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We have selected and edited some beautiful mantras for the ukulele in such a way that the beginner can play them quickly and they are engaging enough for the advanced player.
The ukulele forms the heartbeat and timbre under the melody of the vocals. With this basis you can guide yourself and invite your group to sing along with you. The ukulele is an easy instrument to play and gives mantras a lighter feel than then the harmonium, so mantra singing can easily become a part of your daily yoga, mindfulness or meditation practice. In addition, the chords you play provide guidance to the vocals, making polyphonic singing easier for you.
When you play the ukulele you put it against your belly so that you connect even more with the music. We offer you a variety of mantras, some are modest others are exuberant. There are energy-generating mantras and deepening mantras. With world music and from different yoga movements. Making it virtually impossible to choose 🙂
Below you will find 24 mantras and the Aum voice exercise along with the sheet music that you can download and print. At the bottom of the page you will find general instructions for strums and strumming patterns. Liselotte plays each mantra with a simple vocal strum, a less simple strum and a picking pattern. When do you finger pick and when do you strum a mantra? As a rule, you can keep in mind that if you want people to sing along with you, it is better to strum, because that gives something to hold on to and is inviting. Finger picking a mantra sounds very nice and gives your mantra a romantic feel, but it will invite people to listen to you instead of singing along. So strum when you want to sing together and finger pick a mantra when you play and sing for someone. Alternating is always nice. In the videos we don’t count down but give you time to feel the beat and connect at your own pace. That is how we do it in our live workshops and we recommend that you do that with your own groups.
Play and sing together in your monthly webinar
Every last Sunday of the month from 10.00 – 11.00 in the morning we play and sing together. We play one or more of the 24 mantras. It is therefore useful if you have all the sheet music printed at hand. Then we can see together what we feel like and what is needed. There is room for questions but we also try to answer most of the questions here on this page so you can use the webinar as practice and play time. You can register yourself every month via the button on the right.
NOTE You can register yourself every month by pressing this button. On the last Sunday of the month, just after the webinar, the button links to the next month’s upcoming webinar. The next webinar you can register for is:
Sunday, August 30, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
If you cannot attend one of these webinars live, don’t worry, you will automatically receive a link with the replay after the webinar has ended, which will remain valid for two weeks.
Aum, the primal sound from which everything originated, the source, the creation, the universe. By singing the aum in one and the same pitch, you will get in direct contact with yourself and with the group. You warm up your voice, which opens it further and the longer you sing it, the longer you can make it sound. Everyone decides on their own moment, so that a sound carpet of aums is created and all aums together sound nice and long. Make sure you are in the same rhythm.
Tip: while singing the aum, imagine you’re taking in energy, this way you can make the aum sound longer. Straighten up and let the sound come from the bottom of your pelvis and try to bring your chin to your chest, a bit like yawning, so that your throat opens up. Always try to pronounce it in connection with the source, so that you can connect effortlessly with yourself and your environment and your singing will become more effortless as well.
1. In the light of love
A beautiful mantra and comforting song by Deval Premal, Miten & Manose about the power of love. This mantra sounds best when played very quietly, softly and simple. Make the Em chord easier to play by leaving out the finger position for the G-string fingering and use only 3 fingers. Nice to sing as a lullaby. For yourself or for your child.
2. Ganesha sharanam mantra
You can sing to praise Ganesha, the elephant god who removes obstacles, with this beautiful mantra. Liselotte’s personal favorite hindu God. There’s a tricky B chord in there, but feel free to crack it with the help of Ganesha ? And if not, replace the B chord with the alternative we give you so you can easily skip it and play easier chords . The picking pattern 3-2-1-2 for this mantra makes it beautiful, but don’t be afraid to keep it simple. For more information about finger picking, see below. Jai ganesh!
3. Gayatri mantra
If you have ever been to Bali, you will have heard the children singing the Gayatri mantra in the schoolyard in the morning. The Indian mantra for wisdom and peace, perhaps the mantra of all mantras. We repeat the first and most famous verse of the Gayatri mantra, inspired by the melody of Deva Premal. If this is too low for your voice, use a capo to tune your uke higher or tune your uke a semitone higher G #, C #, F, A # or a whole tone higher A, D, F #, B. We like this mantra the best with the simple strum.
