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Why is correct pronunciation important while reciting mantra?

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Contents

• 1. Pronunciation of mantra and its importance º 1.1 Pronunciation and purification of speech • 2. Benefits of chanting mantra º 2.1 Preconditions º 2.2 The signs of progress • 3. Practical suggestions • 4. Why is it said that ‘A mantra should be kept a secret?’ • 5. Comparison with other paths of Yoga º 5.1 Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namajapa) and chanting a mantra (mantrajapa) º 5.2 Namasankirtanyoga, Dhyanyoga, Dnyanyoga and Mantrayoga

1. Pronunciation of mantra and its importance

‘The objective behind doing spiritual practice of mantras is to reveal their obscure energy. Sages have already described what benefits a particular mantra yields. A mantra is not merely a union of letters. Their combination is a representation of inner energy. The energy within a seeker gets activated due to a mantra and he acquires tremendous strength. The divine consciousness (chaitanya) in a mantra is superior to the gross words in it. It is found that if one performs the purashcharan (chanting) of a mantra infallibly and with assertion then one can experience the powerful energy in it and can achieve anything from mundane detachment of greed to Self-realisation. The science of Mantra has originated from the word (shabda) Brahman. The energy of a mantra lies in its pronunciation. That energy is manifested from frequencies generated in the atmosphere by the sound vibrations that are generated through its chanting. The nature of the mantra is one of radiance (tej). Though it appears rather meaningless it is laden with the potential to bring about the manifestation of a deity. The power of a mantra itself is the power of the mind which in turn is the power of one’s thoughts. Thoughts which are devoid of words are very subtle. When thoughts are expressed in words, they become gross. It is evident that the energy in the gross is less than that in the subtle. The energy in a mantra in the form of thought or meaning is always greater than the pronunciation of a mantra in the form of words. Considering the tremendous power generated by thought, Indian philosophers proclaimed the shocking doctrine over five thousand years ago that bad thoughts are more harmful than bad words.’ (1) Once one concentrates on pronouncing a mantra correctly, the mind does not wander and this helps build up concentration of the mind.

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.. Then prolong the duration of Om three to four times. that is the utterance of a mantra in a faulty manner makes it faulty and does not convey the intended meaning.याधिपीडितमॕ&zwnj. Instead it gets converted into a verbal thunderbolt and harms the one chanting it. He however. Since the first meaning was intended for Tvashta he had to utter the note of the last letter of the entire word in a lofty tone. a son. if the vowels (svar) are faulty then disease sets in. Vrutra who would be killed by Lord Indra was born. anudatta. than with the usual Om.Sound (nad) is the basic component of creation and is based on the sciences of Music and Mantra. One should be able to recite them with the correct rhythm (chanda). udatta.. (Taittiriya Sanhita 2. syllabic foot (vrutta) and measure of verse (matra). is of special importance. A matra is that with which one realises the magnitude of the sound of words. Only then is the real benefit obtained.5.m.. The compound word Indrashatru could have two meanings. Now pronounce Om as one usually does and note the spiritual experience. instead of a son being born to slay Lord Indra. । अकॕषता शसॕ&zwj..तॕरो हीन: सॕ&zwj. In the Vedas too.वजॕरो यजमानं हिनसॕ&zwj.यं विसॕ&zwj.वरं वॕ&zwj.तके ।। The meaning: If some of the consonants in a mantra are deleted then they destroy life. ‘A mantra should be obtained only from the Guru and should be chanted according to the science of Matras. With the prolonged Om one experiences more energy or goes into a kind of trance. one obtained in a dream or from a deity during meditation or accepted after the performance of appropriate rites such as the removal of kilak. avaroha. If there is an error in that then the deleterious effects that can be caused are described with examples in the teachings of Panini as - मनॕ&zwj.वरतोऽपराधातॕ&zwnj. Only a mantra imparted by an appeased Guru. as had occurred in the case of the word Indrashatru with faulty pronunciation of the vowels. prachay. etc.यापॕरयॕकॕतो न तमरॕथमाह । स वागॕ&zwj. With such Vedic chanting one also acquires the benefit of pranayam.वरतो वरॕणतो वा मिथॕ&zwj.तॕररूपेण वजॕरं पतति मसॕ&zwj. अनकॕषरं हतायॕषॕ&zwj.दॕरशतॕरॕ: सॕ&zwj. The consecrated rice (akshata) [consecrated with a mantra which has discordant vowels and omission of letters] descends upon the head of the host like a thunderbolt (vajra).. that is O. and then record the experience. chanted with pure and appropriate notes observing the ritualistic rules and restrictions can prove successful and even endorse the 2/9 . The science of Matras. that is the correct pronunciation of the mantras as regards their notes such as aroha. one being “Indra’s enemy” (the slayer of Lord Indra) from Tatpurush Samas and “the one whose enemy is Lord Indra” (the one who will be slain by Lord Indra) from Bahuvrihi Samas.ति यथेनॕ&zwj. svarit. It is for this very reason that usually when a note is prolonged a positive effect is obtained. । The meaning: The mantra without proper pronunciation of vowels (svar) and consonants (varna). Consequently.1-2) The teachings of Panini further say. the mere meaning is unimportant. uttered the last letter of the first word in the Samas in a lofty tone. The reason for this is that with the usual pronunciation only one direction is stimulated whereas with the prolonged variation all the eight directions are stimulated.

