Chanting has been an important part of most traditions for thousands of years.

The chants included in this section come mainly from the Vedic tradition of India. Most of the chants are centered around specific mantras or sounds which have a known effect. The chants are in the ancient Sanskrit language.

Everything in creation is, at its deepest level, sound or vibration so sound is a very powerful tool for restoring balance and harmony in our physiology and the environment. Certain sounds also help us manifest the circumstances and surroundings necessary to support our spiritual growth.

In the Vedic Tradition, most chants are directed towards a particular deity. These deities can be viewed as external gods and goddesses but more importantly they represent the archetypal energies that we each have, lying dormant within us. When we listen to or practice these chants, we re-enlivened these energies in our lives.

You may listen to the chants by sitting quietly with eyes open or closed, or while engaged in simple activities. Ideally, I recommend learning the chants so you can accompany the recordings or use them alone. Most chants are more powerful when practiced silently, with the attention drawn inwards however, it’s fine to chant aloud if you prefer. You may practice or listen to any of the chants immediately before or after your regular meditation practice or at any other convenient time of the day.

It is recommended to repeat any chant at least three times but you may continue for as many times as is comfortable for you. If you wish to enliven certain energies, you might make a commitment to listen to or practice a certain chant for a set number of repetitions, for a set number of days. Depending on how much time you have available, this could be 11, 16 or 27 for the longer chants and 108 for the shorter ones. Ideally, a mala or string of beads containing the required number of beads would be used to keep count of the repetitions.

The Article Section contains further information on the use of sound, the value and role of some specific chants and the use of malas.

Chants, Mantras and Prayers

Ganesh

Ganesh chants enliven the archetypal energy to help us remove any obstacles in our lives, awaken our inner wisdom, bringing success in all areas of our lives.

This chant is best done at the beginning of the day or before any new undertaking but can be done at any other convenient time.

OM GAM GLUM GANAPATAYE NAMAHA

Shiva

As “the first meditator”, Shiva brings us the archetypal energies of Pure Potentiality, Pure Silence and Infinite Possibilities.  This mantra maybe chanted at any time or used silently for meditation.

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

Gayatri

The Gayatri Mantra is for Enlightenment.  It is an appeal to the Divine to dispel the darkness of ignorance and awaken us to higher states of consciousness.  Chanting the Gayatri Mantra purifies the mind and brings devotion, detachment and wisdom.

Chant the Gayatri Mantra at dawn, mid-day and dusk, but can be chanted at any other time.  Once learned, it is best repeated silently.

Normally the long version is chanted three times before beginning the traditional version. Please click here to see the article on Gayatri Mantra.

Long Version

OM BHUH  OM BHUVAH  OM SVAHA OM MAHA

OM JANAH  OM TAPAH  OM SATYAM

OM TATSAVITUR VARENYAM

BHARGO DEVASYA DHIMAHI

DHIYO YO NAH PRACODAYAT

OM APO JYOTIH RASO’MRTAM    

BRAHMA BHUR BHUVAH SVAR OM

Traditional Version

OM BHUR BHUVA SUVAHA

TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM

BARGO DEVASYA DHIMAHI

DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAT

Maha Mrityunjaya 

This is a powerful Shiva mantra for health, longevity and overcoming the fear of death.  It is also a mantra for Enlightenment.

OM TRYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE

SUGANDHIM PUSHTI VARDHANAM

URVARUKAMIVA BANDHANAT

MRTYOR MUKSHIYA MAMRTAT

Aarti

Aarti is an offering of light (flame) to a deity, guru or any other sacred form.  It is often performed at the beginning or end of the day or at the end of a ceremony.  This short version of Aarti, followed here by a prayer of gratitude to the gurus and teachers who have gone before us.

ARARTIKAM

KARPURA GAURAM KARUNA VATARAM

SAMSARA SARAM BHUJA GENDRA HARAM

SADA VASANTAM HRIDAYARA VINDE

BHAVAM BHAVANI SAHITAM NAMAMI

ARARTIKAM SAMARPAYAMI SHRI GURU CHARAN KAMALEBHYO NAMAH

ACHAMANIYAM SAMARPAYAMI SHRI GURU CHARAN KAMALEBHYO NAMAH

 

GURUR BRAHMA GURUR VISHNUR

GURUR DEVO MAHESHVARAH

GURU SAKSHAT PARAM BRAHMA

TASMAI SRI GURAVE NAMAH

AKHANDA MANDALAKARAM

VYAPTAM YENA CHARACHARAM

TAT PADAM DARSHITAM YENA

TASMAI SRI GURUVE NAMAH

Saraswati

To invoke the archetypal energy of wisdom, peace, gentleness, truth and pure speech

OM AYIM SHRIM HRIM SARASWATI DEVYAI NAMAHA

Lakshmi Mantra 

To invoke the archetypal energy of abundance, beauty, generosity, clearing family problems.

