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Read more about Mantra from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is a Mantra?

The word is a sound expressive of the idea. In the supra-physical plane when an idea has to be realised, one can by repeating the word-expression of it, produce vibrations which prepare the mind for the realisation of the idea. That is the principle of the Mantra and of japa. One repeats the name of the Divine and the vibrations created in the consciousness prepare the realisation of the Divine. It is the same idea that is expressed in the Bible, "God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light." It is creation by the Word. [1] It has its rhythms,—for it is no disordered vibration, but moves out into great cosmic measures,—and according to the rhythm is the law, arrangement, harmony, processes of the world it builds. [2] Japa: the continuous repetition of a mantra. [3]

Some Mantras


There is ONE sound which, to me, has an extraordinary power—extraordinary and UNIVERSAL (that's the important point): it doesn't depend on the language you speak, it doesn't depend on the education you were given, it doesn't depend on the atmosphere you breathe. [4] OM is the mantra, the expressive sound-symbol of the Brahman Consciousness. [5]

The Gayatri Mantra

The power of the Gayatri is the Light of the divine Truth. It is a mantra of Knowledge. [6]

Om Namo Bhagavateh

These three words. For me [The Mother]they meant: OM—I implore the Supreme Lord. NAMO—Obeisance to Him. BHAGAVATE—Make me divine. [7]

Importance of Japa

Japa, like meditation, is a procedure—apparently the most active and effective procedure—for joining, as much as possible, the Divine Presence to the bodily substance.[8] When one repeats a mantra regularly, very often it begins to repeat itself within, which means that it is taken up by the inner being. In that way it is more effective. [9]

For Silencing the Mind

The japa is made precisely to control the physical mind. The mind, accustomed to run about from object to object, shall fix on one alone, and that one must be something which represents the idea of the Divine. It is usually a name or a form or a mantra by which the thought can be fixed. [10] [11]

For Making the Body Conscious

It's an almost physical discipline. Moreover, I have seen that the japa has an organizing effect on the subconscient, on the inconscient, on matter, on the body's cells—it takes time, but by persistently repeating it, in the long run it has an effect. It is the same principle as doing daily exercises on the piano, for example. You keep mechanically repeating them, and in the end your hands are filled with consciousness—it fills the body with consciousness. [12] If something in the body's working gets disturbed (a pain or disorder, the onset of some illness) and repeating the mantra in a certain way… said with a certain purpose and above all in a movement of surrender, surrender of the pain, the disorder, and a call, like an opening—it has a marvelous effect. And after a while everything is put back in order. And simultaneously, of course, the precise knowledge of what lies behind the disorder and what must be done to set it right comes. [13]

How to do Japa?

The japa is usually successful only on one of two conditions,—if it is repeated with a sense of its significance, a dwelling of something in the mind on the nature, power, beauty, attraction of the Godhead it signifies and is to bring into the consciousness, that is the mental way,—or if it comes up from the heart or rings in it with a certain sense or feeling of bhakti making it alive, that is the emotional way. Either the mind or the vital has to give it support or sustenance. But if it makes the mind dry and the vital restless, it must be missing that support and sustenance. There is of course a third way, the reliance on the power of the mantra or name in itself, but then one has to go on till that power has sufficiently impressed its vibrations on the inner being to make it at a given moment suddenly open to the Presence or the Touch. But if there is a struggling or insistence for the result, then this effect which needs a quiet receptivity in the mind is impeded. That is why mental quietude and on not too much straining or effort is important. [14] A kind of joy, an elation, a warmth of enthusiasm has to be added—but especially joy for the japa to become true. [15]


Perfect surrender, that is, spontaneous surrender, which requires neither effort nor anything. This, too, is something that is attained little by little; that's why mantra is progressive, in the sense that it grows more and more perfect. [16]


Any method sincerely and persistently followed can bring the opening. The method of prayer and japa does prepare something in the consciousness and, if done with persistent faith and bhakti, it can open all the doors. [17]

Dealing With Obstacles In Japa

The fear, anger, depression etc. may rise while doing japa. If one takes the right attitude, slowly or quickly, these resistances clear away. One has to observe them and separate oneself from them, persisting in the concentration and sadhana till the vital becomes quiet and clear. [18]

Mantra In Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga

As a rule the only mantra used in this sadhana is that of the Mother or of my name and the Mother. The concentration in the heart and the concentration in the head can both be used—each has its own result. The first opens up the psychic being and brings bhakti, love and union with the Mother, her presence within the heart and the action of her Force in the nature. The other opens the mind to self-realisation, to the consciousness of what is above mind, to the ascent of the consciousness out of the body and the descent of the higher consciousness into the body. [19]

Read more about Mantra from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.