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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Update For an alternate approach to mantra
enhancements, see Lesson 369.
Lesson 188 - Q&A Mantra Design 101
Date: Thu May 13, 2004 10:24pm
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: You stated, "I AM" can be pronounced as AYAM; this is very similar (if not
the same) as the tantric beeja AYEIM. Are these two the same?
What is the basis for the first and second enhancement to the I AM mantra? I mean you have
probably written this on the basis of several years of experience with these mantras, and
experiential knowledge is very hard to intellectually convey in many instances. Still I
would like to know how you arrived at this mantra - I have never seen this mantra or
anything similar in any of the classic tantric texts on mantra shastra. How is it that the
mantra is SHREE OM SHREE OM I AM I AM NAMAH and not something like SHREE OM I AM I AM
NAMAH? Why is there two SHREE's followed by OM ?
And why does not the SHREE end in M (i.e. SHREEM) as is usually how it is used in mantras?
A: Thank you for writing, especially on this topic. I have been looking for an inspiration
to post a lesson on mantra design. We can call it "Mantra Design 101." As with
many things presented in these lessons, traditional approaches are respected but not
necessarily adhered to strictly if direct experience guides us to a more optimal solution
If the pronunciation is the same as for I AM, then AYAM and AYEIM are the same from the
point of view of mantra. There may be different meanings for the different spellings in
sanskrit, but that does not matter. It is the vibration we are using. If you do a web
search on "sanskrit ayam" and also on "sanskrit ayeim," you will find
both used in various mantras. There is also a Muslim version spelled AYYAM.
If AYEIM is pronounced AYEEM, then it is not the same. AM and EEM go
in opposite directions
in the nervous system. With some ecstatic conductivity coming up it can be easily felt by
anyone. This "feeling" is the basis of design of all the mantras in the lessons.
They are not based solely on scriptures. In fact, no scriptural authority is claimed. Of
course, nothing is conjured up out of nowhere either. The syllables are familiar, and have
appeared in venerable scriptures, though the order of use may be a bit different here.
Mantra syllables are like tuning forks in the nervous system. Each vibration resonates in
a different part of our inner circuitry. This is true with or without ecstatic
conductivity previously awakened. The difference is that, when the nervous system is
ecstatically awakened, the effects become experiential, and can be observed in the body.
The effects are experienced with the inner senses and have an ecstatic overtone. The
resonating effect of a syllable deep in the silence of the mind loosens obstructions in a
particular way unique to that syllable. With that experience-based feedback, and knowing
the most effective and safest order of awakening the nervous system, especially the spinal
nerve, the mantras can be suitably assembled. Let's get more specific.
I AM (by any spelling) resonates in the full length of the spinal nerve from the third eye
to the root.
This has not been said before in the lessons. It has only been hinted at. It has not been
mentioned because I don't want to encourage anyone to think the mantra in any particular
location in the body. The mantra resonates naturally with the particular part of the
nervous system it is attuned to. We don't have to help it by directing it here or there.
In fact, we can interfere with the natural resonance by doing that. So, don't locate the
mantra, okay? Just pick it up easily and effortlessly wherever it may be, as always, and
let it refine. If I AM is coming up in the feet, or anywhere else, it will resonate from
the third eye to the root. Just as a tuning fork will vibrate the corresponding string of
an instrument if brought anywhere in the vicinity.
Having said that, now you can do an experiment and observe if you want. If you think the
sound "I," maybe you can feel the subtle neurology in the head reaching out
through the center of the brow. If not, no matter. That is where it naturally vibrates. No
need to help it or feel it. That is where it is. Now, if you think the sound
"AM," maybe you can feel it going naturally down through the center of the body.
If not, well, no matter. When ecstatic conductivity comes up you will. Feeling it has no
bearing on the effectiveness of the mantra. Feeling it is only a symptom of the degree of
purification we have in the nervous system, and the degree of ecstatic conductivity
(kundalini) we have coming up. It will come to all of us as we continue with daily
practices. When we do feel the mantra ecstatically like that, and notice our attention off
in thoughts about the sensation, location in the body, etc., we treat it like any other
experience that comes up in meditation and easily go back to the mantra. Nothing changes
in the procedure of meditation. Only the experiences change to become more ecstatic and
divine, so we have to be mindful not to get preoccupied with them during meditation and
our other practices.
