Mantras for Everyone

There are different methods of worshiping in Hinduism, for instance, going to religious places like temples called darshan, performing yajna(sacrifice), worshiping at home which is puja, or repeating multiple names of your favorite deity. In all the ways of worship, one concept that is commonly practiced is ‘Chanting of Mantras’. To rephrase it, we can say Hinduism is incomplete without Mantras. 

What is Mantra?

Mantras are sacred words, syllables, sound, verse, or group of words that are spoken, chanted or meditated for a religious and spiritual purpose. Mantras may or may not have some specific meaning but are considered to have spiritual, psychological efficacy on one’s body, mind, and soul. Most Hindu mantras are evolved from Vedas, Puranas, epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavad Gita. In Hinduism, predominantly mantras are in Sanskrit. There are millions of Mantras in Hinduism. Different Mantras are for the worship of different Gods and have various benefits. Similar to Mantras there are slokas and stotram. Sloka is again Sanskrit phrases similar to mantras which are poetic and have a specific number of syllables. Another sort of mantras is stotram which is again a poetic manner of prayer of a description of God.

Hinduism ancient scriptures from Vedas to Puranas, and from Ramayana to Mahabharata includes thousands of Mantras, Slokas, stotram. It is believed that chanting mantras are like cleansing the bad karma and generating more good Karmas. Every Mantra / Shloka / stotram has its importance. The beauty of Hinduism is that there is no compulsion and a person can recite any Mantra as per his own belief or choice. These mantras/slokas people memorize anytime like during starting your day or even throughout the day. The basic idea is the person who recites mantras for him the Mantra itself becomes a deity. 

Below listed are some of the most practiced, easy, and popular Mantras/Slokas of Hinduism which is chanted by millions of people across the world. Every Hindu should know some of these mantras and know its importance. 

(1) Aum Mantra:

Om/Aum

The smallest and the most powerful mantra in itself is the word Aum. Aum is composed of the three sounds ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’ – AUM. It represents the beginning – the creation of the universe and everything within it. It is associated with Brahman – the supreme.

(2) Gayatri Mantra:

ॐ भूर् भुवः स्वः । तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं

भर्गो॑ देवस्य धीमहि । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

Om Bhur-Bhuvah Svah । Tat-Savitur-Varennyam

Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi । Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat ||

The Gayatri mantra is universal and Is considered to be one of the most effective mantras in Hinduism. This mantra is enshrined in the Vedas and firstly appears in the Rigveda (3.62.10) which is one of the oldest scriptures known to mankind. The Gayatri mantra is also repeated and cited widely in classical Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharta, and Manusmṛti. Mostly Gayatri mantra is chanted silently or mentally and in the morning time. chanting of Gayatri Mantra never brings bad thoughts in one’s life.

(3) Ganesha Mantra:

ॐ गँ गणपतये नमः ।

om gan ganapataye namaha ।

This is a mantra from Ganapati Atharvashirsa minor Upanishad of Hinduism. This is a mantra that is also repeated in yoga. This mantra aims to remove obstacles, negativity, and fear while ushering in new beginnings. It is salutations to the remover of obstacles

(4) HareKrishna Mantra

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण, कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे।

हरे राम, हरे राम, राम राम हरे हरे॥

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

The mantra was popularized by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and referred to as Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. This mantra is mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad. Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra connects consciousness inside of you, and with the supreme being. It is a powerful and easy mantra that anyone can chant without restrictions.

(4) Mahamrityunjaya Mantra

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्‌। 

उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात्।।

Aum Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam |

Urvarukamiva bandhanan-mrityor muksheeya maamritaat ||

It is also called a death conquering Mantra or Rudra Mantra and is considered to be the most powerful Shiva Mantra. Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is again sukta of the Rigveda (RV 7.59.12). The mantra aims at warding off evils and it also promotes longevity of life. This mantra should ideally be chanted in the morning before going to work or office. One can gain maximum benefit from chanting this mantra 108 times in batches.

(5) Dwadasakshari Mantra:

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

It is one of the most popular Krishna mantras and also found in Vishnu Purana. It is one of the most important mantras in Vaishnavism. Everybody can recite this mantra and whenever possible. This mantra means I bow to lord Vasudev. 

(6) Lord Vishnu mantra:

ॐ नमो नारायणाय

Om Namo Narayanaya

Om Namo Narayanaya is an ancient mantra also appearing in the Sama Veda. It is a simple yet powerful mantra to please Lord Vishnu. This mantra is used as a chant for peace, health, and happiness for all.

