When you throw a pebble into a still lake, it produces circular ripples. In the same way, when you repeat a mantra over and over again, the sound force gathers momentum and creates vibrations in the ocean of the mind.– Kundalini Tantra (2002) by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Mantras are a popular and documented method of encouraging the rising of Kundalini, with mantras being a sound or series of sounds whose vibrations have physical, spiritual, or psychic potency when recited, be this in speech or thought.
So, to help you to experience the benefits of kundalini mantras, in this article, we’ll be looking at:
- The importance of mantras in Kundalini yoga
- Complementary practices for Kundalini mantras
- 3 foundational kundalini mantras & how to use them
Finding Guidance For Your Kundalini Mantras
Experiencing the benefits of mantras is not as simple as just repeating the sounds.
Instead, guidance is required to find the appropriate mantra for your specific needs, to understand its meaning, connect with its intention, and know which complementary practices to perform to prepare the body and mind to receive the full benefits of a mantra.
And with so many mantras written in Sanskrit, reaping the benefits also requires that we practice it regularly, each time correctly pronouncing each sound to generate the specific resonance and frequencies believed to carry positive effects.
Additionally, performing complementary practices can help prepare and fortify the body and mind to receive the full benefits of each mantra.
The importance of mantras in Kundalini yoga
Each is explained with clear and direct instructions on the yogic and tantric techniques involved in each method and how they can be combined for particular purposes, with the writings on Kundalini mantras informing this article (I thoroughly recommend the book!)
These methods are:
- Awakening by birth
- Aushadhi (herb science)
- Raja yoga
- Kriya yoga
- Tantric initiation
As shown above, mantras are the second recognized method of encouraging the rising of Kundalini, and in fact, the use of mantras and Kundalini yoga are integrally intertwined.
In traditional philosophy, the practice of using mantras in Kundalini is grounded in the principle of Naad – the fundamental essence of all sound – a word that shares its root with nadis, the energetic pathways in the body through which kundalini energy travels.According to this view, every sound possesses a unique vibrational frequency that resonates with the body and mind on a deep level. By chanting mantras, individuals can access a universal vibration and harmonize themselves with the natural rhythms of the cosmos.
Each mantra is believed to possess a distinct significance and energy, and their repetition enables practitioners to channel particular powers within themselves.
This fosters a deep bond between the individual and the universe, cultivating a sense of alignment and spirituality.
Preparation & Complementary Practices for Kundalini Mantras
Across much yogic philosophy, the effectiveness of kundalini mantras is believed to be maximized in combination with certain practices. The three most common are outlined below:
#1: Karma Yoga
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, amongst many yogic leaders, emphasizes the importance of practicing karma yoga for spiritual growth and maintenance.
Even if you practice austerity, mantra repetition, herb use, pranayama, and tantric initiation perfectly, not following the path of karma yoga will hinder your progress eventually. This is true even in cases of those having awakened kundalini from birth.
This is because karma yoga is believed to be necessary in order to rid the mind and body of our samskaras (positive or negative mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints that lead to our biases and create impurities in our minds).
Seclusion away from active life and relationships is recommended for anyone truly seeking the awakening of kundalini, to protect against distractions that may lead to doubts, temptations, or negative emotions that can misdirect or implicate the rising process.
As Saraswati writes:
“Mixing with people . . .create[s] crosscurrents of love, hatred, infatuation, likes and dislikes, restlessness, worry and anxiety, desires and passions. Therefore, if you are practicing a lot of sadhana or you are facing the awakening of kundalini, do not have very much interaction with people. Then you will be spared a lot of mental turmoil.”Swami Satyananda Saraswati
When pursuing awakening through mantras, periods of semi-seclusion (abstaining from sexual and platonic intimate relationships) and total seclusion are advised.
The latter need only happen twice a year, slowly progressing up from one, to three to nine days as your practice matures.
According to yogic philosophy, food and drink items have a combination of ultimate essences (gunas) which, different from vitamins or minerals, nourish our thoughts and nervous system in subtle, energetic ways. One of these is sattva.
“When the thoughts are fed with sattva, they are more refined and pure, and one is able to live in higher consciousness”. For this reason, a sattvic diet with occasional periods of fasting is recommended to complement the effectiveness of kundalini mantras.
Some foods or eating habits can put pressure on our nervous and digestive systems, which are already thought to be undergoing physiological changes during Kundalini processes. This digestive burden can prevent us from extracting all the sattva from our food.
3 Kundalini Mantras & How to Use Them
#1: Bija Mantra
A Bija mantra, also referred to as Beej mantra, is a short, single-syllable mantra, with the word comes from Sanskrit and meaning “seed”. It’s believed that these mantras contain the essential energy or “seed” of specific deities, energies, elements, chakras and more.
Since they are primarily energetic in nature, Bija mantras usually do not have a direct translation, and can be chanted individually or as part of longer mantras.
