Question: Could you please say something about mantras.

Sri Chinmoy: A mantra is an incantation. It cam 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 best way to repeat a mantra to attain purity quickly is to ascend by steps. You all know the significance of AUM, the sacred name of God. Today, repeat five hundred times 'AUM,' 'Supreme,' or whatever mantra your Master has given you. Then tomorrow, repeat it six hundred times; the day after tomorrow, seven hundred; and so on, until you reach twelve hundred in one week's time. Then begin descending each day until you reach five hundred 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 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.

Please continue this exercise, week by week, for a month. Whether you want to change your name or not, the world will give you a new name. It will give you the name Purity. Your inner ear will make you hear it, and it will surpass your fondest imagination. In New York, some of my disciples have done this exercise and are still doing it. They have achieved, I must say, considerable purification of their nature and of their emotional problems.

Without purity, our inner achievements cannot remain permanently in our nature. If you lack purity, then no divine Truth can stay within you permanently. But whenever there is purity, then Peace, Light, Bliss and Power will be able to function most successfully and most fruitfully. The purer you are, the closer you come to the Supreme. So just by repeating your mantra soulfully and devotedly you can have everything-the Highest, the Supreme.