" Just by repeating the name,
that which can not be understood
Will be understood
just by repeating the name
that which can not be seen
Will be seen"
Mantra repetition is an ancient meditation technique extensively used in Tibet and India. Here is a simple explanation of Mantra Meditation:
What actually is a mantra
Mantra repetition simply means repeating a sentence or group of words that have a phonetic significance . just that's it.
Mantra is intrinsically related to sound. Mantra is sound, and sound is reverberating in everything in this universe. When water flows, the gurgling sound it makes, is mantra. When wind blows through the trees, the rustling sound it produces is mantra. When we walk on the earth, our footsteps produce sound, and that too is mantra. Within human beings there is a self-born, indestructible sound which repeats itself constantly, along with our breathing and this sound is also a mantra.
Sound has enormous power, in fact it has the power to create an entire universe. It is written that God originally manifested as sound.
(In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. New Testament, John1:1-2 )
According to ancient Indian belief in the beginning there was sound, which reverberated as Om and from that sound everything came into existence.
Even modern scientist are beginning to recognize as our ancient sages did, that there exists a vibration which reverberates ceaselessly throughout the cosmos.
When letters and syllables come together, they form words. Both our spiritual and our mundane life are possible only because of words; without language, we can not carry out any of our activities. Each word we use has its own power and produces it own reaction. A mantra is no ordinary combination of letters and syllables, but a living force. The name of God is not different from God. Mantra has been called the sound-body of God: It is God in the form of sound.
In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says,
" Among rituals, I am the ritual of mantra repetition."
By this he means that while other techniques are means of attaining Him, mantra is his very being. That is why it is so easy to experience God by repeating the mantra. Mantra meditation is the repetition of a group of words which create sound vibrations that awake the love of God in our hearts and mind
The influence of mantra: How it affects the meditator
The mantra can completely transform our inner being. Our inner state is created by the thoughts and feelings that continuously arise in us. Outwardly we may appear to have fixed identities-one person may appear to be a lawyer, another an engineer, another a doctor, another a professor. But inside, we are a continually changing mass of consciousness. When we project the beam of mantra into this fluctuating mass, it stabilizes it and focuses it in one direction, the direction of the self. It helps us to transcend our confusion, our fantasies, and the constant changes of the mind.
Repetition of the name of God causes a kind of earthquake in our inner consciousness. Whatever thoughts arise in our daily life, they are recorded within us and form impression that are difficult to remove. But when we repeat the name, all these thoughts and impressions are erased, and the name of God is recorded. At every moment, what we think is what we become. If the anger arises in the mind and we identify ourselves with it, we become angry. In the same way, if we continually repeat the mantra with great love and interest, we will become absorbed in God. By its very nature the mantra has the ability to transform our awareness into an awareness of ourselves as Self which is a part of supreme self God.
How to repeat the mantra : You can repeat the mantra silently or loudly but it should be at the same speed at which you talk. You can also coordinate it with the breathing, repeating it once with the inhalation and once with exhalation. Repeat it very carefully, just as a miser looks after is wealth. Listen it as you repeat it, and in that way your mind will become permeated with mantra. If you repeat the mantra when you breathe in and breathe out, it will circulate throughout your body, permeating every one of your blood cells. then even the room in which you have been repeating become saturated with it.
It is said, "Mantra is that which protects the one who repeats it." The power of mantra is beyond your imagination You can understand the meaning of the mantra, but you can not measure its strength. Mantra is the living force of God. Therefore, repeat it with respect.
If you devote even half hour or an hour every day to repeating the mantra, you will function much more effectively in your worldly life, and your heart will be filled with joy. You will begin to experience the self very easily.
Detailed Clarification on mantra meditation:
There are many doubts and misconception among people about mantra. Even many knowledgeable persons says that mantra is nothing but a boring repetition of words that doesn't affect our consciousness and the only effect it produce is to take the chanter ( the one who repeats the mantra ) into a state of sleep. There are many other wrong notions about mantra which, I think, exist because of the fact that people are not aware of the full mechanism of mantra. So before you start mantra meditation, it is essential that you clear all your doubts about mantra:
The doubt (1): Mantra will take you into sleep :
Fact: Yes but only if you use it as a lullaby.
The most important thing in mantra meditation is that you should repeat it with the full awareness of its meaning. However, many people repeat mantra without having full awareness of its meaning. If you repeat a mantra in such mechanical way then it will not produce any effect and will remain an ordinary word. The emotional feeling in which a mantra is chanted is the most important requisite of mantra meditation. In its absence a mantra is no more than a lullaby. So always keep in mind that whenever you repeat a mantra, you should know what is the meaning of that Mantra. Otherwise you'll not be able to draw any benefit from it.
The doubt (2) : Language of most mantra is strange and difficult to understand.
Fact: To some extent it is true but there is a reason for it.
The entire concept of Mantra meditation began in India. That is why most of the mantras are in Sanskrit Language which is the language of the Vedas (the oldest written texts of the world). Though the language Sanskrit may be ancient & alien to you, what is still intact in various mantras written in this language is their phonetic significance and their ability to create powerful vibration of sound . All mantras were developed after painstaking research and efforts. Therefore, they are very well written tools for achieving a meditative state. You should only think about meditating- the process of achieving a state of choiceless awareness- without thinking about the language of the mantra that you will be repeating.
