I’ve covered this topic before, but I thought it worth exploring from another angle.

First up is consciousness. The Divine qualities of alertness, liveliness, and intelligence interplay to develop conscious awareness. With attention flowing within itself, consciousness becomes globally self-aware.Awareness becomes self-awareThat self-awareness creates a distinction between observer and observed (a & b). This leads to the subtle quality of space. Like when you look in the mirror, there is a space between you and your reflection. The process of experience (c) creates the quality of time.

Global self-aware consciousness becomes aware of itself at every point as well. This awareness within itself leads to nesting: spaces within spaces, time within time.

In the first iteration, space itself becomes manifest and our universe arises within that space. Space itself vibrates and sound arises.

We know this original sound as the pranava, AUM. All manifest form arises from that one sound.

Clusters of points of awareness (devata) interact with sound, producing a subtle geometry or structure. Fields form around that structure, which then solidifies as the forms we experience with the senses.

The key point here is that all form originates in that one sound, AUM. I’ve talked about how it differentiates into something like the Sanskrit alphabet and on into very complex sounds.

Even our own body has a seed sound or “true name” that evokes it. However, this isn’t a sound we can verbalize. Our voice box is not designed for that.

Gift by Enot91
Gift by Enot91 (edited)

This reflects on the science of mantra. When we learn to meditate and are given a mantra, it’s not just about the superficial sound of it. There are layers of sound within even a short bija (seed) mantra.

This is a key differentiation. A sound like a car horn has only a physical layer. But those key sounds of creation express on all the manifest layers. Those are activated with the right practice.

To some extent, the layers within a mantra unfold with practice. However, I recently met someone with the skill to activate the Shakti in your mantra, then use frequencies to activate those layers.

I’ll be posting an article on this shortly but I wanted to explore the background. There is an amazing amount of data even in a single letter. Letter combinations tweak that expression, multiplying the permutations of data.

If we come back to the start of the article, sound exemplifies the liveliness in consciousness which expresses the infinite intelligence of being. Thus, there is a vastness of possibility within the simplest source sound. It is the seed of everything we experience.

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  1. Eira

    Such a joy to read your posts, Davidyaji 🙂

    This is really interesting regarding mantra. Considering such potential within even the most basic sounds it rather underscores the importance of an appropriate mantra doesn’t it?
    May I ask, can the requirements of a mantra change over time; i.e. would a mantra one was given at e.g. 10 years of age be still be appropriate 30 years later? Or is it such a timeless thing that age is of no concern.
    Your earlier posts regarding householder versus renunciate mantras made me wonder if there is a similar difference of mantras for stages in life.
    Also, after years of practice I notice there’s not much deliberate use of mantra when settling to meditate, the mind or awareness simply slips down on its own accord. But does that mean that one doesn’t get the full benefit of the practice? Or is it that it just goes more subtle? It feels like it’s still there, I just don’t have to think it, if that makes sense.

    Already looking forward to that upcoming post 🙂


    1. Hi Eira
      Exactly. There is so much more to a sound than appears on the surface. When we then use that sound to transcend, it brings out qualities and amplifies them on the different layers.

      The Vedic tradition describes 4 primary life periods and some branches emphasis different practices for different periods. Student, householder, retired, and recluse (essentially).

      However, I don’t see a need to change mantras in that process. I’ve found the same mantra has served well for 48 years. As you note, it’s now established on a deep level, it runs automatically and subtly. A new mantra would be a backward step. So it seems to me, the right start is all that’s needed.

      Yet there are advanced techniques and other supplements that can be added, like activating the Shakti as mentioned. Same mantra upgraded.

      Have another article coming Sunday, but it’s not the one mentioned here.

      1. Eira

        Ah I see, thank you. Yes, those four stages of “normal” life were what I was thinking of.
        Makes sense that as long as one got the right start with an appropriate bija mantra there’s no need to restart with a different one.
        From your observation about all the layers to even the simplest of sounds, it follows one could potentially spend lifetimes unpacking everything that could unfold from that alone?
        Yes, the mantra is well ingrained and automatic, though surprisingly it sometimes feels as if it sounds different on a different and deeper level, like with another vowel sound, even though the surface sound is still the same. Is this at all a known phenomenon? This is subtle, so rather a bit hard to describe. It’s more a feeling of the sound than how the mind would pronounce it. But the familiarity is still there.

        1. Hi Eira
          I found that once the seed was planted (mantra) that it continues to reverberate at a quiet level (causal) 24/7. In meditation, we simply bring it back into our direct conscious awareness and move attention through the layers.

          Oh yes – in any number of perspectives, there is infinite knowledge available to unfold. This is why there are uncountable numbers of beings to experience it all. There isn’t time in the lifetime of a universe for any one being to explore it all, even remotely. Based on gifts and interest, we specialize.

          And yes, the mantra can sound different on different levels. Depends on where it’s reverberating and where we’re experiencing from. Our attention can move through the layers differently than the mantra.

          Right, it can become a feeling value or even just an unpronounced idea or quiet reverberation. Many flavours are possible and we don’t have to know what’s going on. Just right instruction and trusting the process allows it to unfold unencumbered.

  2. Gael

    This post spoke to me very personally. As a 51 year TMer I have been worried as well that my mantra isn’t doing much anymore, as I rarely “hear” it during TM and almost have to remind myself to think it. Looking forward to your next post. Thank you!


    1. Hi Gael
      Just be sure the “reminding” isn’t an effort or some attempt to control the process. After meditating for awhile, the mantra is largely established on a very subtle level. When you sit to practice, it’s basically a habit and starts automatically. The most you need is an intention to practice.

