Updated: Oct 5
Have you ever taken your kids to a temple to worship God? There are different methods of worshiping in Hinduism. When we go to a religious place like a temple to view and pray to the deity, it is called ‘darshan’. Similarly, performing offerings and sacrifices in front of a sacred fire (yajna), worshiping at home (puja), and repeating the name of your favorite deity (jaap) are all various forms of worship. In every form of worship, a common practice is ‘Chanting of Mantras’. In fact, we can say that Hinduism is incomplete without Mantras.
What is a Mantra (मंत्र)?
Have you ever heard this word 'OM' ? Chances are, you have. So, you are already familiar with a mantra, because ‘Om’ is the shortest mantra!
Mantras are sacred words, syllables, sounds, verses, or group of words that are spoken, chanted, or meditated upon, for a religious and spiritual purpose. They are special sounds that have special meanings and effects. They are a bit like poems when written and may have a specific tune (correct intonation) like songs.
Most Hindu mantras that are commonly used today have emerged from the ancient texts of India, like the Vedas, the Puranas, and the Granthas (epics) like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Different mantras are used for the worship of different gods and are said to have positive effects on not just people but on the entire world. A single mantra may have many different meanings. Do you know, ‘Om’ is the most basic mantra that has hundreds of meanings?
What happens when you chant a Mantra?
It is believed that chanting mantras cleanses us of bad karma and sins, and generates good karma. Chanting mantras brings us closer to God, and to a higher level of consciousness of the mind. Every mantra has its own importance. You will be amazed to know that although these mantras are thousands of years old, scientists are carrying out research on them even today. Modern medicine has realised that chanting mantra can have many beneficial effects on our bodies and minds, which has led many mantras to become popular all over the world.
The beauty of Hinduism is that there is no restriction on who can recite a mantra. Nor is there a compulsion about when you can recite a mantra. A person can recite any mantra according to their own beliefs or choices. You can also recite a mantra anytime, like when starting your day, before going to sleep, and even throughout the day. Chanting a mantra in the morning is a great way to make your mind alert and positive, fill yourself with energy, and get ready for the day with enthusiasm. Meditating on a mantra at bedtime can help you fall asleep in a relaxed and calm way.
Mantras are a proud tradition of Hinduism, as well as an important heritage of India. Every Hindu should know some of the important mantras and their significance. Let us find out more about some of the easiest and most popular mantras of Hinduism which are chanted by millions of people across the world.
So here are a few essential Mantras that you should teach your children:
“KAR DARSHANAM” (VIEWING THE HANDS)
कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मीः करमध्ये सरस्वती।
करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम॥
Mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, this is the first mantra that should be recited every day after waking up. The meanings of ‘kar’ and ‘darshanam’ are ‘hand’ and ‘vision’, respectively. When you recite this mantra, look at your palms joined together, facing you, like the cupped hands we make to drink water.
You use your hands to play, to write, to draw and paint, and to do many things throughout the day. It is the hand that gives one the power to work, to eat, and to worship God. A person uses his hands to earn his livelihood, acquire knowledge and do all the daily tasks. Thus, this mantra says that we should believe in our hands, because we can accomplish everything with their help.
The verse says that on the top part of the palm resides Maa Lakshmi; the center is the abode of Maa Saraswati; and the base of the hand is home to Shri Bhagwan Govind. The first thing you look at after waking up should be your hands (palms).
Devi Lakshmi, Devi Saraswati and Bhagwan Govind help us throughout the day. Thus, everyone should look at their hands when they wake up in the morning, regardless of age.
BHOOMI VANDANAM (PRAYER TO MOTHER EARTH)
समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमण्डले।
विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्वमे॥
After waking up, before we place our feet on the ground, we should recite this mantra to apologize to Mother Earth (Bhoomi Devi or Dharti Maa) for touching her with our feet. This Mantra was first mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana.
Praying to Bhoomi Devi is an important part of our culture. Starting the day with gratitude towards Mother Earth is a great way to make us more mindful towards the environment, other living beings, and our home planet.
Everything around us–mountains, oceans, trees and living beings–are all sustained by Mother Earth. In Hinduism, while Earth is one of the five elements, she is also considered to be a goddess, who provides shelter and nourishment to all living beings. Thus, with the recitation of this mantra, we start the day with gratitude to Bhoomi Devi and the acknowledgment of the divinity all around us.
