Question: What do you think about transcendental meditation which is meditating with the use of a mantra?

Sri Chinmoy: I cannot speak specifically on transcendental meditation as the Maharishi Mahesh uses the term, because I know next to nothing about his path. But about the use of a mantra I can easily tell you.

A mantra is an incantation. It can be a syllable or one word or a few words or a sentence. When you repeat a mantra many times it is called japa.

What benefit do we get from repeating a mantra? The first benefit we get is purity. Purity is of utmost importance in our spiritual life. If there is no purity, there is no certainty in the spiritual life. Today we may make progress and tomorrow we may drop back to where we started. But when we repeat a mantra which has been given by a spiritual Master, not by anybody else, we are bound to get purity. And from purity we get energy, pure energy. When we have pure energy we get something else: the feeling of universal oneness. And in our oneness with God's universe, we attain oneness with God Himself.

The moment we have the feeling of universal oneness, we will know who the Owner of the universe is. God is the Owner and Creator of the universe, and the Creator and His creation are inseparable. In the case of ordinary people, the creator or owner of a thing can pick it up or put it down; he can keep it or give it away. But in the case of God and the universe it is not like that. Look at God; you will see the universe inside Him. Look at the universe. If you see with your spiritual eye, your third eye, immediately you will see God inside the universe. Human possession comes and goes. Today you have millions of dollars; tomorrow you may be an absolute beggar. But in God's case the possession and the Possessor cannot be separated.

The best way to repeat a mantra to attain purity quickly is to ascend by steps. Today repeat the mantra 500 times; tomorrow, 600; the day after tomorrow, 700; and so on, until you reach 1,200 in one week's time. Then begin descending each day until you reach 500 again. In this way you can climb up the tree and climb down the tree. When you climb down please feel that you are trying to distribute this fruit through your heart to the aspiring people around you.

There are two ways to do japa. One is audible, the other is inaudible. If you repeat the mantra out loud, you will get physical purity. If you repeat the mantra in silence, you will get purity in your inner existence. Physical purity is necessary in the spiritual life, but if inner purity is lacking the seeker will make no progress. A person may be physically clean, physically pure, but in his mind he may be thinking of undivine, impure things. Inner purity is lacking at that time. So it is better to practise japa in silence and feel that there is somebody inside you, your inner being, who is repeating the word on your behalf. From this use of the mantra you will get inner purity; your heart will be pure, your mind will be pure. Just by repeating your mantra devotedly and soulfully you can have everything, the Highest, the Supreme.