Mantras

Mantras are sacred and healing sounds, syllables, words or phrases that have been recited or chanted for thousands of years. Their great spiritual power is difficult to grasp with the mind, but we can experience it directly when we sing.

For mantra chanting it is not absolutely necessary to know the word meaning of the mantras. The traditional language of many Buddhist and Hindu mantras is Sanskrit, but to experience their effect we do not need a translation, although it can be helpful at first.

Mantras work subtly, gradually, sometimes suddenly, but inevitably – on levels with which our mind, our rational, analytical thinking has difficulty, into which it simply cannot reach, from which it is excluded.

We cannot “understand” mantras in this sense, but we can experience them – by chanting or reciting them regularly. In doing this, we are joining a tradition that goes back thousands of years, and we will have our own direct experience of the energy and effect of the mantras.

Mantra texts

At our mantra evenings, the following mantras and texts are chanted, among others:

  • Eo wahi pana la

    Hawaiian Song of Power. T+M: Lei’ohu Ryder

    = Call or also “yes, I am here”
    wahi: Place
    pana: celebrated, famous, legendary, fabled, historic
    la: Sun, day

    With this song we call into our circle the power and wisdom of sacred places (wahi pana), also of the invisible, supporting forces that are present in that place. We also call upon the power of the sun, of the light, to be with us here and now.

    This requires my awareness and presence. Yes, I am here.

    Through our being here together, consciously, we strengthen and “light up” the place of our meeting.

    Audio sample:

    (Live from a singing seminar Iseler Mühle March 2013; Comp.: Lei’ohu Ryder)

  • Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

    The “Heart Sutra” or “Sutra of Supreme Wisdom” is one of the best-known Buddhist sutras. It is characterised by extreme brevity and precision.

    In this sutra, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara instructs Shariputra on transcendent spiritual experience. The central insight here is: “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form“.

    The core of the Heart Sutra is the mantra with which the sutra concludes:

    Gate gate Pāragate Pārasamgate Bodhi svāhā.

    („Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond Oh what an Awakening”)

    (Sources: Wikipedia: Heart-Sutra, Wikisource: Heart-Sutra)

    Audio sample:

    (Live in Hannover 2017; Comp.: Stephan Hilchenbach)

  • Gayatri Mantra

    Om bhur bhuvah svah
    Tat savitur vareniyam
    Bhargo devasya dhimahi
    Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat

    This mantra is called the “Mother of the Vedas” in Hinduism. In the past, only higher caste devotees were allowed to recite the mantra. Today, largely all Hindus pray and chant it.

    Translation of the Gayatri Mantra:

    “We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may She enlighten our minds.”

    Audio sample:

    (Live in Hannover 2016; Comp.: Praful Schroder)

  • Hari OM

    Hari is an epithet of Vishnu. Hari means “who attracts the hearts of all”. Hari stands for love and understanding.

    Om is the primordial sound, the cosmic sound. Om stands for oneness.

    Hari Om: Indian greeting: “I greet the divine in you. I address you with love.”

    Audio sample:

    (Live from a Singing seminar Iseler Mühle October 2012; Comp.: Satyaa und Pari)

  • Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

    Sanskrit लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु, is a blessing and means:

    May all beings experience happiness and harmony.

    Loka means world.
    Samastah means connected, united, all; figuratively, samastah also stands for harmony.
    Sukha means joy, happiness.
    Bhavantu means “they may be”.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu: „May everyone in this world be connected, be in harmony and experience happiness.“

    (Source: https://wiki.yoga-vidya.de/Lokah_Samastah_Sukhino_Bhavantu)

    Audio sample:

  • Namo Amitabha

    In Tibetan Buddhism, Amitābha is considered the primordial Buddha of the Lotus (Padma) Buddha family.

    Amitābha’s kingdom of Sukhavati (Dewachen) is one of several “Pure Lands”. (A Buddhist “Pure Land” is a region where the influences of Maya are absent). It is described in the Amitabha Sutra.

