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Meditation Chants or Mantras
meditation chants

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

Related Links

 

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 actions.

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 examples.

 

True Mantras

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 Absolute Truth."

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 God.

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.

 

How to Chant

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 beads. 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 instruments.
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 Hare Krishna Mantra

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 material contamination."

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


 
The OM Chant

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.

  • AUM


The Purity Chant

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.

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 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.

  • om mani padme hum

 

The Gayatri Mantra

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
Nah: our
Prachodayath: enlighten,guide,inspire

  • Om Bhur Buvaha Suvaha
    Thath Savithur Varenyam
    Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
    Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayath
     

 

The HU Chant

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.

  • HU (hue)


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