Mantra comes from the Sanskrit verb man, “to think,” and tra, meaning “instrumental.” The mantra can be a word, phrase, or hymn with sacred or spiritual resonance, significance, or value, or “that which brings thoughts together.” The literal meaning is “instrument of thought”; this suggests that a mantra is a vehicle by which higher consciousness is manifest – a means by which we become harmonious with the world. Mantras raise consciousness, quieting and elevating one’s state of mind.
One-syllable mantras are called bija mantras; the word bija means “seed,” and these sounds contain the essence or seed of the Divine. The best-known bija mantra is Om (pronounced ohmmm). It’s said to be the symbol of the absolute reality, the Self. It’s composed of the letters a, u, m, and the nasal humming of the letter m. A corresponds to the waking state; U corresponds to the dream state; M corresponds to the state of deep sleep; and the nasal humming sound represents the ultimate reality. As Patanjali states in the Yoga Sutras, “When Aum reveals itself, introspection is attained and obstacles fall away.” Chanting Om can create a shift in consciousness, as it represents the passage of birth, life, death and rebirth and the resonance is aid to activate the seven charkas. It has been noted that the word “Aum” bears a resemblance to the Hebrew word “amen” often used at the end of Jewish and Christian blessings and prayers to acknowledge the Divine. One beautiful definition of Om is “summoning God.”
This vedic mantra is chanted to guide us on the path of enlightenment. It
is used before meditation, yoga practice, or any spiritual undertaking. It is
best used in the morning, shortly after awakening
Sanskrit Phonetic pronunciation
Asato ma sad gamaya (Asah-tow-mah sad gah-mah-yah)
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya (Tah-mah-so mah jyo-teer gah-mah-yah)
Mrtyorma amritam gamaya (Mrit-your-mah amrit-ahm gah-mah-yah)
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (God Peace, Peace, Peace)
Lead me from the Unreal to the Real (through knowledge)
From Darkness (or ignorance) to light (knowledge)
From Death (limitations) to Immortality (liberation)
Sanskrit spelling and phonetic pronunciation
Om Namah Shivaya (Om Nah-Mah Shee-Vah-Yah)
Om and salutations. May the elements of this creation abide in me in full manifestation. Another translation is: We worship the dance of energy that is creation.
This is a wonderful mantra for developing detachment from worldly concerns, infusing the yogi with inspiration toward spiritual pursuits. This mantra uses universal elements that govern each chakra: earth, water, fire, air and ether. The syllables Na, Ma, Shi, Va, and Ya help the chakras to better utilize the fundamental elements that predominate in the chakra. This mantra leads you powerfully toward spiritual maturity. This mantra is from the tradition of the Path of Perfection of the Divine Vehicle, which refers to the human body in all its gross and subtle parts. You can also use Om Namah Shivaya to deal with strong changes in your life, or simply to celebrate life in all its fullness. It is popular in yoga studios across America.