    Amitābha is also worshipped as the Buddha of all-embracing love who works for the enlightenment of all beings.

    His element is fire, his colour is red and his chakra is the throat chakra.

    Other Asian forms of the Amitābha mantra are Namo Omito-Fo or Namo Amituofo.

    (Source: Spiritwiki)

    Audio sample:

    (Comp.: Imee Ooi)

  • Namo Da Bei Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa

    This is the mantra of Guānyīn (also written Guan Yin).

    Guānyīn is the Chinese variant of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and is very popular in China. The Chinese spelling of the mantra is: 南無大悲觀世音菩薩.

    Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan: Chenrezig) is the bodhisattva of universal compassion in Mahayana Buddhism.

    Guānyīn is depicted as a female bodhisattva; her quality is also that of boundless compassion. (In Christian culture, an equivalent might be Mother Mary).

    Guānyīn is the short form of Guānshìyīn and literally means “perceiving the sounds of the world”, especially in relation to the suffering expressions of beings.

    The mantra translates as “Glory be to the Great Compassionate Guānyīn”. It addresses Guānyīn with her quality of boundless compassion and at the same time expresses reverence and homage.

    The melody after which we chant the Guānyīn mantra is based on a composition by Imee Ooi (track 2 “Guan Yin Mantra” on her album “Namo Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa“).

    Audio sample:

    (Comp. Imee Ooi)

  • Om Benza Sato Hung

    Buddhist mantra of purification (short version of the “100 syllable mantra”)

    The complete 100-syllable mantra is:

    OM BENDSA SATO SAMAYA MANUPALAYA BENDSA SATO TENOPA TIKTA DRI DHO MEBHAWA SUTO KAYO MEBHAWA SUPO KAYO MEBHAWA ANURAKTO MEBHAWA SARWA SIDDHI METRAYATSA SARWA KARMA SUTSA ME TSITTAM SCHRIYA KURU HUNG HA HA HA HA HO BHAGAWAN SARWA TATHAGATA BENDSA MA ME MÜNTSA BENDSI BHAWA MAHA SAMAYA SATO AAH

    This mantra is recited in Vajrasattva meditation, which is used to purify the mind of negative karma.

    The musical basis for our chanting this mantra is the very beautiful version by Deva Premal.

    detailed description of the purification practice of Vajrasattva (PDF, German) »

  • OM Gurudev

    OM Guru OM Guru OM Gurudev
    Jaya Guru Jaya Guru Jaya Gurudev

    Guru means teacher. This Sanskrit word is composed of Gu (darkness) and Ru (destroy, drive away). “Guru” is that which dispels darkness.

    A deva is a divine being.

    Jai or Jaya means “victory” or “success”, also “honour”, “greeting” or “thanks”.

    (“Jai Guru Deva Om”, by the way, is the Sanskrit refrain of the Beatles’ song Across the Universe).

  • Om Mani Padme Hum / Om Mani Peme Hung

    „Om Mani Padme Hum“ is the oldest mantra of Tibetan Buddhism. (The Tibetan pronunciation is “Om Mani Peme Hung”.)

    “Om” represents the body, speech and mind of the Buddha.

    “Mani” means diamond and symbolises the Buddhist path of method (which one should develop together with the path of wisdom).

    “Padme” is the lotus and symbolises the wisdom aspect of the path (the realisation of the ultimate reality).

    “Hum” means indivisibility and here refers to the union of “Mani” and “Padme”.

    “Thus the six syllables om mani padme hum mean that depending on the practice of the Way, which is an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, one can transform one’s impure body, impure speech and impure consciousness into the pure elevated body, pure speech and pure consciousness of a Buddha.”

    (from a speech by the Dalai Lama)

    Audio sample:

    (Sung live at a mantra chanting event in Hanover 2014; Comp.: Peter Kater)

  • Om Namah Shivaya

    This mantra, also called Panchakshara mantra, literally means something like “Om, glory be to Shiva.” We may interpret Shiva here in a fundamental sense as the divine within ourselves. With this mantra we worship this very thing: our divine Self that resides in the heart of every being, “smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest”.

