“Gandhi’s Mantram”–Daily Metta

February 13

“When a child, my nurse taught me to repeat Ramanama whenever I felt afraid or miserable, and it has been second nature with me with growing knowledge and advancing years.”

–Gandhi (Harijan, 8-17-1934, p. 213)

Ramanama is the repetition of the Rama’s name (Rama-nama). Rama is the name of a Hindu diety whose story is told in the epic of the Ramayana, it also literally means “joy.” The repetition of a holy name or sacred word is known as a mantram or a prayer word, and its practice is found in all faiths. But you don’t need a religion to benefit, either. The work of a mantram is to steady the mind on what is real, good and lasting. When the mind is speeding from one thought or idea to the next, this perception of the real, good and lasting is much more difficult to keep in focus.

How immensely practical for nonviolence the mantram is! Imagine if, instead of reacting to fear with more fear or to anger with greater anger, we had this tool to help us steady the mind and see through a difficult situation directly into its heart–we would become more compassionate and skilled in the great art of living nonviolence.


Experiment in Nonviolence:

Practice repeating Gandhi’s mantram, Rama, throughout your day (though not while driving or while chopping vegetables; you need your full attention for these tasks!) — while brushing your teeth, waiting in traffic, walking to school or to work. Whenever your mind wanders from the mantram, gently bring it back.


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