BY DAVID ROHAN HAYNIE
I’d like to share three mantras that have helped change my life for the better. Maybe they will help you too!
1) Om Mani Padme Hum
This is a beautiful chant that has helped my mind and life in so many ways. Mantras are a powerful way to strengthen your mind, and this mantra can help channel your thoughts and thought process to help you live a more peaceful and productive life.
Mani means “jewel” or “bead” and Padme means “the lotus flower”, the Buddhist sacred flower. But in the Chenrezig Sadhana, Tsangsar Tulku Rinpoche expands upon the mantra’s meaning, taking its six syllables to represent the purification of the six realms of existence. I will briefly explain each of the six syllables here.
- Om – we start with Om. Om is a sacred sound. Om is the primal sound current from which the universes are manifested. Om is past, present and future. Om represents removing pride and ego, to immediately place your life and thoughts on the universe to live in service. Om will help you connect with your higher self and will put your focus on generosity.
- Ma – the syllable Ma represents morals and ethics, and doing what is right. After relinquishing the ego, your actions should flow in a righteous fashion and be in the best interests of others.
- Ni – this syllable represents the virtue of patience. While you may be generous and righteous in your thoughts and actions at the moment, the universe doesn’t always respond immediately. You will have to be patient with yourself and others. Keep up your generosity and morality regardless of what the universe brings you now; doing the right thing will return positive karma to you eventually, you just have to wait for it.
- Pad – the syllable pad encapsulates the need for diligence. In addition to being patient, you must be persistent, you can’t give up on doing the right things. Your persistence will pay off, especially if you are living and acting conscious.
- Me – ‘meh’ represents renunciation. You could be acting in a generous and righteous fashion, and as patient and persistent as possible, but you can’t control the actions of others and you can’t control the universe. You may encounter people and situations that just will not work with your intentions. In situations such as those, you have to show enough strength to accept it and move on. You can’t let it hinder your path; everyone has their own. So sometimes certain things that you may believe are a part of the path or not part of the path need to be identified and renounced to make the proper changes within yourself so you can proceed on the righteous path.
- Hum – encompasses all of the syllables and ideals above which in total bring you wisdom. Following the righteous path and living by the first 5 syllables of this mantra is wisdom. If you miss or skip a part, then your actions may not be stemming from the wisdom of divine will.
When you chant this mantra, your mind and intentions must be on the above ideals, so that the mantra is as powerful on your conscious and subconscious as possible. As you recite each syllable of the mantra, your mind should be on the corresponding virtue. So, as you chant, you should be saying and thinking this:
[say] Om [think] Generosity
[say] Ma [think] Ethical actions
[say] Ni [think] Patience
[say] Pad [think] Persistence
[say] Me [think] Renunciation
[say] Hum [think] this is wisdom
If you concentrate and practice at this, you can quickly feel your mind adjusting; the benefits are twofold. With each syllable and virtue, not only are you opening up a door for the mind to step into, you are also closing another door, to thoughts that are the adverse of the above morals. So you are opening yourself up to generosity while closing the door on selfishness and ego. You will be doing the right things instead of the wrong things. You will be patient instead of impatient. You will be persistent instead of indifferent. You would move on from things that aren’t for you, instead of draining your energy on things that you can’t change.
This chant changes your mind by implanting the above values in your consciousness and subconsciousnesss so that when things happen in your life or external stimuli come into your reality, your mind can instantly run through these values and determine the best, most righteous actions and responses. With consistent practice, it ends up being your way of thinking and way of life.
I recite this mantra at least 108 times using a mala. It goes quickly because this is a relatively short mantra. A few rounds a day will change your life profoundly. Such is the power of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra.
2) Aham Prema
This simple mantra is great for calming your nervous system and connecting you to higher vibrations. These two words are Sanskirt for ‘I am, divine love’. In order to chant this mantra correctly, you breathe in on the ‘aham’ and out on the ‘prema’. You pronounce ‘prema’ as ‘pray-ma’. You should keep your thoughts on connecting to divine love which is source energy. You should keep a smile on your face and your eyes can be closed or open. I’ve always found meditation with closed eyes works better for me but many keep their eyes open a small bit as tradition. A full round on a mala is 108 beads or repetitions. If you practice and do a few rounds on a mala you can truly feel yourself connecting with our true nature: supreme, divine love.
3) Hare Krishna Maha Mantra
The mantra is as follows:
Hare Krishna / Hare Krishna / Krishna Krishna / Hare Hare
Hare Rama / Hare Rama / Rama Rama / Hare Hare
Hare is pronounced “huh-ray”. Hare means the energy of God. The Sanskrit word for energy is shakti. Shakti has a personal, specifically feminine, dimension to its meaning. So here, energy means the feminine aspect of God. Our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, explained that the name Hare refers to Mother Hara, otherwise known as Radha or Radharani, consort of Krishna.
Krishna is the source of brahman, the all-pervading spiritual energy which includes everything and everyone. We are all one with Krishna, in the sense that we are all parts of the supreme whole. Krishna is God-consciousness and the physical manifestation of divine love. Krishna is often depicted as having blue skin and playing a flute. Sometimes he is painted as a child.
Krishna represents all that is love and all that is God. The greatest personalities of ancient times, such as Narada, Asita, Devala, Vyasadeva—who compiled the Vedas—and Arjuna, to whom Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita, all accept Krishna to be the Supreme Person, the Absolute Truth, the ultimate source of all energies, and the One ultimately responsible for the creation, maintenance, and annihilation of everything in the material world.
Rama is the 7th incarnation of Vishnu. Rama represents an ideal man, as conceived by the Hindu mind. In the story of Ramayana, Rama’s personality depicts him as the perfect son, devoted brother, true husband, trusted friend, ideal king, and a noble adversary. In images and pictures, Rama is shown carrying a bow and arrow. The bow and arrow convey that Rama is always ready to destroy evil and protect righteousness. He is himself an embodiment of dharma.
In Sanskrit, ‘Maha’ means great. Man means mind and tra means liberation. So the title of this mantra means “The great liberation of the mind by the energy of God-consciousness.”
By chanting this mantra, you are invoking the many names of God; each word in the mantra is a name of God. Sages and siddhis of the past have been known to repeat the mantra thousands of times a day in order to connect with Krishna energy. This chant is widely used during kirtan(Sanskrit devotional singing).
When you chant this mantra you can feel yourself connecting with divine love. Your thoughts and actions will be purified. Consistent chanting while focusing your intentions on the words of this mantra can bring you peace and can fill your heart with love and great joy.
Remember, mantras are not useful or powerful unless the proper intention is behind them, your thoughts must be on the message of the mantra in order to reap the full benefits of mantra meditation. The Indian spiritual leader Sri Sathya Baba said, “A pure thought from a pure heart is better than a mantra.” Meaning, a mantra is great and all, but really, pure intentions and genuine kindness are more powerful.