You may have sung mantras in a yoga class or heard someone saying this phrase is my mantra. So, what are mantras?
Mantras are sounds formed by one syllable or a combination of syllables. Mantras produce vibrations with a precise mathematical arrangement in a specific pattern to get you in harmony with life. Mantras are considered sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism and Yoga.
The word “mantra” is used, and I would say overused in so many contexts that it has created confusion about what mantra is.
In this article, we will look at What are mantras? What are they used for? And the benefits for our well-being.
What Are Mantras?
Mantras are sounds formed by one syllable or a combination of syllables. Mantras produce vibrations with a precise mathematical arrangement in a specific pattern. Mantras are considered sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Yoga.
The original mantras are in Sanskrit, but today you can find them in various languages. The word mantra in Sanskrit means “the thought that liberates and protects” (Radha, 2011). The root ‘man’ means to think and ‘tra’ means to protect or to liberate.
Mantra’s power lies in the sound, in the vibration it produces. You may be wondering if you have to chant a mantra out loud. Well, not necessarily you can also chant it in a whisper or in silence. The vibration of the mantra surrounds you when you chant it aloud. When you chant a mantra in silence, it vibrates inside of you.
Mantras benefit not only the person chanting it but also the listener. Chanting a mantra in the right way will help you release energy from your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies.
By simply listening to the mantra you will benefit. A mantra affects your body, mind, and spirit, bringing harmony to all your being. A mantra can activate and speed up your creative spiritual force. It allows you to direct this energy to your benefit or the benefit of others.
What Is a Life Mantra?
A life mantra is a personal mantra charged with power for you and your life. Traditionally, personalised mantras would happen only between student and guru. When you receive a personal mantra, you are committing to your guru and the mantra.
Mantras are created by enlightened gurus who can perceive the vibrational world. So unless you are sure who is giving you a personal mantra, it may be a waste of your money.
What Is a Mantra in Yoga?
Mantras in yoga help you focus your mind. The sound and repetition of the mantra calms the mind and stop it from wandering around.
Chanting mantras can help you to get rid of overwhelming recurring thoughts. Mantras will help you stay calm by reducing stress and anxiety.
Most yoga classes include a mantra at the beginning of the session. The mantra helps to get into the space of practice. Sometimes it will also be a mantra to close the class to help you grounding after the yoga practice.
There are three branches of yoga that use mantras. One is Japa Yoga; Japa means repetition; this type of yoga focuses on repeating a mantra. Another yoga is mantra yoga, which focuses on the chanting of mantras. And the last one is Naad yoga, the yoga of sound, which makes mantras.
Naad yoga focuses on the chanting of specific mantras. Naad yoga uses personalized mantras to help you in your inner journey of self-discovery. Naad yoga will help you bring awareness of your experiences and emotions.
This inner experience will take you back to the universal source, to the original sound. A mantra will place you in a moment where you are in harmony and feel part of the universe.
The curious thing about the meaning of a mantra is that it’s not important. The meaning of a mantra t doesn’t matter. It’s not important if you understand or not the lyrics of the chant.
You don’t even need to understand the Sanskrit language. You don’t need to make sense of it. The real importance of a mantra lies in its sound, for which the pronunciation of the word(s) is very important.
All mantras have a meaning, yet their power doesn’t lie in that meaning. The meaning of a mantra is important only for our psychology. We, as humans, like beautiful, positive meanings. But the sound of a mantra will have an effect regardless of its meaning.
Everything in the universe is sound. The matter has a certain frequency that vibrates at a specific rate. Sound produces vibrations, and from vibration, the matter is also produced. Maybe, this is the secret of manifestation. If we vibrate at a particular frequency, we can materialize that which we long for.
Before chanting a mantra, set an intention, think of something you want to achieve, aim, or something you long for. As you chant and become one with the mantra, you will tell the universe of your intention for it to manifest.
How Do Mantras Work?
It’s quite simple; mantras work when you chant them. You can utter or chant a mantra aloud, in a whisper or in silence only in your mind. It seems pretty simple, right? First, you set your intention, chant, and voila! You get what you want.
The power of the mantra comes from the sound vibration itself. Mantras are sacred sounds created by ancient Indian sages and yogis. These sages and yogis managed to become one with nature and the environment around them. They got to hear the sound of the things surrounding them.
The Sanskrit language is a witness to this knowledge. Sanskrit is based on sound. Animate and inanimate things were named in Sanskrit according to the particular sound they produce. Hence, their name corresponds to their vibration.
Even if you don’t reach all the notes, never, ever change the mantra’s melody. The melody creates a magnetic effect on the human being. With time your voice will get trained and, you will be able to reach all the notes.
Each mantra has a Bija or seed. This is the essence of the mantra. It gives the mantra its power. This sound is the one that has the power to create change in your life.
Before starting to chant a mantra set your intention. The mantra will keep your attention focus. When you focus, your initial intention gets magnified. The intention you have during chanting should aim to become one with the mantra.
When the passion of your soul is in the mantra, your aim will become real. A mantra will unite your heart with the divine, with the universe, with your true self. As long as a mantra doesn’t become mechanical and turns into a dull repetition, it will have a positive effect on your life.
What Is the Purpose of a Mantra During Meditation?
The aim of a mantra is set by your intention and by the sound of the mantra itself. Mantras are sound tools to help you feel alive and reach an inner state of contentment.
The mind tends to wander around all the time, going to the past or the future. The mind rarely stays a hundred per cent in the present. The purpose of a mantra during meditation is to help the mind focus while the chanting takes place.