4. Hare Krishna mantra
Or maha mantra as hare krishnas call the mantra itself. Liselotte was once a guest at the Hare Krishna Centre in Belgium and got a slight headache from the shrill bells they use when singing and dancing, not really her cup of tea. But what impressed her a lot was the food. “Cooking is praying,” they said. She has never eaten so well. So if you ever have the opportunity to visit them, be sure to join them at the table! And then do like George Harrison and sing this mantra to honor Krishna (God). You can play this cheerful mantra with the vocal drum and the island strum.
5. Hey ma durga mantra
Oh mother Durga, you are my protector, you are my savior. Ma Durga is the warrior woman with 8 arms, often depicted on a tiger or lion. A real bad ass if you ask us. She is seen as the supreme goddess and symbolizes the divine feminine power, the shakti energy. By singing this mantra it protects you from negative forces and brings peace in times of tumult. Feel for yourself.
6. Om namah shivaya mantra
As a yogi you probably know the shiva energy, the energy of the moon that flows into our body from top to bottom. The story goes that Shiva is always looking for Shakti, who flows into our body from exactly the other side and that when the two find each other, (en)light(enment) is created. This mantra is inspired by a version of Irene Sportel who again inspired her mantra with the version of Jai Uttal. We have made it easier for you. Simply play it with the vocal drum when playing together, or strum it gently for yourself or a loved one.
7. Om shanti mantra
Om shanti, shanti, shanti we pronounce to welcome peace for example after a prayer. It’s a lot like amen. One summer we sat down at a boutique spiritual festival Festival and listened to the beautiful music of urban shaman Jennifer Ann who sang this Om shanti mantra with her guitar. We immediately converted it for the ukulele. On the guitar, Jennifer Ann strums the mantra from low to high. On your uke, the C string is your lowest string so that is where the picking pattern 3-2-1 starts. Even if you stop singing for a while but just strum through, this is great to listen to. And if finger picking is still a bit hard, you can play it softly with the vocal strum.
8. Ra ma da sa mantra
A prayer for healing that you can sing for yourself or others, near or far. The story goes that if you sing the mantra for more than eleven minutes, the effect will be felt. Keep the mantra nice and slow, calm, then you have enough space to sing every word and put the right intention in it. Short meaning of the words:
ra – energy of the sun
ma – energy of the moon
da – energy of the earth
sa – energy of the universe
se – infinite energy
so hum – I am infinite
9. Wahe guru mantra
We are always so happy with this mantra! It has a somewhat Hawaiian swing that’ll make you want to rock or dance right away and it will ring in your head for days. Wahe guru means something like “wonderful teacher” and is used in the kundalini tradition. Play it with the island strum and make it extra swinging with a chuck. If you’re not yet familiar with the chuck, get a hold on our book: https://magic-mantras.com/product/english-edition-book-learn-to-play-the-ukulele-in-a-weekend-were-here-to-get-you-uked/ where you can read all about the chuck on page 117 Play and before you know you will wake up tomorrow with this mantra in your head.
10. The river is flowing
A simple folk song from the native americans that only consists of 2 chords, the A minor and the F chord. Throughout the song, keep your index finger on the 2nd fret top string to make the A minor chord and place your index finger on it for the F chord. Although the other verses are included, it is more convenient to sing only the first verse. This way you don’t have to think about which word comes when and you will see that at a certain point the text will automatically flow, just like the river. A perfect mantra to teach your group to play the ukulele.
11. Sat Narayan mantra
If you haven’t heard yet of Simrit Kaur, head over to Spotify right now to listen to her uniquely beautiful and moody kundalini mantra music with an electric cello and a West African kora. We picked the mantra Sat Narayan, because it is simplified so beautifully with an Em chord, which – although it is a minor chord – always makes us very happy. Play it as slowly as possible, then you have plenty for singing and to make it sound modest but beautiful. Instead of the Bm chord you can easily press down all the strings on the 2nd fret with your index finger like a barré (page 119 in our book). This mantra gives inner peace, helps harmonize the water element and provides “flow”.
