What is a Mantra?
“Mantras are specially energised sounds or words. They may be simple single sounds like Om or special phrases or prayers intoned or sung in various ways. Mantra is the main and the most direct ayurvedic tool for healing the mind, from its deepest layers to its surface actions…. The word mantra means ‘that which saves the mind” Dr David Frawley
Thomas Ashley-Ferrand says “Mantra is a sanskrit word that describes a spiritual formula. This formula is exact and has been tested by ancient rishis (sages) of old India. Mantra formulas work in specific ways, bringing energy and consciousness into the spine, the shushumna, and to chakras located along the spine for a specific purpose, producing a specific effect. Mantras can also be used in all sorts of ways for health and healing, increasing abundance, aligning one with soul purpose, clearing obstacles etc. Mantras have been used for 1000’s years to awaken one to the highest level of consciousness which is our soul purpose – to live from the highest and the best in us.” There-in lies our true fulfillment.
Did you know that your breath is a mantra? if you listen carefully you can hear ‘ha’ on the in-breath and ‘sa’ on the out-breath.
Mantra’s are one of the most effective tools to penetrate and our purify our kosha’s, and align us with the deepest in us. Sound penetrates all the kosha’s. This fact is well recognized even by the medical profession, nurses are trained to talk to patients who have gone into deep states of coma as the sense of hearing is still present.
We are ‘sound’ bodies. Einstein’s famous equation E=Mc2 amongst many things, proved that not only is energy and matter interchangeable but at the very core of creation, all life is a pool of energy. This energy vibrates at different rates and that is what creates the differences in forms. What makes a table different from a wall is the oscillation of this pool of energy. All life is created of this vibratory energy. Therefore sound can effect change in creation. Human beings are walking sound bodies. Sound vibration can effect change in human beings.
The yogis discovered through their meditation practices that the spiritual anatomy of a human being consists of energy centres called chakras and energy pathways called nadis (which correspond on the the physical level to our endocrine and nervous system). Mantras work directly in the chakras because there is a relationship between the sacred language sanskrit, chakras, and mantras. There are fifty letters in the sanskrit alphabet. Each solitary vibration of each letter is attuned to a petal on one of the chakras. If you add up the all the petals on the six major chakras located along the spine you arrive at the total of fifty: the same number of letters as in the Sanskrit alphabet. This is no accident. Each petal vibrates in resonance with one of the the petals on one of the chakras. Therefore I state again we are “sound” bodies. We can use mantras to align with the deepest part in ourselves and live in our power.
Which mantra to use as there are so many? You will find you will be drawn to mantras that you need. There are some general ones that can be used by all. The one I am going to focus on is the Gayatri.
The Gayatri mantra is one of the better known mantra’s here in the west. In India it is taught to children at a very early age to sharpen the intellect and illumine their minds. The Gayatri is unique in that it is a prayer, a meditation, and a praise of the Supreme Lord in the form of a light, all rolled into one.
My mother Lakshmi intiated us (my brothers and sisters) into it when we were children about seven years old. Since that time I have chanted it for many years morning and evening. However I did not realise the efficacy and power of it until I was in my early thirties. One night I had a horrific nightmare and I woke up sweating and in shock. I started chanting the Gayatri mantra as if in automatic pilot. I felt a light rise from my feet through my spine to my head and it totally cleared away any negative feelings, emotions and the fear I had just experienced. I felt totally in my power and strong in my heart. I couldn’t believe the transformation I had undergone in those few minutes. I realised that all those years of constant practise of the Gayatri had come to my rescue! For the first time I realised the power of mantra meditation for myself. Not surprisingly, mantra meditation forms a strong basis of my own personal spiritual practise.
The Himalayan institute say this about the Gayatri Mantra: ‘Gayatri is a mantra of physical, emotional, and mental healing, purifying the subtle karmas, protection from the onslaught of obstacles, and of spiritual awakening or Self-realization’.
Om Bhur Bhuva Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat.
A beautiful translation of the Gayatri mantra I came across is in the book ‘The Secret Power Of Light’ by Dr Mansukh Patel:
‘We contemplate on the adorable qualities of the sun, the earth, the sky and the heavens, that we may be absorbed in their great light and energy. Please stimulate and inspire our power of spiritual perception and lead us in the way of the great ones to do great and noble deeds’.
The Gayatri mantra is a universal mantra of light, may it bring illumination to your lives.