Tag Archive | Discipline

How to Detox with Mantra (3/3)

This is the third and final part of a multi-post article; click here for the first part. Click here for the second part.

Are you ready for Mantra Detox?

Mantra Detox! Part Trois.

In my prior posts on performing a spiritual detox with mantras, we established a theoretical framework as:

  1. Increase discipline and curb one’s desire for excess;
  2. Burn negative karma;
  3. Build character and Bhakti.

The first step was covered in the prior post as pursuing the blessings of Ganesha and Rama; the second was to pray to your chosen deity, or alternatively, use the Gayatri mantra to effect a karma burn.

Building character and Bhakti 

What is Bhakti? Many have written excellent articles and deep theses on such a broad topic. For the purposes for simplicity, we can take it to mean spiritual devotion. How is this developed? One can say that Bhakti is the third step of spritual advancement; the prior two being intellectual introspection and study (Jnana), and physical preparation (the well known concept of Yoga).

One method I have previously highlighted is prayer to the ultimate Bhakta – Hanuman (click here). To flesh out the detail, however, a classical point of reference is the 11 point step-by-step method revealed by Sri Ramanuja, the well-known Rishi, outlined below:

  1. Abhyasa or practice of continuous thinking of God;
  2. Viveka or discrimination;
  3. Vimoka or freedom from everything else and longing for God;
  4. Satyam or truthfulness;
  5. Arjavam or straightforwardness;
  6. Kriya or doing good to others;
  7. Kalyana or wishing well-being to all;
  8. Daya or compassion;
  9. Ahimsa or non-injury;
  10. Dana or charity; and
  11. Anavasada or cheerfulness and optimism.

Each step is a vast ocean of explanation unto itself; for the purposes of brevity, I will leave the reader to pursue his/her own research.

Mantras for Effecting the Transformation of Character

Character is one again Hanuman’s strong point (click here for prior post). There are other options, however, for example through the grace of Lakshmi. Lakshmi is a goddess traditionally associated with material wealth. Yet wealth does not stop at materiality; it subtends far further into the wealth of knowledge, wisdom, ability and of course, wealth of character. For what is the worth of wealth without the wisdom to spend it?

In a prior post, the Shreem mantra was proposed as a powerful method of attracting abundance through the grace of Lakshmi. One further method is the Lakshmi Gayatri; see my post here for the details.

With these broad strokes one should be able to establish a firm foundation for  development along the spiritual path once the poison of prior negative karmas and old useless thought patterns are shed.

Future posts will aim to elaborate on these points in more detail.

Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow me on Twitter @MantraYogi.

How to Detox with Mantra (2/3)

This is the second part of a multi-post article; click here for the first part.

Are you ready to Detox with Mantras?

Mantra Detox! Part Deux.

In my prior post on performing a spiritual detox with mantras, we established a theoretical framework as:

  1. Increase discipline and curb one’s desire for excess;
  2. Burn negative karma;
  3. Build character and Bhakti.

The first step was covered in the prior post as pursuing the blessings of Ganesha and Rama.

Burning Karma – the root cause of pre-destiny

For the second step, we look into how to remove the burden of Karma. Karma is a well known concept in both the Eastern and Western schools of thought. In the east, its specified as the multi-birth repercussions of actions in your past lives. In the West, it can be simplified to: “what goes around, comes around”.

Why is this important? An enlightened master once told me that bad karma puts you on the downward slope toward difficulty and pain. Your positive actions and willpower can help you resist gravity and prevent yourself from rolling down the hill; but it takes twice as much effort to move up the hill. In essence, removing the burden of negative karma, puts you back on a level playing ground to allow you to freely move toward your personal goals.

So let’s deal with it! Broadly speaking, one may say any good deed helps you burn karma (this idea is loosely what is known as Karma Yoga). An equally effective technology is Japa Yoga – the practise of chanting mantra – which we will deal with here.

Mantras to burn Karma

The process in itself is simple: choose a mantra and burn that Karma! The grace of any deity will ultimately allow you to achieve this. But some mantras are more effective than others for the simple reason that some deities are more powerful than others and some mantras are more powerful than others.

In this context, why not aim for the best? The two most powerful mantras from the Veda are the Gayatri Maha Mantra and the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Their workings and meanings are complex, but suffice to say, they are well known to be the most universal and power means of destroying negative karma.

Reams have been written on both – a quick internet search will yield the methods, pronunciation and some beautiful commentaries. I will be summarising these soon in later posts.

Next article: Stage 3 – (Re)-building Character and Instilling Bhakti !

