Mantra

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OM Emblem
Tibetan Buddhism's Mool Mantra
The Ancient and Medieval cosmos as depicted in Peter Apian's Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539).
Kundalini

Mantra means a sacred utterance, numinous sound, or a syllable, word, phonemes, or group of words believed by some to have psychological and spiritual power. Mantra may or may not be syntactic nor have literal meaning; the spiritual value of mantra comes when it is audible, visible or present in thought. Earliest mantras were composed in Vedic times by Hindus in India, and those are at least 3,000 years old. Mantras are now found in various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Similar hymns, chants, compositions and concepts are found in Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Christianity and elsewhere. The use, structure, function, importance and types of mantras varies according to the school and philosophy of Hinduism and of Buddhism. Mantras serve a central role in the tantric school of Hinduism. Mantras come in many forms, including ṛc (verses from Rigveda for example) and sāman (musical chants from the Sāmaveda for example.

Quotes[edit]

  • ...Mantras are not thought of as products of discursive thought, human wisdom or poetic fantasy, but ”flash-lights of the eternal truth, seen by those eminent men who have come to super sensuous contact with the Unseen.
  • A mantra is a syllable, a sound, or set of words found in in the deep state of meditationby the great sgaes. It is not the language in which human beings speak. The sounds and vibrations which are received form the superconscious state lead the seeker into deep meditation until s/he reaches the perfect silence. The more awareness is increased the more a mantra reveals new meaning. It makes one aware of a higher dimension of consciousness

Mantra[edit]

Mantra. Yoga in Daily Life organization.

  • Mantras are words with great vibration and powerful spiritual energy.
  • A Mantra is a series of words which in their entirety form a sound with a positive vibration. Words mean sound and sound produces vibration. Vibration is power - an all-pervasive, creative power that generates movement and resonance. Energy means life and where there is life there is also creativity.
  • Words should fall from your lips like fragrant flowers”. One poem suggests: “Be sure to make everyone happy through your words. Allow peace and harmony to vibrate through you and radiate from you.
  • The two syllables of the word Mantra mean, “man” (mind) and “tra” (liberation). Mantra is a sound that can liberate the mind from fear, dependency and sorrow. Once the mind is freed, other problems are automatically resolved because the greatest problem is the mind itself.
  • The Sanskrit Mantras that we use today originate from the spiritual work of the Yogis. This is the reason why the impact of the Mantras in the original Sanskrit is many times greater than in any other language. The Sanskrit characters are known as Devanagari ('Deva' means “God” and 'Nagar' means “citizen”). Sanskrit is the “writing of the Gods”. This means that this language has existed since the beginning of the world.
  • One who receives a Mantra and merely “puts it in their pocket” without putting it into practice, is just like the farmer who locked the soybean in a box where it was eaten by the “moth of time”. Only practice makes a Master.
  • The Mantra may be used in any life situation and even during our daily routine to relax and quieten the mind. It will bring clarity and the ability to think positively.
  • Mantra protects us in every life situation. It fills us with a positive vibration whenever we think of the Mantra or speak it. In this way it purifies our inner Self.
  • If you would like to find enlightenment outside and inside, then place on the threshold of your tongue the lustrous pearl of the Divine Name (Mantra).

The Heart of Religion[edit]

P. D. Mehta (1987). The Heart of Religion. The Phiroz Mehta Trust. pp. 391–. ISBN 978-1-85230-014-2. 

  • An oft-repeated mantra (that is a phrase or a word of power which, on occasion may be used as a spell) is known as japa. It can be used to produce a calming effect
    • In p. 330
"Goddess Sarasvati appears before Yajnavalkya" (early 20th-century devotional illustration)
  • The mediator must be capable of being at one with these in consciousness, and not merely as mental constructs clothed in words He can effectively use this mantra to realize supreme communion instead of being caught in the net of words and sensuous experiences.
    • In P.330

Secrets of Yantra, Mantra and Tantra[edit]

L. R. Chawdhri (2005). Secrets of Yantra, Mantra and Tantra. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84557-022-4. 

