How to chant and various methods of chanting

spiritual progress


1. How to chant – According to the organ

  • A. The body: Writing down The Lord’s Name. The advantage of this is that chanting occurs through all the three media – the hands, eyes, and the mind. When the notebooks on which The Lord’s Name is written are kept in the house, it helps both to purify the house and to maintain its purity.

  • B. The speech (Vaikhari)

  • C. The mind

2. How to chant – According to the mode of speech (vani)

2.1 Vaikhari

Chanting done aloud, with effort

  • A. The benefits to oneself.

    1. In the primary stage chanting aloud facilitates concentration on chanting.

    2. One also derives benefits of pranayam.

  • B. The benefits to others

    1. A sattvik (sattva predominant) spiritual emotion (bhav) can be generated in the minds of those who hear the chanting.

    2. The sound waves help to make the atmosphere sattvik.

  • C. The possible distress to others: It can pose as an obstacle to others’ thinking and spiritual practice.

  • D. The limitations: Since the chanting is aloud, the mind cannot attain the thoughtless state.

2.2 Madhyama

The Madhyama mode refers to chanting which occurs automatically. It is so named as it is the intermediate stage between the Vaikhari and Pashyanti modes.

2.3 Pashyanti


Pashyanti is derived from the root word ‘pashya’ from Sanskrut which means ‘to see’. The chanting akin to that of the seers who have the knowledge of the past, present and future is called Pashyanti.

2.4 Para

This itself is referred to as Omkar or adibija (the primal seed). In the Para mode of speech chanting ceases as non-duality (advait) is achieved with chanting.

2.5 Comparison of chanting in the four modes of speech

  Vaikhari Madhyama Pashyanti Para
1. The stage of the
    seeker practising
Preliminary Intermediate Advanced Ultimate
2. Chanting Chanting is done
only in the spare
time after doing
all the daily
The awareness
that chanting is
as important as
all other tasks
is present
Doing other
chores only if
time permits
after doing
Absent since
the one
chanting and
the Name
chanted blend
into one.
3. When does
    chanting occur?
When there is
no thought,
action or
Initially: when
activities like
travelling in a
bus or train, etc
When doing
mental tasks
like reading
watching TV
Initially: when
reading or
doing official
work, that is
when doing
mental tasks.
Once this is
occurs even
in sleep.
Absent since
the one
chanting and
the Name
chanted blend
into one.
4. Efforts

efforts are
necessary (one
is unable to
chanting without
a tool)*

Not required [
chanting occurs
automatically at
its own pace.
This itself is
(Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
5. Duration for
    which it occurs
    during the day.
Few minutes Few hours Continuous (Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
6. Speech As usual As much as
Only related to
7. The bodies
The physical
body and the
conscious mind
The subtle and
causal bodies
The supra-
causal body
(Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
8. The site in the
Tongue Throat Muladhar to
Navel (The
seat of the
embodied soul
9. The spiritual
    level (%) at
    which chanting
35-50 50-70 70-99 (Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
10. The actions Average There is a
desire to do
only good
Good deeds
occur automa-
tically. There
is detachment
inspite of
living in society
Beyond action
(karma) and
11. Who does the
    chanting? Who
    blends with the
The conscious

The subconsc-
ious mind

Initially: The
Later: The
soul (jiva)
The ego
(Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
12. Nature of the
Word consisting
of letters along
with the meaning
(manifest form
of the word)
Initially: Word
devoid of
Sound (unma-
nifest form of
words) Present
at the creation
of the universe

In the form of
meaning or
Bliss or eight
bhav) genera-
ted from
meaning. It is
in the form of
a wave.

In the form of
meaning, that
is serenity
13. The super-
     conscious state
Initially: Absent
Savichar Sanand and
14. In which state
    does chanting
Waking Waking and
dream and
deep sleep [
this is also
called the sup-
state of the
Name (Nam
(Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
15. The centre for
    chanting in the
Absent Begins to get
Is established (Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).

