A repetitive chant that creates positive vibrations within, is precisely what mantras are all about.
However, mantras are forever linked with Hinduism. Little do people realise that chanting of mantras is widespread in other religions as well. Islam, for one, greatly stresses on chanting of mantras to attain prosperity, wealth, health and peace of mind.
The term "mantra" is derived from two Sanskrit words, man and tra which mean mind and freedom respectively. Therefore, in the literal sense, "mantra" signifies freeing oneself from the mind. Being an effective tool, chanting of mantras eventually liberates an individual from the countless hassles of life, accelerates the healing process, relaxes and assists in making optimal use of the mind too. Truly a mystical experience, mantras help in bringing the body, mind and soul in tune with each other. Moreover, it is a unique therapy though which a person can feel one with the Supreme God.
In Islam, there are 99 names through which Allah [God] is recognised. Reciting various names, as mantras, is believed to be the best way to attain spiritual growth, satisfaction, purification and rejuvenation.
An enriched mind devoid of tension and anxieties decides the quality of life. Everyday chanting, prayer or meditation, helps surmount psychological disturbances, uneasiness and senseless rage. The purpose of mantras is to train the mind to become more adaptable and less vulnerable. Additionally, regular chanting also balances both sides of the brain and augments intuition too. Thus, along with tranquillity, a state of harmony and infinite bliss can be achieved.
How does it work?
Our body is made up of vibrating energies and is comprised of cells that move in unison. When the natural movement and rhythm of these cells is disturbed; diseases and disorders crop up. Our cells respond to the chant [sound] within our bodies and vibrate to restore the harmony back. It also resonates with the chakra system, activates the flow of subtle energies, uplifts mood, balances the mind and, in effect, leads to a state of blissful joy.
Yet, most people complain that even after spending years of chanting mantras, they fail to develop an inner core of practice, or any sort of experience. If one recites them without understanding, in a parrot-like pattern or with no devotion to God, it is probable the chant won't have any affect!
Chanting mantras, according to Islamic belief, is a path through which one can cultivate intimate relations with Allah [the Divine]. Therefore, the greater your faith in Him, the more powerful and enhanced your mantra-repetition becomes.
The recital of any mantra in Urdu is termed as vird [referred to jap in Hindi]. Vird could either be part of a prayer, meditation session, or a means to stay connected with the Lord. Generally, vird is done after [or, during] daily namaz [prayer offerings] with the use of a tazbeeh [Lil beads or mala], but it can also take place depending on the individual's convenience or time. It is of essence that the mantra recitation be accomplished with understanding, feeling, love and full concentration.
Useful Islamic chants
From overcoming difficulties to dispersing calamities to attaining peace of mind and honour - there's a chant for everything found in Islamic books. Typically, recited as duas [prayers] these chants act as an invocation to Allah and open the doors to blessings though which recovery, healing and progression manifest. Though chanted primarily in the Arabic language, these can be translated and used accordinly. Yet, it is best to use them in their original form. Jawshan-e-Kabir is an excellent example of the Islamic book of Duas that can be used for everyday reference.
- Allahu Akbar [God is great]
- Ya Salaam. With its recital, we get connected with ourselves and the Divine, so its quite powerful and effective. The purpose of reciting this is mainly to gain peace of mind. It is recommended for those who get stressed easily due to various pressures.
- Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful]. A powerful chant, it acknowledges, and thanks the Lord for His constant pouring of Divine Love
- Ya Ali Madad. "Imam Ali" is the 1st Imam out of the other 12. He is one who is greatly respected. His name is chanted often but mostly during times of pain and trouble; the mantra is recited to call upon his help n blessings. Pleading for help from the Imam, this prayer requests for His support to enable one to follow the true path
- Allaahumma Innee As a Luka BI-Ismika. "Allah, I beseech Thee in Thy name." A great mantra to seek forgiveness.
Benefits of mantras
- Mantras are spiritual "formulae" that aid the person to release or "let go" of the self and conquer heavenly ecstasy and satisfaction. Recital of mantras not only produces vibrations within oneself, but also fills the surrounding atmosphere with positive energy. Its force and effect, however, largely depend on the faith, attitude and concentration of the individual. If conducted with full sincerity, mantras help us connect with our inner self and personality. And, while we're meditating on that one phrase and analysing the deep shades within us, a state of happiness and serenity is felt. In time, mantras assist in uniting us with our real soul.
- Since chanting mantras is all about devoting our mind towards a single chant, a significant effect on the brain is observed. Everyday recitation leads to sharper memory and enhanced concentration levels. Thanks to this, the invoker experiences subtle layers of confidence building up and becomes positively charged.
- Undoubtedly, an intense feeling of calm and silence is felt through mantras.
- Since chanting leaves us more energised and fills us with fresh prana [life force], the process of healing is accelerated.
- Most evidently, chanting of mantras is a tool through which a follower can stay unified with the Lord. They are prayers that invoke the blessings of the Almighty and help us lead a peacefully gratifying life. Chanting of mantras is not merely a continuous process of repeating words, it is an effective tool to awaken our senses and connect with celestial powers.
Name of God as a Mantra
In the case of the Hebrew tradition, there are 72 names of God, each representing some aspect of God. In the Islamic tradition, there are 99 names of God, which again represent various aspects of God. Many people believe Hinduism has many gods, but again, each individual god in Hinduism represents some aspect of the ultimate reality which is beyond thought or conception. Belief is the most important aspect of mantra repetition. You have to really believe what you're saying, or have the feeling of belief in what you're saying for it to really work.
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