Lesson 5: Writing the Mantra

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Mantra-japa is one of the traditional practices for Mahāśivarātri! Mantra can be repeated silently or out loud. It can be sung or spoken. And, there is also a practice of writing it as you recite - which allows you to see, hear, and feel each letter.

You can repeat Lord Śiva's mantra for a specific amount of time, or you could pick a sacred number of recitations such as 11 or 108.  The traditional belief is that any practices done on this day - especially mantra-japa - are a 1000 times more potent!


In this lesson, you will see how to write Lord Śiva's mantra in Sanskrit.

We used a calligraphy pen and ink, as well as thick organic paper, but you can also use a normal pen and paper. Some people also keep notebooks or journals specifically for their written japa practice.

Ideally, we want to to let the mantra move through our entire being - not just in our fingertips. As you practice, feel it move through your breath, your torso, your entire body... and let the motion of writing emerge from the breath and central channel. Try to keep repeating it softly as you write, so that you can see, hear, and feel mantra.

The focus of this practice is not on outer perfection but on having a rich inner experience. If you mess up, complete it and move on to the next one. This practice is for you - rather than public display - and just as when we do spoken japa, we keep our attention and focus inwards.

The mantra we are writing is Oṃ Namaḥ Śivāya. In Sanskrit, it looks like this: ॐ नम: शिवाय. The video will show you the order of the strokes.


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