Bija Mantra Sanchalana Meditation
The practice of Bija Mantra Sanchalana involves mentally repeating the bija mantra of each chakra, one after the other, whilst simultaneously moving the awareness through each, with the goal of focusing on and awakening the chakras.
As mentioned above, all energies, elements, deities etc. have their own bija mantra. The bija mantras for each chakra are as follows:
- Lam – Muladhara (Root Chakra)
- Vam – Svadhishthana (Sacral Chakra)
- Ram – Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)
- Yam – Anahata (Heart Chakra)
- Ham – Vishuddha (Throat Chakra)
- Om – Ajna (Third Eye Chakra)
- Om – Sahastrara (Crown Chakra)
- Sit in a comfortable position, such as siddhasana or virasana, with your back straight and eyes closed. It’s important to maintain stillness throughout the practice.
- Next, focus your attention on mooladhara chakra, then repeat the mantra lam mentally once and try to feel the vibration at mooladhara chakra.
- After a few breaths and vibrations, move up to the swadhisthana chakra, and repeat the mantra vam mentally, again feeling the vibration at that point.
- Repeat this, moving up through all of the chakras and repeating their respective Bija sound.
- When complete, return to the beginning, the mooladhara, and begin the next round, moving your awareness from one center to the next focusing on the vibrations at each point. Complete 9 rounds if possible.
#2: Panj Shabad – Saa Taa Naa Maa
Popularised in the West by Yogi Bhajan, Panj Shabad is the name of a foundational kundalini meditation, known as kirtan kriya. Panj means five, and describes the five primal sounds of the Universe expressed in the mantra (SSS, TTT, NNN, AAA and MMM.)
The meaning attributed to these five sounds varies in different places and traditions, and some practitioners don’t attribute any meaning to the words at all, using the mantra simply for the power of its sonic vibrations.
However, the sounds are most commonly translated as the following:
- Sa — birth, genesis, the totality, and Infinity of the cosmos
- Ta — life, the emergence of form and existence in Infinity
- Na — death and transformation, the transition from form back to Infinity
- Ma — rebirth, regeneration and consciously experiencing the Infinite
By stimulating our kundalini, the meaning and vibration of the Panj Shabad mantra are believed to have a powerful impact on our brain, encouraging the balancing of our hemispheres, helping to unlock awareness, intuition and fulfilled purpose.
Kirtan Kriya Meditation – How To:
- Begin seated in a comfortable position such as sukhasana with a straight spine (or in a chair with feet flat on the ground). The chin should be slightly tucked toward chest to form a light neck lock while the wrists rest on the knees with arms and elbows straight.
- Preparing with a few cleansing breaths, begin to chant Saa, Taa, Naa, Maa, spending about one second per syllable and correlating each syllable to its corresponding mudra:
- Repeat the mantra 3 times, first chanted aloud, then whispered, and then silently, before the whole sequence is reversed and repeated again.
#3: Siri Gaitri Mantra – Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung
“Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung” is a powerful healing mantra, used for regenerating and balancing the body, mind, and spirit.
Each syllable is believed to have a particular healing effect on specific parts of our bodies and minds, and when chanted together in a specific way, they form a mantra that amplifies these physical and emotional healing properties.
The first four syllables, “Ra Ma Da Sa,” correspond to the sun, moon, earth, and infinity, respectively, and when meditated on are believed to connect us with the healing energies of these celestial bodies.
The first time we repeat Sa, we acknowledge the impersonal infinity of all things in the cosmos. The second time, we recognize the impersonal infinity within us.
Say is the personal embodiment of the totality and infinity of experience; the embodiment of a divine “Thou.”
So describes the personal sense of merging our sense of individual identity with something greater, more infinite than our finite ego.
Hung describes how this infinite vibration and energy of the universe creatively manifests into all of its various forms, such a show it takes form of our human bodies, as trees, love, fear – basically anything we perceive as ‘real’ or ‘tangible’.
Together, this mantra can thus be translated as ‘sun, moon, earth, infinity, I embody Thou’
- Begin seated in a comfortable position such as sukhasana with a straight spine (or in a chair with feet flat on the ground). The chin should be slightly tucked toward the chest to form a light chin lock (see bandhas).
- Next, tuck your elbows on either side of the torso, rest your forearms a few inches above and parallel to your thighs, or rest them on your thighs if this feels too strenuous to hold for the duration of the meditation. Either way, keep your palms facing up, and try to keep your palms relaxed and flat during the meditation.
- Once your body is in the correct position, begin to chant one complete cycle of the entire mantra per breath, spending about one second per syllable. Then deeply inhale and repeat (note that Hung should not be drawn out. Instead, it should be spoken with force and clipped).
If you’ve enjoyed this article on Kundalini Mantras, why not check our other guides on Kundalini below?