It’s been a minute - actually, it’s been almost two months.
These two months have brought so many big, wonderful shifts. Shifts that I was reluctant to trust. As my path has unfolded in front of me, I have been shedding layers that simply do not serve me anymore & it is terrifying, it is beautiful, & it is so affirming.
I’ve started to create more space in my life for what fulfills my soul’s purpose & what brings my heart peace.
One of those practices is mantra.
Mantra can be broken down into two Sanskrit words:
“Manas” meaning mind & “Tra” meaning tool, or vehicle.
So, mantra really is a tool to transport the mind into deeper states of concentration or meditation. You may have taken some yoga classes where the teacher will have you recite a mantra at the beginning or end of class. Some teachers may even guide you to use a mantra in your meditation, or throughout your practice to help reground & center yourself.
Mala beads are used traditionally in mantra practice. A traditional mala has 108 beads, & with each bead you recite your mantra. 108 is a sacred number for many reasons:
Vedic sages believed it to be the number of the wholeness of existence
Ayurveda states we have 108 Marma points (energy points in the body) used for healing
In Hinduism, the number 108 represents the distance between our body & the God within us
In astrology & astronomy, 108 is found with the approximate relationships of the Sun, Earth, & Moon. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of Earth. The distance from the Sun to Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The distance from the Earth to Moon is 108 times the diameter of the moon. Additionally, there are 12 astrological houses & 9 planets. 12 multiplied by 9 equals 108.
108 is connected to a pattern of two sets of 12 digits of the Fibonacci numbers.
In Buddhism, there are 108 defilements (emotional obscurations) & 108 earthly temptations.
Honestly, the list goes on. If you’re ever curious about the significance of the number 108, I would highly recommend going down the rabbit hole on google.
Mantras can be simple such as, “Om,” “Om Namah Shivaya,” or “So Hum.”
They can also be quite long.
One of my favorite mantras is the Gayatri mantra:
Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt
This mantra dates back over 3,000 years. It loosely translates to:
The Divine, who is the breath, who ends sorrow, who is omnipresent, who is creator of the whole universe. I meditate upon you that you may illuminate my mind with enlightenment & wisdom.*
I chant this mantra almost every day, I listen to it while I drive, & while I work. It has woven its way into my waking & my sleeping hours & I absolutely love it.
However, this mantra might not be for everyone.
So, I encourage you to find a mantra, or two, that resonates for you, your life & your practice. It can be in Sanskrit or English or any other language you love. You’re not limited.
I also encourage you to start small. You don’t need to recite your mantra 108 times right away. Start with 3 & gradually build up if you feel called to do so.
Thank you, as always, for your time & creating space for this little blog.
*Translation by California College of Ayurveda*