Singing is a form of meditation
Mantras for meditation
Sanskrit, the oldest human language, is also called Devanagari, literally “language of the gods”. Sanskrit consists of original sounds that correspond to the actual vibrations of an object or an action. For example, in most languages, “Ma” or a variation of it means “mother”. This is the sound with which the child naturally calls his mother. Since the Sanskrit words are the actual sound manifestations, we use them for meditation (Japa) and for singing (Kirtan). Some mantras can be translated, but their translations do not have the same power.
Sound consists of vibrations and is energy. A Sanskrit mantra is mystical energy that is closed by a sound structure. To activate this energy, we repeat the mantra in a certain rhythm. If one repeats the mantra, a corresponding vibration arises in the mind, the energy manifests itself. Name and shape are like two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. When you repeat a certain name, the form comes to mind. When you repeat a mantra, that form comes into your mind. Even if one consciously does not know the form associated with the mantra, a specific thought pattern still arises in the mind. The thought patterns created by mantras are positive, beneficial, and calming.
There are different levels of sound, loud and spiritual. The spiritual is more effective. Nobody sat down to write down mantras on how to compose songs. Mantras are energies that have always existed in the universe. They cannot be invented or destroyed. They were discovered and passed on by self-realized sages (rishis) in the superconscious state. The science of mantras is very precise. It is important to pronounce them correctly.
On the physical level too, one can benefit a lot from mantra repetition (Japa). The various organs and cells of the body are relaxed and energized. Toxins are removed from the body and the nervous system is relaxed. The lower emotions like anger, greed, hatred and jealousy are dissolved and replaced by pure qualities like love, joy and compassion.
You can use mantras in several ways:
- You can meditate particularly well with mantras. Mantra meditation is considered to be one of the most effective and easiest meditation techniques to learn. You can find detailed instructions on the Yoga Vidya meditation portal. Here is a video tutorial for a particularly effective form of mantra meditation. This is also suitable for yoga beginners:
- You can repeat mantras over and over again during the day - so you can always experience new strength and inspiration.
You can listen to the mantras on the mantra mp3 page. On the Yoga Vidya Kirtan page you will find texts, mp3 audios and videos to sing along to - and to listen to. You can also subscribe to Mantra Singing as Mantra Audio Podcast and Mantra Video Podcast
Below are some mantras that are suitable for meditation. In order to learn the pronunciation correctly, it is best to visit a yoga school or come to a yoga seminar on Yoga Vidya ...
On the Yoga Vidya Meditation page you can find more meditation instructions on how to meditate with a mantra. And in the Yoga Vidya blog there are plenty of meditation instructions as mp3 audio, including some mantra meditations.
Types of mantras
1. Nirguna mantras
Abstract, formless, without attributes.
2. Saguna mantra
Mantra with properties and form. Since they correspond to a certain aspect of God, they are also called Ishta mantras or deity mantra. Most people find it easier to relate to a deity mantra. The deities symbolize the various aspects of the one god. The pure self, the soul, atman, is without name and without form. But since we find ourselves mortal and limited and have short attention spans, it is usually too difficult to meditate with an abstract mantra. So we choose an aspect that suits us and with which we can relate through meditation.
3. Bija mantras
Root or seed monosyllabic mantras. To be repeated only with the express guidance of the teacher.
4. Other mantras
In particular, mantras in other languages such as Hallelujah, Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us, etc.
Saguna mantras (mantras with properties)
Siva: Om Namah Shivaya
Shiva represents the universal power of destruction in which all being ends and from which it begins again. He thus represents the transformation of our lower nature into divine energy. He is usually depicted as a yogi in meditation with a trident in his hand, surrounded by snakes. The snakes represent the lower forces that normally threaten us. When sublimated through yoga practice, they become harmless and serve as an ornament to the yogi. This mantra is particularly suitable for more introverted people who are drawn to meditation in solitude. "Shiva" literally means "the loving, the kind".
Vishnu: Om Namo Narayanaya
In mythology, Vishnu is the preserver of the universe. He represents the forces of goodness, justice and mercy. It symbolizes the all-pervasive power that sustains the universe and the cosmic order. This mantra is particularly suitable for people who want to improve the state of the world, have a protective, helping nature and are ready to take on responsibility. "Narayana" means "who lives in the heart of all".
Swami Vishnu-devananda sings Om Namo Narayanaya [1: 55m]: Hide Player | Play in popup | Download
Rama: Om Sri Ramaya Namah
“Reverence to Eternal Joy”
In mythology, Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Its purpose was to restore justice to the world. Rama is always shown with his bow (with which he protects the good and destroys the demons). Next to him are often his wife Sita (nature) and his admirer Hanuman (the monkey god, who represents the human spirit, which can be brought under control through devotion to God and mantra repetition). Rama teaches by his personal example how to live an ideal life in the world. He is the perfect person in every respect, as son, brother, friend, ruler, husband, father. The great epic “Ramayana” of the sage Valmiki is the story of the incarnation of Rama on earth. This mantra is particularly suitable for people who want to spiritualize themselves about their life in family, work and society and who set very high ethical ideals. Rama literally means "he who is happy".