12. Ho’oponopono mantra
On the edge of the desert in Morocco where Lot once gave a yoga & singing retreat, a participant told about the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono (pronounce Ho-o-pono-pono). An ancient native way of asking for forgiveness and reconciliation. According to Ho’oponopono, the world as we experience it outside ourselves is only a reflection of our inner world. A bit like a radio broadcast, which you can only receive if you are on a certain frequency. This is also the case with certain situations or experiences that we attract. The great thing about Ho’oponopono is that you can heal these unconscious patterns, programs and memories by giving love, gratitude and forgiveness. This mantra can help you with that.
I love you
I am sorry
Please forgive me
13. Aad guray mantra
Mantra from the kundalini tradition to honor your guru. Your guru is the person or that which takes you from the dark (gu) to the light (ru). This mantra has been performed by different artists, but we have used the version as you know it from Snatam Kaur and Deva Premal. In the video the mantra is played with the island strum and the simple vocal strum. If you want to finger pick this mantra, pick 3-2-1 on every beat.
Tip: sing the last “siri guru” while you are still playing the A chord of the previous sentence.
14. Agua de estrellas
An ode to the water, the water of Pachamama as they like to call Mother Earth South America. A rainbow song with a beautiful meaning. If it doesn’t work immediately in Spanish, you can always try it in English
“In your infinite eyes of water the stars are bathing, mother water of light, water of stars Pachamama you come from heaven
Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse the heart, brilliant water
Heal, heal, heal the heart, blessed water
Calm, calm, calm the heart, water from heaven, mother.”
15. I am light
This mantra or song is on our shortlist. Barbara always asks me to play it and then closes her eyes and relaxes listening to it. The melody is beautiful, but the text even more. The song is about how we are not our thoughts. Or the color of our skin. Or what your family has ever done. I am light. You are light. We all are.
Note: When you switch from one line to the next, you actually start singing on the last beat.
16. Jai gurudev mantra
It is Easter Sunday and there is a post on facebook; an illustration of Jesus with the lyrics of Krishna Dass “By your grace” underneath. When I read the text and see the image of Jesus, a soft melody immediately comes to mind. I quickly grab an uke from the wall and put it together. This is how this mantra came into being, a lot more light-footed than the somewhat heavier original by Krishna Das himself, but that of course also has everything to do with the character of the uke itself. Thank you Krishna Dass and thank you dear lord. Jai jai jai gurudev!
17. Lean on me lullaby
Suddenly, Blanche, who had recently spent the day with us doing the Magic Mantra Experience, found herself in the hospital with her eldest daughter who had broken her foot. While they were waiting for the Emergency Room, she started singing softly “lean on me” to her daughter. For a moment it flashed through her mind “my 13-year old think won’t probably like this”, but she kept on singing and saw her daughter getting calmer. No wonder, because this lullaby makes everything softer. When our friend Janina sang it with us below a big tree at Ecolonie a ecological campsite in France, tears came to our eyes. Because even though we are big, sometimes it is still nice to be rocked and comforted with such a sweet song as this. So use it especially for others who need it, for your grandmother, grandfather, your sweetheart, your children, but especially and mostly for yourself.
18. Moola mantra
In India in the ashram of the Oneness University we sang the moola mantra several times a day and I still sing it regularly. Lot carries the mantra in her heart and therefor it just had to be in this collection of magic mantras.. This mantra, like all those other mantras, has been sung for centuries, which gives this mantra special power. It is like calling someone’s name, after which that person comes to you. That is how it works with mantras. Sing it from within, from your heart and what you ask for will come to you. The moola mantra protects you. Tip: If this version of Deva Premal is too low for your voice, use a capo on the first or second fret or tune uke a semitone higher to G #, C #, F, A # or a whole tone higher to A, D , F #, B.
19. Om namah shivaya mantra
I got goosebumps when I first heard this mantra. It was in the YogaBarn in Ubud in Bali where I went on my bike early in the morning to do yoga. Until then I had never done anything with mantras, and during my yoga training the art was actually to be as quiet as possible. Which is heaven, don’t get me wrong. But when the yoga teacher there in Ubud started reciting this mantra, I got goosebumps everywhere and right there, amidst the green rice fields in the Balinese morning sun, my love for mantras arose.
