The state of meditation is the natural state of the mind and heart, when our energies are turned and held within. The problem is that the ordinary state of our minds is usually turned without, meaning that we must learn to turn the current of awareness within and go against the outgoing impulses of the senses. The mantra enables us to do this. The vocal organ is the dominant of all the motor organs. By turning it within, all the other sense and motor faculties will also move within.
Meditation is a deep state of stillness, silence and space. It is a profound state of forgetfulness in which we can contact the great Unknown that is the presence of a boundless reality of consciousness.
In that state of deep meditation, we can have the most profound emotional healing, but may not even notice it. We can also access deeper prana for the body and senses. Yet, ultimately, we will forget about ourselves and the outer world altogether, which will merge into a meditative reality that embraces the entire universe.
Mantra ultimately puts us in touch with the Divine Word or Voice of the silence that is the ultimate sound vibration behind all the forces and energies in the universe, which creates, preserves and dissolves everything. Mantra is the vibration of the meditative mind, which is the individual mind in contact with the cosmic mind. The ocean of mantric vibrations takes us beyond our limited individual sense of self into a sense of Self that is unbounded.
Mantra creates the focus, which when sustained allows the mind to become like a mirror, which is the state of deep meditation. The mantra itself may eventually fall off, be forgotten or merge into silence. The fully concentrated or mantric mind ceases to move and becomes full of peace and power.
Mantra is root of meditation and the expression of meditation is mantra. Meditation is the key to all direct perception, direct experience and higher knowledge, which flows through the mantra as a ray of light.
The culture of meditation is the highest human culture that lifts us beyond the merely human to the universal. This is also the culture of mantra. Mantra and meditation takes us to the state of samadhi in which we can become one with all, which is the supreme goal of Yoga.
Whatever you may do in the field of Yoga and the Vedic sciences, the ultimate knowledge is the mantra and the ultimate practice is meditation.