Ram Dass on Mantras

Open Heart Extra – Mantras


A mantra is a phrase, or it could be a sound or a phrase. It is a phrase that you repeat over and over and over again. Take for example the phrase Om Mani Padme Hum. This phrase is perhaps one of the most widely used mantras in the world today. In fact in Nepal you’ll see rocks 20 feet long and 10 feet high with Om Mani Padme Hum written in tiny letters all over the whole rock, so you can just read it like a letter. And there are prayer wheels at the temples where written in them ten million times is the phrase Om Mani Padme Hum, and you see lamas going around stupas saying Om Mani Padme Hum. 

Now, when you first start to say a mantra, the first involvement is in hearing it outside, through your ears, saying it aloud and hearing it and thinking about it’s meaning. That’s the first game you play with mantra. So, if I give you that mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, you think about it and you think, “Well, what does it mean?” Now, there are many meanings – there’s a whole book written about its meaning by Govinda. One of the ways of understanding its meaning is that Om means, like Brahma, that which is behind it all, the unmanifest. Mani means jewel or crystal. Padme means lotus, and Hum means heart. So, on one level what it means is the entire universe is just like a pure jewel or crystal right in the heart or center of the lotus flower, which is me, and it is manifest, it comes forth in light, in manifest light, in my own heart. That’s one way of interpreting it. You start to say Om Mani Padme Hum and you’re thinking, “God in unmanifest form is like a jewel in the middle of a lotus, manifest in my heart.” You go through that and feel it in your heart – that’s one trip.

Ok, that’s the first, and lowest level of operation of mantra. It’s putting one set of thoughts into your head in place of another set of thoughts. Instead of thinking, “Gee, it’s hot out. Shall I have a milkshake at the next stop? Gee, this engine sounds a little strange. Those new Chevy’s don’t look very good at all. Boy, I’ve been on this trip!” Instead of that, all of that stuff, which is terribly profound and important, but isn’t really that relevant, you go into the mantra. Once the mantra has been going on that way for a while, it starts to change in its nature. You stop thinking about what it means; you just sort of get hooked or addicted on the Tibetan sound of it. And then it starts to move into your head, and then from your head down into your chest, until pretty soon it’s going around like a little wheel, going around inside your chest, just Om Mani Padme Hum, right?

Now, at that point it has stopped meaning anything to you. Any time you want to bring it back into consciousness, you can rerun its meaning, which will do that thing for you again, but you can keep it down in the place where it’s just running off. Now it’s got another quality to it. That is, when a mantra is done sufficiently it gets into a certain kind of vibration or harmony with the universe in a certain way which is its own thing. The conscious beings who evolve certain languages such as Sanskrit specifically evolve the sounds of these languages to be connected with various states of consciousness – unlike the English language- so that a Sanskrit mantra, if you do it over and over again, will take you to a certain state of consciousness.

The idea of a mantra is that it just sits there, and all that stuff goes by. It’s like a bridge on which you stand, looking down into the water in which you see your own life going by. It’s a training device to break you out of your attachments. When I’m driving and doing mantra I’m not attached to my driving. I’m doing mantra, and driving is just happening. So in other words, the mantra is a technique for bringing me into a place in myself which would be called the eternal present; that is, a place where nothing is literally happening at all. It’s a device for calming my mind.

Mantra gets so far out, that after I did it for two days and two nights solid in Nepal once, I stopped to go to sleep and of course it continued going. But instead of it continuing going just in my voice it continued going, what it sounded like was a cross between the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the O Heavenly Day Chorus. It’s that huge of a thing except it was made up of all old voices and they stretched back in time and space in infinite direction, you know, distance. All I heard was Om Mani Padme Hum and the wind was Om Mani Padme Hum and the air conditioner was Om Mani Padme Hum, the whole thing. I had tuned in on that place where that was all I could hear. But it was no longer my voice. I went rushing to a yogi and I said, “What’s happening, I’m going crazy!” He said, “You’ve tuned in on the Om, that’s that place. You’ve tuned in on that place. There it is. That’s where they’re all hanging out.”

– Ram Dass, excerpt from the book Doing Your Own Being, 1973

from:    https://www.ramdass.org/mantras/

Nepal Large Earthquake

Dangerous earthquake in Rukum, Nepal injures 20, damages 14 houses

Last update: June 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm by By

Update 15:10 UTC : At least 20 people are reported to be injured in earthquake in Rukum, Nepal. Earthquake has damaged more than 14 houses in Rukum. Still have to wait for tomorrow morning for details. People rushed out of their houses in Salyan, Jajarkot, Rolpa and other neighboring districts.

Update 13:28 UTC
: We have just added the data of the Nepal National Seismological Center to the list. NSC has reported a Richter Magnitude ML 5.5. They are never disclosing the depth, at least not online. A same difference in data was seen at the earlier Rukum earthquakes. ER keeps his denomination as “dangerous”.

