Chapter 6: Either This or That
Different religions have received different great mantras, such as: Om Namo Shivaya, Namo Arihantanam, Allahu Akbar, Om Mani Padme Hum. In what state of consciousness were such great mantras conceived? How and in what way are they related to our different energy centers? How do we choose a suitable mantra for ourselves?
A seeker’s journey can proceed on two paths; one is of power, the other of peace. The journey into power is not the journey into truth, it is a journey into ego - whether the power is derived from money, prestige, or from chanting mantras. To have the desire for power means that you have no desire for truth. Any power you acquire - whether it is of the body, of the mind, or of the so-called spiritual power - will only strengthen you, and the stronger you are, the further away from truth you are. The very fact of your power is the assertion of your ego in the face of truth. Your power will turn out to be a barrier. Your very power will in reality become your weakness in the realm of truth. So the more powerful you become according to yourself, the more impotent you become at the doors of truth.
Hence the search for power is not the search of a true seeker. But the seeker moves in that direction because what we seek in this world we start seeking also in the divine. Our aim, in fact, is to get in that world what we are unable to get here in this. So there is a continuity between our world and our moksha, ultimate liberation. What we sought after and could not achieve in the marketplace, the same we go in search of in the temple. The search is the same. What we sought in money and could not achieve, the same we seek in religion. The search as such remains the same, and the one who is searching has not changed at all. When you fail in one place, you simply try to succeed in another. But why do you want to become powerful in the first place? This very desire of becoming is what makes you unhappy. When you disappear, bliss will happen. In your absence nectar is going to pour, but not a drop will be there as long as you are.
Mantras bestow power. Through chanting a mantra one gathers power; there is no doubt about this. Let us understand what a mantra does. A mantra concentrates the mind, bringing all the diffused rays of the mind together. Whatever mantra you use - Allahu Akbar, or Om Namo Shivaya, or Om Mani Padme Hum, or just Rama, Rama, Rama - it makes no difference. You can make up your own mantra if you want to, the words in a mantra have no significance at all. Words and meanings are not what mantras are about; the whole purpose of the mantra is to concentrate your mind. So any ordinary phrase, any meaningless word, can serve as a mantra.