Wisdom Shared by Swami Tarakananda
- Often at atmajyoti.org, readers will send
in questions regarding meditation and spiritual
life. The following excerpted question and
answer may be of interest to readers at the
Question: Many references indicate that a mantra
is useless unless empowered by a master. Is this
Answer: Here is the section entitled "Initiation?"
from the third chapter of the complete Om Yoga book:
"It is commonly believed that an aspiring yogi
must be empowered for yoga practice through some
kind of initiation or transference of power. There
are many exaggerated statements made about how it
is impossible to make any progress, much less
attain enlightenment, without initiation. But they
have no relevance to the practice of Om Yoga, which
requires no initiation because it is based squarely
on the eternal nature and unity of the jivatman and
the Paramatmanwhat to speak of the nature of Om
Itself. The japa and meditation of Om are themselves
expressions of the eternal nature of God and man.
The eternal spirits need no external input to return
to their Source.
"It is when the individual perpetually experiences
the eternal point where Om is common to both itself
and God that it can know its oneness with God, and
separation from God is impossible for it. Yet it is
still itself, still distinct, though its consciousness
is totally absorbed in God and it sees only the One,
and can say, `God alone exists. There is no other but God.'
"All we need is God Himself in the form of Om."
As far as needing a "master" is concerned, here is the
preceding section from the third chapter, entitled:
"God is guru in the form of Om":
"Immediately after telling us that God is the Guru,
Patanjali says: `His spoken form is Om.' In a hymn
of the poet-saint Kabir, an Indian mystic of the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there are two
important statements: `That Word is the Guru; I have
heard it, and become the disciple. That Word reveals all.'
"Beautiful as the thought of God being the guru may
be, is it true? If so, how is God the guru?
"From the depths of God's Being, Om is eternally
present, is eternally flowing or rising, and the
same is true of each individual spirit. The heart-core
of God and the core of the individual spirit are
the same in non-dual unity. Om is flowing from the
single point where the spirit and the Spirit are
absolutely one. God is eternally stimulating or
`teaching' the spirit to emanate Om as the agent of
its evolution and perfection. In this way God is the
guru of each one of us. One finite spirit may reveal
to another finite spirit the way to realize its oneness
with God, and thereby momentarily become a spiritual
teacher for that spirit; but God alone will be the Sat
(true and eternal) Guru.
"Om is the ultimate guru, the infallible teacher and
guide from within. Yet, according to Vyasa there is
another teacher: our yoga practice itself. He says:
`It is yoga that is the teacher. How so? It has been said:
"Yoga is to be known by yoga;
Yoga goes forward from yoga alone.
He who is not careless [neglectful] in his yoga
For a long time, rejoices in the yoga."'
"Shankara, commenting on these words of Vyasa, discusses
the reaction that the awakening person has upon learning
about the possibility of liberation from his present
state of bondage: `Meditation on his own being, which is
the cause that should lead to liberation, begins of itself,
caused by karma of a previous life or else by steadfastness
in renunciation in this present one. And it goes on of
itself, without instruction from a teacher.'
"The experience gained from yoga practice itself
teaches us the reality and value of yoga. But even
more, it opens our intuition and enables us to
comprehend the inner workings of the subtle levels of
our being and its mastery. Yoga truly becomes our
teacher, revealing to us that which is far beyond the
wisdom of books and verbal instructions. Moreover, it
is practice of yoga that enables us to understand the
basis and rationale of its methods and their
application. The why and wherefore of yoga become known
to us by direct insight."
Please read the books Om Yoga and The Word That Is
God more than once.
The bottom line, however, is your own experience through
practice. This is the only way the validity of any
methodology can be known. Just see how both here and
in India people are laboring away at all kinds of
exotic "yogas" that have no real basis in the pure
Sanatana Dharma tradition. They get nowhere, but because
they have accepted a great deal of exaggerated praise
about the practice and the guru, they waste decades in
"faith" instead of using good sense about their own
perceptionsor lack thereof. People often lament their
lack of progress, but mistakenly blame themselves
instead of facing the truth that their practice is
worthlessand so is their guru.
[To read more from the sources mentioned above, visit:
Om YogaIts Theory and Practice
and The Word That Is God
We hope you find this useful.
Atma Jyoti Ashram