Mantras on a gross level are special sound patterns. On a deeper level they are much more. Together with mandalas and yantras, mantras are the most important aspects of tantra. They are the essence of practical tantra. Almost invariably, mantras and mandalas or yantras are utilized in conjunction with each other to form powerful combinations. A mandala, yantra or devata is the form of consciousness, while the mantra is the vehicle of consciousness. The mandala, yantra or devata is the manifested form, configuration of Shakti, while the mantra, which is also Shakti, is the link between consciousness and form. This applies to everything in the world around us. The visible form is the expression while the mantra is the vehicle of expression. The mantra is the direct link with the beyond. The world we know is materialized and shaped through mantras, through sound at all levels and degrees of subtlety, generally way beyond one’s usual perception of sound. The mantras originate in the consciousness substratum of Shiva. And there is absolutely no reason why mantras cannot be used to retrace the direction of manifestation so that one again merges with consciousness. A train that goes from here to Delhi can also be used to return. A mantra is therefore a means to make a U-turn and retrace one’s footsteps, one’s path back to the source. A mantra can and does transport one from low levels of awareness to higher levels.
Most people are unfamiliar with the science of mantras. Conversely, if a person is familiar with mantras they usually lack personal experience, or even worse, they associate mantras with sorcery and witchcraft. People often have concepts and visions of witches chanting incantations and making spells while stirring some evil brew in a big round pot, intent on some mischief, perhaps with the broomstick ready so that they can quickly fly off into the nether worlds. Such is the non-sense, superstition and misunderstanding that surrounds the use of mantras. And this is a great pity for they can help to transform one’s life. Like mandalas, mantras imply far more than is understood on first impression. They can bring about experiences that cannot even be talked about. They are often described as specific sound structures, but there is far more inherent in mantras for they extend their influence into the realms of the subtle. In a sense, their roots are in the subtle and their branches are in the more gross levels of existence. It is only at low levels of awareness that they are seen and understood as mere sound patterns. They are far, far more.
Actually, the use of mantra is a science, a very wonderful science. In the past this science was widely practised in all parts of the world. In recent years it has been sadly neglected as people become more and more attached to gross and materialistic explanations of phe-nomena. But the science of mantras is being revived and will bring vast repercussions in the world of the future. This must happen, for it is the power of mantras that can unlock the secrets of nature and the universe. Mantras will be used as a scientific tool, in the same way that light and lasers, and electron microscopes are currently used to peer into the deeper realms of nature.
The inner being of every individual is in continual contact with something much greater than the limitations of individuality. Most people are never aware of this; it is beyond normal levels of awareness. Mantras bring about a state of ‘resonance’ between the individual and the depths of the inner being. Psychologists would say that the individual tunes in with his collective unconscious. Mantras are the means to harmonize with these inner cosmic forces. Specific mantras are used to contact particular realms of the inner being.
Again don’t make the mistake of thinking that this power of mantras is confined to tantra, for it definitely is not. It is an integral part of many eastern systems, including Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc. It is also a part of systems throughout the world, including western systems, though it is usually hidden in esoteric language and symbols.