Do you feel the noise around is causing a lot of irritation with you. What if I told you sounds can also make you more balanced and take to a peaceful and clear state within yourself. Thats the power of mantras.
what is mantra meditation?
Mantras are sounds that are considered pure in nature. While there can be any combination of sounds that can be produced by us, Mantras are known as key sounds which can activate us in a certain way.
How Mantra works scientifically ?
More than the meaning of the word. The sound is given importance when it comes to mantras. As humans we attach a lot of value to the meaning of the sounds, but when it comes to mantras it is not of as much significance as the sound.
It’s important that we give enough time to learn the correct pronunciation before we chant a mantra. As all Indian languages have similarities to Sanskrit , it becomes easier for someone who is from India to get used to the pronunciation. Other people may find it a bit difficult initially to get used to it in the initial stages. But as we practice more it becomes much more easier to chant them properly.
Apart from the pronunciation there is a certain tune to mantras. When we are reading a mantra from a script, it gives us no idea about the tune of the mantra. It is only known when we hear somebody else chant the mantra.
If we look at the ancient Indians, It is widely believed that knowledge was passed down orally. The gurukula model of education would have been practiced largely in those times. The student or the shishya is staying with the guru in the gurukula. The guru passes on his knowledge orally. The focus was more on imbibing the knowledge rather than writing something down. This aspect can be felt more when it comes to mantras. No matter how long a mantra is the focus was on passing it orally. To learn it orally one will have to practice chanting so many times that it eventually becomes part of yourself.
Chanting becomes as natural as breathing. That is when the chanting becomes a part of you. Initially a script can be used to get pronunciation and to know which word or sound need to be stressed up on while chanting.
A chant can be done in various pitches and it is not known by reading a script. Only when we hear a chant we recognise it. So parts of the chant may have to be done in a low pitch while others have to be done in a high pitch.
A chant can be done in a faster rhythm and sometimes in slower one. Its important we maintain a certain rhythm while we chant.
There is a different quality to a mantra when it is passed to you orally rather than through pen and paper. It very rare for anyone to have sanskrit as a spoken language. So most of the words are going to be new for people and there are very high chances that we end up pronouncing the words wrong.
Most of the mantras are there in the Sanskrit language. It has not been very accessible to people. We as a generation have never really been introduced to it in a proper way I feel. I underestimated mantras in the beginning. It’s only when I started chanting and practising some mantras that I could see the difference first-hand within me.
I feel more comfortable with my own voice and there is a sense of things being settled down and at ease with in. Chanting gives you a balance which is hard to describe. A sense of tranquility is surrounding me like a cocoon after chanting.
how to chant mantra for its effectiveness
It always better to have audio support when you start chanting a mantra in the initial stages.This way we can stay focussed on the sound and maintain the rhythm of chanting. There may be a tendency within us to lose focus while chanting a mantra. As we are repeating a certain sound, it is important to do it with a certain sense of awareness. If we are not maintain the awareness it wont be good for us.
We can go for a shower before getting started with chanting as it can freshen us up. Vocal warmup exercises can also be done before the chanting so that our vocal chords are ready. Basica sounds like aa, ooo and mmm can be uttered three times each as warm up.
Chants generally have devotion as a theme towards a divine entity, if we look at its meaning. One aspect with the chants is that knowing the meaning will help us have some emotional connect with the chant which could be missing if we don’t know the meaning of the chant.
Isha Chants app is a great place to listen to chants, there are many chants available there. You have the option to set a timer for a particular duration. So we can set it for 10 minutes or 15 minutes and chant along with the guided audio.
You can download it from play store for android users and app store for ios users.
Another great place to learn to chants will be project samskriti by Isha foundation where these are online sessions being conducted over zoom. I had learned the Nirvana Shatakam chant which was composed by Adi Shankaracharya. Its a great place to learn the chant in the right manner. The chant is taught in a structured manner in 5 sessions of 1 hour each. Every month one session is conducted. So in 5 days we can finish the program.
Session recording is also available so that we can watch the recorded version of the session . We need to finish watching a day’s session inorder to be able to watch the next session.
For an article on anapana meditation click here.
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