Twenty minutes before boarding my plane for Denver, on my way to Joshua Tree, CA for a two-week meditation retreat, I had the urge to stretch. I had to wake up before 4 a.m. to make it to the airport on time and didn’t have a chance to do my own yoga practice. My body really needed to stretch, so I found an open space just to the side of the gate area (always a portable yoga studio nearby) and began stretching and breathing.
As I looked around at the people watching me (some staring at me with the longing to join in) and at the very bland environment of the Bradley International Airport, I felt free. At the oddest time and in the most “unyogic” space, I felt free for no reason at all.
Svatantrya is the Sanskrit term for freedom, sva is one’s own, tantrya is freedom. One’s own freedom suggests that this freedom is intrinsic, it’s imprinted in our DNA, and it’s available to everyone. Then why can’t we access it more often? My guess is because we don’t create the right circumstances for it. We don’t have the right mindset. But occasionally, randomly, when you least expect it, you experience freedom.
Just by simply flowing with what is rather than resisting life, freedom arises naturally.
After glowing for a while in my own freedom while in Warrior One Pose, my mind continued to seek an explanation for what caused me to experience freedom. Then it dawned on me – I chanted mantras in the car for an hour on the way to the airport. Could it be that I was experiencing the benefit of mantra practice? I have known for a long time that mantras possess a special kind of energy. They act like an access key to a software program of bliss. Maybe freedom requires some sort of access key, like mantra, to unleash the benefits? Yes, I believe this is so.
Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Here is a beautiful, powerful, and deep mantra honoring the goddess, Saraswati, who represents the emergent light out of the void of darkness. She also brings blessings of consciousness, auspicious beginnings, knowledge, self-expression, creativity as in bringing something into manifestation, and music as in the vibrations of sound and beauty.
Listen to this MP3 recording and chant along with me. We’ll chant for 5 minutes continuously.
First here is the mantra and what it means. Note that the power of the mantra is more in the experience and practice of it than in the definition. Sanskrit mantras do not translate easily into English, or any language, because Sanskrit is a vibrational language. The meaning gets revealed through the experience of it. But since the mind longs to know the meaning of things, here’s an approximation of the meaning of this mantra:
OM AIM HRIM SHRIM KLIM SARASWATAYE NAMAH(A)
- Om – the primordial sound of sounds
- Aim – (pronounced “I’m”) the seed of wisdom
- Hrim – creative manifestation
- Shrim – divine shakti, auspiciousness, goodness, beauty, the bija mantra for Lakshmi
- Klim – transformative power of shakti, bija mantra of Kamadevi (goddess of love)
- Saraswataye – goddess of auspicious beginnings, the dawning light, knowledge, wisdom, primordial vibration, goddess of music and language, creativity
- Namah(a) – I bow, I honor Saraswati, the goddess of new beginnings
Find a quiet location where you can sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and relax into the moment. Just allow everything to be as it is in your life right now. Let go of any need to change anything. As you inhale invite the light of the universe to fill you. As you exhale, release any anxiety, doubt, or fear.
Then as you’re ready, press play, and start the mantra. Chant along as soon as you catch on to the melody. Chant continuously without stopping. At the end of the 5 minutes, sit quietly in silence and take a ride on the vibrations of the mantra. Mantra becomes the vehicle you ride into the depths of your heart. The more you let go, the more the mantra will carry you.
Then release the mantra and perceive Svatantrya – your own freedom. After some time, open your eyes. You may wish to write in your journal or simply relax on your back for a few minutes. Then go on with your day touched by the blessings of freedom.
May you find your access key and use it regularly to come back to the place of freedom inside yourself. In the midst of the constant ups and downs of life, may you surf the waves skillfully and remember your true nature which always invites a deeper freedom and joy.
For more practice of freedom and joy, join me for a workshop!
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