1.28 The Secret of Mantra
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI | CHAPTER 1 - SAMADHI PADA | VERSE 28 | COMMENTARY
Repetition of that (AUM) illumines its essence in our Being.
An average person that sets out to do any task usually has his mind wandering at a few places while doing the task. A student may be thinking about playing while studying for a test – it is natural he/she will not be able to grasp the concepts fully, or will be unable to connect what he has learnt to the problems he will encounter in the subject. I myself have noticed that I am always planning for other things while doing something. While I am working, I am thinking about going for a walk, and while on a walk, I am planning to finish my work efficiently. Otherwise, I have my phone to distract me from my work. The result is poor understanding, a scattered mind and a loss of efficacy. There is a lack of awareness in the present moment and much that could be perceived is lost. No matter where the mind stays, experience can only take place in the present moment and that is what actually brings change.
Maharishi Patanjali is stressing on the importance of awareness. Any task done mechanically loses a lot of potency. The mind has to work in tandem with the body and vice-versa to achieve a state of mind that flows. As Jordan B. Peterson mentions in his book ’12 Rules for Life’, when one is completely engrossed in the work one is doing such that even the flow of time is unnoticeable, that is when life reveals itself and one steps from the known into the unknown. It is at this juncture when the most profound meaning well up from the depths of your own very being. This is aligned with the idea that the greatest knowledge is which comes from within and not without, because such knowledge is profound because it has turned into an experience.
Brahman or God can only be experienced. Speeches, discourses, books and commentaries – these all can provide knowledge, create interest and inspire a person to explore the dimension of higher consciousness, but knowledge is not experience, and that which is not in experience is not transformational. Scholars can never reach the highest states of consciousness with their analysis and debates because even logic has limitations. There are things that cannot be rationalized – Brahman (GOD) or the Supreme Consciousness is all encompassing, and beyond the manifested, beyond reason and intellect, and beyond knowledge itself.
Yet there must be a manifested form to experience the unmanifested for the manifested arises from the unmanifested. Maharishi Patanjali has already given that form as AUM. He has given the Mantra – in this sutra he is explaining the technique of Mantra Yoga. It is not be done mechanically just for the sake of it. There must be a yearning, a desire to achieve realise the Brahman within, and the Vairagya to perform the action of Japa (recitation) without feverishness. He asks to recite the Mantra with awareness and devotion, with humility and intensity, so that it takes us into Samadhi where the essence of the Mantra is revealed from within and takes us to the highest.