The Power of Mantras
I never knew the power of chanting until I found an ancient Sanskrit mantra that changed the course of my life.
I found the mantra at a time when everything was just going wrong and I couldn’t catch a break. I needed something—anything—to get me out of this funk, and so I typed in the words, “mantra for obstacles” into Google.
The Sanskrit word “mantra” comes from the root man—meaning to think, and tra—meaning tools or instruments. Thus the term mantra, translates to “instrument of thoughts.”
Mantras have existed for thousands of years tracing back to the Vedic period in India as well as in Japan, China, and other countries across the globe.
In India, recited Sanskrit mantras called mantra japas are often chanted aloud or silently 108 times along with the help of mala beads. The chanting and the ritual of holding the beads in your hand aid you in setting your intentions and clearing your mind of negative-thought patterns.
Like Swami Satchinanda says in the Yoga Sutras, “We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds.”
As a yogi, I know that my thoughts need to be aligned to my truth, so when I found the Ganesha mantra: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah, I knew I was onto something.
The mantra means, Om and salutations to Lord Ganesha (also known as Ganapatayei, the elephant-head God), he is the remover of obstacles and brings about new beginnings.
SEE ALSO: Ganesha Part 1: His Origin And Birth
By chanting the mantras 108 times over several days, I had a deep revelation into my own thinking: perhaps it wasn’t the obstacles that were holding me back; perhaps it was my own negative thinking.
After chanting to Ganesha for a few weeks, one by one my “obstacles” were removed from my life. I was given a new job, a new home, a new spiritual path and all because of the power of my intention.
Lord Ganesha was working with me but I was also working with me, and thus I was manifesting the life that I really wanted to live.
It was powerful!
Here are 4 other Sanskrit mantras that are inspiring additions to your yoga practice:
What it means: “I bow to the subtle divine wisdom; I bow to the divine teacher within.”
I was introduced to this mantra on the first day of my yoga teacher training. This ancient Kundalini yoga mantra is often used to “tune in” to your higher self at the beginning of practice. We all have divine wisdom within, if we only take the time to listen.
What it means: “Om and salutations to she who manifests every kind of abundance.”
Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance, good fortune, prosperity, and beauty. When you call upon Lakshmi, you are manifesting this fortune. This mantra is powerful if you are feeling deficient in any area of your life. Perhaps you are seeking love, better health, or something as simple as having enough money to pay the bills.
Lakshmi and this mantra can guide you to realize the abundance that surrounds you.
What it means: “Om and salutations, peace, peace, peace.”
The mantra Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti is usually chanted at the beginning or end of a yoga class or ceremony as a way to offer peace and serenity to the reciter. Shanti—meaning peace—is uttered three times to bring peace to three different realms: the physical (adhi-bhautika), the divine or spiritual (adhi-daivika) and the internal or mental (adhyaatmika). When we chant shanti three times, we are bringing peace to all three realms of our existence.
What it means: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May my thoughts, words, and actions contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all beings.”
By far my favorite mantra of them all, Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu reminds us that everyone and everything is connected. It reminds us to remove the idea of “us” and “them.” Instead, we start to see the world in a new light.
We begin to appreciate the trees or the bumblebees. Yoga teaches us the importance of being in service, not only to our fellow humans but also to the animals and plants and ocean and sky. Through reciting this mantra, we begin to align our thoughts with spreading happiness and freedom to all creatures.
What are your favorite sanskrit mantras? Comment and share them below!