Developer: Andrew Smith
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Ever wished you had a pocket guru? iMantra is here to help. iMantra from Studio Six Digital offers dozens of mantras in several different categories, including Buddhist, Hindu, Universal and Planetary.
I must confess, I know next-to-nothing about meditation, Buddhism, chanting, or anything similar. My personal zen moments are more likely to be brought about by a gin & tonic and my David Cook iTunes playlist than a mantra, so I'm approaching iMantra from the perspective of a total neophyte.
That being said, from what I can tell, iMantra appears pretty solid. The interface is simple, and the application is highly customizable. Users can choose from about 40 pre-recorded mantras, ranging from the simple OM (which even I knew!) to the Ascension Mantra, which runs three pages and about four minutes in length. There are mantras to dispel negative energy, to bring luck and happiness, to inspire confidence, and numerous others. Each mantra comes with a full explanation of its meaning and use. iMantra also allows users to record up to nine personal mantras of their own for later use.
iMantra uses strands of virtual counting beads (the strands are called malas) in order for users to keep track of the number of repetitions they've done. A quick Google search tells me that a traditional mala is 108 beads, but iMantra allows for malas with as few as 9 beads or as many as 247. You can choose to use up 499 malas, as well, which allows for something like 10,000 repetitions, if you're so inclined!
As for further customization options, users can also replace the included background image of the Medicine Buddha with a photo of their choice, directly from their iPhone photo album. Additionally, all of the mantras on iMantra are accompanied by music for which the volume can be adjusted or turned off at the user's discretion.
As I said, I'm no expert when it comes to chanting, so it's entirely possible that for an experienced meditator, this application might be lacking. However, for an introduction, at least, it seems to be very effective, and it's certainly informative. (Of course, a beginner might not want to pay $4.99 for it!) Overall, iMantra is a lovely application which seems to have been made with great care.