What is a mantra?

We explain what a mantra is, what are the different meanings of this term and some of the most popular mantras.

  1. What is a mantra?

It is known as a phrase or word mantra that, endowed or not with literal meaning, contains a mystical, spiritual or psychological power that can be triggered by repeated successive times, inducing the mind to a state similar to trance.

The term “mantra” comes from Sanskrit, ancient and ceremonial language, still used in rites of various regions of India and Nepal , and is composed of the man – (“mind”) voices  and the  instrumental type suffix  – tra , by what could be translated from Sanskrit as a “mental tool.” Hence, its repetition during rituals and physical practices (such as yoga) is intended to generate a certain effect on the psyche.

This term appears in the texts of different oriental mystical traditions, such as the Hinduist (in the Rig-veda, the oldest sacred book) as an instrument of thought , that is, prayer, supplication, hymn or song .

In Tibetan Buddhism, on the other hand, each mantra is understood as representative of some specific aspect of enlightenment, which must be recited to assimilate or train in that aspect of the enlightened mind. In this tradition , the mantra  can also be written or waved on a flag and have the same effect as if pronounced.

Finally, in Western psychology , the neurotic repetition of some subjects is called mantra, whose purpose and consequence are to strengthen a circular or repetitive behavior . This meaning comes precisely from the mystical idea of ​​the repetition of the mantra, used in this case as a metaphor for a pathological mental process.

  1. Some known mantras

Some of the most popular mantras:

  • Om mani padme hum . One of the most famous of the religion , linked to compassion and the deity Avalokiteshvara, whose reincarnation would become the Dalai Lama.   
  • Nam Miojo  Rengue  Kio . Referred to the law of cause and effect, with which the reciter commits his life. 
  • Om Namah Shivaia . Dedicated to the god Shivá, it entails the virtues of an enlightened life: truth, simplicity and love.  
  • ajá-mritiun-yaia . Coming from Sanskrit and Hinduism, it is the prayer to Conquer the Great Death, and it appears in the Rig-veda. It is also addressed to Shivá, the destroying god of the universe .
  • m aim  sarasuatiai namah . Dedicated to the hunduist goddess of wisdom, Sarasvati, one of the three main goddesses of religion along with Laksmí (beauty and good luck) and Durgá (maternal love and   violent justice ).

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