In the early dawn, I sat beneath the clear sky chanting. "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare." The sound filled and thrilled me with a sense of renewal and invigoration. My whole self - my deepest truest self - overflowed with refreshment.
I have been chanting this maha-mantra (great sound to free the mind) for 35 years. Throughout that time, my encounter with the practice has ebbed and flowed. At times, I have gone through dry spells in which my physical energy has been so low that I could barely make sound. Other times, the sound has been audible but my mind has not been listening. The secret of the practice of maha-mantra chanting is paying attention - simply hearing the sound. The times I have been fully present with it have been the most profoundly wonderous and life changing. This morning brought one of those experiences along with appreciation that the maha-mantra is the greatest healer I have ever met.
In the previous article, Satisfying the Root of Healing, I mentioned that healing means making whole and healthy again. It includes alleviating and setting right. The spiritual precepts and preceptors of Bhakti in the Vedas identified through their realization that the soul's forgetfulness of its real eternal identity and relationship with God, its Source, is the root cause of all suffering. "The material disease." Relief and remembrance are restored by the pure potency within the Divine names of this mantra.
It is important to note that not all mantras are equal in their efficacies. Each one has an energy and/or personality it calls upon. In the hierarchy of cosmic creation there are different gradations of living entities with higher and lower levels of ability and consciousness. A mantra invoking a demigod, who is deputed with responsibility for a specific aspect of the universe, for example, carries power commensurate with that individual's post. The mantra, like the demigod, can bestow benedictions within its own capacity. It does not resonate at the same frequency as a mantra invoking the transcendental names of God, who is the Source and master of all the demigods and all that is. The powers of those partial divinities are also partial, whereas the power of the Supreme Divinity that supplies the subordinates is complete and unlimited.
The maha-mantra - Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare - is the King and Queen of all mantras. It is not different from the Supreme Masculine and Feminine Personalities of Godhead who all the energies and demigods bow down to and serve. This maha-mantra alone carries the complete capacity to realign the soul - that is you and me - with its eternal truth and connection with the Divine Couple and the complete whole.
This is more than a theory. When applied and practiced, the benefits of maha-mantra chanting reveal themselves within the direct experience of the chanter. This is my story that I was reflecting on as the day dawned. I have recently undergone grave losses and challenges. In the midst of them all, a trial of health came as well and dimmed the lights. For a moment, I could not see the light, hope, faith, grace or sense of self I normally see, feel, and live within. But the chanting of the maha-mantra brought it all back quickly, and then a whole lot more.
In my 35+ years of relationship with the maha-mantra, I have encountered its ability to act as a touchstone, turning my life into greater and greater layers of love and joy from the inside out. I have felt it illumine my heart with remembrance and realization of my spiritual nature. I have witnessed it water and grow the seed of devotion within me. I have felt the very personal Divine reciprocation of God/Krishna moving in my heart, soul, and whole life, mystically transforming it and me. I have experienced it actively healing my entire existence and intimacy with God, like nothing else ever has.
Now I invite you to hear and heal for yourself; simply press play and listen with your heart...