Mantra and The Modern Man by Prabha Duneja

Mantra and The Modern Man

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Mantra and The Modern Man
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PRARHA DUNEJA, founder and president of the Geeta Society, is also an active member of the Women's Federation for World Peace and the United Nations Association USA. Mrs. Duneja is a recipient of the Global Citizen award, given by UNA-USA for her tireless efforts on behalf of schools and orphanages in India and Africa. She travels extensively and is a frequent speaker at the Commonwealth Club San Francisco, the Parliament of World's Religions, schools, universities, temples, churches, mosques, yoga retreats, and religious conferences.

Mrs. Duneja, a graduate of the Sanskrit University of Kurukshetra, is a noted Vedic scholar and a devotee of Lord Krishna. She is the author of numerous books and has also recorded several series of lectures on The Bhagawad Geeta, the secret powers of mantra, and the science of yoga and meditation. Her monumental books, The Legacy of Yoga in Bhagawad Geeta and Hinduism: Scriptures and Practices have made a powerful impact on readers in the Western literary world and are used in college and university classrooms. She is recognized for her ability to shed light on the time-honored ancient philosophies of Hinduism.


A Mantra is like an atom of uranium, pulsating with enormous latent energy. This energy can be released when the devotee who repeatedly recites the Mantra, becomes one with its vibrations. At the beginning of the creation when there was neither day nor night and nothing existed, totally windless, by itself, the One breathed. Those vibrations condensed in finer, and gradually grosser forms. The forms acquired names and the world of numerous names and forms came into being. In Mantrajap-the repeated recitation of a mnemonic phrase-this process is reversed. Concentrating upon the meaning of the Mantra, rising above names and forms, and penetrating through the grosser vibrations, the person reaches the subtler spiritual realms of the One without a second.

The mantra is the abode of God and helps in realizing Him. It is a special type of energy capsuled in the primordial sound of certain words, or letters. The Vedas say that in the beginning was Prajapati, the Brahma, and the Word was verily the supreme Brahma. The Rgveda says that Vac, the Word, is Brahma, enveloping the entire creation. According to a meditation given in the Miiitdaka Upanisad vac viritasca Vedah-the Vedas are His speech. The same sentiment is repeated in the Mandiikya Upanisad which brings about harmony between ourselves and the world. From the point of view of the Upanisad, there is no unbridgeable gulf between the individual and the cosmos, the Jiva and Ishvara, the microcosm and macrocosm, the Pinda and Brahmanda. Through a Mantra, one can bridge the gap between the two. It is a link between the Pinda and Brahmanda. The Bible says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Mantrajap should be done by meditating upon the meaning of the Mantra. Then the thoughts start taking the shape of the words and their meaning and help the intellect to flow into transcendental consciousness. In a state of superconsciousness, Indian philosophers have `visualized' various cakras on the spinal cord, each having a specific shape, color, and letters. By special Mantrajap these chakras are stimulated, activated, and give supernatural powers to the person.

Prabha Duneja has immortalized herself by earlier writing a remarkable commentary on The Song Celestial-Srimad Bhagawad Geeta of Lord Krsna. In that elaborate dissertation-The Legacy of Yoga in Bhagawad Geeta-she has proved Rudyard Kipling wrong and brought the East and West together by freely drawing from the philosophical font of both. By relating oriental philosophy with the thoughts of some Western thinkers she has shown that at the pinnacle of the spiritual pyramid, there is no plateau but only a point where all views converge into universal unity. Her commentary has been well-received in India, America, and Europe.

The popularity of her Mantra & The Modern Man is evident from the fact that ever since its first publication in 1994, the book has gone through several editions. A Mantra, she explains, contains inspired words revealed to Indian rishis in a state of transcendental consciousness. The Mantra, therefore, has a spiritual aura and is imbued with powerful vibrations. By concentrating on the meaning of the Mantra and repeating it over and over again, the person is enveloped by those vibrations which elevate and enlighten him. A Mantra is a stepping-stone on the path of spiritual attainments.

When a Mantra, says the author, is passed on to an aspirant by a realized soul at the initiation ceremony, it acquires a spiritual force. That force is drawn from the long lineage of the guru. But it does not make it incumbent on the devotee to physically serve the guru and support his theology or mission.


Among ancient Vedic spiritual traditions, the most enriching, fulfilling, rewarding, and precious is the practice of Mantra Jap. A tradition so rich in significance as that of Mantra Jap, needs to be explained and understood by each new generation in relation to their contemporary lifestyle. A Mantra is derived by Yaska from the word manana, which means "thinking" and by that, the contemplation of God is attempted. It is a vehicle of spiritual illumination, in the form of self-realization and God-realization. Mantra Jap is meant to uplift the life of an aspirant from the lower levels of the ego-centric self to the loftier heights of the Universal Self. It helps us to live in the light of pure awareness. It provides a new direction to our thoughts and channelizes them into more blissful and productive thinking. Mantra Jap strengthens our unity with the Self. It is the most positive and beneficial instrument that can slowly bring all kinds of positive changes in our awareness. It helps in concentration and the one-pointedness of our mind in meditation. It helps us to enjoy sahaja avastha which is our birthright as human beings. In the words of Swami Vishnudeva Nanda: "A Mantra is a mystical energy encased in a sound structure. Its vibrations directly affect the chakras or the energy centers of the body. It steadies the mind and leads to the stillness of meditation. A Mantra generates creative force and bestows eternal Bliss. A Mantra when constantly repeated awakens the consciousness."

When we are in tune with Mantra, the whole universe around us becomes peaceful and friendly. In the words of Ellison Banks, "Mantras formulated in the heart is true, not just because they capture the truth of some cosmological occurrence but because they themselves have participated, and continue to participate, in these same cosmological events." Mantra Jap helps us to experience the essence of something which is real and yet waiting to be revealed to us; something so close to our heart yet seems so far off. These words of Tagore also support the idea:

"...Open the inner door of the shrine,

light the candle, and let us meet there,

in silence before our God..."

This is how my Mantra came to me.

Ever since the day of initiation from my revered Guru, there has been a desire in me to share my experience of Mantra Jap with other people. My Mantra is not just a sound, a syllable, or a set of words. It is a living reality for me. It is my best friend and the most reliable guide. Ever since it started penetrating the chambers of my heart I have had the feeling of undergoing a transformation every day. The impurities, the fears, and the insecurities are fading, and I feel more integrated and confident than ever before.

Although we can start our spiritual quest according to our choice with verbal prayer, bhajan, and yajna slowly we need something short and concise, brief but comprehensive in expression, which can envelop our entire thinking faculty, and the Mantra recitation does it.

As far as the superiority of Mantra Jew over prayer is concerned, I strongly believe that Mantra Jai is definitely more effective in calming thoughts. In prayer, there remains a gap between I the worshipper, and God the worshipped, whereas the Mantra Jai, bridges that gap. Prayer is an elementary method of spiritual communion. Prayer definitely purifies the Antahkaran (thinking faculty), but the method of Mantra Jap is a very unique way of establishing unity with the inner self. It leads one from the gross to the subtle and to the subtle most Self.

It brings total self-unfoldment and also gives us the strength to deal with it, because with Mantra Jap.

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