9. The Mantra Aum

by Sri Chinmoy

Remembrance of God’s Name
Is perfection-sky.
Repetition of God’s Name
Is satisfaction-sun.

In the inner life, mantras play a considerable role. A mantra is a syllable, group of syllables or a sentence divinely surcharged with power. This power can be utilised for a divine purpose or for an undivine purpose once it is attained through chanting. There are many, many Sanskrit mantras, and everybody has his own mantra. In the Indian scriptures it is said that if you want mental illumination, if you want purity, or if you want some other quality, then you should practise a mantra.


Japa is the repetition of a mantra. If you repeat Aum twice, thrice or hundreds of times, this repetition is japa. In true japa, the seeker has to repeat a particular mantra which is given to him by his Master. If he does not have a Master, then his mantra can be revealed from within. A seeker can also determine inwardly how many times he should repeat his mantra if he has no Master to tell him.

If a follower of Japa Yoga needs purity, the Master will tell him to repeat a particular mantra a few thousand times daily. If he needs mental knowledge, he will have to repeat a different mantra. For each divine quality the aspirant wants, he must chant a different mantra. The aspirant may have decided to repeat the name of God ten or fifteen thousand times, with the expectation of a certain result. But while he is chanting the name over and over again, he may actually be thinking of something else. The lack of one-pointed concentration and soulful attention while one is chanting takes away most of the effectiveness of the mantra. If you repeat the name of God ten thousand times while thinking of something else, you cannot expect to get any result. It does not matter how many hours you chant if you do not chant sincerely and soulfully. But if you do chant properly, then japa can be most effective.

Japa should not be done just before going to bed. If japa is done one thousand, two thousand or three thousand times, the mind will become agitated because the body wants to enter into the world of sleep. The aspirant will repeat “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme . . .” but he will only be working the mind like a machine. If he continues beyond his capacity, his mind will become agitated. Then he will suffer because he will not get proper sleep.
Japa may be done in the morning or during the day. But it should be done only one hundred or two hundred or at most three hundred times before going to bed. If you forget to do japa or do not feel like doing it during the day, and then do it all just before going to bed, this is very bad. If you meditate before going to bed you will invoke peace, light and bliss; but if you do japa one thousand times you will invoke power and energy and you will become too tense to sleep.
At times we will discover that we hear the word we have been repeating even after we stop. If we continue repeating “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme” for some time, when we stop, we will hear the same name of God being repeated inside our heart. The mouth is not functioning, but the inner being has started repeating the mantra naturally and spontaneously.

Japa is not, strictly speaking, a form of meditation. It is an invocation. By using a mantra, we can invoke God to enter into our inner existence, our inmost self. In meditation we try in a broader way to enter into God’s Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.

Using Mantras

Each mantra offers a particular result. While using a mantra, we invoke a certain aspect of God to give us peace, light, bliss or something else that we want or need. If we can meditate well for ten or fifteen min–utes, this serves the same purpose, because we enter into the infinite expanse of peace, light and bliss, where our soul can drink whatever it needs or wants.

But when aspirants cannot enter into their deepest meditation because the mind is restless, this is their opportunity to use a mantra. ‘Supreme’, ‘Aum’, or ‘God’ can be repeated by anyone for a few minutes before starting meditation. The mantra should be repeated slowly and aloud. If you want quick results in your inner life, repeat a mantra every day without fail, for at least half an hour: fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening.

The Gayatri Mantra

Mantras are of two types. One is called dhvani-antak, which means ‘with sound’. This mantra comes into existence from sound. The other kind is called varnantak, which means ‘lettered’. This mantra is called a soundless mantra. When two things are struck together we hear a sound. But we hear the sound of Aum, the anahata nada or ‘soundless sound’, in the inmost recesses of our heart. Ahata means struck; anahata means unstruck. Varnantak and anahata are the same.

