Saturday, 20 August 2011

Chants for daily practice

I was asked about chanting in my own practice.

Here are the main chants I use in my daily practice. These are probably the only ones I really know by  heart as they are my favourites. Others, along with the Yoga sutras I might chant, particularly on my day off but with the aid of a book or chant sheets

Click on the titles to link Ramaswami chanting and teaching them


YOGA PRAYER in two parts ( I tend to chant I and II together at the beginning of my yoga practice )

Ganesha prayer 
Aindu karattanai
Aanai muhattanai
Indin ilampirai pondra eyitrinai
Nandi Mahandanai
Pundiyil vaittadi potruhinrene
(In tamil)

II Patanjali prayer (divided into three sections below)
Yogena cittasya padena vacam
malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena
yopakarottam pravaram muninam
patamjalim pramjaliranatoshmil

Abahu purusakaram
Samka cakrasidharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam
pranamami patanjalim

Srimate anataya nagarajaya namonamah
Asmadacaryebhyassarvebhyo namonamah

Translation (from Ramaswami's TT course)
Ganesha prayer
Him who has arms five
Whose face is that of an elephant
Whose single tusk equals the charm of the crescent moon, 
Who is the offspring of the Blissfull Lord
Who is wisdom overflowing
I worship (by) keeping His feet 
Inside my consciousness (mind)

Patanjali prayer
Through Yoga, of the mind, by grammar of language
Through medical science the dross of the body, 
The one who eradicated, to Him of the lineage of sages,
To Patanjali I remain offering my salutations

Upto the shoulders, with a human form,
Holding a conch, disc and sword,
With a thousand heads and white (pure),
I bow to that Patanjali

To the auspicious Ananta, the King of naagas (cobra) community, I bow
To my teachers all I bow.


Pranayama mantra  ( I chant this one mentally while retaining inhalation)

om bhuh om bhuvah omm suvah
om maha om janah om tapah omm satyam

on tatsavitur vareniyam bhargo devasya dhimahi
     dhiyo yonah pracodayat

om apo jyoti rasyo'amrtam brahma bhurbhuvassuvarom

This is the complete form (or long form) of the Gayatri Mantra.

The first section contains an invocation to the seven spheres,

AUM, the primordial sound, resides in all elements of the universe. It permeates the earth (-bhUH), water (-bhuvaH), fire (-svaH), air (-mahaH), ether (-janaH), intelligence (-tapaH) and consciousness (-satyam). 

This is followed by the traditional, most commonly chanted, mantra .

We pay homage to Gayatri, the one who shines like the sun (tat savitur), the one who destroys all our sins through her everlasting and effulgent light. Dear Goddess Gayatri, please illuminate our path towards our higher consciousness and lead us to our true purpose in life.

The final part of the mantra is an invocation to the Goddess of light to illuminate our path as we move towards higher consciousness.

Please shine your light (-jyotiH) in our path so we may partake of the everlasting nectar (rasomRRitaM) of brahman while chanting the primordial sound, AUM!

I've borrowed from THIS excellent site for this translation.


Short popular mantras ( choose one and stick with it for meditation with a mala )

1. Om sivaya namah
2. Oom namassivaya
3. Om hrim namasivaya
4. Om namo narayanaya
5. Oam namo bhagavate vasudevaya


Peace chant ( I chant this at the end of my yoga practice )

Om saha navavatu
saha nau bhunaktu
saha viryam karavavahai
tajasvina vaditamastu
    ma vidvisavahai
Om shanti shanti shanti

Om, Let both of us protect each other together
May both of us enjoy together
May both of us work together
Let our study become radiant, let there be no hatred between us
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

See Ramaswami's chanting page for more chants as well as for learning to chant the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras.

In Yoga beneath the surface, David Hurwitz asks Ramaswami if we should be chanting in Sanskrit if we are not Hindus and come from another religious background. Ramaswami responds;

 '...if a person has a strong religious disposition, it is best to stick to one's own religious practices, as switching to a different religious practices could create considerable conflict. In fact Lord Krishna  says in the Gita that one should not create religious confusion in others ( na buddhi bhedam janayeth)... But if a person has no religious moorings, then if he/she likes other chants, such as Sanskrit chants or prayers or hymns, he/she may take advantage of it'. p164

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