A fella gave me an idea about translating Hindu texts to Chinese and others for preaching. Chinese chanting mantras in their native Chinese. Does Hinduism allow or recommend this practice?

E.g., this is the translation of Mahamrtyunjaya mantra:

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Does Hinduism allow such translation and then chanting of mantras by reading from native Chinese script?

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    No matter it is written in any language... But The pronounciation must be "Om Trayambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiv Vandhanaan Mrityurmukshiya Maamritat..."
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 11:39
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    I agree with @Tezz. While knowing the meaning is good the real power of a mantra lies not within the meaning but within the sound produced. So it can be chanted only in the Vedic Language (which is archaic Sanskrit).
    – Surya
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 13:25
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    "Does Hinduism allow or recommend this practice?" - No
    – user1195
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 2:38
  • If just chanting sanskrit mantra does not give that connection to it for them, "Then they can do first time chant in sanskrit, then second time in chinese and so on. So 2 line mantras become 4 line(two for sanskrit, 2 for native language)". This will give them the original shloka and its meaning both over a timeperiod, so they can produce effect of mantra through sanskrit version and have connection to it using chinese/native language translation. I have found it very effective for chiildren here for teaching once in sanskrit and once in hindi. This is middle path.
    – zaxebo1
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 0:18
  • @Tezz adding many years later, trymbakam yajāmahē sugandhim puṣtivardhanam urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyōrmukṣīya māmṛtāt. Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 9:54

3 Answers 3


No. Sanātana Dharma doesn't allow chanting "translation" of Veda Mantras.

Samhitas are core portions of Vedas. They are directly heard by sages in deep tapasya (transcendental meditation). One must chant these Veda mantras exactly how those Rishis heard. Hence Vedas are called Shruti (that which is heard).

Mrityunjaya Mahamantra or any Veda mantra must be heard (or learned) from knowledgeable Guru. One should know proper meter while chanting. Improper intonation may result in negative consequences.

While performing the sacrifice to kill Indra, Tvasta, father of Visvaroopa, chanted mantras with wrong intonation which changed the meaning of sentence drastically.

Srimad Bhagavatam 6.9.11 says

hata-putras tatas tvaṣṭā
juhāvendrāya śatrave
indra-śatro vivardhasva
mā ciraṁ jahi vidviṣam

After Viśvarūpa was killed, his father, Tvaṣṭā, performed ritualistic ceremonies to kill Indra. He offered oblations in the sacrificial fire, saying, “O enemy of Indra, flourish to kill your enemy without delay.”

Purport by Sri Prabhupada,

There was some defect in Tvaṣṭā’s chanting of the mantra because he chanted it long instead of short, and therefore the meaning changed. Tvaṣṭā intended to chant the word indra-śatro, meaning, “O enemy of Indra.” In this mantra, the word indra is in the possessive case (ṣaṣṭhī), and the word indra-śatro is called a tat-puruṣa compound (tatpuruṣa-samāsa). Unfortunately, instead of chanting the mantra short, Tvaṣṭā chanted it long, and its meaning changed from “the enemy of Indra” to “Indra, who is an enemy.” Consequently instead of an enemy of Indra’s, there emerged the body of Vṛtrāsura, of whom Indra was the enemy.

Mrityunjaya Mahamantra occurs in Rig Veda Samhita 7.59.12, Taittriya Samhita of Krishna Yajurveda 1.8.6.i, Vajasaneyi Samhita of Shukla Yajurveda 3.60; So one must recite this Veda mantra (in archaic Sanskrit) with proper meter.

Sanskrit itself doesn't have any native script, as Vedas are taught orally. So, mantra can be written in any script but recitation should be in Sanskrit (Veda Basha) with proper intonation.


Sonorously composed chants of the Vedas propagate audible energy. Beneficial placement of sounds to rhyme with with unknown/esoteric Beeja Aksharas will get watered down in translation/transliteration and lose their vitality of vibration originally intended by the composer (and adopted through centuries of popular usage) ..if delivered inappropriately.There is nothing like the original.

You can have teekas and thatparyams but never discard the source/ praman.

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    "chants of the Vedas propagate audible energy" - You should cite sources for such claims. Either a book, statement of a Guru etc. See Back It Up! rule. If you cannot back it up, better to leave a comment than an answer. Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 0:09

yes. Ishvara understands every language, he needs only that it should be chanted with devotion, purity and surrender to Him.

Lord Krishna, The Supreme Lord Says in Bhagvad Gita —

BG 7.19 — After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

BG 4.41 — One who acts in devotional service, renouncing the fruits of his actions, and whose doubts have been destroyed by transcendental knowledge, is situated factually in the self. Thus he is not bound by the reactions of work, O conqueror of riches.

BG 6.47 — And of all yogīs, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself and renders transcendental loving service to Me – he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.

BG 7.23 — Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.

BG 8.28 — A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing sacrifices, undergoing austerities, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. Simply by performing devotional service, he attains all these, and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode.

BG 12.6-7 — But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pṛthā – for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

BG 12.16 — My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me.

BG 18.55 — One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.

BG 18.64 — Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.

BG 18.65 — Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.

BG 18.66 — Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

==> God just needs devotional love and purity and fixing up of devotee's mind upon Him; and then the devotee's prayer(and mantras)/homage shall reach upto him.

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! The question is whether Vedic Mantras can be chanted in translation. To illustrate the point in the context of your answer, Bhagavan in Bhagavad Gita asks us to take refuge in him but in BG, he neither denies nor confirms whether Mantras can be recited after translation. Thus, what we need is to directly quote a scripture that talks about the validity of chanting the Mantras in your answer to this question. Thanks! Commented May 30, 2017 at 0:34
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    Yes. It is true that Devotion and love are important. But the question is about Veda mantras. They should be chanted in specific meter. Veda mantras have power in them when chanted properly. So quote any scripture which supports that Veda mantras' translation can be chanted/not chanted. Commented May 30, 2017 at 2:06

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