What is a mantra
September 29, 2020
Mantra means sacred sound or a group of sounds or words that have psychological and spiritual power.
The first mantras were composed in Vedic times by Hindus in India, so some of them are at least 3,000 years old. Mantras are now found in various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
The use, structure, function, importance and types of mantras according to the school and philosophy of Hinduism and Buddhism. Mantras play a central role in the Tantric school of Hinduism. In this school, mantras are considered equivalent to deities, a sacred formula and deeply personal ritual and are thought to be effective only after initiation. However, in other schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism, this is not the case.
In its simplest form the word OM (Aum) serves as a mantra. In the more sophisticated forms, they are melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations about truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge and action. However, other mantras are literally meaningless, even though they are musically uplifting and meaningful to the spirit.
What is Japa?
Mantra recitation is known as japa, which literally means "murmuring, whispering." According to schools such as hatha yoga and mantra yoga the universe was created by sound and all sound, whether subtle or audible, comes from a transcendental source devoid of sound, called the "supreme sound" or "supreme voice" (shabda-brahman or para-vac). If all sounds possess some degree of creative force of shabda-brahman, the sounds of the mantras are much more forceful than other sounds.
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The Purpose of Mantra
Mantras have traditionally had two purposes, which can be called mundane and spiritual. We tend to think of mantra only as an instrument of self-transformation but in ancient times mantra was also used for mundane and not necessarily positive purposes, such as communication with ghosts and ancestors, exorcism or guarding against evil forces, also as remedies for diseases, control of thoughts or actions on other people. In terms of their spiritual purpose, mantras are used to calm the habitual flowings of our consciousness and then direct the consciousness to its front itself.