  • A seed when sown grows into a fruit bearing tree.In the same way the Beej Mantra is full of Shakthi. There are various Beej Mantras each with its own power. When mixed with other mantras additional power accrues to that Mantra.
    • In p. 83
  • It was said that the first primordial sound produced at the time of creation was the syllable ‘OM’ and this became the first Mantra. This consists of three letters AUM. The sound ‘A’ starts from the throat and comes as far as the lips and as such is the longest and fullest vowel. The Letter ‘M’is the sound produced when the lips are closed and thus is the last sound. In between is ‘U’.
    • In p. 83
  • Mantra which contain up to nine Nine words are called Bejj Mantra, ten to twenty words form Mantraand beyond are Mole Mantras.
    • In p. 85
  • Samput are specified words used in Mantra. These can be used at the beginning, middle and or the end of a mantra. The samput has a great value in Mantra shakthi or in other mantras and must be used carefully.
    • In p. 85

OM Chanting and Meditation[edit]

The Om syllable is considered a Beej Mantra in its own right in Vedanta school of Hinduism.
Roman alphabet Translation

Om Dīp Jyoti Parabrahma
Dīpaṃ Sarve Mohanaṃ
Dīpaṃ Sajate Sarvaṃ Sandhyā
Dīpaṃ Sarvaṃ Satyam
Om Śāntiḥ Śāntiḥ Śāntiḥ

OM is the light of God
It removes the darkness of ignorance
Only this light banishes darkness
OM DEEP is the light of wisdom and knowledge
OM Peace Peace Peace.

Mantra. Yoga in Daily Life organization.

Amit Ray (1 June 2010). OM Chanting and Meditation. Inner Light Publishers. ISBN 978-81-910269-3-1. 

  • Om is the mysterious cosmic energy that is the substratum of all the things and all the beings of the entire universe. It is an eternal song of the Divine. It is continuously resounding in silence on the background of everything that exists.
    • In p. 16
  • is not just a sound or vibration. It is not just a symbol. It is the entire cosmos, whatever we can see, touch, hear and feel. Moreover, it is all that is within our perception and all that is beyond our perception. It is the core of our very existence. If you think of Om only as a sound, a technique or a symbol of the Divine, you will miss it altogether.
    • In p. 10
  • Chanting and meditation of Om is the way to reach and abide in that ever blissful nature underlying our surface personality. This is bliss for no reason at all. It is unconditional bliss, a bliss that is everlasting, un-decaying, pure and stainless. Om is our blissful Self.
    • In p. 15
  • Om is the Brahman, the indestructible Life force. Om is this universe. It is nameless, the Divine. It is the totality of you, I, and the whole creation. It is the totality of past, present and future of this existence.
    • In p. 16
  • Perfect prayer does not consist in many words, silent remembering and pure intention raises the heart to that supreme Power.
    • In p. 50
  • Silence is the language of Om. We need silence to be able to reach our Self. Both internal and external silence is very important to feel the presence of that supreme Love.
    • In p. 50

Mantra Yoga and the Primal Sound: Secrets of Seed (Bija) Mantras[edit]

David Frawley (2010). Mantra Yoga and the Primal Sound: Secrets of Seed (Bija) Mantras. Lotus Press. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-0-910261-94-4. 

  • Prana, [we could say], is the spirit of mantra. Mantra in turn is the expression of prana. Whatever most engages our prana or vital energy becomes the main subject of our speech.
    • In p. 48
  • Mantra is a vehicle to bring our minds, hearts and prana to the level of both primal sound and primal meaning , in which we can return to the original state of unity with all. This requires that we use mantras with an intention, focus and aspiration to reach the supreme.
    • In p. 49
  • The higher word or mantra consists of both sound and light. It is the word of light. Sound is the vibratory quality of space, which itself is the field of light....Mantra brings light into our awareness, but also allows us to carry and sustain that light as knowledge.
    • In p. 50
  • Through mantra we can gain mastery of all the forces of time and karma.
    • In p. 50
  • Through mantra, we can awaken the Divine light within us and expand beyond the limitations of space, direction and manifestation. Through mantra, one can learn to ride the waves of cosmic light and sound, going back to the Divine Word at the heart of the world. This is the cosmic form of Mantra Yoga known known only to Yogis who have gone beyond the body and mind.
    • In p. 50
  • This [Kundalini] manifests when we develop higher powers of speech through mantra and the practice of silent communion during meditation. Kundalini speech is energized mantra. In this regard, we must remember that Kundalini wears the garland of the mantras of the Sanskrit alphabet and ultimately the garland of all mantras. Mantra is the main yogic method used to arouse the Kundalini, particularly mantra repeated along with pranayama, meditation and deep devotion.
    • In p. 52
  • When Sanskrit is called the ‘universal language’ or ‘the language of the gods’, it is no mere exaggeration...Truly learning Sanskrit is not just conventional language but of learning the language of mantra. It is not a mere academic study or a means of improving communication, but an inner practice to create the foundation for Mantra Yoga.
    • In p. 55

