After reading my free e-book on mantra yoga or taking one of my mantra teacher training courses, you’ve probably decided you want to make precise Sanskrit a part of your chanting practice. Then what!? MOST of the mantra information online is frustratingly not accurate. Here is a precious list resources I’ve collected for you!
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 )
Free online courses with audio, and an online transliteration program: http://learnsanskrit.org/
Learn Sanskrit Online
American Sanskrit Institute
Has an online learning center. I have not done their full program, but my Sanskrit teacher on Kauai (Dharma Widman www.joyofsanskrit.com) learned from and ultimately taught with Vyaas Houston for 20 years. The teaching method is brilliant.
Learn Sanskrit online free: http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/sanskrit/lessons.php
TYPING WITH SANSKRIT TRANSLITERATION MARKS
To provide accurate learning material, it’s useful to learn a few keyboard strokes for the transliteration marks. Search online for “how to type in transliterated Sanskrit” for a variety of tutorials for your computer system.
Here’s a start:
1. On a Mac, go into your keyboard settings and make sure one of the keyboards with additional transliteration marks is selected. US Extended, or ABC Extended both work fine. Then use these keyboard shortcuts:
Option+E for slash — Ś
Option+A for long line over — Ā
Option+X for dot under — Ṇ
Option+W for dot over — Ṁ
Option+N for squiggly line — Ñ
2. On a Mac, another solution is to do control/command/space bar and the characters box pops up. Go to Latin and you will see all the special characters you would need for proper transliteration. You can also make them favorites.
3. On an iPhone, if you press down once lightly on the letter, an extended menu of transliteration marks should pop up. Scroll over to the one you want. Not all marks are available.
4. Web services: Using http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/sanskrit_latin.htm you can the transliterated Sanskrit onto their screen. Then cut and paste it into your document.
Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, by David Frawley, is an excellent resource of general information and suggested practices ranging from simple to quite complex. His book Inner Tantric Yoga also contains a lot of information on mantra.
Shiva Sutras by Swami Lakshman Joo, offers esoteric information on the power behind the alphabet, the source of mantra.
Mantra Puṣpam published by Ramakrishna Math of Mumbai (Bombay) is widely regarded as a scholarly authority on the ancient texts. Published in Devanāgarī (Sanskrit script) with the swara marks (which indicate pitch changes in chanting), it can be referenced for those who wish to pursue Vedic mantra chanting.
Nicholai Bachman’s books tend to have both the Devanāgarī (with swara marks) and the precise transliteration into Roman letters.
Thomas Ashley Farrand’s books on mantra offer interesting perspectives on the use of mantra practice as a healing modality and great insight from his own personal experience. However, none of the mantras listed contain sufficient diacritical marks to distinguish Sanskrit pronunciation; you’d have to look up their source text and transliterate yourself, or find a reliable source of transliteration otherwise. www.sanskritmantra.com
Kirtan Songbook by Stephanie Winn is the only transliterated songbook I’ve come across so far. Check it out: www.kirtansongbook.com
2Indya.com has a collection of properly transliterated mantras with swara marks! Also, you can buy a translation of Sanskrit tattoo. (Trust me, if you’re planning to get a Sanskrit tattoo, check with an expert! I can’t tell you how many I’ve seen that are oh-so-wrong!)
I’ve heard from several friends who are beginner musicians that the resources created by Daniel Tucker at www.HarmoniumCentral.com were very helpful!
My friend and student David Estes produces the best harmoniums! Several technological advances developed by him make it the most reliable, durable, practical instrument on the market. http://www.ragamalapeti.com/