    Swami Muktananda writes in “Meditate – Happiness Lies Within You”:

    “Om Namah Shivaya means: I bow to God, who is the inner Self. […] Repeat it with love, and go deep within. Know that you yourself are the deity of the mantra. Listen to the mantra. When each letter pulsates in your mind, try to experience the mantra.”

    In his book “The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony”, Thomas Ashley-Farrand describes “Om Namah Shivaya” as follows:

    “This mantra has no direct translation. The sound syllables correspond to the principles that guide each of the first five chakras of the spine: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether. However, this does not refer to the chakras as such, to which seed sounds are assigned, but rather to the principles that govern the chakras in their places. A very rough, non-literal translation might be something like:
    Om – I salute that which I am capable of becoming.
    This mantra takes one on the subtle path of spiritual development. It is the beginning of the path of Siddha Yoga or the Yoga of Perfection of the Divine Companion.”

    Audio examples:

    (Sung live by HUM-Yoga Asanis of the Iseler Mühle 2012; Comp.: Stephan Hilchenbach)

    (Some audio samples based on compositions by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda have been removed at the request of the copyright holder).

    Text of a version by Krishna Das:

    Om Namah Shivaya
    Shivaya namaha, Shivaya namah om
    Shambhu Shankara namah Shivaya,
    Girija Shankara namah Shivaya
    (Arunachala Shiva namah Shivaya)

  • Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha

    “I salute the Great Lakshmi residing in the heart. May you pour your blessings on me.”

    Shreem is the primal sound for the principle of abundance, personified by the goddess Lakshmi.

    Maha means “great”, in quantity and quality.

    Abundance is harmony with divine law. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity – both spiritual and material. Calling her by name can release enormous creative energy.

    Audio sample:

    (Live in Hanover 2016; Comp.: Stephan Hilchenbach)

  • Om Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram

    SRI RAM, an ancient Indian healing and peace mantra, is considered the mantra of Mahatma Gandhi.

    Shiva once shared it with his consort Parvati and accompanied it by saying, “O Parvati, this Taraka Mantra corresponds to a thousand names of Lord Vishnu.”

    Sri is an expression of reverence.

    Ra symbolises the fire that burns our karma.

    Ma represents the water, the peace that transcends all understanding. Jay means victory (of mind over matter).

    Audio sample:

    (Live from a Singing seminar Iseler Mühle March 2013; Comp.: Trad.)

  • Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha

    This is the mantra of Green Tara, peaceful bodhisattva of active compassion of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Tara, literally “the saviour”, is a feminine, peaceful manifestation of enlightened wisdom in Buddhism and other Indian religions and is considered the essence of compassion.

    Green Tara embodies the active compassion of all Buddhas and she protects against the eight types of fear (pride, delusion, anger, envy, wrong views, greed, craving and doubt). Also, she increases the original wisdom and is praised for her wish-fulfilling qualities. She is said to have a special quickness in fulfilling wishes and protecting against danger, which is symbolised by her sitting posture ready to stand up.

    Her intention is to lead practitioners to enlightenment. In this way, we can understand the eight fears from which the green tara protects as symbols of the inner obstacles on the path.

    Audio examples:

    (Live from a Singing seminar Iseler Mühle October 2012; Comp.: Praful Schroder)

    (Live from a Singing seminar Iseler Mühle March 2013; Comp.: Trad.)

  • OM TUM TULASAYE NAMAH

    This mantra is called “Sanjivani Mantra“. Sanjivani means: the one who revives to life.

    The Sanjivani mantra is a mystical and magical healing frequency from ancient Hindu texts. It is said that even gods use the power of Sanjivani to cure their ailments, diseases and viruses.

    Chanting or listening to this mantra brings immense healing to the body and mind.

