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Mantras

Interest in ‘Mantras’, a form of Hindu prayer in which words and sentences are repeated rhythmically, has increased tremendously over the last decade. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that Mantras have a salutary effect on our nervous system and well being. Its use and practice has now spread worldwide with people from all walks of life chanting mantras. The purpose varies with some embracing mantras to ensure sound health, to those who feel spiritually uplifted and derive a sense of peace and equanimity from reciting them.

The Vedas and Upanishads which are the bible of Hinduism consist of mantras. In fact, the entire Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas   are made up of Mantras. The recitation of mantras in a certain scale is supposed to induce reverberations in the body of those chanting the Vedas as well as the ones listening to them. Since the Sanskrit verses or mantras are not easy to pronounce, especially for Westerners, it is recommended that they listen to the Mantras, which will yield similar results as chanting them. Over a period of time one can pick up the scale and chant them on their own.

The most powerful, primordial and basic mantra is the word ‘Om’. Chanting this word alone is supposed to bring salvation. The ‘Om’ word is succeeded by other names of gods and goddesses as a salutation to them. For example ‘Om Namah shivay’ or salutations to God Shiva.  ‘Om namo Narayanaya’ is salutation to Vishnu or Narayana. Repeating these mantras is called ‘Jaap’. In Hindu scriptures the cycle of 108 is supposed to be auspicious. Therefore these mantras are repeated 108 times or in multiples. Bead necklaces or ‘malas’ are used to keep track of the mantras. The beads are made of seeds which themselves have medicinal value and are supposed to heal certain ailments.

Among the mantras the ‘Gayatri mantra’ is a powerful mantra if chanted while looking at the rising Sun. This mantra was a closely held secret and passed on from one generation of Brahmins to another. Women were prohibited fro chanting this mantra. But with changing times “Gayatri mantra’ has become popular with all strata of society in India. It is a simple four line mantra which brings health, wealth and prosperity to the person who chants it.

There is another mantra which has been popularized in the sixteenth century during the Bhakti movement. This mantra has been adopted by ISKCON or the International Society for Krishna consciousness.

Hare Rama , Hare Rama

Rama ,Rama , hare hare

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna

Krishna, Krishna, hare hare

This simple mantra works wonders and brings peace and solace, if chanted in the prescribed manner.

Mantras cause vibrations in the body. Chanted individually, it reverberates in the body and mind. This leads to stillness of mind. Calm, soothing feeling envelopes the individual and the effect can be felt for the whole day. To begin with a person can listen to the mantras as with time learn to chant them on their own.


 

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