The mantra means: O Devi (Oh Mother Earth), you who wear the oceans as your garments, and the mountains as your bosom; O Consort of Lord Vishnu, salutations to you; please forgive me for the touch of my feet on your holy body.
Trivia: In many traditional dances in India, the dancer starts the performance with a ‘Bhoomi Pranam’, which means asking for blessings and permission from Goddess Earth to dance on her. Then the dancer worships Nataraja, the God of dance; the Guru who taught them the art; and the audience; and then starts the performance.
Om is the most important spiritual sounds in Hinduism. Om is almost symbolic of Hinduism across the world, often equated to the practice of meditation or spirituality. The syllable Om has many names, two main ones being Onkara (Omkara) and Pranava. In the yoga tradition – a school of spiritual philosophy of ancient India, Om is said to be the supreme mantra, with which creation began.
The ancient texts like the Vedas and the Upanishads have explained Om in extensive detail. Om is considered timeless, and the equivalent of all the knowledge contained in the Vedas. Om is also explained as a sound that is symbolic of the supreme consciousness, or Brahman. Various authorities have discussed the pronunciation of ॐ as either as "a-u-m" or ‘o-m’. The three sounds ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘m’ are said to correspond to the three stages of cosmic creation. Thus, in chanting Om, we celebrate creation, the eternal brahm-atman, and all the spiritual power that is contained in this word.
It is chanted by itself as a mantra, meditated upon, as also used at the beginning, middle and end of other mantras. It is explained in Rigveda that Om is uttered as "an acknowledgment, melodic confirmation, something that gives momentum and energy to a hymn". Om is found frequently at the beginning and end of chapters of ancient and modern Hindu texts. In Hindu culture, Om is a sacred mantra and a popular spiritual incantation that is used before and during ritual recitations of Vedic ceremonies of rites of passages (samskara, like annaprashan and mundan), yajnas, during worships at home, private prayers, yoga practice, meditation, and other spiritual activities.
In Valmiki's Ramayana, Lord Brahma, the creator, states that Rama is the equivalent of Om, higher than the highest, the eternal. Brahma says, "You are the mystic syllable OM. You are higher than the highest. People neither know your end nor your origin nor who you are in reality." [Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda, Sarga 117] Similarly, in the Mahabharata, Krishna is considered the supreme God, and an equivalent of Om. Krishna tells Arjuna, "Of this universe, I am the purifier, the goal of knowledge, the sacred syllable Om. I am the Ṛig Veda, Sāma Veda, and the Yajur Veda." [Bhagavad Gita 9.17]
Om is an important chant in other religions too, like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It is also depicted with different symbols in different languages across India and the world. Om is an easy mantra to use for chanting based meditation, for jaap, and for silent mental chanting. If one knows no other mantra, the chanting of just Om, with the correct intention and devotion, can also have the same benefit as all other mantras. The vibrations created by the utterance of Om is believed to calm one’s mind, improve one’s breathing and have a beneficial effect on the heart.
MANTRA FOR BATH TIME
गङ्गे च यमुने चैव गोदावरि सरस्वति ।
नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरी जलेऽस्मिन् संनिधिं कुरु ॥
The importance of cleansing oneself by taking a bath is mentioned in Brahmavaivarta Purana, Chapter 26 (ब्रह्मवैवर्त पुराण – ब्रह्म खण्ड अध्याय 26). The rivers named in this mantra are considered goddesses in Indian culture and mythology. Rivers sustain life by giving us pure water. This mantra is both a prayer for our purification as well as an expression of gratitude to the sacred rivers for the gift of water.
Every day, after you wake up and start getting ready for the day, you take a bath. Recite this mantra before you take a bath to express your prayer for these holy rivers to be incorporated into the bath water, making it as sacred as them, and cleansing you. When we recite this mantra while bathing, our cleansing is the same as it would be if we took a bath in one of the holy rivers.
The mantra means: O holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna, and also Godavari and Saraswati, O holy rivers Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri, please be present in this water and make it holy.
ॐ अपवित्रः पवित्रो वा सर्वावस्थां गतोऽपिवा ।। यः स्मरेत्पुण्डरीकाक्षं स बाह्याभ्यन्तरः शुचिः ॥
This mantra is used for a purification ritual. To purify your surroundings or any object that needs cleansing or purification, follow these steps. Take some water in your left hand and cover it with your right hand. Then, reciting the mantra, sprinkle the water on your body, starting from your head. We can also use this mantra to ward off evil spirits when we return from an unholy place.