  • Ong Namo Gurudev

    Ong Namo Gurudev Namo
    Gurudev Gurudev Namo

    “I bow to the subtle divine wisdom, the divine inner teacher.”

    ONG is the creative energy of the entire cosmos and the consciousness of the Creator as experienced in this creation. It involves energy and movement. ONG brings about participation without attachment. ONG generates Shakti, the generating force of all life. Note that ONG is not identical with OM; the sound OM stands for withdrawal and relaxation.

    NAMO means to bow or invocation. NAMO is associated with respect and receptivity. It is the kind of bowing that concedes dignity by acknowledging a higher consciousness and discipline. ONG NAMO addresses your consciousness to refine it and make it ready to receive its own higher resources. It leads the conscious and subconscious mind to let go of the normal limitations imposed by the limited ego.

    GURU means wisdom or teacher; it does not mean personality.
    Rather, it denotes the source of knowledge, not just any knowledge, but that knowledge that transforms you, that eases your pain and expands your consciousness. GURU in the spiritual context means the embodiment of the infinite.

    DEV stands for the fine, ethereal, divine, for that which belongs to the kingdom of God. It means subtlety, contains knowledge and wisdom.

    When we normally live in our ego like in a small pond, the ONG NAMO releases us into the vast, boundless ocean.

    GURU DEV NAMO fills us with the experience of the very wisest seafarer and with the knowledge of all his charts, leading us to the many ports where we are to serve and experience.”

    YOGI BHA)AN

    Audio sample:

  • Ra Ma Da Sa

    Ra Ma Da Sa
    Sa Say So Hung

    Ra Ma Da Sa is the healing mantra in Kundalini Yoga. It brings the self into balance with the universe. These eight sound syllables stimulate the flow of Kundalini energy through the central nerve channel in the spine. The mantra has been used since time immemorial by yoga masters to strengthen resistance to illness and to treat ailments in a spiritual way.

    Ra = Sun
    Ma = Moon
    Da = Earth
    Sa = Infinity
    Sa Say = Wholeness
    So Hung = You are part of it.

    Ra Ma Da Sa acts like a soothing tonic that improves the flow of life energy (prana, qi) throughout the body. It helps to alleviate, integrate and heal illness, pain and worry.

    Chanting Ra Ma Da Sa develops the power of the breath as a natural remedy.

    (Source: Ali Schmidt, „Sacred Songs“, ELI Berlin 2008, p. 58)

    Audio sample:

    (Comp.: Snatam Kaur)

  • Sri Krsna Govinda

    Sri Krsna Govinda Hare Murare
    He Natha Narayana Vasudeva

    Oh beloved Krishna, Oh Govinda, Oh Hari, Hey Murari, Oh Lord Narayana, Oh Vasudeva [alles Namen von Krishna]. I adore you with my heart and soul.

(Sources: Wikipedia; „Meditiere – Das Glück liegt in Dir“ by Swami Muktananda; „Ramayana At A Glance“ by Sadguru Sant Keshavadas; „Chanten“ by Wolfgang Bossinger and Wolfgang Friedrich; www.stimmvolk.ch; www.yesche.de)

“the syllables of a mantra [owe] nothing of their power to meaning at the level of conceptual thought”

(John Blofeld, „Mantra – Die Macht des heiligen Lautes“, Otto Wilhelm Barth Verlag 1988)

“When one first engages in mantric yoga, it is natural to ask about the meaning of the syllables; but it is better not to worry too much about it, since thinking about conceptual meaning is necessarily an impediment to the yogic process. The use of the mantras belongs to the realm of non-thinking […] If you dwell on meaning, it gets in the way of spiritual development!“

(ibid.)

“… it is important to emphasise that reflections on symbolism are not part of the contemplative exercises. The mantric syllables cannot develop their full effect in the deepest layers of consciousness if the mind is cluttered with conceptual ideas. Reflective thinking must be transcended, detached.”

(ibid.)