Mantra definition

Mantras are sacred words or texts which were written down in Sanskrit (the oldest classic language from India) A mantra is a combination of holy syllables which together combine into a core of spiritual energy. This energy functions as a magnet for attracting and uniting spiritual vibrations. The syllable 'man' in Mantra means "thinking" in Sanskrit. Tra originates from 'trai' and can mean "to protect against" or "to liberate". Thus Mantra means as much as "thinking that liberates and protects". 

Mantras are vibration formulas which can be recited silently internal or sung aloud. Mantras appear in Sanskrit, but also in the Japanese, Chinese and Tibetan languages. Hein Braat’s definiotion of a mantra is a universal sound, a frequency that can open unexpected door in ones consciousness. Mantras are used for many purposes, like opening the heart, increasing ones perceptivity, reaching higher states of awareness, bring about healing or to weaken the effects of bad karma. Mantras can be recited aloud or silently and pure mentally which makes it possible to consciously experience the illuminating and blissful nature of the spirit. By reciting mantras or repeating ground notes it is possible to silence the continuous mental activities of the ego and bring ones energy system into one unity of creative vibrations, overcome negative mental patterns, deepen ones breathing into a rhythmic pattern, stabilize consciousness, refresh the stressed nervous system shortly and connecting the energy system to a higher frequency of vibrations. This can all be accomplished with a minimum of effort and ego awareness during practice.

Japa means frequent repeating of a mantra.Japa: repeat, repeat, and again…
Japa means frequent repeating of a mantra and is often applied in Hinduism. As an aid to this practitioners use a bead string with 108 beads and one big bead (the guru bead). The devotee who applies japa let the beads pass through his fingers one by one while repeating the mantra. When the devotee has done 108 repetitions, he or she can do another cycle by turning the string around. By applying japa the practitioner can attain a high state of concentration or samadhi which enables him to penetrate deeply in the idea or deity concealed within a mantra. The traditional Hindu schools put great emphasis on the exact pronunciation and sounds of the mantra because they are capable of awakening the pranas or spiritual forces that lay dormant in the cakras. Next to Hinduism prayer strings are used Sufism in which the 99 excellent names of Allah are recited. Also in Christianity prayer strings are used for repeating the Jesus prayer or Hail Mary.

Mantra in other traditions
Transcendental Meditation, better known as 'TM', utilizes, in their own words, simple mantras as a focus point for meditation. TM was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the sixties and has known many followers ever since which benefit from it for various reasons: relaxation, less stress, better health and self image. Thanks to the accessibility of mantras many New Age groups and individuals have picked it up enthusiastically, even though from the perspective of Hindus and Buddhists it lacks the necessary depth. According to these traditional schools the mere repetition of syllables does have a calming effect on the mind, but for them true mantra practice is aimed at transforming ones consciousness.

Ground note

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. John 1:1

All that exists, big and small, visible and invisible, vibrates with certain frequency. According to many accounts of creation the whole creation originates from sound. This principle corresponds to the astrological principle of the radix (root) horoscope in which place and time of someone’s birth determines ones path of life. Someone who digs into his horoscope can unlock his true potential, thus fulfilling his destiny. Fortunately there are more roads leading to Rome and the same goal can be reached by mantras. The ground note in chanting mantras is on a par with the radix in astrology. Whoever manages to strike this tone or sound of the soul, has gained mastership and lets the same sound be heard in heaven as it is on earth.

This tone or vibration is initiated at birth and actually determines ones life’s course. This idea can also be found in the well known Dutch proverb: ‘For the concert of life no one gets a program’. The big problem, however, is that many people (literally) fall out of tune, thus losing their program or path. For these lost and wondering souls reciting mantras is a fascinating method to restore contact with their source, become who they are, remain faithful to themselves and no longer fall out of tune. In order to reach that, one ought to develop a huge sensitivity. As a source for inspiration one can take the emperor penguin in mind that with its remarkable sense of hearing is capable of tracing back its young with its own unique sound amidst a colony of thousands of chirping chicks.

