Mantras, 108 Recitations & Why they Work
A Mantra is a phrase or a sound with a vibration that helps unlock the power of the mind. The word mantra is composed of the Sanskrit words “man” which means the mind and “tra” which is the Chariot or mode of transport. A Mantra is composed of sounds or words which when repeated unlock the mind and allow us to access our inner wisdom or the divine light that is available for all of us.
How Mantras are viewed depends on the faith that one is from. However, all Mantras have the
vibration and the power to unlock our consciousness and also help us achieve a state of meditation.
Mantras are a good form of mental discipline. They need to be repeated regularly, in a manner which one can decide upon. Some Mantras are ritualistic, having their own mode of recitation. Over a period of time when Mantras are recited, they begin a process of transforming the mind, so that we can hold our own inner peace and connect with the divine. By vocalising Mantras we work on certain vibrations that raise our own spiritual selves and bring about peace, even euphoria.
The Benefits of Reciting Mantras
By creating a meditative ritual, using mantras one can make and strengthen a relationship with the divine. The daily use of mantras is an excellent way to ground one’s self on the ever-spinning wheel of life. Mantra repetitions or meditations promote better health by increasing self-awareness. This in turn leads us to be more compassionate to both ourselves and others. As a result, the Mantras help to reduce stress and create a more positive outlook.
When we chant Mantras, be it verbally or silently in the mind, we focus on holding on to that phrase, and constantly keep our mind on it. When the concentration drifts as it does when one has just started the practice, we need to return to chanting, without beating ourselves up about having drifted from the mantra. This leads to an increase in focus and Mindfulness about where we are.
The physical benefits of a holistic practice are also immense. It helps regulate blood pressure and strengthen the heart. Since Mantras reduce chronic stress, they also promote well being by enhancing the immune system. HIV patients have shown an increase in immunity and better mental well being because of the use of Transcendental Meditation as catalogued by the David Lynch Foundation. A study conducted by the U.S.Army stated that Meditation helped veterans with PTSD.
How to Chant Mantras?
Decide the Mantra that you want to recite and commit to the recitation of one mantra if you are new to the practice. I usually have 4 or 5 mantras that are my go-to according to the need of the hour.
- If possible, find a time of the day set aside for you to recite the mantra. This makes it a ritualistic practice and in time can become an emotional anchor.
- Find a comfortable position for you to sit in when you can recite the mantra. If you have a busy lifestyle you can incorporate it into your activities. I usually play mantras in my car, on a busy day so that I can centre myself on the go!! I believe that spiritual practice is essential for us to find our core. However, on the days that life doesn’t afford the time, it can still be built into the day.
- If you have found somewhere comfortable to sit down at, close your eyes and repeat the mantra.
- If your mind strays, be kind to yourself, treat your mind with compassion like you would treat a young and wilful toddler and bring it back to the recitation of the mantra. Do not spiral into worry that you have gotten it wrong.
- Start with 5 minutes a day for a week, and then increase the duration to 30 minutes or an hour as the time in hand permits.
- Meditation can be quite tedious for some people initially. However, it is worth trying it out for 40 days. This is a practice you will not regret having started.
Tips for Meditating:
- If you are focusing on intent, use a positive one. Neuro-Linguistic Programming focuses on changing the language to programme the brain. Thus the Meditation should work on the lines of ” I am calm and at peace with myself” instead of “I am not worried”.
- I find it a lot easier to meditate to a mantra set to music. To that effect, I am attaching
You tube links for some of my favourites and tested and tried mantras.I love hearing the different ways in which a mantra can be recited.
- If you do not like a Mantra, try another one till it resonates with you.
- A mala or a beaded necklace could be used to keep the focus and the rhythm. Meditation Malas usually have 108 beads. It is thought that the meditation over 108 beads would give the practitioner time to mull over the meaning, vibration and the mantra. Most Mantras are recited 108 times to be effective.
- The use of singing bowls and incense can be very useful to ground oneself.
- Try and have your daily practice at the same place and at the same time. This gets your unconscious to know you will turn up and makes the practice easier over time.
