Mantras: what they are, meaning, how they are practiced, benefits

Mantras: what they are, meaning, how they are practiced, benefits

There are words that have a certain power and a special effect on people. This is the case of mantras or chants used to meditate, i.e. linguistic formulas that have been used in different cultures in order to increase concentration during meditation.

Furthermore, the vibrations emanating from mantras serve to attract inner peace and balance in the human being.

How should mantras be used? Or what does mantra mean? In this article you will find all the information you need, as we will explain what they are and what they are for.

In addition, you will see some examples and even recommendations to choose which one is best for you, so you can calm your mind and meditate with peace of mind.

What is a mantra: meaning and definition

The term “mantra” comes from the Sanskrit language and is made up of two words: “man”, which means “mind”, and “tra”, which means “tool” or “protection”. The literal meaning of “mantra” is therefore “instrument of the mind” or “instrument of protection of the mind”.

It is a phrase or series of words that is repeated or chanted as part of a spiritual or meditative practice. It is used in various religious and spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

They are considered powerful tools for focusing and disciplining the mind, as well as for achieving a state of inner calm, awareness, or spiritual connection. In a nutshell, regain general well-being.

In addition to their literal meaning, they can also have symbolic or sacred meanings within a given tradition or practice. Some mantras are associated with specific deities or spiritual concepts, and their recitation is considered a way to get in touch with those energies or to develop certain qualities or states of mind.

What is the use of reciting a mantra

The main purpose is to help focus and discipline the mind, as well as promote a state of inner calm and spiritual connectedness. They are considered powerful tools to achieve these goals for several reasons.

Mental focus

Repeating or singing requires concentration and attention, as the rhythm and correct pronunciation must be maintained. This helps clear the mind of distractions and focus it on a single point, allowing you to move away from superficial thoughts and reach a state of greater awareness.

Calm and relaxation

Rhythmic repetition has a calming effect on the nervous system and emotions. The sound and vibration of the words can help reduce stress, anxiety and tension, promoting a state of deep relaxation.

Transcendence of thought

Through practice, one tries to go beyond the constant flow of thoughts of the mind and to reach a state of inner calm and mental silence. Repetition helps to “drive away” unwanted thoughts and establish a space of inner stillness.

Spiritual connection

In many spiritual traditions, they are considered tools for connecting with higher forces or energies. The repetition of the mantra is seen as a form of adoration or invocation, through which one tries to get in touch with a divinity or a higher spiritual dimension.

Personal transformation

Some are associated with specific goals or qualities that you want to develop. Regular practice of a mantra aims to positively influence the mind and promote personal growth, such as by cultivating patience, compassionate love, or wisdom.

Importantly, the effectiveness and purposes of mantras can vary according to specific traditions and practices. Each tradition has its own distinct mantras and beliefs about how they affect the mind and spirit.

Meeting points and differences with other types of meditation

There are points of convergence between the practice of mantras and other methods of meditation. Some aspects in common are mental focus, calmness and relaxation, awareness, transcendence of thought and inner and spiritual connection.

Nonetheless, there are significant differences. Here are some of the main differences.


The practice is based on the repetitive use of a sound, phrase or series of words as an object of attention. Conversely, other forms of meditation may use different objects of attention, such as breathing, bodily sensations, or awareness of thoughts and emotions.


While mantra focuses on the rhythmic repetition of words or sounds, other forms of meditation can have different goals.

For example, mindfulness meditation focuses on observing thoughts and feelings without judgment, while Vipassana meditation seeks to develop a clear inner view of reality.

Tradition and cultural context

The practice is deeply rooted in Hindu, Buddhist and other Eastern spiritual traditions. Conversely, other forms of meditation may come from different cultural or spiritual traditions, such as Christian meditation or transcendental meditation.


The practice usually requires continuous repetition in a specific way, such as a certain number of times or for a specific amount of time. Other forms of meditation may follow different methods, such as breath awareness, guided visualization, or body scanning.

Self concept

In practice, it can be seen as a means to get in touch with the spiritual or divine essence. In contrast, many other forms of meditation focus on observing and understanding the nature of the mind and human experience, without specific reference to a spiritual entity.

Ritual aspect

The practice often has a ritual aspect, with specific rules about the pronunciation, rhythm and intentions behind the prayer. Conversely, many other forms of meditation can be more informal and flexible in their execution.

If you are interested in the topic, discover our study on meditation.

The origins of mantras

The origins are rooted in the ancient spiritual and religious traditions of India, and are considered one of the most significant aspects of Indian spiritual practices. They have a long history of use in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain philosophies.

In particular, the origins can be traced back to the Vedic period, which dates back to over 3000 years ago. The oldest mantras are contained in the sacred hymns called Vedas, which are the basis of Vedic knowledge. These hymns were sung or recited during rituals, ceremonies and spiritual practices.

In the context of Hindu traditions, they are seen as sacred sounds or words that possess divine power and a specific vibration. It is believed that repeating a word with proper intonation and concentration can affect the practitioner both mentally and spiritually.

Every word or sound has an associated meaning and energy, and regular repetition can lead to a state of deep meditation and connection with the divine.

As spiritual and religious traditions evolved in the Indian subcontinent, they also spread to other parts of the world, mainly through the expansion of Buddhism.

Today, the practice of mantras is widespread in many cultures and spiritual traditions, and several mantras have become globally popular for meditation, healing and personal development.

All kinds of mantras

As we have seen, in the world of spirituality mantras play a central role, offering an avenue for meditation, inner connection and the search for balance.

Now, it’s time to discover together the various types of mantras and the meaning behind these powerful sacred words and sounds.

Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri Mantra has roots in the ancient sacred text called the Rigveda, which dates back over 3,000 years. It is one of the oldest and most significant Vedic mantras. The prayer is dedicated to the deva Savitr, a solar deity revered for her wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.

It is considered a hymn to the universal energy of wisdom and light. In its essence, the prayer invokes the illuminating power of the spiritual sun, which symbolizes knowledge, awareness and inner understanding.

The regular practice of chanting Gayatri is believed to purify the mind and heart, developing spiritual awareness and connection with divinity. Its constant repetition is believed to help dispel the darkness of ignorance and guide the individual to the right path of truth and wisdom.

Tantric Mantra

They come from the tantra traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. They are often more elaborate than the Vedic ones and include a combination of sounds, syllables and sacred symbols.

These mantras are considered to be powerful and can be used to increase awareness, life energy and spiritual enlightenment.

Tibetan mantras

Buddhism has a wide range of mantras, known as “Dharani” or “Mantra Sutras”, which are recited as part of meditation practice. These mantras are usually recited in Sanskrit or Tibetan and are associated with Buddhist deities or spiritual concepts.

The best known mantra is the “Om Mani Padme Hum”, associated with the compassionate deity Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. These Buddhist mantras are used to develop compassion, gain wisdom and achieve liberation from the cycle of Samsara.

Hare Krishna

A popular mantra in the tradition of the movement…