‘Pundarika’ means lotus and ‘aksha’ means eye. Pundarikaksha is a name for Lord Vishnu and means the One with eyes like lotus). It is said that Lord Vishnu, the supreme being, can purify anyone and anything that interacts with Him. Anyone who prays to Lord Vishnu with sincerity can be cleansed of every sin.
This mantra, which is mentioned in the Vamana Purana, means whether one is apavitra (impure) or pavitra (pure), or has fallen into any other condition; he who remembers Sri Vishnu becomes pure on the outside and inside, and his sins are forgiven.
MANTRA FOR SURYA DEV’S ARGHYA
(OFFERING OF WATER TO SUN)
आदिदेव नमस्तुभ्यं प्रसीद मम भास्कर । दिवाकर नमस्तुभ्यं प्रभाकर नमोऽस्तुते ।
In Sanatan Dharma, Surya (Sun) is considered to be one of the Adi Panch Devas (five most prominent, primeval, and eternal deities: the others being Ganesh, Durga, Shiva and Vishnu), while in Kaliyuga, Surya is considered to be the only visible deity.
Life on earth is sustained by the Sun. Even the simple action of waking up early and praying to the morning sun is believed to be beneficial for our health. The worship of Sun God is considered very auspicious. According to the Vedas, the Sun has been called the soul of the world.
The mantra means: O one true and first Lord, who shines brilliantly, I offer my obeisance to you. Please provide me with your divine grace and be pleased with me, O Sun. O Sun-God, who lights up the world and begins the day, I offer my obeisance unto you, salutations to the light-bearer.
TULSI MANTRA FOR WATERING THE HOLY TULSI PLANT
महाप्रसाद जननी, सर्व सौभाग्यवर्धिनी।
अधि व्याधि हरा नित्यम, तुल्सी त्वम् नमोस्तुते।।
Tulsi is considered a very auspicious plant in the Hindu mythology. It is considered a heavenly plant because many gods and goddesses are believed to reside in it. Any puja of Lord Vishnu is incomplete without the leaves of this plant. This mantra is mentioned in the “Parvati Panjika”.
The meaning of this mantra is, O mother Tulsi who bestows happiness on everyone with her enormous grace, who blesses us with immense good fortune, who keeps all diseases away from us and keeps us healthy, we salute you again and again.
Trivia: Tulsi leaves are used in worship rituals. Do you know another common use of Tulsi leaves?
गजाननं भूतगणादि सेवितं कपित्थजम्बूफलचारु भक्षणम् ।
उमासुतं शोकविनाशकारकं नमामि विघ्नेश्वर पादपङ्कजम् ॥
Note: Another version of this matra is
गजाननं भूतगणादि सेवितं कपित्थजम्बूफल सार भक्षितम् ।
उमासुतं शोकविनाशकारणं नमामि विघ्नेश्वर पादपङ्कजम् ॥
Ganesh is the first god to be worshiped among all the gods in Hindu tradition. At home and businesses, every new venture, auspicious activity, or puja, starts with the worship of Lord Ganesh. Ganesh mantras can help to remove every obstacle and brings positive results. This mantra is chanted when we start a new work or new study activity.
The above verse means: I worship the one who has the face of an elephant, who is served by the bhootaganas (heavenly servants) and others, who consumes the juice of kapittha (wood apple), and jambu (berries) offered by the devotees; who is the son of Goddess Uma (Goddess Parvati), and the one who destroys sorrow, I bow respectfully to the lotus feet of Ganesha who removes obstacles and setbacks.
वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ ।
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा ॥
Lord Ganesh is known to be the God of wisdom and knowledge. Reciting this mantra regularly bestows the devotee with knowledge and helps them understand the secrets of the universe. Ganapati is also considered a god of children and students because praying to him is believed to increase our knowledge and intelligence.
The mantra means: Salutations to the supreme Lord Ganesha who has a curved trunk (vakratunda) and an immense body, who is radiant like a million suns, may He always bless all my endeavours and remove obstacles from my path.
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः ।
गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥
OR with sandhi vichchheda
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः ।
गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥
What comes to your mind when you think of ‘Guru’? Do you think of your teachers? Perhaps you have wished your teachers on the occasion of Guru Purnima. Or perhaps the word reminds you of a Guru you might have seen in a mythology TV series.