Until then, comments and feedback are welcome. Follow me on Twitter @MantraYogi.

How to Detox with Mantra (1/3)

Are you ready for Mantra Detox?

Material abundance is not a bad thing…but can easily be abused.

It is undoubted we live in a culture of excess. In the Western world, food, drink, drugs and material possessions are frequently consumed to the point of personal harm. Moreover, the exposure of youngsters and youth to such excess is increasing while role models are clearly lacking.

This is nothing new and I will save you the sermon! But the effect is clear. Consumption in excess causes our self-discipline to wane, selfishness to increase and ultimately causes us to wander from the spiritual path.

Mantra Detox!

For those who want to step back, regain some control over their lives and reduce the excess, I first propose a detox!

What is detox? It is the process of lowering the toxicity of one’s blood through: (1) preventing yourself from introducing more toxins into your system; (2) removing the remaining toxins; (3) introducing positive agents to nourish and strengthen you.

The spiritual aspirant can follow a similar path: (1) increase discipline and curb one’s desire for excess; (2) burn negative karma; (3) build character and Bhakti.

Stage 1 will be addressed in this article; stage 2 and 3 will follow in later posts.

Discipline is freedom

Discipline has many negative connotations in the West, such as tying oneself down to a routine, lacking creativity, and perhaps harsh judgement or treatment for those who cannot conform. However, for those that practise it, (borrowing heavily from Tony Robbins at this point…!) discipline is freedom: it means that when you tell yourself to do something, you have the focus and drive to get it done!

How to we improve our discipline? After millennia of contemplation, the Rishis (Seers, or more broadly, spiritual teachers) have instructed us that stilling our minds is the key first step.

Let’s keep this simple. Ganesha, the Lord of beginnings and the Mind addresses both requirements neatly.  Why? Simplistically, Ganesha’s vahana (mount or vehicle) is a rodent. A rodent is fast, unruly, mischievous and difficult to catch – this is a strong metaphor for the human mind. Worship of Ganesha, who has mounted the rodent, is mastery of the mind. See other articles on the symbolism behind the worship of Ganesha and a mantra here.  Once the mind is under control, your willpower increases and discipline improves.

What would Jesus do? What would Rama do?

Have you ever seen anyone wearing a bracelet which has the letters: “WWJD?” inscribed on it? I found out a while back that this means: “What Would Jesus Do?”. The point being, whenever one is unsure, seeing the words on your wrist lead you to look to the life of inspirational spiritual teacher for guidance. I am sure that this incredible technology can be used by everyone – not just those of the Christian faith.

So how would one apply such a concept to the Hindu faith? Rama and Hanuman present excellent choices. Whilst Rama is widely recognised by most Hindus to be the Avatar of Vishnu, more generally, he can also be appreciated as the perfect man who followed the idea of Dharma (right conduct) to the letter and embodied its spirit, judging by the way he dealt with ever more difficult decisions throughout the epic Ramayana. Hanuman, in being the greatest bhakta (devotee) of Rama, symbolises the spiritual aspirant in all of us, striving for such perfection. Praying to Hanuman helps us to have the courage to do what we known deep inside is the right thing, and the perfect complement to the worship of Ganesha to this degree. I have just posted a mantra for Hanuman here.

Next article: Stage 2 – Burning Karma!

Until then, comments and feedback are welcome. Follow me on Twitter @MantraYogi.

Why Worship Ganesha?

Ganesha - Always the first deity to be worshipped before any new endeavor

Ganesha is always first

Ganesha is the Elephant headed God in Hinduism. There are many explanations for the significance of his form. Such as here

Ganesha is a very popular deity not least because he is the first to be worshipped when embarking on new ventures or journeys to ensure a smooth launch or passage.

In essence, the benefits to worshipping Ganesha are to remove obstacles. There are many times in life when we find ourselves with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in our path. Other benefits are improved discipline, memory and greater foresight to name a few.

He is also the Lord of Siddhis. Intense worship of Ganesha places one on the path to achieving supernatural powers.

Examples of mantras are his Gayatri mantra and his bija mantra.

I would greatly recommend beginners focus their efforts on the following sloka instead of heafing straight into the mantra.

“Gajananam Bhoota Ganadi Sevitam,
Kapittha Jambo phalasara bhakshitam
Umasutam Shoka Vinasha karanam
Namami Vighneswara pada pangajam”

A meaning is provided here.

The sloka gains you the grace of Ganesha and once siddhi of the mantra is gained it reminds you of anything you have forgotten – like an instant memory tonic! It provides a fantastic taste of the things to come on the path to mantra mastery.

More to follow later.

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