Mantras are Sanskrit-invocations of the Supreme Being. They are reinforced and propelled by japa meditation. After passing through vocals they adjoin the mental and telepathic states, and bring forth pure energy in thoughts. Of all the languages, Sanskrit most closely approaches telepathic language because of its affinity to the fifty primeval sounds. It is the most channelized way to approach the transcendental state.
Mantras cannot be concocted or tailor-made for the individual, despite some current claims. They have always existed in a latent state as sound energies. Just as gravity was discovered but not invented by Newton, Mantras were revealed to the ancient masters. They have been codified in the scriptures and handed down from guru to disciple. Although it is customary for the guru when giving initiation to accept voluntary offerings of fruit, flowers or money, the selling of Mantras is strictly against all spiritual rules.
“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance.” Thus perseverance will bring the aspirant to the top faster than if he were to spread his energies in exploring all the alternative paths.
Mantras used by spiritual aspirants to achieve God- Realization are called deity Mantras. They are Saguna, with qualities or form producing, and aid the conceptualization process, just as visual symbols does. As one recites the specific deity Mantras, it gives rise to the actual form of that particular deity.
As a specialized sound body of consciousness, the Mantra is the deity itself. The form of the deity manifests as the visible portion of the sound. The Mantra, therefore, must be rendered verbally in a proper way, with attention to the syllables and rhythm. If translated, it ceases to be a Mantra because sound vibrations newly created in translation cannot evoke it. Only the rhythmical vibrations of the Sanskrit syllables properly recited can regulate the unsteady vibrations of the worshipper and permit the form of the deity to arise.
Westerners are prone to think that the various Mantras refer to different Gods, and that there is a wide diversity in the culminating experience. It must never be forgotten that the deities are aspects of the one Divinity whose grandeur is too vast for the mind to comprehend at the beginning of spiritual practice.
To again understand the analogy of the hill, many paths to the top can be viewed as the worship of the various aspects of the God. There might be various pathways but the summit remains the same. After reaching the pinnacle, one will have the vision to encompass the totality. It is not only about reaching at the top but it is about reaching deep within because the depth of the soul gives more clarity and understanding on what this universe is all about.
Every true Mantra fulfills six conditions that are mentioned below:
- It was originally revealed to the sage, who achieved Self-Realization through it and passed it down to others.
- It has a presiding deity.
- A specific meter.
- It possesses a Bija, or seed, investing it with a special power that is the essence of the Mantra.
- It has dynamic divine power, or Shakti.
- Lastly, there is a plug that conceals the pure consciousness hidden in the Mantra. As soon as the plug is removed by constant prolonged repetition, pure consciousness is revealed, and the devotee receives the vision of his deity.
All devotees worship the same Supreme Atman, there’s just one almighty God. The difference lies only in the religious practices & the form of worship. These differences arise from the need for multiplicity in approach to Godhead. Various temperaments are attracted to particular manifestations of the Divine. Some people are drawn by silence, others by activity; some lose themselves in nature, others in intellectual abstractions. One can approach God more easily if there is a compatible relationship with the most suitable manifestation. Harmony between aspirant and chosen deity is essential. However, one can attain the goal only when one can see his chosen deity in all the form deities and in all the living beings.
Every individual has worshipped some deity in previous lives; the impression of this worship is imprinted in the subconscious mind. These impressions have influenced the mental vibrations and have helped to form the particular mentality. Worship of Lord Shiva in previous birth would incline one to Shiva worship in this life too; it would impart certain mental characteristics, such as stoicism and love of solitude. One who chooses Shiva, as his ishta devata would be mostly drawn to abstract forms of thought and meditation as his method of worship.
The householder to whom family, responsibility, order and ideals are important is drawn to Rama, the ideal son, husband and lawgiver. Krishna attracts most people, particularly devotional and active, balanced extroverts who are concerned with the welfare of others. As the mischievous baby, a young man engaged in divine play in the fields and forests of Vrindavan, and inspired giver of the wisdom of the Bhagvad Gita. Those who feel reverence for the Mother aspect as divine universal energy might worship Durga.
Once the deity and appropriate Mantra have been selected, and the aspirant has received initiation, he works with the Mantra until reaching enlightenment. The Mantra becomes his theme song, so to speak. He makes his vibrations his own, and to the extent that he can do this, he is drawn closer to God. Other deity Mantras can also be used in a supplementary way. Repetition of OM Aim Saraswatyai Namah bestows wisdom, intelligence and creative achievement. OM Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah confers wealth and prosperity. The Ganesha Mantra removes obstacles in any undertaking.
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra prevents accidents, incurable disease and calamities, and bestows longevity and immortality. It is also a moksha Mantra, by which one can attain liberation. Those who do japa of it daily will enjoy health, life-long and attain ultimate enlightenment. The translation of this powerful Mantra is: “We bow to the three- eyed Lord (Shiva) who is full of sweet fragrance, who nourishes human beings. May he free me from the bondage of births and deaths, just as the ripe cucumber is separated from the vine, and may I be fixed in immortality.”
The Gayatri Mantra is the supreme Mantra of the Vedas. It is one Mantra that can be commonly prescribed for all, for Gayatri is the Mother of the universe, Shakti herself, and there is nothing she cannot do. Her Mantra purifies the mind; destroys pain, sin and ignorance; brings liberation; and bestows health, beauty, strength, vitality, power, intelligence and magnetic aura. Repetition of the Gayatri Mantra, OM Namah Shivaya, OM Namo Narayanaya, or OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya for 125000 times, with feeling, faith, and devotion secures for the devotee the grace of the presiding deity. OM Sri Ramaya Namah and OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya enables one to attain realization of God with attributes first, and subsequently realization without attributes.
