MA OM Meditation and Mantra Japa
A bright blue-green sea with the sun going down was the view facing Amma, where She sat under the palms, encircled by her devotees on the sand. After leading a short meditation, Amma answered a question asked by a brahmachari.
Question: What is the difference between mantra japa and the Ma Om technique as a sadhana (spiritual practice)?
Amma responded, “All these practices are for us to go deep inside ourselves. God and Guru are within, but the mind perceives the external world and misses the Truth. Amma remembers a story of a crow from her school days. A thirsty crow came across a pitcher in which the water level was too low for it to drink. Driven by thirst, the crow conceived of the idea of dropping stones into the pitcher to raise the level of the water. Because of its thirst, the crow made an effort. In the same way, our intense desire for God can bring out the Knowledge within us through self-effort and alertness.
Pretending to Sleep
“In today’s world, people pretend to be asleep. One can’t wake them. In the same way, we also are not yet ready to wake up. The disciple must open the door for the Master to enter,” Amma explained.
Amma went on to point out, “Our mind pulls us in all directions. Through the mantra, one tries to focus the mind, and through that we gain energy. As a magnifying glass converges the rays of the sun to a point of such an intensity that it can produce fire, so, through spiritual practices, one can gather much energy to do good for the world. If a normal person can be compared to a light bulb, a tapasvi (a serious practitioner) is like a transformer.”
Amma remembers a lawyer who had a habit of clicking his pen while arguing a case. The constant clicking relieved his tension, enabling him to focus, and he thereby won several cases. When he forgot the pen one day, his mental tension got the better of him, and his pathetic argument lost the case. The insignificant pen was helpful in easing his tensions. It may sound irrational but it had a practical value. So, these spiritual practices can help us to focus the mind.
“People speak of pranayama and claim that rapid breathing is good for concentration. If rapid breathing gives concentration, asthma patients would be Self-realized,” Amma joked. She continued, “We need to do practices with knowledge and awareness.”
Amma told how the Ma Om meditation dawned in Her. When she was small, she used to walk on the beach. The ebb and flow of the waves sounded to Her like Ma and Om. As She walked the beach, Ma Om became Her breath, continuous and automatic. Thus every step was meditation.
The Impatient Bird
Amma said, “People are so impatient. They jump to sudden conclusions. A bird at a harbor wanted to reach the other side. It saw a ship and, thinking the ship would take it across, perched on the mast. The ship left harbor, and it was some time before the bird realized it was far out to sea. It flew north, hoping to reach land, but after a time it got tired and flew back. No luck flying south either. At last, after trying both east and west, it had to stay with the ship. It was exhausted. Only when the ship returned to harbor could the bird reach its destination.
Had the bird had been patient and stayed with the ship, it would have been spared much trouble.” Amma concluded by saying, “Likewise, happiness lies within. Be steadfast in your practice. Practice regularly. When the awareness grows, we will merge into that Reality.”
Author: Amrita Yoga
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