Vedic Mantras are sacred formulae, if chanted in prescribed way and counts, may realise the deity of mantra and bring desired results. Mantras with special syllable energise the specific points of parasympathetic nervous system which have positive health impacts besides harmonising different levels in the body-mind. It has the effect of quieting the mind and integrating the gross bodies with the divine, inducing the latent spiritual experiences (sukshma) into the realm of the patent.(stula).
Word “Mantra” is derived from Sanskrit of “Mananaat Traayate iti mantrah". Mananaat means by chanting; Traayate means protect ourselves. Mantra is the sound-form of the Deity one worships. Mantra requires specific austerities and knowledge of the science of chanting. The present article deals exclusively into Chanting of Mantra.
Before chanting the Vedic mantras (chants or hymns) it is obligatory to pay one’s respect to the seer (rishi) through whom the mantra was revealed, the deity to whom it is addressed and Chandas - the meter in which the mantra is composed.
(Note - An article of mantra named as Mantras – a key to Health, Happiness, Peace & Prosperity, is already published in this website, under category “Philosophy. The article covers the various aspects of Mantras viz. what is Mantra, Reciting of Mantras, Impacts of Chanting of Mantras, Science behind Mantras and Hindu Philosophy of Mantras.)
Aspects of Mantra
Science of Chanting Mantra
Precautions in Chanting of Mantra
Initiation of Mantra
It is advantageous to take the mantra from the Guru who has realized that mantra because it can add divine potency into it to bring expeditious benefits. Further, it tells the correct pronunciations of Mnatra.
Elocution of Mantra in Japa:
There are 3 forms of Japa:
Mantra uttered in Upamshu form is hundred times more efficacious than Vaikhari form and in Maanaseeka form its power increases thousand fold.
Pronunciation of Mantra in Japa:
Apart from grammar, the accent, intonation, articulation and pronunciation play a vital role in chanting mantras. They are variously defined as - Ucha stayi (high pitch) neecha stayi (low pitch) madhyama stayi (middle pitch) deergha (elongated) hrasva (shortened), gana (repetition back and forth) udatta (high key), anudatta (low key) swara (tone) etc. so that even the letter, let alone the words of the mantras and other sacred literature could not be altered or tampered with at will.
Chandas of Mantra
Chandas is the science of metres. Chandas-sutra has been dealt by Pingala (2nd cen. B.C.). Usually each meter consists of one to five pādas or ‘feet’. Each pāda should consist of a specific number of letters. The metre or chanda is very important when chanting mantras. If the metre of the mantra is broken, it loses its impact and will not produce any benefit at all.
Syllables are classified into two categories, Guru and Laghu. A string of Guru-Laghu sequence of a particular length is called a metre. There are various metres in which the Vedic mantras are composed, such as Gayatri, Anusthup, Trishtup and Jagati. The chandas of a mantra determines its usage, such as its purpose and context.
For instance, the famous Gāyatri meter consists of three pādas and eight letters per pāda. Gayatri Mantra is recited thus:
Pada 1 - Aum bhur bhu [U] va [/U] h s [B] va [/B] h
Tat[B] sa[/B][U] vi[/U] tur va[B] re**[/B] n [U] ya[/U] m
Pada 2 - bhar[B] g[/B] o[U] de[/U] v as[B] ya[/B] dhee ma hi
Pada 3 - dhi[U] y[/U]o yo[B] na[/B] h pra[U] ch[/U] o da[B] ya**[/B] t.
(Where the bold syllable is in higher octave, 2 stars require additional elongated recital in high octave, underline means lower octave.)
(Note:Separate articles on AUM and Gayatri mantra are already published in this website, under category “Puja System”.)
Hence, Chanting of Mantras is complete science and if practised in prescribed way, mantras can be realised.