures of the mudras are designed to re-channel breath and energy into various areas of the physical body, energy body, and mental body. Such finger postures not only have a therapeutic effect on the mind-body system but also accentuate mental keenness and acuity.
The purpose of mudras is to actualize certain inner states so that they can anticipate their physical expression. The intent the hand positions symbolize allows the practitioner to bring their visualization into a physical manifestation. The manifestation assists the practitioner in bringing about a connection between the practitioner and the energy, entity or deity visualized in a given practice. In Buddhism the mudras accompany the performance of liturgies and the recitation of mantras. They also help to actualize certain inner states in that they anticipate their physical expression.
This is an excerpt from one of the 40 required bachelor’s courses in the University of Metaphysical Sciences curriculum.