Chanting God’s Name versus chanting a mantra

1. Introduction to chanting the Name of God versus chanting a mantra

Many people have been fascinated with the concept of a mantra and very often it is used synonymously with chanting the Name of God. As both are based on repeated chanting of a letter, word, mantra or sentence, one can easily be mistaken for the other. However, from the viewpoint of spiritual science, they both differ in many ways and in this article we compare chanting the Name of God versus chanting of a mantra.

2. Definition of a mantra

There are many definitions of the word mantra that explain its various spiritual nuances. Generally speaking, mantra means a syllable, sound, word, or a set of words representing a spiritual reality or an aspect of God. By chanting a mantra, one can protect oneself or achieve a specific goal. While repeating a mantra one has to observe certain rules, restrictions and regulations. This is an important aspect of a mantra and the spiritual Path of Mantra (Mantrayoga).

3. Definition of  Chanting the Name of God

Chanting is simply repeating God’s Name. Unlike chanting a mantra, it does not require any rules, restrictions and regulations as it can be done anytime and anywhere. The objective of chanting the Name of God is for one to grow spiritually by imbibing the Divine energy inherent in God’s Name. Along with this, it is a powerful measure to protect from negative energies that can put obstacles in one’s spiritual journey.

Using the table below, we have compared chanting the Name of God versus chanting a mantra.

Chanting the Name of God and Mantra

Footnotes:

  1. Refer to the article explaining resolve (sankalpa) as one of the powers in the universe.
  2. On the Internet or in different books, we come across various mantras that are suggested for some specific purpose. So we choose some in order to gain specific benefit by it. However, if a mantra is not suggested by a Saint or a Guru, no benefit or very limited benefit is acquired.
  3. Different mantras need to be recited a certain number of times to derive some specific benefit from it (like 108 times, or 1080 etc.). If we do not count while reciting it, then no benefit is acquired.
  4. The effect of each mantra is felt due to one or a combination of the underlying functional Absolute Cosmic Principles (Panchatattva). If a mantra is not repeated properly or it is repeated as per our liking; we can be harmed through that Cosmic Principle. For example, if the mantra associated with the Absolute Cosmic Fire Principle (Tējtattva) is repeated as per our wish; heat in our body can increase causing harm to some bodily functions or organs.

4. Chanting as the most conducive spiritual practice for the times we live in now

eras

For each era, God has prescribed a certain spiritual practice which people can do more easily in that specific era. Our lives today greatly differ from the times when people could repeat mantras and observe all rules, restrictions and regulations needed for obtaining benefit from them. Due to our hectic lifestyles and other factors such as the spiritual impurity in the environment around us, there are limitations to spiritual growth by following the other paths of spiritual practice like Path of Meditation (Dhyanyoga) for long hours; Path of Ritualistic Worship (Karmakānḍa) etc. Thus, chanting has been advised by the spiritually evolved and Saints as the most conducive path of spiritual practice for the current era of Kaliyug as it is in accordance with the 6 basic principles of Spirituality and helps us to progress spiritually faster.

5. Summary

  • As both chanting the Name of God and chanting a mantra are based on repeated chanting of a letter, word, mantra or sentence, one can easily be mistaken for the other. However, there are many differences between the two paths. The most noticeable difference is the higher level of restrictions that are required to be followed in the case of chanting a mantra.
  • Both chanting the Name of God and a mantra provide avenues for spiritual growth. However, of the two, chanting the Name of God is recommended as the spiritual practice that is most conducive for spiritual growth in the current era.
  • Unless a Saint or a Guru has specifically told us to chant a mantra, SSRF recommends the spiritual practice of chanting the Name of God as it will help us to grow faster spiritually.