Mantra(mantram) is one of the most popular Sanskrit words in the world. The new age philosophies have made it extremely popular. The other popular terms are Yoga, Guru, Kundalini and Pranayama. I have covered them in previous issues under this feature. So today let’s look at Mantra in brief. Mantra is made of two words Mana and Tra. Mana( Man, manus, manu all come from the same root!) means mind and Tra means something which liberates. Mantra is a sound or group of sounds which liberates the mind. Mind is the cause of suffering as well as liberation. There are sounds which liberate mind by increasing its frequency of vibration gradually. When its frequency is good enough it gets rid of negative thoughts which are lower frequency vibrations and eat up the energy of your organism.
Broadly speaking mantra was considered to be secret sound in Sanskrit spoken in your ear by Guru. The initiation by a master had a mantra playing its part in it! It was supposed to be kept secret because of its sanctity and the power it contained within it which was to be lost if it was revealed. But with time it has changed and now nobody strictly follows the custom of keeping mantra a secret. Below I am sharing a recording of Gayatri Mantra in voice of Sathya Sai Baba. Gayatri Mantra is among one of the most popular mantras taken from Rig Veda. Legend has it that it was discovered by sage Vishwamitra.
Aum is also a mantra. I have shared a full article on Aum under this feature. You know Aum is not just any mantra it’s an onomatopoeia and it’s a sound heard inside body when your body is purified after doing yogic practice and getting guru’s grace. There is a saying :
“Kalyuga Keval Naam Adhara Sumir Sumir Utarahi Nar Para”
Which means: in the age of Kali only the name is basis of getting liberation. By remembering name humans cross this ocean of suffering.
Similarly: this verse from Bramh Vaivarta Purana:
Harernam Harernam Harernamaiv kevalam kalau naste naste nastevgatiryanyatha!
Lord’s name, lord’s name only lord’s name is the way in the age of Kali. There is no other way!
This name or mantra is not something which is to be spoken. As such mantras are recited loudly or internally but true mantras are resonant inside you and you just need to listen to them and they cut bonds with material world. The external mantras often need accurate pronunciation to bear proper fruit but the internal mantras just need to be listened.
Notable Hindu mantras
Main article: Gayatri Mantra
- The Gayatri mantra is considered one of the most universal of all Hindu mantras, invoking the universal Brahman as the principle of knowledge and the illumination of the primordial Sun. The mantra is extracted from the 10th verse of Hymn 62 in Book III of the Rig Veda.
- ॐ भूर्भुवस्व: | तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम् | भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्
- Oṁ Bhūr Bhuva~Swah’ Tat Savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt
- “Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the divine Light (Vivifier, Sun). May he stimulate our understandings (knowledge, intellectual illumination).
Main article: Pavamana Mantra
- असतोमा सद्गमय । तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय । मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥
Main article: Shanti Mantra
- Oṁ Sahanā vavatu
- sahanau bhunaktu
- Sahavīryam karavāvahai
- Tejasvi nāvadhītamastu
- Mā vidviṣāvahai
- Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ.
- Om! Let’s come together to eat, show strength and let’s bear radiance of spirit together! Let the Studies that we together undertake be effulgent;
Let there be no Animosity amongst us;
Om! Peace, Peace, Peace.
– Taittiriya Upanishad 2.2.2
Note: All excerpts of mantras are courtesy Wikipedia