Chanting of Mantras: Invoking the Divine Presence

In many temples and households across India, particularly in the southern regions, one can hear the rhythmic chanting of Sanskrit verses in a structured manner, with a melodious rise and fall in sound. This chanting style is known as Veda Patha. 

In the Vedic tradition, the primal sound is revered as Shabda Brahman or the ‘Word as the Absolute.’ The Maitri Upanishad (VI.22) declares: ‘He who is well versed in the Word-Brahman, attains to the Supreme Brahman.’ Much of the Vedantic literature delves into the significance and usage of sound in spiritual practice. They assert that the entire cosmic creation began with sound.

Mantras, sacred sounds with deep spiritual significance, are employed to transcend the sensual, mental, and intellectual layers of consciousness—all lower strata of awareness—with the aim of purifying the mind and achieving spiritual enlightenment. The Vedanta sutra (4.22) affirms, ‘By sound vibration one becomes liberated,’ underscoring the transformative power inherent in the resonance of sacred sounds.

There are two methods of reciting mantra literature.

  1. One is Veda Patha, or Vedic chanting, which includes various well-structured subsections.
  2. The other is Parayana, which involves the ritual or daily recitation of hymns or mantras. Popular Vedic hymns include Shanti Patha, Purusha Suktam, Narayana Suktam, Durga Suktam, and Sri Rudra Prashna.

Vedic Patha

Veda Patha, or Vedic chanting, encompasses various pathas, or recitations, and represents one of the oldest unbroken oral traditions. In 2003, UNESCO recognized the Vedic chant tradition as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The different pathas or recitation styles enable students to fully memorize the text and master its pronunciation, including the Vedic pitch accent. Initially, students are taught simpler methods like continuous recitation (samhita patha), word-by-word recitation (pada patha) where compounds (sandhi) are separated, and krama patha (words arranged in the pattern of ab bc cd…). Subsequently, they are introduced to the eight more complex recitation styles.


The other tradition of mantra-chanting is known as parayana. It involves the ritual chanting of hymns such as Aditya Hridayam, Vishnu-sahasranama, Lalitha-sahasranama, and other hymns praising various gods and goddesses. 

Among the most renowned parayana texts is the Durga Saptashati (also known as Chandi or Devi Mahatmyam), which praises the glory of the Divine Mother in 700 verses. Millions of devotees widely recite this sacred text across India.

Why Hindu

We, a group of youths born into Hindu families, were raised in the rich culture of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, embracing its cultures and traditions. Post-graduation, recognizing the immense value of our Sanatan Dharma for humanity, we initiated the "Why Hindu" project. With guidance from our elders, we aim to create awareness about Hindu Dharma, delve into Vedic scripture, explore Vedic mantras, and elucidate the significance of festivals. Through this endeavor, we strive to share the profound teachings of our heritage, fostering understanding and appreciation for the timeless principles of Sanatan Dharma.

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