#711 More on Mantras

via Eknath Easwaran (the Indian Joseph Campbell)

In our last +1, we chatted about mantras and took (yet!) another trip down Etymology Lane where we discovered that the word mantra literally (!) means “tool of the mind.” ← How cool is that?!

Let’s talk about mantras some more today.

We’ll invite one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject to the party: Eknath Easwaran.

Easwaran is one of my all-time favorite authors. We have Notes on a bunch of his books. (Seven, in fact, if you include his translations of the Gita and Dhammapada!)

He reminds me of an Indian Joseph Campbell. (Seriously: They’re like brothers from another mother. In my Spiritual Family Tree, they occupy my spiritual grandfather slot with Campbell on my mother’s side and Easwaran on my father’s side. 🤓)

(For curious souls: Easwaran was born in 1910 and died in 1999 while Campbell was born in 1904 and died in 1987.)


Easwaran was an Indian-born-and-raised English Professor who came to America as a Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley where he taught meditation and became a renowned spiritual teacher.

Of course, he’s ALL about meditation and mastering our mind. (In fact, one of his books is called Conquest of Mind.)

Here’s what he says about mantras (he calls them “mantram”s): “You can draw on the power of the mantram like this at any time, wherever you happen to be, whatever you happen to be doing. But if you want the mantram to come to your rescue when you need it, if you want it to steady your mind in times of turmoil, you need to practice, practice, practice in calm weather.

Whenever you get a moment free, unless you are doing something that requires attention, repeat your mantram to yourself silently, in your mind—while waiting, walking, washing dishes, and especially when falling asleep at night. Constant repetition drives the mantram deep into consciousness, where it can anchor your mind so surely that no amount of agitation can sweep you away.

I must have given this advice a million times, but it can never be repeated too often. Throughout my life, no matter how assiduously I practiced this skill, I have always been able to find more time, additional opportunities to put it to use. This is how we can gradually extend sovereignty over the mind.

That’s Today’s +1.

When you have a free moment Today, rather than reach for your smartphone, how about you reach for a mantra?

If you’re looking for some tools, may I suggest you focus your mind on a favorite virtue (or 11?).

High fives and here’s to Wisdom + Arete + Confidence + Purpose + Self-Awareness + Telos + Energy + Presence + Courage + Love + en*theos.

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