the vibration that elevates and recovers
Mantra, which use is largely spread
in Indian tradition, is a powerful instrument
through which we obtain the mind’s control or we
induce into the mind contents different from the
The Sanskrit word Mantra, that in origin referred to a Vedic hymn, from the etymological point of view, as I already stated in other occasions, results from the union of the suffix “tra”, normally used to form instruments’ names, and from the verbal root “man” that refers to the act of thinking. Literally, we can interpret it: “instrument to think” or, as many people like to say, “instrument for the mind”.
But a different interpretation, surely more connected to tantrism, affirms that the word would come from two other terms, manana (always referred to the mental) and trana, liberation. No attempt of definition, anyway, can adequately express the meaning that this name assumes in the Hindu culture. In other words, Mantra is for the Indian culture a verbal instrument to which are attributed extraordinary powers. “A word or a formula… (that) represents a presence or a mental energy; through it something into the mind is produced, into a crystallized form” (Zimmer-Myths).
It seems to exist about 70 million of formulas: the ones useful to come through a discomfort, to have success, to live longer, to protect from dangers and troubles, to infuse love into not much sensitive lovers, etc.
Some Mantra of Atharva Veda had the function of expulse off the body the devils of the fever and other illnesses.
In lots of authoritative texts we read that with the use of an appropriated Mantra everything becomes possible and no Indians have doubts in linking Mantra to the Shabda Brahman or divine sound.
Correctly recited and sang, they became in the past a part of the liturgy, being even the instrument of communication with the chosen divinity.
Currently, the efficacy of Mantra is not only connected with the meaning of the words that compose it, but mainly to the mental discipline that it represents, made of the induction, in the same mind, of impulses for the elevation and the self-recovery.
Surely, to keep the mind busy with contents that are “better” than the usual ones, induces the bloom of a different nature in the performer. In the modern psychology is declared that even a lie, repeated more than sixty times, becomes a truth for who’s telling it. For the same reason, to express with oneself mind, thousands of times, an “intention”, if we can say so, can bring to a concrete realization.
Anyway, don’t forget that, always according to the Indian culture, the higher purpose of these formulas is to realize a direct connection with the divine.
There are generic Mantra (Maha Mantra), for everyone, and personal Mantra, in relation with, for example, oneself Ishta Deva (the divinity a disciple has been initiated with) which continue repetition (Japa), according to the tradition, clarifies and purifies the thought.
In Purana, Japa is considered an easy way to reach Brahmavidya or knowledge of Brahman (the Absolute or “Eternal fundament of every being).
Lots of these formulas are famous, for example Gayatri, a Mantra composed of 24 syllables (a triplet of 8 syllables per each verse) that is the tenth Mantra in the XVI sutra of the III mandala. The term Gayatri, someone says, comes from GAYAntam TRIyate iti, that could literally mean: “the one who aids (or protects) who is reciting it is him”. About the meaning of these verses, we can read, into the Yoga encyclopedia written by Stefano Piano, that “No translation does justice to its multiple meanings and to the deep echoes that it arouses into the heart of a Hindu, but a literally translation could be the following one: “Let’s meditate that desirable glory of Savitr, let him stimulate our minds”.
Lots of hymns of Rik Veda have anyway been composed with the same meter of the most famous one, dedicated to the god Gayatri, wife of Brahma and mother of the four Veda.
In conclusion, Mantra is considered an easy but serious instrument, which we can resort to stabilize the mind on an idea and mono-directing it toward an objective. But…as we read in the Vision of Divine by Eruch B. Fanibunda – “many people, falling into a mistake, don’t understand the divine nature of Mantra and try to buy them from other people who made a “business” of the spirituality.
After that, they state they reached a particular state of meditation. These states are only a variety of different tonalities of self-hypnosis, induced through suggestions, and they produce a temporary state of euphoria or physical wellness. Let the reader be able to recognize what they really are…”
by Amadio Bianchi