The word mantra means liberating the mind from thoughts through the power of sound vibrations.
The origins of mantra
Chanting mantra is a science that helps balance the energy between the mind and body. Mantras have not been randomly created through someone’s intellect. They arose from sacred experiences of the sages in their highest states of consciousness, who discovered that when they chanted mantras, it focused and calmed their mind by bringing their awareness from the past and the future into the present. It balanced the energy between their body and mind and helped connect them with their inner life.
How mantra helps bring you peace?
All our previous memories and experiences (samskaras) are stored in the subconscious and unconscious mind. Chanting mantra brings your mind into the present, creating space for these different memories and feelings to be released.
The sound and vibration of mantra penetrate your unconscious mind, which helps to remove energy blockages caused by deep-rooted memories. When these blockages are released, your energy flows more spontaneously, providing a sense of peace and relaxation so that you can heal and act with greater balance.
The mind is constantly distracted by both pleasant (klishta) and unpleasant (aklishta) thoughts and memories. These separate you from reality as they drag you into the past or the future. They also shape your reactions to your current experiences, keeping you in a loop of similar thinking; and this limits the possibilities of your world.
Every thought you have and every word you utter carries a different vibration. Each word in a mantra vibrates at a high frequency, and when you continually chant this mantra it helps to raise the frequency of the energy within your body. It is the vibrations of the sound – not the meaning – which is healing. The vibrations carry spiritual energy which connect you with your soul – the Source of your spiritual energy, which exists within you. It is like rubbing two sticks together to make a fire – the mantra’s energy connects with the soul’s energy to create peace and harmony. Repeatedly reciting the mantra creates the same series of vibrations which help clear the blockages.
How to chant mantra?
The pure sound resulting from chanting mantra is expressed through three different stages of repetition:
- * out loud;
- * whispering (lips and tongue move, but no sound is audible); and
- * mentally
When you chant loudly, it develops awareness by focusing on the sound and vibrations. The next step is to whisper it; next, through constant and dedicated repetition, the mantra gradually becomes repeated mentally without conscious effort. There may be a melody associated with mantra, but it is not a song to sing – it is a sacred set of words to raise your consciousness, and this will only happen when you bring your mind into the practice.
You can choose between the heart centre (anahata chakra) or the eyebrow centre (ajna chakra – Third Eye) on which to focus while chanting. The vibrations of the mantra affect all the other centres as well, but when you regularly focus on the same centre repeatedly, it deepens the channel which connects you with your inner world. When your mind wanders, squeeze your perineum (apply mula bandha) and be more conscious of your posture. Controlling these two areas helps you bring your focus back to the process.
The best time to practice mantra is in the early morning (brahm murath) or at sunset (sandhya) because energetically, the body and mind are more closely aligned at these times.
You can listen and chant along with mantras from our YouTube playlists that we recorded at the Vedic Yoga Centre:
The effects of practicing mantra
When practiced mindfully, the effects of chanting mantra are twofold and powerful:
- The vibrations of the mantra balance the energy between your ida/pingala energy channels (lunar and solar energies within you); and
- The consciousness between the outer focus of your first three chakras (your animal nature) and the inner focus of your next three chakras (your human nature) is balanced.
All mantras are powerful – it is your faith that makes them so. Once you experience how they transport you within, it will strengthen your faith even more.
Mantra meditation – japa
Repetition of one mantra regularly is known as japa. Practicing at one fixed time each day develops a meditative awareness. Sound and breath are the two vehicles through which one can develop focus. It is a potent tool to connect you to the Source of your life and the key to easing your stress or depression to help you experience peace and happiness.
Benefits of chanting mantra
Through the awareness of sound and vibration, you can:
- * balance the chakras
- * develop deeper awareness and concentration through mantra meditation, which is one of the most authentic, ancient yogic practices
- * experience relaxation and a soothing effect on the body and mind
When you continually practice mantra, the lower vibrations of your primal nature give way to the higher vibrations created by the chant. Then your interest in practicing mantras expands, and your focus also becomes deeper.
In our next article, we will continue our discussion on mantras, focusing on different types of mantra and their benefits.