There are no rules regarding the chanting of mantras.
But there a few traditional recommendations…
108 recitations a day for 40 days
Try as I might I can’t find anywhere the reason for 40 days.
40 days, however, does seem to crop up over a variety of spiritual traditions: Jesus was in the desert for forty days and forty nights. Noah’s ark was built to save the animals from the floods that came after forty days and forty nights of rain. Forty days seems to be the minimum time needed for the manifestation of lasting change.
As for 108 recitations, again I can find no authoritative account. It is, however, an interesting number, in that it all boils down to the number 9:
- 1+0+8 = 9
- 108 divided by 2 = 54: 5+4 =9
- Half of 54 is 27: 2+7 = 9
I’m not a great one for numerology but the relationships between the numbers are a bit neat.
Today is the 40th day of a mantra I’ve been chanting. It’s the fifth such 40 day practice I’ve completed. The mantra: “Om papa nashinye namaha” is to do with a Hindu female deity called Lalita and, like all 40 day practices I’ve undertaken, it’s been interesting and ultimately beneficial. Saying ‘goodbye’ to this mantra this morning was sadly sweet.
I had a real sense of gratitude for the deepening of my understanding regarding the subject matter of this mantra formula and a general sense of accomplishment.
There are mantras ‘for’ any number of purposes. In doing a 40 day practice one opens oneself up to the implications contained within that mantra in terms of how it relates to oneself as an individual. It is not always comfortable or easy to, in effect, go digging around inside oneself for deeper understanding and, hopefully, some kind of resolution. But mantras are safe, gentle and positive. Chant them with a goodly heart and you will benefit 🙂