Debashish Banerji, PhD, is Haridas Chaudhuri Professor of Indian Philosophies and Cultures and Chairman of the East West Psychology Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is author of Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo and also The Alternate Nation of Abanindranath Tagore, a book about his great grandfather. He edited an anthology about his great uncle, Rabindranath Tagore in the Twenty-First Century. With Robert McDermott, he has coedited an anthology titled Philo-Sophia: Wisdom Goddess Traditions.
Here he notes that the use of mantra was elaborated in the earliest writings of the Upanishads, approximately 900 BCE, prior to the time of the Buddha. At an even earlier stage, the hymns of the Rig Veda were considered to be mantras. The essential idea is to allow the power of sound to move consciousness beyond conceptual thought to a realm of non-dual unity. When used with focused attention, mantras are thought to exert a magical force.
(Recorded on November 24, 2021)
Published on December 17, 2021