You are right, a Guru basically means a teacher. But the word has a deeper meaning than just a teacher in Sanskrit language and Hindu philosophy. Different scholars from ancient India have defined Guru in various ways. It has been said, “anything that imparts to you even a small amount of knowledge is Guru”. In the Indian culture, a Guru, considered to be next to God, is highly respected.
Who do you think is your first Guru? Close your eyes and think for a minute! Did you think of your mother? Yes, your mother is your first Guru! A mother is considered as the first Guru because she gives us life and the first knowledge of this world. Your games coach is a Guru. If you have a hobby class teacher, they are your Guru too.
A teacher gives us knowledge, which is as important as the creation of life itself. Teachers are organisers of our lives because they give us the skills with which we solve all the problems of life. They destroy the darkness of ignorance in our lives and give us the light of knowledge. Thus like, Brahma the creator, Vishnu the organiser, and Shiva the destroyer, a Guru embodies all these three roles in our lives.
Is a Guru always a person? Do you know about the story of Dattatreya, a rishi from ancient India? He is revered as the Adi-Guru (the first teacher) and revered as a God in many Hindu books. As a deity, Dattatreya is considered to be a combination of the trio: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. If he was the first Guru, who was then his Guru?
Dattatreya became a sanyasi (a monk) when he was very young and reached the highest level of knowledge and self-awareness without any teachers, just by observing nature. His observations of nature, like the sky, water, earth, fire, ocean, moon, deer, snake, insects, fish, pigeon, elephant, etc. are treated as his 24 Gurus. Thus, nature can be a Guru too.
Can you think of more examples where we learn from non-living things? In the ancient times, we did not have books, all knowledge was passed on through spoken words. Now, we learn from books, and thus, a book that teaches you something is also a guru.
Reciting this mantra before you start your morning studies is a great way to tune yourself to the activity of learning and create focus and concentration in your mind. Be your Guru a teacher or a book, your mind becomes receptive to gaining knowledge with this mantra.
The above verse means: Guru (teacher) is Brahma (the Lord of creation), Guru is Vishnu (the preserver or the organizer), Guru is Maheshwara (Shiva or the destroyer), Guru is Parabrahma (the Supreme God Almighty), we bow to that Guru.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ।
This sacred chant from the Rig Veda is considered to be the most important mantra of all. It is believed that Rishi Vishwamitra composed this verse. Although dedicated to the Vedic sun deity, Savitra (also known as Savitri, or Gayatri), the Gayatri Mantra is believed to be directed at the supreme creator of the universe. This verse is the most popular and revered mantra in the entire सनातन धर्म (“Sanatan Dharma”).
Chanting Gayatri Mantra even once a day bestows upon you the good karma of worshipping all Devis and Devatas and the completion of Brahmyajna (sacrifice or offering done in front of a sacred fire). This mantra has also been used in many research studies to evaluate its beneficial effects on the health of people. Chanting this mantra is believed to enhance the physical and mental well-being and is particularly important for children. You can chant this mantra as a daily routine, as well as to energise your mind before you start your studies.
Simply put, the mantra means: The one who gives life, destroys all sadness, blesses with happiness, the one who is as bright as Sun, who is our saviour, and is the best, may that God inspire our intellect on the right path.
Pandit Shriram Sharma, the founder of All World Gayatri Parivar, has explained the mantra as: OR The mantra has been elaborated as: Om, the Brahm, the Universal Divine Energy, vital spiritual energy (pran), the essence of our life existence, positivity, destroyer of sufferings, the happiness, that is bright, luminous like the Sun, best, destroyer of evil thoughts, the divinity who grants happiness, may imbibe its Divinity and Brilliance within us which may purify us and guide our righteous wisdom on the right path.
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
This mantra which is mentioned in Bhagwat Purana means "I bow to the Ultimate Reality, Lord Vasudeva”. Lord Vasudeva or Lord Vishnu is one of the supreme deities, one of the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. This easy mantra is considered one of the greatest mantras. It provides us a simple way to connect with God right away, seek His blessings, and make us aware of the eternal divine consciousness.
Trivia: Can you count the number of syllables this mantra has? Twelve. This mantra is one of the most famous 12-syllabled mantras and is called a Dvadasakshari Mantra or simply Dvadasakshari.
