An Introduction to Mantras By Kayla Baboolal
The following is an excerpt from my “Pagan Paths Workshop”
Yantras & Mantras, the Devine Connection” and is copyright protected
The word Mantra is comprised of two sanskrit words:
Trai: To protect/To free from
Mantras have been used for thousands of years as a method of attuning the mind, body and spirit to the unseen energies of the universe. To the Eastern world, meditation is often performed using Mantras. The purpose of which goes beyond the everyday use of mediation to reach the practitioner on a spiritual plane. Mantras are comprised of the seed sounds associated with the creation of the universe. Repetition of these sounds creates within the user a physical vibration attuned to a spiritual one. A connection to the Devine.
MANTRA IN HINDUISM
Mantras were originally conceived in the great Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas. The most basic name and form is the primordial vibration of Aum,(often written as OM) is considered the main/source Mantra. In the Hindu tantras the Supreme brings forth existence through sound. Creation consists of vibrations at various frequencies and amplitudes giving rise to the phenomena of matter, the world. The purest vibrations are the varna, the imperishable letters which are revealed to us, these are the seed sounds of creation.
P.10: Mantra Meditation, T. Ashley-Farrand
“Two ancient Eastern spiritual texts present in-depth explorations of the Sanskrit language, one of the earliest known forms of human language. The first of these, the Laksmi Tantra, explains the construction of the universe, in specific Eastern spiritual terms, from its first conception as pure energy to the creation of the material universe, know as the Earth Plane.” ~ “The other text, the Siva Sutras, — consists of a discussion of the nature and states of consciousness and energy as well as methods of spiritual evolution…. Both scriptures [essentially held the same principles]: “The physical and subtle level is composed of fifty principal vibrations. Collectively, these sound vibrations are called the Matrika – The Mother
“These sounds exist in three categories:
1. Audible Sound
2. Subtle sound
3. Complete silent (yet existent) sound
These three categories make up the Spanda (vibrations) that have constructed the universe we inhabit”
MANTRA IN BUDDHISM
Edited from: http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Mantra/id/1895979
Buddhism, naturally following from Vedic society, also developed its own system and understanding of mantra, which while similar to that of Hinduism’s, also took on its own particularities, especially according to region. Initially, like their fellow Indians, Buddhists used mantra as protective spells to ward of malign influences. However, even at this early stage, there is perhaps something more than animistic magic at work. Later mantras were used more to guard the spiritual life of the chanter, and sections on mantras began to be included in some Mahayana sutras such as the White Lotus Sutra to the Lotus Sutra.
In one Buddhist analysis the person consists of body, speech and mind. So a typical sadhana or meditation practice might include mudras, or symbolic hand gestures, or even full body prostrations; the recitations of mantras; as well as the visualisation of celestial beings and visualising the letters of the mantra which is being recited. Clearly here mantra is associated with speech. The meditator may visualise the letters in front of themselves, or within their body. They may pronounced out loud, or internally in the mind only.
It is my personal belief that as sound can be used to shatter away obstacles in life, so to can Mantras shatter away blockages within our subtle bodies, allowing the energy to flow through our Chakra system in a more complete and health way.