What is Sanskrit Mantra Chanting?

Chanting is a foundational activity in nearly every religion and meditative practice. Chanting has scientifically proven results in helping reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and strengthen focus. Just what is Sanskrit mantra chanting, and why is it so powerful?

What is Mantra Chanting?

Let’s start with the basics. Mantra chanting. When you are chanting, you are making sounds, and that sound-making is a key focus of your activity. You might be sitting cross-legged on the floor, or walking slowly through a labyrinth, or lying on a mat, but your mouth and vocal cords are making a series of sounds. That is what the chanting entails.
Mantra chanting means the sounds you are making consist of a mantra. The word mantra comes from Sanskrit and it specifically means a word or phrase that you repeat as part of a meditative practice. So the idea of a mantra is intrinsically tied to the idea of chanting and meditating. At its base, the word mantra signifies mind and transportation. So the purpose of a mantra is to help transport the mind, during meditation and chanting, to a new state. Traditionally, a mentor or master would evaluate a student, see where they were in their journey, and then develop a mantra made just for them. The mantra would help that student move through whatever challenges they currently faced. Once the student made progress, a new mantra might be assigned to them.

In our modern time, many of us are following a path without the guidance of an individual mentor. In that case, we research and find mantras for ourselves which suit the stage we are in.

What Mantras do Chanters Say?

Every person who chants is unique, and similarly, the mantra a person chooses to say at a specific stage in their life can be quite unique. Some people chant a mantra of a divinity’s name. Some choose specific phrases such as “I am focused” or “I am strong.” Mantras are often phrased in a current, positive manner, to reinforce that the person chanting already has that ability within them. For many people, though, it is important to chant in Sanskrit.

What is Sanskrit?

Sanskrit is a beautiful, ancient language dating back to at least 1,500 BCE. Sanskrit was the language of many powerful religious documents in the Vedic and Hindu traditions. It was the foundational language for many modern languages. Many modern words trace their roots to Sanskrit origins. The word mantra itself comes from Sanskrit, as does the word yoga, which means ‘union’. It makes sense, if you want to fully become presence in meditation, chanting, and yoga, that you would use the language which was foundational in these systems.

Why Chant in Sanskrit?

When we make sounds and facial expressions, the very shape and frequency of those sounds has an impact on us. For example, studies show that if we force ourselves to make a smile, that the very act of our lips being in a smiling position releases stress. If we force ourselves to frown, it brings on sadder feelings. Our body is hard-wired to react to the physical way we hold ourselves. If we hunch in tight, it sends different signals to our brain when we stand tall with our arms out. Similarly, when we make different kinds of sounds, our body reacts to those frequencies at a subconscious level. If we scream in an angry tone, our body (and those around us) react differently than if we talk in a soft, soothing tone. It is simply part of how humans are designed. Over the centuries, masters of yoga and meditation researched all of these combinations. They explored exactly what sounds brought about the best innate results within a person’s consciousness. So it’s not just about the word that is being said in Sanskrit, although of course that is important. It is also about the sound and shape of that word – in how the mantra moves the face and how the sound lands on the ears.

As a meditator who is chanting mantras in Sanskrit, it’s important to practice not only the consonants and vowels involved in a given mantra, but also how the mantra sounds to the ear. Is a given section a hard KEEEE noise? Or is it a softer keh noise? That difference matters. Our human ears react to specific combinations in certain ways. Making the noise alters how our lips and mouths move, which also sends signals to our brains. So if you’re learning mantras from a written source, seek out an audio version of it, so you can
hear how the mantra chant should sound. Equally important, learn what the mantra chant means. These words, as lovely as they sound, are not just ‘melodies’. The words have specific meaning. The more we understand their true meaning, with the layers of inflection, the better we can internalize their message. Sanskrit mantra chanting can be life-changing. Bring Sanskrit mantra chanting fully into your daily routine, and you’ll be impressed by how it can lift everything you do.

About Author

Rajul Kaushik

As a result of my journey that spans continents and results in resilience and self-belief, I have navigated my way from self-doubt and social rejection to a senior executive role internationally.

It has been an unconventional path, guided by life’s lessons and invaluable mentors, that has led to key roles at Asian Paints and Ballarpur Industries Limited, and expanded my horizons in international business.

My greatest source of pride? My accomplished children, who embody the values I cherish. My approach is holistic, drawing on a range of methodologies such as Ikigai, Yoga, Mindfulness, Sanskrit Mantra Chanting and Vedic Astrology.

It extends beyond mere problem-solving, emphasizing introspection and forging an authentic path.

Success, I believe, is rooted in attitude, decisions, and meaningful relationships.

I am open to connecting with those seeking personal enrichment, especially within the global Indian diaspora.

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