Bija Mantras: Definition, Types and Benefits

Bija Mantras

Chanting Bija mantras is a quick yet powerful way to connect deeply to the vibrational energy of our bodies and the universe. Chanting these sacred seed sounds affects the mind, the physical being, and the subtle energetic centers of the subtle body. When used properly, these sacred sounds can clear the mind, connect us to cosmic energies, strengthen our spiritual powers, and bring awareness to the present moment.

What are bija mantras?

A Bija mantra is a short one syllable word chanted aloud or silently to cultivate concentration, mindfulness, and a state of meditation. Bija is a Sanskrit word that translates as “seed” and it is believed that these sounds contain the essence or seed energy of specific deities, energies, elements, and even the entire cosmos! They usually do not have a direct translation, as they are primarily energetic in nature. They can be chanted individually or you will often find them contained in longer mantras.

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The origin of bija mantras

Vedic mantras are some of the oldest forms of chanting known to humankind. The bija mantra Om is mentioned in some of the oldest Indian scriptures, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Mundaka Upanishad. It is possible they were chanted for hundreds of years before written down in these ancient texts. From these basic and foundational sounds emerged elaborate and more complex ones, like the Gayatri mantra.

How do bija mantras work?

Bija mantras are powerful tools to activate channel specific frequencies of sound vibrations in the body, heart and mind. In meditation practice, bija mantras are often used to calm and focus the mind, stabilize the flow of prana, and harmonize the five elements. On the energetic level, these vibrations stimulate specific points and energy centers on the body to open up and release blocked energies and bring the seven chakras in balance.

There are many different ways to chant mantras, including chanting alone, singing along with music, or even dancing along with music. Chanting along with music is especially common among Hindu devotees, where the music is played during certain rituals and festivals.

Types of bija mantras

There are three main types of Bija mantras. The intention, use, and effects will differ based on which type you choose. If you want to invoke the divine presence or awaken kundalini, the life force energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine then chant a shakti mantra. To purify negative emotions, cleanse the aura and promote healing, choose a mantra associated with a specific chakra. To activate the power of one of the elements, such as fire, water, earth, air, or ether, then choose an element mantra.

1. Shakti bija mantras

Shakti is a Sanskrit word that translates to power, strength, and energy. When we chant these mantras, we can tap into the cosmic elements and the divine feminine energy. Shakti mantras are associated with the primary forms of the goddesses, such as Kali, Durga, Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. They are especially helpful for women who wish to activate their inner strength, courage, and confidence.

They have an extraordinary capacity for transformation that can affect the deepest layers of our consciousness, kundalini and prana. Thus, they should be chanted with deep respect, concentration, devotion, and caution.

Shakti Bija Mantra Pronunciation Associated deity
Om Aum Ishvara or the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Aim Ayeim Sarasvati
Hrim Hreem Durga
Krim Kreem Kali
Klim Kleem Krishna
Shrim Shreem Lakshmi
Strim Streem Tara
Hum Hoom Shiva

2. Element bija mantras

The five elements of nature (earth, water, fire, air, space) are represented by a specific bija mantra. These elemental sounds are considered manifestations of the primordial forces of nature that embody the qualities of each element. For example, the earth bija mantra promotes energies that are solid, stable, grounded, and stable, while the water bija mantra invokes a liquid, fluid, flowing, and changeable energy. The bija mantra of the five lower chakras also corresponds to one of the five elements.

3. Chakra bija mantras

Each of the body’s seven chakra energy centers has a one-syllable seed mantra that activates its vitality and latent power. Intoning the mantra can accelerate or decelerate the flow of energy associated with each charka to intensify and purify it.

Focusing your awareness on the position of the chakra along the spine as you chant its bija mantra is ideal. Repeating a chakra Bija Mantra while concentrating on a specific part of our body helps us move and harmonize the flow of energy inside us and feel connected, radiant and joyful.

Bija Mantra Element Chakra
Lam Earth 1. Muladhara
Vam Water 2. Svadhishthana
Ram Fire 3. Manipura
Yam Air 4. Anahata
Ham Ether 5. Vishuddha
Om 6. Ajna
Ah 7.  Sahasrara

Benefits of chanting bija mantras

Because bija mantras are short and simple, chanting them builds more concentration and focus than longer traditional mantras. Once you develop the ability to keep your focus on these mantras, they can increase the effectiveness of your intentions, prayers, and blessings.

When we practice the same mantra over time, we begin to feel its effects physically and energetically. Our bodies become accustomed to the frequency and vibration of the mantra, which allows them to resonate with it. As we repeat the mantra, we also begin to hear it within ourselves. It becomes part of who we are.

The sacred vibration strengthens our connection to the divine, which helps us tap into higher states of consciousness where wisdom resides. Our mantra meditation practice can provide us with a sense of calmness, protection, clarity, focus, inspiration, motivation, love, peace, and joy. Regular chanting also benefits the physical body by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and increase your energy levels. It is also believed that these seed syllables have healing powers and promote living a happy and healthy life.

When we chant together, we create a collective resonance that amplifies the power of the words. You may encounter a group chanting practice of these seed mantras in yoga classes, group meditations and chakra balancing workshops.

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