This version is a real Uked original and the very first of a whole series that followed. Keep it simple and play it with the vocal strum where you strum down on every beat of the four-quarter time, and if you want some variation and a more extensive strum, you play an D-UDU every beat.
20. Om tare mantra
A mantra from the Tibetan Buddhism to honor the Green Tara, the Buddhist goddess and female bodhisattva for compassion, wisdom and inner strength. And the protégé of women. Tara also literally means “savior” and the story goes that when you call on Tara, she immediately comes to you to help you. Play this mantra if you feel anxious and you will feel calmer again soon.
21. Radhe govindha mantra
“After all those quiet mantras, I really feel like I need some hard rock” he said. We know that all too well. In the end everything has to be in balance, so here is a mantra that you can use to get loose and that will bring the energy up. A nice upbeat version of Radhe Govindha with a swinging island strum. Ultimately, you should feel like getting up and dancing.
22. Wahe guru mantra
With this kundalini mantra also called gurmantra, you connect with your soul. At the soul level, there is no distinction between you and the rest of the universe and you are connected to everything and everyone. You are the universe itself and, in this sense, your own guru. The guru within; only you, like the lotus flower, can reach out of the mud to the light, to blossom. Wahe guru, wahe guru, guru wahe. Wahe guru, wahe guru, guru jio; I am connected to the eternal, the infinite. The mantra helps you consciously move to that essence. This mantra is again a Uked original and it has such a nice loop again, a cadence, that it will echo in your head for a long time. Or heart. End with the words Sat Nam at the end of the mantra.
23. Twameva mantra
We sat on the white marble floor of the gigantic temple of Oneness University waiting to see Sri Bhagavan. There were as many as 500 people from all over the world, from at least 30 different nationalities; Argentines, Chinese, Swedes, New Zealanders, Koreans, Americans, and more, all flown in from all corners of the earth and all searching for themselves and answers. The Indian people from the surrounding villages would also come to listen to Bhagavan and honor him with song and dance, and when the doors of the temple opened they burst in, running cheerfully and exuberantly barefoot; beautiful dark women with updos and big white smiles, dressed in saris of what seemed like 100 different colors, with small children on their arms and on their thighs. The energy was ecstatic and tears filled our eyes. We prayed, danced and celebrated together.
If you have ever been to India, you may have experienced for yourself how strong the heart energy is, which is a big difference with the West where we are so often in our heads. After the temple meeting, we sang this mantra, which will bring you back to your heart. One of the most beloved Hindu mantras for light, wisdom and submission to the divine. But apart from any meaning of a mantra, the clearest perception of a mantra is by simply feeling what a mantra does to you.
24. Adi mantra
Ong namo gurudev namo is often used at the beginning of a kundalini practice to connect with your higher self and with the insights of kundalini yoga. This version is light in character in contrast to the heavier male voice which makes the mantra low and heavy. It contains 2 G-chords, a regular and a G7-chords which gives it a nice touch.
About strumming & finger picking
When you sing mantras with a group it’s important that you provide the steady heart beat with your uke. You indicate the beat and the rhythm and thus provide guidance to the group. Our credo is always “better simple and steady than complicated and irregular. Or less is more, you could also say, because with a simple strum a mantra already sounds beautiful.
Strumming is done with your thumb or forefinger of your right hand by smoothly stroking all strings. Finger picking or strumming is done by striking the strings one by one with the right hand, the order of the strings can always change and that makes the pattern. In both cases, make the same chords with your left hand. The only difference is whether you play the chord in one strum or in single notes. Again, strum if you want to sing together, finger pick if you want to sing for someone.
Strums add rhythm to your playing. Strums are usually shown with D (Down) and U (up), but you don’t always know when to go up or down and when to take a short break. In order to write down rhythm, we have developed a notation, the strumbead. A circle on which signs (beads) are depicted to indicate whether you go down or up or make a chuck and when you take a break. The breaks and the space between the strums gives the strum its groove. For example, if you see the strumbead of the island strum, you will see that you are not playing anything on the 3rd beat. That makes it sound nice. You don’t have to make it a profound study, just play along with the videos and look at the strumbead if you’re not sure what is being done when.
