Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Word (Part 3) - Evidence of Mantra Meditation In the Scriptures




Evidence of Mantra Meditation in the Scriptures

In ancient scripture, the words prayer and meditation were often used interchangeably. In fact, the word in Naad that is translated “I call upon” (namo/nameh) is also translated as “I bow to,” demonstrating that anciently, praise (meditation) was inextricably linked to all petitions to God (prayer). Only in modern times have these two words come to mean different things, which may cause some confusion unless you know how to look deeper. President David O. Mckay, a modern prophet and champion of meditation, points out many examples of meditation in the life of Jesus:

As soon as he was baptized . . . Jesus [went] to what is now known as the mount of temptation. I like to think of it as the mount of meditation where, during the forty days of fasting, he communed with himself and his Father, and contemplated upon the responsibility of his great mission. . . . Christ also meditated in solitude before he gave the beautiful Sermon on the Mount. . . . Again, after Jesus had fed the five thousand he told the Twelve to dismiss the multitude, but Jesus went to the mountain for solitude. . . . Meditation! Prayer! [24]

We find even more evidence of the use of mantra meditation in the account of Christ’s visit to the Americas in the Book of Mormon. As described above, mantra meditation with the primal sounds of the Sound Current can change your brain cells, purify the subconscious, and awaken the soul to a state of bliss. In the following example, we witness exactly this as a group of people, through the power of the Word, are quite literally and visibly changed to receive Christ in their image.
It begins during Christ’s visit to the America’s, the crowning event in the Book of Mormon. The people who had survived the three days of earthquakes and destruction after His death had gathered to the temple to marvel at the changes in the land. At this point, Christ came to them in glory. Christ is happy to see that people who assembled there were much more faithful than the people at Jerusalem had been, and the entire visit was full of miracles. After ordaining twelve disciples, Jesus prayed with them and then went a little ways off to pray for them to the Father.


And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire. (3 Nephi 19:24, emphasis added)

The words of this scripture are very interesting: the phrase “it was given unto them what they should pray” sounds awfully like they were given a mantra. And the phrase “they did not multiply many words” suggests that they may have been repeating what they were given, because they had been praying for some time and had to fill the time with something, if not many words, then perhaps a repetition of the same words. Sounds like a mantra.
When Christ returned and saw them still praying without ceasing, he blessed them and they were changed:

And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof. And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray (3 Nephi 19:25–26).



Jesus again prayed in private and thanked the Father for purifying the people. He then said a special prayer for the people and those the disciples would one day teach, that any who “believe on their words” would be purified in the same way, as if Jesus Christ were shining on them personally.[25] The purification that the twelve disciples (and later their people) experienced enabled them to establish one of the few known Zion societies, lasting for two hundred years.
The second time Jesus rejoined the multitude, they were still praying “steadfastly, without ceasing.” He smiled on them again, and they seemed to become even brighter. It is not surprising to me that they didn’t show any desire to stop praying. Mantra meditation for a long period has the power to take you beyond time and space. My experience tells me that the members of the multitude were probably feeling the ecstatic bliss of being purified and being one with God. This feeling may be what is meant by the statement “and they were filled with desire.” This is the experience of Wahe Guru!
I have loved this chapter in the Book of Mormon for years, even before I understood anything about meditation, because I was obsessed with the last few verses, which suggest an ineffable experience:

And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed. And their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed. Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man. (3 Nephi 19:32, 34)

Not having words to describe something was unfathomable to me. I had spent most of my life crafting with words. And yet I could not stop thinking about what the Nephites’ experience must have been like, an experience of words that was beyond words. It is not surprising that my journey led me to find out for myself one day . And now, Wahe Guru! I am filled with desire.

Other Important Effects of Chanting Mantras from the Shabd Guru [26]

  • Improves immune function via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis
  • Increases brain-hemisphere balance
  • Sends ethereal energy through the nadis
  • Quiets inner dialog
  • Helps potentiate the proper replication of DNA




Sidebar: What is the relation between the Sound Current and the Sikhs?

Yogi Bhajan was the first master of Kundalini Yoga to teach this ancient yogic science openly to everyone. “In addition to being a Kundalini Yoga master, he was also a Sikh. In his teachings, he often intermingled the science of Kundalini Yoga with stories from Sikh history. In addition, he would explain Sikh Dharma through a deep yogic perspective.”[27]
Many practitioners of Kundalini Yoga wonder what the relationship is between Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma. Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa explains: “There are some people who claim there is no relationship between yoga and Sikhism. However, Yogi Bhajan talked about it very differently.” She states that part of understanding includes “recognizing the interplay between the ancient yogic teachings that predate Sikh Dharma by thousands of years, and the Sound Current of the shabad that the Sikh Masters manifested through their teaching.”[28]
To recognize this interplay, we must go back to the first Sikh Guru: Guru Nanak, born in 1469. Yogi Bhajan says, “Guru Nanak was a very good yogi, trained by very good yogis. He had a very great friendship with yogis. . . . Birds of a feather flock together. All his life, Guru Nanak flocked together with the yogis.”[29]
Born into a Hindu family, at a young age Nanak questioned the caste system and empty rituals; he began to be a seeker of truth. He studied far and wide for truth and consciousness, and eventually ended up with the yogis. He practiced yoga until he attained a very high state of elevation and then had a three-day visionary experience from which he emerged with the technology of the Shabd Guru.[30]
Eck Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa explains the importance of the revealed (or in my view, restored) Sound Current, which Guru Nanak and the nine gurus who followed were able to hear and transmit.
The ancient teachings of yoga have tremendous power and merit. But it is through the Shabd, the Sound Current, that an average, every day person can be awakened to the same state of consciousness which was formerly reserved for the ascetics. This is why in Kundalini Yoga, every exercise includes the Sound Current. If no mantra is given, we still inhale “Sat” and exhale “Naam” with an exercise. As we open our centers through the practice of Kundalini Yoga, the Sound Current of the Shabd helps move and clear the blocks faster. It takes us to an ever more refined state of consciousness.[31]
This might be a good time to quote Elder Orson F. Whitney’s talk at the LDS church’s ninety-first general conference:
God has been using not merely his covenant people, but other people of the world as well, to carry out a work that is too demanding for the limited numbers of Latter-day Saints to accomplish. God and great men and women . . . who have thought profoundly . . . have been inspired by God under many circumstances to deliver dimensions of light and truth . . . [including] Zarathustra, Buatama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Muhammed, and Guru Nanak.” [32]




[24] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003), 32.
[25] 3 Nephi 19:28–29.
[26] Khalsa and Stouth, Meditation as Medicine.
[27] 3HO Foundation, “Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma,” accessed March 10, 2014, http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/kundalini-yoga-sikh-dharma.
[28] 3HO Foundation, “Guru Nanak and the Yogis,” accessed March 8, 2014, http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/kundalini-yoga-sikh-dharma/guru-nanak-and-yogis.
[29] Yogi Bhajan, “Lecture,” August 19, 1979.
[30] Ibid.
[31] 3HO Foundation, “Guru Nanak and the Yogis.”
[32] Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1921, 32–33.

1 comment:

  1. Ok-- mind blown! I love the Orson Whitney quote. I will add it to my collection. I am seeing prayer in the scriptures in a whole new way.

    ReplyDelete