In India we have many mantras. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krishna says that the Gayatri Mantra is the best. Its meaning is: “We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky, and inside the soul of Heaven. May He stimulate and illumine our minds.” It is said that if one can recite this special mantra one hundred thousand times, then all his wishes will be fulfilled. Any desire, any aspiration, no matter how mighty, will be fulfilled.

Seed-Names of Kali and Krishna

The mantra for the goddess Kali, the Mother of both infinite Power and infinite Compassion, is ‘kring’. When she is invoked through this seed-name or seed-form, she must be invoked in a powerful way. If you can repeat ‘kring’ most soulfully and powerfully for just fifteen days, you will see power and fire all around you. This fire will not burn anybody, but people will notice it because it will arouse them from their comatose drowsiness.

If you have a great fondness for Krishna, you can invoke him by chanting ‘kling’ most sweetly. That is his mantra or seed-sound.

A Mantra for Health

If you are physically weak, if your physical constitution is not satisfactory, chant this mantra sincerely and soulfully:

Tejohasi tejomayi dhehi
Viryamasi viryam mayi dhehi
Valam masi valam mayi dhehi

In a week’s time you will see a change for the better in your health. It means:

I pray for dynamic energy;
I pray for dynamic virility;
I pray for indomitable physical strength.

The Money Mantra

In this world some people are poor while others are rich. Some people are desperately in need of money to make both ends meet. Some years ago, a student of mine was having tremendous financial difficulties. I gave her a particular mantra:

Ya Devi sarvabhutesu
Ratna rupena sangstitha
Nastasvai namastvai
Namastvai namo namah

In thirteen days she came to me and said that her finances had tremendously improved. The meaning of this mantra is:

I bow and bow and again I bow to the Supreme Goddess who resides in all human beings in the form of material wealth and prosperity.

Many people have used this mantra in India. In her case it took only thirteen days for the mantra to accomplish its purpose. In someone else’s case it may take three months or just three days. This particular mantra has tremendous power, but it is effective only for bringing material wealth.

Mantras from the Upanishads

If you want to remain in supreme Ecstasy and Delight all the time, then you will have to chant this particular mantra:

Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante
Anandena jatani jivanti
Anandam prayantyabhisam visanti

It means:

From Delight we came into existence.
In Delight we grow.
At the end of our journey’s close, into
Delight we retire.

If Infinity is the particular object of your aspiration, if you want to have infinite Consciousness within and without, then the mantra that you have to practise is:

Purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udacyate
Purnasya purnam adaya purnam

It means:

Infinity is that.
Infinity is this.
From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.
From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains.

The Seed-Sounds of the Chakras

There are six major psychic centres in the human body. These centres are actually located in the subtle body. For each centre there is a seed-sound or mantra. Each word represents a state of consciousness, and within each state of consciousness there will be a particular symbol, perhaps a flower or an animal.

The centre at the base of the spine is called Muladhara. If we can repeat the seed word lam while focusing all our attention at the base of the spine, in the course of time we will open this centre and we will be endowed with the power to cure diseases.

A few inches higher, near the spleen, is the Svadhisthana centre. If we can repeat the mantra vam while concentrating here, we will eventually be endowed with the power to offer love to everyone and everything and to receive love from everyone and everything.

If we concentrate on the Manipura or navel centre and repeat the syllable ram with power and force, we will eventually be able to conquer all sorrow and suffering. Also, this centre gives us the power to enter into the subtle worlds and higher planes.

The mantra yam has to be chanted slowly and sweetly in the heart centre, Anahata. If we can open the heart centre, we can attain pure joy and the bliss of oneness.

If we chant ham while concentrating on the throat centre, Vishuddha, we will receive the power of eloquence in expression in all forms of art.

Then we come to the Ajna chakra, which is in the middle of the forehead, a little above the base of the nose. There the seed-word is Aum. By concentrating on this centre and chanting Aum, we can get boundless psychic and occult powers.

The Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head is considered to be the seventh spiritual centre, although it is not linked to the other six. When one enters into this crown centre, one enters into trance and goes beyond the consciousness of this world. The mantra of this centre is Supreme.

There are many other less significant centres in the subtle body, but the six I have talked about and the Sahasrara chakra are the most important ones. No matter which centre we choose to concentrate on or which mantra we repeat, we should try to feel a vibration from all the centres. While we are repeating a particular mantra, we should try to feel that a current is flowing through our spinal cord as if a snake is passing through us, and all our centres are being aroused by this current.

The Musical Notes of the Chakras

The universal Consciousness embodies universal Music. From each chakra, where the life-energy from the universal Consciousness gathers, a musical note is produced. From Sahasrara the tone of shadja or sa is produced. In Western music you call this ‘do’. From Ajna, rishava or ri is produced: what you call ‘re’. From Vishuddha, gandhara or ga is produced: what you call ‘mi’. From Anahata, madhyama or ma is produced: what you call ‘fa’. From Manipura, panchama or pa is produced: what you call ‘so’. From Svadhisthana, dhaivata or dha is produced: what you call ‘la’. From Muladhara, nishada or ni is produced: what you call ‘ti’.

Use Mantras with Caution

I want to make it very clear that the opening of the chakras does not mean that one is realising God or that he is about to realise God. Not at all! From the highest spiritual point of view, the opening of the chakras is like the games a mother plays with her children in the playground. The mother knows the games will amuse her children.

If the centres are opened without proper purification, the seeker will encounter great pain. It will be like playing with fire or a sharp knife. He may destroy others or he himself may be destroyed. All real spiritual Masters say that it is better to open the heart centre first and then try to open the other centres. If one opens the heart centre first, there is practically no risk. But if one starts with the third eye or the lower chakras, it is very dangerous. If one opens up the lower chakras without the purification of the vital, especially the lower vital, then one can become unbalanced, mad, insane. It is like giving a knife to a child. He may misuse it, cutting his finger or doing something most harmful and damaging. But if one is grown up and mature, then he will use the knife to cut fruit and offer it to his friends.

How quickly does a mantra remove desire from the mind?

It depends on the individual seeker. If he has established abundant purity in his being, then it is a matter of months. But if the seeker is not pure enough, the mantra may take a very long time to produce the necessary effect.

Is there a spiritual centre for creative expression, and should we concentrate on it before we create?

The throat chakra is the spiritual centre for art. If you can open this centre, then you can be a very good musician or a very good artist of any kind. All kinds of artistic capacities can be developed from this centre. The difficulty is that if your nature is not pure, then if you open this centre and become a great artist it will be all for name and fame, and all your aspiration will go away. When you open the throat centre, if your navel centre and lower centres are not properly purified, then as soon as you create something, worldly appreciation will lower your consciousness. It may happen that you will only create for world applause and not with the idea of serving God through your creation. If you cannot have the inner assurance of purity, the best thing is to pray to the Supreme to purify you and illumine your consciousness so that you will not fall from the spiritual life when you get boundless artistic capacity by opening this chakra. But if you have consciously established a certain standard of peace, light and bliss in your life, then you can safely open this centre and create something beautiful, meaningful and everlasting.

Is it only the throat chakra that enables us to become artists or musicians?

If you concentrate on the throat chakra, you will be able to become a very good artist, musician, writer, dancer or singer. This does not mean that the other centres do not have the capacity to help you in this way, but the throat centre has the utmost capacity. When you sing, you may feel an awakening in the throat centre. Those who have good voices have, to some extent, opened their throat centre. This is a very good experience.

Whoever has mastery over the throat chakra has the capacity to offer divine messages to the world. We get messages from various planes of consciousness. But when one gets a message from the throat chakra, the message is sublime and everlasting. When this centre is open, one receives direct messages from the Highest and becomes a mouthpiece for the Highest. One becomes a poet, a singer or an artist. All forms of art are expressed from this centre.