When Narad asked them the reason for their state they replied. Just as in us the sense organ of hearing is the most important so also of the five universal subtle sense organs. Tumbaru possessed knowledge of music but Narad did not and hence was once insulted by Lakshmi. The ability to acquire knowledge about the past or future of a person or an object or information related to it or the gross emotions. Satyabhama and Jambavati Krushna Himself perfected Him with the knowledge of singing. How one perceives the various characteristics of an object through the different sense organs is described in the following table. Knowledge about a person or an object existing in the present 4.” Later along with His wives Rukmini.desired benefits. Once as He was singing. as described or written by someone 7. Now. “We have been reduced to this state because of your improper and harsh singing. Acquisition of knowledge of subtle frequencies generated from the motor organs of a person by the subtle sense yes yes yes - yes yes - yes - - yes - yes - - 3/9 .’ (2) ‘One comes across Narad and Tumbaru as a pair in the Purans. Akash Vayu Tej Apa Pruthvi (absolute (absolute (absolute (absolute ether) air) fire) water) (absolute ears skin eyes tongue nose earth) word touch form taste odour (sound) (figure) yes yes yes yes yes 1.’ (3) Our ears are influenced by sound (nad). Chanting a mantra read in a book and getting initiation of a mantra from a person without spiritual authority is not only meaningless but also disastrous. What can the sense organ perceive? 3. the deity of wealth. They were emaciated and drained of energy. “I will teach you music in My incarnation as Krushna. From this table one will also realise the superiority of the sense organ of hearing. The sense organs 2. over the others. Knowledge of an object without its entering one’s body 5. the deities of musical notes appeared before Him. Then Narad began to learn music from Tumbaru. after hearing Tumbaru sing we will return to our original state.” Narad was humiliated hearing this. Lord Vishnu responded. It is activated by sound (nad). Knowledge of a person or an object from a distance 6. the subtle sense organ of hearing is the most important. all the Raginis. He then proceeded to Shvetadipa and prayed to Lord Vishnu asking for the knowledge of music.

organ yes* - - - - 4/9 .

