Note: There are literally tens of thousands of Mantras in Hindu and B uddhism alone, and when we add mantras from many other religions the number grows astronomically. Almost every religion has worship via chanting divine names or reciting mantras, and we arent saying these are the “best”. These are merely some of the most popular that seem to resonate with a lot of people, particulary in western countries. Such a list will always not be right for everyone, what is right for you is what you feel is right. These mantras are a great starting point for exploring your Kirtan and Mantra journey.
Om is one of the most important, popular and sacred hindu Mantras and symbols, and nearly always is chanted first before any other Mantras. It is equally popular among Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Most vedic Mantras contain Om. It the most basic yet most important as it is the source of all Mantras.
It represents soul (atma) and brahman (ultimate truth, para-atma, divine, knowledge). You can chant this Mantra aloud, or internally or meditate on it. It is the most respected and revered word (sound) in hinduism.
2. Gayatri Mantra
Regular chanting of Gayatri Mantra gives wisdom and enlightenment. For a student it is the best Mantra to chant.
“Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat”
Meaning – we meditate on the glory of that being who has produced this universe; may he enlighten our minds.
3. Mahamritanjaya Mantra
This Mantra is dedicated to lord Shiva. it is good for overall health and spiritual enlightenment. Chanting of this Mantra can ward off incoming death, sudden accidents or help with recovery from an illness.
“Om trayambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam
Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan mrityor muksheeya maamritaat“.
Meaning – OM. we worship the three-eyed lord (Shiva) who is fragrant and who nourishes and nurtures all beings. As the ripened cucumber (with the intervention of the gardener) is freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may he liberate us from death for the sake of immortality.
4. Om Namah Shivaya
Dedicated to lord Shiva. one of the most popular Shiva Mantras. easy to chant and pronounce. Very popular with western audiences doing Kirtan in Yoga Studios.
Meaning – adoration (namas) to Shiva
5. Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
This is the main Mantra of Hare Krishna movement and also called as Maha Mantra of Vaishnavas. In last century, it was made very popular by A. C. Bhaktivedanta of ISKON movement.
6. Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
This Mantra is dedicated to lord Vishnu and lord Krishna
meaning – “prostration to Krishna” or “surrender to Krishna” or “salutations to the universal god Vishnu”.
In the Bhagavad Gita, lord Krishna had said that one of the way to attain to divine is to surrender everything to me (or to god) and then I will take care of you or I will make sure that you get out of this cycle of life and death. when you surrender totally then ego is not there. You become egoless and then divine (Krishna) can take roots inside you. then Krishna becomes the charioteer of your life and guides you to the path of moksha (enlightenment)
7. Aum Namo Narayanaya
Dedicated to lord Vishnu.
Meaning – adoration (namas) to Vishnu or Narayan.
8. Aum Shri Ganeshya Namah
Dedicated to lord Ganesh.
Meaning – Aum and salutations to shri Ganesh
9. Aum Kalikayai Namah
Dedicated to goddess Kali.
Meaning – Aum and salutations to (goddess) Kali
10. Aum Hrim Chandikãyai Namah
Dedicated to goddess Chandi
Meaning – Aum and salutations to (goddess) Chandika
11. Aum Hanumate Namah
Dedicated to lord Hanuman.
Meaning – Aum and salutations to Hanuman