1. OM (AUM)
As described in the Meditation section, OM is said to be the primordial sound that was present at the creation of the universe. As such, it has no translation. It is used in many mantras, but can be a powerful mantra in its own right. To be used properly, it must be repeated silently on the inbreath, in the following manner, using its four component sounds:
1. Aaaaa (starting from the navel)
2. Uuuuu (rising through the chest)
3. M (rising to the mouth)
4. Mmmmm (through the lips)
The fourth sound -- the Mmmmm through the lips -- is known as a seed sound and is as just as important as the other sounds.
2. SO HAM
This mantra means "I am That" in the sense of "I am God". Obviously it reflects a philosophy in which we are all seen as inseparable from God, not a dualistic philosophy in which the world is separate from God. It must be repeated silently and synchronised with the breathing: "SO" on the inbreath and "HAM" on the outbreath.
3. SHIVA MANTRAS
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
(pr. OM NAH-MAH SHI-VAH-YAH)
This is the basic Shiva mantra. It means, roughly, "Om and salutations to Shiva." Shiva is here used as a name for God. It is generally most effective when synchronised with the breathing. I have found the most effective way to use it is to repeat OM on the inbreath and NAMAH SHIVAYA on the outbreath.
It is also possible to strengthen this mantra by adding the "seed sounds" Shrim and Klim. Shrim is the seed sound for the abundance of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Klim is the seed sound for attracting something to yourself. The mantra then becomes:
OM SHRIM KLIM NAMAH SHIVAYA
This version has two advantages: it covers the material as well as the spiritual, and it acknowledges the feminine principle (represented by Lakshmi) as well as the masculine (represented by Shiva).
The Sanskrit character for OM.
4. DURGA MANTRAS
The goddess Durga (pr. Door-gah) has been portrayed as a warrior goddess associated with fire and catharsis. She is seen as a symbol of the Great Feminine principle and as the great Mother Goddess who may provide protection.
OM DUM DURGAYEI NAMAHA
(pr. OM DOOM DOOR-GA-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra can be used as an appeal to the great Mother Goddess for her protection. It can be used in general circumstances where some degree of protection is desired, for oneself or for others.
OM EIM HRIM KLIM CHAMUNDAYEI VICCHE NAMAHA
(pr. OM IME HREEM KLEEM CHAH-MOON-DAH-YAY VEE-CHEE NAR-MAR-HAR)
Like the previous mantra, this mantra is said to provide protection, but is meant for more drastic and extreme situations. It can be used to protect oneself or others, and is said to also provide blessings of creativity and good fortune.
Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom. She presides over all forms of study, learning and creativity;she is creative inspiration as well, and particularly relates to writing, poetry and speech.
OM BRAHMA JNANAYEI NAMAHAH
(pr. OM BRAR-MAR YAR-NAR-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra can especially be used by anyone involved in the study of philosophy and mysticism. It develops the intellect and creative intelligence, developing the student's capacity to cope with and comprehend great ideas.
VEDANAM MATRAM PASYA MATSTHAM, DEVIM SARASWATI
(pr. VAY-DAR-NARM MAH-TRARM PARSH-YAH MART-SHTARM, DAY-VEEM SAR-RAR-SWAH-TEE)
This mantra is said to be particularly useful for those studying religion and scripture. It enhances their capacity for insight and understanding on a spiritual level, rather than an academic one.
Radha was the consort of Krishna, the eighth Avatar (incarnation) of the god Vishnu. In time, the depictions of Radha developed to the point where she was seen as being one with Krishna. In Tantric literature, Radha was the embodiment of of spiritual love and "the embodiment of devotion to God."
OM RADHA KRISHNAYA NAMAHA
(pr. OM RAR-DAR KRISH-NAR-YAR NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra can be used to enhance and develop a relationship between two people, with a view to making it more loving and caring. It can be used by one person in the relationship or both.
7. AHAM PREMA
(pr. AR-HUM PRAY-MAH)
This mantra can be used to develop your capacity to love as much as you possibly can. It is said to transform you into an emanation of divine love.
Another goddess representing the Great Feminine principle, Lalita is also known as Mahadevi (Great Goddess). Her feminine power can be appealed to in virtually any kind of situation.
OM BHOGINYEI NAMAHA
(pr. OM BOW-GIN-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra can be used to combat depression by stimulating the kundlini Shakti, which is said to provide the inherent energy of the words in the mantra. This energy helps to rid the mind of depression.
OM NISHKA MAYEI NAMAHA
(pr. OM NEESH-KAH MAR-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra can be used to rid the mind of unwanted desires. To prepare for the use of this mantra, one is supposed to start by framing the intended results in one's mind, and then purge one's mind of the intention when actually repeating the mantra.
Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance and good fortune. she attends to our material needs in general, but can also bring fortune and abundance of a spiritual kind. We can appeal to her whenever we need help in these areas. She was represented on early Indian coins and was associated with Kubera, the god of wealth. Lakshmi is sometimes depicted on doors as a way of bringing good luck to the household.
OM SHRIM MAHA LAKSHMIYEI SWAHA
(pr. OM SHREEM MAR-HAR LUCK-SHMEE-YAY SWAR-HAR)
This mantra can be used whenever we feel we need a dose of good fortune and luck, whether material or spiritual. It is said to have the ability to bring good fortune and open up unexpected possibilities.
OM SHRI DHANVANTRE NAMAHA
(pr. OM SHREE DARN-VARN-TRAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This is the healing mantra, based on an appeal to the celestial healer, Dhanvantari, who figures in the Lakshmi story and who gave the Nectar of Immortality to the gods. It can be used to enhance one's own healing skills and performance as a practitioner;or for self-healing, in which it is said to be able to work in many ways to promote healing on all levels: physical, mental or emotional.
Kali is the fierce aspect of the Great Feminine principle; she can be drastic and ruthless, both giving life and destroying it. When she destroys, it is only so that good and truth will triumph. She can look dark and sinister, but she only destroys the negative to make way for the positive.
OM KALIKAYAI NAMAHA
(pr.OM KAR-LEE-KA-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This is the basic Kali mantra, meaning "OM and salutations to Kali". It is for those who want to focus themselves on Kali as their principal spiritual practice.
OM SRI MAHA KALIKAYAI NAMAHA
(pr.OM SHREE MAR-HAR KAR-LEE-KA-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra is the basic Kali mantra strengthened by the words "Sri" (an expression of great respect) and "Maha" (great). It has been said that very few people are initiated into this mantra because of the intensity of its "purgative nature." (This mantra is taken from the book "Meditation and Mantras", by Swami Vishnu-Devananda.)
OM KLIM KALIKA-YEI NAMAHA
(pr. OM KLEEM KAR-LEE-KAR-YAY NAR-MAR-HAR)
This mantra is said to bring rapid and even drastic relief from any situation that is difficult or problematic. The kind of solution attained might not be the kind you would want or envisage, because the effects of the mantra are said to be potentially drastic and unexpected. The results will be right and appropriate for you at the time, although they may not be pleasant in the short run.
OM HRIM SHREEM KLIM ADYA KALIKA PARAM ESHWARI SWAHA
(pr. OM HREEM SHREEM KLEEM AD-YAR KAR-LEE-KAR PAR-UM ESH-WAR-EE SWAR-HAR)
This is known as the Great Fifteen-Syllable Mantra (not counting the Om at the start) and is said to provide a rapid boost to one's spiritual growth, although once again the results may be unexpected and drastic. One should only use this mantra if one is prepared for results that may be quite intense. From personal experience, I can vouch for the power of this mantra.