This list is far from exhaustive, but can point you in the direction of learning more about mantras and their mother language of Sanskrit. I’ve combed the web for hours and hours, to refer you to those resources I found easiest to use. Please contact me if you have something to add here!
3 Easy Steps to Accurate Sanskrit Pronunciation:
1. Here is the least you need to know in 7 minutes…
2. Next, learn to pronounce the Sanskrit alphabet (transliterated, Roman characters) in 20 minutes!
3. Then, be sure the mantras you’re learning fit these criteria:
When you’re looking for books, websites, or youtubes to learn mantra, look for ones that have a) the Devanagari, and/or b) dots under and above the letters, as well as long lines above the vowels. This indicates the tongue positions and the duration of the syllable. Without those marks, you won’t be able to learn proper pronunciation, and chances are, the person sharing the information might not know it themselves. Exceptions might include mantras of just a few syllables. (Watch the 20 minute video above to learn the alphabet and transliteration system.)
They’re much harder to find, and not all mantras have them, but if you can, also get mantras with c) the little vertical lines above, and horizontal lines underneath the syllables, as these indicate the “swara” or pitch changes in Vedic chanting. This is important if you want to chant in the most traditional, precise form. This example has all three, and is from a book by Nicholai Bachman.)
More good stuff:
Here’s a handy link to the most-used transliteration table (IAST), until you memorize the marks as they correlate to the tongue placements:
A nice collection of Sanskrit beginner articles:
Includes “how to type Sanskrit easily” for PC
(If you have Mac, here is a PDF how to type in Devanagari or transliteration for MacOSX )
Please read more about “Why Sanskrit?” and “How Important is Pronunciation?”
in the free mantra e-book!
Check out this Sanskrit Resources List for even more self-study information.
Please remember, your own practice is the most profound resource!
Auṁ Śāntiḥ Śāntiḥ Śāntiḥ