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Mantra (or Mantram)

Mantra (or Mantram)

In Hindu mysticism, a mantra is a form of psychoactive speech having a direct effect on the physical body and a claimed effect on the emotions, the mind, and even on physical processes in nature. The term is derived from the root man (to think), and tra from trai, (to protect or to free from bondage). Thus, a mantra is an instrument of thought.

According to Hindu tradition, the material universe is said to be formed from divine vibration, a concept echoed in the Judeo-Christian concepts of divine utterance preceding creation"And God said, let there be light" (Gen. 1:3) and "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). The use of mantras can also be found in Buddhist tantrism, known as Vairayana.

The verses of the Hindu sacred scriptures, the Vedas (veda means knowledge), are regarded as mantras, because they have been transmitted from a divine source, rather like the Christian concept of the Bible as having power as the Word of God. Hindus, however, also believe that words and phrases have special powers as expressions of the hidden forces of nature. The vibrations of molecules which create the particular sounds of the mantras are thought to resonate with Shabda or Vach (primal essence of creation.)

Divine creation becomes manifest in form throughout nature, and the latent reality behind form may be affected by correctly uttering the sounds that represent the ideal reality. These mantras were discovered by ancient sages skilled in the knowledge of the Mantra Shastra scripture and taught to initiates.

The universe is called Jagat (that which moves), because everything exists by a combination of forces and movement, and every movement generates vibration and has its own sound. These subtle sounds have correspondences in the baser sounds of speech and music, and so everything in the universe has an exact relationship. Everything has its natural name, the sound produced by the action of the moving forces from which it is constructed. Thus, anyone who is able to utter the natural name of anything with creative force can bring into being the thing which has that name.

The most well-known mantra is the trisyllable A-U-M, which precedes and concludes reading from the Vedas and is chanted as an individual mantra or magical prayer. Hindu tradition says it is the origin of all sound, and initially came to those sages who reached the highest state of spiritual development. The three syllables are associated with the processes of creation, preservation, and dissolution and with the three states of consciousness (dreaming, deep sleep, and waking).

The scripture Mandukya Upanishad describes how AUM, or "OM," is the basis of all the other letters in the Sanskrit language and is associated with the universe and the human microcosm (analgous concepts exist in such kabalistic works as the Sepher Yesirah). A mantra may also be associated with a yantra, or mystical diagram.

Mantras are frequently uttered in rhythmic repetition known as japa, often with the aid of a mala, a set of beads resembling the Catholic rosary. In japa yoga, the power of a mantra is enhanced by the accumulation of repetitions. Although mantras have an automatic action, that action is enhanced by proper concentration and attitude of mind. The spoken mantra is also an aid to the mental mantra, which contains the inner meaning and power.

Special mantras called bija (seed) mantras are linked with the basic states of matter in connection with the chakras, or subtle energy centers, of the human body. These seeds are said to hold the potential to release the powers of the chakras.

Most yogic traditions use some form of mantra initiation, which transmits a particular mantra from guru to student. Spiritual mantras common in India include variants of the "Hari Rama, Hari Krishna" formula, made popular in the West by members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and the Gayatri Mantra, normally recited by Brahmins during meditation on the sun. Transcendental meditators also reportedly use mantras in their practices. "Hari Om" is a common healing mantra performed regularly by the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India, which invokes Vishnu (Hindu God) to take away illnesses and offenses. Shiva Hara Shankara, as chanted by Indira Devi's Ashram in Poona, India, asks the Lord Shiva to free us from the bondage of life. The Shiva Mantra implores "Homage, homage, all homage and glory to you, O Lord Shiva." Similarly, the Lakshmi Mantra calls upon the Goddess Lakshmi, "We pray to you in benign solemnity to bestow your blessings and shower your wealth upon us."

The development of compact discs and digital recordings has made mantra recordings more available in music stores and New Age shops. As this technology has fueled western acceptance of yoga, mantras will gain popularity and perhaps take on a new meaning as more and more westerners practice them.

Sources:

Das, Krishna. Pilgrim Heart. New York: Triloka Records, 1998

Easwaran, Eknath. The Mantram Handbook. London: Rout-ledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.

Godwin, Joscelyn. Music and the Occult. Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 1995.

Gopalacharlu, S. E. An Introduction to the Mantra Sastra. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1934.

Kalisch, Isidor, trans. Sepher Yezirah: A Book on Creation. New York, 1877.

Lakshmi Montra. "Mantra on Net." http//:www.mantraonnet.com/. February 26, 2000.

Narayana, Har, trans. The Vedic Philosophy; or, An Exposition of the Sacred and Mysterious Monosyllable AUM; The Mandukya Upanishad. Bombay, 1895.

Radha, Swami Sivananda. Mantras: Words of Power. Spokane, Wash.: Timeless Books, 1994.

Shiva Montra from Mantra on Net. http//:www.mantraonnet.com. February 26, 2000.

Woodroffe, Sir John. The Garland of Letters (Varnamala): Studies in the Mantra-Shastra. Madras, India: Ganesh, 1951.

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Mantra

Mantra (Skt., ‘instrument of thought’; Chin., chou; Jap., ju; Korean chu). A verse, syllable, or series of syllables believed to be of divine origin, used in a ritual or meditative context in Indian religions. Mantras are used for the propitiation of the gods, the attainment of power (siddha), and identification with a deity or the absolute, which leads to liberation from saṃsāra. First appearing in the Vedic Saṃhitās (2nd millennium BCE), mantras take on a central role in sectarian Hinduism, and Buddhist and Hindu Tantrism, especially in the Buddhist Mantrayāna school (7th/8th cents. CE).

There are three kinds of mantra: linguistically meaningful, such as namaḥ śivāya, ‘homage to Śiva’; linguistically meaningless, the bīja or ‘seed’ mantras, such as oṃ aḥ huṃ; and combined, such as the Buddhist oṃ mani padme huṃ, ‘om jewel in the lotus huṃ’.

Mantras are only endowed with transformative power if given in initiation (dīkṣa) from the mouth of a guru. It is not so much correct pronunciation, but rather the power with which the mantra is endowed that gives it transforming capability.

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mantra

mantra (măn´trə, mŭn–), in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic words used in ritual and meditation. A mantra is believed to be the sound form of reality, having the power to bring into being the reality it represents. There are several types of mantras. Sanskrit verses used in the Vedic sacrifice are known as mantras. Bija-mantra or "seed-sounds," used mainly in Tantra, are syllables without semantic value having an occult affinity for particular deities or forces; use of such mantras usually requires initiation by a guru. Extremely common is the repetition (japa) of the name of a deity and the singing of devotional phrases (mahamantra); for those mantras initiation is not required.

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mantra

man·tra / ˈmantrə; ˈmän-/ • n. (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. ∎  a Vedic hymn. ∎  a statement or slogan repeated frequently: the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap. DERIVATIVES: man·tric / -trik/ adj.

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Mantra

Mantra. Work for 2 amplified, ring-modulated pf. by Stockhausen, comp. 1969–70. F.p. 1970, London 1971. Fully notated. Pianists also play perc. instr. (wood-block and little bells). Title refers to Indian word for a mystical repetition, a ‘sound which makes one see’.

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"Mantra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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mantra

mantra originally in Hinduism and Buddhism, a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. Also, a Vedic hymn. The word is Sanskrit and means literally ‘instrument of thought’, from man ‘think’.

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mantra

mantra Sacred word, verse, or formula recited during prayers or meditation in Hinduism and Buddhism. Mantras include such chantings as the symbolic sound Aum (or Om).

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mantra

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