The Sanskrit word mantra literally means mind protection or mind protector. Man comes from the manas meaning mind, but not simply discursive mind or appreciating mind, but the full capacity of Awareness. Protect is from tra. The protection inferred is non-militant and non-aggressive but is completely proactive.
An analogy: If one knows that something is poison, then one would willing choose not to drink it. One is protecting one’s life. Similarly, one would protect the precious and maturing mind from detrimental influences. The challenge for us is that culturally and socially, many things and influences, words and visual images, that daily impact one’s mind are – in fact – poisonous. They retard the growth of awareness by keeping one self-absorbed. Many of these same cultural influences foster harmful actions to others (stress and a hurried manner create impatience, discourteous behavior, and anger for example) or oneself (bad food, less sleep, drugs, alcohol, and addictive ingredients in foods).
Whereas to live with the notion of protecting the mind, keeps one responsible for one’s state of mind, state of emotions, and well-being. Doing so, then one holds oneself responsible for the well-being and state of others.
Mantra assists in this in two ways:
- When used as a practice, it is intended to focus the mind and emotions on the meaning of the mantra, thus negating a wandering and unfocused mind.
Downloadable: Intermediate: Protection