मङ्गलं भगवान्विष्णुर्मङ्गलं गरुडध्वजः।
मङ्गलं पुण्डरीकाक्षो मङ्गलायतनो हरिः।।
मङ्गलं भगवान् विष्णुः
This mantra for auspiciousness is chanted before starting any new venture or task to worship and invoke the grace of Lord Vishnu. The word “mangal” here means auspiciousness or universal well-being. When we recite this mantra, we invoke all the goodness and universal well-being that Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the creation, denotes. This divine mantra can be recited to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu to overcome the obstacles that appear in our lives. We can recite this mantra before starting a new business, unboxing a toy, or using a new appliance, and so on.
The mantra means: Lord Vishnu is auspiciousness, the One who has Garuda (bird in Hindu mythology which looks like an eagle) as his flag symbol is auspiciousness, the Lord who has eyes like the white lotus flower is auspiciousness, God Hari is the store (eternal source) of auspiciousness.
LORD RAMA MANTRAS
नीलाम्बुज श्यामल कोमलाङ्गम सीतासमारोपित वामभागम् |
पाणौ महासायकचारूचापं नमामि रामं रघुवंशनाथम् ||
Do you know the story of Ramayana? Ramayana tells the story of Lord Ram, who is considered both a supreme God and also an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Mythologically and culturally, Lord Ram is considered to be an ideal human being, an example everyone should follow to live a good life. The life of Lord Ram epitomizes a life of virtue and righteousness (a life of dharma) that every person should strive to follow.
This verse is mentioned in Ramcharitamanas written by Goswami Tulsidas. The mantra praises Lord Ram with devotion and reminds us of his greatness and other qualities. Praying to Lord Ram enhances one’s self-esteem and confidence. When we hold the image of Lord Ram in our mind, our will power grows stronger, and our mental strength expands in its ability to stay calm and overcome all challenges.
The mantra means: The one whose body has the colour of a blue lotus, whose body is soft, dark, and beautiful, on whose left side resides Sita, whose hands bear a transcendental arrow and a beautiful bow, I pray to that Shree Ram who is the Lord of Raghu dynasty.
श्री राम जय राम जय जय राम।
श्री रामचन्द्राय नमः ।
The name of Ram is a great mantra in its own right, and chanting it brings positive energy to our lives and awakens the soul. By chanting these simple mantras that invoke the name of Lord Ram, one can attain brahmagyaan (divine knowledge). The glory of the name of Ram is limitless, capable of ending all our sorrows.
श्री कृष्ण गोविन्द हरे मुरारी
हे नाथ नारायण वासुदेव ।
Lord Krishna is considered a Supreme God and the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Worshipped in various forms, Krishna is considered as a god of righteous action (or duty), protection, and compassion. He is one of the most popular and revered Hindu gods in the world.
What comes to your mind when you think of Lord Krishna? Do you think of his childhood form, known as Balkrishna? Or do you think of him as a King? There are many stories of Krishna that are called Leelas. One of them is about him slaying a demon called Mura, which gave Krishna the name Murari. Similarly, Krishna has many other names, like Govind, Gopal, Balagopal, etc. This mantra, invoking the various names of Krishna, pleases the Lord and maintains his blessing in the devotee’s life.
This mantra means, O Lord Krishna, O Govind, the divine cowherd, you take away people’s sufferings; O Lord Hari, O Murari (the killer of demon Mura), you who remove people’s obstacles, O Supreme Lord Narayana, the preserver of the universe, O son of Vasudev, you are the preserver of the Universe!
Hare Krishna Maha Mantra
"हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण, कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे, हरे राम हरे राम, राम राम, हरे हरे"
This mantra is mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad. This Hare Krishna mantra is one of the most famous mantras, the chanting of which connects the consciousness inside of you with the Eternal Supreme Consciousness. It has only three words: Hare, Ram and Krishna, all names of Lord Vishnu.
This is a popular mantra of the Vaishnava tradition, where both the incarnations of Bhagwan Vishnu–Lord Krishna and Lord Ram, are invoked and worshipped. The mantra was popularised by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu over 500 years ago and continues to be so popular that it has even been used in many international and Indian songs. The mantra can be repeated as a song, sung as a bhajan or kirtan, or meditated upon by oneself as a japa.