Mantras for JAPA
OM Sri Maha Ganapataye Namah
Dedicated to the great Lord Ganesha
OM is the original, most powerful Mantra sound. It is a part of almost every other Mantra, and serves to invoke pure supreme vibrations. Sri is a title of reverent respect. Maha means great. Ganapati is another name of Ganesha who is symbolized as the elephant headed god, representing strength and fortitude. He is the remover of obstacles and bestower of success.
OM Namah Shivaya
Dedicated to Lord Shiva
Shiva is the lord of ascetics and recluses. He is part of the Hindu Trinity. Brahma and Vishnu, the other two parts, are associated with creation and preservation, respectively. Shiva, the Cosmic Dancer, presides over the destructive energies, which break up the universe at the end of each age. This is the process of the old making way for the new. In a more personal sense, it is Shiva’s energy by which one’s lower nature is destroyed, making way for positive growth.
OM Namo Narayanaya
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu
Narayana is the name of Vishnu, the preserver and operator of the world. After the Creation, it is the energy of the Vishnu, which maintains order of the universe. It is Vishnu who regularly takes on a human form and incarnates on earth to benefit mankind. People who are closely involved in the running of the world and maintaining the harmony of life are drawn to this aspect of God.
OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Dedicated to Lord God, Vasudeva
Bhagavan means Lord, referring to Vishnu. Vasudeva, meaning, “He Who abides in all things and in whom entire world abides,” is a name of Krishna. Krishna is one of the most loved of all deities; People are drawn to Krishna because of his playfulness and joyful nature. Being the source of Bhagvad Gita, he is considered to be a world teacher.
Hari is another name for Vishnu. It is that aspect which forgives the past actions of those who takes refuge in Him and destroys their negative deeds. Thus Hari is a redeemer and a guide to personal salvation as well as the World Preserver.
OM Sri Ramaya Namah
Dedicated to Lord Rama
Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, took life on earth for the purpose of upholding righteousness and rewarding virtue. His life is the subject of The Ramayana. Rama lived the life of perfection and responsibility. Rama and Sita epitomized the devotional relationship between husband and wife. They are the models for all householders and people with family duties.
OM Sri Durgayai Namah
Dedicated to Mother Durga
Supreme Divinity is without qualities or attributes, and as such it contains all qualities and attributes. The masculine principles are important yet; they must be balanced with the feminine principles. Durga represents the motherhood aspect of God. She is the force, or Shakti, through which Divinity manifests. Durga is power. She is the protector and benefactor. According to Hindu mythology, the chaitanya, or pure consciousness, of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were united to form the being of Mother Durga. She is commonly pictured riding a tiger and have eight arms that carries flowers and weapons of protection and gives the gesture of blessing.
OM Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah
Dedicated to great Mother Lakshmi
Lakshmi is the bountiful provider. As Vishnu’s consort, she aids in the preservation of the three worlds by bestowing wealth and abundance of material as well as spiritual nature. She is pictured as a beautiful woman standing in a lotus blossom with her arms open and giving.
OM Aim Saraswatyai Namah
Dedicated to Mother Saraswati
Aim is the Bija of Saraswati, the source of all learning, and knowledge of the arts and music. She is Brahma’s consort and is involved with the creation of new ideas and things. Responsible for bestowing wisdom and knowledge, She is often worshipped by people in the creative arts.
OM Sri Maha Kalikayai Namah
Dedicated to Mother Kali
Kali is that divine aspect which is responsible for the destruction and eradication of negative qualities in this world. She is the transformative power of Divinity, which dissolves the individual into cosmic union. Maha Kali is one of the most fearsome of all the expressions of the Divinity. Because of the intensity of her purgative nature, very few people initiate to this Mantra.
OM Sri Hanumate Namah
Dedicated to Blessed Hanuman
Hanuman is the perfection of devotion. He is the greatest and the most selfless devotee of Lord Rama. In the Hindu tradition, he is considered to be a semi- deity, for he is the son of the wing- god. He possesses great strength and courage.
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare;
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare is a glorified form of address for calling upon God. Rama and Krishna were two of the best-known and most beloved incarnations of Vishnu. They took human birth on this earth to lead mankind to eternal salvation. This Maha Mantra is the easiest and surest way for attaining God Realization in this present age.
OM Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama
Victory of Rama. Jaya is "victory” or “hail."
Sri Rama Rama Rameti, Rame Rame Manorame;
Sahasrenama tattulyam, Rama Nama Varanane
All these sacred names of Rama are equal to the highest name of God.
This Mantra cures gossiping and back- biting and makes up for time lost in idleness.
OM Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanam Mrityor Mukshiya Mamritat
We worship the three-eyed Lord (Shiva) who is full of sweet fragrance and nourishes human beings. May he liberate me from bondage, even as the cucumber is severed from the vine. This is the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. It removes disease, prevents accidents and bestows liberation. It should be chanted on a daily basis.
OM Namo `stute Mahayogin Prapannamanusadhi Mam Yatha
Twachcharanam Bhoje Ratih Syadanapayini
Salutation to thee, O great Yogi! Pray direct me that have fallen at Thy feet, so that I may find unfailing delight at Thy lotus feet.
This is the Mantra for self-surrender. It should be repeated with a pure heart free of personal desires.
Source: Meditation and Mantras by Swami Vishnu-Devananda
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