These subtle armours are stronger than the gross ones. Maruti stotra. That is also called an armour. Some mantra or yantra is written on a leaf.येयो दृशौ पातॕ विशॕवामितॕरपॕरिय: शॕरृति: ।. etc. Gopal kavach. The meaning: May Lord Raghav protect my head.. • D. 2. An armour is used either to protect the body.1 Pronunciation and purification of speech When any word is pronounced aloud or mentally according to the rules of grammar..* Knowledge is acquired from the subtle sound generated from the movements of the motor organs. Datta kavach. may my eyes be protected by the son of Kousalya. the ears by the one dear to Sage Vishvamitra. a sheet of paper or tin and is inserted into an amulet and then worn around the neck or tied on the arm. Shiva kavach. black magic (karni). The ‘Rama kavach’ given below is a part of the famous ‘Ramaraksha’ verse. Destruction of the enemy • E. 1. शिरो मे राघव: पातॕ à¤-ालं दशरथातॕ&zwj. Ramaraksha. Gross armours protect against gross weapons such as bullets while the subtle ones protect against gross as well as subtle energies such as spirits. By regular recitation of these mantras an armour is created around the physical body. According to the science of Mantra. the armours (kavach) of different deities are . • B. Spiritual progress • C. May the son of Dasharath protect my forehead. etc.Lakshmi kavach. Nullification of sins 5/9 . purification of speech is achieved. • F. Protection: A mantra is a tremendous force. Benefits of chanting mantra • A. Just as a deity has its verse of praise (stotra) it also has its own armour. to combat disease or to fulfill some wish. The deity of the mantra is appeased through veneration. Evolved seekers can either see or sense this armour.मज: ।। कौसलॕ&zwj. Acquisition of supernatural powers (siddhis): One can gain control over different elements including the akash (absolute ether) element with mantras. As a result various supernatural powers are acquired. Viíhnu kavach. This armour contains a prayer for protection of all the organs in one’s body.

holy water ( tirtha). on paper or engraving them on copper sheets and worshipping them ritualistically.1’.• G. • B. The thoughts and behaviour should be sattvik (sattva predominant) in nature.1 Preconditions • A.2 The signs of progress • A. a physician and a Guru. The mantra should be chanted with faith.’ (4) Refer ‘Pronunciation and its importance’. मंतॕरे तीरॕथे देवे वॕ&zwj. 2. ‘For the energy of a mantra to manifest itself one has to chant the mantra. these rounds should also include the meaning of the mantra and not mere words. Visions of auspicious signs • C. quadrangles. However. rather than mere utterance. The practice of Tantra is useful for a mantra. • B. 6/9 . Disappearance of obstacles in spiritual practice. an astrologer. Purification of speech: Refer point ‘1. Hence. its meaning and the deity of the mantra blend into one. God. • C. circles.दिजे दैवजॕञे à¤-ेषजे गॕरौ । यादृशी à¤-ावना यसॕ&zwj. • D. Spiritual experiences denoting spiritual progress • D. Chanting means repetition in rounds (avartans). The divine consciousness of a mantra (mantrachaitanya): The mantra. chanting the mantra with spiritual emotion (bhav) after understanding its meaning.य सिदॕघिरॕà¤-वति तादृशी ।। The meaning: One gets the benefit according to the amount of faith that one has in a mantra. etc. a Brahman. The practice of Tantra involves drawing figures (yantras) such as triangles. is implied in its chanting. 2.