(7) Siva Panchakshara:

ॐ नमः शिवाय;

Om Namah Shivaya

is one of the most popular Hindu mantras and the most important mantra in Shaivism. This mantra is present in the Shri Rudram hymn which is part of the Krishna Yajurveda. This mantra is repeated verbally or mentally and it is freely sung and can be recited by anyone.

(8) Vakratunda mahakaya shloka

वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ।

निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा॥

Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha |

Nirvighnam KuruMe Deva Sarva-Karyeshu Sarvada ||

This Ganesha mantra is a popular Mantra to invoke the benevolent Lord’s blessings. This mantra is basically for making all my works free from obstacles and always.

(9) Lakshmi sloka

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मिः करमध्ये सरस्वति ।

करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम् ॥

Karagre vasate Lakshmi kar moole Saraswati , 

Kar madhye tu Govinda prabhate kar darshan

This Sanskrit sloka is said to be chanted each morning after opening eyes. The Sloka should be chanted while looking at palms. The sloka is originally from the Vishnu Purana.

(10) Devi Mantra

सर्व मांगलमांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिके |

शरण्ये त्रयम्बिके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुते ||

Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye, Shive Sarvartha Sadhike 

Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayani Namo-stute

This is another very important Durga Mantra. It is chanted during the Durga pooja Festivals and in marriages. One can derive strength and courage by chanting this mantra regularly.

(11) Guru Mantra

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा ग्रुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । 

गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ॥

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwara

Guru Saakshaata Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

This is shloka which highlights the importance of teachers and their pupils. This mantra equates them with the Hindu Trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Mahesh. The teacher is the representative of the Supreme Being. 

(12) Pavamana Mantra

असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।

मृत्योर् मामृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya | Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |

Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya | Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

It is an ancient Indian mantra introduced in the Bṛhadaraṇyaka Upaniṣad. Sometimes Aum (ॐ) is added at the beginning of this mantra. And this mantra is also called a Shanti Mantra or Mantra for Peace.

(13) Shantakaram Vishnu Mantra

शान्ताकारम् भुजगशयनम् पद्मनाभम् सुरेशम्

विश्वाधारम् गगनसदृशम् मेघवर्णम् शुभाङ्गम्।

लक्ष्मीकान्तम् कमलनयनम् योगिभिर्ध्यानगम्यम्

वन्दे विष्णुम् भवभयहरम् सर्वलोकैकनाथम्॥

Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam Padmanabham Suresham

Vishvadharam Gaganasadrisham Meghavarnam Shubhangam।

Lakshmikantam Kamalanayanam Yogi Bear Dhyana Gamyam

Vande Vishnum Bhava Bhaya Haram Sarva Lokaika Natham॥

This Mantra is to remove the fear of worldly existence and is called the Shantakaram mantra. Chanting the Vishnu mantra daily is the way to health, prosperity, and happiness and securing all that we desire in life.

(14) MangalamVishnu Mantra

मङ्गलम् भगवान विष्णुः, मङ्गलम् गरुणध्वजः।

मङ्गलम् पुण्डरी काक्षः, मङ्गलाय तनो हरिः॥

Mangalam Bhagwan Vishnuh, Mangalam Garunadhwajah।

Mangalam Pundari Kakshah, Mangalaya Tano Hari॥

Mangalam Bhagwan Vishnu Mantra is a divine mantra recited to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the creator of the entire universe and has taken ten incarnations to save the people from the hands of demons. This mantra is chanted to invoke the powers of Lord Vishnu and attain desired results.

(15) Hanuman Mantra

ॐ हनुमते नमः।

Aum Hanumante Namah

Chanting of Hanuman Mantra helps one to get rid of all kinds of problems, fears, and negative energies. Lord Hanuman is known for making the impossible possible. Ghosts, devils, and spirits never trouble a person who regularly recites the Hanuman Mantra. 

(16) Mahabharat Shloka

त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव। त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव।।

त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणं त्वमेव। त्वमेव सर्व मम देवदेव।।

Twameva Mata cha Pita twameva, Twameva Bandhu cha Sakha twameva

Tvameva Vidya Dravinam tvameva, Tvameva Sarvam mama deva dev.

This shloka is from Mahabharata and conversation between Lord Krishna and Gandhari is used across many texts and scriptures. This is a simple and powerful shloka for the worship of God.

(17) Surya Mantra

ॐ सूर्याय नम:

Om Surya Namah

This is Sun God Mantra and is for the overall well-being. By chanting this Mantra, you can nurture positivity within you, to remain healthy.

