The Magic of Silent Mantra
“The mind must be withdrawn from the sensory centers in the head and allowed to dive deep within until it reaches the base of the spine, where the power of the Goddess is held in the Earth of our being.” – David Frawley. Mantra Yoga and the Primal Sound: Secrets of Seed (Bija) Mantras. p. 52.
There are three common methods for using mantra or japa:
- Spoken (Externally Vocalized)
- Silent or Whispered, with Lips Moving
- Silent (Internal)
Most of us probably assume that the louder, more vocal method is most potent, but, as some of you may know, the contrary is true.
We have to remember that mantra is a tool of the manas. It’s intent is not so much to release the vibrations of mantra into the world around us as it is to contain it and affect our manas, our minds. We do this by thought, not by mouthing or vocalizing. We all know how easy it is to say one thing while thinking another. Silent mantra, remaining outwardly silent, removes the layer of discernment and expectation, of it’s materialized nature. Silent mantra can alter your subconscious mind. And silence, in general, as mauna, is an important form of tapas (self-discipline).
Initially mantra can be practiced aloud, after sometime it should be whispered. But the most profound effect on the mind comes from silent repetition of mantra. “Japa,” the Sanskrit word for repetition comes from the root “jap” which means to whisper. It is important to note that in some Indian systems Japa is broken into two primal roots, ‘Ja” and “Pa”. “Ja” can refer to the mind, or that which is born, and “Pa” can mean to protect. So in some yogic system japa can refer to protecting the mind. After sufficient practice and experience with mantra, then the aspirants mind is prepared for Dhyana. – Yogi Baba Prem Yogacharya, Veda Visharada. Light on Dyana.
Although silent, internal mantra is the most effective method for personal purposes, vocalizing still has it’s benefits. Doing so allows you to share the mantra with others and, when done in a group, can help form a collective resonance that may be unattainable when in isolation. It also directs the vibrations as prana and can be used to help move that prana, or energy. After all, our world, or reality, consists of vibration. It also helps us became comfortable and familiar with it’s pattern so we can more easily practice silent mantra. Like training wheels.
Mouthing mantra also has it’s benefits, as you reap the rewards of internal mantra while silently engaging your physical body. Because your body remains silent, your mind retains control over the mind-body relationship.