- a circle is one measure
- you start reading (and playing) at 12 o’clock
- the distance between the beads indicates the time you make between strums
- a solid dot is a downward strum
- an open circle is an upward strum
- a cross is a chuck
You can play any mantra with a vocal strum. The vocal strum is what we call a simple strum, where you strum down on every beat with the soft part, or the pad of your thumb. The vocal strum leaves room for and gives support to your voice. We always start with the vocal strum when we start with a new song or mantra. With the vocal strum, the beat and rhythm are the same. So with a four-quarter measure, like in the strum bead below, you strum down every beat. If you can feel the beat and change the chords smoothly, you can sing with your playing.
The vocal strum is the steady heartbeat of your mantra, perfect if you want to sing together.
If your left hand can play the chords naturally and you can effortlessly play and sing a certain mantra at the same time, try playing the island strum. The island strum, named after the big island or Hawaii, is played by strumming down and up using your index finger. Your strum can sound a little louder because you are using a piece of your nail when you strum (you can’t help it). By keeping your wrist and arm supple, your strum will automatically sound softer and with feeling. Written the island strum looks like this: D-DU-UDU
The island strum makes your mantra sound more lively.
The chuck is a specific technique in which you strike all strings and immediately mute them with the mouse of your thumb. You do it in one movement, you strike the strings, rotate your wrist slightly and push / strike the strings, thereby muting the sound. You always play a chuck strumming downward. In the strumbead we indicate the chuck with a cross. In the Island strum you can replace one or two down strums with a chuck for an extra effect. As in the Wahe guru mantra. The strum pattern below is played there.
The chuck gives a mantra rhythmic accents.
Finger picking or strumming is playing the individual notes of a chord (which always consists of several tones) by playing the strings one by one. Strumming is beautiful when you play alone. It makes the mantra sound a bit more romantic. Alternating between strumming and finger picking can make a mantra sound more interesting. A strumming pattern consists of numbers that correspond to the strings. The default (American) tuning of your uke is G, C, E, A. Where the top string (closest to your face) is the G and the bottom string (farthest from your face) is the A. Now each string has a number and we start counting from below.
G string = 4
C string = 3
E string = 2
A string = 1
In the strum beads you see a circle and on that circle you see numbers that correspond to the strings you strike. And you see the colors red, yellow and blue; red represents your thumb, yellow represents your index finger and blue represents your middle finger. Officially you play each string with a finger; the 4th with your thumb, the 3rd with your index finger, the 2nd with your middle finger and the 1st with your ring finger. In most cases we find it easier to play with your thumb and index finger. If you have no ambitions to go to the conservatory with your ukulele, we advise you to do it our way incorrectly, or how you find it easy. The numbers (for the strings) are fixed, but you can choose the colors (for the fingers) yourself, this is how we find it easiest. It is important to keep your hand still when you strum, you can rest your little finger and ring finger on the sound box under the sound hole, so that you have a helping hand. Practice a strumming pattern until your fingers can do this naturally or automatically without thinking and then you can start strumming a mantra very quietly. Take your time, because it takes some coordination, but it can enhance your ukulele play and make it sound so very beautiful.
picking pattern: 3-2-1
A strumming pattern that we like to use to play a 4-quart measure where you play 3-2-1
4 times. We use this strum for eg the Om Shanti mantra. With the ukulele, the 3rd string or the C-string is the lowest tone. You use this as a bass string (look, this is also the thickest string) and give it an accent.
picking pattern: 3-2-1-2
Another picking pattern for four-quarter measures that you can use is 3-2-1-2. Simply play this pattern on each beat. We use this pattern for eg the Ganesha Sharanam mantra.
picking pattern: 3 – 2 – 4 – 1 – 4 – 2 – 3 – 2
And then the picking pattern that we use for the I am light mantra of India Arie, it is: 3-2-4-1-4-2-3-2-. So each whole and half beat 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and is picked. This is an ambitious strum because you have 8 steps to remember which is more difficult to automate. But once you can do it, it will sound beautiful.
Here you can view the 3-2-1 strum pattern and practice with the Om shanti mantra.
Here you can study the 3-2-1-2 strum with the Ganesha Sharanam mantra.