As has been said in earlier lessons, I AM is a "dual pole" mantra. The resonance
of it in the spinal nerve is the reason why. "I" is the shiva component, and
"AM" is the shakti component. With this mantra we are bringing the mind to
stillness in such a way so as to purify the full length of the spinal nerve. By using a
mantra that resonates between the third eye and the root, we are following the safest and
most balanced path of awakening, just as we do in spinal breathing pranayama. The two
practices are parallel methods, both working to purify the spinal nerve on their
respective levels in the nervous system. Both practices, done in sequence (spinal
breathing and then meditation), awaken and stabilize our ecstatic energies and inner
silence. Together, these emanate out naturally from the spinal nerve.
With the first mantra enhancement (SHREE SHREE I AM I AM), we are doing two new things.
First, we are increasing the number of syllables of the mantra. This broadens our sweep
through the subconscious, purifying a wider path through the nervous system. It also slows
down our descent into pure bliss consciousness, and brings more of it out with us as we
come back out. So, more syllables do more purification and stabilize more inner silence in
the nervous system. Why not one SHREE, or three SHREE's? We could have built up slower,
beginning with one SHREE, and then added another one later. That way we'd have two
enhancements instead of one. I did not think it was necessary to make the steps that
small. Will we go to three SHREE's? It is not anticipated at this time. With the second
enhancement added to the two SHREE's it is quite a good and long mantra already. More than
enough to get the job done.
The reason for SHREE itself is for a new direction we are taking in the purification of
our nervous system, expanding our mantra beyond the familiar third eye to root spinal
nerve resonance for the first time. Expanding where? To the crown. SHREE takes us straight
up the spinal nerve to the crown. In the center of the head the spinal nerve (sushumna)
has a fork. It goes in two directions from there. First is the route to the third eye at
the point between the eyebrows. Second is to the crown, straight up into the middle of the
corona radiata, above the pineal gland and ventricles of the brain. Right up through
there. With the resonance of SHREE in the crown we start to purify that area in relation
to the entire spinal nerve. SHREE is a phonetic spelling of SRI, so it is not the same as
SHREEM, per your question.
That is the first enhancement of the mantra.
A note on the crown: Way back when we first started discussing kundalini, it was mentioned
that going to the crown prematurely could create all kinds of problems in the nervous
system -- the example of Gopi Krishna's well-documented nightmare-ish journey to
enlightenment was given. Opening the third eye to root spinal nerve is the safest and most
enjoyable way to go about purifying and opening the nervous system, and fast too. This is
recognized in some of the traditions, and not recognized so well in others. Being wise
travelers, we have gone the third eye to root path, both in spinal breathing and in
meditation. And for most of us it is very progressive and smooth. As we are opening the
third eye to root spinal nerve, we are also affecting the crown. It is inevitable, because
the two are connected in the middle of the brain. Anyone who experiences the rise of
ecstatic conductivity in the third eye route will experience an ecstatic crown opening as
well. The difference is that, with the third eye leading, the process will not spiral out
of control into excessive kundalini symptoms, as can happen when the crown is leading. So
we go along that way, opening the third eye with gusto, letting the crown follow along
safely. Then, at some point, the crown is purified enough "by osmosis" from the
third eye opening so we can take a more direct approach to the crown. That is why we add
SHREE's (and also OM's) into our mantra, and we will be taking a more direct approach to
the crown with pranayama as well a few more lessons down the road. So, you see, we are
getting around to the crown in our own time and in our own way, prudently avoiding the
long-term havoc that a premature crown opening can bring.
The third eye is like our window to the divine and we can accomplish a lot going in and
out through there. It is controlled (ajna means "control"), safe, very ecstatic,
and it must be opened. The crown, the sahasrar (the thousand petaled lotus) is like our
roof, and once we open it up, we are easily dissolved into the divine. There is some
control in this, but no where near the control we have working through the third eye. By
the time we have purified the crown, both indirectly through the third eye, and directly
later on by going straight up, we are ready to surrender ourselves on the altar of our
crown, and then we find ourselves gone into ecstatic bliss. When we come back, we are no
longer working for ourselves. We are then working for the Self in all -- we have become
That. It is not an instantaneous transition. It happens over a period of years -- decades
even. It is human spiritual transformation. So, I wanted to make clear that we never
intended to avoid the crown forever -- only until the time is right. You will know when
that is for you in your heart, and these practices are designed to give you some
guidelines on the matter, and the tools.