(18) Rudra Mantra

ॐ नमो भगवते रुद्राय

Om Namo Bhagwate Rudraay

This is another powerful mantra of lord Shiva which is chanted for the respect, fame, and glory of a person. This mantra is used especially while worshiping Shivling. This mantra also helps to keep the diseases away from people who chant it.

The Last Ritual

Published On: Sivanaspirit

Antyeṣṭi Sanskara (अन्त्येष्टि)– The Last Ritual, is to pay tribute to the departed soul following to sacred tradition in Hindu Scriptures. There are altogether sixteen samskara (rituals) performed in Hinduism. Starting from the Garbhadhan which is performed at the conception for the purpose of conceiving a child as the first samskara, to the last which is called as Antyeshti samskara. After Antyeshti is completed, it is considered that Atma is permanently separated from the deceased body and has left the physical world. There is a close bonding between the Atma (soul) and the body all over the life. Once the physical body has served its purpose and is unable to sustain life further, the Jiva (soul) has to give up the current form of the body and has to move to the next form of life. The next form is as per his Karma.

Cremation is the most common method of funeral ceremony performed in Hinduism. However, certain groups and castes do not cremate in Hinduism. They bury the physical body. Ascetics and children are also generally buried or floated in the running water.

In Hinduism the body and soul are two separate entities. The ancient scriptures says- the soul once it is separated from the deceased body it is reluctant to leave the body, since it has desire and is attached with the corpse. The soul is very broken to see all his family and friends in pain and agony. Soul do not want to leave the physical body. It has a connection with the world through the body it has known so long. Once the cremation of the deceased body is fulfilled, in which Agni Sanskara is performed it cuts off atma feeling and attachment with the physical body.

In Hinduism, everything in the universe including the human body is made of basic five elements. These five elements (called as Panchtatva) connotes the elements i.e. Sky (Akash), Wind (Vayu), Fire (Agni), Water (Jal) and Earth (Prithvi). The Agni (Fire) which is the last rite is the passage of returning the body back to the five elements to its origin.

In cremation, the family and friends take the deceased body to the cremation ground. The cremation ground, which should be purified and the fire is lit with 100 kgs of wood, ghee(cow clarified butter) and body. Mantras are recited and the body is offered to fire. This is the final purification rite of the physical body. And the body is reduced to its five elements. Also post death rituals, the surviving family makes donations to charity on the deceased’s behalf, which also helps to give peace to the soul.

The roots of this sanskara are also found in Vedas. Rigveda says-

Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered,
O all possessing Fire, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers.
When thou hast made him ready, all possessing Fire, then do thou give him over to the Fathers,
When he attains unto the life that waits him, he shall become subject to the will of gods.
The Sun receives thine eye, the Wind thy Prana (life-principle, breathe); go, to earth or heaven.
Go, if it be thy lot, unto the waters; go, make thine home in plants with all thy members. 

— Rigveda 10.16[11]

Funeral ceremonies are also described in detail in other scriptures, like Atharvaveda, In the Arnayaka of Krishna Yajurveda and later Sutras as well.

After the soul leaves the body it maintains some connection with the existing physical world. This period is around 13 days. The family also maintained a very close connection with the deceased during this period and recalls the person. All the final ceremonies related with cremation and mourning are performed during this period. The ceremonies help to maintain the separation of both deceased between the family and the deceased.

For these 13 days, Hindus recite the Garuda Purana with the other prayers to help the soul get departed and reach its final destination. It is believed when the Aatma leaves the body it adopts another spiritual form which is a subtle body and grows slowly day by day. The tenth day after the death, the interim spiritual soul grows completely and the family of the deceased offers the Pindas (food balls made of rice and water) for the development of Jivas for the next life. During this period the soul is called as pret on which one is departed from the physical world and not reached to next.

On the eleventh day the prayers are performed for the soul to reach in witness of God Vishnu and Yama(God Of death). On twelve and thirteen day the soul reaches to the next world and resides with the forefather called Pitra (ancestors). And the Antyeṣṭi is considered as completed. Every year the family performs the ritual in a specific month called Sharaad as the symbol of remembrance and respect of ancestors for the deceased.

In the end the truth is- anyone who is born will die and only karma goes with the soul..

How our ancient rishis preserved the Vedas flawlessly

Published on: Pragyata   

The ancient sacred scriptures of Hinduism were not found engraved on a native rock, embossed on cast metal, papyrus material, or any birch bark manuscripts. In Hinduism, we do not have any founder or any emergence dates like with the Semitic religions or even Indic offshoots like Buddhism or Jainism. We also do not know the any events. So questions comes, how far we need to go to find traces of Hinduism.