LORD SHIVA MANTRAS
ॐ नमः शिवाय
The Om Namah Shivaya mantra is mentioned in Krishna Yajurveda in the Shri Rudram hymn. One can chant Om Namah Shivaya aloud or mentally, to get the benefit of Lord Shiva’s blessings and the purification of one’s mind.
The mantra means, I bow in reverence to Lord Shiva, the auspicious one.
कर्पूर गौरं करुणावतारम्
संसार सारं भुजगेन्द्रहारम् |
सदा वसन्तं हृदयारविन्दे
भवं भवानी सहितं नमामि ||
This hymn was sung by Lord Vishnu during the wedding ceremony of Lord Shiva. The verse eulogizes how beautiful Lord Shiva is. The mantra means: The one who is as pure as camphor (karpur), an incarnation (avatar) of compassion, the one who is the essence of the whole world, the one who has the king of serpents as his garland, the one who dwells in the heart which is as pure as a lotus, the Lord who is always accompanied by the Goddess Bhavani (Parvati), I bow to both Shiva and Shakti together.
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात्।।
This is one of the most powerful mantras in Hinduism. Shiv purana mentions this mantra as a way to please Lord Shiva, seeking his blessings. This mantra is also mentioned in Rigveda, Atharva & Yajurveda. Markanda Rishi is believed to be the creator of this powerful mantra. This mantra is especially recited before leaving home, travelling by any vehicle, to ask Lord Shiva’s blessings and protection during that journey. We also chant this mantra for the well-being of a person who is seriously ill. Chanting of this mantra ensures success in all your endeavours and eliminates any danger to life.
This beautiful mantra condenses many deep Hindu philosophies into a few simple words. While it can be understood as a mantra to protect us from death, it is also a prayer for us to be liberated from false attachments and the fleeting and temporary nature of life.
This Mantra means: The Lord who has three eyes (Shiva), who has a sweet scent (like the essence of our atman) and is ever increasing the nourishment (He nourishes our thriving spiritual core), I pray to you to free me from the bondages of the material world, which are like the bondages of cucumbers to their creepers, and liberate me from death so that I may become one with the eternal Shiva and become immortal.
Trivia: In the story of how Somnath Jyotirlinga came into being, Lord Brahma suggested to Chandradeva that he chant the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra to appease Lord Shiva, in order to get relieved from the curse of King Daksha. This story is mentioned in Shiva Purana - Koti Rudra Samhita - 14. You can learn more about this story at Origin Story of Somnath Jyotirling
ॐ सर्वमंगल मांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिके।
शरण्ये त्रयम्बके गौरी नारायणी नमोऽस्तुते ।।
The earliest mentions of Goddess Durga are found in Rigveda and other Vedic texts. Durga’s story is elaborated in the Skanda Purana, which is the longest Mahapurana, and in the Markandeya Purana, where Devi, or the Goddess, is described as the supreme power and creator of the universe.
By reciting this mantra, we enter the shelter or grace of Goddess Durga, the destroyer of evil. This mantra thus protects us from dangers and evil. By reciting this mantra, we pray to Goddess Durga to remove all the obstacles from our path, as she is the mother of all the three worlds.
The above verse means, I bow down to the Goddess Narayani (who exists everywhere), who makes everything auspicious as she is the most auspicious one, and also looks after the welfare of her devotees and fulfils all the desires of those who come to her shelter, who is the three-eyed goddess who can see everything – the past, the present and the future clearly, my salutations to you.
देहि सौभाग्यं आरोग्यं देहि मे परमं सुखम्।
रूपं देहि जयं देहि यशो देहि द्विषो जहि।
This Durga mantra is from Durga Saptashati which is a part of Markandeya Purana. This mantra bestows extreme good luck upon the devotee. The mantra is usually chanted in the Brahma Muhurta, which is a time period before sunrise, depending on the location.
The above verse means: O Mother Durga, give me good luck and fortune and bless me with good health. Grant me the ultimate happiness. Bless me with beauty, grant me victory and fame, and protect me from all enemies (bad forces) like anger, greed and jealousy, and destroy them.
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु विद्यारूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः।।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु बुद्धिरूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः।।
The deity most worshipped by students is Goddess Saraswati. In Hinduism, Saraswati is one of most revered goddesses and considered to be the mother of the Vedas. She is the source and goddess of all knowledge, learning, arts, music, craft, wisdom, speech, and auspiciousness. The earliest mention of Goddess Saraswati is found in Rigveda. Devi Saraswati is referred to as a sacred river and also an important deity in the Rigveda, who was born from the mind of Lord Brahma.
