Question:

I am Jewish and was introduced to Siddha Yoga in 1975. i was very involved with Siddha Yoga, even after I was introduced to Chabad. I was married to my Jewish husband in 1995. Recently, I have been conflicted. In quiet times, the Siddha Yoga mantra is spontaneously repeating in my mind. I have been trying to substitute the Shema or Modeh Ani, but am having difficulty ... the old mantra is very much a part of me.

I think I need a Jewish mantra? Do you have any recommendations?

Response:

Shalom ___,

All the mantras are names of Hindu deities and these are forbidden for a Jewish person to utter, regardless of the intent. Nevertheless, I would not replace the mantra with Shema Yisrael or any Hebrew phrase, since these are meant for contemplation and the focus of Siddha Yoga meditation is to quiet the mind.

Instead, here's an idea: There is a deeply meditative Chassidic melody called the "Nigun of Three Parts. "The first part is from the Baal Shem Tov, the second from his student the Maggid of Mezritch and the third from the Maggid's student, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. It seems this is what they used to assist entry into a quiet, meditative state. If you will adopt it, it will assist not only in your meditation and quietness, but to connect your soul to theirs.

Try taking the very first phrase of this nigun, which has no words, and hum it quietly to yourself. Just the first phrase—which is half of the first part—slowly, repeatedly, each time followed by silence.

Click here for an online recording of that nigun. You can also listen to it sung at the Rebbe's farbrengen here--but that first part is missing.

Once you have achieved a quietened state of mind, you are in the right frame to contemplate some of the more spiritual concepts you've learnt in depth.

Let me know if this helps—and keep in touch.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman