Not everyone is well versed in reading Hindi and let alone Sanskrit.

I recently started chanting the Shiva Mahimna Stotram. However, some of the pronunciations are quite difficult for me.

My question: Are there any negative impacts if we say a Stotram with wrong pronunciations?

Also does the positive impacts of the Stotram still remain if said incorrectly?

  • Mantras are sound vibrations that can trigger certain nadis which connects with the Cosmos. If sound vibrations are not perfect, certain mantras don't work. – Parabrahman Jyoti Nov 5 '18 at 21:29
  • @akshay. Thank you. Looks like it’s very deep than I initially thought? What are your thoughts on the Shiva Mahimna Mantra which wasn’t heard but written? Does that have to be pronounced exactly as written? – P Jai Nov 6 '18 at 1:28
  • @P Jai Regarding stotras, you can actually read it with some mis pronounciation also. Meaning and glory is more emphasized in Stotras unlike Mantras where vibrations are emphasized. So go on chanting and gradually improve your pronounciation.. you might consider chanting Maheswara Sutras to improve Sanskrit pronounciation... 💖💖💖 – Tezz Nov 6 '18 at 1:55
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    It depends upon the mantra. If it is a mantra to propitiate something for yourself materially, as in the the questions cited in the above comments, it can give the opposite effect if not pronounced correctly. If it is a mantra which is done out of devotion and love to God seeking no material gain - such as the Shiva Mahimna - then there is no harm. Does a mother love a baby any less of the baby cannot properly call her Ma? A mother knows a baby is a baby. The Lord comes running to devotees who call on Him with heartfelt sincerity, no matter the pronunciation. – Swami Vishwananda Nov 6 '18 at 5:15
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    If this is about Stotras, then its not duplicate. Can be re opened! – Parabrahman Jyoti Nov 6 '18 at 7:21

Well, it is already understood that even the most adept persons will make mistakes in a recital. That's why there exist the so-called Kshamapana Stotras (prayers that ask for forgiveness for mistakes committed during recitals).

It is customary to recite one such Stotra at the end of any recital.

Here is one such Stotra: https://www.indiadivine.org/content/files/file/209-kshama-prarthana-in-sanskrit-with-english-translation-pdf/

In case of a Stotra recital it does not matter much because it is more of a devotional practice rather than a technical or a ritualistic one. Even if you make some mistakes, which everyone will do, the deity will forgive them.

But if you are still too concerned about your pronunciation mistakes then you can chant the following verses (after you have finished reciting Shiva Mahima Stotram) from the Kshama Prarthana Stotram given above:

Yada akshara pada bhrastam matra hinam tu yad bhavet |
Tad sarvam kshamyatam deva narayana namostute ||

Prostrations to You, O Lord Narayana. Forgive me for all the mistakes in letter or phrase or for any phonetic aberration that may have occurred in my chanting.

Visarga bindu matrani pada padaksharani cha |
Nyunani chatiriktani kshamsva sa iswara ||

Forgive me, Oh! Sayeeswara, for any mistake in my pronunciation (of visarga (:), bindu (a)or intonation of alphabet, word or phrase and any other mistakes.

Aparadha sahasrani kriyante har nisham maya |
dasho yamiti mam matva kshamsva sa iswara ||

Oh Sayeeswara, considering me as Your servant, forgive the thousands of sins committed by me through out the day and night

Also note that here Narayana is just an Upakalakshan. You can change the deity's name as per the situation. Since your prayer will be meant for Lord Shiva you can change simply Narayana to Parameswara.

Similar Stotras are also there which ask for forgiveness from Mother Goddess: What are the benefits of reciting Durga Saptashati Devi Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram?

  • More importantly, there is "Utkeelana" & "Shaapa Vimochana" before reciting certain mantras. e.g. Gayatri Mantra. Purposely, it is having "shaapa" which needs to be overcome. "Shaapa" is given to protect it from being chanted in wrong way or in unholy condition. (e.g. while walking on road, defecating or without bathing etc.). What I have observed is that the "beeja mantras" are protected like this. But not others. Others can be chanted in any condition. – Vineet Nov 6 '18 at 6:27
  • @Vineet Here Op is simply asking about reciting a Stotra. If he was asking about Mantra chanting then my answer would be different. I know about curses on Gayatri. See this answer: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/29618/… – Rickross Nov 6 '18 at 6:30
  • pl. see the subject line. It is "Saying Sanskrit Mantras with incorrect pronunciations?". Further, he has mentioned in the body --"My question: Are there any negative impacts if we say a Mantra with wrong pronouncitations?" – Vineet Nov 6 '18 at 6:31
  • Yes but his practical concern is regarding reciting the Shiva Mahima Stotram. So my answer only addresses that part. @Vineet Besides it also gives a general remedy for the cases when Mantras/Stotras are recited wrongly. – Rickross Nov 6 '18 at 6:34
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    Okay that's why I hv added the Stotra tag to the question. @PJai – Rickross Nov 6 '18 at 6:50

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