What Mantra Should I Recite?
Om Mani Padme Hum or Om Mani Peme Hum
a) This is from the Buddhist Mantra Meditations.
b) It is one of the most recited mantras in the world.
c) This is dedicated to the Goddess Kuan Yin.
d) The Mantra means that the “Jewel is in the Lotus”. The Lotus is sacred since it grows in the swamp and yet is a symbol of purity, beauty and virtue. This inspires us to live in any surroundings or
company and yet keep our morality, humanity and compassion. The Lotus seeds as it blooms and thus is productive all its life. The mantra then translated means that Enlightenment lies in Wisdom.
e) There are books written about the Mantra. It is said to remove suffering from all Six planes of existence. The variation of the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” is Six syllabic. Six is the number of perfection and beauty in Kabbalistic Numerology. It is also the number of the union of the feminine and the masculine thereby encompassing humanity.
Meaning of the Mantra
Om-This is the sound of the Universe. It is as old as the galaxy itself and is a sound that reverberates throughout our cells. Hindu mystics use the Mantra ‘Om’ all by itself.
Ma-This is the task if releasing jealousy and attachment as we do release any desire by the constant repetition of the Mantras.
Ni-This is the sound that builds in patience and increased self-compassion. Mani-Mani means jewel in Sanskrit. This word helps the shedding of
Pad-This is the sound that causes the mind to release prejudice and judgment over others.
Me-Once Pad is recited to drop judgment, the sound Me then helps to allow consciousness to fill that space and increase concentration.
Padme- This means the Lotus, which in eastern cultures is a sacred flower.
Hum- This helps to release any kind of aggression and hate rate. It thus allows for the growth of inner wisdom. This mantra, because of its compassion is sacred to the Goddess Kuan Yin.
The Karmic gift for this manta goes to you and twenty-five percent of that benefit goes to the earth. This is why it is the most recited mantra in the world and the Buddhist Monks use it often to pray for all of humanity. The benefits from the Mantra are as follows:
i. The soul of the person reciting this can choose to reincarnate in a place where there is virtue.
ii. There will be Dharma or righteous living around the person, and the person shall have access to good guidance and empathetic, kind and evolved souls.
iii. There will be abundance in the individual’s life and there will be access to goodness.
ॐ भूर् भुवः सः तत्सववतुव्ररेण भर् दरवस धीमवि वधयो यो नः प्ोदयदत्
The Gayatri Mantra is a powerful one containing the Essence of the Vedas. The prayer invokes the divine from which all else arises. It asserts that despite our differences the soul is one, and there is unity in the divine.
Gayatri is the Mother of all kinds of scriptures and Vedas. She has Five Faces and can be portrayed in nine ways: ‘Om, Bhur, Bhuvah, Swah, Tat, Savitur, Vareñyaṃ, Bhargo, Devasya’. This Mantra is recorded in the Rig Veda almost 3500 years ago.
Meaning Of The Mantra
Om: The ancient sound which emerged at the creation of the universe.
Bhur: This represents the physical body and the earthy realm.
Bhuvah: This represents the life force and encompasses the mental realm.
Suvah: This represents the soul & spiritual realm.
Tat: This is a reference to God.
Savitur: This represents the Sun God, the revered source of all life on earth, making the Gayatri Mantra a powerful invocation to the Sun.
Vareñyam: Love that is adoration.
Bhargo: This is effulgence or divine light.
Devasya: This is a reference to the supreme Lord
Dhīmahi: The quality of meditation.
Dhiyo: This refers to the intellect.
Yo: May this light.
Nah: This means Our.
Prachodayāt: This means illumine or inspire.
We ruminate on that most venerated Supreme Lord, the originator, whose radiance (spiritual light) brightens all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light elucidate our understanding.
Benefits of the Mantra
- It Dispels the darkness in our lives and brings about clarity.
- The Gayatri Mantra cleanses both the chanter and the listener.
- It removes negativity.
- It is an invocation to the Sun.