Let repetition be a re-petition
Chanting mantras is a standard religious practice based on the philosophical understanding that sacred sound is packed with power.
Different mantras are meant for different purposes – for example, some mantras are used during warfare to invoke celestial weapons that unleash fearsome power rarely accessible to us terrestrial beings. The most special and potent among all such mantras are those that are made of the names of God because just as God is the supremely potent being, so is his name the supremely potent sound. God being absolute is non-different from his name – so his omnipotence manifests through his name.
In tapping the power of mantras centered on the names of God, the dynamic of loving reciprocation comes into play. Such mantras are essentially personal calls to him for petitioning his grace. The highest manifestation of that grace is his granting us the opportunity for realizing his love for us, and for redirecting our love towards him. Why? Because such realization and redirection alone can grant us lasting spiritual happiness.
To better access the power of divine mantras, scripture exhorts us to chant them repeatedly. But that repetition needs to be devotional, not mechanical. Because only such devotional repetition leads to reinforced contact with the divine.
While the mantras themselves are potent sound vibrations, how much we can access their potency depends on our hearts’ receptivity. When we strive to keep a devotional disposition while chanting the mantras, that disposition opens our heart to Krishna’s grace. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (09.14) states that the devotees glorify Krishna wholeheartedly and constantly.
Thus, the repetition of mantras is not meant to be a mindless mutterance of some formulaic sound. It is meant to be a re-petition, a reiteration of an earnest request for grace to flood our heart and fill it with spiritual love.
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