Meditation Chants or Mantras
True Mantras or Chants
The power of mantra meditation
How to Chant Mantras
The Hare Krishna Mantra
The Om Chant
The Purity Chant
The Gayatri Mantra
The HU Chant
A mantra is a syllable or group of syllables - sound vibrations - that
clear the mind of debris; much as sound vibrations clean jewelry. When
first practicing, the mantra can be spoken, and as we concentrate we can
begin mental repetition.
As with all types of meditation practices the practice itself is not the goal;
the goal is a calm mind and relaxed body, so that harmonious thoughts
more easily come to mind followed by their product of kind and caring
Mantra chanting is easily practiced anywhere, as when repeated
mentally, no one can see what we are doing. It is one method for
regaining and maintaining peace during stressful times. When we are
feeling stress, a few moments of mantra meditation can clear away the
dust obstructing the view of a good resolution. And, upon lying down for
sleep, mantra repetition can calm the mind, letting the body relax.
When our mind is calm and clear we make the best decisions for all
concerned. Peace and harmony in our own life influences others' feelings
of peace and harmony. Our positive and kind words and actions bless
ourselves, because we feel good in the process of positive thought and
action, and the recipients of our goodness benefit by our actions and
The meditation business is flourishing these days. Modern-day
"messiahs," "gurus," and "incarnations," with all varieties of mantras,
are a dime a dozen, as eager customers flock to the feet of self-styled
saviors. One so-called guru instructs his disciples in supercharged
techniques for becoming a financial success. Another tells his followers
that meditation will make their intelligence sharper and the body more
fit to enjoy sensual pleasures. Still other "gurus" claim that sex is
the ultimate goal of life and that unlimited sex will free one from all
material desires. Some chic spiritual seekers pay a lot of money for
secret mantras that they believe will allow them to perform mystic
feats. But the Vedic literatures issue stern warnings about charlatan
gurus and bogus mantras.
If a person is actually serious about spiritual life, he or she must
come in contact with a bona fide spiritual master and learn from him the
science of God consciousness. The Mundaka Upanisad states that "In
order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona
fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the
Not just any guru will do. This verse informs us that the spiritual
master must be in disciplic succession from the supreme
spiritual master (GOD). Such a genuine spiritual master receives Gods
teachings through the disciplic chain and distributes them exactly as he
has heard them from his spiritual master, without watering them down or
altering them to suit his whims. A bona fide guru is not an
impersonalist or voidist. He
aspires to be a servant of God and His devotees. Such a guru is called acarya, or one who teaches by example. His life is free from all
material desires and sinful behavior, his character is exemplary, and he
must be qualified to deliver his disciples from the path of repeated
birth and death. The God conscious guru is absorbed in service to or
meditation on the Supreme Lord at every moment.
A mantra must be
received from a pure representative or servant of God, who acts as a
transparent via medium between God and the sincere spiritual seeker.
Mantras received from any other type of "guru" simply will not work.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes in the
Srimad Bhagavatam: "Unless one follows the disciplic succession, the
mantra one receives will be chanted for no purpose. Nowadays there are
so many rascal gurus who manufacture their mantras as a process for
material advancement, not for spiritual advancement. Still, the mantra
cannot be successful if it is manufactured. Mantras and the process of
devotional service have special power, provided they are received from
the authorized person."
The Power of Mantra Meditation
The Vedas, scriptures containing the timeless spiritual knowledge of
ancient India, state that an awakening process is desperately
needed because everyone in this material world is in a sleeping,
dreamlike condition. We have forgotten our original, spiritual identity,
accepting instead a temporary material body composed of physical
elements as our real self. The Vedas compare the material body to the
subtle forms we experience in dreams. While sleeping, we forget our
normal waking identity and may find ourselves enjoying or suffering in
different types of bodies. But when we hear the ringing of the alarm
clock, we awaken and return to normal consciousness. We remember who we
are and what we should be doing. Similarly, by hearing the powerful
transcendental sound vibrations of the Hare Krishna mantra, we can
gradually wake up to our original self, the soul, which is characterized
by eternality and is full of knowledge and ever-increasing pleasure.
The sages of ancient India therefore tell us that the goal of human life
should not be to try to enjoy our temporary dreamlike situation in the
material world. Rather, we are advised to awaken to our original,
spiritual nature and ultimately return to our true home in the spiritual
world, where we may enjoy an eternal relationship with the Supreme
The transcendental potency necessary for developing complete
psychological and spiritual fulfillment is already present within
everyone. It must, however, be uncovered by a genuine spiritual process.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for chanting. The most
wonderful thing about mantra meditation is that one may chant anywhere
-- at home, at work, driving in the car, or riding on the bus or subway.
And one may chant at any time.
In order to chant one need not equip oneself with
expensive props and paraphernalia, learn to stand on one's head, or
perform other difficult postures or breathing exercises. The only
equipment one needs is a tongue and ears. Everyone already has these.
The tongue simply has to vibrate the words, and the ears must
hear it. By this simple process alone, one can achieve all perfection.
There are two basic types of chanting. Personal meditation, where one
chants alone on beads, is called japa. When one chants in responsive
fashion with others, this is called kirtana. Kirtana is usually
accompanied by musical instruments and clapping. Both forms of chanting
are recommended and beneficial.
