Chanting or repetition of sacred sounds is universal in all religions. In Sanskrit, these sounds are called मन्त्र mantras, and their repetition is called जप japa.
"When phonetic combinations are made with wisdom, mantras are produced. Therefore, a mantra is a wise combination of letters whose sounds determine spiritual, psychic, and also physical effects." —Samael Aun Weor, The Divine Science
The effects of mantras are produced by the action of consciousness, not by the vibration of the physical matter in the throat. Therefore, someone can repeat a mantra a million times, but if they do it unconsciously, without paying attention to what they are doing, they will get no result. On the other hand, someone who knows how to be conscious of using the mantra can use it one time — even silently — and create enormous change.
Hand in hand with this is chastity: a person who conserves and transmutes their sexual energy will have immense power in their words (including mantras), while someone who fornicates will not.
Should Mantras be Spoken Aloud or Silent?
"...the verb is of triple pronunciation and that it endows three norms: verbal, mental, and conscious. One can articulate with the creative larynx, one can vocalize with his thought, and one can vocalize with the superlative consciousness of the Being." –Samael Aun Weor, Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic
"There are three ways that one learns to use a mantra, to repeat prayers or sounds. They are quite simple: aloud, quietly, or silently.
- Vaikhari Japa: verbal, loud
- Upamshu Japa: whispered or hummed
- Manasika Japa: mental, silent, without moving." –the lecture Yoga of Devotion
“The fruits of whispered japa are a thousand times more powerful than the verbal japa, and the fruits of the silent, mental japa are hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than the verbal japa. Mental japa can even be kept up while at work.” –Swami Sivananda
Consider the effect you are seeking: if the mantra you are using is intended to affect your astral body, then the physical vibration is not as important as the astral vibration, so you should focus on the mantra internally rather than physically. If the mantra is intended to affect the mind, the consciousness, or a chakra, then it is logical that one should be seeking to place the power of the mantra in the appropriate dimension. If you are using a mantra hoping to leave your physical body behind, then one should not be focused on the physical sounds, sensations, or body! This is logical. Thus, those who use mantras aloud while focusing only on the physical world may not reach the goal they seek.
The Sounds of Mantras
Generally speaking, the sounds in mantras are pronounced using the ancient roots (Latin, Sanskrit, etc):
- I: as the ee in "tree"
- E: as the eh in "they"
- O: as the oh in "holy"
- U: as the u in "true"
- A: as the ah in "father"
- M: extended as if humming, "mmmmm"
- S: extended like a hiss, "sssss"
- CH: if the word is Latin, pronounced as k. If the word is Hebrew, pronounced as a scrape in the back of the throat, as in "Bach"
- G: in most mantras, G is pronounced as in “give”
Examples of Mantras Spoken by Samael Aun Weor
- The vowel I • Clairvoyance, middlebrow, note TI
- The vowel E • Occult ear, larynx, note SOL
- The vowel O • Intuition, heart, note FA
- The vowel U • Telepathy, solar plexus, note MI
- The vowel A • Memory of past lives, lungs, note LA
- Aum Chivatum E
- Fa Ra On
- La Ra
- Om Mani Padme Hum (Om Masi Padme Hum)
- Tai Re Re Re
Examples of Mantras Spoken by Others:
- Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Swaha
- Kandil Bandil R
- Om Tat Sat Om
- Ra-om Ga-om