A Foundation for Mantra Yoga

By Rudra Shivananda

pexels-photo-267748.jpegIn a previous post, I explained about the structural barriers that prevent the spiritual seeker from engaging in an effective mantra practice. There was a request to give some examples of the foundation mantras that are needed to transform a busy or lethargic mind into a calm state.

Below, I’ve given three examples of such mantras. To be effective, such mantras need to be practiced for  six months to one year.

There are mantras which should be repeated aloud in order to have the desired effects on the external world, that is, the environment and physical body.  There are also mantras which should be repeated mentally only, in order to internalize their effects for wholly spiritual purposes.

There are also some mantras which can be practiced both aloud and mentally. In general, we can repeat these powerful vibrations first, aloud, then in a whisper and finally mentally. These three modes of repetition give powerfully enhanced effects on the physical, energetic/emotional, and mental/causal complex of human beings.

The following is one mantra which has been repeated everyday by spiritual seekers for thousands of years and is one I recommend to chant before your daily practice:

Asa-to Ma Sad-ga-ma-ya
Ta-ma-so Ma Jyo-tir-ga-ma-ya
Mrit-yor Ma A-mri-tam-ga-ma-ya.
O, Divine
Lead me away from untruth to Truth
Lead me away from darkness to Light
Lead me away from death to Immortality.


Repeat at three times aloud, three times in a whisper, and three times silently.  The best time is before meditation in the morning.

For the pronunciation, listen to the audio file:    rsAsatoma_sad

Another traditional mantra that is recited before the commencement of studies and teaching, helps to establish the proper frame of mind and attitude towards the subject and prevent any misunderstanding between teacher and student. This mantra should also be recited three times aloud, three times in a whisper and three times silently:

Saha naavavatu
Saha nau bhunaktu
Saha veeryam karavaavahai
Maa vidvishaavahai.
Shanti, shanti, shanti.
O Lord
Protect us (from misinterpretation)
Give us enjoyment (through our studies)
May we strive together (to arrive at the truth)
May our studies be thorough and free from error
May we be free from quarrel and full of mutual respect.
O Lord
Give us perfect peace.

The following stotra should be recited on awakening in the morning. It invokes the blessings of the Divine Trinity as well as the planetary rulers. These planetary rulers or angels have the responsibilities to mete out karmic retributions. It is best to invoke their blessings every day to lessen the karmic effects where possible.

Brahmaa, Muraari, Tripuraanta-kaari
Bhaanuh, Shasi, Bhuumu-suto, Budhash cha
Gurush cha, Shukraha, Shani, Raahu-Ketava
Kurvantu sarve mama suprabhaatam.
Let Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva,
The Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury
Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, the Ascending and Descending Nodes,
Let all these Celestials make the morning auspicious for me.
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