So your worries, fantasies, and desires will stay in second place. You will explore your feelings and emotions in your heart and connect with your true self. You will get to a state of calmness where you are aware of your own body and emotions. You may get to a state where you can perceive the surroundings and feel their energies.
The final aim of a mantra is to help you unite your individual consciousness with the Cosmic consciousness.
What Are Mantras Used for?
Mantras are commonly used in meditation to help the mind focus while chanting takes place. You can use mantras for meditations before, after and/or during meditation.
There are countless mantras, some are said to be more powerful than others. A mantra will quite likely help you get what you want by connecting ‘you’ with the universe.
People around the world use mantras for different reasons. People chant mantras for love, healing, anxiety, success, health, and even help them with sleeping problems. You can find a mantra to help you with your exams, to bring money, to get you your dream job, you name it.
There are mantras for pretty much anything you want to achieve or improve in your life.
So, depending on what you want to work on, it’s the mantra you need to chant. Mantras have countless benefits for the body and mind.
How Do You Pick a Mantra?
Well, it kind of works the other way around. I like to think the mantra chooses you. The easiest way is to listen to several mantras and be aware of how you feel while you listen to them.
When you find the mantra you need in your life, you will have a feeling that is stronger than the like or enjoyment of listening to the mantra. It will be a pull towards it.
Once you know that the mantra is for you, play it from the moment you wake up, on your way to work, before going to sleep, and chant it anywhere and everywhere.
What Is Mantra Chanting?
Chanting is singing a melody composed of a single word or a set of words that repeat like a chorus. Chanting is a spiritual practice. It’s practised around the world by many cultures from all continents and religions. The chanting of mantras takes place among many traditions.
There are Buddhist mantras, Hindu mantras, and Sikh mantras. Some of these mantras are in Sanskrit language, others are not. Now we can find mantras in English. Some may debate the chanting of mantras will work regardless of the language it’s sung.
Yet, the science of sound is exact. In Yoga, Nada yoga is in charge of studying sound vibration. Not everybody can create mantras as if it was writing a melody or a song.
Mantras have a more precise level of arrangement. They need the person creating them to be attuned with themselves and the universe to feel and hear the sounds of the things around them. To extract one of those sounds and realize it has the power to guide others and bring them in harmony with themselves and the world around them.
What Happens When You Chant?
When you chant, you create vibrations emanating from different parts of your body. The sounds could come from the abdomen, from the diaphragm, or from the throat. These are pure vibrations that tune you with the mantra so that you become one with the mantra.
Are Mantras Dangerous?
Some people say mantras are dangerous. In reality, mantra chanting is safe. During your mantra chanting, you will get in touch with deeply buried emotions. When you chant, you will get in touch with those emotions and, you can be overwhelmed by tears and fears. You may cry and remember childhood memories that you have forgotten.
If during chanting, you are overcome with self-pity, sadness, or regret, try to acknowledge these feelings without acting on them. Be aware of your feelings, honour them, and be ok with them.
Your feelings are within you, feel them and let them go, they are in your past, and your past can no longer hurt you if you don’t allow it. Don’t dwell too much on your emotions. Getting in touch with deeply buried emotions is a big step, but there’s a whole road to walk, so keep going.
Energy will be moving in your body, and this may be strange for you.
You should not let fear overcome your mind. By practicing the mantra with conviction, love, and a pure heart for your intention, you will be calling good energy to yourself.
If, for some reason, you feel you are not ready for chanting a specific mantra, stop the chanting for a while to allow the energy to settle down. After a few days or weeks, try again with the same mantra or a different one.
Examples of Mantra
There are many mantras to choose from. Check your intention and find a mantra that suits it best. If you have no specific intention, listen to mantras and find one that resonates deep in your heart. You know the mantra is for you when the mantra calls you without reason.
Here are two beautiful mantras to get you start with mantra chanting:
Aum is the sound of the origin of the universe. The sound that resonates in every being, animate and inanimate. Aum is a Bija or seed mantra.
A Bija mantra purifies the mind, the energy bodies, and the chakras.
It can raise your frequency to your higher self. Aum mantra puts you in harmony with the vibration of the universe.
Gayatri mantra is a Vedic mantra that protects the person chanting it. This mantra dedicated to the Sun, who represents the life-giving force. In this article, you can learn more about the Gayatri mantra.
Aum Bhuur-Bhuvah Svaha
Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayaat
Mantras are sounds considered sacred. Each mantra has an essence sound or Bija that gives it its power. The vibration a mantra produces has the power to affect your vibration and that of your surroundings.
A mantra can help you connect with your inner self and bring you into harmony with life and the universe.
There are countless mantras to choose from. You can even get a personalised mantra. By now, you have an idea of what mantras are, what they can do for you, and how they work.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Bija Mantras?
Bija, known as a seed mantra, is a pure sound made of one syllable. A Bija mantra purifies the mind, the energy bodies, and the chakras.
What Are the Mantras for each Chakra?
Each chakra has a Bija mantra. Root chakra: Lam, Sacral chakra: Vam, Solar plexus: Ram, Heart chakra: Yam, Throat chakra: Ham, Third Eye: Aum, and Crown chakra: Aum.
What Are Sanskrit Mantras?
Sanskrit mantras are those written in the Sanskrit language. You will find them in Hinduism, the Vedic tradition and Yoga.
What Are Mantra Beads?
Mantra beads or mala is a string of beads to count the mantra chanting repetitions.