In the Vajrayana traditions, which deals with energy, one speaks of three principles: body, speech and mind. Body corresponds to matter, and mind to thoughts and space. Speech is that which links them together, which is energy.Meditating on the sound of mantras is one of the traditionally know ways of relating to this energy. This particular mantra, OM AH HUM VAJRA-GURU-PADMA-SIDDHI HUM, can be used in this way.Generally, when a yogi recites a mantra, he or she does not think out intellectually the meaning of the Sanskrit words. In Tibet, and also in China and Japan, whenever a mantra has been introduced as a part of tantric teachings, it has been left in the original Sanskrit in order not to invite conceptualized translations of meaning. You just feel the sounds.It is the same with colors. When you see a color, that color means something spiritually. When you hold a rock, that also means something spiritually as well as just physically. This kind of direct link, this direct feeling with nature, also takes place with sound.For instance, take the word OM. OM consists of three sounds. The first is AH, the sound of space, the sound of basic ground. When you pronounce AH, it comes straight from the heart, a sort of hollowness and openness. The next sound is OH, which is the basic space being seen in terms of manifestation of energy from the AH. The energy begins to be formulated into something. Then M is the final manifestation into form, like giving birth . So OM represents open space and energy, and then the solid, vivid, colorful, phenomenal world, all of which is creation – OM.In this Vajra Guru mantra, we have at the beginning OM AH HUM. OM is the creation of form. AH is that same as at the origin of OM – speech, sound. AH is supposed to contain all speech. Also emotive utterances of any kind – laughter «HA HA» or crying «HOO HOO» – all are contained in the word AH. Babies first say «AH». The primal first vowel AH represents emotions and communication. HUM is piercing, penetrating. It represents the penetrating quality of mind, thought, intelligence.Vajra means «indestructible». It is historically a synonym for diamond, a celestial diamond, the scepter of certain mythological gods.Next is Guru, Vajra Guru – indestructible guru or teacher. There are three aspects of the guru; the guru as superior, the teachers, the guru as spiritual friend; and the guru as enviroment. As the superior teacher, he is the one to whom you open to completely, surrender yourself, expose the negative and raw and rugged quality of ego without hesitation, without being ashamed. It is surrendering in order to receive knowledge, becoming an empty vessel so there is something to fill, something in which to pour the spiritual nectar.And the guru has the aspect of friend, because you must be able not only to surrender but to communicate. This is communication as equals, friends. You can communicate with the guru as a friend, meeting on the ground of friendliness, which is the open space of meditation.This is the meeting of the two minds. Your mind is open to open space, and the guru’s mind is open to the open space. That is the way of making your mind one with that of the guru.The guru as environment is related to the idea of all-pervading energy. The happenings of life are manifestations of energy. This energy in the situations of life is a very powerful teacher.If you go to far, in the sense of not being receptive enough to learn from the experience of life, if you ignore this experience and go too far with the extreme emotional excitement of ego, then sooner or later your are going to be pulled back. This might take the form of accident, illness or disaster – any sort of chaos.Whereas if you are able to see the first signal that you have lost touch with the life situation as teacher, then you will be able to tune yourself back into it. That is guru as environment. Padma means «lotus» in Sanskrit. It symbolizes compassion. The unshakable guru also grants the energy of compassion. Compassion grows within passion – desire, attachment. But that desire and attachment has now lost its clinging, the possessiveness of ego.Compassion creates more open space of communication. The lotus is grown in mud, but it itself is clean and pure, unaffected by the mud of possessiveness. Passion could be said to be imposing our desire on someone else, some other things, or on ourselves. Compassion is the opposite of that.Instead of imposing, you create space, you welcome the possibilities of love, the possibilities of exchange in the warmth of communication. In that way, you are able to help other people to help themselves.Compassion is inspiring other people as well as helping them. If you inspire them, then they will be helped, either physically or psychologically.Siddhi is a Sanskrit word which means «miraculous power» or «energy». It is possible to perceive the play of energy as miraculous. When we speak of miracles, it does not mean such a thing as fire turning into water or the world turning upside down. Rather, a miracle is something happening unexpectedly, some situation developing unexpectantly. There will always be a scientific explanation.A miracle need not be illogical. It could be highly logical, highly scientific. But nonetheless it takes the form of an apparent accident. For example, our meeting here together could be called a miracle, Why did I alone have to come from Tibet, and why did you have to be here?So a siddhi is a miracle in the sense of the sudden coming together of situations, assuming the guise of «accident».HUM as the last syllable in the mantra is similar to the HUM at the beginning, but it has the slightly different sense in this case of gathering energy. It is like the piercing through of an arrow, gathering energy in one pointedness, penetrating. This is the penetrating quality of peace, related to its indestructible quality, and the penetrating quality of nowness: that which cuts right through the layers of ignorance and duality, passion, and desire. It cuts right through, penetrates right through – HUM – the sound of gathering together or penetration.So taking the mantra as a whole, it is something like: «Indestructable guru, vajra guru, vajra teacher, vajra friend, please grant the miracle of compassion at this very moment, at this very point,» which is HUM. This mantra is based on what is called the «mantra of the guru,» which is one of compassion and devotion, devotion in the sense of openness, as already mentioned in connection with the guru.In other words, the penetration of the awareness of the indestructible quality of the guru must open one’s heart, pierce through one’s heart and open it, open the closed, conceptualised, and confused boundary of ego and grant the miracle power of compassion, ultimate communication.
Chögyam Trungpa – Selected Writings (Vol 5 Collected Works) – Shambhala Publications