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Mantra and Chant

Mantras and Chants
By Ted Andrews

Mantras comprise the seventh school of yoga. The word itself is Sanskrit and it is comparable in meaning to our English words of charm or spell. With mantras, the power of sound is used to convey an overriding spiritual reality to our consciousness.

Mantras can be used for various effects. They have a creative power and they can attract specific situations and conditions as they dynamically change the auric field of the individual. They also can have a destructive power that can be used to shatter or repel negative energies. They have the power to synthesize our energies, bringing harmony on all levels of our being. In tantra, there are ten karmas of mantras (ten uses):

2.Paralyzing (ability to stop the movement of any living thing)
3. Attracting (on any level)
4. Unbalancing (to disrupt or disturb equilibrium)
5. Controlling
6. Distant attraction
7. Change (to alter behaviour)
8. Opposition (the creation of)
9. Death
10. Increase and expansion

Mantra yoga utilizes words, phrases and/or sounds which carry power to effect changes in the mind, body, emotions, or spirit of the individual. It stimulates the energies in the space outside and inside us, bringing both into harmony and resonance with each other. Mantras have the capacity to destroy hindrances to growth, and legends tell us they could even be used to re-generate organs.

Many mantras, unless properly intoned, have no effect. When seen or heard by the uninitiated, it may appear meaningless. To be able to correctly pronounce the mantra of a deity often depends upon bodily and spiritual purity, as well as the knowledge of proper intonation.

It is often believed that the psychic energy awakened by some mantras can become poisonous on some level, if it is awakened in a polluted sphere. Thus, as we grow and raise our individual vibrations and become more spiritual, the mantras themselves take on even greater power. It is important to treat them with respect.

The vibration of the mantra will set up a purifying and refining effect upon ourselves and our auric field. It will create opportunities to expel from our energy field coarser elements and energies. Indian and Mahayana Buddhist mantras are used to focus the mind, as the essence of many mantras is monotony. Its repeated so that the reality of the sound becomes dominant, and the mind wanders less within the meditative process.

Mantras work on any one of four levels (or their combinations). First, they works simply because of our faith that they will. Second, they work because we associate definite ideas with the sound, which then intensifies the changing of our thoughts and feelings. Third, they work because of what they mean.

The meaning beats itself into our mental body, which results in an impression being formulated within the energy pattern of the individual. Fourth, they work by their sound alone without reference to their meaning. The sound vibrations create changes. The changes affect the function of the chakra system, thereby affecting the entire energy system.

There are seven seed sounds of the Sanskrit language. These seven mantras can be used to activate and balance the charka centres in the same way that musical notes and vowels do. Most often the mantras are chanted. Chanting is a process that releases energy. It makes the recital of mystical words and sounds both mysterious and private.

The rhythm of the chanting is critical, as it determines the hyponagogic or altered state of consciousness to be achieved. Fast chanting exhaust the breath and mind, but it is always followed by a dynamic state of relaxation. Slow chanting relaxed the breath and mind while the changing is being done. This is most effective when done alone. A medium rate of chant is best in group situations. The medium rate does not disturb the rhythms of the breath, heart, and mind. It serves to make one more alert and vibrant.

Much of thee science of chanting has been lost. It can evoke very fiery energies, but the energy is created according to the level of focus, concentration, and consciousness of the individual. Chanting must be controlled, as it will affect your life as well as the lives of those you touch, because it triggers a powerful reverberation of overtones.

Mantras and chants that depend upon the power of sound and are most effective in the language in which they originated. A good mantra or chant will harmonize the body on all levels. It usually will consist of a predominance of long, open vowels, and it is designed to impose a new rate of vibration upon you a forced resonance.

Chanted mantras have dynamic effects. Some sources say it is best to chant a mantra 1000 times. Others say less. As in all things, you must decide what works best for you. Ten to fifteen minutes is a very effective period to instil and awaken the vibration and feel its effects. Chant and mantras are labour-saving devices in our development. They help us to focus the mind. We can learn to do it through strength of will, but mantras and chants make it easier and are quite enjoyable as well.

The power of mantras can intensify the effects of your own energy field. They can amplify negativity just as easily as they can intensify creativity. If they create headaches or feeling of faintness, you should stop. Certain angels, divas, and divine forces and beings are associated with many mantras.

When you use the words and sounds, you are inviting their energies into your life. If your own consciousness and energy is not capable of handling their higher vibrations, the result may imbalance and disharmony. Remember there is not quick and easy way to development. Moderation is the key especially when treading in new areas.

The process of working with chants or mantras is simple. Choose a mantra, familiarize yourself with any significance or meaning that it might have. Choose a time in which you will not be disturbed and allow yourself to relax. Begin chanting the mantra, syllable by syllable, Allow it to find its own rhythm and volume,, one that you are comfortable with. Continue this for ten to fifteen minutes.

As you stop, you will continue to hear the mantra echoing within your mind. There may even be a slight buzzing tin the ears. These are clues that it has activated energy and brought it into the physical dimension. Sit quietly and meditate upon the energies. See them activate in your auric field. Contemplate how you will use these new energies in your outer life.

During this meditative stage, make self-observations. Do you see any colours in your minds eye? If not, what colour would you imagine to be around you at the moment? What colour are you more drawn to at this time? Visualize it and feel it suffusing your entire being. Are there any other feelings or impression that you are experiencing?

Focus on how much more light and energy has been awakened within you. Imagine and visualize how much more you will be able to accomplish with all of this new energy. See this energy radiating out and around you, touching and brightening all within your life.

This is an extract from Ted Andrews book titled Sacred Sounds. It is published by Llewellyn at www.Llewellyn.com ISBN 0-87542-018-4