The second enhancement to the mantra (SHREE OM SHREE OM I AM I AM NAMAH) adds more
syllables for the same reason as before (a much bigger sweep through the subconscious),
and introduces the powerful OM component. OM resonates naturally in the medulla oblongata,
the brain stem, spreading out everywhere through the nervous system, and beyond. Please be
reminded that we don't try and localize the mantra in any particular physical part of our
body. The tuning fork effect will work best if we are easy with the mantra, following the
procedure of meditation as originally instructed early in the lessons. The nervous system
already knows how to respond to the mantra in the appropriate way. All we have to do is
use the mantra correctly, and everything will be fine.
OM lives up to its reputation of being the "mother of all mantras." It is the
deeply ecstatic primordial sound of what we are, manifesting from pure bliss
consciousness. As explained in the lesson on the second enhancement, we have to prepare
for it before using it in deep meditation. Otherwise, it can wreak havoc. Under the best
of circumstances, OM is "devastating ecstasy" in deep meditation, especially
once ecstatic conductivity is coming up. It will be too much for anyone who goes to the
second enhancement prematurely, so don't rush into it. You will know when you are ready.
For deciding when to "shift gears," use the guidelines given in the lesson.
OM is paired with SHREE for a reason, and it is second instead of first for a reason. It
is paired to maintain polarity between the crown (SHREE) and the rest of the nervous
system resonating with OM. This is another dimension of the shiva-shakti balanced
relationship, in this case between the crown and the medulla oblongata. It is a more
dynamic and far-reaching manifestation of the shiva-shakti pairing than I AM (which also
continues). OM is placed after SHREE for more longevity in the vibration of OM. SHREE OM
is coming into the body, and OM SHREE is leaving the body. It is a distinction with a
noticeably positive difference in effect when seen through the inner senses of ecstatic
Finally, NAMAH is added for its syllables and as a traditional transition in mantra
repetitions. It resonates ecstatically in the heart, cultivating bhakti, and has a
purifying effect throughout the nervous system.
I realize that we have all had to take our mantras on faith from others who are supposed
to know, who get them from scriptures. You know, I think it is going to change as ecstatic
conductivity comes up in more and more people in this rising new age. We already have some
people in this group with awakened kundalini who can no doubt judge for themselves how the
mantra syllables are resonating in their nervous system. In other words, if you are taking
my (or anyone else's) word for it now, you won't have to in the future. All it takes is
awakening ecstatic conductivity through the practices. Anyone who has will "see"
the effects of the mantras inside and know for themselve. Then the proof will be found
right there in the pudding, and you won't have to take anyone else's word for it anymore.
Well, that is quite a lot of information. I sincerely hope that it does not distract
anyone from the simple procedure of favoring the mantra and letting it happen naturally in
meditation. None of what has been written here is necessary to do correct meditation, and
it could indeed be distracting. So file all this under "food for bhakti" and
continue to enjoy your journey homeward to enlightenment using the easy practice of deep
The guru is in you.
(November 12, 2009), from AYP
Easy Lessons book:
– Third Enhancement of Mantra
A third enhancement to the mantra is offered in this lesson addition. It
should not be undertaken until the second enhancement of the mantra has been
fully digested, and meditation is smooth. The enhancement is simple enough,
adding two more syllables in the form of another NAMAH. So the third
enhancement of the mantra is:
… SHREE OM SHREE OM I AM I AM NAMAH NAMAH …
This broadens the footprint of the mantra in our awareness one more step,
making a wider cleansing stroke through the mind and nervous system as we
use the mantra to facilitate the mind’s natural march toward stillness. With
this mantra, once we have arrived in stillness, we will find more inner
silence staying with us as we go out into our daily activities. That is the
purpose of meditation – to infuse our nervous system and all of our
activities with the quality of inner silence, which is pure bliss
consciousness. Then we come to know who we are in relation to all that is
going on in the realm of time and space. We are That…
The guru is in you.
Note: For an alternate approach to mantra
enhancements, see Lesson 369.
For detailed instructions on
the procedure of deep meditation, see the
AYP Deep Meditation book.
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