Thursday, March 2, 2017

Chanting the Names of God

The spiritual practice of chanting the name or names of God exists across all devotional faith traditions. In Hinduism and Yogic practice this is called Japa. The Muslim practice of Dhikr is very similar to japa. Both these practices use the names of God and short prayer mantras in a continuous recitation to bring the devotee more fully into the awareness and presence of the Divine. Catholics who pray the rosary, reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary prayers are engaging in a similar practice, but japa and dhikr focus more on the actual names of God with fewer prayer words.

If this is your first introduction to chanting God's names, there is no need to delve deeply into its history, especially across the many faith traditions. All you need to know is that you should chant the names of God which resonate the most with you, from your particular background. If the topic is of interest to you, you can find more history and details here.

You can sing or chant God's name out loud if you are not disturbing other people around you, yet most of the time it may be easier to silently chant the name to yourself as you perform routine tasks throughout the day. If you meditate or practice contemplative prayer, singing or chanting God's name first is a beautiful way to open yourself to a richer experience.

Since we are now in the period of Lent, if you are Christian and would like to chant the name of the Christ in Hebrew, you may chant: Yeshuah Hamaschiach, Yeshuach Kadosh! (Jesus the Messiah, Holy Jesus) How to pronounce it; yesh-oo-a ha-ma-shee-a.

A more universal chant is Allah, Jehovah, Rama, Sa ta na ma, which you can listen to in this song by the Sikh musician Snatam Kaur, in the video above.

And above is a Muslim chant of the name of Allah, a Dhikr chant:

Here is a chant of Holy and names of God in Hebrew, Adonai Elohim Tz'va'ot, and Yeshua:

The names of God can be a real stumbling block for many who believe that there is only one name for God, or that people are never worthy enough to utter God's name, or that too many mistakes can be made in doing so, or, or, or..... The essential truth is that when we sing out or cry out to God with a pure heart and a pure intention, this is what matters, and our words and thoughts in this direction can only bring us closer to God.

Words and names are powerful, but without the proper intention behind them they become meaningless.

Chanting the names of God with pure intention will clear away mental fog, balance our emotions, instill peace and joy within us and keep us on a righteous path.

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