What we find in Hinduism is a huge volume of ancient sacred texts preserved by great seers for several millenniums. These rishis passed down their vast knowledge and our heritage from century to century from their deep memories. This knowledge was transferred through many ages by the teachers to their disciples, without ever writing them down and was later organised by Veda Vyasa rishi.

The word Veda (वेद) is made from the word ‘Vid’ which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit are the oldest sacred text available. This is the reason why Vedas as termed as ‘Anantha vai Vedaah’ (अनंता वै वेदा:), i.e. Vedas are infinite. All other scriptures in Hinduism are derived or inherited from the Vedas. Vedas are also called as Anaadi (अनादि), one which has no beggining or end and hence eternal. Vedas are the primary and authoritative source of knowledge and are also known as Shruti literature, one “which is heard and should be remembered” by the rishis from god.

As the bedrock of Hinduism, we all know the authoritative division of the Vedas is fourfold: Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda. This sacred knowledge is passed through generations, ages, millenniums without any slightest alteration and adjustment in it. But questions come how it is possible even?

These scriptures and sacred texts are so enormous that if we take the Rigveda alone, it is mentioned it had from 5 to 21 Shakhas (शाखा) in the Vedic period. Shakhas can be said as branches or schools. Out of all the Rigveda’s branch names mentioned in the scriptures; only one is to be said is available today, known as Shakala (शाकल). Combined mantras found in the Rigveda is more than 10500 (the present-day partitioning of Rigveda is done in ten different mandalas marked from 1 to 10). Ponder the number of sacred scriptures and texts which would have been available during the ancient period if alone the Rigveda was so enormous.

How would it have been possible to memorise the enormous number of mantras, suktas with the correct sound, melody, and tone in Vedic scriptures? How did our ancient seers/rishis pass down the sacred scriptures, vast knowledge for many centuries without even the slightest alteration and modification in them? This almost seems impossible, if we consider how in the present day we fumble after practising the mantras for decades.

Even UNESCO has declared the Oral Tradition of Vedas in India as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in the year 2003.

Taking one part of mantra which we all know “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं) which appeared in the Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, Verse 72) and “means the world is one family”. The  complete mantra of this is:

”अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसां उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं ”

A slight change in the one accented syllable/tone will entirely change the meaning of the sentence. So the question is, how did ancient seers preserve these scriptures orally for so many centuries.

To find the solution to this, ancient seers developed unique ways to preserve these eternal mantras. They used different styles of recitation methods. Some of these techniques which are still known to us are called as padapathas (पदपाठ). These recitation methods were designed in such a way that the scriptures and sacred texts, their pronunciation including the Vedic pitch and accent were memorised perfectly while maintaining the purity of the text. Some of the most common methods of reciting are Samhita, Jata, Pada, Krama, Sikha, Rekha, Danda, Ratha, Dhwaja and Ghana.

They were designed in such a way that accuracy in recitation and transmission of Vedas from one generation to the next generation was accurately preserved. Some of these techniques are mentioned below:

Samhita (patha): In this method, syllable and complete mantras were chanted in the original form with no special pattern or changes adopted. Recitation of words leaping with its original phonetic sound, tone rules of chorus and intonation.

Jata (patha): In this, every two adjoining words/Shabd (शब्द) in the mantras were first recited in their original sequence, then repeated in reverse, and finally repeated again in the original sequence. The recitation proceeds throughout the mantra as next words are introduced. Example => word1, word2; word2, word1; word1, word2; word2, word3, word3, word2, word2, word3 and so on.

Prakrti (patha): This recitation was marked by a conscious pause after every word, and after any special grammatical codes embedded inside the text; this method suppresses and restores each word in its original intended form.

Krama (patha): In this step by step recitation was followed, where syllable combined are paired successively and sequentially. Then the mantras were recited. the first word of the mantra is added to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth and so on, until the whole sentence of the mantras is completed. If we try it would be as word1, word2; word2, word3; word3, word4; and so on.

Ghana (paṭha): In this method, each syllable is repeated up-to 13 times in a format such as:

word1; word2; word2; word1; word1, word2, word3; word3, word2, word1; word1, word2, word3;

word2, word3; word3, word2; word2, word3, word4; word4, word3, word2; word2, word3, word4;

word3, word4; word4, word3; word3, word4, word5; word5, word4, word3; word3, word4, word5;

word4, word5; word5, word4; word4, word5, word6; word6, word5, word4; word4, word5, word6;

What is really depressing now is that despite so much effort put in by the ancient seers to preserve these Vedas, for many millennia for the benefit of mankind, presently even with all our modern technology and preservation technique only a very limited number of people know or have the inclination to greasp these great scriptures.

Published Date : 29 Apr 2020