Update 12:59 UTC : Light to weak shaking has been reported from Dailekh, Pokhara, Birendranagar and Tulsipur

Update 12:33 UTC : On March 24 a similar, although a little weaker, earthquake struck the same area. Some prople had to be treated for minor injuries + a number of houses were damaged and others collapsed. Check our in-depth article about this earthquake here.

Update 12:30 UTC : the earthquake was well felt in Kathmandu as well as in Pokhara. We do not expect damage outside the perimeter we have referred to below.

Update 12:25 UTC : It will take many hours before we will be getting news from the epicenter area. We consider a radius of 20 km around the epicenter as a potentially dangerous landslide area

We do not immediately fear shaking damage from this earthquake, but we do fear dangerous landslides as the monsoon has began his yearly work in the Himalayas

Different epicenters are being reported by the most important seismological agencies.

Image of the landscape near the epicenter - Image courtesy MaMaTa

Image of the landscape near the epicenter – Image courtesy MaMaTa

42km (26mi) NNE of Salyan, Nepal
58km (36mi) E of Dailekh, Nepal
66km (41mi) ENE of Birendranagar, Nepal
67km (42mi) N of Tulsipur, Nepal
318km (198mi) WNW of Kathmandu, Nepal

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 5

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-06-28 17:25:51

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-06-28 11:40:51

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 10 km

from:    http://earthquake-report.com/2013/06/28/moderate-earthquake-nepal-on-june-28-2013/

Nepal Landslide

First monsoon landslide in Nepal leaves 12 dead

Last update: June 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm by By Armand Vervaeck

Nepal landslide Update (June 8 -08:42 UTC)

The death toll of the Taplejung landslide in Nepal has risen to 12. Besides the already 9 reported dead the day before yesterday, the police has stopped searching for the 3 missing which brings the total fatalities to 12.
This is the first major incident after the start of the monsoon. Monsoon rains are triggering many deadly landslides each year in the Himalayas.

Nepal landslide kills 9 people (June 6 -15:42 UTC)
Nine people including eight members of one family were perished in a landslide at Thukima VDC-6 in Taplejungdistrict on Wednesday night. Three others have gone missing. According to DSP Govinda Acharya, the landslide triggered by incessant rainfall buried their houses killing Asta Bahadur Siwa, 60, his wife, son Salman Siwa, 40, daughter-in-law Manmaya Siwa, 34, and grandchildren Naniran, 14, Naina Ram and Khagendra 12 and ten-year-old Nina of Tej Bahadur Siwa. One Sukumaya was rescued from the mudslide but she breathed her last as she was brought to the district headquarters for treatment.

from:     http://earthquake-report.com/2013/06/01/worldwide-landslide-report/

Nepal, Himalaya, Earthquake

Earthquakes Nepal Himalaya (Rukum and Rolpo districts) – 2 more earthquakes (aftershocks)

Last update: August 24, 2012 at 8:21 am by By

Update : USGS is confirming the Magnitude of M5.0 however at a less dangerous deeper depth of 38.3 km.

Based on the number of visitors in our site, we see a moderate earthquake in Nepal.
Please tell us by the form how the shaking was experienced.
Based on our preliminary findings, we expect a Magnitude in between M4.5 and M5.0
Preliminary epicenter is located in the western part of the Nepali Himalaya (West of Annapurna)
If people residing in Pokhara are reading this page, please let us know how the shaking was experienced.
A M5.1 is a moderate shaking but can create in the high mountains some serious avalanches/landslides of rock, snow, ice or even mud.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : M5.0 (USGS) – M5.1 (EMSC)
UTC Time : Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 16:30:23 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 10:15:23 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 38 km (USGS) – 10 km (EMSC)
Geo-location(s) (USGS data):
101 km (63 miles) SSE (149°) from Jumla, Nepal
117 km (72 miles) ENE (64°) from Nepalganj, Nepal
128 km (80 miles) WNW (284°) from Pokhara, Nepal
272 km (169 miles) WNW (290°) from KATHMANDU, Nepal

Update 24/08 – 08:09 UTC : International seismological agencies are listing a huge number of earthquakes worldwide but unfortunately not enough to have a good picture of what is going on in the world. Developing nations press are often citing USGS as a certainty in the world of earthquakes and are that way diminishing the value of their own specialist agencies. Nepal is a good example. The Nepal National seismological Center has a fine network of seismographs, GPS stations and accelerometers. Data captures close to the epicenter is (mostly) more accurate than data captured at a greater distance. From the 4 earthquakes reported by the NSC, only 2 were reported by EMSC and USGS. The Magnitude differs so much in between local and international agencies (M5.6 vs M5.0 yesterday and M5.2 vs M4.4 earlier today for the 2 strongest shakes). Difference in scales cannot give this big difference in Magnitude Mb vs Ml.

