Although meditation methods may vary, the spiritual value of the practice is recognised by many religious and spiritual traditions.
In the Vaishnava tradition, meditation as mantra is practiced most often: the song of sacred sounds. This form of meditation has been performed in India for thousands of years.
A proven method that contributes to the development of a pleasant temperament and the development of spiritual values, mantra meditation can also help one achieve the ultimate goal of liberation. It can also provide relief in times of stress, and generally increase one’s general state of well-being (mental, physical, and emotional).
According to the Vaishnava tradition, there are three ways to practice mantra meditation : (1) Silently in the mind, (2) Pronounced in a low voice so only the meditator can hear it, (3) Loudly, with other people, with instruments.
The most important mantra that Vaishnavas use for their meditation is the maha-mantra, composed of Sanskrit names that refer to Krishna. It is recited as follows:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
‘Hare’ (pronounced ha-ray) refers to the energy of pleasure of the Lord. ‘Krishna’ means ‘most attractive’. And ‘Rama’ means ‘the reservoir of all pleasure’.
The meanings of these names imply that spiritual practice is an experience full of pleasure and joy.
In the Vaishnava tradition there are also other mantras sung on various occasions. Two of the most common are:
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
jaya sri-krishna-caitanya prabhu nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda
The morning hours are considered most conducive to meditation because that is the time most conducive to peace and concentration. There is, nevertheless, no rigid rule for mantra meditation. You can chant anywhere and anytime.