Use of Mantras
Let us see how far we
can help ourselves in this difficult work. I will draw your attention
to one fact which is of enormous help to the beginner.
Your vehicles are ever
restless. Every vibration in the vehicle produces a corresponding
change in consciousness. Is there any way to check these vibrations,
to steady the vehicle, so that consciousness may be still? One method
is the repeating of a mantra. A mantra is a mechanical way of checking
vibration. Instead of using the powers of the will and of imagination,
you save these for other purposes, and use the mechanical resource
of a mantra. A mantra is a definite succession of sounds. Those
sounds, repeated rhythmically over and over again in succession,
synchronise the vibrations of the vehicles into unity with themselves.
Hence a mantra cannot be translated; translation alters the sounds.
Not only in Hinduism, but in Buddhism, in Roman Catholicism, in
Islam, and among the Parsis, mantras are found, and they are never
translated, for when you have changed the succession and order of
the sounds, the mantra ceases to be a mantra. If you translate the
words, you may have a very beautiful prayer, but not a mantra. Your
translation may be beautiful inspired poetry, but it is not a living
mantra. It will no longer harmonise the vibrations of the surrounding
sheaths, and thus enable the consciousness to become still. The
poetry, the inspired prayer, these are mentally translatable. But
a mantra is unique and untranslatable. Poetry is a great thing:
it is often an inspirer of the soul, it gives gratification to the
ear, and it may be sublime and beautiful, but it is not a mantra.