The word mantra has become a common term in the yoga and self-improvement communities. However, its true meaning is very powerful and rooted deeply in ancient Vedic culture.
Dr. David Frawley, esteemed author and teacher of Ayurvedic studies, states that:
"mantra is the means of energizing healing methods on subtle or spiritual level".
The sounds or vibrations that take place when a mantra is repeated are healing and connect us with our highest levels of being.
The Bija (seed) mantras are powerful Sanskrit syllables used in meditation. Ayurveda believes that each sound has a unique vibration that has a specific effect in the physical realm. The origin of these syllables is very complex and are believed to be combinations of sounds made in the early stages of life. A list of some of these seed mantras are as follows:
OM- The most important mantra. It empowers and energizes all things and processes. Clears the mind and opens channels.
SHRIM (pronounced shreem)- Promotes general health, beauty, creativity and prosperity. Can strengthen the feminine nature.
LUM (u- sound as in put)- Creates stability, grounding, joy and life. Associated with the reproductive system.
RAM (long "a" sound like, aaah)- Gives strength, calm, rest and peace. Good for high Vata and mental disorders. Willpower, perception and orderliness.
YAM (long "a" sound)- Increases love and compassion.
HAM (long "a" sound)- Improves speech, communication, success.
HUM (u- sound as in put)- Repels negative influences including disease causing pathogens and negative emotions. Promotes digestive fire (or energy).
AIM (aym)- The best mantra for the mind, improving concentration, thinking, rational powers and improving speech. Helps with nervous and mental conditions. Associations with wisdom.
KRIM (cream)- Gives capacity for work and action. It gives power and efficiency to what we do.
HRIM (hreem)- Good for cleansing and purification. Aids detoxification process.
There are many different approaches to the use of these mantras. One is to find one that suits you or that is healing for an imbalance you may have at the time and repeat it often (some say up to 100,000 times!). You can also focus on the chakras and repeat LUM, VAM, RAM, YAM and HAM for about 15 minutes while meditating. It is recommended to spend 2-3 minutes on each mantra.