A mantra is a sound (maybe a word, or sentence), that is considered to be able to lead us to liberation. The word mantra comes from the two words: ‘manas’ referring to mind, or consciousness, and ‘tra’ which means ‘to free’. Thus we could say that a mantra can liberate our mind, and merge with universal consciousness.
Traditionally, chanting was used specifically to pass on knowledge from the Vedas. As, at those times, writing was not common, the teachings were transferred in this manner. Usually, students had to be able to remember the text first, before the teacher would comment on them.
You will come across spelling of Sanksrit mantras in different ways. Given that Sanksrit is written in a different script and from there translated and written in modern writing makes that there are different variations. Don’t be upset about the different spelling and follow the chanting of your teacher. Also, be mindful that different schools chant the same mantras differently (different intonation, speed, etc.). Again don’t worry about and rather focus on your intention while you are chanting, that is most important.
Looking at it from a modern approach you can even create your own mantra, it’s the intention which is essential. And the more you practice and repeat, the more powerful your own manta becomes, fine-tuning your body, mind and soul balace.
Physical & mental health – chanting is supposed to have many benefits as it creates vibrations that have effect at different parts of the body and mind.
- Improved concentration – chanting requires the student to be fully present and listen closely to the teacher. This process of listening and reproducing the chant is called “adhyayanam”. It improves both concentration and memory .
- Calming the mind – chanting is a beautiful practice that is both calming and energizing. According to TKV Desikachar (the son of T. Krishnamachary), chanting is an important form of meditation.
- Intention: energy flows where attention goes.
- Chanting together as a group empathises to bring the individuals together, tuning into the same vibration. Therefore it’s a wonderful thing to do before a yoga class.
The most known mantra: OM – AUM
A – Brahma U – Vishnu M – Shiva
“Om is who is all names and forms”
Om is present, past and future
Om is the first and underlying sound / vibration of Universe
One-ness of all things