Mantras are powerful prayers of invocation that can clear negativity, give protection, and bring balance, calm, or even prosperity. They are sacred utterances that possess an immense spiritual capacity. The origin of mantras used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religious offshoots or denominations date back to the ancient Vedic texts; the oldest texts of India that are believed to be written some 3,500 years ago.
For Buddhists, mantras are petitions to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the cosmic forces of the Buddhist cosmovision and each Mantra serves a different purpose. Vibration and sound can be extremely healing in general as we have already spoken about in previous posts, but in the case of mantras, this is especially true.
In the Hindu faith, the sound Aum or Om is considered the primordial sound and the sound of the creator, Brahma. Chanting this sound is considered to be a way of connecting with the divine. In Buddhism, the connotation is slightly different as “om” is said to represent the body, spirit, and the voice of the Buddha since Buddhists don’t believe in a creator god as Hindus do.
This post will talk about each of the mantras in our recent curated playlist: “#009 | Mantras”. Of course in the playlist, we have chosen some of our favorite versions of these mantras, but there are countless versions sung by different artists and they might be heard chanted from temples all around the world.
Hear the full Spotify playlist here:
Or click through to the playlist page.
Mantra #1 – Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
The first mantra, Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, for Hindus is a Ganesh mantra used to petition for his blessing and support. It is often used when starting something new in order to help to remove obstacles.
OM – The Vibration of the Universe, The Primordial Sound
GAM – The Seed Sound, or bija sound of Lord Ganesha
GANAPATAYE – Another name of Lord Ganesh, the one who overcomes obstacles.
NAMAHA – I offer you my salutations, I bow to you.
Some Buddhists may use this mantra too, as, in some veins of Buddhism, Ganesh or Ganapataye as he is otherwise called is represented by the Buddhist deity Vināyaka.
Mantra #2 -Om Namah Shivaya
The second mantra, Om Namah Shivaya is one of the most important Hindu mantras.
The meaning is as follows:
OM: The Vibration of the Universe, The Primordial Sound
NAMAH: To bow
SHIVAY: Shiva or inner self
So the meaning is to bow down to yourself, and shiva, as shiva resides within all of us. Shiva is the deity of destruction and re-creation in Hinduism, one of the three most important gods along with Brahma and Vishnu.
Mantra #3 – Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” translates:
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
This mantra is a prayer or blessing for all beings and a reminder that we are a part of the universe and that our actions can be a positive influence for all of creation.
Mantra #4 – Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
The next mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra, is an important mantra at the core of Vajrayana Buddhism – Tibetan Buddhism. It is said to be the mantra to invoke the very heart essence of Guru Rimpoche, considered the second Buddha. It is also a call to all of the masters, buddhas, yidams, dakas, dakinis, and protectors of the Tibetan Buddhist way of the Guru.
Mantra #5 – Om
The fifth mantra in the playlist, is called “eternal om”, by Solala Towler. It is a track that emphasizes the spiritual latitude of the most fundamental mantra; “om”. This is a long 20-minute track that is great to accompany your meditation.
Mantra #6 – Gayatri Mantra
The sixth mantra, the Gayatri Mantra in this version by Deva Premal is another reasonably long version that is also great for meditation. The Gayatri Mantra originates from one of the ancient Vedic texts; the Rig-Veda. The mantra is an affirmation of appreciation to the sun and the divine. The Goddess Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas and is believed to illuminate us and take us out of the darkness. Using this mantra regularly is believed to have many positive outcomes such as removing negativity, toxins, stress, and anxiety and promoting health, concentration, learning, and prosperity.
Mantra #7 – Wisdom Mantra
The next mantra, another Tibetan Buddhist mantra, is a mantra of wisdom. As per Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, this mantra is used to invoke our already intact and always perfect natural state and deepen our recognition and understanding of this truth. A very powerful mantra indeed and a fascinating introduction to the philosophy of Vajrayana buddhist thought.
Mantra #8 – Chenrezi
The eighth mantra in the playlist is a mantra to Chenrezi. Chenrezi is the Bodhisattva of compassion in Tibetan Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhist practice meditation where Chenrezi is visualized above the head or where you visualize being Chenrezi is a common practice. In Mahayana Buddhism, the Chenrezi equivalent is the most important Bodhisattva whose name is Avalokiteśvara. This mantra brings about the virtues of deepening into compassion, a fundamental part of all Buddhist practice. In this version, the mantra is sung by a well known Nepalese Buddhist monk named Choying Drolma.
Mantra #9 -Tayata om bekanze bekanze maha bekandze radza samudgate soha
The ninth Mantra in the list is a mantra to the Medicine Buddhas and it is called “tayata om bekanze bekanze maha bekandze radza samudgate soha”. It translates to “Om, May the many sentient beings, who are sick, be quickly freed from disease, and may all diseases of beings never resurface”. This mantra is very powerful for curing illness and for removing obstacles to happiness also.
Mantra #10 – Om Mani Padme Hum
The last mantra in the playlist is the most well known Buddhist mantra; Om Mani Padme Hum. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is the most widely heard and practiced mantra, but its use spans all of the three Yana of Buddhism and other denominations including Chinese Taoism. Again this is a mantra to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, it translates to:
OM: The Vibration of the Universe, The Primordial Sound
MANI PADME: Meaning “jewel in the lotus”. Mani, the jewel, symbolizes the altruistic intention and the method to become enlightened. Padme, lotus, symbolizes purity and wisdom, specifically the wisdom of realizing emptiness.
HUM: Is a syllable that in this case refers to the unity of method and wisdom to one differentiable entity.
The meaning of the word Mantra is ‘manifesting mind’, and as we can see through these examples the purpose of each mantra is to manifest consciousness of enlightened beings, deities, and cosmic forces with intention and purpose. Incorporating mantras into your practice is highly recommended and can bring about profound benefits.