Mantras or hymns are a common way to invoke the almighty in many religions across the world. They are widely prevalent in Hinduism and are also found in other religions, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, and even Christianity.
Mantras are sacred utterances, which may contain words and sounds. They are believed to have a deep spiritual significance. Mantras, when combined with meditation, are an effective way to connect with the larger cosmic energy.
Mantra meditation is common in ancient yogic practices and tantric rituals. But modern-day health enthusiasts and holistic healers have found its usage in helping people achieve peace of mind and health. Here, we look at the basic principles of mantra meditation and how it works.
How does mantra meditation work?
Mantras include syllables, words, or phrases that need to be repeated in a particular fashion during meditation. Mantras may be chanted, whispered, spoken, sung, or simply repeated along with deep meditation.
The purpose of mantra meditation is to first connect with one’s unconsciousness and through it with the larger cosmic energy. In yoga, mantra meditation is said to be the perfect way to achieve oneness with God or the larger cosmic energy.
Mantra mediation involves the energy of sound to achieve this harmonious unity between the individual spirit and the larger cosmic spirit. In doing so, it helps us to temporarily detach ourselves from the world around us and rise above the petty problems that hold us down.
Ancient sages used mantra meditation to achieve nirvana or a state of salvation and enlightenment. It is only recently that modern-age health experts are waking up to the miracles of this practice to achieve overall wellness.
What is a good mantra for meditation?
Hindu and Buddhist religious practices teach their believers a wide range of mantras or chants. These mantras are often sung or recited or repeated in the praise of the Lord – the one who holds the secret to our salvation.
By repeating his name time and again, we surrender ourselves to him and try to be one with him. Here are some good mantras:
- OM: It is the most basic mantra of the Hindu religion. Pronounced as Aum, it means ‘it is’ or ‘will be’ or ‘to become’. It is the primal sound, which usually precedes all other mantras. Scientific studies have shown that the frequency of the sound that is produced by OM matches the natural frequency of the earth. Therefore this cosmic sound is deeply beneficial for meditation.
- Shiv Mantra: Lord Shiva represents destruction, but without destruction, new life cannot be created. In short, Shiva represents the eternal circle of life. Shiva mantra is a simple chant that includes just three words: Om Namah Shivaya (I bow to Shiva). By chanting this chosen mantra, you surrender yourself to the supreme lord without whom the circle of life remains incomplete.
Hare Krishna: This chant was popularized by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas or the Bengal school of Vaishnava religion. Vaishnavas worship Krishna – the Supreme Lord or the protector/preserver of the realm. The full version of the mantra reads: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Usually, Vaishnavas accompany this hymn with music and dancing, known as kirtan. This simple mantra recites the various names by which Krishna is known and praises his glory.
Mantra meditation can incorporate these Hindu mantras for both spiritual wellbeing and entering deeper states of consciousness.
How long do mantras take to work?
The period of time taken by mantras to work depends on how religiously you recite the mantras and with how much conviction. Belief in the mantras and the almighty will surely give you results quickly.
However, it is important that you chant your mantras religiously every day, at the same time, without fail. This would give you results sooner than you expected.
When you say your mantras religiously without fail, a cosmic churning takes place within you. First, all the negative energy is purged out. Then slowly your mind, body, and soul are filled with positive energy.
You will see the mantras working right from day one. However, a complete change or the aim with which you repeat the mantras may take some time. It is important that you do not lose faith and continue to imbibe mantras in your daily meditation practice.
What are the benefits of mantra meditation?
Mantra meditation has multifarious benefits. From spiritual healing to peace of mind, from a better awareness of the world around you to a more agile sense of self – the benefits of mantra meditation are endless.
- Spiritual wellness: Mind, body, and spirit all go hand in hand to make you a better human being. We often work out for the wellness of our body, but not so much for the wellness of the spirit. Incorporating mantra practice into your daily regimen will help you become a better person and achieve a more well-rounded personality.
- A deeper connection with the unconscious: Our deeper states of mind hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. As we connect with ourselves more deeply, we connect with the broader universe outside and, in turn, become more deeply aware of the forces that govern the universe and our lives.
- Better state of mind: Meditation practice helps in achieving a better state of mind. Our mind is full of anxieties, fear, and negative energy. In order to be truly liberated, one must achieve peace of mind. Chanting your chosen mantra would definitely help you acquire a better state of mind.
- A calmer self: Every day, we encounter so much negative energy that it makes us both violent and restless. Meditation along with chanting your chosen Sanskrit words would surely help in reducing the negative energy around you and make you a lot calmer. Once you are at peace with yourself, you will exude more positive energy around you – both in your personal and professional lives.
Do mantras really work?
Chosen mantras when uttered correctly do work. This can be proven scientifically as well. The whole world is a vast field of energy exchange. Sanskrit words or mantras, when chanted rhythmically exude energy. This energy, when aligned with the energy of the cosmos, leads to positive changes.
Mantras turn negative, repulsive vibrations and energies into more positive ones. The vibrations and energy that is produced by repeated chanting of the mantras fill you up with positive reverberations.
These reverberations are carried forward in your life and change you for the better. They make you a more positive, contented individual.
How do I know if I am meditating correctly?
You would know the mantras are working and you are meditating correctly, once you start noticing the change in your behavior and general attitude towards life. In order to do that you need to follow a few steps correctly:
- Try to remove all negative thoughts from your mind.
- Close your eyes and concentrate on the object of focus – the chosen words and their meanings.
- Try to blank out all mundane thoughts from your system as they might hamper the process of meditation.
- Once you follow all these steps religiously and chant your chosen mantra along with them, you will surely see a noticeable difference.
- You will know that your meditation techniques are working once you feel positive changes in your personality.
Mantras are a powerful tool for achieving spiritual cleansing and attaining peace of mind. Mantras are basically powerful hymns, or words, which when repeated with meditation, are sure to change your life for the better.
Although mantras are common in the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions, spiritual healers and holistic health experts are now choosing to incorporate Hindu mantras into meditation practices.
The aim is to combine spiritual practice with meditation to achieve a harmonious balance between mind, body, and soul.
ISKCON Temple, Dwarka, offers spiritual and cultural guidance to people to enhance their quality of life and elevate them to a higher level of consciousness.
Most importantly, through a range of spiritually uplifting activities such as Bhagawad Gita classes, encouraging mediation, and chanting the name of Lord Krishna, ISKCON Dwarka promotes holistic welfare.