Update 24/08 – 07:14 UTC : The Nepal National Seismological Center has updated the earthquake data and reports now a M4.4 as the new value for the initial M4.7. The M5.6 mainshock stands.
8 hours later an M4.4 occurred (00:17 UTC) and at 03:55 UTC the sequence was followed by another M5.2 earthquake, all in the same area.
The Nepalese press gives little attention to the earthquake and states only that there are no reports of damage or injuries. If the Nepalese data are correct, we do  not trust this general remark. Both the M5.6 and M5.2 are relatively strong earthquakes in mountainous areas and both M4.4 can be seen as moderate. We will follow this up and bring you further news if it reaches us.
We also make a request to our Nepali readers to report any news which they may find in the local or regional press.

Official earthquake data – courtesy Nepal National Seismological Center

Update 20:53 UTC : After a sluggish start, the monsoon’s active phase, observed in the last 24 hours, brought brief heavy downpours in most of the Western and Central regions of the country. This is bad news for earthquake shaking

Update 20:44 UTC : Today’s earthquake is not the first one in the area this year, as 3 earthquakes measuring M5.0, M4.8 and M4.2 occurred on July 31. No news of eventual damage or injuries was found for these earthquakes.

Update 20:42 UTC : The nearthquake was felt in many districts in Nepal like Kathmandu, Gorkha, Chitwan, Kaski, Dailekh, Parbat, Tanahun, and Syangja.

Update 18:35 UTC : Musikot, the village on the picture below is very close to the epicenter. The image is not taking away our fears.

Very Important Update 18:13 UTC : The Nepal National Seismological Center reports that not 1 but 2 earthquakes have rattled the mid-western Nepal area. The first one being a M5.6 earthquake at 10:15 PM local time (16:15 UTC) and a second M4.7 one at 10:27 PM (16:27 UTC) !!

Rukum Musikot courtesy Tubal Sapkota –

Update : EMSC has now changed the location of the epicenter after recalculation. The village of Thawang (Rolpa area) – see image below), should be very close to the epicenter following these data. The Geofon location has not been recalculated (automatic data) and remains at the moment in the high Himalaya.

Update : Based on the landslide risk, earthquake-report.com calls this earthquake as moderately dangerous

Update 17:29 UTC : Earthquake data is very preliminary at the moment. The USGS data are less dangerous than the EMSC or the Geofon data due to the depth of 38 km. EMSC and Geofon are holding to their 10 km (the shallower and earthquake is, the more dangerous it becomes).

Update : Earthquake-Report.com fears for a deadly cocktail of moderate shaking in combination with saturated ground layers of the monsoon rains. Lets hope that eventual landslides are not in or near villages.  People will mostly be in the village or sleeping at the time of the occurrence.

Update 17:24 UTC : Very weak shaking is normal in Kathmandu as the Nepali capital is 270 km away from the epicenter.

Thawang village following some agencies near the epicenter – Image courtesy PranjalDahal

Update : As it is dark right now and as the epicenter area is very remote we do not expect to receive any detailed news for another 24 hours unless mobile telecommunications are active in the Dolpo villages.

Update : The best known area in this part of Nepal, where following some agencies the epicenter would be is the Dolpo area? The most famous 8000+ mountain in the area is the Dhaulagiri. Dhaulagiri is a regular target for expeditions. As it is late monsoon at the moment, mountaineering will be at lowest. Distance from Dhaulagiri to the epicenter is approx. 20 km

Update : This earthquake has not been listed yet in the website of the Nepal National Seismological center, who should have definitely the best data as their instruments are installed the closest to the epicenter

Update : The epicenter location is still unsure as every seismological agency is referring to a different area which is in case of Nepal very tricky. USGS is putting the epicenter in the foothills. Geofon at the base of the high Himalaya and EMSC in the high Himalaya.

from:    http://earthquake-report.com/2012/08/23/moderate-shallow-earthquake-in-the-western-nepal-himalaya/


Sikkim Earthquake Update 9/27

Nepal / Sikkim Himalaya earthquake – extended September 27 overview – slow rescue due to bad weather

Last update: September 27, 2011 at 11:08 am by By 

With thanks to Ashish Khanal (Nepal)

The overview below is compiled from many different sources in all the 5 countries (Tibet, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan)


Image courtesy and copyright chinadaily.com.cn

Nepal September 27 update
The inhabitants of Olangchungkhola and Ghunsa ( epicenter area, Nepal)  haven’t received any relief yet.
Actual destruction report from that area is not yet received ( till Tuesday morning). The Nepal government has managed the relief distribution from Lelep for that very two areas. Lelep is in one day walking distance from Olangchungkhola and Ghunsa one and half day. Both places are remote areas of Nepal. The main reason that people aren’t coming to grant relief amount may be due to the erosion. Due to which the roads are blocked and even bridges are collapsed. Nepal Police and rescue teams are unable to go to these areas.


