Your practice of mantra repetition creates a sort of sound within. The sound is already in you. You are not doing anything new. That is the divine within you in the form of sound: namarupa, in Sanskrit. The Bible says that in the beginning there was the Word. That word is a mantra. So you are a mantra yourself, and it is there, but unfortunately it is all blocked up and you have to awaken it. Some people call it kundalini shakti. So you use an external mantra to kindle up the internal mantra. Only a mantra can help kindle a mantra. Once that is kindled up you don’t even have to repeat it; you simply sit there and listen to the mantra.

After some time, even the mantra will be gone and only a sound will be there—a humming sound. If you do bhramari pranayama, you get the humming sound. Without doing anything, just sit and listen to that sound. It’s called Nada Yoga or listening to the sound within you. The sound can vary according to one’s caliber and development. There are ten types of sound. That is why in the Hindu form of worship in a temple there are many sounds that are used—drum, bells, pipes, and others. But whatever happens inside the temple, should also happen inside you. Sometimes you may hear a drum beating, sometimes a pipe playing, or bells ringing; it doesn’t matter. Whatever comes, keep on listening to that and then slowly it will change.

Some people see internal lights instead of sounds. That’s why arati worship is done with different kinds of lights. There could be five, ten or even twenty lights that are being offered and swung around. At the end of the ceremony, only one light remains. You will also be able to see all those lights within you. There may be different colors that come also, according to the mental condition. If you don’t see lights or hear sounds, it doesn’t matter, it will come to you later. Whatever kind of sound or color of light that comes from within, just watch. You don’t have to do anything. Simply sit and watch.

Meditation is not something that you do; you don’t have to do anything. Simply sit and watch. All of that will also change. There may be different tones, different pitches, but whatever it is, watch as though you are watching a movie within you. But remember, you are the watchperson. Whatever happens is not you—something is happening in you and you are just watching it. You differentiate yourself from what is happening in you and you become an observer. It is called the witness bhavana. It will all come naturally if you meditate regularly. So don’t worry about anything. If you hear somebody telling you, “Oh, do it my way because I am I am getting this or that.” Do it your way, because ultimately all will have the same experience.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda