Namaste, and I thank you for visiting my site. My name is Foz and I have been a teacher of Asian spirituality. I wish to write a bit about this difficult yet fulfilling practice.
The difference between Asian and Western spirituality could probably be summed up in this one word: ritual. While the West, through its long romance with Christianity, is all about religious ritual, with the Asian brand of spirituality, it is all about the inner experience and knowing God from that experience. You only need to take a look at yoga, which has meditation as part of its practice, to know what we mean.
The word yoga means “to become one with”. What you become with really depends on your mantra. In most cases, though, no matter which ashram you go to, the mantra refers to the spiritual seeker being a part of God or the universal Supreme Being and hence is God or that Supreme Being. For religious people who are used to the idea of sin and a judgemental all-seeing power, this one-with-God idea is controversial and radical.
However, if you have been practicing the Asian brand of spirituality, you already know how important the mantra is. A mantra is a Sanskrit word that you repeat over and over again. The idea is that, if you repeat it enough, you become the embodiment of that mantra.