Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What to Chant and What not to???

What are we worth chanting??

Prayers is an integral part of many Hindu households. Each family have their ishta devata, the rites, rituals and regular poojas to these deities are even today done with a lot of devotion and diligence  Apart from our ishta devatas, our religion has given us umpteen slokas and mantras that we can chant. One cannot comprehend all this in one birth. Chants of Ganesha ,Vishnu , Shiva,  Lakshmi,  Durga ma, etc. You name the god, they will have endless sahasranamams and songs, bhajans in their list. Out of the endless collection  the Vedas are undoubtedly a strong guiding force to all human life and is one of the most extolled chants. The vibration, the peace, the ecstasy felt during the chant is something which all of us must experience often. The ups and downs in the chant, the tone of chanting, the length of each syllable, etc are all laid down rules to applaud the greatness of the lord. They have profound meaning and answers to all scientific questions. What our "intelligent" scientists discover today due to their years and years of "re-search", our Vedas have all explained from time immemorial. 

But while it is good to know about all these chants, we should be careful about what we should chant and what we should not. Every chant today has become commercial. All the new swamijis, the new era spiritual leaders accept that anything can be learnt by anyone. For example, a grave and common mistake  which many of them are doing today is reciting the Gayathri mantra which is a very very sacred mantra. This is to be chanted only by men who have had the thread ceremony and have got an initiation from the guru i.e. their father or an acharya. Even those who have got initiation,  the Gayathri or any other mantra must be muttered very sofly and not chanted loudly for other to hear. One must keep the count of the chant in his fingers and with his hand covered. This is the kind of secrecy that one must maintain while chanting

To make things worse, we find this being played loudly in temples themselves, published as ring tones. This is a serious offence we are all committing, the repercussions of which, we will surely face.  While a sloka like Ganesha pancharatnam or Vishnu sahasranamama can be chanted without any initiation, a mantra should 100%  initiated through a guru. A guru can be an acharya, father or husband. It will not have any effect if you don't get it from a guru. Worse, if things are absurdly followed like the Gayathri manta, it will have negative effects on us, our family and our well being. They have in-depth meaning without knowing which we should not venture to chant it. Knowing is good but chanting is not advisable. 

Similarly, the vedas, the upanishads are not to be recited by women. These days, we find that there is a change in this too. While several spiritual leaders may argue that women were once upon a time the knower of all vedas and that they too had upanayanam, shastras do not recommend vedas to be chanted by ladies. These chants are to be told with a certain metre. They have certain ups and downs in chanting, the tone while chanting is important, the length of each syllable etc are not suited for chanting by ladies. Some say that it affects the uterus of a woman. Again, just because the world is changing and we talk about women's liberation, it may not particularly apply to the chanting of vedic mantras. Doing what we think is right will NOT make things right. If we do against what is prescribed in the shastras, then it IS wrong. If  a 100 people do it and claim that is it right under the leadership of a spiritual leader,  sorry friends, it will be NOT become right. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

I am not saying this from my intellect as I am not an intellectual. This is all derived from people who know the shastras, vedas, those who have learned the vedas and shastras in the prescribed manner. And Only those people who wish to protect mankind, will speak out the truth, others will just speak to please our convenience.

So please do not chant or encourage chanting of vedic mantras just because all are doing. Specially, the Gayathri because this is the most popular mantra that is getting changed to the whims and fancies of promoters. So, if you see people promoting them in temples, festivals, and other occasions or places, be bold enough to voice your thoughts to them,  try educating them about the ill-effects. By doing this, you are doing drop service to our dharma. Long live sanatana dharma!!!!



  1. There is also some confusion about Vishnu Sahasranama chanting, if ladies can do it or not.. Any helping info on that Vasudha??

  2. The ever popular VSN chanting by Smt.MS Subbalakshmi which has been a virtual guru for 1000s now, was done after reciting the VSN in front of learned vedic scholars and acharyas. It has the stamp of maha periva too. So, if ladies were ineligible for this chant, she would not have done it then. So, is is perfectly OK for ladies to chant the VSN..thanks for bringing this up...