[ Note: Sanskrit is not the sole language of mantra. In almost every religion there are some specific words related to Sound. The word 'Amen' in Christianity, 'Allah Hoo' in Islam and 'Om mani Padme Hum' in Buddhist traditions are some examples. Please keep in mind that of whichever language's mantra you repeat, you must repeat it with full awareness of its meaning. In the section Some mantra to dwell upon, I have discussed four mantra in details : Om Namah Shivay, Hare Krishna Mantra, Aum and So'ham. Please make sure to read the basic terminology before you chant them ]
The doubt (3): If Mantra can create a powerful sound vibration then what is the need to repeat it. We can record a mantra on tape and can listen to it as and when we want for achieving a meditative state. easy ! Isn't it ?
Fact : It seems logical but actually is not that logical.
It appears logical that If mantra can produce powerful sound vibration then why not use a tape recorder and listen to it repeatedly. However, in reality it is not that easy as it appears. If you record a mantra and listen to it passively, you will fall asleep as the mantra will act as a lullaby. All those- who are really interested in mantra meditation- should keep in mind that there are two basic requirement for getting any benefit from mantra meditation-
(1) the sound of the mantra; and
(2) the repetition of mantra with faith and full awareness of its meaning
When you play a mantra on tape, you are just a passive listener. The requirement of sound is there , but the awareness part is absent. Even if the recorded sound is of someone who has recorded the mantra with faith and full awareness of its meaning, the fact remains that you, who is just a passive listener, will not be able to draw any benefits form this sound as it is not your faith but that of someone else which is included in the recorded mantra. So unless you yourself chant the mantra with faith and full awareness of this meaning, the only thing you will get is a sound sleep.
Please keep in mind that In order to obtain full fruit of mantra, we have to repeat it with full awareness of its meaning. Most of the time, we repeat the mantra with the wrong understanding, thinking that the syllables of the mantra and the object of the mantra are different from each other and from ourselves. That is why the mantra does not bear immediate fruit for us. If you think about this you will understand that the same thing is true on a mundane level. Suppose that someone calls you an idiot. If you do not accept the word "idiot" as referring to you, you will not react to it. But if you identify with it, you may become so angry that your blood heat up. If you were to identify yourself with the name of God as easily as you identify yourself with an abusive term, you would experience its effects at once.
Doubt (4): Is there a difference between repeating a mantra silently and repeating it loudly ?
Fact: There is a little difference but not much.
As I have already explained, the main thing is that you should repeat a mantra with faith, respect and with full awareness of its meaning. This can be done in both way i.e. by silently repeating the mantra or by pronouncing it loudly. The basic difference in repeating a mantra silently and repeating it loudly lies in the intensity of sound that comes out in both the method. But these vibrations may differ in their quantity but not in their quality and both have the same effect on our inner consciousness.
Doubt (5): But no sound is produced when we repeat a mantra silently?
Fact: If you can't listen a sound, don't think it does not exist.
Well it appears to us that no sound is produced, the reality is that every action and every thought produces a sound. That's a different thing that our senses can not detect it. Human being are capable of detecting only sound between 20 to 20,000 decibel. We can't listen sound below or above that level. However, this does not mean that such sounds do not exist. They do exists and leave their effect on us. When you chant a mantra silently, it produces a sound. Though we can't hear the sound, , it does exist and produces the vibrations which affects our inner consciousness.
I hope the above clarifications have removed all your doubts about mantra meditation.
How to use mantra meditation in a busy & complex life.
Well by now you must have clear knowledge of mantra meditation. In order to meditate using mantra meditation you should use following:
(1) Read the general instruction on meditation (including do's and don'ts)
(2) Choose a mantra. Below I have described in detail three mantras. You can use either of them.
(3) Allocate 30 minutes for mantra meditation. Though early morning or late evening is best time, you can chooses any time as per your convenience. In those 30 minutes, 20 minutes will be for chanting (repeating) the mantra and the last 10 minutes for being watchful of your inner consciousness.
(4) Sit comfortably at a quiet place.
Close your eyes.
Start chanting the mantra (either silently or loudly ).
Repeat the mantra with faith and respect.
Repeat it with the full awareness of its meaning.
Keep chanting the mantra for 20 minutes. (You may use an alarm clock for keeping track of time).
After 20 minutes....
stop chanting. Be quiet. Keep sitting silently.
The mantra will keep echoing in your mind for some more time. Just be watchful of what happens inside you.
Don't judge, act or react. Just be aware of all that is happening inside you. Just be a witness of all your emotions, feelings, and other activities in and around you. You will feel a sense of calm and bliss. All thought activities will start decreasing and eventually come to a stand still.
Slowly slowly open your eyes and move out of the meditation.
