Mantra is a word, phrase, syllable or sound that is repeatedly sung, chanted or recited whether silently or loudly by someone while praying or meditating. Although they are typically melodic, most mantras have no apparent verbal meaning.
Traditionally, a mantra is chanted as many as 108 times. This number is based on the Vedic scriptures which say that our physical and subtle bodies have 108 major nadis, otherwise known as energy channels. Chanting a mantra 108 times will allow the sound vibration to fill all of our bodies’ energy lines and balance them. The more we chant and produce a sound vibration, the more our bodies become in tune to such vibration.
Literally, the word is made up of two parts: man (mind) and tra (vehicle or transport). This gives mantra a modern day definition of being an instrument of the mind. It is a powerful sound or vibration which you can use in order to experience a deep meditating state.
Mantra And Its Sanskrit Origin
The mantras are chanted in Sanskrit which used to be the sacred language of India during the ancient times. They were created by the wise ones or rishis as paths that lead to awareness. By using the power of particular sounds, mantras are said to create certain energy responses.
The earliest mantras were composed by Hindus in India using Vedic Sanskrit. They are believed to be at least 3000 years old.
At present, mantras exist in the schools of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. They are also seen in the Japanese Shingon tradition wherein the word shingon carries the definition of mantra. Elsewhere, we can find similar chants, concepts, hymns and compositions in Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.
Mantras As Part Of Buddhist Practice
One example of mantra is om mani padme hum which is said to be associated with Tibetan Buddhism. Although the function of a mantra is seen differently among the several Buddhist schools, it is basically thought to bring enlightenment. In other cases, mantras are also used as part of meditation.
Popular Mantras And Their Purposes
1. Vajrapani Mantra
This mantra is inspired by Vajrapani whose name means wielder of the thunderbolt. Reciting this mantra, which has a rather energetic sound, helps in gaining access to Vajrapani’s irrepressible energy.
2. Manjushri Mantra
This mantra is perfect for those who want to enhance their wisdom and their skills in memory, debating, writing and other literary skills.
3. Medicine Buddha Mantra
This mantra is recited for success. It can help in eliminating our problems, suffering and unhappiness. Reciting this mantra can help us gain happiness, success and inner growth.
4. Amitabha Mantra
This mantra enhances a person’s compassionate and loving nature and brings incredible blessings every time it is recited.
5. Green Tara Mantra
This mantra is often used to overcome emotional, mental or physical blockages as well as blockages found in relationships.
6. White Tara Mantra
This mantra is usually associated with long life.