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Mantra Practice

Ganesha with malas
December 28 2009

Many people want to do mantra practice (japa), but do not have mantra initiation. No problem. Here’s how to practice mantra correctly if you do not have initiation. I am including a few MP3 recordings of mantras that you can practice safely and benefit from. There is also a video demonstration of how to count mantras on a mala.

Any of the mantras below may be practiced at any time. However, if you want to receive maximum benefit, you should do mantra japa as a seated practice in the early morning and before you go to sleep also.

Basic Instructions

1. Pick ONE mantra and stick to that.
2. Use a crystal, 108 bead mala. Do not wear the mala as jewelry. Japa malas should be used only for japa.
3. Sit facing East, Northeast or North. You may create an altar. All pictures or murtis (statues) of Gurus and Deities should be placed somewhat higher than eye level.
4. Each session should begin with chanting OM once with awareness at the heart center.
5. Do a minimum of 108 repetitions of the chosen mantra, using the beads to count. The mantras I have recorded here are very short, so doing more than one round should not be hard. In the video below, I give instructions for counting beads the Hindu way.
6. Chant out loud until you feel really in tune with the mantra. This could take a few weeks or months or longer. Then begin chanting more quietly, then in a whisper for some time. Then just mouth the words. Finally, when the mantra is firmly installed in your body and mind, begin chanting mentally only. Now chant one or more mantras on the in breath and one or more on the out breath.
malas7. Finish with abiding in the fruit of your practice. This means sitting quietly after you are done and noticing and enjoying your condition. Abiding is very important. Try to recall and invoke this abiding state during the day when you are not sitting, especially when you are in stressful situations.
8. End your practice by chanting OM and sending out a prayer for the welfare of all teachers, past, present and future, and all beings.

If you do japa practice every day, you will encounter every kind of condition in yourself. Some days you will feel peaceful and expansive. On other days you will feel distracted, anxious, aggravated, scared, and so on. This is normal. Just keep doing the practice. Slowly over time, these tensions will unwind.

It is a mistake to always expect to feel peace or bliss, or to berate yourself or feel you are failing if these do not arise. These attitudes will lead you into fantasy, and/or to stopping the practice. Just keep on no matter what happens and try to relax any judgment about your condition. ;


Please pay attention to the exact pronunciation in the recordings. You can vary the speed of your chanting. If you have a question about doing mantra practice, please leave it in a comment.

OM – the original or first mantra.

OM MA – the primordial Ma mantra.

OM NAMO NARAYANI – Divine Mother or Anandamayi Ma as Narayani – the sustainer of life.

OM NAMAH SIVAYA – the Shiva mantra.


Watch the video to learn how to use a mala