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Maranatha: A Christian Meditation Mantra

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Excerpted from: http://www.swamij.com/maranatha.htm MARANATHA: A CHRISTIAN MEDITATION MANTRA Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati Maranatha Ma-Ra-Na-Tha Come Lord
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2005
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      Excerpted from:
      http://www.swamij.com/maranatha.htm

      MARANATHA: A CHRISTIAN MEDITATION MANTRA
      Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

      Maranatha
      "Ma-Ra-Na-Tha"
      "Come Lord"

      MARANATHA MANTRA: The teachings of Yoga Meditation are universal and
      non-sectarian, as is my personal orientation. However, being of
      Western birth, I mostly meet people who were born into Christian
      families, since Christianity is the dominant religion of the culture
      where I live. For those who follow Christianity, it is very useful to
      be aware of the Maranatha Mantra, an ancient mantra of Christian
      tradition.

      See also the article:
      Yoga and Christianity
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-christianity.htm

      DIVERSITY OF MANTRAS: Mantra is a very useful practice in Yoga
      Meditation. While many, possibly most, of the practitioners of Yoga
      Meditation who use a mantra use Sanskrit mantras, the science of Yoga
      Meditation itself does not tell you what mantras to use. The mantra
      might be in Sanskrit or any other language, either one's native
      tongue or the language of one's chosen religion. Some of the more
      brief meditation mantras are simply sound vibrations that are not
      from any particular language, though being root sounds of languages.
      These are called seed or bija mantras. Often the mantra is prescribed
      by one's teacher or lineage, or is practiced in accordance with one's
      religious affiliation. Or it might be a universal mantra such as the
      Soham mantra. The Himalayan tradition uses a diversity of mantras for
      meditation, and also encourages people to follow the teachings,
      traditions, and mantras of their own religion.

      See also the article:
      Soham Mantra Meditation
      http://www.swamij.com/soham-mantra.htm

      MARANATHA IS THE FINAL INSTRUCTION: To many people the use of mantra
      or sacred word appears to be an Eastern practice, often associated
      with Buddhism or Hinduism. However, there is a Christian meditation
      mantra that has been used for a very long time by the early monks,
      though it is little known publicly. It is the mantra Maranatha. The
      word Maranatha is the final instruction of St. Paul's teachings to
      the Corinthians, and is St. John's final instruction in the Book of
      Revelations. Thus, the last word, the final teaching of the entire
      Christian Bible is "Maranatha," which is Aramaic and means, "Come
      Lord."

      MARA-NATHA AND MARAN-ATHA: One meditation teacher explains he was
      taught in seminary that when the word Maranatha is parsed (broken
      into parts) as "mara-natha" or "maran-atha," it has two different
      meanings:

      As "mara-natha," it means "Come Lord," or "Lord Come."
      As "maran-atha," it means "Lord is Here" or "Lord has Come."

      "ATHA" IS IN MARANATHA AND YOGA SUTRAS: Note that in the latter
      parsing the phrase "atha" is the same as the first word of the Yoga
      Sutras (Yoga Sutra 1.1), which says, "atha yoga anushasanam,"
      meaning, "now begins yoga." The word "atha" means "now," and this
      particular usage of "atha" implies prior preparation has been done,
      making one ready for these practices.

      See also:
      Yoga Sutra 1.1
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm#1.1

      PRONOUNCING THE MANTRA: The Maranatha Mantra is pronounced with "a"
      as in "car" or "far" (Ma-Ra-Na-Tha). Allow it to arise rhythmically
      in the mind field at whatever speed comes naturally, whether fast or
      slow, though you will probably find it will slow down on its own.
      Allow yourself to feel the meaning of the mantra, in whatever way
      matches your own spiritual or religious predisposition. Or simply
      feel the calmness that comes from the gentle repetition. The feeling
      is more subtle when remembered in the silence of the mind rather than
      spoken aloud. All of the general guidelines on using mantra that are
      in the article Mantra and 13 tips on their use also apply to the
      Maranatha Mantra.

      See also the article:
      How to Use a Mantra
      http://www.swamij.com/mantra-use.htm

      POSITIONING THE MANTRA: While remembering the mantra, it is best to
      allow the mind to gently rest in one physical location rather than
      allowing it to wander here or there (after preliminary steps of Yoga
      Meditation).

      See also the article:
      Steps in Yoga Meditation
      http://www.swamij.com/stepsmeditation.htm

      HEART CENTER: One of the most ideal places is the space between the
      breasts, the heart center, the home of emotions and feelings, as well
      as what some call the spiritual heart. Imagine it to be a space about
      the size of the palm of your hand, allowing the attention to rest
      within that space, in the cave of the still, silent heart, feeling
      the coming and going of the mantra.

