Mantra vs Sloka
Sloka and mantra are verses used as prayers and texts in Hinduism. Om is the smallest of Mantras, often used in meditation and recited to bring relaxation and inner calmness. There are many mantras, such as the Gayatri mantra, Mahamritunjaya mantra, and Hare Krishna mantra, which are recited by individuals in their daily lives to get relief from stress. Slokas are also similar to mantras, which can be confusing for those not familiar with Hindu rituals and traditions. This article aims to differentiate between mantras and slokas for those interested in utilizing these ancient means of attaining inner peace and calmness.
A mantra can be a sound or a small or long verse that is recited in a particular manner to appease the deity or attain inner peace and calm. Mantras come from ancient Hindu scriptures known as Vedas and Agamas. They are in the Sanskrit language and cannot be translated or mispronounced, as their spiritual effect is lost or not attained by the person who recites them. Even foreigners who don’t know the meanings of these mantras can chant them to get the same effects that Hindus are believed to achieve from them. Chanting or mantra japa is one of the main forms of performing puja (worship) in Hinduism. Repeating a mantra in fixed numbers is considered auspicious for the worshipper, and different people are recommended 21, 51, or 108 repetitions of a mantra to obtain intended results or benefits.
Sloka is a word that comes from a Sanskrit root that means a song. The origin of slokas is credited to ancient poet Valmiki, who thought of writing in this form to describe events. Valmiki is also credited with being the author of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Slokas are not as ancient as mantras and come from secondary scriptures such as Vishnu Purana or Adi Strotam by Adi Shankaracharya. Reciting a sloka requires understanding their meanings to have the intended beneficial effects.
- Mantras can be a sound, small text, or long composition, whereas slokas are verses only.
- The smallest mantra is OM, while there are very long mantras such as Gayatri mantra and Mahamritunjaya mantra.
- Chanting both mantras and slokas brings inner calm and peace, though sloka chanting requires understanding their meaning, while even those not knowing Sanskrit can have intended benefits through mantra chanting.