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July 20, 2012

The Magic of Mantras. ~ Aparna Khanolkar

Photo by Eric C Bryan

For thousands of years, mantras have been used for purifying the mind.

Your soul calls out in anguish about life’s experiences. Your heart yearns for a solution. Your mind wants transformation. Therapy is expensive and long-drawn out. So, try mantra chanting.

Your vision, your dharma and your gifts can magnify and shine brighter with a mantra chanting practice.

What is a mantra?

Yes, I know the word “mantra” is used and overused like the word “karma.” It is not a woo-woo New Age concept. Mantra means “sound that liberates the mind.” They have been used in India for thousands of years to purify the mind. There are thousands of mantras for everything that ails us.

Mantras have been used for healing disease, mental anguish, physical ailments and for spiritual advancement. What do you want to use mantras for?

In my own life, I have had great success with mantra chanting as a practice.

I find it easy, peaceful, grounding and nourishing to the heart/mind and soul. I chant upwards of 1008 mantras each day.

No, I’m not a nun meditating all day. I’m a mother of two children, an author, teacher of Ayurveda, study dance and have a full life. I like what mantras have done for my mind, for the mental chatter and worry and free-floating anxiety that is part of modern life.

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All the magic happens on the inside—it removes blockages from chakras and helps you attract positive experiences in your life. To invoke the great virtuous qualities of a goddess or god to receive the beneficial qualities of a planet is a move towards transforming and transcending karma.

My interest is self-empowerment. I want to consciously transcend patterns in my karma that hold me back. You know those times when you feel the tug of an old pattern re-surfacing, trying to consume you? That’s what I’m transforming with my mantra practice.

Yes, I want a more soulful life. More clarity, less wasting time on the usual, the same old; more experience of an inner knowing.

You know that smile from your heart that radiates out into the stars and touches everything along with way? I want that from within.

Okay, so by now you are thinking, “She’s Indian, this feels comfortable for her. What’s in it for me? “

Anyone and everyone can benefit from mantras. Mantras are not for Hindus, Vedic scholars or yoga folks who wear beautiful mala beads. It’s for anyone who has a genuine desire for transformation with the added benefit of ease in practice. Yes, you may have to learn to pronounce Sanskrit words correctly. Besides that, it is easy.

Devout Hindus would not approve of chanting mantras during driving or doing chores. But we are not in India either. Life is fast, with much stimulation. I chant whenever I can, as much as I can, wherever I am. I chant when I drive. When I’m cooking. Before I got to bed. When I wake up in the morning.

Not in an obsessive way, but with a certainty and faith and trust that change is happening from within. A devotion to my own transformation is a noble cause.

Like me, you may want more abundance —spiritual and material—and to remove your own inner obstacles. Your inner obstacles are the ones that hold you back more than anything else. I know that’s true for me. That inner voice which says, “I’m not worthy.” Or, “I shouldn’t try that.” Or, “I can’t change.” Or, “It’s too hard.”

So let me teach you mantras.

Om.

Om is the first mantra. Chanting OM brings the masculine and feminine energies in balance. It is the sacred sound of the Vedas.

Om Dum (as in a soft doom) Durgaye Namaha.  

This mantra is for dispelling fear and for protection. When you are feeling afraid of losing a job or need protection from a situation or person, this is a good mantra.

Om Shreem (as in cream with an SH sound) Sriyaye Namaha.

This mantra is for a softer, more beautiful feminine power invoking Lakshmi, the goddess of spiritual and material abundance. You will feel more power and a connection to the goddess within.

So, how many mantras should you chant each day?

Well, you can chant a mantra 108 times a day. Or 21 times a day. Regardless of the number, as long as your chanting is sincere and devotional, you will invoke those energies within you. Practice at least for 21 days to see a shift in your consciousness.

All the magic happens in the silence after your mantra chanting. Your body/mind is bathed in the powerful energies that you have churned within you.

How empowering is that? You are in charge of your happiness. You are in charge of your clarity. You are in charge of how you want to feel.

The power of mantra is not to be taken lightly. It is not to be used for manipulating a situation or person. It is for the highest good of all. Use it for your spiritual advancement. When your mantra practice is aligned with you highest good, you can expect good outcomes.

Mantras empower you and change old patterns that do not serve you. They have the power to enhance your health, well-being and spiritual practice.

Take charge, learn a mantra, chant it and let the magic of the universe support you. You deserve all good things. Happiness, health and abundance.

Aparna Khanolkar is an Ayurvedic educator and workshop facilitator in Santa Barbara. She is the author of Happy Belly, Happy Soul, A Mother’s Blessing, Spice and Purify and Heal. She is the co-founder of “Grace, Power and Beauty,” a workshop series for women. She chants mantras everyday, often with her two children. Read her blog here.

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Editor:  April Dawn Ricchuito

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