The Sanskrit word ‘mantra’ means sacred syllable(s) or sacred word(s). Mantras are commonly described as vibrational formulas that are recited silently within, spoken, or sung outwardly. It has been said that chanting mantras in Sanskrit offer a path to the union of body, mind and spirit.
A mantra is a precise sound, a frequency that conveys a directive into our sub-consciousness. Mantras are invoked towards the delivery of very specific results and are repeated a certain number of times. These specific results can include healing, fertility, the creation of abundance, and so on. Mantras can be used to open the heart and the mind and to aid in accessing and entering into a state of greater awareness. They are perfect tools for reaching a meditative state.
As best-selling chant master Deva Premal puts it, mantras “…open your own perception and your life to the right healing modality, it can open you to meeting the right person who can help you with the healing.”
The word OM is a mantra unto itself — and perhaps the most well-known mantras of them all!
Because mantras are precise sound vibrations that produce geometric patterns, it is imperative that they be recited correctly with the appropriate intonation and pronunciation.
For thousands of years, yogis have chanted mantras in order to help stabilize and clear the mind, leading one to deeper spiritual awakening and awareness. Modern neuroscience is now beginning to discover the relationship between the way words are used and the impact on the functioning of the mind.
The repetition of a mantra is a powerful way of keeping us in the Present and stilling our “monkey mind”, which is usually jumping uncontrollably from one thought to another. The moment we focus on the practice of being “present,” we, then, automatically experience great peace, profound silence and supreme bliss! This is the process and goal of meditation and using mantras is a very effective way to achieve it.
Repetition of a mantra is called Japa and a Japa Mala is a string of beads used to count the repetition of a mantra. The act of turning the beads while recitation of the mantra is extremely effective in keeping you in the present. Equally important is that it keeps you ‘grounded’ as you advance in meditation and helps you continually gain from the material properties of the beads.