Question: I was given a mantra and I've been using it in my meditation for a number of years. Now, having become your disciple, I'm trying to put it aside, but I'm having difficulty. What do you suggest?

Sri Chinmoy: Just because you have become my disciple you don't have to give up the mantra, if it does not interfere with your present spiritual life. You can take it as a preliminary course. No matter which mantra you have it embodies the Supreme, and we are all manifestations of the Supreme. You have a mantra right now, but you have come to the realisation that you need a few things more in order to reach the Highest, so you have come to me. But if you get your proper mantra from a really great spiritual Master, by just repeating that mantra soulfully and sincerely, you can realise God. In India many people have realised God by using a mantra: 'Rama' or 'Krishna'. But they didn't get the mantra from a book or from a friend. When a real Master gives the mantra, the moment he gives it, his soul-power enters into the disciple. The soul-power is like a seed, and the disciple has to water it through conscious and constant aspiration. If the disciple has the capacity to water the seed, it will germinate and grow into a plant and then into a huge tree. But if the disciple does not have that kind of faith he may need more than a mantra from his Master.

An aspirant may feel that just by eating one particular food he is not satisfied. He may feel satisfied only when there are various types of food placed in front of him. Then he feels that the meal is complete. Similarly, in the spiritual life you may want a few things in addition to the mantra. But you have to know whether you have received the mantra from a real spiritual Master or just an ordinary teacher or whether you got it from a book. Wherever you got it, if the mantra that you have does not interfere with your spiritual life, then I will be the last person to tell you to give it up. But if you feel that right now it does interfere and you are unable to get rid of it, then I wish to say that giving it up is just a matter of time.

I have quite a few disciples who were initiated previously by other spiritual Masters and some of them had the same difficulty that you are going through. Eventually they gave up their mantra because they felt that it stood in the way of their deeper, higher meditation. But you may feel that, on the contrary, it adds to your aspiration or gives you some inspiration. Then you should repeat the mantra at the beginning of your meditation. Sometimes I tell disciples to do Hatha Yoga exercises for ten or fifteen minutes before they enter into deep meditation. So you can also repeat your mantra. After all, each mantra is a manifestation of the Lord Supreme. You have to see if it interferes with your present spiritual path or not. If it does not interfere, then please continue.