Continuous rain since Sunday is turning the living conditions of the homeless into a hell in the hilly districts of Panchthar, Taplejung, Ilam, Terhathum and Sankhuwasabha.
Additionally a lot of buildings are unstable (badly damaged) and can eventually collapse with a serious aftershock.
People are now mainly living in sheds.
There are also fears that continuous rains may trigger landslides, forcing them all to leave their birthplace for good.

India – Sikkim  September 27 update
Authorities are saying that part of the slow response is due to the very bad weather making aerial relief operations very difficult.
On Monday helicopters could not fly to the badly damaged and sometimes still inaccessible North Sikkim villages.
Authorities are claiming that any connection in between the earthquake and the Teesta hydro-electric project is untrue.

for more, go to:    http://earthquake-report.com/2011/09/27/nepal-sikkim-himalaya-earthquake-extended-september-27-overview-slow-rescue-due-to-weather/





Sikkim Earthquake

Deadly earthquake Himalaya : 20 minutes news compilation video

Last update: September 26, 2011 at 12:47 am by By 

September 26, 2011 By 

The 20 minute video shows the many faces of the earthquake, the damage inflicted to buildings, the landslides, interviews with local people and specialists.  The CNN-IBN video is the best we have seen so far.
Watch how the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck Sikkim on September 18 changed lives there

here is the link to the video on youtube:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcBriFR3KEQ&feature=player_embedded

to read more, go to:    http://earthquake-report.com/2011/09/26/deadly-earthquake-himalaya-30-minutes-news-compilation-video/





Significant Damage in Wake of India Quake

19 September 2011 Last updated at 09:25 ET

Aftermath of the earthquake that hit the India-Nepal border

Rescue efforts are under way across isolated Himalayan regions in India, Nepal and Tibet after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the area on Sunday.

The epicentre was the northern Indian state of Sikkim, where the Indian government says that at least 35 people have been killed.

But the relief effort there has been hampered by rainfall and landslides. It is feared that the toll could rise.

Several earthquakes hit the region this year, but none caused major damage.

‘People are panicky’

In Sikkim many buildings are reported to have collapsed while power supplies in many areas have been cut off.

Thick cloud and heavy rain is making it difficult for rescuers.

Indian military helicopters have been unable to take off and aid workers are stranded trying to reach the affected areas. Roads have been destroyed making it difficult to get to mountainous regions.

Continue reading the main story


  • Became part of India in 1975
  • Has a population of 500,000 people
  • Renowned for its spectacular mountains and lakes
  • Economy largely dependent on tourism

Officials say that thousands of soldiers helping the relief effort may not reach many areas until Tuesday because the high mountain passes are blocked.

“The situation doesn’t look good,” an official from the UN’s disaster management team in Delhi told the Reuters news agency. “My feeling is the death toll and number of injured are going to increase.”

A resident in Gangtok, capital of Sikkim, told the BBC over the telephone that there was panic in the immediate aftermath of the quake and that several buildings were either cracked or tilting to one side. Thousands of people spent the night outside their homes.

A British tourist in the city also spoke to the BBC and said that the quake was so violent that it knocked him over on the third floor of the hotel where he was staying.

It has been raining for four days without respite in parts of Sikkim and shops, businesses and offices in Gangtok are closed. Telephone communications to the affected areas is patchy.

Bhim Dahal, press advisor to Sikkim’s chief minister, told the BBC that more than 150 have been injured and the main highway to the north of the state has been blocked.

However officials say that roads connecting the state to the rest of India – through the state of West Bengal – have now re-opened.

Mr Dahal said that the state government building and the police headquarters in Gangtok have been badly damaged and 1,000 houses have collapsed – with 100,000 damaged – across the state.

Significant damage

Tremors were felt in the north-eastern Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura. They were also felt in regions of India: West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi. Bangladesh and Bhutan also felt the quake.


One person was killed during a stampede as people panicked in a town in the eastern state of Bihar, and other deaths were reported near Darjeeling, in West Bengal.

Latest reports from Nepal say that at least six people have been killed with more than 100 injured. Officials say that significant structural damage has been caused to buildings in the east of the country.

In addition a landslide triggered by the quake has blocked transport along the highway which links the city of Dharan to the town of Dhankuta. Dharan was hit by a devastating quake 28 years ago.

In the capital Kathmandu, three people were killed when a wall at the British embassy collapsed. A budget debate in the country’s parliament was suspended for 15 minutes when lawmakers fled the chamber as the entire building shook.

for more on this, go to:    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14967812