This excerpt is from one of my favorite healing bibles ‘The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine’ by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad
There are two levels of healing in Ayurveda: the physical and the mental. The basic means of healing on the physical level is through herbs. The basic means of healing on the mental or psychological level is through mantras. Mantras are special seed syllables like Om which reflect the cosmic creative vibration. The plant transmits the seed-energy of nature into the body; the mantra transmits the seed-energy of the spirit into the mind.
These two levels of healing are always related. Plants have their effects upon the mind, and mantras change our physiology. Both work on the Prana or life-force – one from without, the other from within. The human being, as mentioned earlier, is the essence of plants. The essence of the human being is speech, the essence of which is the mantra. In harmony with the plant as the word of nature is the mantra, the word of the spirit. Between these stands the human being.
The mind is refined through plants. In the mantra it is perfected. Hence, the right use of herbs and a vegetarian diet serve as catalysts for the mantric development of consciousness. This is the beauty of Ayurveda – that it is not limited to the “normal” idea of physical health, but shows us how to incorporate healing into the practice of yoga and the liberation of the spirit. In doing this, the mantra becomes the means of directing the healing energy of plants to the mind. It gives herbs a power of psychological healing and spiritual integration. It brings the universal intelligence of nature into harmony with the individual.
All plants and all healing processes have certain mantric affinities. All plants, all life is a manifestation of the mantra, which is the structuring power of the cosmic mind. Through the mantra all things are empowered.
Without the use of mantra, which means the right energization of the mind, any healing process remains outward and superficial. With the right use of the mantra, which means the giving of right attention, the healing process becomes a conscious act, and thereby a means of healing consciousness.
Mantra is not merely a matter of mechanically repeating various powerful sounds. Mantra also implies meditation. Meditation (dhyana), means receptivity, passive awareness, in which there is the unity of the seer and the seen (my note: this is the essence of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings). It means understanding, the attitude of openness in which there is space for the inner truth to manifest itself. This inner truth that comes from all things in meditation is itself the mantra. The true power of mantra appears in meditation. The right use of mantra implies establishing the healing space of meditation.
to be continued