Just like all other arts, the art of mantra chanting lies in refinement. By chanting and meanwhile listening to the sound that you produce, the duality of language, the division between yourself and the world subsides. By using the mantras as tuning forks it is possible to embark on a journey to our own specific sound or ground note. And this is the most powerful mantra you can imagine for root sounds are universal sounds which constitute the vibrations of particular processes. These sounds were discovered long way ago by practitioners at the highest level of awareness. There are root sounds for attracting, repelling, removing obstacles, healing illness, generating compassion energy and so on. The list is as vast as the creation because every living being and every energy process is a particular set of vibrations unique to that process. Vibration is also a connecting link between dimensions. All energy is vibration.

By reciting your own unique ground note over and over again, you gradually tune all layers of consciousness to one another and you can aim the sound from deep down the belly upwards so that eventually you can hear, or rather experience, the (re)connection to your soul. Once you are in full resonance with your soul, you have reached mastership and are able to create and heal. By means of the voice you can sing your way to heaven to unite with your soul, after which you can reverberate a new ‘heavenly’ sound that not only transforms yourself, but also your environment and very subtly nothing less than the world.


The word of Ishvara is AUM (OHM) (yoga sutras Ch 1, sutra 27)
In Hinduïsm Aum or Ohm is considered as the basic-Mantra which is invoked at the beginning or end of several mantras. And not without reason, for the OHM in the de yoga sutras of Patanjali is defined as the word of God. By continuous repeating this word, one invokes the qualities of the divine and reaches ever deeper states of Samadhi through this synchronization.

Mantra yoga is aimed at bringing about changes in matter and consciousness with the help of ‘sound’. According to the yoga doctrine the first manifestation of the highest truth takes place by means of a unique and subtle sound vibration. For ease’s sake we call it sound, but the yoga term reaches further than the scientific definition of sound because it is cause and effect at the same time. In this vision, the world has not only been created, but is also sustained by this sound vibration.

Spiritual path
Man is part of this creation and therefore also originates from this holy sound AUM. Whoever wants to follow the spiritual path and look for his essence can use this mantra as a guide to go back ‘home’. But in order to make serious progression in meditation, it is far from simple to overcome all distractions and make the thinking process fully focused on one point. That’s why Patanjali introduces this mantra to bring the wandering thinking to a standstill. The mantra AUM is considered by Hindus as the nominator or name of Ishvara, the biggest force and most sublime consciousness, as far as our solar system is concerned. By synchronizing to this mantra, one can eventually be unified with this divinity, after which this divine force can reveal and manifest itself in ones daily life. Of course this key is not only reserved to Hindus. The same principle can namely be found in several other religions. In Islam there are the Wazifas, i.e. the 99 wonderful names of Allah and in Christianity we find the ‘Hail Mary’ and ‘The Lord’s prayer”, that by the way is concluded with a word that comes suspiciously close. Amen.

On the right a depiction of the AUM symbol. The long crescent below represents the dream state, the curve on the upper left side is the waking state and the middle curve to the right is the deep dreamless sleep in between. The crescent moon on the upper right symbolizes the veil of illusion, maya. The dot on top represents the state of transcendence.

The primal sound, which is approached by the AUM, is the basis of all mantras. It is the original mantra, that originated during creation, when the division arose between 'I' and 'not-I'. According to mantra science this primal sound is potently present in the basic chakra of man. It is said that the 52 sounds, which are described by the 52 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, originate from that one sound. Since these sounds appear in all languags, one could conclude that also all languages originate from that One.

The sound AUM should be produced in three separate resonating tones, which need to be of equal length and which ought to gradually alter into one another: AH is recited in the navel area, OE behind the sternum and MM in throat, nose and frontal sinus. There are 170 ways to make the AUM reverberate and each way has a different impact. The most used are: holding on the vowel, which influences the surrounding world, or holding on the consonant as long as possible which affects the singer internally. When this is performed at the beginning of a meditation, it helps to synchronize the consecutive spiritual bodies, since it magnetizes every particle and attracts all beneficial powers.