Through the ages, in the Hindu tradition, Saraswati is worshipped by everybody – from students to teachers, from artisans to musicians, from doctors to scientists. To excel in our field of work, to have eloquent speech, and to gain knowledge and skills, we pray to Devi Saraswati for guidance. This mantra is from Durga Saptashati.
Both the above verses mean: Prayers to the Goddess who is present in all beings in the form of knowledge and intelligence, salutations, salutations, salutations to thee, again and again.
Trivia: Do you know that the festival of Vasant Panchami is also celebrated as Saraswati Puja and Saraswati Jayanti in many parts of India? This festival denotes the onset of spring
सरस्वति महाभागे विद्ये कमललोचने। विद्यारूपे विशालाक्षि विद्यां देहि नमोऽस्तुते ॥
This mantra is a popular hymn that we chant to seek Devi Saraswati’s blessings in learning activities. A student should chant this mantra every day.
The above verse means: O Devi Saraswati, who is the most auspicious goddess of knowledge, whose eyes are like lotus; the one who is a manifestation of knowledge and has large eyes, I pray to you to bless me with knowledge. My salutations to you.
ॐ श्रीं श्रीये नम:
Shri Lakshmi is worshipped by Hindus as the goddess of wealth and splendour. She is a major deity related to the festival of Deepavali, mentioned first in the Rig and the Atharva Vedas. Goddess Lakshmi, the consort and dynamic energy of Lord Vishnu, personifies wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), happiness, and grace.
This mantra for salutation to Goddess Lakshmi is also suitable for chanting based meditation. The beej (seed, core) mantra of Goddess Laxmi is the word “Shreem” and by reciting this mantra, one can attain fortune, prosperity, and intellect. In this Mantra she is referred to by her name, Shri.
महालक्ष्मि नमस्तुभ्यं, नमस्तुभ्यं सुरेश्वरि ।
हरिप्रिये नमस्तुभ्यं, नमस्तुभ्यं दयानिधे ॥
Shri Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune, luxury, and beauty. She is the epitome of abundance and harmony. Praying to Goddess Lakshmi can relieve all the hardships and sorrows caused by the dearth of money. Goddess Lakshmi bestows her devotees with intelligence and blesses them with riches and affluence.
This mantra offers salutations to the Goddess by saying, O great Lakshmi, I offer my obeisance to you, O Goddess of the Gods I bow in front of you. Obeisance unto You, who is very dear to Lord Hari (Vishnu), I bow in reverence to you, O treasure house of mercy.
भानुः शशी भूमिसुतो बुधश्च।
गुरुश्च शुक्रः शनिराहुकेतवः
कुर्वन्तु सर्वे मम सुप्रभातम्॥
The Vamana Purana advises that Brahma Murari Tripurantkari mantra should be chanted throughout life in order to always get the maximum benefit from all planets.
The mantra means: In the early morning I remember the Gods Brahma, Murari (Lord Vishnu who killed the Mura demon) and Tripurantkari (Lord Shiva who destroyed the three Tripurasuras demons – Tarakaksha, Vidyunmāli, and Kamalaksha), the planets Bhanu (Sun), Shashi (Moon), Bhumisuta (Mars) and Buddha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu and Ketu, may all of them make my morning or day auspicious.
MANTRAS FOR ALL PLANETS
Sun ॐ घृणि सूर्याय नम:
Moon ॐ सों सोमाय नमः
Mars ॐ अं अंगरकाय नमः
Mercury ॐ बुं बुधाय नमः
Jupiter ॐ गुं गुरवे नमः
Venus ॐ शुं शुक्राय नमः
Saturn ऊँ शं शनैश्चराय नमः
Rahu ॐ रां राहवे नमः
Ketu ॐ कें केतवे नमः
पवन तनय बल पवन समाना। बुधि बिबेक बिग्यान निधाना॥
कवन सो काज कठिन जग माहीं। जो नहिं होइ तात तुम्ह पाहीं॥
This verse in Awadhi language, from the famous book “Ramcharitmanas” is a 4-lined form of poetry called chaupai. Ramcharitmanas is an epic poetry, based on the Ramayana, composed by poet Tulsidas nearly 500 years ago. This verse, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is spoken by Jambavan to Hanuman, praising his greatness.
