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(măn`trə, mŭn–), in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic words used in ritual and meditation. A mantra is believed to be the sound form of reality, having the power to bring into being the reality it represents. There are several types of mantras. Sanskrit verses used in the Vedic sacrifice are known as mantras. Bija-mantra or "seed-sounds," used mainly in TantraTantra
, in both Hinduism and Buddhism, esoteric tradition of ritual and yoga known for elaborate use of mantra, or symbolic speech, and mandala, or symbolic diagrams; the importance of female deities, or Shakti; cremation-ground practices such as meditation on corpses; and,
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, are syllables without semantic value having an occult affinity for particular deities or forces; use of such mantras usually requires initiation by a guru. Extremely common is the repetition (japa) of the name of a deity and the singing of devotional phrases (mahamantra); for those mantras initiation is not required.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A Sanskrit word meaning a significant sound that is known to psychically affect human beings. When repeated over and over, the mantra can be used as the point of focus for meditation; the repetition usually being done mentally or silently. The mantra may be a single syllable, a word, or a short series of sounds or words. The sound is usually one designed to bring about a higher state of consciousness in the individual, evoking psychic energy throughout the body. The mantra word/sound does not usually have any specific meaning.


Bletzer, June G.: The Encyclopedia Psychic Dictionary. Lithia Springs: New Leaf, 1998


1. Hinduism any of those parts of the Vedic literature which consist of the metrical psalms of praise
2. Hinduism Buddhism any sacred word or syllable used as an object of concentration and embodying some aspect of spiritual power
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