OM SHRIM HRIM SHRIM KAMALE KAMALAALAYE

PRASEEDHA PRASEEDHA

SHRIM HRIM SHRIM OM

SRI MAHALAKSHMI DEVYAI NAMAHA

Durga

To invoke the archetypal energy of protection, beauty and removal of ignorance.

OM HRIM DUM DURGA DEVYAI NAMAHA

Bodhisattva Prayer

A Buddhist prayer or vow to remain in the cycle of birth and death even after enlightenment, to help other beings on their journeys to enlightenment.

With a wish to free all beings, I shall always go for refuge

To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, until I reach full enlightenment.

Filled with wisdom and compassion, today in the Buddha’s presence

I generate the mind for full awakening, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

As long as space remains, as long as sentient beings remain,

Until then, may I too remain, and dispel the miseries of the world.

Perfection of Wisdom

From the Buddhist teaching known as the Heart of the Great Wisdom Sutra.  The mantra to destroy all suffering.

Gone from suffering to the liberation of suffering. Gone from forgetfulness to mindfulness. Gone from duality into non-duality.  Gone beyond the beyond to Enlightenment

GATE, GATE, PARAGATE, PARA SAM GATE BODHI SVAHA

Green Tara

This is the mantra of the Buddha of compassion and action.  It enlivens the archetypal energy of compassion helping to relieve us and others of physical, emotional and spiritual suffering, caused by pride, ignorance,  delusion and wrong thinking, hatred, jealousy, greed, desires, attachments and doubts  It is also used for enlightenment and abundance.

OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA

A Prayer for Peace

May the entire universe be filled with peace and prosperity.  Can be used anytime but most often at the end of a spiritual practice.

LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTIHI

Prayer for Enlightenment

This prayer from the Yajur Veda can be used at the end of a meditation or Satsang session.

From untruth lead us to truth.  From darkness lead us to light.  From death lead us to immortality.  Peace, peace, eternal peace.

OM ASATO MA SADGAMAYA

TAMASO MA JYOTIRGAMAYA

MRTYOR MA AMRITAMGAMAYA

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTIHI

Shanti Mantra

The Shanti Mantra isn’t a mantra in the traditional sense of what we call mantras.  It is a chant used as the invocation at the beginning of the Aitareya Upanishad.

Most of the Upanishads are preceded by an invocation or chant.  These invocations help the teacher and the students to step out of the ego and open to the highest wisdom, about to be imparted.  On a subtle level, it develops humility, reminding us that we are merely temporary custodians of this knowledge.

It may be chanted before any auspicious occasion or teaching or whenever there is the desire to connect with higher wisdom.

Translation by Eknath Easwarn

Om.  May my word be one with my thought, and my my thought be one with my word.  O Lord of Love, let me realize you in my consciousness. May I realize the Truth of the scriptures and translate it into my daily life.  May I proclaim the truth of the scriptures.  May I speak the Truth.

May it protect me and may it protect my teacher.

Om Peace, peace, peace.

OM

VANGME MANASI PRATISTHITA

MANO ME VACI PRATISTHITAM

AVIR AVIR MA EDHI

VEDASYA MA ANIISTHAH

SRUTAM ME MA PRAHASIR

ANENADHITENAHORATRAN SAMDADHMI

RTAM VADISYAMI

SATYAM VADISYAMI

TANMAM AVATU

TADVAKTARAMAVATU

AVATU MAM

AVATU VAKTATAM

AVATU VAKTARAM

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

Combinations of Mantras

The following combinations of mantras are suggested to be repeated silently or aloud, before or after meditation or at other times to enliven the desired effect.  The number of repetitions can be adjusted to suit the time available.  You may choose to make a commitment to repeat one of these combinations for a set number of days.

To support study, learning and expansion of spiritual knowledge

Ganesh Mantra – 5 times

Gayatri Mantra – 3 times

Mrtyunjaya Mantra – 3 times

Saraswati Mantra – 5 times

To increase abundance or harmony in different areas of one’s life

Ganesh Mantra – 5 times

Gayatri Mantra – 3 times

Mrtyunjaya Mantra – 3 times

Lakshmi Mantra – 5 times

For protection from negative influences or challenges and to bring clarity of mind

Ganesh Mantra – 5 times

Gayatri Mantra – 3 times

Mrtyunjaya Mantra – 3 times

Durga Mantra – 5 times