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The Value of a Mantra

The Value of a Mantra

The word mantra has two components to it: Man, which is the root sound of the word “mind,” and tra, which is the root sound of the word “instrument.” So the word mantra literally means “an instrument of the mind.”

The ancient wisdom tradition of Vedanta examined the various sounds produced in nature, the fundamental vibrations of the world around us. According to Vedanta, these sounds are an expression of the infinite or cosmic mind, and provide the basis for every human language. For example, if you sound out all the letters of the alphabet, the vowels and the consonants, you’ll hear that these are the same sounds that all babies make spontaneously. These sounds also contain the same vibrations that animals make. And if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that these sounds are everywhere in nature. These are the sounds of the wind, of fire crackling, of thunder, of the river rushing by, of ocean waves crashing on the shore.

Nature is vibration. The infinite being vibrates, and that vibration is rhythmic, musical, and primordial. Vibration interacts with vibration.

The ancient seers are said to have heard these vibrations of the universe when they were in deep meditation. We can all hear the same vibrations any time. It is very simple. If you quiet your mind and sit silently, you will hear vibrations. If you sit quietly when there is no noise around you, you’ll hear a background hum in the air. And if you start paying attention to the background hum, with practice you’ll actually end up hearing all the mantras that have been recorded in the Vedic literature.

The Vedas also maintain that if you recite a mantra out loud, its special pattern of vibrations creates its own effects, and can create events in our current physical realm. Reciting the mantra mentally creates a mental vibration, which then becomes more abstract. Ultimately it takes you into the field of pure consciousness or spirit from where the vibration arose. So a mantra is a very good way to transcend and go back to the source of thought, which is pure consciousness.

The mantra I use, and that I recommend for achieving synchrodestiny, is the simple mantra “so-hum.” This is the mantra of the breath, if you observe your breathing you’ll hear “so-hum” as air moves in and out of your lungs. As you inhale, the sound of that vibration is “so.” And as you exhale, the sound becomes “hum.”

Read more: Deepak Chopra's Tips, Spirit, , , , ,

Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2003).

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.

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+ add your own
2:03PM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Thank you.

1:41AM PST on Jan 10, 2013

Thanks for a great article

1:55AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

I've never tried a mantra but I respect those who use them.

10:07AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012


5:36PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

I like your "So-Hum" suggestion. Thank you.

5:15PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012


1:04AM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Explorer simply closed this page on me - so I'm not sure whether my comment was posted.

I first heard the So-Hum be Deepak demonstrated on one of Dr Oz's TV programs. I find it useful to try and change one's mantra use occasionally when using on-line meditation.

I love the Ohm sound and am fascinated how it seems to not only focus one's meditation but it seems to clear the head (meaning the strong vibration of Ohm seems to clear one's breathing and sinuses). Ohm also proves helpful to use when driving in heavy traffic as when accompanied by deep breathing, it serves bring clarity, alertness and calm - preparing one to remain alert and focus should an rresponsible driver be in the vicinity. Give it a try!

9:21PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Unless I'm mistaken, the mantra provided by Deepak, is also one suggested by Paramahansa Yogananda in his course on Kriya-Yoga. Anyway, many thanks for providing this mantra! By the way, the mantra AUM is supposed to be the original, foundational sound of the universe.

2:33PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Makes me smile this one,...
The 'doo wop' music of my past could have had more of an impact than we have yet calculated,....

Andrew H., always has constructive comments! Glad you take the time, Andrew!

"so hum"
I'll be breathing along now,...

maybe listen to some 'doo wop' too~

7:03PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012


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