The Om sound and mantras deserve a lifetime of study and devotion, as profound tools of devotion and wisdom. This post highlights a few mantras commonly encountered in the yoga world.
Included are my related recordings, notes on the healing nature of mantra, and my interest in that area.
A vibrational reality
The Sanskrit language is vibrational oriented, rather than a primarily intellectually language. Sanskrit and mantra resonate with universal energy, perhaps easiest to grasp in context of the OM sound as a three syllable (A-U-M) direct connection, and therefore understanding of All That Is. An ingenious and astounding way to come to an understanding of creation by connecting to it on a vibrational level. In support of the vibrational quality are deep layers of meaning to each syllable and word, see the translations of mantra below.
In respect to yoga, with its philosophy of an inseparable bodymind and cosmos, mantra serves a holistic body intelligence and universal connection, not dissociated intellectualising. It’s practice is in the body, with the breath and body as a combined instrument of practice. Mantra is meant to vibrate the different energetic levels of being, from muscle, bone and organs, to chakras and meridians, and mindset and “thinking”, to help create harmonious and luminous alignment of Source of Self. See my Mantra Sound Vibrations post for more understanding and inspiration on how mantra helps to clear and activate the bodymind as an effective “tool” or “instrument” of consciousness.
Well known mantra:
OM / AUM
Apart from the connection to All That Is mentioned above, Om is also a greeting to the Supreme Being, often incorporated into mantras. The OM in Shanti/Namaste greeting is saying that the greeting is between two human beings is actually from one God within, to another God within.
● OM Music Video on my Youtbube channel
In yoga the AUM sound resonates through the entire body due to whole trunk ujia breathing, and connects the chanter with All That Is, therefore also to its Creator, and to the chanter, her or himself. OM is therefore a tremendous healing tool.
● Listen to my Deep Peace of OM in my Soundcloud player to experience it for yourself – best with headphones or a good system.
Swami Sivananda, founder of Sivanada Yoga, the lineage I am trained in, shared with the world a modern and far reaching tradition of whole, integral yoga that included mantra. It is possible to see how his famous motto, Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize, could be read as the reason, cause and effect of mantra practice. “Om Namah Sivaya” is still associated with Sivnanda’s Divine Life Society. Sivananda said this about the Tryambakam: “This great Mantra in praise of Lord Shiva works wonders, averts accidents, heals diseases and grants long life. It will also liberate you from Samsara.”
Praise to Shiva!
Shiva has a high profile presence in yoga culture, modern and old. The Shiva (Photo above) is from my studio, and a familiar symbol in many studios with a traditional image all around the world. Om Namah Sivaya is one of the most popular yoga chants. It is a five syllable mantra, known as panchakshri mantra. It is believed that the chanters are bowing to themselves, as the Lord Shiva is considered the ultimate reality. It lititerally means: “I bow to Shiva”.
The following words, an ode to Lord Shiva, beautifully describe the meaning of the OM mantra: “I bow to the supreme Lord who is the formless source of “OM” The Self of All, transcending all conditions and states. Beyond speech, He understands the sense perception. Awe-full, but gracious, the ruler of Kailash, Devourer of Death, the immortal abode of all virtues.
I have several new mantra recordings in production, including OM Tyambakam, in my music/yoga studio:
“Tryambakam”: Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is the greatest Mantra for Lord Shiva, found in the Rig Veda. It is often heard in the beginning, or conclusion of a yoga class, meeting or ceremony.
Om. Tryambakam yajamahe
Mrityor mukshiya mamritat.
The real power of this mantra becomes evident, over time, when it is repeatedly chanted. Read the direct translation to understand what is learned: “Om, We Worship the Three-Eyed One (Lord Shiva)/ Who is Fragrant (Spiritual Essence) and Who nourishes all beings/ May He sever our Bondage of Samsara (Worldly Life)/ … and thus Liberate us from the Fear of Death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our Immortal Nature.”
Read the Sanskrit verse out loud, after gaining understanding of its meaning, and you will begin to get the feel of Mantra Sounds of Devotion, and how dwelling in this thought form energy leads to self-realisation.
This prayer song may be used as a call for help and compassion, or offered as such to those in need.
Om. Bhu-r bhuvah, svah.
Tat sa-vi-tur va-re n yam.
Bhar-g de-va-sya dhi-ma-hi.
Di-yo yo nah. Pra-co-da-yat.
“Oh God, the Protector, the basis of all life, Who is self-existent, Who is free from all pains and Whose contact frees the soul from all troubles, Who pervades the Universe and sustains all, the Creator and Energizer of the whole Universe, the Giver of happiness, Who is worthy of acceptance, the most excellent, Who is Pure and the Purifier of all, let us embrace that very God, so that He may direct our mental faculties in the right direction.”
This is a fascinating topic, here is a mantra reference to the Vedic poetic meter and the Gaytri.
A sound syllable to help activate each chakra, and harmonise the chakra system, when combined with the OM, is a simple, effective way to evolve the bodymind.
● Chakra healing is an integral and essential aspect of physical/vibrational/energetic light body evolution
● The design for my OM Chakra Mantra Divine Essence (click play below to listen) incorporates the OM symbol, as it does the OM Sound
The many aspects of the Divinity, and its myriad expressions as deities and holy names, are found throughout sacred texts of all times. See my page Sacred Names if this resonates with you.
When allow the translations of the phenomenal depth and meaning of mantra sink in you will have an idea of its capacity. But it is when you practice the mantra sounds that it’s actual power is revealed. Sacred vibration or simply sound, mantra has to be put into action to work its magic.
Mantra is part of the yoga lore, and as with yoga, “works” straight away in a self-evident manner. At the same time your practice and experiences with it will evolve over time. As with yoga it is best to do a little over a sustained period, although “on-off” practice is more beneficial than none.
Listen to mantra, learn a few lines and chant them in your head, quietly, or sing out! Just keep doing it, plant their seeds in your bodymind. Nurture them and they will nurture you.
In OM, with OM Blessings
In Yoga & Music
19 April 2017
ॐ ॐ ॐ
Mantra and yoga date back to the oldest surviving texts of the Vedas. Here is another example:
Karaalam Mahaakaala-Kaalam Krpaalam
This is the meaning: “(Salutations to Sri Rudra) I Salute the Lord Ishana (another name of Sri Shiva) whose Form represents the state of the highest Nirvana (extinction of all desires and passions leading to the highest bliss)/ Who Manifests taking a Form though in essence He is Pervading everywhere; and His Form embodies the Highest Knowledge of Brahman present in the core of the Vedas/ Who remain absorbed in His Own Self which is Beyond the three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas), which is Beyond any Vikalpas (Change and Manifoldness), and which is Free from any Movement (due to desires etc)/ Who Abides in the Sky of the Chidakasha (Spiritual Sky); I Worship that Ishana”.