To perform the first type of meditation, one needs only a set of japa
To meditate with the beads, hold them in your right hand. Hold the first
bead with your thumb and middle finger and chant the complete mantra. Then go to the next bead, holding it
with the same two fingers, again chanting the entire mantra. Then go on
to the next bead and then the next, continuing in this way until you
have chanted on all 108 beads and have come to the main or krishna bead. You
have now completed "one round" of chanting. Do not chant on the Krishna
bead, but turn the beads around and chant on them in the opposite
direction, one after another. Chanting on beads is especially helpful,
for it engages the sense of touch in the meditative process and helps
you concentrate even more on the sound of the mantra.
You may want to chant japa indoors, but you can chant just as
comfortably walking along the beach or hiking in the mountains. Just
bring your beads along with you. If you chant sitting down, you should
assume a comfortable position (preferably not Iying down or slouching,
for there's always the tendency to fall asleep). You can chant as loudly
or as softly as you like, but it's important to pronounce the mantra
clearly and loudly enough to hear yourself. The mind may have a tendency
to wander off to other matters when you chant, for the mind is
flickering and unsteady, always looking for something new and
pleasurable to absorb itself in. If your mind wanders (to anything
except God and things related to Him), gently bring it back to the
transcendental sound vibration. It won't be difficult, because the mind
is easily satisfied when absorbed in the divine sound of the mantra (unlike other meditationa practices, where one may be asked to
fix his mind on "nothing" or "the void").
One may chant japa at any time, but the Vedic literatures note that
certain hours of the day are most auspicious for performing spiritual
activities. The early morning hours just before and after sunrise are
generally a time of stillness and quietude, excellently suited to
contemplative chanting. Many people find it especially helpful to set
aside a certain amount of time at the same time each day for chanting.
Start with one or two "rounds" a day, and gradually increase the number
until you reach sixteen, the recommended minimum for serious chanters.
While japa is a form of meditation involving you, your beads, and the
Supreme Lord, kirtana, on the other hand, is a form of group meditation,
where one sings the mantra, sometimes accompanied by musical
One may hold a kirtana at home with family or friends, with one person
leading the chanting and the others responding. Kirtana is more of a
supercharged meditational process, where in addition to hearing oneself
chant, one also benefits by hearing the chanting of others. Musical
instruments are nice, but not necessary. One may sing the mantra to any
melody and clap his hands. If you have children, they can sing along as
well and make spiritual advancement. You can get the whole family
together every evening for chanting.
The sounds of the material world are boring, hackneyed and monotonous,
but chanting is an ever-increasingly refreshing experience. Make a test
yourself. Try chanting some word or phrase for even five minutes. If you
chant "Coca-Cola" over and over again, even for a few minutes, it
becomes practically unbearable. There's no pleasure in it. But the sound
of God's names is transcendental, and as one chants he wants to
chant more and more.
The Vedas tell us that
meditation on the Hare Krishna mantra is the most powerful.
The initial result of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is summarized by
Srila Prabhupada in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita: "We have
practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of
Krishna n course of time feels some
transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all
Receiving the Hare Krishna mantra from a bona fide guru who is in
complete harmony with Krishna's teachings in Bhagavad-gita is the single
most important aspect of chanting Hare Krishna.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
If there is no religious preference than the sound
vibration 'OM' is a universally recognized mantra.
If using 'OM' draw the sound out like this - oooooommmmmmmmmmm -
emphasis being on the last part. To use in conjunction with breathing
take an in breath, and then on the out breath repeat 'OM' remembering to
draw out the ending.
Therefore chanting OM (AUM) will bring us to a
state of purity in body mind and soul.
The Om is composed of three letters, A, U, and M.
These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they
also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.
All Buddhas are cases of beings
who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became
enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the
beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The
development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving
the impure states arid their being transformed into the pure.
The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel,
symbolizes the factors of method-the altruistic intention to become
enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of
removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of
removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of
solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfils the wishes of
sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened
fulfils the wishes of sentient beings.
The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Just as a
lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so
wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non-contradiction
whereas there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There
is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are
empty, of being self-sufficient or substantially existent, wisdom that
realizes the emptiness of duality-that is to say, of difference of
entity between subject an object-and wisdom that realizes the emptiness
of inherent existence. Though there are many different types of wisdom,
the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom,
symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility.
According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom
refers to wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In
the mantra, it refers to one consciousness in which
there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one un-differentiable
entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five Conqueror Buddhas,
hum is the seed syllable of Akshobhya - the immovable, the
unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.
Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on
the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and
wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the
pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you
should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for
the achievement of Buddhahood are within. We have within us the
seed of purity, the essence of a One,
that is to be transformed and fully developed into Buddhahood.
The meaning of the Gayatri mantra is as follows
We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross,
subtle, and causal.
I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace
of universal intelligence.
We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.
Om: The primeval sound
Bhur: the physical world
Bhuvah: the mental world
Suvah: the celestial, spiritual world
Thath: That; God; transcendental Paramatma
Savithur: the Sun, Creator, Preserver
Varenyam: most adorable, enchanting
Bhargo: luster, effulgence
Devasya: resplendent,supreme Lord
Dheemahi: we meditate upon
Dhiyo: the intellect,understanding
Yo: May this light
Chanting HU (pronounced "hue") aloud or to yourself can
open your heart to God's love and transform your life. This daily
practice can help you experience more love, joy and spiritual freedom.
You can also try chanting this inwardly when faced with challenging
situations. HU is a ancient name for God and is a very uplifting chant
when singing it with a group of people.
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