Mantras in the Scriptures
This week I was reading Revelation, chapter 4, about the four beasts, which represent all different categories of God's creation, and I discovered that they "rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
And I thought, that sounds a lot like a mantra. I especially liked that they say it day and night. (I am an unapologetic mantra chanter, and when I am not chanting, I have them playing in the house, day and night.)
Then I read another one in Revelation, and pretty soon, I had a long list and a passion to find more. This blog post is the beginning of an attempt to find and catalog all the mantras that I can find in the LDS Christian cannon. Of course, I am not going to do it alone. That's why I am posting them here. You can add to this list in the comments and I'll update this post often until I think of a better home for all these mantras.
I suppose I should list the criteria that I think makes something qualify as a mantra, but for now, I'm just listing things that people or angels or creatures say, alone or in unison. They can say them once or repeatedly, and if it just feels like a mantra, I have written it down for now. (Really, it is more scientific that than that... and also it is not. For now, I am just listing as many as I can that might qualify.)
So here we go:
Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament)
Psalm 117 In its entirety
Psalm 118:25 [Hosanna! Hosanna comes from the Hebrew translation meaning "save now" or please save us, which is taken from Psalm 118. According to the Bible Dictionary, "the chanting of this Psalm was connected at the Feast of Tabernacles with the waving of palm branches; hence the use of the word by the multitudes at our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem." By chanting that, they were demonstrating an understanding that Jesus was the same Lord who delivered Israel anciently. This chant has become a celebration of the Messiah and is now part of temple dedications.] Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Psalm 147:1 and Psalm 135:3 [These are almost identical. It is not a mantra per se, but it is about the changing of mantras] Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
Psalm 150 In it's entirety
Jeremiah 33:10-11 [If you have read Jeremiah you know it is a long sad story. Here the Lord is promising a happy ending (coming of Christ and gathering of Israel), which happy ending is heralded by the chanting of a mantra. The Mantra is in bold. I love the second half of the mantra because it recognizes the mantra chanters themselves and effectively describes what chanting mantras is all about--the sacrifice of praise.] Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place....The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20:21 [I wrote a cool blog post about how this mantra won the battle.]And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Isaiah 6:3 [The seraphim say this. Seraphim are often confused with Cherubim, but they are a different and entirely cool rank of angelic beings. I'll write more on them some day.] Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
2 Chronicles 5:13 [The temple is finished and the arc of covenant is laid in the Holy of Holies and the people are chanting and singing as one with trumpets and cymbals. The result is that there is a "cloud" or the glory of the Lord is in the house] For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;
2 Chronicles 7:3 [The people witness fire come down and the glory of the Lord. They bow and worship]
For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Revelation 4:8 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Revelation 7:10 Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Revelation 7:12 Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 15:3-4 [This comes after a great victory and they sing with harps] Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
The Book of Mormon
1 Nephi 1:14 [after seeing many marvelous things Lehi did exclaim many many things unto the Lord; such as] Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!
2 Ne 16:3 [Exactly the same as the one in Isaiah 6:3]
The Doctrine & CovenantsTBD
The Pearl of Great PriceTBD
I haven't had time to find more, but I now know that scriptures are full of them. One thing you may notice is that a commonality in all of them is the aspect of praise. I'll write more about this soon. Think of this as en evolving blog post. Please feel free to add to it or comment!