Gayatri Mantra[edit]

Hindu's mantra for universe as source of knowledge, sun as source of primordial energy (19 seconds)

Problems playing this file? See media help.
Gayatri mantra personified as a goddess

S. Viraswami Pathar (2001). Gayatri Mantra. Sura Books. ISBN 978-81-7478-218-2. 

Devanagari Translation

ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
तत्स॑वितुर्वरे॑ण्यं ।
भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि। ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त्॥ ।

Om who is clearer than our breath is self-subsistent.
All Knowledge and All Bliss.
We meditate upon that adorable effulgence of the resplendent Vivifier of the Universe, Savita.
May He Illumine our intellects unto the right path.

  • Gayatri, the greatest and the most beautiful of all the ancient mantras, universally hailed as the Mother of the Vedas that has been chanted from time immemorial, has acquired such an enormous mystical power and transcendental importance that it continues to remain even now as the mantra which has been universally accepted as capable of unfolding our spiritual faculties in the most remarkable manner.
    • In p. 1
  • There is no higher mantra than Gayatri, there is no higher deity than one’s mother.
    • By Manu quoted in p. 6
  • He who repeats Gayatri always attains Heavens
    • From Shank Smrti quoted in p. 6
  • Gayatri is “Vedas” in a nutshell. It is out of Gayatri the Vedas have come and into Gayatri Vedas have converged. This sacred worse adorns all the vedas. It occurs in Rigveda III 62.10, in Yajur Veda III-35, XX-II-9, XXX-2, and XXXVI-3 and in Sama Veda XXX-6-3-10.
    • In P.6
  • ...It is the supreme prayer, described the mother of the Vedas, named after its metre which means “the saviour of the singer”, revealed to sage Vishvamitra. Gayatri is the mantra of the real Guru, the Omniscient God. The writers of the scriptures call it the “Soul of the Vedas’.
    • In p. 6
  • Mantra Upanishad: These teachings center on esoteric interpretations of specific sounds and syllables and place those interpretations into Yogic as well as Saiva, Vaishnava, and Durga theistic contexts. Typical of these works are Tarasara, Kalisantarana, and Narayana Upansihad.
    • In "Encyclopaedia of Oriental Philosophy and Religion: Hinduism : S-Z", p. 885

Shanti Mantra[edit]

  • Shanti is the Sanskrit word for peace. If the quality you have chosen is calmness or peacethen you can repeat “Shanti” as your mantra....add Om with the Sanskrit word for my goal. Repeating “Om Shanti Om” would be an effective alternative. Om is a powerful mantra used extensively in the East. Combining Om with Shanti gives the mantra a beautiful chant like quality and is a joy to repeat over and over again.
  • Shanti – peace - is a most essential quality expressed in the ancient Vedic texts of the Upanishads. It is invoked at the beginning and the end of each Upanishad chapter.
    • In "Bhakti - the Yoga of Love: Trans-rational Approaches to Peace Studies", in p. 78
  • There is group of special shanti mantras found in vedic texts, such as the Upanishads. At he close of each Upanishad chapter, for instance, the word shanti is chanted three times, as a mantra. This is to remove the three kinds of suffering – personal, external and atmospheric
    • In "Bhakti - the Yoga of Love: Trans-rational Approaches to Peace Studies", in p. 78
Devanagari Roman alphabet Translation

ॐ स॒ह ना॑ववतु । स॒ह नौ॑ भुनक्तु ।
 स॒ह वी॒र्यं॑ करवावहै ।
 ते॒ज॒स्वि ना॒वधी॑तमस्तु॒ मा वि॑द्विषा॒वहै॑ ॥
 ॐ शान्ति॒ः शान्ति॒ः शान्ति॑ः ॥

Om Sahana Vavatu Shanau Bhunastu
Shaviryan Karvavahi
Tejas Vinavati Tamastuma Vidvasavahai
On Shanti Shanti Shantihi

Om! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Om! Let there be Peace in me!
Let there be Peace in my environment!
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me.

