Mantra Notes from PowerPoint Sound changes consciousness

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Mantra Notes from PowerPoint

  • Sound changes consciousness

  • The type of sound affects the mind in different ways - ipod

  • “Music is behind life and rules life; from music springs all life. The whole of creation exists in rhythmn” Hazrat Inayet Khan (Sufi mystic)

  • Man = to think; manas – mind; manu – wise

  • Tra = instrumentality; or trana – saving

  • Mantra is that which saves the mind from itself, or which leads to salvation through the concentration of the mind

  • A mantra is sacred utterance, numinous sounds, or sound that is charged with psychospiritual power. A mantra is sound that empowers the mind, or that is empowered by the mind. It is a vehicle of meditative transformation of the human body-mind and is thought to have magical potency. George Feursteing The Yoga Tradition

  • Mantras are forms of sound prescribed for repetition, calculated to link the yogi with the divine by assisting them in their emotional and mental aspirations. All good poetry is something of a mantra, because it conveys more than the common meaning of its words. Ernest Wood.

  • He said that a single mantra chanted repeatedly was like the water flowing into a water wheel. It moves many other parts in the mill. In the yogi, the chant activates the detities associated with the mantra which become an auspicious force in the transformation of the practitioner’s consciousness. Abhinava Gupta – 10th Century

  • Mantras are incantatory and mystical sounds….At its profoundest Mantra Yoga explores the influence of sound vibrations in a universe which science tells us is made up of vibration. James Hewitt. The Complete Yoga Book, Leopard Book 1995, pg 442.

Chanting Mantra is Japa

  • Daily (nitya) – morning and evening

  • Circumstantial (naimittika) eg for festivals

  • Forbidden (nishiddha)

  • Penance (prayaschitta)

  • Voiced aloud (vachika)

  • Whispered (upanshu)

  • Mental (manasa) – meditation on meaning of mantra

  • Non-uttered (ajapa) - said silently

  • Uninterrupted (akhanda) – can continue for hours

Other Traditions

  • Buddhist

  • Sufis perform dhikr which means both repetition and remembrance

  • Shingon-shu in Japan use mantra (shingon mean mantra in Japanese)

  • Christian Monks, Taize, Greek Orthodox Church

Transcendental Meditation ™

  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – “the laughing yogi”

  • Developed streamlined form of mantra yoga for busy westerners

  • Non-religious and non-denominational

  • Secret mantra chanted silently


  • Sanskrit hymns often described as mantras

  • 15 different meters that demanded highly skilled and disciplined recitation (requiring breath control that may have been the beginning of pranayama)

  • When combined with ritual drafts of Soma, they induced altered states


  • Chandogya – is the teachings of the vedic chanters

  • Chapter 3 on Gayatri Mantra – “the morning pressing of Soma is carried out with the Gayatri”

  • Gayatri is from the Rig Veda

Bhagavad Gita

  • The Tamasic person offers up an empty sacrifice “lacking even the proper mantras or rituals with no faith whatsoever (17:13)

  • Devotional chanting…is a purification of speech that can contribute much to spiritual progress

Well Known Mantras you could practice with

  • Om Mane Padme Hum – the jewel is in the lotus (Buddhist)

  • Hare Krishna (mantra for world peace)

  • Om Tat Sat – Brahman is pure being

  • Soham – mantra of the breath “he is I”

  • Maha Mrityonjaya Mantra – Shiva mantra to conquer the fear of death

Nada Yoga – the study/experience of subtle inner sound

  • Detailed in the Siva Samhita and Verse 67 onwards of Samadhi section of Hathayoga Pradipika

  • Experiencing the inner sound of Nada by sitting with thumbs in ears

  • Tinkling of bells, conch, drums, vina, etc etc

  • Only experienced in deep states of meditation

Mantra Yoga

  • Emerges as a distinct path in the Middle Ages out of Tantra (like hatha yoga)

  • Main text is Mantra-Mahodadhi – “Ocean of Mantras” written by Mahidhara in late 19th Century

  • 16 Principles of Mantra Yoga: devotion, purification, posture, five limbs, conduct, concentration, divine space, breath ritual, mudra, satisfaction, invocation, offering, sacrifice, recitation, meditation, ecstacy


  • Mantras as magic tools (to bring good fortune or ward off ill fortune)

  • Mantras to connect to the transcendental (spiritual empowerment and altered states)

  • Mantras to follow inner enquiry into the true nature of the Self (and altered states)

  • Traditional view is that mantras must be given via initiation to have power

Gayatri Mantra

  • om

  • Bhur, bhuva, svaha

  • tat savitur varenyam

  • bhargo devasya dhîmahi

  • dhiyo yo nah prachodayât

Translations of the Gayatri

  • We meditate on the glory of the Creator;
    Who has created the Universe;
    Who is worthy of Worship;
    Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light;
    Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance;
    May He enlighten our Intellect.

  • Swami Sivananda

  • We meditate upon the radiant Divine Light
    of that adorable Sun of Spiritual Consciousness;
    May it awaken our intuitional consciousness.

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