Mantra is a word or a series of words; it is a thought; it is a prayer, but not in the sense in which the word “prayer” is used ordinarily, but rather a linkage of our lower consciousness with the higher consciousness, which we call the Divine Consciousness, or the Divine Life-Force. A mantra is a sound-unit, a thought-unit. It is a sound or a series of sounds given to a Yoga student or disciple to remember constantly for a specific spiritual purpose. In our interior map of the web of consciousness, the energy of consciousness takes two forms: sound and light. At a certain stage the sound and the light energy are entwined or unified. At the present stage of our development, they are experienced differently from each other, so we begin with the sound of a mantra. The initiation into light comes a little later.
In the Raja Yoga meditation system, as taught by the Himalayan yogis, what follows are the steps of meditation. They constitute the foundation. The reader’s ego may want to say: “I have been practicing meditation for a decade or two, I want something more advanced, I do not need elementary lessons.” This attitude is incorrect.
At some point in one's spiritual progress an urge to silence arises uninvited; a wave that carries the mind self-wards, atman-wards.
In all spiritual traditions the aspirant is assigned periods of silence, not to speak of the masters who have maintained total silence for their entire life-spans.
Silence is not merely an absence of speech. It is a fullness of the mind; the mind filled with the flow of an energy stream rising from within. For such a silence one needs guidance, because there is a science to practicing silence that many are not aware of.
When all sit together at the same time even in different parts of the world, they connect to the Universal Guru mind and generate a strong field, like so many magnets being joined together and forming a much stronger magnet; the strength of each then equals the combined strength of all.
If one were to ask: on which science the Indian sages have done the most thinking, short of meditation itself, the answer would be ‘psychology’, understanding mind. It has been done not by objective observations alone. The sages have used themselves as guinea pigs. They led their own mind through various states of sentiments (bhavas), concentrations, visualizations, silent recitations and other interior devices and observed their effects on the mind. Of these methods and devices we shall speak later in greater detail. Here we continue with attempting to understand the definition of mind and its stages.