in a good place of pilgrimage. • D. Practical suggestions ‘The Rudrayamal states that a man should not initiate his wife. the chanting of the mantra increases. younger brother and anyone from the enemy’s camp.The signs of progress from chanting. However. Since each one’s mantra is different one knowing the other’s mantra would not be of any use to the other. 7/9 . When one has to keep some secret one remembers it incessantly. • B. group of words or a sentence. Besides.’ (5) 4. Why is it said that ‘A mantra should be kept a secret?’ • A.’ 5. Comparison with other paths of Yoga 5. Similarly when a mantra has to be kept a secret.Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’ are applicable to chanting of mantras (mantrajapa) as well. On other days however one has to find an auspicious moment (muhurt) for it. during solar and lunar eclipses and on the full moon day of Shravan (Shravani pournima) of the Hindu lunar calendar one does not need to consider the auspiciousness of the day (tithi). According to the Sarsangraha. If one chants another’s mantra wrongly it may prove harmful to him. the Guru considers his requirements and incorporates His energy into it. discussion does not cause any harm. In other words. then there is a possibility that on hearing the latter’s experience the former may get misled and he too may give up spiritual practice. mentioned in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 9 . 3. stars. maternal grandfather. The following table compares the chanting of The Lord’s Name and that of a mantra. • C. When initiating a seeker with a mantra. The Gurumantra we were initiated with is ‘Shrirama jai Rama jai jai Rama. when conversing with other seekers there is no need to keep a mantra or any other spiritual practice a secret as through it everyone is able to learn something. The ultimate progress in this means the blending of the mantra. If this happens. the act of chanting it and the one chanting it. it is the realisation of non-duality (advait).1 Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namajapa) and chanting a mantra (mantrajapa) Chanting (japa) is repetition of a letter.that is dissolution of their triad. for receiving an initiation. etc. The Yoginitantra mentions that one should not receive initiation of a mantra from one’s father. his children or his brother with a mantra. word. When the same mantra is told by that seeker to someone else the latter does not benefit from it as the former does not have spiritual energy.

a retired householder (vanprasthi) and yati: 1000 With expectation (sakam) to protect oneself. Present. A celibate (brahmachari) and a householder worshipping the ahitagni fire: 108. Ritualistic rules and restrictions 9. Repetition 2. the Gayatri mantra if chanted at sunrise and sunset proves more beneficial. Rituals like sacrificial fires (hom. 4. No benefit is acquired if it is not counted.1. A count of the chanting Chanting The Lord’s Chanting a mantra Name ( mantrajapa ) Present Present Absent Present Not performed Not to be maintained Are performed Needs to be maintained as the chanting is based on quantity.g. Benefits are derived only if the pronunciation is correct. ritualistic rules are ‘bathing before commencing chanting of a mantra. The pronunciation 10. Initiation (diksha) from the Guru Mostly absent (sometimes initiation of the Lord’s Name) Absent 8. e. e. etc. ‘Abstaining from eating meat’ is a restriction. during the specified quantity of chanting (anushthan) of the mantra. etc. havan). eating fruit. 5. The minimum amount - 6. to destroy the enemy or to acquire supernatural powers (siddhis) or without expectations (nishkam) Essential (initiation of a mantra) as the Guru also teaches the correct pronunciation. The time of practice In any manner Anytime: there is no restriction of time 8/9 . Utterance of the intention (sankalpa) behind the chanting 3. The motive Either with or without expectation (sakam nishkam) 7. drinking milk’.g. At a particular time.

Vol.g.यानधारणा । अधमं ततॕतॕ&zwj. 5. The spiritual practice of chanting a mantra however is inferior to them all. e. on the banks of a river. 58 4. 651 9/9 . in front of the idol of a deity of worship (upasyadevata) It may prove harmful if the pronunciation is incorrect. 648-651 5. Pg. 648-649 2. published by Sanatan Sanstha.2 Namasankirtanyoga. a place of pilgrimage. Concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyan) are next to it followed by mere contemplation on various principles from the path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga) which is inferior.यमा धॕ&zwj. Reference: ‘Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga) and Path of Mantra (Mantrayoga)’.था मधॕ&zwj. The place of practice Anywhere: even in the toilet 12. Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Vol. 6. Vol.11. Dhyanyoga. Vol. Dnyanyoga and Mantrayoga उतॕतमा सहजावसॕ&zwj. 6. a home. Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal. Possibility of harm Never Only in a pure place.वचिंतनं मंतॕरचिंताऽधमाधम: ।। As spiritual practice the natural state of being in communion with The Lord (sahajavastha) achieved through continuous chanting of The Lord’s Name is the best. 6. Pg. Pune 411 030. 3 to 10: First edition 1. Pg. 5. Publishers: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi. Secretary. 1 and 2: Second edition Vol. a place where fire is worshipped. Pg. 650 3. Pg. 410 Shanivar Peth. Vol. 6. a cow shed. Vol.