When you begin meditating this way on daily basis, slowly you will start experiencing a thought free mind - a state of choiceless awareness. Your self will be revealed to you. (Please remember that the 10 minutes watchfulness after the 20 minutes of chanting is a must. )Later you may increase your timing. But the ratio between chanting and witnessing should remain as 2:1.
Some Mantras to dwell upon
Here I have described three powerful mantras in detail. You can choose to meditate with any of the three mantra. All of them are ancient, powerful and easy in pronunciation.
But before you start:
Here is a basic terminology which you should know before starting Mantra repetition as you find its presence many mantra. All these words are from Hindu Mythology.
Kali yug :The last in the four eras (time periods) of creation. The other threes are Satya yug, Threta yug and Dwaper yug . These four eras are characterize by the intensity/effect of the rule of truth in them with the Satya yug having the most prominent qualities of truth and righteousness, with Treta at second, Dwaper at third and Kaliyug - the age of machines- at the fourth place. The present era is Kaliyug.
Trinity of Brahma Vishnu and Mahesh: According to Hindu mythology there are three Gods who run the creation. The Brahma - who creates the universe, the Vishnu - who preserves the Universe and the Shiva- who in the end destroys the universe. Among the three deities, Shiva is considered as the destroyer. However, Shiva is also considered as the supreme reality- the inner self which remains intact even after everything ends.
Please also remember that the one who repeats the mantra either silently or loudly is known as chanter and the process of repeating the mantra is known as chanting.
Here are a detailed description of 3 mantras from the traditional Indian religious stream. All these three mantras are extremely easy to pronounce and highly effective. Click to know in detail about these mantra
OM or AUM is the most important and significant word of Mantra tradition. It is considered as the root mantra of all mantra. In a majority of Mantra, you will find OM.
OM is the most often chanted sound among all the sacred sounds on earth. This sound is considered as the sound of the existence.
it is believed that the whole universe, in its fundamental form, is made up of vibrating, pulsating energy. Om is considered as the humming sound of this cosmic energy.
OM is said to be the original primordial creative sound from which the entire universe have manifested. It is also known as the 'Anahat Nada', the "Unstruck Sound". This means the sound that is not made by two things striking together.
If you observe the nature of sound you'll find that all ordinary audible sound are produced by the striking of two objects : bow and strings, drum and stick, two vocal cords, waves against the shore, winds against the leaves, bat against the ball, tyers against the road etc. In short all sounds within our range of listening are produces by things visible or invisible, striking each other or vibrating together, resulting in pulsating waves of air molecules which we interprets as sound.
In contrast to the above, OM is the sound which is not the result of the striking of two objects. It, rather emanates on its own. It is the primal sound of the universe that contains all sounds in itself.
The meaning of OM
Well unlike all other mantra, there is no meaning of OM. It is actually not a word, it is a sound. As per Hindu tradition, OM is the purest name of God. It is the sound of the supreme consciousness. So when you reapeat OM, you actualy take the name of God.
Now without going into the further philosophical explanation of OM, let us learn how to meditate using OM. Repetition of OM or AUM dissolves the mind it its divine source. The chanting of OM several time loud, purifies the atmosphere.
Sit in a comfortable undisturbed place. Take some deep breath. Now chant at least 7 times OM in succession. Make each breath last as long as possible. Teak deep breath and chant Oooooooo~~~~~hhhhhhhhhh~~~~~ Mmmmmmm~~~~~. Then again repeat this chanting of OM. Do this for 7 times. After this, stop chanting and sit for a moment of silence. You will be amazed by the inner peace you'll get in such a small chanting of OM.
Listen the sound of Universe : Let us listen the sound of OM. You are requested to listen carefully. This sound of OM produces instant positive vibrations and takes the listener to a state of mental stillness.
Chanting the OM mantra for 15 minutes daily can produce remarkable effect in you. This mantra will help you to calm the mind, settled the thought process and realize the self.
On the meaning of: OM MANI PADME HUM
"The jewel is in the lotus or praise to the jewel in the lotus"
(by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet )
It is very good to recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, but while
you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the
meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, OM, is
composed of three pure 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.
Can impure body, speech and mind be transformed into pure body,
speech and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases
of being 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 and their being transformed into
How is this done?
The path is indicated by the next four syllables.
MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factor 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
fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to
become enlightened fulfills 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 where as there would be contradiction if you did not
have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing
that persons are empty of self-sufficient or substantial existence,
wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality (that is to say, of
difference of entity between subject and object), and wisdom that
realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are may
different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom
Purity 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 one consciousness in which there is a full
form of both wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom.
In the mantra, or tantra vehicle, it refers to one conciousness in
which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one
undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five
conqueror Buddhas, HUM is the is the seed syllable of Akshobhya- the
immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by
Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence
on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom,
you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure
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. As Maitreya says in his SUBLIME
CONTINUUM OF GREAT VEHICLE (UTTARA TANTRA) all beings naturally have
the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed
of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (TATHAGATAGARBHA), that is
to be transformed and full developed into Buddhahood.
(Taken from a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the
Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey.Transcribed by Ngawang Tashi (Tsawa), Drepung Loseling, MUNGOD, INDIA