      EYEBROW CENTER: You might feel more drawn to the space between the
      eyebrows, the third-eye, or the field of mind. Once again, just allow
      your attention to rest in that space, neither wandering left nor
      right, nor up or down. It need not be a pin-point spot, but a small
      field, such as a circular area in that space, where the attention
      rests. Gradually the mantra will lead you to the spiritual stillness
      and silence from which it arose.

      MANTRA WITH BREATH: While the mantra may be done completely in the
      mind field, it also coordinates nicely with the breath when
      remembered silently as Ma-Ra-Na-Tha, with each of the four parts
      remembered separately:

      "Ma" with inhalation
      "Ra" with exhalation
      "Na" with inhalation
      "Tha" with exhalation

      When coordinating the mantra with the breath, let the breath be
      smooth, slow, and quiet, with no pauses between the breaths. Be sure
      that the syllables of the mantra are only in the mind, and not
      disturbing the flow of the breath in the lungs, throat, or nasal
      passages. Allow your attention to gently rest either on the diaphragm
      area, in a palm sized space just below the breast bone, at the upper
      abdomen, or on the feel of the air at the bridge of the nostrils,
      using the cognitive sense of touch.

      See also the articles:
      Diaphragmatic Breathing
      http://www.swamij.com/diaphragmatic-breathing.htm
      Breathing Practices and Pranayama
      http://www.swamij.com/breath.htm

      REMEMBERING THE MANTRA: The mantra may be remembered in the mind with
      no association with breath. The entire "Ma-Ra-Na-Tha" simply rolls
      through the silence of the inner mind field, being a pleasant,
      rhythmic companion, affirmation, and prayer.

      FOLLOW THE MANTRA TO SILENCE: After remembering the mantra for some
      period of time, whether or not you count the repetitions, a time will
      come when the mantra will lead your attention to complete silence in
      the physical space in which you are remembering it (heart or eyebrow
      center). Allow this to happen naturally, going into complete inner
      silence, while holding the deeper meaning and feeling in awareness.
      Although repetition of the mantra is quite useful in stabilizing a
      noisy mind (without repressing thoughts or emotions), this leading
      quality is a more valuable spiritual aspect of mantra meditation.

      MARANATHA MANTRA AND THE MUSTARD SEED: Mantra eventually merges into
      silence at a point, which is called Bindu in Sanskrit. This is
      sometimes experientially described as seeing light at the end of a
      tunnel. After seeing that point of light, one eventually travels up
      or into the tunnel, encounters the source of the light, and then goes
      beyond it. This process involves traversing the subtle stream of
      consciousness that is called Sushumna in Sanskrit, the last section
      of which is called Brahma Nadi. This subtle stream is considered by
      some to be the Silver Cord referred to in Ecclesiastes and some of
      the mystical Christian traditions (See Kundalini Awakening for
      descriptions of Sushumna). The Bindu, or point of light is then
      encountered at the end of the tunnel, stream, Sushumna, Brahma Nadi
      or Silver Cord. Bindu may also be viewed by the esoteric, mystical or
      yogic practitioner as a subtler meaning of the instructions: "Seek
      first the kingdom..." (Matthew) and "The kingdom of heaven is like a
      Mustard Seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is
      the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the
      largest..." (Matthew). By following the Maranatha Mantra to its
      silent source, one may eventually encounter and pierce the Bindu,
      transcending the Mustard Seed and moving through to the kingdom.

      See also the articles:
      Bindu: Pinnacle of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra
      http://www.swamij.com/bindu.htm
      Kundalini Awakening
      http://www.swamij.com/kundalini-awakening.htm

      COUNTING THE MANTRA: While it is not essential, you might want to
      count the repetitions. This can give the mind a focus, and a sense of
      beginning and end to your practice time. This can be done with a set
      of mala beads or some other means of counting. A typical mala has 108
      beads, and the practice will take as little as 3-5 minutes at a
      faster, pulsing rate within the mind, or as long as 20-30 minutes if
      done slower, such as with the breath. Whether or not you count, or
      use a mala, it is important to not allow the mantra to become mere
      parrot-like repetition. Allow the awareness of the meaning, the
      feeling, and the calmness to be there. To develop stability in your
      mantra practice, it can be useful to do an intentional practice of
      one mala (or other number) per day for a period of 40 days, or
      perhaps one year, starting and ending on some significant date.

      See also the article:
      Why are there 108 Beads on a Mala?
      http://www.swamij.com/108.htm

      http://www.swamij.com
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