Krishna: Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
In mythology, Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. His goal was to restore justice. Krishna represents joy, serenity and seeing God in everything. He was also the teacher of the Bhagavad Gita. This mantra is particularly suitable for cheerful and / or devoted people. "Vasudeva" means "The light of all creatures".
Ganesha: Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
"Ganesha" literally means "Lord of all angelic beings". Ganesha helps to remove all obstacles for a new, good beginning. He also embodies the highest wisdom. Whoever recites this mantra can feel that he always has the strength to do what is necessary and that the Ganesha energy wants to flow through him as light energy into this world. He sees everything in the world as the task of Ganesha, from which he grows. Ganesha wants to lead him to the highest wisdom, knowledge and realization.
Hanuman: Om Shri Hanumate Namaha
As a worshiper and servant of Rama, Hanuman is considered to be the embodiment of devotional service, limitless loyalty and superhuman strength. Because of his limitless trust and belief in Rama, he was able to move mountains and make the impossible possible. The mantra is therefore particularly suitable for people who are drawn to bhakti yoga and selfless service. Hanuman leads you to the highest realization through faith and service.
Durga: Om Sri Durgayai Namah
Durga represents the ideal of maternal love. Durga is shown riding a tiger, smiling and with various weapons in his hands. This symbolizes that she protects her children, but also educates them and corrects them if necessary. She is the consort (the energy aspect) of Shiva. This mantra is particularly suitable for people who see God as a mother or who have a maternal temperament themselves.
Saraswati: Om Aim Saraswatyai Namah
In mythology, Saraswati is the goddess of eloquence, wisdom, scholarship, music, and the fine arts. She is depicted with a white sari (Indian robe) and with the vina (string instrument) and looks very calm and peaceful. She is the consort of Brahma, the Creator. Artistic and creative people are usually drawn to this mantra.
Lakshmi: Om Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah
Lakshmi is the goddess of beauty, abundance and wealth. Like a mother, she gives everything that living beings on earth need. On the spiritual level it represents the accumulation of positive character traits as well as prana. She is the wife of Vishnu, the Sustainer. This mantra is particularly suitable for people who see God (the goddess) also in the beauty of the manifest universe, as well as those who see the meaning of their life in giving and sacrificing for others.
Kali: Om Sri Mahakalikayai Namah
Kali, the black goddess, appears terrifying, but is gentle and kind to her devotees. But it requires absolute dedication. This mantra is only suitable for a small minority.
Nirguna Mantras (Abstract Mantras)
This is the original mantra. The Bible says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God”. This word is Om, the original sound from which all other sounds emerge. Om actually consists of 3 letters AU M. Om represents all trinities and what transcends them: creation-preservation-destruction, past-present-future, physical body-astral body-causal body, etc. Om therefore stands for the all-encompassing unity, the cosmic consciousness that merges with everything. More about OM
“I am That” or “I am who I am”. I am neither body nor mind. I am the immortal self.
Instructions for Japa (repetition of the mantra)
To be fully effective, the mantra should be repeated in meditation every day for at least 20-40 minutes. You should sit down relaxed and motionless in a position with your legs crossed and your back straight. One can repeat the mantra mentally or aloud. It is more mentally effective, but repeating it out loud can be helpful for correct pronunciation, especially at the beginning. Even when the mind becomes sleepy, one can move on to repetition out loud.
Meditating with a japa mala can help you concentrate. It is similar to the rosary and has 108 pearls. A large pearl (Meru) symbolizes the Absolute (Brahman).
In addition to meditation, the mantra can be repeated throughout the day when the mind is not busy with anything else. In this way we can use every minute for our spiritual advancement. One can also write the mantra (Likhita Japa).
Mantra consecration (mantra diksha)
If you know the correct pronunciation, you can choose a mantra and meditate with it. However, in order to learn the correct pronunciation, to activate the power of the mantra and to make it vibrate, the mantra consecration can be helpful. In India, mantra consecration is usually received personally from one's guru. Where this is not possible in the West, one can be initiated by someone who has been repeating mantras himself for years and has learned the ritual. One should prepare for the mantra consecration: It is best to shower or bathe beforehand and put on clean, preferably white, clothing. Traditionally, you bring fruit, flowers and a donation (in the envelope) for the initiator.
The initiation itself is a small ritual in which the energy of Swami Sivananda is invoked with mantras, the third eye is stimulated with powders of sacred plants, the mantra is explained and the power of the mantra is awakened in loud and spiritual repetition. Mantra consecration is like lighting a fire. If the mantra is not repeated regularly, the spiritual fire will go out again. On the other hand, if you repeat the mantra regularly, it is like putting new wood on your spiritual fire, which is getting bigger and bigger.
Video lecture: Japa Yoga - The effect of the mantra
Lecture by Sukadev Bretz from 2009
About the mantra consecration
A humorous talk about mantra consecration - with an ancient Indian story
Links related to mantras:
Click here for the
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