Liber ABA



The Way of Attainment of Genius or Godhead considered as a development of the human brain


Chapter II

Pranayama and Its Parallel In Speech, MANTRAYOGA

The connection between breath and mind will be fully discussed in speaking of the Magick Sword, but it may be useful to premise a few details of a practical character. You may consult various Hindu manuals, and the writing of Kwang Tze, for various notable theories as to method and result.
But in this sceptical system one had better content one's self with statements which are not worth the trouble of doubting.
The ultimate idea of meditation being to still the mind, it may be considered a useful preliminary to still consciousness of all the functions of the body. This has been dealt with in the chapter on Asana. One may, however, mention that some Yogis carry it to the point of trying to stop the beating of the heart. Whether this be desirable or no it would be useless to the beginner, so he will endeavour to make the breathing very slow and very regular. The rules for this practice are given in Liber CCVI.
The best way to time the breathing, once some little skill has been acquired, with a watch to bear witness, is by the use of a mantra. The mantra acts on the thoughts very much as Pranayama does upon the breath. The thought is bound down to a recurring cycle; any intruding thoughts are thrown off by the mantra, just as pieces of putty would be from a fly-wheel; and the swifter the wheel the more difficult would it be for anything to stick.
This is the proper way to practise a mantra. Utter it as loudly and slowly as possible ten times, then not quite so loudly and a very little faster ten times more. Continue this process until there is nothing but a rapid movement of the lips; this movement should be continued with increased velocity and diminishing intensity until the mental muttering completely absorbs the physical. The student is by this time absolutely still, with the mantra racing in his brain; he should, however, continue to speed it up until he reaches his limit, at which he should continue for as long as possible, and then cease the practice by reversing the process above described.
Any sentence may be used as a mantra, and possibly the Hindus are correct in thinking that there is a particular sentence best suited to any particular man. Some men might find the liquid mantras of the Quran slide too easily, so that it would be possible to continue another train of thought without disturbing the mantra; one is supposed while saying the mantra to meditate upon its meaning. This suggests that the student might construct for himself a mantra which should represent the Universe in sound, as the pantacle[1] should do in form. Occasionally a mantra may be "given," i.e., heard in some unexplained manner during a meditation. One man, for example, used the words: "And strive to see in everything the will of God;" to another, while engaged in killing thoughts, came the words "and push it down," apparently referring to the action of the inhibitory centres which he was using. By keeping on with this he got his "result".
The ideal mantra should be rhythmical, one might even say musical; but there should be sufficient emphasis on some syllable to assist the faculty of attention. The best mantras are of medium length, so far as the beginner is concerned. If the mantra is too long, one is apt to forget it, unless one practises very hard for a great length of time. On the other hand, mantras of a single syllable, such as "Aum",[2] are rather jerky; the rhythmical idea is lost. Here are a few useful mantras:
  1. Aum.
  2. Aum Tat Sat Aum. This mantra is purely spondaic.
    II. {illustration: line of music with: Aum Tat Sat Aum :under it}
  3. Aum mani padme hum; two trochees between two caesuras.
    III. {illustration: line of music with: Aum Ma-ni Pad-me Hum under it}
  4. 4. Aum shivaya vashi; three trochees. Note that "shi" means rest, the absolute or male aspect of the Deity; "va" is energy, the manifested or female side of the Deity. This Mantra therefore expresses the whole course of the Universe, from Zero through the finite back to Zero.
    IV. {illustration: line of music with: Aum shi-va-ya Va-shi Aum shi-va-ya Vashi :under it}
  5. Allah. The syllables of this are accented equally, with a certain pause between them; and are usually combined by fakirs with a rhythmical motion of the body to and fro.
  6. Hua allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua.

[1] See Part II.

[2] However, in saying a mantra containing the word Aum, one sometimes forgets the other words, and remains concentrated, repeating the "Aum" at intervals; but this is the result of a practice already begun, not the beginning of a practice.

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