In Tibetan Buddhism[edit]

The Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Humon craved on a rock
  • The use of Mantras is deeply rooted in [[w:Tibetan Buddhism|Tibetan Buddhism. They are short prayers that are thought to subtly alter one’s mind and and make a connection with a particular Buddha.
  • When Tibetans chant a mantra associated with a particular Buddha, they are not simply asking for the blessingsand aid of the Buddha – the final goal of the practice is to become buddhas themselves, since buddhas are sentient beings who have actualized the highest potential that we all possess.
    • In p. 22

What is a mantra?[edit]

What is a mantra?. Khandro.Net. Retrieved on 8 January 2014.

  • A mantra is a powerful word or phrase that may or may not have meaning in the same way as a sentence. Compare spells, incantations and prayer formulas in other spiritual traditions. The term is a Sanskrit word mantram that combines the root manas (mind) with tram (protection) so the literal meaning is mind-protection.
  • It is powerful, efficacious and deserving of respect. "A mantra is like meeting the Buddha or Bodhisattva himself."
    • Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
  • The Bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara who is called in Tibetan, Chenresi [often spelled Chenresig or Chenresik] is said to have given a special mantra to Nagarjuna who left it to Lion-face Dakini to transmit to Padmasambhava, whose activity confirmed Buddhism as the predominant religion in Tibet.
Tibetan Buddhist Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum in Sanskrit
  • This [mantra] is the 'Six Syllable - 'or the 'Mani Mantra' Om Mani Padme Hum.
  • Each one of the 6 syllables is directed at one of the six realms of existence. Saying the mantra is like praying for and helping individuals in all possible situations. When you say this mantra, you are behaving as a Bodhisattva, with the mindful intention of working towards the enlightenment of all sentient beings, without exception.
  • Each syllable is considered to purify a specific human failing or "obscuration".
  • In many tantric Buddhist practices, but most notably during Guru Yoga, wherein we link with the continuity of a lineage, we meditate on OM, AH and HUNG as the Three Lights.
Trikaya:Three buddha statues symbolizing the Three Bodies. Dharma Flower Temple, Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China
  • Ah is red, placed at the throat centre, and represents the enlightened speech of the Buddha. It is associated with the Sambhogakaya or Enjoyment Body. It relates to Buddha Amitabha and the lotus family of deities.
  • Hum (or in Tibetan, hung) is blue. Placed at the heart center, it represents the Dharmakaya or Truth Body. It stands for Enlightened Mind, associated with Akshobya and the vajra family of buddhas.
  • The mounting total of mantras that are chanted, muttered and murmured is usually reckoned by means of the mala [Tibetan tenwa,] or string of prayer beads.
  • It is said that the merits of Om mani padme hum, the Six-Syllable mantra, are innumerable and cannot be fully described even by the Buddhas of the three times.
    • Alex Studholme (U. of Cambridge) on the Origins of Om Mani Padme Hum in the Karandavyuha Sutra and the relation of Buddhist mantra and Hindu (Shivaite) practice quoted in "What is a mantra?"
  • The body of those who keep this mantra will transform into a vajra body, the bones will transform into relics of the Buddha and ordinary mind will transform into the wisdom of the Buddhas.
    • By Alex Studholme quoted in "What is a mantra?"
Om mani padme hum on the Gangpori (photo 1938–1939 German expedition to Tibet
  • Whoever recites the mantra even once will obtain immeasurable wisdom. He or she will eventually develop compassion and be able to perfect the Six Paramitas (virtues). He or she will be born as a universal monarch. She or he will achieve the irreversible stage of a Bodhisattva and finally attain Enlightenment.
    • By Alex Studholme quoted in "What is a mantra?"
  • If this mantra is carved onto rocks and mountains, and a human or non-human being comes into contact and sees it, he or she will develop the conditions to be a Bodhisattva in the next life, and thereby relieve suffering.
    • By Alex Studholme quoted in "What is a mantra?"
  • It is said that the sands of the Ganges and drops of water in the ocean can be counted but not the merits resulting from the recitation of this mantra.
    • By Alex Studholme quoted in "What is a mantra?"