      You’re also familiar with when you nod off or the mind gets carried away in thoughts. Once noticed, you return to the practice, not by making a loud sound but just that intention to turn within again.

      It’s all just attention on those subtle levels.

  3. Neville

    Thanks very much for this post, a great article. It’s great to read the questions as they are some I’ve had for some time (as a 38yr TMer) . An area which in which I’m interested in lately is Kundalini.
    What is the relationship between Mantra (Bija in TMers case) and Kundalini.
    How is dormant Kundlini affected by it.
    Does it require early/advanced Samadhi to activate it or does it get activated as soon as someone learns or maybe never.
    Also, does mindufulness meditation (paying attention to breath) include a degree of sound/vibration.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Neville
      Big topic. Generally, the kundalini process happens quietly in the background for effortless mantra meditators. We may occasionally notice a big energy release but generally, lots of little ones in various nadis.

      For some, the lights come on around makara, just above the third eye. For others, the kundalini reaches the crown and awakening with little fanfare. It varies. The kundalini process can be said to be the energetic underpinning to a sustain awakening. But it doesn’t cause it.

      The meditation mantra itself doesn’t have a direct relationship with kundalini. It’s a vehicle for transcending which causes purification. Samadhi leads to purification which eventually sets the stage for kundalini to awaken and rise. It’s also worth noting that some meditators are returning to the practice from past lives. If the kundalini was awakening in a prior life, it doesn’t need to again. It picks up where we left off, with a bit of variation based on the body we gain.

      There are mantras associated with the chakras and the chakra petals but as everything arises from sound, everything has a mantra. Working with these is a different practice, and one I’d be very careful with. Trying to stimulate the kundalini process directly is a great way to create long-term roughness. Kundalini awakening is a natural process that occurs when the conditions are right. As noted, this is often pretty quiet.

      This is a 3-part article as an overview:

      What people mean by “mindfulness meditation” varies widely. Watching the breath is a body awareness technique that has some pros and cons. Good to help relax and facilitate releasing some heavy purification but doesn’t as reliably lead to transcending and can dull the mind with long-term use.

      I recommend effortless mantra meditation as it leads to samadhi most reliably and thus yoga and awakening.

      Using a sound or mantra in a meditation practice is a different thing and is not mindfulness. Mindfulness depends on presence and that is cultured with samadhi so the foundation comes back to my recommendation.

  4. Tyler

    Wonderful post. “the skill to activate the Shakti in your mantra”. This is very interesting and i greatly look forward to reading more in an upcoming post. Would this be different from receiving an already empowered mantra from a lineage? My own path has expressed and presented itself energeticaly from a very young age so I am fascinated by the Shakti/energetic aspects of the practice. Much heart felt gratitude for your continued posts. Sending love and blessings.

    Tyler & Family.

    1. Hi Tyler
      Properly taught, the mantra is activated and goes deep during instruction. This is through the teaching process itself.

      Activating the shakti within the mantra is a whole other level though. Not something most know how to do. More to come…

  5. Pat Cummings

    beautiful….. always a delight to follow your posts… thank you for your giving this really profound knowledge…I would like to know more about the activation of shakti in the mantra… I have practiced TM for 49 years…. last couple years have been a little spotty with the practice and i rarely do my Siddhis program….My meditation has been plain vanilla for a very long time and maybe a wake-up for my mantra with some shakti might just be the medicine. Thank you David and
    Jai Guru Dev

  6. Andrea Hawkins

    I’m so curious if you’re speaking of Malika. Dorothy Rowe introduced me to her and she gave me my “primordial sound” and activated it a couple of weeks later. I don’t know how it works, but it’s potent and I’m grateful. 🙂

    1. Hi Imanol
      To be clear, I recommend an effortless practice and a suitable mantra for the student. The mantra isn’t effortless – that’s about how it’s used. I write about this here:

      The most widespread organization that teaches an effortless meditation is the TM org.
      Bhavateet Dhyan is a Hindi book said to be by Maharishi on TM. However, I’m not sure that’s what it actually is. The “publisher” does not list the title, they don’t publish spiritual books, and they’re not a TM source. The Hindi on the cover does not match the stated title. The ratings are also skewing low for a book of this nature, although no one has commented.

      This points to the value of making sure you’re taping a legitimate source.

      As the linked article mentions, meditation is an experiential process so it’s best to learn through a teacher who can guide you through the experience.

  7. Stephen

    Hi David,

    Excellent article as always. When you physically leave your body, it is said that reciting a powerful mantra like Om Namah Shivaya can liberate you at death. Will this personal effortless mantra work the same way to liberate?

    Thank you!

  8. Nikki

    My question is if the alertness level of awareness is always present in Brahman or if there is a level where there is no awareness at there anything in Brahman before alertness, aliveness, and intelligence? Is there always an awareness there, even at a subtle level? Or do things start off without any awareness at all?

  9. Hi Nikki
    This is where you have to be careful to distinguish between what is and how it’s being experienced.

    Alertness is more a quality that is part of awareness, not a level of it. But this is profoundly abstract stuff. Alertness is a Divine quality, so can be said to be present prior to Brahman, although there isn’t a before and after on that level.

    It can first be discovered in Brahman, once we’re prior to awareness. But it’s not an effect of Brahman itself.

    That said, when we first come to Brahman, these dynamics are not likely to be recognized yet, so we can experience Brahman as pure no-thingness. Later, the much more subtle Divine qualities become apparent. So subjectively, we may experience Brahman without alertness, etc. But they’re still present. Divine attention is always present.

    (On Commenting, if you take your time commenting, the server connection can time out, so your comment gets lost. If you have taken time, select and copy what you’ve written before clicking Post. Then if it has timed out, you can paste what you’ve written back in and post that.)

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