White Notebook - Mantras

The mantras previously included in this post have moved to individual posts. The easiest way to find them is by filtering for the mantra tag.

My interest in mantra began practically through curiosity of the opening mantra—chanted before Sūrya Namaskār—and the closing mantra—chanted before Śavāsana—in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. Some of the mantras presented in this blog do not necessarily pertain solely to the Ashtanga tradition, but were given to me by teachers at various times in my life when they seemed appropriate.

Vedic Mantra

Although the chants we voice in Ashtanga are not by definition Vedic Mantra, in the Vedic chanting tradition of India exists a profound distillation of the feats of human language and mnemonic devices. Just as the Sanskrit language has stood the test of time because of its meticulous rules, so has Vedic mantra been passed down unchanged due to precise methods of instruction and recitation.

This type of mantra hinges on correctness of varṇaḥ (pronunciation), svaraḥ (notes), mātra (duration), balam (emphasis), sāma (continuity), santānaḥ (punctuation).1 It should be made clear that Vedic mantra is not music. In fact, even some mantra in this system that has a more musical character than the others is considered inferior.

Who are you to comment on mantra?

I have no “formal” training or initiation into a chanting tradition, but following the yogic path, I rely on my experience and discernment to make sense of the phenomena presented to me. For this reason, It only made sense to structure these mantras in a format that scales from least opinionated, to most opinionated, and then dissected as a transliteration to allow the reader the opportunity to use their own experience to form an understanding of the text.

The mantras appear as the Sanskrit mantra in Devanagari, the full romanized transliteration, an English translation, and finally a transliteration.

Resources

Used in translation

References


  1. Pandit Ub.Ve Sri Rama Ramanuja Achari. (2013). Introduction to Vedic Chanting.