Mantra and meditation
Mantra provides a vehicle to carry us forward in meditation. Otherwise, distracted thought patterns disturb the mind. Mantra gives energy to meditation. To try to put the mind directly into a blank or silent state may be no more than to put our attention into our subconscious, where its dark tendencies can further inflict their pain upon us. Mantra serves like a boat to take us across the ocean of the unconscious. Mantra-prepared meditation is easier, safer and more powerful that trying to meditate directly. One the mantra permeates the subconscious, the subconscious will support meditation, providing it far greater efficacy.
Most of us fail at meditation because we have not properly prepared the mental field. Meditation in the true sense, giving our attention fully to the object of our attention, requires that we already have a calm mind and controlled attention. Conditioned as are in the modern age to entertainment, sensory indulgence and wishful thinking, this is something that we do not have. Mantra is the way to prepare the mental field for meditation. It removes the Rajas and Tamas in the mind, so that meditation, which requires Sattva to proceed properly, can occur.
Prana, the life-force, is the primordial sound vibration behind the universe. There is a sound behind the breath, which itself is unmanifest sound. Our worlds are created by the outgoing breath. To combine mantra with the breath is a powerful way of changing the energy of the mind. Our emotional disturbances are linked up with wrong movements of the life-force.