16. The influence
    of the centre for
    chanting in
    comparison to
    other centres in
    the subconsci-
    ous mind.

    — Less More The other
centres are
either insigni-
ficant or totally
17. Other impres-
    sions on the
Many Less Few Very few or
18. Other thoughts
    in the mind
    during chanting
    (the number of
    thoughts reduce
    in proportion to
    the development
    of the centre for
Many Less Absent (Blending of
the Name
and the one
chanting it).
19. The
Tama Raja Sattva Beyond the
three compon-

* A tool means a particualar place, time, mala, seat, bath, insense, Sadguru’s photo, chanting loudly, company of seekers, silence, good health, no problems in worldly life, etc.

The four modes of speech and time: The Vaikhari mode of speech has the restrictions of the three dimensions of time (past, present and future). Later, this gradually reduces and recitations of the Pashyanti become unidimensional. Some evolved seekers in their usual state say that they performed the Mahagayatri purashcharan, (that is chanting 24 lakhs of the Gayatri mantra) in the morning. The listener may find this odd and label them as eccentric. The reason for this feeling, is that performing a purashcharan which normally takes 6 months at the rate of ten hours per day, in just six hours, is next to impossible. It is only natural that a seeker claiming to have performed a mahapurashcharan in 6 hours or in 6 minutes should be considered eccentric by an average person. However the very concept that these seekers could perform such a purashcharan in the Pashyanti or Para modes [there is non-duality (advait) in the Para mode of speech] is far beyond the imagination of the average individual. Of late, the concept of dimensions such as three dimensional, two dimensional, unidimensional and dimensionlessness are gradually unfolding before modern science. One routinely experiences the miracle when the mind in the three dimensional waking state enters the unidimensional dream state. For instance when one dozes even for half a minute during a spiritual discourse (kirtan) one has a reverie that one is being felicitated in a ceremony, by a crowd. These are common phenomena experienced in hardly thirty seconds. Had these events occurred in the waking state it would have taken a minimum of twelve hours or so. Such is the achievement of Pashyanti.

The more progressed the state the less is the proportion of dimensions. The proportion of dimensions of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadev is so infinitesimally reduced that thousands of our yugs (eras) elapse in a time which is equivalent to the blinking of Their eyelids.’

3. How to chant and Methods of chanting – According to the types

The method of
Verbal Upanshu Mental
1. Pronouncing Loud enough for
others to hear
Uttered with slight
movement of the
tongue and lips so
that one is able to
hear it oneself
Absent. Chanting
occurs in the
mind. The inner
vision and subtle
sense organs of
hearing are aware
of the words.
2. Relation to
    external air
is made with the
help of external
Minimal Absent
3. Contribution
    of the mind
Present. There is
a difference
between the
word and its
The mind concen-
trates on the deity
of the mantra.
There is also an
attempt to
understand the

There is concen-
tration on the
meaning of the
mantra and there
is also a firm
relationship bet-
ween the word
and the meaning.
Later, one expe-
riences nonduality

4. The
    mode of
    speech in
Vaikhari Madhyama Pashyanti
5. Use To the primary
For rituals of
Shanti, Pushti,
spiritual practice
done with expect-
ation (Sakam) etc.
For spiritual
practice without

* This mode (vani) is also used for a majority of negative acts such as abhichar (jaran, maran, etc.)

According to the quote, ‘उपांशु स्‍यात्‌ शतगुण: ।’ (from Manusmruti 2:86) with upanshu chanting one acquires results a hundred times more than those obtained with chanting in the verbal mode.The benefits from mental chanting are significantly more than those obtained with upanshu, as the more subtle the Name, the more is its effectiveness. The difference in the energy generated from audible chanting (Vaikhari or verbal) and that of inaudible sound will be understood from the following example. The radiance generated from chanting in the audible mode for thirty years will suffice to heat one glass of water upto its boiling point. As against this, a mere thirty seconds of inaudible chanting gives the same results.


‘Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga) and Path of Mantra (Mantrayoga)’, published by Sanatan Sanstha.