In Jainism[edit]

Symbol of Jainism

Namokar Mantra. Jain Religion.in. Retrieved on 9 January 2014.

  • Every day Jains bow their heads and say their universal prayer, the Navkar mantra. All good work and events start with this prayer of salutation and worship.
  • These five salutations are capable of destroying all the sins. Mangalancha Savvesin:Padhamam Havai Mangalam:
  • This is the first happiness among all forms of happiness.
  • In the above prayer, Jains salute the virtues of the five benevolent. They do not pray to a specific Tirthankara or monk by name. By saluting them, Jains receive the inspiration from the five benevolent for the right path of true happiness and total freedom from the misery of life. Jain prayers do not ask for any favors or material benefits from their Gods, the Tirthankaras or from monks and nuns.
Devanagari Roman alphabet Translation

णमो अरिहंताणं
णमो सिद्धाणं
णमो आयरियाणं
णमो उवज्झायाणं
णमो लोए सव्व साहूणं
एसोपंचणमोक्कारो, सव्वपावप्पणासणो
मंगला णं च सव्वेसिं, पडमम हवई मंगलं

Namo Arihantanam:
Namo Siddhanam
Namo Ayariyanam:
Namo Uvajjayanam:
Namo Loe Savva Sahunam:
Eso Panch Namukkaro:Savva Pava Panasano:

I bow to the enlightened beings
I bow to the liberated souls
I bow to religious leaders
I bow to religious teachers
I bow to all ascetics of the world
.

A mandala representing the Jain pantheon, used for prayer as for teaching.
  • Namo Arihantanam - White Color: Arihant is a perfect human being. White color represents Arihant. The white color is the mother of all colors; it is a blending of all colors. It represents pure knowledge.
    • In p. 50
  • Siddhanam - Red Color: Siddha is a pure consciousness or a soul without any Karma attached to it. Both Arihant and Siddha are known as Gods in Jainism. Red color represents Siddha.
    • In P.50
  • Namo Airiyanam - Yellow and Orange Color: Acharya is a head of the Jain congregation. It symbolizes the organizational power,Yellow or orange color represents Acharya. Both Yellow and Orange show wisdom, power to accomplish the goal, and discipline or strong will power in the life.
    • In p. 50
  • Namo Uvajjhayanam - Green and Blue Color: Upadhyay is a teacher, which shows how to awaken powers and maintain balance of body, mind, and soul. Green or Blue color represents Upadhyay.
    • In p. 51
  • Namo Loe Savva Sahunam - Black Color: Sadhu (monk) is a spiritual practitioner. The practitioner must be protected from worldly attachments and must destroy negativity. Black color represents monk.
    • In p. 51

In Sikhism[edit]

Hand Written Mool Mantra by Shri Guru Gobind Singh
  • The Adi Granth opens with the Mul Mantra, the basic statement of belief: “There is one Supreme Being, the Eternal Reality. [This Supreme Being] is the Creator, without fear and devoid of enmity, immortal, never incarnated, self-existent, known by grace through the Guru.
  • [[w:Mul Mantar}Mool Mantra]] means Root Formula for Life and Liberation. The mantra is:
Gurmukhi Roman alphabet Translation

ikk ōankār sat(i)-nām(u) karatā purakh(u) nirabha'u niravair(u) akāla mūrat(i) ajūnī saibhan(g) gur(a) prasād(i).

Ek Onkar Satnam Karta Purakh Nirbhau Virvair Akal Murat,
Ajuni Saibhang Gurprasad

One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. The only Universal Doer. The fulfiller of all. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By the Grace of the Supreme Teacher.
Another version: There is One and only One God who is transcendent as well as immanent. True and Eternal Name. Creator and Person. Without Fear and without Enmity. Timeless Form, Unborn, Self-existent. Realized by Divine Grace.

  • Mul Mantar is the name of these twelve words. A mantar (mantra) is an empowering formula for repetition; mul {pronounced to rhyme with English ‘pool’) means a root (it is etymologically akin to the muli, or white radish). It is as if the whole of the Guru’s teaching (and of Sikh spirituality) grows from and draws sustenance from this statement. His longer compositions develop this theme, and provide the basis for Sikh theology.

External links[edit]

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