Lord Hanuman is regarded as an epitome of devotion (bhakti), selfless service (seva) and surrender without any ego (samarpan). Also considered an incarnation of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. It is said that no devotee returns empty-handed from the abode of Lord Hanuman. Worshipping Lord Hanuman by chanting various Hanuman mantras and verses helps the devotees to receive the divine blessings of Lord Hanuman for success and prosperity.
The verse means: Hanuman, you are the son of the God of Wind, and your strength is equal to wind itself. You are an embodiment of wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge of science and technology. There is nothing so difficult in this world that you cannot achieve.
ॐ हनुमते नमः॥
This Hanuman mantra is also called a success mantra, or a karya siddhi mantra. Hanuman Mantra is beneficial for overcoming all types of problems, fears, and negative energy that make you fearful, weak, or depressed. It is said that nothing is impossible with the blessings of Lord Hanuman. Chanting Hanuman Mantra is a great way to fill oneself with energy and enthusiasm for the day or for an endeavour. It is also believed that evil beings or entities and black magic cannot harm a person if they regularly recite the Hanuman Mantra. This mantra means - All Hail Lord Hanuman.
त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव
त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव। त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणं त्वमेव
त्वमेव सर्वं मम देव देव।।
This mantra was first mentioned in Mahabharata when Gandhari was praying to Lord Krishna. This mantra is usually recited at the conclusion of a prayer session, spiritual practice, or meditation, when one surrenders one’s ego and individuality to the Lord for His Grace.
This verse means: you are the mother; you are the father; you are the relative; you are the friend; you are education; you are wealth; you are everything for me, O Lord, O Lord.
Introduction to Hindu Texts
The Vedas are ancient Hindu scriptures that form the basis of Hindu religion and philosophy. They consist of hymns, incantations, and rituals and are considered as sacred revelations. There are 4 Vedas—Rig, Yajur, Sam and Atharva. Each of these Vedas has four parts: (1) the Samhitas, that comprise mantras and benedictions; (2) the Aranyakas, which detail rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, and symbolic sacrifices; (3) the Brahmanas, which are further explanations of rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices; and (d) the Upanishads, which are texts discussing meditation, philosophy, and spiritual knowledge.
If you imagine that the ancient sages wrote the Vedas on paper or leaves, you will be extremely surprised to know that the Vedas were not written at all in the beginning. In the beginning, Sanskrit was a spoken language and the scripts to write it down, like Devanagari, and the methods of writing on leaves, and later on parchments, came many centuries afterwards. So, the Vedas were revealed to sages in deep meditation, and they composed the verses as spoken poetry. Although the Vedas were composed over many centuries, they are believed to be over 4000 years old!
Now you must be wondering, if they did not have devices or machines to record voices, how did the verses get passed on to the next generation? Well, the Vedas were verbally transmitted, using elaborate and specific memory techniques. The Vedas were transmitted authoritatively through an oral tradition in a sampradaya, which involves a guru passing the knowledge to a shishya (student), or a father to his son. This tradition, embodied by a living teacher, is said to have been started by the Vedic rishis who heard the primordial sounds. While written books or manuscripts cannot convey the complete meaning and the correct intonation of the chants, this tradition continued to teach the correct pronunciation of the sounds and explain hidden meanings.
The Puranas are a collection of mythological and legendary stories that relate to Hindu gods, goddesses, the creation, and the destruction of the world. Puranas focus on mythology, genealogy, and cosmology. In all, there are 18 major or great Puranas, called the Maha Puranas, and 18 minor Puranas, known as the Upa Puranas, with over 4,00,000 verses in all. The content is highly inconsistent across the Puranas, and each Purana has survived in the form of numerous manuscripts. While the Vedas focus on spiritual knowledge and the performance of rituals, the Puranas emphasise more on storytelling and entertainment.
The Puranas link the gods to men in a general context and in a devotional (bhakti) or religious context. The Puranic literature follows a general pattern, starting with an introduction, and the description of a future devotee as a person who is ignorant about god but is curious to know. This is followed by the devotee learning about the god, which starts the spiritual realisation of the person. The text then describes instances of God's grace which starts to convince and convert the devotee, leading him to develop devotion to the god. Finally, the devotion of the learner is rewarded by the god, appreciating which the devotee further performs actions to express their continued devotion.