Mantra The traditional definition of mantra is mananat trayate, “that which saves by being constantly present in the mind.” This definition prompts us to ask a question, Saves from what? Mantra is a tool for calming the mind and bringing our “out-in-the-world” consciousness in touch with deeper states of consciousness which we ordinarily do not have access to because of the continuous activity of the mind. In the practice of meditation, mantra provides a focal point that saves us from being lead off into all corners of the material world through the peregrinations of the mind. A properly selected mantra brings guidance, nurturance, and protection as we progress along the spiritual path.
Pandit, a word with many meanings:
1) It simply refers to any learned person.
2) In our culture, the word is used (often spelled pundit) to refer to someone who is paid to argue a particular political viewpoint in the popular media.
3) It can be a title received as the result of an ordination into a spiritual tradition.
4) A true Pandit is one who has completely transcended inferiority/superiority complexes.
Vipassana is a word from the Pali language, which is closely related to Sanskrit. It is usually translated as “insight.” Putting this term into the context of a personal meditation practice, however, it means “self-understanding.” It is traditionally paired with Shamatha, or “calmness,” as the two major components of a successful meditation practice. They are complimentary: without some degree of tranquility in the mind, we cannot see ourselves clearly; understanding ourselves more clearly helps to calm doubts and anxieties that disturb the mind. They are like two wings of a bird.
- The Sanskrit Scholar, a cyberspace corner where Jon Janaka shares an occasional definition for your edification